Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bass Pro Shop

Bass Pro Shop, outside front view, November 2011 (Photo by Arielle Gauna)    

Bass Pro business sign, 2011 ( archive)    

Bass Pro is a privately held retailer of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor recreation merchandise. Located in Mesa on Dobson Road here in Arizona and operating out of Springfield, Missouri, the company is best known for its Outdoor World stores, massive facilities that combine a large selection of goods with amusement features, such as target ranges, fish tanks, restaurants, and video arcades. Bass Pro Shops also runs a major mail-order business, which originally provided the platform for the company's entry into megastores. Its private label sporting goods are also distributed to other sporting goods stores through its American Rod & Gun wholesale operation. Bass Pro had continued to grow and prosper until the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit against Bass Pro for discrimination within their hiring system.

A federal lawsuit was first filed in Sept. 2011 against Bass Pro for discriminating against qualified African American and Hispanic job applicants since 2005. The lawsuit alleged that qualified blacks and Hispanics were routinely denied positions at Bass Pro Shop stores and accused managers of making derogatory racial comments acknowledging the practice. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an independent federal law enforcement agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination based on an individual's race, color, national origin, sex, etc, alleges that managers at some stores retaliated against employees who expressed opposition to discriminatory practices and may have either fired or forced the resignation of others. The EEOC began looking into initial complaints six years ago, and its district director completed the investigation in April 2010 with rare finding of discrimination. Cited in the suit through Star Telegram was a general manager who told the store human-resources manager in 2005 that it's "getting a little dark in here; you need to hire some white people."

The acts of discrimination in the workplace are something that has not been brought to light recently, meaning it has become something that is not surprising. There have been different views on why discrimination occurs, such as the views in the article The New African American Inequality, Black individuals (and other minorities) have been more likely than their white counterparts to be outside the labor force. For various reasons—lack of skills, incarceration, racial discrimination. There becomes this negativity and stereotypes that minorities are lacking the skills essential for employment. The Evolution of a New Racism discusses on the other views reflecting on forms of racism, that among whites, there have been feelings toward blacks as a group combined with a sense that blacks violate cherished American values.

Bass Pro vice president Mike Rowland has spoken out in reaction to the lawsuit filed saying the lawsuit reflected a stereotyped perception of its customer base. "This investigation and the EEOC's conduct demonstrate a troubling tendency by the EEOC to stereotype those who love outdoor sports and support conservation as people who unlawfully discriminate or oppose equal opportunity for all," Rowland stated. In response to Rowland, the EEOC are confidant in their statistical evidence based on the number of minority employees working for the company that Bass Pro has employed discriminatory hiring procedures. Bass Pro Shop is still currently fighting this lawsuit and no further information for the future has been released.

- Arielle Gauna and Gabriela Mena


Samuel, Stephanie. "EEOC Launches Legal Discrimination Case Against Bass Pro Shop." Christian Post Sept 2011. n. pag. Web. 26 Oct 2011.

African American, Hispanic, and White Beliefs about Black/White Inequality, 1977-2004
Matthew O. Hunt
American Sociological Review , Vol. 72, No. 3 (Jun., 2007), pp. 390-415
Published by: American Sociological Association
Article Stable URL:

Nishimura, Scott. "EEOC files rare discrimination suit against Bass Pro Shops." Star-Telegram 22 Sept 2011. n. pag. Web. 25 Oct 2011. .
The Symbolic Racism 2000 Scale
P. J. Henry and David O. Sears
Political Psychology , Vol. 23, No. 2 (Jun., 2002), pp. 253-283
Published by: International Society of Political Psychology
Article Stable URL:

The New African American Inequality
Michael B. Katz, Mark J. Stern and Jamie J. Fader
The Journal of American History
Vol. 92, No. 1 (Jun., 2005), pp. 75-108
(article consists of 34 pages)
Published by: Organization of American Historians
Stable URL:

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