Monday, August 06, 2007


the company that i work for is doing cutbacks. well, they've actually laid off 4 people recently. and whats interesting is that 3 of the 4 people were at retirement age. that sucks. but one of the people was someone i worked with pretty closely.

so after she found out that she had gotten the axe, she told me that this could happen anywhere and i should always have my resume ready, and that i should take care of myself (career-wise), because no one else would.

my first thought was, but i'm young. you're not. and then i thought: who's more desirable in the job market--a fifty something-year-old woman, or a 30 something-year-old BLACK woman? if i competed in a job interview against a fifty or 60 year old woman (assuming we had the same education and/or experience), i wonder who's the more desirable one. i know black women are hired all the time, i just wonder if black women and retirement-age white women are equals in that sense.


Liz said...

It seems like it would be hard to tell. There's at least two avenues of discrimination open for black women (black, female) and two different ones for the white woman (older, female).

Maybe we can get Dateline NBC to do some undercover job hunting for us!

EmergingPhoenix said...

I think the point that your coworker (ex now) is trying to make, is not to get too comfortable in your current job. Things could change, and you need to be able to change with them. Some people get so wrapped up in one job, that their whole life crumbles if they lose it. Also, it's just standard conversation for someone who has been laid off.

As for the who's who on the discrimination front, I don't think it matters. I agree that both groups have potential avenues for discrimination, but this dissection may be a little futile.

Anonymous said...

As far as who would be more desirable, I'm not really sure. If I had to choose between hiring two people with the same education and experience I would probably base it on my impression of their personality and goals and how I think they would fit in with the company, but that is just me. I think it's very hard to make a general assumption about that kind of thing. But it is smart to always have a resume ready and not be afraid to change jobs or look for something different and more challenging. Sometimes it takes a change to get ahead. Plus, people aren't really staying in the same job for as long as they used too. Just be proactive and plan for possible change. That way if it happens, you're ready and if it doesn't at least you have nothing to worry about. Peace.

fakeo nameo said...

I would guess it would have to do with what job each applied for. But say it was one for some place that has a young white image. Like for sales person at Abercrombie and Fitch?

When I was hiring at a non-profit I tried to get a balanced group in terms of ages, races, and genders, and religions, but each had to be qualified to do the job. Hard to hire Muslim women, but I found one that was a great employee eventually.

Anonymous said...

Here you go again, that ol' spectre of race rears it's ugly head and you jump into it's trap and welcome it with open arms...TBG, TBG,TBG when will you ever learn? Thank goodness some have shown you other perpectives because once again you have CHOSEN to see racism where there was none. You know I have come to a realisation...this blog is not really about racism - you only talk about it so much 'cos it consumes your life. No, this blog is about your negative thinking and your hope that others share similar "off" thoughts which will somehow validate yours.

The Letter K said...

I think a younger black woman would probably be hired over an older white woman. Even though black women still face stereotypes, I believe it's much less (in the working world) in comparison to an older woman, especially if the company is one that likes to keep up appearances or appear youthful...

Bense said...

Well, at first: Doesn't it feel great to work at a company where you fired co-workers tell you to have your CV prepared in the upper drawer? That gives you to think. And I wonder how they can make them go, espacially since they are so close to retirement age. Maybe completely different laws here.

I guess those factors don't cancel each other out. If the employer has a brain, espacially in such a company-friendly country like the U.S., he'd take the older, more experienced person. He can still fire it straight away though and start over.

If it's for me, allright. I can't actually think of a reason why I'd reject someone if he's better on the job. Being honest: There are never, ever, two people with the exact same qualifitcation. Maybe when they're 17 and just finished school. But an employer must be nuts to employ someone who is worse at a job than somebody else because of a scheme.

The whole thing is different when it comes to front seat jobs. And I'm sure there are employers that love to employ white people instead of blacks or even some that employ black people as tokens to calm their inane minds that are nagging them being honest and fair.

Anonymous said...

That Black girl.... when you have a chance, please look at my look rambling post on your creamy crack discussion (I am the last to post). I am looking for a recommendation or two. Stay real!

Anonymous said...

In Sweden we have laws against discrimination. This discrimination laws is used by non-European immigrants to get ahead in education or just get cash from a companies. It is easy to get this kind of money because the evidence burden is on the Company. It is of course impossible for ethnic Swedes to use these kinds of laws. Most notably, if you are victim for discrimination you get much more money then you ever will get if you are a victim for rape. Radical Arab Muslims use this discrimination laws when they are charges for hitting their children, raping non-Muslim woman (last month a beautiful CHRISTIAN black African woman was gang raped by an angry mob Arab Muslim boys) or committing other crimes. The Muslim community claims that Allah stands over Swedish law and that Sweden as a multicultural society most accept this.

The Letter K said...

I had a friend from Sweden who was Eritrean. Actually, his father was Ethiopian his mother was Eritrean.

He said the racism in Sweden towards him was unbelievable. Maybe you shouldn't point fingers just yet, and let Sweden take responsibility for some of its own actions.

Maybe you NEED anti-discrimination laws--thought about that?

I'm not going to say whether you do or don't, as I've never lived in Sweden, but I have lived in Europe, and racism is still alive and well, no matter how many people try to tell me otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Racism is of course still alive in Sweden as in rest of the world. My first point is that many Muslim immigrants make politics through Swedish anti-discrimination laws. For example claims Swedish Muslims (they have huge lobby groups) that they should have separate laws build on Civil Sharia laws (This means that women will not have the same right to divorce as a man). It is against the American constitution and of course the Swedish Constitution to institute laws not equal to all

My second point is that ethnic Swedes, even if discriminated against, not have the right to use these anti-discrimination laws. This is also against our poor Swedish Constitution. We have also laws against hate-speech. This kind of laws does not exist in America. The first tricky problem with these “Hate speech-laws” is that they only protect minorities and not the major society. The second tricky problem with these laws is that other minorities as the Arab Muslims can spread hate against the Jewish community, the Swedish community, African Community and other non-Muslim communities. The Arab Muslims as other minorities don’t stand under this law.

Swedish antidiscrimination and “hate-laws” was made only for protecting ethnic and religious minorities. Now we have vocal immigrant minority groups spreading hatemongering and they can not be punished for it according to our “hate speech laws” and “antidiscrimination laws”.

I went to high school with an Eritrean guy. He was not afraid for “white Swedes” as he said but for Somali immigrants. The Somalis hated him for the Somali-Eritrean border conflict in East Africa and that he was/is Christian. The Arab Muslim didn’t like him because he was black and non-Muslim.

Sweden does not need anti-discrimination laws if NOT all people are included and the same for the “hate-speech laws”. That’s my point

I am sorry about your African friend.

Natalie said...

I would say a young black woman would be hired before an older white woman at most companies for most positions but there are always exceptions.

Anonymous said...

hmmn. well "equals in that sense" I may have misunderstood you, but to me it seems that you're saying that older white women and black women have something in common when it comes to employment...they both face job discrimination. And i agree, which means that both older white women and black women need to find ways to run companies or start their own or gain independent wealth, so they aren't at the mercy of someone else.

jen said...

"I guess those factors don't cancel each other out. If the employer has a brain, espacially in such a company-friendly country like the U.S., he'd take the older, more experienced person. He can still fire it straight away though and start over."

I would disagree. The 30 year old Black woman has the edge age-wise. A 30 yr old with a BS or BA has been working for about eight years. They have already been trained. However, they will be able to demand a substantially lower salary than a 50-year-old, making them a more attractive employee to the company. Even if the 30-year-old has not been trained by another company in the industry, the costs of training her would be substantially lower than the cost of training (and possibly even just hiring) a 50 year old.

Furthermore, the 30 year old would be a substantially longer-term hire than the 50 year old. A 30 year old might stay with the company for another three decades, while the 50 year old will not stay with the company for much longer than another decade, at which time, a younger hire will have to be picked up and trained ANYWAY. Not only that, but the company will also have to pick up the costs of any applicable retirement benefits. For most middle-management positions, someone nearing retirement age is the LEAST desirable/most expensive candidate to the company.

As an added bonus, the 30-year-old Black woman is a double notch on the company's Affirmative Action belt.

mvikip said...


I am a 36 year old Black woman living in Southern California considering a move to Portland. I came across your blog and have found some great information.

I also have an 11 year old biracial son.

I was hoping you could provide me with the name of the salon you've found and/or schools you would recommend. Right now, we live in a completely diverse area (with people that I cannot identify). Great public school. Horrible commute, and horrendous property taxes.

I would appreciate any information you have that can help me assess things before making the move.



The Letter K said...

About the comment about Sweden--there's a lot I do not know, but I did have a friend who lived in the Netherlands who said they were experiencing some of the same things, but I'm not going to pass judgement until I actually meet more people there who share your same views...

I'm not saying that it's not like that--I lived in Mexico, and the racism there is bad. I'm afraid that more immigration from Mexico will mean more racism in the United States--of course, I can't prove that, but the sentiment is there.

Bense said...

@jen: I personally do not believe AA plays a role in that. If a hypocritical employer wants to hire somebody black, he will hire the first person right away, and he'll "trade up" with better qualified blacks as the years go by.

Do you really believe there are employers - big companies, let's say 250 employees plus and espacially stock ones - that really care about long-term workers? Yeah. You might find those. Revolutionary companies. HP. Apple. To some degree game developers and other software companies somewhere in California. But for real: Reality tells another story. Even as a German I can tell that. I know lots of folks from my parental generation, baby boomers, that told me stories I've fainted upon facing those.

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