Is this racist?

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kittenkat    pirate
11/10/2009 at 10:29

I'm looking at an application form for a job, basically it's a FE College.

Ok it says:


Just like that in caps and bold.

The information required:

What is your ethnic origin?

Whilst I'm all for ethnic diversity, surely requiring this to even consider the application points to possible employment decisions being made with ethnicity as a factor. Surely everyone should be judged solely on their merits, irrespective of ethnic origin?

Does anyone else read this like I'm doing?

11/10/2009 at 10:33
I know that when ive applied for jobs in the past with my local council they had a diversity form but it was sealed in a seperate envelope and apparently only opened once you had been selected for interview (i think), i honestly dont know why they want to know this, i always read it as being racist...what difference does it make to your ability to do the job? None in my opinion
M...eldy    pirate
11/10/2009 at 10:35
Usually the diversity form is included as TTN says but its usually an optional form

If they are subject to positive discrimination then they may have a requirement to ask
11/10/2009 at 10:35
just fill it in i think you are being too sensitiveo good luck
11/10/2009 at 10:37

As long as they've written somewhere that your response to this question will in no way affect your application (apart from the fact you have to!) then you're being judged solely on merits.  Some public institutions have to report their staff/interviewee/applicant ethnicity due to rules placed upon them, therefore 'cannot' consider applications without the question being answered.

If you suspect that some kind of discrimination is in place at the institution, 'positive' or otherwise, then I wouldn't apply anyway!

M...eldy    pirate
11/10/2009 at 10:38
I think personally its a bit of overthinking,  many forms ask if you are male or female and where you live but these are not questioned but perfectly valid in the context 'what does it matter'
kittenkat    pirate
11/10/2009 at 10:39

Lol the best bit... wait for it.....

The information will be held in compliance with the data protection principles (blah, blah..)

Should you become an employee, we will seek periodic confirmation from you as to its accuracy.

I'll make sure they're the first to know if I change to a Black Caribbean! 

11/10/2009 at 10:40

It does sound like it could be manipulated for positive discrimination.

However, a lot of businesses are duty bound nowadays to include an ethnic questionnaire. Unfortunately a lot of people don't bother completing them, so these companies have no proper statistics of how diverse their jobs appeal to ethnic minorities. Maybe this is an attempt to force people to complete this part of the application?

11/10/2009 at 10:43
Well on a similar note, I know that the newly reform Royal Ulster Constabulary aka Police Service of Northern Ireland tried to show that they were not biased against catholics by trying to employ more of them. So if you were keen to join you only had to say you were catholic, and unless you were a complete idiot, the job was virtually yours. I know of a chap who did exactly that...
kittenkat    pirate
11/10/2009 at 10:49

I'm just wondering for example, if they had 2 candidates that they couldn't choose between on academic merit etc... would ethnicity then come into play?

Just a thought, no idea.

M...eldy    pirate
11/10/2009 at 10:58
11/10/2009 at 11:02
If it's for a job in a public body they will ask your age, race, sex etx as the goverment likes to monitor who they employ, but they cannot chose someone on the basis of race, sex, age over someone else That would be positive discrimination
11/10/2009 at 11:13

Say you're a black muslim lesbian with a hare lip and you're a shoo-in.

I mean, how many boxes does that one tick?

11/10/2009 at 11:15
Yes, i know...I'm a bad person.
11/10/2009 at 11:19
no, sweetie - but just let me move the Daily Mail away from you...

11/10/2009 at 11:43

Prob a clause they have to include for their powers that be

Think you're overthinking it.

If there's an 'other' category for ethnic origin, use that. Just put 'Alien' in it.

11/10/2009 at 11:51

I always hate filling those in as my ethnic origin is always listed as

Mixed - Black African, English.

Says bugger all about my family, my family's history, me, or my employability. Plus, 'mixed' is just a horrible term.. makes me sound confused.

However, I always fill them in because I believe that its important for employers to check the diversity of their employees - not to positively disciminate - but to catch anything dodgy 'negative' discrimination. Same as for gender, age, sexuality, etc.

kittenkat    pirate
11/10/2009 at 12:33

Na, no other category, otherwise I would tick it.

 It's no real big deal to me, I just think that these things aren't always handled in the right way. It just shouldn't matter what my ethnicity is at this stage imo.

11/10/2009 at 12:47
It doesn't 'matter', any more than your address 'matters'. It's just data that's being collected.
11/10/2009 at 12:56
My address matters. I wouldn't be able to get home otherwise....
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