In June 16, 2009, news spread on the graffiti scrawled outside the Legal Affairs Office in the World Bank, “N— (igger) go home! ” was the message (Edwards 2009). A couple of days later, the French rendered judgment on L’Oreal, finding the said company guilty of racial discrimination in their practice of immediate disqualification of applications of Arab and Asian women to sell their shampoo (Sage 2009).
Racial discrimination is defined by the United Nations Convention on The Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination as, “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life. (1966)
Racial Discrimination in Employment, as seen above, is still prevalent. There are many theories explaining racial discrimination. In the periods of slavery and colonialism, white colonists gathered profit in the practice and ratiocinated it through the lack of culture and history, thus, the inherent impossibility of the ‘Negroes’ to be civilized. For these colonists, the blacks being uncivilized, shows the intrinsic superiority of whites over African blacks.
There are also some, such as the followers of Galton (1869), who used biology as a means to justify this ideology. For them since intelligence is inherited, and such is only passed on in the members of the white race, hence, having a preference of the race which is scientifically determined to display ‘intelligent’ behavior is reasonable. On the other hand, there is also Henri de Boulainvillier’s “theory of races” which saw races as a fundamental historical reality that changes over time.
Such was further explained by Foucalt wherein he asserted that race struggle is not a continuing tension between two races-the whites and the blacks, in various stages in time. It is a historical notion, a struggle of two ethnic groups-the composition of such varies, depending on the circumstances of the time. There are a lot of differing opinions explaining the inception, propagation and staying power of racial discrimination until the present.
But one thing remains clear: it is still as strong as ever and is affecting many and depriving some people of prospects of making a better living for themselves and their family. The business employment sector is still wrought with institutionalized and non-institutionalized mechanisms that preclude some people from enjoying benefits because of race. However, are there variations in notions of racial discrimination that propel these differing business sectors to exclude others from full enjoyment employment on the basis of race?
Simply put, in the aforementioned at the beginning of this paper for example, do the cosmetics company and the banking company in question, have the same idea on what the term ‘race’ means, how they are related to one another, vis-a-vis their business practices that have showings of racial discrimination as defined in the UN-CERD? Do different business industries display varying views or interpretation of racial discrimination and what type of racial groups do they discriminate against?
Does racial discrimination in employment and its definition differ depending on the business sector or industry that it pertains to? In this period of Globalization, it is sad to see that this backward principle is still in existence in different forms and plaguing a multitude of sectors of our business industry, even in global companies such as L’Oreal and even the World Bank! There is a need to study such to minimize and finally eliminate this activity that has brought sorrow and hardship to the lives of many as history has shown time and again.