|Only young white females need apply. (Photo: El Espectador)|
Wanted to hire: 'Female medical surgeon with diploma....
From 25 to 35 years of age, white skin.
Personal interview with Dr. Guarin, July 22 at 10 a.m.'
This shamelessly racist classified ad was published recently in a newspaper in Cali, a mostly Afro city. Dr. Guarin has deservedly received lots of criticism for his overt racism. The clinic where he rented his office disowned him, and I suspect he'll be facing lawsuits.
|Would you hire these people? Resumés with |
photos make it easy to select applicants by race,
age and appearance.
But Dr. Guarin is not only a bigot, but also stupid. After all, Colombian employment practices make employment discrimination of every kind perfectly easy - and covert.
Why didn't Dr. Guarin just call for all applicants to send him their resumés - and then toss into the trash all those whose photos showed they didn't have 'white skin'? (I'm not saying he should have done such an ugly thing, which would also have been stupid, since he'd be reducing his own pool of applicants.)
The Colombian practice of including photos on CVs has always seemed to me not only pointless, but also an open door to discrimination of every kind: by age, sex, ethnicity and attractiveness.
Not long ago, researchers at Los Andes University in Bogotá sent out a bunch of resumé's with identical qualifications and experience, but accompanied by photos of applicants of different races. Surprise, surprise: those resumés with photos of black applicants received fewer calls for interviews.
The contrast with the United States, which seems obsessed with stamping out discrimination, couldn't be greater. There, if you were a member of your high school's black/Jewish/gay/Christian etc Student Union you're supposed to leave it off just in case it might give you an unfair advantage or disadvantage with the employer. Require applicants to include their photos, and every civil rights organization, as well as the federal government, would have you in court in no time.
It's a measure of what a hot-button race is that the public uproar was all about skin tone. After all, in his tiny ad, Dr. Guarin also discriminated by gender (he specified that the surgeon be female) and by age. Such discrimination is routine in Colombian businesses, and taken for granted. Is it illegal?
I have no idea about Dr. Guarin's medical abilities. But, judging by this ad, he's a lousy businessman. After all, by restricting applicants by age, gender and race, he's excluding most potential applicants, likely eliminating his best potential employee.
It all makes one wonder whether Dr. Guarin's motives for hiring only a young woman were something other than professional.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours