How Kind Folks Are Hurting Job Seekers

Favors between white job seekers and hiring managers are putting black and brown job seekers at a disadvantage, writes Janell Ross on the Huffington Post.

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Applicants line up at the Diversity Job Fair in December 2012 in New York. (John Moore/Getty Images)

For a person of color, finding a job may be harder, thanks to white folks doing favors for each other, writes Janell Ross on the Huffington Post.

The reality: racism and racial inequality aren't just supported by old ideas, unfounded group esteem or intentional efforts to mistreat others, said Nancy DiTomaso, author of the new book, The American Non-Dilemma: Racial Inequality Without Racism. They're also based on privilege, she said -- how it is shared, how opportunities are hoarded and how most white Americans think their career and economic advantages have been entirely earned, not passed down or parceled out.

The way that whites, often unconsciously, hoard and distribute advantage inside their almost all white networks of family and friends is one of the driving reasons that in February just 6.8 percent of white workers remained unemployed while 13.8 percent of black workers and 9.6 percent of Hispanic workers were unable to find jobs, DiTomaso said.

This week, the professor of organization management at Rutgers University and her ideas have captured the attention of the business press. There was a blog about her book in The Wall Street Journal and a story in Bloomberg Businessweek. DiTomaso, who is white, has gathered evidence that racism and inequality actively shape the labor market and make it far harder for black workers to find jobs.

"Across all three states where I did my research, I heard over and over again [white] people admitting that they don't interact very often with nonwhites, not at work, not at home or otherwise," said DiTomaso about the 246 interviews with working-class and middle-class whites she did over the course of about a decade in Tennessee, Ohio and New Jersey. 

Read Janell Ross' entire piece at the Huffington Post.

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