Has Hiring Discrimination Against Black Americans Declined?

By George Khoury, Esq. on October 13, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

According to the scholars over at the Harvard Business Review, despite what most American's may think, over the past 25 years, not much has changed when it comes to hiring discrimination for black Americans.

Shocked? You're not alone. It's safe to say that most people would have expected there to have been a drastic change particularly given that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed over 50 years ago. But a recent analysis has shown that a white applicant is more than 36 percent more likely to get a call back for an interview than a black candidate with equivalent credentials.

Defying the Affirmative Action Stereotype

Despite the fact that employers claim to espouse non-discrimination policies, the numbers don't lie. This means that hiring discrimination is happening.

The sensational notion of white Americans not getting jobs solely because of their race may get some individuals and the media all whipped up in a frenzy, but it just simply isn't true. What the numbers show is that an overwhelmingly large percentage of black Americans still face the scourge of systemic discrimination, and it hasn't improved in over two decades, at least when it comes to hiring.

Foot in the Door

Unfortunately, with fewer opportunities, there are fewer feet getting in the door. While the data may not reflect as pervasive of a problem with discrimination as there once was after a person is hired, this may be due more to problems of proof.

Not getting hired due to discrimination is an elusive and difficult claim to prove for a plaintiff. Clearing the federal pleading standard to file that claim requires presenting clear facts rather than just conclusory statements based upon information and belief. Simply put, hiring discrimination is a harder to prove legal claim, and thus, employers may be able to get away with it, even if they don't know they're doing it.

Notably, the HBR report explains that the public has come a long way in its views and attitude on the benefits of racial diversity and inclusion. However, the fact that hiring discrimination is still as pervasive of a problem 25 years later really should be a wake-up call that there's still a long way to go.

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