I don’t consider myself to be one of those people who blogs about news stuff. I figure that any currentish thing I know iscommon knowledge and there are people who are much better at news blogging than I. I came across a post about a study that came out of Princeton at Rachel’s Tavern (an excellent blog about racism, sexism, and other isms that you should check out) and realized that I just had to write about it too. I suppose it doesn’t qualify as real news because the study is over a year old so I can still be a non-news blogger type.
You can read the full study here and I’ll sum up. A group of White, Black, and Latinos were sent out to look for entry-level jobs. They were all well-spoken, 22-26 years old, most were college educated, between 5ft10in and 6ft, similarly attractive (though who judged that I’m not sure), and were assigned fictitious similar resumes. They all presented themselves as High School graduates with a steady work history in entry-level jobs. In some cases they also claimed they had a felony conviction. Getting either a callback or an on-the-spot hire was seen as a positive outcome. 23% of Whites had positive outcomes, 19% of Latinos, and 13% of Blacks. Pretty depressing numbers in general but particularly for Black job seekers. Guess what? That’s who I work with. I was utterly depressed. Not surprised though.
The study just got worse the further I read. They did a second test group and looked at the figures comparing white applicants with a felony vs. Latino and Black applicants with no record. 13% of White Felons had positive outcomes (much lower than the White participants with no record), 14% of Latinos with no record were called back and 10% of Blacks with no record were called back. Although it isn’t a huge statistical difference it showed that Whites with a felony were still more likely to get called back than Blacks with no record.
Finally, they looked at how often people were offered a job different than that which they had applied for. It was seen if they were recommended to take either a lower, higher, or lateral position than which they had initially applied for. Black applicants were often channeled into lower positions and were never channeled upward. Latinos were channeled down in fewer cases than Blacks and were also never channeled upward. White applicants were channeled down the same amount as Latinos but only when reporting a felony conviction. The White applicants were often channeled up to positions they hadn’t done before and on one occasion asked to take a management position.
We aren’t talking about rocket science here people. We are talking about Sales Associates, Waitstaff at casual restaurants, and manual laborers. These are the types of job that just about anyone should be able to handle. These are the jobs that people are always telling unemployed people to go get. These are jobs at McDonald’s. I would imagine it gets worse when you go up the corporate ladder. It really makes you think.
If anyone has been in the job market in the past 6 years (and the way things are going most people have) you may have noticed it is getting harder out there in general. To go into a tight market with such a marked disadvantage is incredibly daunting. It almost makes someone want to just say screw it all and sit at home on their asses. Eventually, they won't have a home to sit in and they'll be out on the streets and the same people will be telling them to get a job never realizing that getting a job drove them to homelessness in the first place. Ok that may be extreme but who knows.
I also realize the study only dealt with men. From my experience as a job counselor, Black women seem to have an easier time of finding work than Black men. I haven’t done an in-depth study about it but my years of experience point me in that direction.
Unfortunately, the study didn't really give any suggestions on how to counteract this trend. I guess sociologists don’t often give solutions, that is more of a public policy paper or something. A lot has been said about taking people’s names and addresses off resumes before a hiring manager gets to them. That ALMOST makes sense unless you have ever done hiring. When you hire for a position you generally get 100+ resumes. Think of the hours it would take for someone to sit and black out the names and addresses on 100 resumes. If everything was done by computer (and we seem to be moving that way) it would be much easier, just a few lines of code. Of course, eventually we get to a face-to-face interview and then all bets are off.
99 Problems, Jay-Z- One of the teachers my sister works with played this song for his class because he was trying to prove some point that I don’t remember. She was mystified as to why a song with bitch in the chorus was used to teach. She had a good point. She thinks the teacher wanted to look cool and that was the only rap song he knew.
Miss Misery, Elliott Smith- Once when Monica and I were walking home from the Belle and Sebastian concert she was talking about how stupid and selfish Elliott Smith was for killing himself. People around us got a little sassy. Whatever, she had a good point.
Wouldn’t It Be Nice, Beach Boys- This really reminds me of Belmont Apartment and Monica and Jamie. I think they were really on Pet Sounds for a while. It is possible that I just made that up completely. I am not really sure. It still reminds me of them.