QThis is in response to your answer to
the question “Do Good Companies
Discriminate in Job Hiring?”
Your answer avoided the question and
reinforced many of the inequalities that exist
even at “good companies.” Your response put
the responsibility solely on the shoulders of the
employee (the victim) to overcome whatever
stereotypes or biases that may exist. If the hiring
managers at the company truly prefer to place
non-minority candidates first, regardless of
education, experience, appearance, etc., then to
advise the questioner to just “be positive, work
harder, look better and spellcheck” does not
address the fact that minority candidates must
be smarter, better educated, better dressed and
more optimistic than their peers just to have a
fair shot at promotion and retention. This clearly
defines racial bias and discrimination even at this so-called
“good company.” Your comment that the questioner is
better off at this “good company” also reinforces that, for
most diverse candidates, the questioner’s experience is
What is your advice for employees who have done everything you suggest and still feel that they are not being
fairly treated or given a shot at promotion or retention?
aThe original question contained TWO misspelled
words. Yours contained one. If someone sends
me a cover letter with TWO misspelled words, I’m
not responding. Misspelled words in any situation are
sloppy. They indicate a lack of care and inattention
to detail. If someone is misspelling words in a cover
letter, they’ll be even less attentive on the job. I
understand that nobody is perfect and accidents
sometimes happen, but spellcheck is FREE.
It’s possible nobody told that to the person who
posed the original question. This is not to deny “the
struggle.” I concur that the typical non-white, male,
straight person with no ADA-defined disabilities has
to be superior to his counterpart at almost every
company. However, not all companies are equal.
Companies on our Top 50 list are significantly
better than the average company—the numbers bear
witness. People who find themselves frustrated at their
career progress stand a far better chance at receiving
a fair opportunity at a Top 50 company. However,
the more progressive a company is, the more likely it
is to understand just how far it needs to go to get to
where all people have an equal opportunity to achieve
the level to which their intellect, education and work
entitle them. Even at Top 50 companies, most of the
executives I meet who are not white, straight men with
no disabilities are not where they should be.
It is very difficult for me to give blanket advice for
people who feel they are being discriminated against.
I recently received an e-mail from a person who criticized my advice to change jobs. That person felt the discriminated person should be a change agent. The person who was giving this advice was a tenured professor
at a university. It’s preposterous to compare a tenured
position with the average person. Change agents in oppressive environments often become victims.
Avail yourself of competent legal counsel when
necessary. The next logical step is to change jobs. If
you haven’t looked for a job in a few years, you might
be pleasantly surprised at the effort progressive
companies have made to provide an accountable and
nurturing environment. Check out our career center.
Look at our career-advice articles.
Sometimes there is no good advice. There are many
people who are being oppressed but are in a situation
where personal factors (eldercare, spouse, geographic
limitations) prevent them from mounting an internal
change effort, finding a legal remedy or just finding
another job. The only sanity-preserving action is to
be the maximum
change agent you
can handle. Seek
that your best
allies may not look
In the most popular area of
DiversityInc.com, Luke Visconti
offers readers the opportunity to
confidentially ask questions regarding
diversity. You can find all questions and
answers at www.DiversityInc.com/A TWG.
Luke is one of two business partners who
own and run DiversityInc. He directs all
editorial and circulation functions.