The unusual reason some employers discriminate against race

Racial tensions have long been a national malady in American society. This is true for employment sectors as well. Racial discrimination continues to be an ongoing issue despite its covert tendency during hiring interviews and on-the-job scenarios, but why? That is the question that a group of researchers asked in a study conducted to examine why some employers are discriminating against race.

Details of the study

A total of 9,400 phony resumes were sent to six large metro cities posing as recent college graduates for online job postings. Factors such as prior job experience and college majors varied randomly amongst the resumes submitted. Half of the fake candidates were assigned "white names" and the other half "black names".  The chosen names derived from a database of most common names per ethnic group. The targeted jobs were customer service centered as well as authoritative inter-office positions.

The results of the study

Surprisingly, racial bias existed largely on what the customers would think and feel as opposed to the direct feelings of a potential employer. Despite having earned a degree, only 15 percent of African-American applicants were invited to interview for a position they were qualified for.

Additional results of the study showed:

  • Racial discrimination was found prominent in each of the six major cities.
  • Customer service jobs fared worse for African-Americans than white applicants.
  • Administrative positions were more likely to go to white job candidates.

The hesitation of employers to contact African-American applicants appears to stem more from a perceived belief about how it would affect their customer loyalty and deter new customers rather than being a direct result of personal bias.

Delineating racial discrimination

Racial ideologies impair an employer's ability to judge candidacy fairly. The characteristics of a person's skin color are often tied with all types of stereotypes that employers use to predict performance outcomes and overall business image.

If you feel your race or perceived race has been used against you in connection with a place of employment, seek legal support right away. When racial discrimination affects a person's ability for employment, legal accountability is one of the best ways to regain the voice and power you have to raise attention to an unfortunate issue.

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