Racism in the rhetoric and action of developed nations
By Prabalta Rijal
By Prabalta Rijal
Mia, was walking down the road, with a file in her hand and tears in her eyes, she had just walked out of her 6th job interview in three months, and this time too, she was rejected, now close to becoming a homeless tram that roams the streets of New York. She rushes to cross the street, forcing herself to accept the one -fact she had never wanted to accept, it wasn’t her college grades or her experience that kept getting her rejected, it was her color.
Who says colonization racism and apartheid does not exist, it does in fact it exists in the minds of millions of employers across the World. The race you belong to even today determines whether you will get the job or not and how much you will be paid. Despite the fact that it’s the developed World that keeps bragging about equality, equality does not exist in their own back yards. They brag about human rights and equality yet they forget about it when it comes to hiring people of color and the pay cheques of their Asian, African and Hispanic employees.
Mia’s struggle to find a job is not an uncommon scenario, she is one of the millions of young Americans and Europeans of color who has been treated unequally, in their own countries by their own people because of a colonial mindset that never ceased and ceases to exist. So, despite their competencies, they are regarded less competent than their Caucasian counterparts.
In fact according to a report by American Institute for Economic Research conducted in the High Tech Industry, Hispanics earn $16,353 a year less on average than their colleagues who are not Hispanic. In the same high-skilled positions such as computer programmers and software developers, Asians make $8,146 less than whites and blacks $3,656 less than whites, the report claimed. And this statistics does not even mention outsourced jobs, this is the salary discrimination that is occurring inside The United states of America.
The situation these days is so bad that if your name does not sound like a Caucasians than chances are you won’t even be called for interview. According to a research conducted by the National Bureau of Research, “Job applicants with white names needed to send about 10 resumes to get one callback; those with African-American names needed to send around 15 resumes to get one callback.”
According to Erin Teague, an African-American engineer and director of product management at Yahoo, the lack of diversity in the Silicon Valley is a deterrent to many of her talented peers of color. A report released by leading technology companies a month back showed that they vastly under-employ African Americans and Hispanics. Those groups make up 5% of the companies workforce, compared to 14% nationally.And according to reports, company personnel leaders such as director of diversity and inclusion — admit they have lots of work to do but a key factor in their inability to hire more computer scientists of color, prevents them from getting the jobs done.
“I have friends who say, ‘I can move to New York and work at an amazing company or I can move to Silicon Valley and work at an amazing company, but in New York I will have a network, I’ll have friends,’ ” she was quoted saying.
And the discrimination does not end there, the report suggests that names like Greg and Marianne can actually land you a job, regardless of how qualified you are, in comparison to names like Dev, Shila, Shyam or Riaz. A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination in the US, (NBER Working Paper No. 9873), shows that a white name yields as many more callbacks as an additional eight years of experience. Race, also affects the reward to having a better resume. Whites with higher quality resumes received 30 percent more callbacks than whites with lower quality resumes. But the positive impact of a better resume for those with African, Asian and Hispanic-American names was much smaller.
The situation is similar in other parts of the developed World too, in fact when budgets are made for an organization’s Asia and Africa Office, the pay-cheques of the employees in these offices are far less as compared to their European counterparts serving in Europe, America or Canada.
Many people may question that this could be because the lifestyle in the developed World is far more expensive than in the developing World. But, shouldn’t salaries be based on the level of competency, rather than skin color, or lifestyle? Just because you are person of color living in a developing World, does that mean you have a less intellect, and employers have the right to pay you less for the same amount and quality of work, just because you are living in the developing World?
Forget about those living in the developing World, people of color living in Europe itself are being discriminated at the work place, be it receiving employment offers, less pay and late promotions, inequalities do exist. According to the Shadow Report by European Network Against Racism, for Black people, Roma, Muslims, migrants from non-EU countries, and women with a minority or migrant background living in Europe, discrimination is a major obstacle when looking for a job.
The report further states that in Finland and Belgium, unemployment rates are three times higher for people born outside the EU than for the native-born population. African migrants in Spain are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to people from the majority population. “Discrimination at the stage of recruitment manifests itself for instance when the selection is on the basis of names and addresses or in the discriminatory practices of recruitment agencies. In the United Kingdom, people with foreign sounding names are a third less likely to be shortlisted for jobs than people with white British sounding names. In the Netherlands, more than half of the recruitment agencies complied with a request not to introduce Moroccan, Turkish or Surinamese candidates,” the report stated.
ENAR’s report also indicates that the ethnic and religious minorities continue to face unequal treatment even after getting a job. “Lower wages, glass ceiling, precarious and difficult working conditions, harassment and abusive dismissal are just some of the manifestations. In Hungary for instance, wages paid to Roma are lower than the Hungarian minimum wage. In Poland, migrant workers are often forced to work overtime under the threat of dismissal.”
So why all this inequality, the reason behind this is because the colonial mindset has not ended with the end of physical colonies, it is still embedded in our subconscious mind, this polarized mentality is what is leading to inequality in work places across the developed World. For instance, the persisting Afrophobia across Europe is still the reason why an estimated 7 to 12 million people of African descent and Black Europeans in Europe are still affected by racism and discrimination across the European Union. “So far, however, they are the most invisible ‘visible’ minority on the European political agenda. Despite these persistent levels of Afrophobia, the European Union and its Member States are reluctant to recognize the existence of this specific form of racism,” another report by ENAR stated.
According to ENAR’s Chair Sarah Isal, the EU’s decision makers must publicly recognize Afrophobia and develop effective strategies to counter the structural racism that prevents the inclusion of many Black people in European society. “It’s high time to address the fact that millions of Black people in Europe are treated as second class human beings every day because of their skin color,” she said.
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