Facing racial injustice is hard work. Yet it is this heavy lifting that we must do, to ensure our country lives up to its promise of equality and justice for all. The recent demonstrations in Missouri and peaceful protests at the University of California, Berkeley remind us: it has not been forgotten.
It’s under the banner of this fight against injustices that we find ourselves confronting a deeply entrenched, deeply embedded injustice: racial discrimination in the Duramax industry.
This article will be about how racism affects people in low-income communities as well as how it can affect one’s mental health and physical wellbeing as well as their education level and opportunities for securing jobs.
Racism in the Duramax has been going on for years, ever since the first Duramax was made, production has been high in these areas making quality products for thousands of people. In addition, there are more factories opening up this year. In my area alone they are opening 5 new factories opening in the next year and a half. A lot of jobs from people from all different parts of the world come to work here and a lot don’t know what is going on here. All they see is a blue-collar job that will pay them well enough to support their family and retire with a pension.
This is not the case.
Many senior employees in these factories are treated differently because of their race. Instances of this include low wages, unequal treatment of workers, no breaks for lunch or dinner, no paid holidays, etc. These are all things that white people get in some factories but not black people. Workers who are black are often unsure if they will be receiving the same treatment as white workers do. They feel like they don’t have any rights at all and that they do not belong here. This leads the employees to be more stressed out, anxious and depressed over fear that they will be treated differently than their white counterparts will be.
Some racial discrimination in the Duramax industry happens at the leadership level, which is what I will be talking about.
I spoke with one employee who was African-American. He has worked for this company for several years now and he told me that he worked there because of his work ethic and how good his performance was over the years. Yet he still had to submit his timecard before he could go home for lunch or to take his break. If you were African-American and wanted to take your break you had to submit your timecard before doing this. When I asked him why this would be, he said it was so they didn’t pay their workers for breaks they took while they were at work. Even though the law says they have to pay their workers for all time they worked, which includes lunches and breaks. This is something that happens at factories that employ lower-income people and racial minorities like black and brown people.
I spoke with another employee who told me her story and how she was really struggling in her job due to racial tension in the workplace. She was working in a factory that makes air conditioner compressors. She told me about how there would be times when she would be doing her job but her white male counterparts would walk past her and say things like, “Oh my god, look at this one,” or make an offensive comment about her. She felt like she had no control over her job or making the right kind of decision for her because the workers around her were treating her differently. She was worried that if she stood up for herself they would treat her badly too. Her coworkers didn’t like that she was standing up for herself and would fire her because of this.
Overall, I think that it is a good thing that companies are giving a more diverse workforce, but they need to be prepared to deal with it. Equality and diversity are a must in order to be a good company and have good employees. They have to have an understanding of how their workers feel about what is going on here at their place of employment. They need to make sure that they will be respectful of their employees, which includes people of different races, genders, and orientations. They have to teach the workers that they are equal and that what is happening here is wrong.