Monday, January 11, 2010
In the second time in as many weeks, I have heard a story on streaming internet radio about this phenomenon that black folk looking for employment have been resorting to as a response to the way in which their credentials are viewed in the job market. This phenomenon is disturbingly referred to as, "Whitening of One's Resume". There have been studies done which prove the disservice to humanity that the corporate environment is continuing to foster but at a more alarming rate during the current economic climate. Black applicants are basically being forced to "whiten" their resume in order to land that first interview. Changing their names to sound more white or molding a resume to de-emphasize African American institutions, etc, while upholding their respectable credentials. This is one of the most despicable things that American society has come to within its own borders.
These folks are being forced to deny their own appearance of a history and culture that they have every reason to be proud of. According to NPR, 52 percent of black men between 16 and 19 can not find work. Black college graduates have twice as much hardship as white graduates at finding work. Competency being equal, whites, whether they know it or not, agree with it or not, have an upper hand. This is not surprising in a system that was established by slave owners. A system that only abolished slavery to begin with because they were fearing the lost of power and economic might. The Civil War started over a dispute of business practices not related to slavery. The issue of slavery was incorporated by Lincoln as a strategic move, calculated that it would rally more support behind him in his agenda for the war. The freeing of slaves was an act of strategic political calculation, not compassion.* As they always do, the history books paint, Lincoln as the savior not the politician. There is no doubt that we was a persuasive guy, but the spin put on his actions have preserved the system that was put into place by keeping Blacks down and elevating the status of Whites. The government stoked the fires of racism when they noticed that the poor whites were siding with slaves or freed slaves back then. They poised the poor whites against the poor blacks in competition for the jobs, intentionally blocking any familiarization between the two. The poor had and continue to have the strength in numbers but the guys in power have the strategy to keep things the way they are or keep the tide flowing in the direction of the power elite.
The latest happenings of qualified people being denied work because of the color they were dealt at birth is appalling at best. It is telling about the human tendency to overlook the fact that the chances of people being who and what they are, are irrelevant. We know how things have come into being, yet we accept this flawed history which led to the flawed present as absolute, indisputable and inevitable. At least the elite have successfully generated a situation where disputing present circumstances seems futile which discourages those who care to change the way in which things work or how things are run. In turning mostly to white workers, we are denying the collective a valuable resource of intellect. What would come from the true allowance of everyone, regardless of anything, to run with their own creativity to better serve our species and the rest of this planets inhabitants? We may never know.
Here are two NPR stories that aired 1/10/10:
Black Job-Seekers Hide Race for Corporate America
Black Teenage Males Crushed By Unemployment
* Info about Lincoln provided by my recollection of what is contained on the subject from Howard Zinn's, The People's History of the United States.