Note from BW of Brazil: You see, this is the type of story that those who deny the existence and influence will never understand. Or perhaps deep down they do, but in order the deny the unearned privileges they may have due to its existence, it’s better to deny it. The agonizing thing about the more subtle brand of racism is that one never knows with absolute certainty that this was the factor that was at play in a certain situation. In world dominated by white supremacy, it’s something that people who are classified as white will never have to worry about. In important life situations such as when one needs a loan from a bank, or must go through a selection process for employment or numerous other possibilities, white people can always be confident that if they didn’t get something that it wasn’t due to their race. Although one can never say that race is always a determining factor, black people don’t have the privilege of knowing that it is not. As such, there are likely hundreds of thousands of people who can probably relate to the story below.
“You don’t fit the profile”
By Anônima (anonymous) – Originally published at Blogueiras Negras
Two years after graduating (I studied Law) decided to do another degree as Law never satisfied me and I only studied it because of family pressure. I opted for Accounting Sciences and, as I desire to have experience in accounting, I applied in various selection processes for an internship.
When my resume was selected by a large multinational I was super happy and hopeful of being hired, as I had all the requirements and qualifications required by the company – I had a degree, I’m studying for the second, I speak three languages, besides professional experience in Law in various environments.
On the day of the presentation, as I was always the only black woman in the group of interviewees and seeing the presentation of each one I thought I had a chance to be hired because I had experience in a diverse area, and besides that, no one there had experience in the accounting environment, so we were all on “an equal footing”. Sweet and sad mistake!
About a month after the interview, following the process I saw the following message in my profile in which I had registered:
“Your approval wasn’t possible in this opportunity, as you don’t fit the profile, however, you are recommended for the talent pool in the selection process for the Internship Program…”
When I read it I was shocked, frustrated and disappointed in myself because I had (or at least I thought I had) all the conditions required by the company. When searching for people who could be hired I understood the phrase “you don’t fit in our profile”: all the women were white: one loira (blonde), another morena (brunette), in short all top model types.
At that time I questioned myself: “Is it worth trying again, to study so much for this kind of response?” My sister is an engineer and also went through the same situation, never having the desired profile and in the end opted for a public career, because in it merit is really in effect.
I admit that after much thought, I also now decided to go and study for a public career, because of being a solitary black woman in a labor market that constantly excludes you HURTS TOO MUCH, that always gives the excuse “you don’t have the profile” is painful and tiring.
Anyway, I hope that one day this situation will change and people start to analyze the competence profile and not the standard of beauty, race, gender in selective employment.
Source: Blogueiras Negras
“end opted for a public career, because in it merit is really in effect.”
This is only partially true. Certainly the Brazilian public sector is more meritocratic than the private sector, but even there racism forces are working. I have a friend who is studying to be a judge for 10 years now. He became so obsessed that he always nails the written tests. But since there are oral tests, he tells me that no matter he can answer all the questions correctly, he never passes. He says he can immediate feel the uneasiness of the referees the minute they see him.
In some ways, I wish for the days of Publically displayed signs that say: no blacks. At least, you knew where you stood. Now, the signs have disappeared, but the same owner with the same attitude is still in charge. The “covert” nature of modern anti-black racism. How do you prove it was clearly your race that made them reject you? What can you make of “don’t fit the profile”?