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Re: Privilege

Postby Enuja » Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:31 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:This. So this. I don't know how you could conduct an blind interview, but the screening process for getting your applicant pool is often blind. Ultimately, someone decides who gets the position, and if that is conducted without an interview, then chances are the position doesn't require a personal touch, which is good. But if you have to work with people, or FOR someone, I can't imagine a scenario where ultimately their preferences and biases aren't shining through. I've heard stories of stellar applicants getting to the interview step and doing something that the interviewee immediately checks off the "Not a chance" box for, putting their feet on the desk, or having a facial tic, or having bad teeth or not having their shirt tucked in. None of the PIs would admit to barring someone for being black, but I've heard such catty shit that I wouldn't be surprised if these subconscious preferences played into the decisions.

A lot of screening processes are not blind, so we should work towards making more screening processes blind. It's completely true that interviews have real value in hiring for many jobs, and that unconscious biases have large effects in the interview process. I listed some things that we can all do to reduce bias and privilege, but it's true that I don't have a perfect system. It seems to me that people who have hiring as part of their job description should learn about their own unconscious biases and work to counteract them. In Blink, one of the examples Malcolm Gladwell uses is a car salesman who specifically ignores his expectations based on appearance when he first starts to talk to new customers. We can overcome our unconscious biases in our behavior by being aware of them and we can also train our unconscious biases by choosing experiences.

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Re: Privilege

Postby sje46 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:44 am UTC

Yes. For example, in that book, Gladwell mentions how judges for auditions to be in an orchestra are separated by the musician by a screen, and if the musician coughs or something, and lets his or her gender known, the person is taken back in line and shows up later. I don't know where the book is . .but I think that the amount of women hired increased greatly, from practically none to (I think) almost half.
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Re: Privilege

Postby smw543 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:46 pm UTC

(I'm not going to respond to Voco since it seems like the issue has been handled in my absence (internet went down for a couple days.) Also, I don't want to invoke an off-topic wall of text centered around a raging hard-on for Plato. Kudos to Izawwlgood for being much more patient than I would have been.)

@sje (the previous post about affirmative action and such): It's openly admitted than balancing the board is incredibly hard to do in a fair way. The examples you give illustrate the two central problems; sometimes it helps those who don't need it, and sometimes it awards unqualified (sometimes dangerously so) people. I don't think I've ever heard a particularly practical answer for the first problem, but the second one is often "fixed" through adaptations to an affected organization. For example, some firehouses have lighter versions of some equipment to accommodate female staff. Also, they may organize shifts so that any given call will have no more than one female responding, with several males to pull the slack. (That is, if a call would normally require four firefighters, they might send four men, or three men and one woman, but not two men and two women.) Of course, there's also the option of assigning females to less physically demanding tasks, but this is unfair to the males, as the physically easier tasks are also often less dangerous.

As for blind interviews, this gets into a very messy area. Of course there's no unfair discrimination if Hooters refuses to hire me due to my gender (and consequential predisposition against having an enormous rack,) but what about being turned down for a job as a host at a restaurant? They tend to be female, as well as well above average in looks, but for good reason: people find an attractive female face to be more inviting (and there's that primitive instinctual notion that by patronizing a woman's place of work, you somehow have a chance at her. Actually, this whole example is fairly universal, but the job of restaurant hostess seems to show the most discrimination in relation to how common it is.)

But then, there are at least some instances in which discrimination based on gender or appearance is justified (the aforementioned Hooters, modeling jobs, etc.) But what about race? What if the average customer at your car dealership is more comfortable (at least subconsciously) with buying from a white salesman? Should your business suffer for the sake of fairness? Of course it's wrong that the customers have those inclinations, but why should it be the business' fault? Is there a cap on the number of rhetorical questions per post?
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Re: Privilege

Postby Belial » Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:57 pm UTC

::pokes his head back in::

Oh look, this has turned into another thread about affirmative action.

It could have been an actual discussion of privilege, if y'all were capable of examining it from any angle that doesn't have to do with jobs and money, I suppose. Probably too nebulous and social.

As it is, you're retreading ground that has been well and truly trod on these fora many-a-time.

And it annoys the piss out of me.

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