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Running Head: ANALYSIS PAPER: DISCRIMINATION AND INSTITUTIONAL

DISCRIMINATION

Judith Potts
Professor Lawrence
SW 3110
13 September 2013

Running Head: ANALYSIS PAPER: DISCRIMINATION AND INSTITUTIONAL


DISCRIMINATION

Discrimination and Institutional Discrimination


Being a Victim of Discrimination or Prejudice
Q: What would a beer bottle and a blonde have in common?
A: They are both empty from the neck up.
This is a small example of the blonde jokes that I have had to put up with my entire life.
What I do not understand is how a lot of people judge my intelligence by the color of my hair. I
dont see people judging the intelligence of those who are physically disabled, or blind. How
about those in this world who are blonde, but they are males, not females? They do not seem to
get that same type of negative treatment. My experience of discrimination began to occur when I
was around 14 years old. I was a waitress at a local A&W Restaurant. I had been working there
quite a while and I had a good relationship with my employers and my peers. I had been
working the night shift and was getting pretty tired. It was the end of the shift and we were
preparing to close up for the night when a beautiful red Corvette pulled up and wanted to place
an order. The A&W that I worked at was an outdoor establishment. The automobiles would pull
up into a parking spot and place their order through a kiosk. Once the order was complete, a
waitress was assigned to wait on that particular customer. Well, it was my turn to wait on the
guy in the corvette. He ordered a cheeseburger, fries and a large root beer. The problem with
waitressing at an A&W was the fact that the bees like the root beer more that the customers. So,
after a night of serving customers root beers, we would have a load of bees buzzing around us. I
got used the bee problem and realized that the bees will not bother us as long as we dont bother
them. Well, seeing that it was the end of the shift, some of the trays that we served to the
customers were sticky with root beer. We handled the trays in a particular way so that when the
bees were feeding off of the root beer syrup, they would not sting us. When the cook called me

Running Head: ANALYSIS PAPER: DISCRIMINATION AND INSTITUTIONAL


DISCRIMINATION

up to get the order to the guy in the vette, I grabbed a tray and put the food order on it and
walked over to the car. The guy put his window down and I put my hand under the tray in order
to attach it to the car window. That was a bad move on my part because there was a bunch of
bees clinging on to the bottom of the tray, feeding on the root beer remains. As soon as I felt a
stinging sensation, the tray went flying out of my hand and it seemed like slow motion as the
heavy glass root beer mug went soaring up in the air. Of course, it had to plop down on the
beautiful red corvette, right on the hood, in front of the driver. Since a Corvette was made of
fiberglass back then, the mug produced a large hole in the guys hood. A look of horror came
across both of our faces and soon after I heard, You stupid blonde bimbo!! Look at what you
did to my car!! He added, What the hell is wrong with you? Are you stupid or something? I
stood there, terrified because all of these thoughts are rushing through my brain. Am I going to
get fired? I thought, My parents are going to kill me for this one. My boss came flying out
the door when he heard the commotion. The man in the vette went on to describe in his terms
what had happened, not knowing about the bees. My boss, much to my surprise, told the man off
for speaking to me in that manner. Wow! Was I ever shocked!! Here I thought that I would be in
big, big trouble and a man stuck up for me. It is an experience that I will never forget because I
witnessed two very important things that night; I saw the bad in people, but most of all, I saw the
good. I would have to say that my employer at A&W was the best boss I ever had. He was the
first person in my life that really stood up for me.
Being a Perpetrator of Discrimination or Prejudice
I thought really hard to think of a position I was in where I was a perpetrator of
discrimination or prejudice. Truthfully, I could not think of one. I believe that I owe this to my
parents because they taught me to never judge a person because I have not walked in their shoes.

Running Head: ANALYSIS PAPER: DISCRIMINATION AND INSTITUTIONAL


DISCRIMINATION

Since I could not think of any personal situations that matched this request, I decided to write
about an experience that I was a part of, although I was not a perpetrator in any form.
A few years back, I was engaged to a man that I thought I was very in love with. We
bought a house together in preparation of our upcoming wedding. We both had children that
went to the same schools and we thought that we had the perfect fit. My ex-fianc was quite the
jokester. He went to work for twelve hours a day but most of the time he was screwing off. He
was an engineer of some sort so he had quite a bit of free time throughout his workweek. He
spent a lot of time on the Internet while he was at work just screwing off and at looking at junk.
When he and his colleagues found good jokes they would text them to each other via their cell
phones. They would not dare to do it via e-mail because it may offend somebody. I thought that
was funny because they are offending people just by looking this stuff up on the Internet. One
day, my ex sent a joke among his friends at work that was a poor reflection on African
Americans. Several minutes later he calls me to tell me that he received a threatening phone call
from what he perceived as being a black male. He said that they were very angry and he really
could not understand what the person on the other end of the line was talking about. As I am
listening to his problem, I didnt have a clue as to why this would happen to him. He did not
give me any indication that he had just sent a joke that was in poor taste to his fellow co-workers.
My ex continued to call me throughout the day about these phone calls because they were getting
worse and more threatening as the day passed. He finally was able to figure out that he had sent
the joke to an individual who had taken great offense to it. What had happened was that one of
his co-workers who he had sent the text message to had changed their phone number and the old
cell phone number had been placed with an individual that was African-American. My ex
continued to get threatening phone calls. They were getting so bad that he had to go and change

Running Head: ANALYSIS PAPER: DISCRIMINATION AND INSTITUTIONAL


DISCRIMINATION

his phone number because he was beginning to fear for his life and his families life too. Even
though I was not the perpetrator in all of this, I did learn a valuable lesson. Do not get engaged
to a bigot! Seriously, I learned that being offensive to others could be hurtful and have a
devastating effect on those around us. It is not a good thing to do.
Institutional Discrimination in an Area of Social Work Practice
I like to go to Dennys. Their food is decent, but the reason that I really like to go is
because of their dollar menu and the fact that you can get a lot of food for a very small amount of
money. After doing this report, I will think twice about going to another Dennys in the future.
Dennys has over fifteen hundred restaurants around the country. One of these Dennys, in
Annapolis, Maryland refused to serve food and beverages to six black people. (Adams, 2000)
There was no particular reason listed so we can only assume that it was because of the color of
their skin. The kicker in this case was that these people were not just ordinary people. They
were secret service agents. They filed a complaint in regard to this issue and word got around
and many more black people came forward. This was referred to a blackout because there
were a lot of Dennys restaurants that were refusing service to groups of blacks, if the group was
too numerous. (Adams 2000) If they were not refusing service to these individuals, they were
making them pay for their food in advance. After the media put this story out, more than four
thousand others came forward with the same (or similar) complaints. Dennys restaurant agreed
to a forty-six million out-of-court settlement. (Adams, 2000) The reason that we can label this
story as being labeled as Institutional Discrimination is because it is described differently due to
the case starting out as a small group of secret service agents then it escalated to thousands of
people who were challenging the treatment they received while dining there. It involved more

Running Head: ANALYSIS PAPER: DISCRIMINATION AND INSTITUTIONAL


DISCRIMINATION

that one Dennys Restaurant so that is what separates this type of discrimination from other
types.
Reflecting on my past experiences through writing this paper has helped me to realize
how discrimination is still widespread across our country. Although we have come a long way
since our days of slavery, there are still pieces that have yet to be picked up in the area of
discrimination, not only of African Americans, but also of any person who is different from
others. I was very lucky to be born into a family where being racist was wrong. I was taught not
to judge others and through this assignment, I realize how those powerful words really affected
me because I was unable to identify an experience where I was a perpetrator of racial
discrimination or prejudice. Also, learning about institutional discrimination taught me that
there are other groups that are involved in discrimination as well. It helped me to take a look at
this subject from a macro level. I am looking forward to learning about other cultures and their
diversity so that I am able to take this information and use it when I go out into the job market to
find a job in social work.

Running Head: ANALYSIS PAPER: DISCRIMINATION AND INSTITUTIONAL


DISCRIMINATION
References
Adams, Maurianne (2000) Readings for Diversity and Social Justice. Pages 3-4