May 12th, 2014

Workplace Bullying: Race, Ideology, and the U.S. Bullying Experience


Below are the percentages within each ethnic group that had been bullied, witnessed it and the combined percentage to represent those “affected” by bullying.

The overall percentage of those affected was 47.7%. All three non-White groups had much higher rates than the U.S. percentage. Hispanics were the highest; African-Americans were second. Non-White respondents are considered to be members of legally protected status groups. Employers have to comply with state and federal anti-discrimination laws. That is, when they endure harassment, they would be eligible to demand protection from their employers in most situations.

Bullying, defined in this Survey, as abusive conduct, compounds discriminatory misconduct. In other words, bullying supplements, exacerbates, the mistreatment that may or may not have its basis in race of the bullied target. Bullying is cruelty that transcends racial boundaries.

A second way in which non-white respondents differed from the white majority of respondents is in the preference for assigning responsibility for abusive conduct. In a separate question in the Survey (See Causal Factors) respondents chose from the following options: target attributes, perpetrator attributes, employer factors and societal factors.

White respondents rank order of causal factors: perpetrator (47%), employer (24%), target (21%), and society (8%).
Hispanics: perpetrator (33%), target (32%), employer (32%), society (3%).
Asian Americans: employer (46%), perpetrator (31%), target (19%), and society (4%).
African Americans: employer (32%), society (30%), perpetrator (27%), and target (11%).

There were differences across the racial groups in which factors best explained the bullying. African Americans were the only group to assign a high percentage to society. Of all the racial groups Hispanics blamed targets the most. Perpetrators were blamed most by whites. Employers were blamed the most by Asian Americans and African Americans. The two groups with the highest “external” explanatory factor percentages were African Americans (62%) and Asian Americans (50%). Whites and Hispanics preferred “internal” personality factors to explain bullying (68% & 65%, respectively).


The respondents’ self-identification of a held political ideology provided the lens through which they viewed the prevalence of bullying. Conservatives reported experiencing the least amount of bullying, direct and vicarious.

Download the Race & Ideology mini-Report

Gary Namie, PhD, Research Director
Research Assistants: Daniel Christensen & David Phillips

© 2014, Workplace Bullying Institute, All Rights Reserved

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This entry was posted on Monday, May 12th, 2014 at 4:00 am and is filed under WBI Education, WBI Surveys & Studies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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