When someone applies for a job, they certainly know that they shouldn’t be selected or rejected based on something like their race. This would be a violation of their rights because it would be racial discrimination. In 2023 and beyond, you’re probably not going to find employers who are going to be very overt about this and tell you that they’re trying to hire someone of a certain race, the way you may have in previous generations.
However, this does not mean that discrimination has stopped. In fact, some job applicants have been frustrated with the process and experimented with whitewashing their resumes to expose this discrimination.
Changing key details
Whitewashing essentially means removing key details that may signify your race or ethnic background. For instance, one woman had the name Jamila and had sent out 25 resumes without getting a single interview. She couldn’t figure out why because she was qualified for the jobs.
Then a friend of hers named Kristen told her to change the name to Jaime. She wasn’t lying any more than someone would be if they listed their name as John when it was actually Jonathan. But it removed that signifier of her ethnic and cultural background.
As you may have guessed, she started to get more callbacks immediately and began going to interviews. She believed this experiment showed that she was being racially discriminated against before, even though none of the potential employers who had ignored her initial résumé had asked her about her racial background.
Things like this show how complicated employment situations can be and why all involved need to understand their legal rights.