White Americans Feel Much Safer at Work Than Nonwhite Americans


In this photo provided by the Discovery Channel, aerialist Nik Wallenda walks a 2-inch-thick steel cable taking him a quarter mile over the Little Colorado River Gorge, Ariz. on Sunday, June 23, 2013. The daredevil successfully traversed the tightrope strung 1,500 feet above the chasm near the Grand Canyon in just more than 22 minutes, pausing and crouching twice as winds whipped around him and the cable swayed. 
National Journal
Matt Berman
Aug. 21, 2013, 10:26 a.m.

A new poll from Gal­lup shows a fas­cin­at­ing di­vide in the sat­is­fac­tion work­ers feel in their jobs. The poll breaks down opin­ions by both race and gender. For the most part, there aren’t many di­ver­gences. But the few gaps are strik­ing.

Here are the re­sponses by race:

Most of the gaps here are largely minor, even on is­sues of pay (which no one any­where is par­tic­u­larly thrilled about) and odds of be­ing pro­moted. But the last two cat­egor­ies show a big split: Non­white work­ers are much less likely to feel phy­scially safe at their jobs than white work­ers, and they are less likely to feel ap­pre­ci­ated for their ac­com­plish­ments. Gal­lup notes that they didn’t find sig­ni­fic­ant dif­fer­ences in the type of work the re­spond­ents did, and that it “is not im­me­di­ately clear” why non­white work­ers would feel dif­fer­ently on safety or re­cog­ni­tion.

But, at least in terms of phys­ic­al safety, some handy gov­ern­ment stat­ist­ics help ex­plain the dif­fer­ence. Non­white work­ers have a simil­i­ar per-work­er rate of fatal oc­cu­pa­tion­al in­jur­ies to white work­ers, ac­cord­ing to the Bur­eau of Labor Stat­ist­ics. In 2010, the rate for black or Afric­an-Amer­ic­an work­ers was ac­tu­ally sig­ni­fic­antly lower than it was for white or His­pan­ic work­ers. But, ac­cord­ing to the Labor De­part­ment, black and Afric­an-Amer­ic­an work­ers do face a high­er num­ber of non­fatal in­jur­ies and ill­nesses. That’s largely due to work­ing in jobs with high­er in­jury rates. In 2010, des­pite an over­all de­crease in the num­ber of in­jur­ies and ill­nesses for the group, black and Afric­an-Amer­ic­an work­ers still made up 12 per­cent of all private sec­tor non­fatal in­jur­ies and ill­nesses that in­volved days away from work.

For Latino work­ers, wor­ries about phys­ic­al safety are also born out by the num­bers. While fatal work in­jur­ies de­creased in 2010 by 10.2 per­cent for nat­ive-born Latino work­ers, it dropped by less than 1 per­cent for for­eign-born Lati­nos. Ac­cord­ing to the Labor De­part­ment, fatal in­jur­ies for for­eign-born Latino work­ers ac­coun­ted for 17 per­cent of the total in 2010. In 2011, His­pan­ic or Latino work­ers ac­coun­ted for 11 per­cent of total non­fatal oc­cu­pa­tion­al in­jur­ies.

There were few­er gaps between fe­male and male work­ers:

The biggest di­ver­gence here is sat­is­fac­tion in the amount of money earned, which is still less than sev­er­al of the gaps by race. Ac­cord­ing to Gal­lup at least, there isn’t much of a split in work­er sat­is­fac­tion between men and wo­men. Or at least people wer­en’t will­ing to ad­mit there was to a poll­ster.

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