8 Employment Equity and Institutional Racism: Diversity Advocacy in American Public Administration Education and Practice
Employment Equity and Institutional Racism: Diversity Advocacy in American Public Administration Education and Practice
Introduction: Institutional Racism and Its Instantiation in Public Administration
Institutional racism should be part of any treatment of diversity and social equity subjects, particularly as these relate to public administration. However, institutional racism entails a multidimensional set of factors—historical, cultural, economic, political, cognitive, and organizational—which combine complexly, in negative synergism. The subject is a difficult one because it involves settled, taken–for–granted social and organizational practices. It can be treated abstractly, as a matter of definition, but must also be considered in concrete instances. In this chapter, following a definitional exploration, we probe the term as it relates to employment and other diversity–advancing practices, in public administration academic settings in particular.
Studies touching on diversity and employment equity in public administration often focus on the competencies needed by professional administrators, on best practices related to diversity management and training (the subject of Chapter Five in this text), the lack of diversity in upper management positions, and the challenges of retention and professional development. However, racism itself is seldom addressed in public administration research. Consequently, we ask the following questions: What role does institutional racism play in public sector and academic organizations? How do individual, group, and institutional predispositions and behaviors impact social equity and racial justice in these contexts? How have such questions been addressed in the administrative literature? What of other...
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