Among African Americans, the practice of whitewashing the résumé is a long-held strategy, and a practice that is increasing in the current job market. Apparently, Black applicants strive to “dial down the Blackness” in the hopes that it will improve their odds at securing a job interview.
The New York Times reports that measures such as altering ethnic sounding names (Bonquisha J. Smith reemerging as B.J. Smith) and omission of ones affiliation to an HBCU or other connections to the Black community are standard practice for many on the job hunt.
Yvonne Orr, who excluded her alma mater, Hampton University, was advised to do so by her mother, a one-time Black Panther. She discouraged her daughter from presenting a résumé that declared aloud: ‘I’m Black.’ ”
Proof of Affirmative Action’s limited reach, this bleach-like tactic is viewed as a method to prove to potential employers that this one can be relied upon to keep his or her proverbial head down. NYU law professor Kenji Yoshino adds, “My notion of covering is really about the idea that people can have stigmatized identities that either they can’t or won’t hide but nevertheless experience a huge amount of pressure to downplay those identities,” he said. Mr. Yoshino says that progress in hiring has meant that “the line originally was between whites and nonwhites, favoring whites; now it’s whites and nonwhites who are willing to act white.”
Human Beings have already established that most of us will do just about anything for money. Today, the value we place on money is far outweighs what Wall Street dictates. In this fragile economy, we’re not keeping up with the Joneses anymore; we’re getting by alongside of them. We ask you this Clutchettes & Gents: At what cost?
Dig the Times’ succinct summation:
John L. Jackson Jr., a professor of anthropology and communications at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “Racial Paranoia,” said he wondered about the “existential cost” of this kind of behavior, even if the adjustments were temporary and seem harmless.
“In some ways, they are denying who and what they are. They almost have to pretend themselves away.”