Racial and Cultural Discrimination
Racial & Cultural Discrimination
The information provided below is for informational purposes only.
Maine History on Racism and Xenophobia
While Maine continues to grow in culture and race, it is important to acknowledge the history of Maine that is embedded in racism and xenophobia. Beginning with the forceful removal of Native Americans and dissemination of their culture until the 1970s, Maine has had a recurring history rooted in division and segregation. The Free State opposed slavery laws during the Civil War, however masked its treatment of African Americans through untold stories of horrific conduct toward the Malaga people. The 1920s were a time of resurgence and revival as the Klu Klux Klan became a political force. The Klan, widely known for white supremacy and hatred of African Americans, targeted French-Canadian and Irish immigrants; in part due to the negligible number of African Americans residing in Maine.
The 1920s set a haunting tone showing a repetition in history as laws were made to eradicate the French language, segregate communities, and create a social hierarchy based on class. More recently, with the influx of new immigrants, Maine continues to battle racist sentiments set by its founding fathers and policies based on inequity. From banks and real estate professionals engaged in a racist lending practice known as “redlining” to keep people out of neighborhoods because of race or nationality to implicit othering of minority communities, the effects of Maine’s systemic racism are still felt today.
Civil Rights Legislation
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlaws discrimination on the basis of several protected categories. These categories include religion, sex and national origin, but race and color are listed first and second in the legislation. Title VII of the Act prohibits discrimination in employment and Title II applies to places of public accommodation, such as hotels, restaurants, theaters, and shops.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires recipients of Federal financial assistance to take reasonable steps to make their programs, services, and activities accessible by eligible persons with limited English proficiency. Federal financial assistance includes grants, training, use of equipment, donations of surplus property, and other assistance. Recipients of Health & Human Services (HHS) assistance may include hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, managed care organizations, universities and other entities with health or social service research programs, State, county, and local health agencies. It may also include State Medicaid agencies, State, county, and local welfare agencies, programs for families, youth, and children, Head Start programs, public and private contractors, subcontractors, and vendors, and physicians and other providers who receive Federal financial assistance from HHS.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I learn more about the different forms racism and prejudice?
It is as simple as a Google search! Also, please check out Lewiston’s terminology listing.
Who are individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP)?
Individuals who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English may be LEP and may be eligible to receive language assistance with respect to the particular service, benefit, or encounter.
What are the factors used to determine the Title VI obligation to ensure meaningful access for LEP persons?
Recipients are required to take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to their programs and activities by LEP persons. The Guidance explains that the obligation to provide meaningful access is fact-dependent and starts with an individualized assessment that balances four factors:
- the number or proportion of LEP persons eligible to be served or likely to be encountered by the program or grantee;
- the frequency with which LEP individuals come into contact with the program;
- the nature and importance of the program, activity or service provided by the recipient to its beneficiaries;
- the resources available to the grantee/recipient and the costs of interpretation/translation services.
There is no "one size fits all" solution for Title VI compliance with respect to LEP persons, and what constitutes "reasonable steps" for large providers may not be reasonable where small providers are concerned.
Can family member and friends serve as interpreters?
Some LEP persons may feel more comfortable when a trusted family member or friend acts as an interpreter. When an LEP person attempts to access the services of a recipient of federal financial assistance, who upon application of the four factors is required to provide an interpreter, the recipient should make the LEP person aware that he or she has the option of having the recipient provide an interpreter for him/her without charge or of using his/her own interpreter. Recipients should also consider special circumstances that may affect whether a family member or friend should serve as an interpreter, such as whether the situation is an emergency and whether there are concerns over competency, confidentiality, privacy, or conflict of interest. Recipients cannot require LEP persons to use family members or friends as interpreters.
Interpreter/ Translator competence is strongly suggested.
Where can I go to file a discrimination complaint?
If you, a city employee, municipal elected official, committee member, or City-appointed volunteer/intern, believe there has been a suspected ethics violation including but not limited to; sexual harassment, unlawful harassment, discrimination, safety, etc by a city employee, municipal elected official, committee member, or City-appointed volunteer/intern, you may file an ONLINE Complaint Form; print, complete and mail in a Complaint Form (Hard Copy); or send by email LewReporting@lewistonmaine.gov.
If you, a city resident, believe there has been a suspected ethics violation ethics violation including but not limited to; sexual harassment, unlawful harassment, discrimination, safety, etc by a city employee, municipal elected official, committee member, or City-appointed volunteer/intern, you may file an ONLINE Complaint Form; print, complete and mail in a Complaint Form (Hard Copy); or send by email LewReporting@lewistonmaine.gov.
For all other complaints NOT involving a City employee, municipal elected official, committee member, or City volunteer/intern, please contact:
Maine Human Rights Commission(MHRC) https://www.maine.gov/mhrc/laws-guidance/employment/guarantees
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Maine State Legislature
Disclaimer: This website is not intended as legal advice. Any responses to specific questions are based on the facts from Maine Human Rights Commission and Maine State Legislature. They are not intended to apply to any other situations. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.