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Frank Hovis

Racial Etc. Profiling Questionnaires

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I've just filled one of these in at the end of a survey.

For many years I've not filled them in or ticked "prefer not to say" but have had a change of mind and decided that it's better to fill them in incorrectly as the blank ones get ignored but the false ones make a nonsense of it.

Today I am an "Asian or British Asian".

There was no sexuality or gender one this time but I will go for suitably imaginative choices the next time that there is.

I doubt even work have a comeback if I claim that is is how I identify myself, or I could just lie and put mixed race saying that I have an Indian grandparent. The last time work even asked if I was now or had ever been a member of a political party; I wasn't the only one who challenged this on the basis that they had no right to ask. Their response was that they thought it would be "better" if they knew. Of course I didn't answer that but most people would do.

When I mentioned at one workplace that I didn't answer the sexuality question somebody asked if I wasn't worried that HR might think I'm gay. Well one: it's perfectly ok to be gay and two: I knew the people in HR and they knew i had a girlfirend so I didn't think my not filling in a form would suddenly change their view.

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The ethnicity/age/gender preferences filing form SHOULD be removed before the applications go to the manager(s) for shortlisting. They should be used purely for monitoring purposes. If you suspect different, that's grounds for claims of unfairness in recruitment.

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The ethnicity/age/gender preferences filing form SHOULD be removed before the applications go to the manager(s) for shortlisting. They should be used purely for monitoring purposes. If you suspect different, that's grounds for claims of unfairness in recruitment.

the act of monitoring is in itself racist/sexist/ageist...

Equality makes all the above meaningless...but that sort of sums up the work of many sorting this lot out and preparing reports.

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i was recently treated to a 3 hour course on "unconscious bias" which involved being told that women are sometimes successful in business these days so don't ask them to make tea and i should not stereotyping gay people amongst other stuff. I actually found it all a bit patronising especially as my wife is a successful business person and we are currently sharing our house with a gay couple.

on the other hand i am also embroiled in a grievance procedure after i told an italian member of staff that he misunderstood an internal investigation as he was looking at it from the point of view of roman law. This he interpreted as racial abuse!

what have we come to in this country?

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The ethnicity/age/gender preferences filing form SHOULD be removed before the applications go to the manager(s) for shortlisting. They should be used purely for monitoring purposes. If you suspect different, that's grounds for claims of unfairness in recruitment.

The ones that I have had for job applications have always said that the form is not used for the purposes of recruitment and how you fill it in, or not filling it in, will not affect your application.

I always throw it away straight off and I've still got the jobs so I think it's right that it doesn't affect it.

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i was recently treated to a 3 hour course on "unconscious bias" which involved being told that women are sometimes successful in business these days so don't ask them to make tea and i should not stereotyping gay people amongst other stuff. I actually found it all a bit patronising especially as my wife is a successful business person and we are currently sharing our house with a gay couple.

on the other hand i am also embroiled in a grievance procedure after i told an italian member of staff that he misunderstood an internal investigation as he was looking at it from the point of view of roman law. This he interpreted as racial abuse!

what have we come to in this country?

The basic problem for minorities, and I heard this admitted the other day on the radio, is that everybody recruits people similar to themselves.

This is total bias but also how we're wired and is part of our successful evolution.

Race is obviously the powerful lobby but it cuts across everything. I will only recruit somebody if I think that I can trust them to do the job well. In order to trust them I would be looking at points of similarity so that I can assess them; the more points of difference there are (with the exception of age and sex) the less likely I am to employ them.

Non-racial / cultural points of difference for me would be obvious tattoos, odd haircut, facial jewellery, dressed badly. Anybody with all that would certainly not get a job so I'm discriminating against them. Fortunately there is no government-funded lobby group for people with nose-rings so HR don't pick me up on it.

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The basic problem for minorities, and I heard this admitted the other day on the radio, is that everybody recruits people similar to themselves.

This is total bias but also how we're wired and is part of our successful evolution.

Race is obviously the powerful lobby but it cuts across everything. I will only recruit somebody if I think that I can trust them to do the job well. In order to trust them I would be looking at points of similarity so that I can assess them; the more points of difference there are (with the exception of age and sex) the less likely I am to employ them.

Non-racial / cultural points of difference for me would be obvious tattoos, odd haircut, facial jewellery, dressed badly. Anybody with all that would certainly not get a job so I'm discriminating against them. Fortunately there is no government-funded lobby group for people with nose-rings so HR don't pick me up on it.

Thats the point he made pointing to huge numbers of academic studies, but then "like promotes like" is one of the oldest sayings in the book.

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I'm bi-gendered, and I always find it upsetting that they don't have a box for me. I should probably take it up with the European Court of Human Rights...

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Thats the point he made pointing to huge numbers of academic studies, but then "like promotes like" is one of the oldest sayings in the book.

And it makes great good sense. You have a team of people who are similar, will work together, help each other and you can trust them and know their motivations because they are similar to you.

And this isn't a boys club or even a white club. I've probably recruited more women than men and a black guy who was culturally middle class English so I was entirely comfortable with him.

If somebody comes in flautning their cultural differences then the exit door is behind you.

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The basic problem for minorities, and I heard this admitted the other day on the radio, is that everybody recruits people similar to themselves.

This is total bias but also how we're wired and is part of our successful evolution.

Race is obviously the powerful lobby but it cuts across everything.

I would imagine race is easily trumped by accent for most people.

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Guest eight

The basic problem for minorities, and I heard this admitted the other day on the radio, is that everybody recruits people similar to themselves.

That must explain why the ten strong car washing team in my local Sainsburys don't have any white members of staff.

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That must explain why the ten strong car washing team in my local Sainsburys don't have any white members of staff.

Why does that invalidate it?

One of them is presumably shift leader and so leans towards recruiting people of his own cultural background, and maybe has the prejudice that white British youth are lazy.

Also my experience of these places is that you never see the same person twice so when staff recruitment / retention becomes difficult then you will take anybody who walks through the door and actually wants to do the job.

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i was recently treated to a 3 hour course on "unconscious bias" which involved being told that women are sometimes successful in business these days so don't ask them to make tea and i should not stereotyping gay people amongst other stuff. I actually found it all a bit patronising especially as my wife is a successful business person and we are currently sharing our house with a gay couple.

on the other hand i am also embroiled in a grievance procedure after i told an italian member of staff that he misunderstood an internal investigation as he was looking at it from the point of view of roman law. This he interpreted as racial abuse!

what have we come to in this country?

Scary....nothing wrong with feeling more at home and comfortable being with people that you feel are similar to yourself.......be proud and hold your head up high.....don't let others tell you that is wrong, doesn't mean others are bad or wrong, just because they may be different and could feel sometimes missunderstood........when in rome.....

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Guest eight

Scary....nothing wrong with feeling more at home and comfortable being with people that you feel are similar to yourself.......be proud and hold your head up high.....don't let others tell you that is wrong, doesn't mean others are bad or wrong, just because they may be different and could feel sometimes missunderstood........when in rome.....

Can I reverse "pull a Winkie" on you?

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i was recently treated to a 3 hour course on "unconscious bias" which involved being told that women are sometimes successful in business these days so don't ask them to make tea and i should not stereotyping gay people amongst other stuff. I actually found it all a bit patronising especially as my wife is a successful business person and we are currently sharing our house with a gay couple.

on the other hand i am also embroiled in a grievance procedure after i told an italian member of staff that he misunderstood an internal investigation as he was looking at it from the point of view of roman law. This he interpreted as racial abuse!

what have we come to in this country?

Was it this guy imposing Roamn law?

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I remember the last time I had to fill one of these in on paper at work. I accurately ticked English, Irish and other European then bracketed the rest and wrote 'not as far as I am aware but some of my ancestors got around a bit'.

I think that was in the same lot of form filling in which I asked for a bodyguard and a revolver as the safety equipment that would make my job safer.

The management seemed to think that I was not taking it seriously.

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Last time I applied for a fishing rod licence, I think I put my ethnicity down as Irish Traveller, and my sexual orientation down as gay/lesbian.

NB. For the avoidance of doubt, I'm neither! I just make things up for silly forms. I think I put down on the census form that we are a mixed Jewish/Muslim household.

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I put "Yes Please!" on the form next to "Sex" once when claiming dole 15 years ago.

When I arrived at the jobcentre an obese woman with a wart on her nose interviewed me.

I never did that again, nor her for that matter.

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Unfortunately it makes absolute business sense not to recruit anyone of a different race etc to yourself for exactly the reason of falling foul of any divisive equality laws. Unless you are in a large enough organisation where that in itself is illegal, in which case a race as similar as possible that meets the criteria is probably the safest bet.

I don't agree with it, but that's what makes most sense if you don't want a legal nightmare on your hands.

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Unfortunately it makes absolute business sense not to recruit anyone of a different race etc to yourself for exactly the reason of falling foul of any divisive equality laws. Unless you are in a large enough organisation where that in itself is illegal, in which case a race as similar as possible that meets the criteria is probably the safest bet.

I don't agree with it, but that's what makes most sense if you don't want a legal nightmare on your hands.

Small companies work like this IMHO. You will only being employing people of a different culture, if they have become "local". Saying that, this rather small outfit I worked for employed a few "local" black people, and an Indian Muslim bloke. But they were so "local", that there was no problem. You have to be comfortable with people you employ. Small companies do not have a HR department to deal with racism hysteria.

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I don't think I have been turned down for a job for being any race, colour, or height, or Irish. What the interviewer, and indeed the interviewee is working out, is "can I work with this person"? Basically your name on the application is going to be a bit of a clue as to your ancestry. And if you make the interview, you sound "qualified", and any tick box exercise will neither hinder or aid you.

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