Race discrimination and racial harassment

Brenda is a clerk-typist at Armor Industries, Inc., and she works in an office with nine other clerk-typists. The supervisor of the office is Joe. Brenda is a light-complexion, African American woman; all of her fellow clerk-typists are Caucasians, and Joe is a dark-complexion African American. For the last several months, Joe has been saying things about Brenda in front of Brenda and her fellow clerk-typists that have embarrassed Brenda. The comments have included that Brenda does not look like a “real” African American because of her light complexion, while Joe is a “real” African American.

Brenda’s fellow clerk-typists pretend that they have not heard these comments, but they have begun to avoid Brenda for fear that if they agree that the comments are inappropriate, Joe will retaliate against them. Though Brenda has more experience than any of the other clerk-typists in her office, when an opening for an assistant office manager becomes available, Joe promotes someone else in the office to the position. Is this an example of race discrimination or racial harassment? Why?

 

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