October 15th, 2015
This past Friday, the hosts of The View were discussing name discrimination within the professional workplace. After watching a viral youtube video, Top 60 Ghetto Black Names , Raven Symone made a comment that sent social media into a frenzy. The co-host stated that, “I’m not going to hire you if your name is Watermelondrea. It’s just not going to happen!”
The star later retracted her statement by saying that she has never discriminated against anyone for a job because of their name. Symone publicly apologized saying, “I have been denied many jobs because of my skin color, body size, and age. Each time I was rejected, my self esteem was negatively effected, so I empathize with those who feel victimized by what I said.”
This comment by The View co-host has cracked open a bigger PR problem for her. The star has made several claims to being a proud African American woman and other comments removing herself from that stance. In her recent interview on Oprah, she remarked that she wouldn’t like to be known as African American, but just human. This is a rash statement to make from someone that has gained at least half of her support through the African American community. It was quite a naive move to take this position, especially considering she once embraced her ethnicity. The general public doesn’t seem pleased with her apology, due to lack of sincerity. These are very important views to have and they shouldn’t be flip-flopped around at any given whim. The image that we all hold to our own cultures should be held with integrity. This is definitely where Symone is missing the boat.
Though the steam on the pot boiled over, I think we need to focus on the real issue. Are people getting refused from job applications because of their name or physical appearance? Businesses post in their job descriptions that they are equal opportunity employers, but is this really being put into practice? As much as there is an equality movement going on; certain stereotypes still trump this for many employers.
Everyone deserves equal consideration for work positions and having a certain name shouldn’t be a road-block. As human beings we all dislike being labeled as a stereotype. Imagine a stereotype placed on you, before the person had a chance to talk to you. After all, we don’t chose the name we are given. We dehumanize a person’s inner being, when we break them down to such an insensitive judgement. So, the next time a job application is slapped on your desk; make sure you aren’t just judging the book by it’s cover.