A new discrimination allegation happening in New Mexico right now is scary not only because of the discrimination itself, but also what it could mean for the future.
A group of Black pastors and the Albuquerque chapter of the NAACP have teamed up to file a complaint of bias with the U.S. Department of Justice. The pastors and civil rights activists allege that the University of New Mexico, the state’s second largest institution of higher learning, is biased in its hiring practices and the way it treats employees. Reports the New York Times:
The Title VI complaint, which was also filed with the federal Department of Education, says university administrators have created a racially hostile environment for Black faculty members, students and the staff.
This “hostile” environment included one in which Black women were unofficially banned from holding power positions and all African-American employees received lower wages than their white and Latino counterparts. The Times also reports that the vast majority of Black doctors who left the school’s medical center did so due to feelings of employer discrimination.
The University of New Mexico denies all charges of discrimination so the rest will be decided in court. What the court won’t have say over, however, is the interesting dynamic happening between UNM’s Blacks and Latinos.
The University’s Latino population is quite high at about 34 percent. What this says is that not only are Blacks, who make up just three percent of the school’s population, feeling discriminated against, but that they’re feeling even more discriminated against than Latinos, another minority. This dynamic is bound to rear its head more as America moves toward becoming a majority Latino country, and we need to be conscious of it if we’re going to avoid a lot of its pitfalls. The pastors haven’t said publicly whether it’s Latinos discriminating against the school’s Blacks, but, if it is, it’s something of which everyone should be aware.
The ethnic and power dynamics of America are bound to change eventually; if the coming years see us at each other’s throats the same way we’ve always been, that will be a true disservice to everyone — Black, white or Latino — who came before us.
(Photo: Courtesy unm.edu)