Discrimination has its new name: Diversity

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” -- Martin Luther King

Since the diversity hiring campaign started at my company, the headline haunted in my mind. After I read the recent news of Palantir accused for anti-Asian hiring, I feel I really need to write about it, even in my first Medium post, which is supposed to be around tech…

The bottom line is: Workforce diversity is good to have, but cannot be forced to execute as a hiring goal.

First, we have to admit the fact that race and gender is not distributed evenly in workforce in different industries. The percentage of Asian, Indian and male in software industry is much higher than the percentage of each population. The similar uneven distribution of demographic is more severe in professional sports league. It is a complex problem with social, history, culture and economics, not something a human resource manager should try to solve by playing with the hiring bar. I agree with most of the advocates who promote the advantage to build a more diverse workforce. But if it is based on unfairness of hiring, I would stay away from it and even feel it is illegal.

The true meaning of workforce diversity is the ability of a company to embrace people with different background to comfortably work together. And the enemy here is bias. We shall all agree that race and gender should not relate to working skills and evaluation in high tech industry, however, fair judgement is hard to maintain because of unconscious bias is common with pretty much everyone. There are at least two types of bias. One is culture stereotype. The other is that people tend to appreciate ones similar to themselves. All these two contribute to a homogeneous environment. So diversity activities should set their goals as eliminating bias. Adding a few employees from under-represented group will not help. And if diversity hiring is executed by taking race and gender into considering when making hiring decision, it will undermine the trust between employees and will even foster bias instead of eliminating them.

I could write more, but I need to find diversity candidates on my LinkedIn as a task per company’s diversity hiring goal. It is not easy as LinkedIn search does not have filters such as gender or race, which I believe it will be illegal to be implemented.

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