The subject of employment is often brought up in my classes as it’s April and it’s natural for students to experience the going-thousands-of-dollars-in-debt-to-obtain-a-degree-that-may-or-may-not-get-me-a-job freakout. A professor instructed us to read a census report on librarians and archivists; one of the results was the need for more diversity in the field. Naturally, this wasn’t surprising to me. What was surprising was one of my classmates reactions. He, as a white male, feels discriminated against by postings that say “women and minorities encouraged to apply” because he feels that companies are only seeking to hire women or a minorities. What?
As a woman anda minority, I have always felt that if a hiring manager receives my resume alongside the resume of a white male, he or she would choose the white male because the company knows that hire will not upset the status quo. I was under the impression that is how many women feel, regardless of race. A man can be one of the boys. A woman has to bust her ass to prove her worth and even then she will still be paid less and, often times, treated worse than said man.
Not to mention, there has been study after study on how ethnic names are a hindrance to getting hired. Based on my name and resume, which contains stints at two ethnic magazines, there is no doubt that I am a minority. But I’ve always thought that hiring managers discriminating against ethnic names affects everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity. Would Jon Stewart have a television show if he used his birth name of Jonathan Leibowitz? We all know the answer. And I often feel as if women with traditional Eastern European names have it much worse than I do.
Also, despite working in an overwhelming female environment, men are often the ones in positions of authority. The Library of Congress has always been an Ivy-educated white male with a non-ethnic name: Putnam, Evans, Stephenson, etc… But I doubt my classmate, who happens to have the most Anglo-Saxon name ever, would acknowledge any of that.
In my rant-y email thread to the other Harpy editors, Anna said:
I think that’s the perfect analogy. What do you think of postings that say this?