Would You “Pass As White” Online to Get a Job?

Damn Toure and his “post-racial” pablum. I just got word that a black woman, parched for a job, registered with Monster.com to get a job. Her name is Yolanda Spivey, and apparently her name was just black enough to filter out by potential employers, who were scarce on calling her. But as soon as she switch her “diversity profile” from “African American” to “White,” lo and behold, the phone wouldn’t stop ringing.

For two years, I have been unemployed.   In the beginning, I applied to more than three hundred open positions in the insurance industry—an industry that I’ve worked in for the previous ten years.  Not one employer responded to my resume.  So, I enrolled back into college to finish my degree. After completing school this past May, I resumed my search for employment and was quite shocked that I wasn’t getting a single response.   I usually applied for positions advertised on the popular website Monster.com. I’d used it in the past and have been successful in obtaining jobs through it.

Two years ago, I noticed that Monster.com had added a “diversity questionnaire” to the site.  This gives an applicant the opportunity to identify their sex and race to potential employers.  Monster.com guarantees that this “option” will not jeopardize your chances of gaining employment.  You must answer this questionnaire in order to apply to a posted position—it cannot be skipped.  At times, I would mark off that I was a Black female, but then I thought, this might be hurting my chances of getting employed, so I started selecting the “decline to identify” option instead.  That still had no effect on my getting a job.  So I decided to try an experiment:  I created a fake job applicant and called her Bianca White.

First, I created an email account and resume for Bianca.  I kept the same employment history and educational background on her resume that was listed on my own. But I removed my home phone number, kept my listed cell phone number, and changed my cell phone greeting to say, “You have reached Bianca White.  Please leave a message.” Then I created an online Monster.com account, listed Bianca as a White woman on the diversity questionnaire, and activated the account.

That very same day, I received a phone call.  The next day, my phone line and Bianca’s email address, were packed with potential employers calling for an interview.  I was stunned.  More shocking was that some employers, mostly Caucasian-sounding women, were calling Bianca more than once, desperate to get an interview with her.  All along, my real Monster.com account was open and active; but, despite having the same background as Bianca, I received no phone calls.    Two jobs actually did email me and Bianca at the same time.  But they were commission only sales positions.  Potential positions offering a competitive salary and benefits all went to Bianca.

So…is anyone surprised? Employers were tripping and falling over themselves for “Bianca,” but indifferent of the black woman who possessed all the qualities this fake white girl had, just with more melanin.

I’d love to see other readers do a similar experiment and call the company they interview out on their undercover bigotry.

The Man Myth