There are those who contest that racial discrimination in the workplace is largely over. The reasoning behind this is that discriminating on the basis of race is certainly illegal and prohibited within the United States. This is something that wasn’t true 100 years ago, but times have changed and overt racist practices are far less common.
However, something being illegal certainly does not mean that it’s over. There is plenty of evidence that racial discrimination is still happening, which is why those who are experiencing it need to know about all of the options they have when this happens to them.
One type of evidence is the fact that people have whitened their resumes in order to get more callbacks. Essentially, there were those who believed they weren’t getting called in for interviews due to their race. They left all of their qualifications for the job the same, but they changed all of the indicators of their race so that it appeared that they were white. This could mean changing their name, their school, the groups they were in and more.
The tactic worked. For instance, candidates of Asian descent got callbacks in about 21% of cases if it appeared that they were white on a résumé. If they had not changed the résumé and their national origin was clear, they only got called back 11.5% of the time.
The same thing happened for African-American candidates. The callback rates were higher if they were able to hide the race, jumping all the way to 25%.
This isn’t a workaround
It’s very important to note that this isn’t a way to get around the problem. These candidates were simply getting callbacks, not jobs. They would still theoretically have to go to an interview, so a biased employer would still be able to discriminate against them. Additionally, workers should not have to have any sort of workaround for racial discrimination, since it should not be happening in the first place.
But since we know that it is happening, it’s very important for workers in California to know about all of the options that they have. There are steps you can take, and you should never assume that this type of treatment is the norm or that it is warranted.