Gender and Racial Inequality in Organizations

Discrimination is stressful, and it makes the lives of victims miserable. A sociological study reported that in the US, discrimination against African American women deteriorated their wellbeing, especially economically and health-wise (Perry et al. 26). Nevertheless, discrimination persists in US society, especially in workplace environments. For instance, there are numerous reports about people of color who have been discriminated against because of their race. This month has had such racial incidences, where an Amazon employee filed a case against the retailer for discriminating against employees of color.

On March 1, 2021, a black woman – Charlotte Newman, filed a discrimination lawsuit against Inc. reports the incident in an article titled Race discrimination lawsuit says Amazon “de-levels” employees of color. According to the lawsuit, Amazon is accused of de-leveling employees of color “or placing them in lower-level jobs that do not match their experience and credentials” (Brook par.3). Newman accounts for incidences where she was once in the line for promotion to a senior position but was unfairly denied the opportunity. The manager discriminated against her by citing his need for a more seasoned employee. The position was given to a white male who had graduated from college three years before Newman (Brook par.10). However, Newman would later be requested to attend to some senior management roles due to her expertise despite receiving lower-rank salaries.

The New York Daily News, Bloomberg, and The Fashion Law have also covered the incident. The New York Daily News adds details of the incident, indicating that Newman had been racially discriminated against and sexually harassed by white colleagues and supervisors (Green par.2). The report adds that Amazon is a notorious hub for systemic discrimination, where people of color are paid less compared to whites, and it becomes worse when such employees are female. Bloomberg cites a statement where her supervisor informed Newman that she is too direct and scary (Larson par.7).


Racial discrimination in Amazon is not an isolated case, as many more incidents are reported across industries in the US and the world. As such, organizations should devise methods through which all forms of discrimination are avoided. Everlyne Carter’s article Restructure Your Organization to Actually Advance Racial Justice is among the class readings related ideally to the incident reported above. I will use this reading because of its relevance to the incident – racial justice in workplaces. Besides, the reading offers essential suggestions on how organizations can ensure diversity to end racial injustice against people of color. It is also current, and thus, perfect for Newman’s context.

According to Carter, the recent famous Black Lives Matter movement was a turning point for the US society (par.1). She also contends that US society ought to embrace diversity immediately. As such, organizations and essentially all workplace fraternities should support the employment of people of color and fair upskill of their workforce. Carter offers suggestions for organizations that they may ensure diversity and racial justice in their workforce. Firstly, managers should invest in the right employee education (Carter par.6). She cites the importance of understanding American history and the role of people of color in building the current US society. Secondly, managers should ensure their workplaces encourage genuine connections between employees (Carter par.10). Citing that only 39% of employees feel a sense of belonging in their workplace, Carter suggests that it is difficult to ensure diversity and justice when some workforce members feel the absence of critical interpersonal connections or critical sociological conversations.  Lastly, Carter suggests that organizations should go beyond hiring to discover new employee recruitment methods to close Blacks employees’ gaps (par.12).

Carter’s article links with Newman’s lawsuit incident on the prevalence of racial discrimination across the US workforce. For instance, Newman’s incident contains some statements that appear ignorant of her discriminators. Colleagues and supervisors who claimed that Newman is scary seem to overlook the journey towards racial justice and the purpose of the Equality Act 2010. Carter suggests that through employee education on racial justice, whites will understand the role of people of color in society. Besides, understanding the historic events underlying racial justice may caution the society against sensitive statements and promote allyship. It also applies in organizational practices like hiring, which Carter suggests that managers should go beyond. Regardless of recruitment preferences, managers need to identify gaps in black’s employment to ensure diversity. For instance, Amazon has a disproportionate underrepresentation of Blacks and Hispanics in the managerial positions, despite having the most significant proportion of warehouse employees from the two races. Thus, the promotion of people of color into senior positions could bring positive results such as fostering inclusion and motivation.

Contrary to Carter, I think the US society is not on the verge of a turning point regarding social injustices. There is a deep-rooted difference between races, and their experiences in society, which challenges ending social injustices like discrimination. I think the US society will continue through incidences of racial discrimination for several generations. While it is an unprecedented prediction, this is the rationale: Firstly, racial injustice is often between the whites and the people of color. Unfortunately, only the people of color feel the injustice, and the whites do not understand.  It will require a robust psychosociological change for the whites to feel the impacts of racial discrimination to cause significant reform.

However, I contend with Carter that education is critical in understanding the historical and current racial injustice implications. The second rationale is that systemic racism persists in US society. As Alexander in The New Jim Crow formerly claimed, the social structures that ought to protect races against discrimination are at the forefront of propagating it. It seems that many racial injustice incidences are not reported or are not handled effectively since the criminal justice system is a racially discriminatory tool, as alleged in The New Jim Crow (Alexander, and West n.p). However, organizations must put effort into overcoming racial injustice in workplaces. I agree with Carter and suggest to Amazon to ensure employee education of racial justice, go beyond traditional hiring to close Black employee gaps, and build workplace environments that promote cross-cultural connections.

Works Cited

Alexander, Michelle, and Cornel West. The New Jim Crow. 1st ed., The New Press, 2012.

Brooks, Khristopher J. “Race Discrimination Lawsuit Says Amazon “De-Levels” Employees Of Color”. Cbsnews.Com, 2021,

Carter, Evelyn R. “Restructure Your Organization To Actually Advance Racial Justice”. Harvard Business Review, 2020,

Green, Leonard. “NY Daily News – We Are Currently Unavailable In Your Region”. Nydailynews.Com, 2021,

Larson, Erik. “Amazon Sued For Alleged Race, Gender Bias In Corporate Hires”. Bloomberg.Com, 2021,

Perry, Brea L. et al. “Racial And Gender Discrimination In The Stress Process: Implications For African American Women’s Health And Well-Being”. Sociological Perspectives, vol 56, no. 1, 2013, pp. 25-48. SAGE Publications, doi:10.1525/sop.2012.56.1.25.