Whitening The Resume

Taken from the New York Times. "In Job Hunt, College Degree Can’t Close Racial Gap" and "Whitening the Resume"

Johnny Williams has scrubbed his résumé of any details that might tip off his skin color. Johnny, 30, would appear to be an unlikely person to have to fret about the impact of race on his job search, with companies like JPMorgan Chase and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago on his résumé.

But after graduating from business school last year and not having much success garnering interviews, he decided to retool his résumé, scrubbing it of any details that might tip off his skin color. His membership, for instance, in the African-American business students association? Deleted

Black joblessness has long far outstripped that of whites. And strikingly, the disparity for the first 10 months of this year, as the recession has dragged on, has been even more pronounced for those with college degrees, compared to those without. Education, it seems, does not level the playing field — in fact, this year it appears to have made it more uneven.

The unemployment rate for black male college graduates 25 and older in 2009 has been nearly twice that of white male college graduates — 8.4 percent compared with 4.4 percent. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Black job seekers have a harder time than whites. A study published several years ago in The American Economic Review titled “Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal?” found that applicants with black-sounding names received 50 percent fewer callbacks than those with white-sounding names.

Another study published this year in "The Journal of Labor Economics" found white, Asian and Hispanic managers tended to hire more whites and fewer blacks than black managers did. (keep it in the family)

There is also the question of how many jobs, especially higher-level ones, are never even posted and depend on word-of-mouth and informal networks, in many cases leaving blacks at a disadvantage. A recent study published in the academic journal Social Problems found that white males receive substantially more job leads for high-level supervisory positions than women and members of minorities

Carrie Pinks thoughts
So do you ever pull your race card in these situations? According to the article most people do not. Should we?

Is playing down blackness a common strategy born of necessity, perceived or real?

How soul piercing is it to have Jabarr Sykes change his name on his resume to read as Barry J. Sykes? Does it remind you of the searing scene in the groundbreaking movie “Roots” when the runaway slave Kunta Kinte is whipped until he declares that his name is Toby, the name given to him by his master?

Are we the only group who does this? No! other minorities also downplay their identities due to conceived pressure.

Are the pressures real? or do we create them?

“the line originally was between whites and nonwhites, favoring whites; now it’s whites and nonwhites who are willing to act white.”

And lastly.. what is the cost for all this???

John L. Jackson Jr., a professor of anthropology and communications at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “Racial Paranoia,” said, "even if the adjustments are temporary and seem harmless, In some ways, they are denying who and what they are,” he said. “They almost have to pretend themselves away.”

Carrie Pink
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