Saturday, May 11, 2013

Social Networking and Its Effect on Race

LadderThe NY Times Opinionater has a piece from Nancy Dimatso (Rutgers Business) on the effect of social networking on black employees.  In it she notes the importance of social networks--no suprise to those of us in the legal field--and how those networks often work for whites, to the exclusion of others.  But, as she also emphasizes, this favoritism is generally not prohibited by anti-discrimination laws:

Getting an inside edge by using help from family and friends is a powerful, hidden force driving inequality in the United States. . . . Such favoritism has a strong racial component. Through such seemingly innocuous networking, white Americans tend to help other whites, because social resources are concentrated among whites. If African-Americans are not part of the same networks, they will have a harder time finding decent jobs.

The mechanism that reproduces inequality, in other words, may be inclusion more than exclusion. And while exclusion or discrimination is illegal, inclusion or favoritism is not — meaning it can be more insidious and largely immune to legal challenges.

Check out the whole piece.

Hat Tip:  Suja Thomas


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