Workplace racism is still a problem

Searching for a job is an arduous task for many students and parents. Unfortunately, it becomes more challenging if the potential job candidates are Black and Asian. Workplace discrimination is pervasive in corporate America. Fortunately, there is a method that can decrease racism in the workplace: implicit bias assessments.

Depending on the job industry, these assessments could save lives.

For example, if medical professionals had to take these assessments every week, it would decrease the racism that permeates the healthcare system. One of the most harmful preconceived notions that hospital workers tend to hold onto is that Black patients are physically fitter, resulting in medical professionals not giving them the best care.

According to a 2016 analysis published in The Lancet, Black women are three to four times more likely to perish from pregnancy-related causes than white women.

The American Bar Association discussed a study from the National Institute of Medicine that shows the horrific outcome of holding onto racist biases in the healthcare system. As written in the study, “one study of 400 hospitals in the [U.S.] showed that Black patients with heart disease received older, cheaper … and more conservative treatments than their white counterparts.”

Because Black people are perceived as stronger, they often receive less attention and care. Allowing racial biases to go unchecked has severe consequences, so it is best to implement racial bias assessments. 

The racism that permeates the corporate workplace has Black potential job candidates jumping through unnecessary hoops. One of the strategies Black job candidates use is “whitening” their resume to increase their chances of receiving a call back from an employer. Sadly, studies have shown that it works.

In a 2016 study from the Administrative Science Quarterly called “Whitened Resumes: Race and Self-Presentation in the Labor Market,” researchers created resumes for Black and Asian applicants and sent them out for 1,600 entry-level jobs posted on job search websites in 16 metropolitan sections of the United States. 

They found that “whitened” resumes with less ethnic information received more callbacks, even though both resumes had the same qualifications.

Only 10% received a call back among the Black job candidates when they kept their racial references in their resume. For the Asian job candidates, 21% received a call back when they used whitened resumes, and 11.5% received a callback using resumes with ethnic information. 

Implementing implicit bias assessments is the key to unveiling unconscious and conscious biases toward marginalized groups. Everyone holds biases from their experiences, and having a bias toward certain groups does not automatically make a person racist. Once a person understands that they have been holding onto a bias towards certain groups, then it is their responsibility to unlearn that harmful bias. 

Bias like this hinders employers and potential job candidates. The employer loses out on the opportunity to hire someone who may generate more revenue and increase awareness about workplace diversity. Meanwhile, the job candidate loses out on a job that could be their dream job or simply help them pay their bills.