Based off of findings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is safe to say, “ain’t enough black people being hired.” In other words, as far back as 2016, blacks accounted for about one out of every eight people in the United States labor force. To some, this may seem like progress given that only 55 years ago workplaces in America could legally be, and were, segregated. But even after the Civil Rights Act of ‘64, the workplace did not melt into one big happy diverse network. Not even close.
Well, why not?
There has to be an explanation as to why work places remain predominantly white, while people of color struggle to get a simple call back from job recruiters, nearly 6 decades after workplace discrimination was ruled illegal. Let’s take a deeper look at a huge contributing factor by asking ourselves: What’s in a name?
Talent by any other name would be just as lucrative, right? — Not according to corporate America and other majority lead industries.
Numerous analysis, including this one from Harvard Business School, show that applicants with ethnic sounding first and/or last names fall victim to blatant or subconscious biases when such an applicant comes across a recruiter or hiring manager’s screen. Victims of this bias span Afro, Asian, Middle Eastern and Hispanic cultures. Some candidates of color have even resorted to “whitening” their names on their resumes to increase their chances of landing an interview. That’s right *Ouch* — yikes. A harsh reality.
Let’s slow things down a bit
Can you recall a time where you judged someone based off of their name alone? *insert Drake’s mix-tape font* (If you had to think about your answer, it’s already too late).
We have all judged someone based off of superficial knowledge, but two or 7.4 billion wrongs don’t make a right.
So, where do we go from here?
Do not conform. Bearing witness to an act of discrimination and remaining silent is equal to committing the act. Racial and social climates across work industries remain far too segregated for silence in the face of discrimination to be accepted or swept under the rug. Minority parents, you need not “be careful” about what name you choose for your child. We must do away with name discrimination and not let it do away with appreciation of cultural differences.
Speak up. If you believe or know that your name has taken a toll on the pace at which you have advanced in your career, do not feel ashamed. Do not put it off as something “you learned to get over.” It is important to make your experiences known within your immediate community and to a broader audience. The quickest way between two points is through the middle. Be bold — confront name discrimination when you witness or hear about it. Slash it right through the middle.
By: Mariah Phillips, Editor