When you think of discrimination, you may believe that it is always obvious. However, many acts of discrimination are subtle. You may not even realize at first that racism is occurring. Upon reflection, you may find it easier to identify, though. Subtle racism is a problem because it may be easier for a person to defend their actions and explain it away as a misunderstanding.
Columbia University explains that subtle acts of discrimination are sometimes not intentional and come as a side effect to traditional ways of doing things. However, that does not excuse it as being okay. If you experience subtle racism, you can speak up and help people realize that what they are doing is not okay.
Can seem positive
One example of subtle racism is when a supervisor provides more lenient reviews for minority workers than for white workers. While a good review is certainly nice, the issue is that it is not fair. Every worker should get an honest review so that if they are doing something that needs improvement, they have the chance to improve.
Does not require awareness
Subtle racism is typically something of which the person is not aware. For example, when a hiring manager is looking over resumes, he or she may gravitate towards certain names and avoid other ones. This could be racism if the names he or she avoid are those that sound more ethnic.
May include social aspects
It is possible for racism to be part of the social network of a company. While it is always a challenge as a new employee to fit in with the other workers and develop social relationships, if a worker finds him or herself on the outside due to being a different race, this could bleed over into work-related things, leading to discrimination issues.