Stop hiring me because I’m black, start hiring me because I’m black and qualified
Supporting Affirmative Action without hurting minority-owned businesses
I support black businesses and would love nothing more than to recreate a new Black Wall Street. (Atlanta is getting notably close to doing what Tulsa, Oklahoma did.) I am vocal regarding those who immediately dismiss black businesses as “unprofessional,” “poor quality” or “ghetto.” This mindset pisses me off and usually starts a war of words.
I genuinely believe one of the most effective ways to better exercise black dollars is to invest in black businesses, black entrepreneurs and black investments. But there is one thing that I think we do that gets in our own way: Instead of looking for black professionals who are qualified to do a job, we pick anybody black. That will almost always lead to friction.
In recent months, I’ve had an exhausting amount of these situations and gotten to the point where I’ve become extremely particular about new freelancing jobs I take on. I already know the friction is coming when I read “I don’t see too many of us on [insert job platform]” instead of “I read you [insert skill here] and am interested in speaking with you.”
As someone who regularly hires freelancers outside of my own freelancing work, I want a diverse workforce. I absolutely want to give minority writers an opportunity to advance their careers. But the advancement cannot be solely due to melanin. When I reach out to hire someone, I’ve read their resumes, writing clips and background. I don’t want to waste their time any more than I want to waste mine.
But doing one without the other (hiring black without fully understanding that person’s background) almost always leads to conflict. Here are a few recent personal examples of my own: