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Are Whites Afraid to Communicate With Blacks at Work?

Question: I've joined a new company in May 2006. All of my coworkers are white. I find it very difficult to build a working relationships with them. I often wonder is it my race (black). Do you think whites feel afraid to communicate with blacks on a professional level?


Question:

I've joined a new company. All of my coworkers are white. I find it very difficult to build a working relationships with them. I often wonder is it my race (black). Do you think whites feel afraid to communicate with blacks on a professional level? In many cases I feel I can't be myself in order to fit in with the culture of the department.  One of the coworkers just said "Hi" to me for the first time. I usually say "Hi" to the person first, but I never hear a response from this person. Is there something wrong with this picture?

Answer:

I would say yes, there is "something wrong with this picture," and yes, many whites are afraid (apprehensive/intimidated) to communicate with blacks on a professional basis.

But this isn't the case in every workplace. Please consider where you're working and if you can improve that situation. Is there a potential mentor you can reach out to?

Part of white culture in some workplaces is to be cold to everyone. I've yet to experience another culture where this is true. In my opinion, this is another good reason to work in a diverse environment.

Luke Visconti's Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.

Charges Dropped Against Black Boy Who Played With a Toy Gun

Zahiem Salahuddin was arrested and faced simple assault, reckless endangerment and possession of an "instrument of crime" charges just for using a toy.

Defender Association of Philadelphia

Zahiem Salahuddin, a 13-year-old 8th grade student, was playing with his friends on the basketball court in Grays Ferry, Pa., this past summer. Salahuddin had a plastic toy gun that shot an orange plastic ball. A white boy was hit with the plastic ball. It was unclear which child shot the ball that hit the other child.

Salahuddin rode his bike home later, but was stopped by men in a black pickup truck who told him he shot at a Philadelphia police officer's son. Police in marked cars then arrived and Salahuddin was arrested, charged, and spent three days in jail.

For an orange plastic ball from a $3.50 toy, he faced simple assault, reckless endangerment and possession of an "instrument of crime."

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has informed the Defender Association of Philadelphia that his office will withdraw juvenile charges on Thursday, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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Report on Racism in Philly Suburb School District Causes White Officials to Get Defensive

Instead of hiring a diversity and inclusion specialist to address diversity issues, they chose to hire mental health professionals and white-led university consultants.

Screenshot from Haverford School Board Video

After a report was released detailing racist incidents in the Haverford, Pa., school district and town, leadership in one of the most affluent regions in the country, with a predominantly white population, decided that diversity is not a priority.

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Dunkin' Donuts Employee in Maine Refused to Serve a Somali Model, Then Called the Cops

"This is America 2018 right here. Racism and discrimination," Hamdia Ahmed said.

A Maine Dunkin' Donuts employee refused to serve model Hamdia Ahmed, and her family, for speaking Somali and then called the police on them.

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White Man Who Shot at Lost Black Teen and Called Him 'Colored' Stands Trial

Shooter on trial might face life in prison, if convicted.

TWITTER

Jeffrey Zeigler, who is on trial for shooting at a lost Black teen in Rochester Hills, Mich., watched as his wife, Dana, broke down in tears in Oakland County Circuit Court on Tuesday, while testifying about the April 12 shooting, and watching a video of the incident.

Dana said she was frightened when she saw Brennan Walker, a 14-year-old Black teen, on her porch.

"What are you doing on my porch?" she recalled. "I saw a Black person standing at my door and I screamed at him, and I asked him what he was doing there."

Her report to police: "A Black male was trying to break into her house and her husband chased after him into the yard."

The video shows Zeigler aiming at the teen, despite the claims that he tripped and his gun fired.

Prosecutor Kelly Collins said that "being a bad shot does not negate one's intentions."

Walker, then age 14, had missed his bus to school that morning and came to the Zeigler's door for help. After his wife screamed, Zeigler fired a shotgun at the teen, but missed him.

Zeigler had referred to Walker, in an interview with a sheriff's deputy, as "that colored kid" at his front door. The defense initially claimed it was the interviewing officer who said "colored."

Zeigler also said he was "tired of being a victim."

His attorney, Rob Morad, has said that "race was not a factor in the shooting, but rather actions from passion instead of judgment," Morad told jurors. He said the couple had five previous break-ins and were on "high alert."

Walker's mother, Lisa Wright, who was also in tears in the courtroom watching the video of her son flee for his life, said that she believed the shooting was a hate crime and that she wanted to see the prosecution push this to the fullest extent.

In April, she said that she believed this was racially motivated. After watching a video near the time of the incident, she said: "You can hear the wife say, 'Why did these people choose my house?' Who are 'these people?' "

Walker testified that after he knocked on the front door, which is behind a screen door, Zeigler's wife accused him of trying to break in.

"I was scared," he testified. "I was trying to tell them that I was trying to get to high school, but they weren't listening."

Zeigler was arrested and released on $50,000 bond and ordered to wear a tracking device. He was charged with assault with intent to murder, which could lead to life in prison, Oakland County District Attorney Jessica R. Cooper said, along with use of a firearm in a felony.

Zeigler also has a conviction for firing a handgun at another motorist during a dispute in 2004.

Reader Question: Watching the video, would you say Zeigler is innocent or guilty of intent to murder?

​White Woman Calls 911 on a Black Man Babysitting White Kids: Video

A young girl had to tell the officer during questioning, "He's an after-school teacher and he's babysitting us."

FACEBOOK

A white woman in Georgia called the police on a Black man, Corey Lewis, as he babysat a 10-year-old white girl, and 6-year-old white boy. Their parents, who live in East Cobb, arranged for Lewis to babysit the kids weeks ago.

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Voter Registration Deadline for 15 States Today

"Do not assume you are properly registered to vote," warns activist Shaun King.

REUTERS

"Do not assume you are properly registered to vote," warned Shaun King repeatedly. His wife went to vote with her registration card in her hand, and they said she couldn't vote. King said some of the reasons that people are being turned away are nefarious.

Fifteen states close registration today, including Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. States that do not have online registration: Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, and Texas.

A list of every state's deadline and links to each state's voting requirements was published by the New York Times.

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12-Year-Old Boy Called the N-Word at School Leads Anti-Bullying Campaign: Video

Tarrick Walker created a movement that's spreading outside of his community. You can join, too.

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While playing basketball at school in Hanford, Calif., 12-year-old Tarrick Walker's classmate called him a "dumb ni**er" multiple times.

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The Only Black Woman in Vermont's House of Representatives Resigned Because of Racism

Kiah Morris said the racism she endured for years was taking a toll on her husband's health. She chose her family over politics.

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Kiah Morris is a former state representative in Vermont — a nearly all-white state. Morris recently stepped down because she had endured years of racially motivated harassment and threats — even local teens targeting her home.

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