Racial Interest Groups
This morning, my employer announced a Latino-specific advocacy group, run by employees and supported by some of the higher-ups in the company. The purpose of the group is to teach others about Hispanic heritage and to aid the needy, with a focus on Hispanics and immigrants. While I feel the group itself is a good idea and that the cause of the group is just, as I assume it's run by people of Latino/Hispanic heritage, I feel that the company's decision to sponsor it is an implicit way of saying they value Hispanic/Latino heritage and people over others. My view is that by choosing to celebrate the heritage of only one racial group, the firm is also choosing to not celebrate the heritage of every other racial group. If the firm's intention is to sponsor groups like this for other racial groups in the future, or if the firm is open to similar groups for other ethnic groups, it should have stated so. Otherwise, I make the assumption that the firm values Latino/Hispanic heritage over, say, Germanic heritage, especially when part of the group's purpose is to provide financial assistance to Hispanic/Latino people/immigrants before those of other races/ethnic groups.
Is my reasoning really all that off-base? If this group existed on its own, I wouldn't have a problem with it (except for the preferential treatment toward Hispanics/Latinos by offering aid to them before anyone else). A Hispanic heritage group run by Hispanic people? Sure. That's cool. It's a community of people who share a common background getting together to celebrate their shared history and their culture. I don't have a problem with Irish American clubs, why would I have a problem with a Hispanic/Latino equivalent to them? However, just as I would feel an Irish special interest group would be inappropriate in a workplace setting, I also feel a Latino/Hispanic one is inappropriate, and sends messages of racial preference on behalf of the company. If the company wanted to celebrate racial/cultural diversity, it should have done so by supporting a multicultural group, instead of a group that gives one specific racial group representation.
And for the record, I am part Irish and part German, and I would be just as upset if it were an Irish or a German special interest group, instead.
I'm interested in others' opinions. What are your thoughts on the subject? If you disagree, why? I'd like to get others' opinions on the matter in order to compare my views with those of a larger group of people. I don't think my argument is extremist, but I've been wrong before.