The analysis of the article ‘Direct Discrimination, Indirect

The analysis of the article ‘Direct Discrimination, Indirect Discrimination, and Autonomy,’ Written by Oran Doyle and Published on May 29, 2007, by Oxford University Press





The article ‘Direct Discrimination, Indirect Discrimination, and Autonomy,’ Written by Oran Doyle and Published on May 29, 2007, by Oxford University Press, addresses how direct and indirect discrimination against African American people is displayed in society. The author describes it as the issues black people continue to face in society because of their identity. According to Doyle, the African American community faces discrimination from different angles and nearly all sectors, hence being inevitable for them (Doyle, 2007). The author claims that these issues negatively affect black people, and attention should be paid to prevent further damage to this marginalized group. More often than not, they are subjected to physical, mental, and emotional torture, and it can be overwhelming to them. This paper will look into the direct and the indirect ways society discriminates against the African American People community and how it affects them.

According to Doyle, African American people are at constant war with the government and society, whether directly or indirectly. They lack the support and recognition they deserve as American citizens. As we learned from the class topics, society is always stereotypical about black people’s existence and always associated them with ancient slavery that resulted in them being in the country in the first place. I agree with the article that black people’s efforts, values, and contributions to society are usually ignored and unappreciated. It can be discouraging and demoralizing (Doyle, 2007). They lack a sense of belonging in their community for this reason. It is hazardous and can lead to severe consequences like depression, low self-esteem, and fear of free self-expression. Some individuals get too overwhelmed and end up committing suicide.

Racial discrimination can be expressed directly or indirectly. Direct racial discrimination is the most common way of racial discrimination. People of color are treated worse in various situations than a white person would have been treated in the same conditions (Pager et al., 2008). Law enforcers play a vital role in spreading racial discrimination. They tend to lean more on the white community when it comes to law enforcement. There have been cases and reports of police using excessive force when handling African American individuals (Bales et al., 2003). Such police officers get away with these evils because the system is corrupt and always supports them. If a black person reports a harassment case, they are accused of playing the victim; hence no action is taken to defend or get them the justice they deserve. Many white criminals get away with their acts for this reason.

People of color experience indirect discrimination in society in various ways. One of them is employment opportunities. Big and established companies tend to absorb fewer people of color as their employees (Wingfield et al., 2020). They are stereotypical about black people being criminals. Companies assume that black people are aggressive and violent thus not fit to work in their organizations. Some employers go ahead and put salt to the wound by claiming people of color create an unsafe working environment. They feel uncomfortable working with people of color, predominantly black people in their companies.

Furthermore, organizations always assume black people, especially black women, are illiterate and lack the excellent skills required to perform workplace tasks. It doesn’t allow them to showcase their skills, knowledge, and talents in different fields. Most organizations in America have a third of their employees as people of color (Bales et al., 2003). The rest of the slots are reserved for white citizens. These statistics are pretty disappointing, bearing in mind that we are in the 21st century, and the world, particularly the job industry, has gone through changes over the years. It is an eye-opener that more needs to be done to incorporate more black people into labor. Establishing and implementing policies geared towards eliminating the ethnicity box in job application forms could be a good start in this journey.

People of color, having struggled to get absorbed into companies, face the challenge of climbing the promotion ladder. Promotion opportunities pass them not because they are not qualified but because their skin is black (Doyle, 2007). They are forced to maintain the same position in their workplace for years. For fear of getting sucked, African American employees choose not to address the issue and continue working in the same place. Some have, however, voiced their concerns and defended themselves to their employers.

When it comes to students’ admission to schools in America, the child’s race is also considered, which should not be the case. Some schools still deny student admission because of their race. School administrations deny children from black ethnicities from being part of their institutions. According to them, such students come with a lot of baggage. They link children from black communities to violence, poverty, and low moral standards (Baak, 2019). One would wonder why such inconsiderate and unrealistic conclusions would be made in the 21st century. Administrators are supposed to be the ones spearheading and promoting racial equality in society. They understand that it starts from changing the mindset of people on equality right from a young age. Accepting more children of color would mean a lot not only to society but also to the children. They are just ignorant and refuse to play their role.

The dominant races have contributed to the racial discrimination in society. Dominant races could use their dominance to help eliminate discrimination, but they choose to keep quiet and watch their fellow citizens discriminated against for their color. Some are even obsessed with the idea of being dominant and encourage or participate in racial discrimination (Baak, 2019). They are among the first people to call the police at the sight of a black person. It gets worse when parents from dominant races prohibit their children from interacting with black children. These children pick up these small acts and traits, influencing their character and perspective of black people. Eventually, they end up discriminating against people of color. Had the right thing been done by the parents from dominant races, children would have the right influence and embrace people of color.

Social media has also played a vital role in propagating racial discrimination. In as much as social media platforms come to the rescue of the marginalized communities in America, it has also contributed to racial discrimination in various ways (Burt et al., 2012). These platforms tend to praise elements in society that are aligned with the white people. For instance, they propagate and encourage a lighter skin complexion, especially for women (Pager et al., 2008). People with a lighter skin tone are portrayed as beautiful and perfect on social media. Looking at it from this angle depicts discrimination against people of color. It is a part of their life they have no control over. Their skin is their identity. To not recognize and appreciate their skin means discriminating against them.

The social setup of America is a clear representation of how people of color face discrimination. Most white people live in American parts that are well maintained and have access to essential amenities (Pager et al., 2008). Facilities like hospitals, schools, and shopping centers are modern and well equipped. They have good infrastructure and prompt emergency responses. On the other hand, the marginalized people live in American regions that are considered poor. There is a lot of insecurity, and facilities like hospitals are difficult to access. In addition, schools in these regions of the country have inadequate equipment and resources to facilitate learning. Public schools are overpopulated, making the ratio of students to teachers disproportionate. Issues in the black community are a lot, yet the government chooses to overlook them and focus on the dominant race. Their infrastructure is also underdeveloped. All these characteristics validate that racial discrimination exists and it is a serious issue.


Racial discrimination is an issue that affects society negatively hence requires immediate attention from all groups of people, starting from the government to an ordinary citizen. People should take it upon themselves and be part of the change. Policies and strategies against racial discrimination should be established and implemented to eradicate racial discrimination. The African American community should stand up against their oppressors and fight for their right to equality. Representatives of these marginalized communities need to initiate programs to help solve the racial discrimination problem.


Baak, Melanie. “Racism and othering for South Sudanese heritage students in Australian schools: Is inclusion possible?” International Journal of Inclusive Education 23.2 (2019): 125-141.

Bales, Kevin et al. Dimensions of Racism. Office Of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, 2003, pp. 30-65,, Accessed October 29, 2021.

Burt, C. H., Simons, R. L., & Gibbons, F. X. (2012). Racial Discrimination, Ethnic-Racial Socialization, and Crime: A Micro-sociological Model of Risk and Resilience. American

Oran Doyle. (2007). Direct Discrimination, Indirect Discrimination, and Autonomy. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 27(3), 537–553.

Pager, Devah, and Hana Shepherd. “The Sociology of Discrimination: Racial Discrimination in Employment, Housing, Credit, and Consumer Markets.” Annual review of sociology vol. 34 (2008): 181-209. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.33.040406.131740

Wingfield, Adia Harvey, and Koji Chavez. “Getting in, getting hired, getting sideways looks: Organizational hierarchy and perceptions of racial discrimination.” American Sociological Review 85.1 (2020): 31-57.