Internet Backs Redditor Who Changed Name For Job Search: 'I'm Sick Of This Racist Sh*t'

One Reddit user said they are considering permanently changing their name after experiencing racism during their recent job search.

In a now-viral post boasting 14.7K votes and more than 1,500 comments in Reddit's r/antiwork forum, u/samfromwa21 explained that they are racially-mixed and that people sometimes struggle to pronounce their name correctly. Adding that employers often think that they are from a different country, u/samfromwa21 suspects that their name is the reason for a lack of response to numerous job applications.

"I applied for many jobs," they wrote. "No response."

Taking action into their own hands, the Redditor wrote that they continued to apply to jobs, but edited their name on their resumé to see if that was the real reason they had yet to receive any opportunities for employment.

"I changed my first name and got 3 interviews," u/samfromwa21 wrote. "I just changed both my first and last on my resume and have been getting insane amount of response a week later."

Potential employers discriminating on the basis of name is not a new concept.

In a study published in August, economists from the University of California Berkeley and the University of Chicago sent 83,000 fictitious applications with randomized characteristics to 108 of the largest employers in the United States.

Roughly half of the applications were for fictitious applicants with "distinctively Black names," and the other half were "distinctively white." Despite Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which "prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin," the study revealed that applicants with distinctively Black names were nearly 10% less likely to be contacted by potential employers.

Stack of resumes
Studies show employers sometimes discriminate based on the names included on job applications. Viktoriia Oleinichenko/iStock / Getty Images Plus

"The measured contact rate for white applicants exceeded that for Black applicants in 12 of the 13 months of the study," the research reads. "While the overall contact rate fluctuated during the course of our study, Black applicants faced a consistent contact penalty relative to white applicants"

While u/samfromwa21 did not specify their race or ethnicity, or the assumed race or ethnicity of the edited name they used on their resumé, their job search experience sparked extensive conversation among Redditors, and rallied support for the original poster.

Along with stories of instances similar to the one detailed by u/samfromwa21, commenters shared other ways they felt they had been discriminated against during the job search process.

u/evilocto said they were turned down by a company for having "no online presence." Multiple commenters said they remove their photo from sites like LinkedIn when searching for a new job. u/arthvdr and u/nestpasfacile detailed the shock they experienced when employers assumed they were white.

"As an African-American with an 'old money' sounding name and having gone to a well known college that is 98% non POC, I loved the looks on peoples' faces when I showed up for the interview," u/arthvdr wrote.

"It's f*****g wild isn't it?," u/nestpasfacile responded. "Then people have the audacity to say race isn't a part of hiring. I've seen enough people look like they've seen a ghost because it never crossed their mind that a black dude could have a 'white' sounding name and work in a high playing field."

u/samfromwa has yet to provide an update on any potential employment, but made their frustrations with having to change their name on job applications to garner a response clear.

"Maybe I'll pay to get it changed all together," they wrote. "I'm sick of this racist sh*t."