Attention Women and Minorities: Leave Diverse Hiring to the White Men


If you are a woman or person of color in an executive position and are looking to create a more diverse work environment, sorry, you’ll have to leave that to the noble white man.

A study by the University of Colorado reveals that women and people of color who advocate for more diverse hirings are rewarded with lower ratings on their performance reviews, while white men see the exact opposite.

Researchers at the University of Colorado found that women and non-whites executives who push for women and non-whites to be hired and promoted suffer when it comes to their own performance reviews. A woman who shepherds women up the ranks, for example, is perceived as less warm, while a non-white who promotes diversity is perceived as less competent. Both end up being rated less highly by their bosses, according to the paper, which is set to be presented at an Academy of Management conference next month.

So the choices for women and minorities are to either look like a heartless bitch/be accused of being an “affirmative action hire,” or, trust that the ranks of white men at your company will be committed to diversity.

David Hekman, an author of the study and an assistant professor of management at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business notes that while some women and minorities will make it to leadership roles within a company, the danger of being subject to these negative perceptions many result in little change to the overall diversity of an organization.

Often, having women or minorities atop a company is perceived as a marker of progress for diversity efforts, but Hekman’s research suggests their presence might not have a large impact on the rest of the organization. If they believe it’s too risky to advocate for their own groups, it makes sense that successful women and non-white leaders would end up surrounded by white males in the executive suite, he said.

Hekman added: “People are perceived as selfish when they advocate for someone who looks like them, unless they’re a white man.” So, what, if a woman hires a white man, it’s because he is the best person for the job, but if she hires another woman, it’s just because she wants someone to borrow tampons from?

This probably isn’t new information to anyone who is a woman and/or a minority, but it’s always a bit jarring to see your suspicions confirmed.

While, I’m a big fan of the show, this is something that I always felt was at play with The Mindy Project. Like many, I have been bothered by the lack of diversity both onscreen and in the writer’s room of a show run by “a fucking Indian woman who has her own fucking network television show.It’s sad to think that perhaps Kaling avoids making the show more diverse because she feels her success would be undermined in some way. And it’s frustrating how real of a concern that can be for many women and minorities in positions of power.

This, folks, is simply a clear-cut case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

Image via Shutterstock

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