Most people in this world are slacktivists, especially when compared to the massive groups of people who protested and fought for the basic civil liberties that we possess today. By no means am I implying that the world is totally and completely fair now, because we still have a long way to go. But thanks to women’s rights movements, civil rights movements and other movements, there are a fair number of rights readily available that previously weren’t.
But that’s the thing with rights and activism. It implies movement and action. Yet, in this digital age, how does that translate and what can we do? Are we just too lazy or are we using the technology that we have to be smarter about our action and movements?
It’s unfortunate that they didn’t get any people of worth to speak about this subject at Thrash Lab. I would have liked to hear the opinions of activists, scientists, or sociologists rather than musicians and artists who all seem to employ the slacktivist mentality.
Everyone has seen the “optional” box in job applications or resume sites where you can check your race. They always say it’s for demographic purposes or a “diversity questionnaire”, but what does that actually mean? And can your chances of getting a job be diminished because you aren’t Caucasian? One woman, Yolanda Spivey, wanted to put that theory to the test after she was countlessly denied or never considered for positions in her field for nearly two years. Would it matter if she changed her race to “White”? Here’s her story:
Before I begin, let me quote the late, great, Booker T. Washington who said, “Of all forms of slavery there is none that is so harmful and degrading as that form of slavery which tempts one human being to hate another by reason of his race or color.”
For two years, I have been unemployed. In the beginning, I applied to more than three hundred open positions in the insurance industry—an industry that I’ve worked in for the previous ten years. Not one employer responded to my resume. So, I enrolled back into college to finish my degree. After completing school this past May, I resumed my search for employment and was quite shocked that I wasn’t getting a single response. I usually applied for positions advertised on the popular website Monster.com. I’d used it in the past and have been successful in obtaining jobs through it.
Two years ago, I noticed that Monster.com had added a “diversity questionnaire” to the site. This gives an applicant the opportunity to identify their sex and race to potential employers. Monster.com guarantees that this “option” will not jeopardize your chances of gaining employment. You must answer this questionnaire in order to apply to a posted position—it cannot be skipped. At times, I would mark off that I was a Black female, but then I thought, this might be hurting my chances of getting employed, so I started selecting the “decline to identify” option instead. That still had no effect on my getting a job. So I decided to try an experiment: I created a fake job applicant and called her Bianca White.
First, I created an email account and resume for Bianca. I kept the same employment history and educational background on her resume that was listed on my own. But I removed my home phone number, kept my listed cell phone number, and changed my cell phone greeting to say, “You have reached Bianca White. Please leave a message.” Then I created an online Monster.com account, listed Bianca as a White woman on the diversity questionnaire, and activated the account.
That very same day, I received a phone call. The next day, my phone line and Bianca’s email address, were packed with potential employers calling for an interview. I was stunned. More shocking was that some employers, mostly Caucasian-sounding women, were calling Bianca more than once, desperate to get an interview with her. All along, my real Monster.com account was open and active; but, despite having the same background as Bianca, I received no phone calls. Two jobs actually did email me and Bianca at the same time. But they were commission only sales positions. Potential positions offering a competitive salary and benefits all went to Bianca.
At the end of my little experiment, (which lasted a week), Bianca White had received nine phone calls—I received none. Bianca had received a total of seven emails, while I’d only received two, which again happen to have been the same emails Bianca received. Let me also point out that one of the emails that contacted Bianca for a job wanted her to relocate to a different state, all expenses paid, should she be willing to make that commitment. In the end, a total of twenty-four employers looked at Bianca’s resume while only ten looked at mines.
Is this a conspiracy, or what? I’m almost convinced that White Americans aren’t suffering from disparaging unemployment rates as their Black counterpart because all the jobs are being saved for other White people.
My little experiment certainly proved a few things. First, I learned that answering the diversity questionnaire on job sites such as Monster.com’s may work against minorities, as employers are judging whom they hire based on it. Second, I learned to suspect that resumes with ethnic names may go into the wastebasket and never see the light of day.
Other than being chronically out of work, I embarked on this little experiment because of a young woman I met while I was in school. She was a twenty-two-year-old Caucasian woman who, like myself, was about to graduate. She was so excited about a job she had just gotten with a well-known sporting franchise. She had no prior work experience and had applied for a clerical position, but was offered a higher post as an executive manager making close to six figures. I was curious to know how she’d been able to land such a position. She was candid in telling me that the human resource person who’d hired her just “liked” her and told her that she deserved to be in a higher position. The HR person was also Caucasian.
Another reason that pushed me to do this experiment is because of the media. There’s not a day that goes by in which I fail to see a news program about how tough the job market is. Recently, while I was watching a report on underemployed and underpaid Americans, I saw a middle aged White man complaining that he was making only $80,000 which was $30,000 less than what he was making before. I thought to myself that in this economy, many would feel they’d hit the jackpot if they made 80K a year.
In conclusion, I would like to once again quote the late, great, Booker T. Washington when he said, “You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.”
The more America continues to hold back great candidates based on race, the more our economy is going to stay in a rut. We all need each other to prosper, flourish, and to move ahead.
Turns out, at least for Yolanda, that they key to getting a job and getting one quickly is omitting your race or just lying. And that is the sad, subtle racism that still exists today.
Thrash Lab explores, in their latest episode of “The Coalition,” the topic of higher education and whether the cost of that education is worth it. With the dramatic rise in tuition in the last ten years and the job market still being at an incredible low, many college graduates are finding themselves without work and burdened with massive student loans. So, is it worth it?
Confession: I never graduated college. I attended Trinity Western University in British Columbia for four-ish years (I took some time off here and there to snowboard and partake in general dickery), but never settled down on a major because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Fast forward six years later and I still don’t have a degree, but what I do have is around $60,000 in student loans that I now need to pay off. Was it worth it for me? Absolutely not, because I am as fickle as the internet itself and I still don’t even know what I would major in. But for someone else who knows what they want to do? Definitely, yes. It’s nearly impossible to get any sort of job without a degree these days (trust me, I know this firsthand).
The only thing I know with certainty is that tuition fees, at their current rates, are astoundingly ridiculous. And now alternative forms of education are looking more and more appealing, be it internships, apprenticeships, trade schools or whatever other path can take you to your end goal. I didn’t get my degree, but I started a website. And now this is what I do and what will hopefully catapult me into success someday. I sit in my pajamas all day, eat cookies and post videos (HA! TAKE THAT, MOM AND DAD!)(just kidding, I promise I’ll get my degree someday, please continue to send cookie money).
So, to you, is it worth it? Is the debt worth the education? Is the education worth the cost? Or, as Noam Chomsky says, is there something all too sinister behind the cost of education and now you’re just going to live in the woods by yourself forever because the government is probably (definitely) trying to dick you over somehow?
My feeling is that student fees are instituted, basically as a technique of indoctrination and control. I don’t think there’s an economic basis for them. And it’s interesting that, you look at the timing — like when I went to college, I went to an Ivy League university, The University of Pennsylvania. Tuition was only $100 and you could easily get a scholarship.
Students today are over $1 trillion in debt. That’s more than credit card debt. A trillion dollars of debt? That’s a burden on people coming out of college. It’s got them trapped. It (tuition) is a technique of control, and it surely isn’t an economic necessity in the richest country in the world. All sorts of things started happening — the university architecture changed. Universities that were built, worldwide, in the post-’70s and on, are usually designed so that they don’t have meeting places, designed just to keep students separated and under control. Look at the ratio of administrators to faculty: it’s gone way up the last couple of decades … not for educational purposes, but for more techniques of control.
If attending university is simply about higher education, maybe there’s a better way to go about all of this than the incredible high cost system that we’re given. Maybe we just all need to work in pajamas and eat cookies to get that message out.*
*Don’t do this. You won’t find a job or get an education doing this. However, you will be fairly versed in 4chan, so there’s that.
From her Kickstarter funded series “Tropes vs Women in Video Games,” Anita Sakeesian explores the concept of the damsel in distress and how the idea is cliched, leaving something to be desired for female gamers. Alongside her video releases, Sakeesian has also started a Tumblr which will mirror many of the other tropes that she will be exploring throughout the series.
Pat of Justin Timberlake’s performance on SNL last night included him impersonating Elton John as he mocked Venezuela’s recently deceased president, Hugo Chavez.
“You said the US causes earthquakes and you outlawed Coke Zero. And on your shoulder sat your parrot with a matching red beret.”
What do you think? Poor timing or just a really bad skit?
Opinion and Confession Time: Have any of you ever cheated on a test? Did you succeed or did you get caught red-handed?
I cheated on a lot of tests but that’s because I didn’t understand the importance of Gen Ed when I knew I wanted to be an artist. I’d probably be a lot better at doing my budget if I had paid attention during math and accounting classes.
I’m all about friends helping me home if I’m drunk, but sheesh…not by dragging me across the street by my hair.
This video brings me to a point about the bystander effect and why people are so quick to video tape everything first before offering help. Does it bother anyone else? Would you offer help to a clearly inebriated girl dragging another inebriated girl across the street by her hair before you started recording?
sNSFW, drunk girls