Marriott Alumni Magazine

Fall Winter 1977 Exchange

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Page 21 of 51

Rethinking Your “Good Guy” Image by Kate Kirkham Attempts to achieve racial equality must recognize that the actions of both whites and minorities should be examined Often we define racial equality in the work place as the absence of overt discriminatory incidents. Yet, more often than not, this focuses attention simply on the presence or absence of race-related complaints. An organization’s goal is then articulated as reducing the number of complaints; however, if we adopt this approach, we find ourselves focusing attention primarily on minority individuals since they are the ones who are most likely to file a racial discrimination complaint. When racial equality is viewed as a factor dependent upon the total organizational climate (including all aspects of employee relations, morale, productivity, promotion policies, etc.), we must recognize that the behavior of both whites and minorities will be involved. Much has been written on manager’s effect on organizational climate. But little mention is given to the actions that actually enhance racial equality. Since whites are often the only or majority group in management positions in many organizations, we should begin to relook specifically at the role of white managers. What they do and what they are critical determinants of all aspects of race relations. While I can use the term “institutional racism” to mean an outcome or an organizational policy, procedure, or practice that Illustrated by Brent Burch 20

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