There have been endless stories of people not getting jobs because of their names — there are also research articles that prove that aforementioned is indeed true. As it turns out, there is a 50 percent gap in callback rates, according to an NBER Working Paper No. 9873 titled Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination.
NBER’s study suggested that people with white and/or white-sounding names got many more callbacks, “While one may have expected that improved credentials may alleviate employers' fear that African-American applicants are deficient in some unobservable skills, this is not the case in our data," the authors of NBER Working Paper No. 9873 wrote. "Discrimination, therefore, appears to bite twice, making it harder not only for African-Americans to find a job but also to improve their employability.”
Another study done by researchers at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto explored the same issue by sending out almost 13,000 fake resumes to over 3,000 job postings. The results showed that people with Pakistani, Indian or Chinese-sounding names were 28% less likely to get a call back for an interview as opposed to fake candidates with English and white-sounding names, even if their qualifications were the same. In the same study, smaller firms were 60% less likely to call the candidate for an interview if both their names and their experience seemed foreign, according to We Forum.
Most recently, Hello Beautiful reported that a black woman from Missouri, Hermeisha Robinson, shared an email from an employer which stated the following:
“Thank you for your interest in careers at Mantality Health. Unfortunately, we do not consider candidates that have suggestive ‘ghetto’ names.”
Robinson had applied for a customer service job at Mantality Health — a clinic that helps treat men with low testosterone. As it turns out, the company had sent the same email to over 20 candidates and blamed their ignorance and racism on “hackers” — something that Indeed, an American worldwide employment-related search engine for job listings, investigated and found no proof of.
The issue of discriminating against people of color due to their names sounds absolutely ridiculous, but the issue is real nonetheless. Jerrica, a Benefits Manager in Charlotte, NC has written about her experience with this as well through a personal essay featured on Madame Noire. She speaks about the burden people of color feel to prove that they aren’t “as ghetto as their name is perceived to be.”
There have been a few sites, such as Behind The Name, that provides feedback from readers on how names are perceived, but it is important to remember that there is much work to be done and not one ounce of it is our fault. We embrace our names, and we say with conviction, that no amount of hindrances thrown at us will ever prevail in our pursuit of succession and happiness.
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