Sarah Grace Goolden
It’s common knowledge that the hiring process is racist and transphobic. Tactics like judging someone based on their name have been routine and normalized. Minorities statistically have a harder time getting their foot in the door. Although this practice has come to light and been under attack, it still exists to this day. It might seem like squeezing through the discriminatory hiring process is the biggest hurdles for queer folks and people of color but the struggles don’t end there. Even after getting a job, these workers don’t get the same benefits and opportunities as their straight, cis and white coworkers. It’s not enough to just hire trans and Black people; they also must be supported in their career.
Even when Black people are being hired, they are still not on equal paying fields. It isn’t by a little either.
According to research from the Poverty Action Lab, Black individuals are twice as likely to be unemployed than their white counterparts. Discimination often begins at resumes, where it has been proven that “white-sounding” names receive more callbacks than “black-sounding” names. People are being rejected even before an interview for the arbitrary fact that their name isn’t “Sarah” or “Christopher.” This is already problematic because it assumes so much based off so little.
Even when Black people are being hired, they are still not on equal paying fields. It isn’t by a little either. The wage gap is most often discussed in regards to gender in that women are paid an average of 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. Pay discrepancies go far beyond gender and vary greatly by race. The U.S. Census Bureau discovered that Black women average about 62 cents and Hispanic or Latina women only earn 54 cents to a white man’s dollar. Not only is it harder for Black, Hispanic and Latina women to get jobs but when they do, they are not being appropriately compensated.
The workplace is not a safe place for minorities.
Some might finally get a job after discriminatory hiring practices and accept a lower wage in hope they’ll climb the ladder in the company. However, positions of power are sparse for minorities. Fewer than .03 percent of Fortune 500 board directors were openly LGBTQ+ in 2020. Leadership roles are more often given to straight, white men rather than women, queer folks and people of color. There are many prevailing stereotypes which prevent minorities from gaining power and keep those in charge in charge.
It doesn’t end there. Imagine someone just barely managing to catch a job based on the color of their skin, their gender or their sexual orientation. They then accept their paycheck knowing it’s not the same as the person right beside them. They give up any dream of becoming the boss. It sounds like the problems should end here but they don’t. Despite the 2020 Supreme Court decision while ruled that LGBTQ+ people are protected from workplace discrimination, the fact is they aren’t always. Over half of LGBTQ+ employees have reported hearing anti-gay and lesbian jokes at work, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Racist rules prevent Black men and women from wearing their natural hair under the guise of “professionality.” 54 percent of women report being sexually harassed in the workplace. I can only imagine how much higher that number would be if women weren’t afraid of coming forward. Almost half of LGBTQ+ workers are not out of the closet in their professional life. Workplace discrimination is so prevelent that people chose to hide rather than be genuine to themselves and others.
The workplace is not a safe place for minorities. There are so many difficulties that are faced by non-straight and non-white workers. Everyone needs to work. Working is not a privilege, it is a right. Black individuals shouldn’t be judged before an interview. Queer people should be able to hold positions of authority. Women deserve to feel safe at their job. These are not outlandish demands. Workplace protection should be the bare minimum.