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Is There Still Racism in IT Hiring Practices?

Cliff posted about 9 years ago | from the skin-color-shouldn't-matter dept.

Businesses 1085

noahz asks: "Today [now three days ago] in the United States marks Martin Luther King Day, remembering the birthday - and legacy - of the great civil rights leader. It's been over 40 years since his march on Washington, back when IT was still in its infancy and was exclusively a white, male field. But, how much progress has been made in the IT world? I recently had a recruiter tell me that I would have no problem finding a job in the current economy - not because I am enthusastic, well-educated and have good experience - but because I am caucasian - 'white'. This particular recruiter insisted that his years experience has led him to this conclusion - but I wonder: what the collective experience of the Slashdot readership has found?"

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Back Of The Bus With You (4, Insightful)

Real World Stuff (561780) | about 9 years ago | (#14514929)

Racism is still prevalent. It is just a matter of degree as to how blatant.

first post biatch (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514931)


GNAA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514932)

I'm only racist against the GNAA

...please! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514933)

nigga pease!

Never more fitting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514934)


I Predict ... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514935)

... A flood of GNAA trolls ...

Racism (3, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | about 9 years ago | (#14514936)

I think there is a bit or racism brought on by the off-shoring of IT jobs but overall I don't think it's as bad as it is in many other sectors with real earning potential. It's probably more xenophobic than anything.

Re:Racism (1)

jo7hs2 (884069) | about 9 years ago | (#14514951)

Didn't we already... Darn observances... Whatever.

I don't even know the race of most of our IT staff (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514939)

With most of work being offshored, I can only guess that most of our company's IT guys are either Chinese or Indian - but who knows; the guys in Bejing and Bangladesh might be white or black or american indians.

Seem to me IT, thanks to virual offices and networking is probably the most race-blind industry in existance.

Re:I don't even know the race of most of our IT st (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515111)


Not true in SoCal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514941)

While over half our IT staff are caucasian, we have many non-whites as well.

Having lost my job based on not being a 'minority' (3, Interesting)

chewedtoothpick (564184) | about 9 years ago | (#14514942)

I would have to say that there is a little, but it is only in the name of "equal opportunity" and against caucasians. I have lost four jobs in the past to less (only slightly though) qualified individuals because they were minorities and the company had to meet the EOE minimum requirements... I am sure there is some stigma too, but anymore I doubt it.

Re:Having lost my job based on not being a 'minori (-1, Troll)

trick.one (682514) | about 9 years ago | (#14514970)

I love it when racist white people blame being firing from jobs on the desire of their employer to hire minorities.

You were fired because you're an incompetent jackass, not because they wanted more black/asian/hispanic/etc., people there.

Face it. That reverse discimination card is overplayed by you crackerass motherfuckers.

Re:Having lost my job based on not being a 'minori (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515006)

It is actually a stated policy by many corporate executives to hire more minorities. This looks good to government regulators, racial interest groups (Jesse Jackson, et. al.), and shareholders.

Sure, some whites do use the race card just like some Blacks have historically done to try to blame their own problems on others, but the issue is real. It wouldn't be fair to reject all Black racism claims just as much as it would be to do it for Whites who experience the same types of racial bigotry.

Re:Having lost my job based on not being a 'minori (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515023)

Fuck you, you trolling bitch.

Re:Having lost my job based on not being a 'minori (0, Troll)

trick.one (682514) | about 9 years ago | (#14515034)

It's not my fault you're a racist pig.

Fuck you, you neo-Nazi fuck. Fuck you.

Re:Having lost my job based on not being a 'minori (3, Informative)

sdedeo (683762) | about 9 years ago | (#14515013)

Your claim is that the Equal Opportunity Act requires employers to hire less qualified workers if they are minorities, and that this explains why you weren't hired.

These claims are false. Please check for yourself [eeoc.gov] .

Re:Having lost my job based on not being a 'minori (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515070)

Maybe the original poster jumped to conclusions. Maybe he was just a crappy worker. But, I can point out countless examples in my career where managers treat their minority employees differently because of fear of lawsuits or EEOC sanctions. Basically, when it comes to these cases, they are heavily weighted for the person lodging the claim and the company has to "prove" that there was no discrimination.

Many companies are scared shitless that they will be targeted under civil rights laws because they appeared to (but actually dont, they just hire the most qualified people who happen to be asian or white for the most part) discriminate against blacks or if they fire a black worker for doing poorly.

Our civil rights laws have brought alot of needed progress to society but they are a double-edged sword, in their current (and largely unchanged form). There is definitely a subculture of minorities out there who like to use their minority status as a crutch and leveraging tool in the workplace.

Re:Having lost my job based on not being a 'minori (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515101)

Dipshit, do you really think that if you followed the EEOC's written rules, and still wound up with a company full of Caucasians, that they would believe you for a fucking split second? Wake up and smell the coffee. You would be labelled a racist organization and be fined out the ass. This is Amerika, diversity will be enforced! Or else!

Re:Having lost my job based on not being a 'minori (1)

BHennessy (639799) | about 9 years ago | (#14515031)

It's suprising that not one of those FOUR companies said "What the hell! We'll just hire some new people without firing him because he's such an asset to our company".

Re:Having lost my job based on not being a 'minori (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515126)

Its surprising companies dont like to throw away money to meet racist quotas?

Re:Having lost my job based on not being a 'minori (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515102)

It's Flair. Not flare. They're homonyms.

Re:Having lost my job based on not being a 'minori (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 9 years ago | (#14515136)

I have lost four jobs in the past to less (only slightly though) qualified individuals because they were minorities and the company had to meet the EOE minimum requirements.

And you know that they hired these people rather than you based on race...how exactly?

I don't think I've even been given specific reasons why I wasn't offered jobs after interviews, usually just a "we've decided to go with someone else, thanks for your time". (If I heard back anything at all; many times it's just been a silence.)

Maybe your estimation of your own qualifications is incorrect. Maybe you asked for too much money. Maybe they didn't think you'd be a good "organization fit".

Phirst Phost (0, Offtopic)

trick.one (682514) | about 9 years ago | (#14514943)

GNAA forever.

Cliff sux. And this article is 3 days late (MLK day was Monday - it's thursday

Re:Phirst Phost (1)

Bourbonium (454366) | about 9 years ago | (#14515050)

MLK Day was celebrated on Monday to give U.S. workers a 3-day weekend, but Dr. King's actual date of birth was January 19.

Perhaps (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514946)

I was hired by a dot-com at a job fair even though I had no experience. My boss later told me, he hired me because I was asian and wore glasses. So I suppose there are definitely stereotypes or racism.

Re:Perhaps (1)

lucm (889690) | about 9 years ago | (#14515083)

Maybe he thought you were a chick...

Re:Perhaps (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515128)

Your boss sounds like a dick...

Black? White? (1, Insightful)

bheer (633842) | about 9 years ago | (#14514948)

<sarcasm>Heck, it sure seems the best way to do well in IT is to have brown-colored skin.

Seriously, whoever told the story submitter that was a dumbass. Most IT managers I know are too hassled with deadlines and schedules (or are short on staff) to worry about the color of skin of their next hire.

Re:Black? White? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514965)

but what if they're black..they might steal stuff from all y'all out there.

Re:Black? White? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515154)

Black people don't even have computers, so it's not an issue. Plus they are too lazy to apply for a job. Now it's the mexicans you have to worry about.

Re:Black? White? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515017)

The company of 15 white men I started out in was racist, homophobic and mysoginist. And it was like the weather; all pervasive and impossible to change.

Yes (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514953)

We have a shop full of indians(big tech firm), and my boss pulled me to the side just today and asked me to make sure that I hired a white or a black guy for the spot that just opened up.

I plan to do just that.

So, there's racism in 2006 for you. Blacks and whites together, fighting for our jobs. BTW, we're white.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514992)

Just think, in CA you would be sued for being a racist because you didn't specifically mention homosexuals or women.

Re:Yes (1)

DevanJedi (892762) | about 9 years ago | (#14515079)

Hmmm.. and I wonder why you post as an Anonymous Coward?

Hell yes (1)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | about 9 years ago | (#14514954)

This is still rife in quite a lot of IT places. It is well known that certain types of people may be more technically adept, and people hire on that basis.

Of course, it doesn't help when company's outsource call centers...

Re:Hell yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515103)

I always hire the most qualified person, when I can figure that out. 40% of my team were born abroad and 40% of the rest are minorities.

I have been fooled before though - where a person's "involvement" in a big project seems to have involved fetching cups of tea for the real programmers, and their expertise in languages involves the words "hello world". This has made me a little cautious with foreign workers with no experience in this country, because it's hard to check their claims, and they can get lucky on interview questions or tests.

It's it reality (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514962)

Although this does not cover all non white races, business people like to be able to understand who they are talking to. Overwhelmingly upper management (e.g; people that cut the checks) are white.

Thus white people want to hear white people on the other end of the phone. Or more appropriately, native english speakers.
I am not racist but I know that I prefer to call a support line or a consultant that doesn't have to "try" to speak my language.

Many people will not own up to this but the reality is most people would like to hear a female on the end of the phone as well. Is that sexist? Maybe, but it is reality.

Re:It's it reality (5, Interesting)

dptalia (804960) | about 9 years ago | (#14515058)

Many people will not own up to this but the reality is most people would like to hear a female on the end of the phone as well.

Hah! My first job out of college was tech support. And I forget how many people (women in particular) asked to be connected to a "real" technician. I even had one guy tell me he wasted his time talking to a woman.....

Re:It's it reality (1)

c_forq (924234) | about 9 years ago | (#14515142)

Many people will not own up to this but the reality is most people would like to hear a female on the end of the phone as well. Is that sexist? Maybe, but it is reality.

Makes me think of a recent proposal in Michigan to ban same-sex unions. In opinion polls only a small minority were for it, but once they were in the polls with the secret ballot it passed with an overwhelming majority. When people weren't afraid of consequences they let their true opinion be known.

Accent is a bigger issue (4, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 9 years ago | (#14514966)

It seems a person's accent has a bigger impact. People with american (midwest, southern, whatever), Brittish, Irish, Kiwi or Aussie accent seem to have an easier time communicating with recruiters and interviewers than someone with a Chinese, Indian, or even Russian accent.

There is probably a lot more age discrimination in IT than race discrimination. Now for upper management there is a huge racial imbalance. A company might have a 50% minory staff, but often less than 10% minority management.

So that's it! (age bias) (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515028)

Perhaps I should stop mentioning I was at Woodstock I during my job interviews.

Re:Accent is a bigger issue (5, Insightful)

clockwise_music (594832) | about 9 years ago | (#14515046)

Age is a bigger issue.

I hear it all the time "We want someone young, energetic" - because old people are not worth the effort.

Accent can be a problem, but I don't think that this is in any way racist. If you can't understand the person because of their accent, it's going to be tough working with them. It doesn't matter what country they come from.

Re:Accent is a bigger issue (1)

vain gloria (831093) | about 9 years ago | (#14515122)

It seems a person's accent has a bigger impact. People with american (midwest, southern, whatever), Brittish, Irish, Kiwi or Aussie accent seem to have an easier time communicating with recruiters and interviewers than someone with a Chinese, Indian, or even Russian accent.

So you don't think the fact that the former group are more likely to have English as their first language is relevant to their fluency then? Just because someone has a thick or unfamiliar accent doesn't automatically make them incomprehensible, but I can see a case for it aggravating underlying difficulties with the language (a maxim which applies as much to Yorkshiremen as Muscovites!)

Re:Accent is a bigger issue (3, Interesting)

dhwebb (526291) | about 9 years ago | (#14515131)

I know a Russian lady that speaks English very well. She has a "thick" Russian accent though. She called Symantec support one day and an Indian gentleman with a "thick" Indian accent was trying to give her support. She quickly told him that since neither of them spoke English natively and both had an accent, she requested to speak with an American or a Russian that she could understand. I laughed at this and said I never would have imagined her doing that. She said, "Why waste your time dealing with somebody you can't understand? If they get mad, they'll learn to get over it. I have."

Who would have thought.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514979)

that Cliff [jeffcovey.net] of all people would want to play the race card...

Re:Who would have thought.. (1)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | about 9 years ago | (#14515044)

I didn't know that Cliff was black. How cool is that?

In any case, I don't think classic racism is a major issue in IT. Mind you, people lower in the trenches don't seem to like people from India. And I've seen management pay foreign workers (working in the US) less than domestic workers. But the classic black/white/indian/whatever thing isn't there.

And I really don't consider accents to be a cover for racism. Understandability [both English comprehension and accent] is very important to me, as I work from home, and 100% of the people I talk to are over the phone or electronic text.

I haven't seen classic racism in IT ever. Not to say there isn't a new type going on, or something more covert that I've missed.

Re:Who would have thought.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515138)

I didn't know that Cliff was black. How cool is that?

Go fuck yourself, racist.

I've found... (4, Funny)

po8 (187055) | about 9 years ago | (#14514981)

...that holding an MLK Day story for 3 days before posting it is just weird.

The editors should have saved it until April 1, so that the sense of cognitive dissonance I got from viewing it was well-deserved.

Does Anyone Experience Sexism? (2, Interesting)

netnemmy (947142) | about 9 years ago | (#14514986)

I recently got my first job in an IT office, and the one thing that really surprised me was the amount of women working there. Although men outnumbered women by a little less than 2:1, I hadn't expected to find that many women in the first place. And, when a female applicant arrived for an interview, it seemed that she was always given equal treatment as compared to a male applicant (dare I say, it may have even appeared that she was prefered, simply due to her sex).

Re:Does Anyone Experience Sexism? (1)

clockwise_music (594832) | about 9 years ago | (#14515092)

I think that you are extremely lucky, sir!

I had a glance round our weekly team meeting today. 30 people, 29 of them male. The female was a work experience student. (This is in Australia)

In my consulting company we probably are 90% male. I don't think this is a reflection of our hiring policies, I think it's a reflection of what degrees high school students are choosing. IT is a more nerdy and male dominated field.

<flamebait>Anyway, women are more creative and interesting that males and know better than to do an IT degree. I say good on em. </flamebait>

woah there boy! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514989)

As a Honky I have found no trouble obtaining IT employment at any time during the last 8 years. A friend and colleague who started working in IT at the same time as me is a self-described kaffir (though he's not from south Africa, he simply likes the term) has had no trouble finding similar employmentfor the same period of time, at equivalent rates of pay. In my country, at least, Kaffirs and Honkies have equal chances of obtaining IT work.

slashdot crowd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514991)

I dont think this is the right place to ask this question...

Right now i can picture hundreds of white geeky looking computer nerds reading this story.

In one of the most diverse campuses for IT people in the country, i can honestly say that i have yet to meet a black person that reads slashdot.

Re:slashdot crowd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515027)

Well, it might behoove you to know that Cliff [jeffcovey.net] is a bona fide coon.

Better yet.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515073)

...have you ever met a Black that reads, or can read? I haven't.

Still Racism in IT Hiring Practices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514995)

Let me ask one of these white guys surrounding me.

black (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514996)

Funny.. I had a recruiter tell me just the opposite -- that I would have an easier time getting a particular job with a particular company if I was NOT white. So to answer your question - Yes, there is apparently still racism in IT hiring.

WTF?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514997)

I haven't seen any racism in my company, even though I work in the Deep South. I think humans tend to have "culture bias" which could, in some people, influence hiring decisions. If somebody walks into a professional interview with "culture-heavy" attire and starts throwing around street slang, there's a chance that's going to hurt his job prospects. Fact of life.

You seem to extrapolate from this one recruiter that the whole of IT has some racial basis. I wouldn't buy it unless you've seen it yourself. Even then, it's the individuals with this attitude, not the industry.

YES! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14514999)

Yes, but now it's only against white males. Heaven forbid you should wind up with an IT staff that's all white males; you'll be scalped as a racist pig, whether or not you are. Bullshit "affirmative action" means hire ANYBODY who isn't Caucasian and a male. It's fucking discrimination, by DEFINITION, but the do-gooders think it makes up for past discrimination. It was wrong THEN, why isn't it wrong NOW? Equality for ALL, DAMMIT!

An anecdote (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515000)

I know an asian woman. She is dumb as a post. She has a degree in statistics (took seven years.) By talking to her, you can quickly tell she knows nothing about nothing. But she has no trouble landing 6 figure DBA positions in large corporations. Personally, I believe she is a "slot filler". She fills a needed diversity slot.

Just my opionion.

Re:An anecdote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515106)

Are you sure? There are no shortage of Asians in the Ivy Leagues, Engineering programs, Mathematics, or CS.

At UTD [utdallas.edu] , the chinks outnumber us probably 2 or 3 to 1 on the graduate level.

Maybe not racism, but.. (0, Offtopic)

suso (153703) | about 9 years ago | (#14515009)

When a story shows up on slashdot almost 4 days later than the day it was posted shows some disrespect. Especially when the first word in the article is "today".

Re:Maybe not racism, but.. (2)

DogDude (805747) | about 9 years ago | (#14515095)

"Disrespect" for who, exactly? And, do you know what that word means, or are you just throwing it out there because it seems like the thing to do?

Colour (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515012)

Know any black programmers? I don't, and I've been working in the industry for 15 years now. Not a single one.

Outsourcing: (1)

Rasio (947058) | about 9 years ago | (#14515022)

The next wave in the defense against discrimination charges..."But look at all the illiterate out-of-country workers we employ!"

Up here in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515033)

I think it depends where you are. Which block in the city. Which company. Almost half the people I work with are from India and Pakistan. Anyway, the well qualified people I know have little trouble getting jobs.

I've been discriinated against (2, Interesting)

dptalia (804960) | about 9 years ago | (#14515037)

And it wasn't because I'm female, which is what would be most people's first guess, but because I am not Jewish and was white. At one company I worked for all the good programming jobs went to the Jews (honestly! And 80% of them were Russian), all the good EE jobs went to the Vietnamese, and the scut jobs - maintenance and gatekeeping and the like - went to the white Christians. I stayed for four years because I was making so much money I was willing to put up with it, but in the end our entire division was closed.

Re:I've been discriinated against (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515113)

>discriinated against

Maybe they did that when they figured out you couldn't spell.. among other things.

As with all racism, it's all about location (1)

Durrok (912509) | about 9 years ago | (#14515038)

I have worked for IT companies that had were over 99% white staffed in a predominetly black neighborhood. I have worked for IT companies where I was one of only white people there in a predominetly white neighborhood. I have yet to work in one with an equal mix. From my viewpoint it's always been the numbers game. In the first job I mentioned there were more white people getting promoted then black people. In the second, the exact opposite. I didn't view it as racism nor did I feel anyone was being racist in a benificial or otherwise manner at either job. I have also had people at both companies complain that "Man, how come no people are getting promoted?" Well duh, if 99% of your employees are of one color, what do you think is gonna happen around promotion time? Like I said, nothing to do with racism, it's just been the numbers game. Now, I have not worked in a place with equal mixes of races but I think most people just use "racism" as an excuse for why they didn't get promoted this time around.

Racism between people of equal skills (1, Troll)

ziggyboy (232080) | about 9 years ago | (#14515041)

I work in a small IT company in Australia. The owner and all of the people running it are white but more than 50% of the employees are not (including me). I suppose my boss believes that he should get the best person for the job.

However I have seen that in many cases, if there are 2 people (one white and an Asian for instance) with the exact same skillset and experience applying for a job, then the white man will most probably get the position. There isn't much racism when the non-caucasian has obviously better skills. This is just from my experience that's why I suppose us "minorities" are somewhat forced to work harder, get more qualifications, get better grades than the white masses. We can't compete with them on the same level so we have to do more.

Looking for Indians... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515042)

I recently interviewed for an Oracle DBA job where the hiring manager told me we was really hoping to find an Indian (from India, not a Native American) who was an Oracle certified DBA because he could get away with paying $25K per year less salary for someone geeky enough to eat, sleep, drink and live the insides of an Oracle database, work long hours with no chance of actually getting to use all the comp hours he'd accrue, and the Indian wouldn't mind working in a wide open, noisy office area that didn't even even have cubicle dividers between the desks. This was in Dallas, TX.

No joke.

women (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515043)

Probably, But there is blatant feminism. our new head leech...the female that is sucking the life out of our department...is only hiring new WOMEN from a group called WIT..(women in technology) and NOT giving anyone internal a chance to move up. as a result good people are moving out. WIT...how funny...cause none of them have any WITS. It is the distinct feeling among the most of the group that because we dont have tits our careers are over.

Where I work... (4, Interesting)

edremy (36408) | about 9 years ago | (#14515045)

12 people in our department. (Small woman's college)

CIO: White female
Academic tech: white male (me)
Media Services: black male
Network manager: white male
Server manager: black male
Programmers: two white males, one white female
Staff support: white female
Hardware: white female
Help Desk: one white female, one black male

Total: 9 white, 3 black, 7 men, 5 women.

Seems pretty balanced to me given the local population. Then again, we tend to hire people with little experience and promote from within. (CIO started as a secretary years ago, server manager began as a help desk grunt, etc.)

This is idiotic (4, Interesting)

ellem (147712) | about 9 years ago | (#14515047)

There are so few industries like IT where pure chops are the only thing that matters. I don't care if you're a friggin mold... if you can run a server you're hired. There's more than enough "backroom" positions where you can hide bad personalities etc.

Christ! My department is like the freakin UN. I have a Brit, 2 black women, a kid of some undefined ethnicity and Swedish/Puerto Rican!

*I'm the white guy!*

Reverse Racism (1)

ziggyzig (944029) | about 9 years ago | (#14515048)

Does anyone else find this post racist since they seemed to wait 3 days after the actual holiday to bring it up?!

just another example of slashdot holding down the man :P

In the government, yes. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515049)

Posting anonymously for a reason...

I work primarily in the IT contracting arena for the US Federal government, in Washington DC. My employer has everything from network admins to programmers to technical writers. We are extremely diverse (ie, not all white) -- our CEO is a minority. We really don't give a rat's a$$ about your race, creed, etc.

That being said, some of the government managers we try to place people with are extremely racists, biased, etc. My current government manager has rejected candidates for numerous reasons which I consider wrong:

* didn't speak fluent English (he was Russian, but spoke well enough)
* were too short
* were female (my manager is female, very odd!)

And they get away with it. Businesses like my employer are in it purely for the profit, make no mistake. There is a huge amount of cash flowing out of the Federal government right now for contractors, and we can't fill seats fast enough ... unless they are perfect English speaking, tall, men.

And none of them were rejected because of their skill sets ... I even asked that outright for both the short and female examples.

So yes, it still happens. Part of the problem is that people are afraid to speak up (myself included).

Maybe Whites are the minority (1)

Saint37 (932002) | about 9 years ago | (#14515056)

I think the IT field is a field that has been very fair overall. As a result minorities have made alot of headway into the IT field. So maybe the recruiters comment was made because white IT people are becoming more and more scarce in IT and thus in demand. Hey it's just a speculation.

http://www.stockmarketgarden.com/ [stockmarketgarden.com]

in academia (2, Informative)

sdedeo (683762) | about 9 years ago | (#14515061)

I would say racism in hiring persists -- subtly -- in academia. My hopeful prediction is that it will disappear in the next ten to twenty years. It is not longer blatant; more a question of the accumulation of subtle factors over the years. (Also, IMO, sexism is a problem as well, and much more obvious -- some think racism is anathama, but have no problem in discriminating against women.)

Racism is much more blatant at the undergraduate and graduate levels of education (i.e., before you go on the academic job market.) In many cases, it is the result of underprepared minority students not being given the attention and training they need to get up to speed after admissions offices have "taken a chance" on students they think are bright but poorly prepared.

Our universities are some of the most successful institutions in the country; it is natural that politicians would like to shift the burden of solving racism at much earlier levels (elementary, grade and high-school education) to the universities.

Back in 1990 (4, Interesting)

maynard (3337) | about 9 years ago | (#14515066)

I worked with a sysadmin who happened to be African American (well, back then he was "black"). Anyway, the guy was damn smart, had a Masters, and was well respected by the user community. I've worked with and for other's of a variety of ethnicities and generally come to the conclusion that if they knew their stuff they gained respect. Now I can't speak to racism in corporate America - I'm white as a sheet - but I've seen competence and excellence overcome staff level prejudice.

I doubt it (1)

crmartin (98227) | about 9 years ago | (#14515078)

First of all, the guy who told you this is a moron just asking for a lawsuit.

But beyond that, as someone who does way too many interviews every year, I've got to say, I wish I saw more people of any race, sex, or whatever who were good strong people. Not many CS grads are black, for reasons that escape me. Not many are female. If anything, a qualified black or female will get a little bit more consideration, just because they're unusual.

well... (1)

ansleybean (618941) | about 9 years ago | (#14515080)

I don't doubt that racism is around in any of its myriad forms, but it took me two years to find an IT job out of college, with an applicable degree and applicable experience, and i'm white. i do know that in all the tech firms i've been around there have been lots of dudes (and a growing number of ladies) from almost every race or country you could name... except for black people. i have seen such a small number of black people working in IT that i'm surprised on the rare occasion i do see it. whether it's a question of race bias in hiring, in education, somewhere else, a combination? i couldn't tell you.

Duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515081)

There's racism everywhere. What kind of fairy tale are you living in?

Mindset Racism Maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515082)

We've just finished a huge round of interviewing IT Account Managers & Engineers. Every engineer was a 'white male' bar one, and all the account maangers were 'white' but a good mix of Male & Female. There definately was a large number of Asian applicants, but most wanted Visa's to work in NZ (Company policy dictates no interview for them until they're here with a visa). Perhaps other races / people need to apply more. Maybe its just a mindset thing that they won't get the job anyway...

I've never found this to be true. (1)

ctime (755868) | about 9 years ago | (#14515085)

I work with about 200+ people in a very large IT department (20,000+ employee corporation). It's probably more diverse than I would have guessed, but it's not really surprising that it isn't all white males. It's fairly well rounded with a a large percentage of not only women (which is great..) but people from all walks of life. It's obvious that IT has some of the brightest and diverse people around, I just can't imagine this sort of thing.

Really? (1)

smchris (464899) | about 9 years ago | (#14515087)

Caucasian? Odd. Back when I was working at an Ivy, it seemed like the archtypal tech nerd was Asian.

I once saw a boss give what I thought was scant interest in Indian greencarders with years of experience on the vitae and Indian grad degrees. Racism, ethnic discrimination, or prudent caution?


Economics of discrimination (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about 9 years ago | (#14515090)

Robert Half's book, "Half on Hiring", mentions that his personnel agency occasionally got discriminatory requests. Of course they refused all of them, but the interesting point is this:

Half says that absolutely none of the would-be discriminators were successful companies.

Muslims in New Zealand (1)

Repton (60818) | about 9 years ago | (#14515094)

http://stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3544549a11,00.html [stuff.co.nz]

[IT specialist Abdelfattah Qasem] is from Palestine and has an IT degree from a private institute in Texas.

He had more than 20 years experience in the industry as an IT manager and consultant in Kuwait, earning about $NZ100,000 a year, before he came to New Zealand.

Most of his rejection letters said the firms had found someone who met their requirements better than he did, Qasem said.

When he applied for lower positions, he was told he was over-qualified.


Over half of Christchurch's adult Muslim migrants are unemployed - the worst rate in New Zealand, Muslim groups say.

Americans are not very ethnocentric (0, Flamebait)

putko (753330) | about 9 years ago | (#14515098)

White Americans, and Europeans in general, are not very ethnocentric. We tend to be meritocratic, and society has been especaially meritocratic since the 1950s. That means we aren't very racist, either individually or as a society.

We are so non-ethnocentric it is easy to forget it, especially given that some people are continually accusing us of racism.

But, it is always good to make comparisons. E.g. in India or China, who you know, and to whom you are related, is critical. It is hard to get ahead without being in the right group. That's especially true in India.

That's also true -- more true -- in Africa, where tribal association is very important. There are countries where one tribe runs the show -- e.g. Nigeria. Woe unto him born into a weak, powerless tribe, especially if there happens to be oil under your feet.

That's also true in the Arab world. If you are a from a Shiite clan, expect the Sunnis to give you hell. In Iraq, that meant that 20% ran the whole country, because they were Sunni Arabs, and the others were either Kurds, marsh Arabs, Turkmen, Shiites, etc. It is important to keep in mind that in most parts of the world, the religion you worship corresponds to your tribe -- hence this isn't so much sectarian violence, as ethnic violence. Like in Ireland -- Protestants aren't Irish who converted (for the most part) to a different religion, but people who immigrated from Scotland. They are from a different gene pool.

Ireland, due to the conflicts, is more ethnocentric than Great Britain, or America. This is a typical social identity effect: put groups in conflict, and they'll start sorting each other out, picking on the other group and so on. That's natural animal behavior. As a result, if you want to get ahead, you'd better be related to the right crowd.

That's true in Israel too, a very ethnocentric place. You'd better be in the right group, depending on what you want to do. E.g. want to succeed in an area where Sephardim succeed? Better be Sephardi.

I've never seen anything like this in America. I've worked at a number of companies, and always the issue was just, "can you do the work," and not, what genes do you have. Well, not quite: I worked for some Indians, and all the management jobs went to Indians -- but that just proves my point.

It is true that blacks haven't been prevalent among the programmers, but I think isn't explained by racism. This is a very controversial view, but supported along the following reasoning: various things, like height or reaction time are different among different ethnic groups. To the extent that IQ is a hereditable phenomenon, different groups have different average IQs, just as we have different average heights. That explains the outcomes. This is especially true, given all the money the government has poured into trying to get brown and black people to succeed in science (and why didn't they pour money into helping Chinese succeed in basketball?).

yes, racism still exists (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 9 years ago | (#14515110)

however, i would call IT an avenue to fight racism. programming, or any technically involved task, encourages meritocracy: either you can do the complicated task, or you can't. in other words, the more complicated the job, the less incentive there is for ignoring innate abilities. in other fields, where the work required is more rote and simple, other, more fickle reasons can come into play in choosing an employee, reasons like racism

it would be, for example, a lot easier to get away with hiring only white secretaries rather than only white IT workers. simply because a lot of people can do a secretary's job, so your selection criteria can be more and more shallow. but your business will suffer to your more enlightened competitors if you pass up on real talent in a limited pool for a shallow reason. therefore, the job market in highly technical fields takes care of racism all by itself. IT simply can't afford to be racist. to ignore a technically astute individual for the whim of skin color is too heavy a price for an employer to pay

and of course, this issue is framed in an era when IT departments everywhere are farming all of their work out to india! where's rudyard kipling to laugh at when you need him? "white man's burden?" [wikipedia.org] pffft. well that's deliciously ironic dear mr. kipling: a century after you penned those patronizing condescending words suggesting how nonwhite peoples were naturally the "inferior" wards of "superior" europeans, your "superior" europeans are rapidly becoming the wards of nonwhite peoples. the entire information infrastructure of the western world is rapidly becoming the "brown man's burden"

so to speak of racism in IT is rather obtuse. IT is definitely one of the more egalitarian work fields in the worlds in terms of proportionate racial representation

Maybe not? (1)

Ka D'Argo (857749) | about 9 years ago | (#14515115)

I had a situation not long ago that for a short while had me question the hiring practice of a company. It was an out sourcing agency for various things from tech support via phonedesk to your very basics of transcription or data entry.

While most of their other positions were filled, I eager to obtain just about any job computer/IT related, I applied for a data entry position. Being more of a wider variety of people that are hired for such a position I figured I had a shot, since you didn't need a big time degree from a four year school.

So the day of my interview, I do what I was taught to do: I present myself as professional as I could. Freshly ironed dress slack pants, freshly ironed dress shirt with appropriate tie. Polished shoes, and even went as far as to get a hair cut the day before just to keep it all well rounded. With me I brought additional copies of my resume both hard and soft copy. As well as copies of my coverletter and references, all neatly typed up myself as clean and neat as you can make it.

I go through the whole process, interview which I thought went well, the little test they gave me to measure my speed of typing I took pretty well. They wanted 9500 words an hour with 0 mistakes, I got around 7000 which I thought was still a respectable number.

The kicker of the situation is, there must have been at least half a dozen people applying for the same position. They had maybe twenty open spots for this position so I figured 1 out of 20 isn't too bad of odds. Every one else there, was so unprofessional it made me so angry..

With no opinion on race, the other people there to interview where as follows:

- Two middle eastern gentlemen, one somewhat elderly the other middle aged. Neither spoke English very well and often had to ask other interviewee's for assistance when they were filling out their application. Neither was dressed appropriately, wearing denim jackets, jeans, and tennis shoes.

- One young middle eastern woman who wore a partial veil, the one that doesn't cover the face. She appeared to speak English well, but also dressed inappropriately with just a dress and tennis shoes.

- One young african american woman, spoke typical American English yet was dressed horribly. She wore a t-shirt, jeans, a flashy pocketbook and bright colored hairpins. She looked like she was going to hang out at a local mall, not apply for job of this field.

- One middle aged african american woman. Other than myself she was probably the most appropriate for the job, dressed in nice womans dress pants, with a matching blouse. Hair neatly tucked back, appropriate dress shoes.

None of them appeared to have a resume on hand, references or a cover letter. This was a company, here in America so I was quite shocked people who barely spoke English and knew no Spanish were being considered for a job that requires fluent English. While my opinion of race has no bearing on something like this, simple professionalism really means alot in these situations.

I was not chosen for any of the positions, though I don't know if the others I described got one either.

I'm American, born and raised. I'm causasian, "white" as it's always called. While I can understand how some think race will always play a part, alot of times it happens to "white" people too. Even if it was a professionalism ordeal it still can be played aganist "white" people just like it can any other race.

Race matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515116)

If you don't sound white over the phone, you might not even get an interview. If you don't look white in the interview, you might not "fit in".

Luckily I'm a young white guy with a college degree (in English no less--never taken a computer course), and I've had no doors unneccessarily closed to me. I'm now an SMS admin, among other things.

I've probably been hired over some better-qualified minorities (or women--they are also still rare in IT). The only reason I suspect this is because I'm simply not very qualified to work in IT. Not knowing the exact details about the other candidates, I'm only marginally more qualified to make statements along these lines than some Randbot complaining about "reverse-racism" or "whitesploitation" or whatever they're trying to convince people exists this week. (Confidential to Randbot: did you ever think that maybe they hired the lesser-qualified minority because he wasn't an asshole?)

The only time race works against you is in salary. White people cost too much, generally speaking, unless they're in Ireland.

Racism no.... (2, Insightful)

MickDownUnder (627418) | about 9 years ago | (#14515117)

If rascism means business wanting a pretty first world face to front up for a third world development team. Then the answer would be yes, I have experienced it. I don't believe there's any real rascism, other than a general preconception that if you were born in India, Pakistan, Africa, or some post soviet country, that you'll accept anywhere between 1/10th to 1/2 what a first world developer would. In time I believe this will all even out. Not that I believe the third world is going to be pulled up to first world standards, I just think business will continue to squeeze the labour market till we're all willing to work on the same basis.

IT racism (4, Insightful)

slashdotnickname (882178) | about 9 years ago | (#14515130)

As a black man myself, my own experiences in the IT field have been rather positive. In fact, I would rank my work environments as some of the most "incident free" places I've experienced. I attribute this partly to the nature of the field itself, as it favors intelligent open-minded people. We're also mostly from newer generations and, therefore, aren't as engrained in the racist attitudes of the past.

survey (1)

Leadmagnet (685892) | about 9 years ago | (#14515139)

I am a entrprise IT instructor and have 12 new students from large companies every week. Guessing I would say white men between between 30 to 50 yrs old make up %90 + of my American and European students. The remainin g 10% are mainly Asian men, Indian men, or women - exreemly few are African American. Of the thousands of international students I have had over the years - I don't recall ever having a black African student, and extreemly few Arab.

As a half-white, half-asian, I've been told (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515145)

that the chances of my getting accepted to a certain university would be better if I specified 'white' instead of 'asian' as my race.

The admissions office said "off the record" that asians were over-represented based on U.S. population and that all things being equal, they'd admit a white instead of the asian applicant.

Feels like a twilight zone episode...welfare for the extremely wealthy, racial quotas benefitting majority race, politician trying to destroy separation of church&state calling themselves patriotic, politicians intentionally letting illegals flood across our borders while claiming we're in a war that requires Americans to give up our liberties, 60+ elected leaders currently under investigation for bribery&corruption, and so on.

Why not level the playing field so that all companies/corporations qualify for the same benefits? What is wrong with competing based on merit? Why not secure our southern border? Why not encourage high-quality immigrants (remember Einstein?) that want to obey laws instead of spreading fear about racial & religious intolerance? Why not have a flat income tax with the annual exemption equal to the U.S. poverty line?

Brains outweigh Race (1)

Bourbonium (454366) | about 9 years ago | (#14515148)

Some of the smartest folks who've trained me over the past ten years have not been white. When I was taking my technical courses in the mid-1990s, my NetWare instructor was from Ethiopia. When I took my Microsoft technical training, my first instructor was Indian and the next one was Asian. I took several Microsoft SQL courses to become an MCDBA and the instructor for all three was the same very sharp black man. The class took him out to dinner after our last session and, after a couple of beers, he admitted to us how much he was being paid (as an MCT) for teaching and it astonished many of us. When he wasn't overbooked teaching classes, he was highly in demand for his consulting skills. He was an inspiration to me, and I sure hope I can someday be worth $300,000 a year.

In short, I don't think racism is nearly as much of a problem in the IT field these days as it used to be. And when you can demonstrate your worth to an employer before they even know your ethnicity, race becomes irrelevant (as it always should be).

Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#14515152)

At the time that I quit my last job, I left a single American born member in the team:

1 english, 1 irish, 1 dutch, 1 taiwanese, 1 vietnamese, 1 chinese, and 3 asian indian. The single American-born [or even American raised/accented] was the director over the rest.

Just the opposite. (1)

wvitXpert (769356) | about 9 years ago | (#14515153)

I've seen the exact opposite. Minorities get hired over caucasians all the time just so the companies can meet thier "qoutas". I'm not trying to downplay the importance of equality, but they are still hiring based on race, so that's not really equality anyway.

40 years--where are we? (0, Troll)

Inside_Joke (246574) | about 9 years ago | (#14515157)

I'll tell you where--we're no further along the road to equal rights than we were when King marched. The only difference now versus then is there are no colored entrances.

Racism still abounds--both in America and around the world. People are still paranoid, xenophobic, prejudiced, racist fucks that all deserve to be shot.

The Economics of Racism ... (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 9 years ago | (#14515159)

"I recently had a recruiter tell me that I would have no problem finding a job in the current economy - not because I am enthusastic, well-educated and have good experience - but because I am caucasian - 'white'."

I would question the validity of any statement that suggested that there is correlation between today's economy, and the degree of racism in a given field. What is the [supposed] relationship. Would companies be more likely to hire minorities if the economy was worse, or if it were better? In my experience racism has nothing to do with logic, but I wish I were there to hear that one, and throw a question or two back at him ..."

ME> ... ahem ... mr. (small m, for certain) recruiter, are you suggesting that if the economy were better, companies could afford to hire a few of them there slacker niggers, and spics? You did know that I am part mick, part wop, and there's a little bit of Jew thrown in just for good measure, right? It would have been worth losing any potential job opportunity just to watch him squirm :-)

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