Your name does not describe you

While the reason for racial disparities in callbacks is still unknown, it’s discouraging.

by Destanie Martin-Johnson

Applying to jobs and seeking a career can be a long and draining process. The pressure of landing a well-paying job right after graduation is enough to stress any college student to the breaking point.

Thus, it’s unfortunate to hear of the prevalence of racial bias in callbacks.

The National Bureau of Economic Research recently found that people with white-sounding names receive about one callback in 10 resumes sent, while people with black-sounding names had to send out about 15 resumes before receiving a callback.

Not everyone agrees that this is solid evidence for discrimination. Economists Steven Levitt and Roland Fryer explain in a CBS News report that while black-sounding names may be associated with lower socioeconomic status, it’s not the names themselves that make for an economic burden.

Their data suggests that your name might depend on your economic status — and that it could therefore suggest your educational level. If this is true, names that indicate a lower level of education would lead to fewer callbacks.

Although most companies cannot legally turn away applicants because of their age, sexual orientation, religion or race, there is no easy way to prove that all companies abide by these rules.

However, there is hope. The millennial generation has been shown to care less about race in the workplace, instead valuing collaboration and other “soft skills” that actually matter.

We students are the future of America’s workforce, and it’s up to us to make sure that we continue to move in a tolerant direction.