The token black intern


Nyaa Ferary | Opinion Editor

Rising to the occasion and defying the stereotypes of your ethnical background is certainly a rewarding achievement, however not when a company only awards you with an opportunity because you are black.

Hiring someone just to fill a racial quota is deemed unacceptable according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission laws. According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. Most companies cover this up by saying they are trying to promote diversity for the image and growth of their company.

Many corporations visit Hampton’s campus to promote their internship programs. Professors often brag about how these companies come here because they need “us.” However, a black student, accepting a position solely because of their race is an insult to their actual work ethic.

For instance, Alayah Wood, a sophomore five-year MBA major from Suitland, Maryland, felt that mentioning race within the workplace had absolutely nothing to with what she could professionally contribute to her job. Her statement simply implies that a person’s ethnic background fails to effectively determine an individual’s capabilities and shouldn’t be criteria for a job position.

Becoming the token black person is not all that it is expected to be. The only reason the student was accepted was because there was a diversity quota to fill. Any student that wishes to be taken seriously should not be willing to subject him or herself to that position. However, some are okay with being that pity vote. They are content with knowing that they were chosen despite the circumstances. As an intellectual, you deserve recognition for your hard work and should be held to the same standard as your peers.

“During job searches, I’ve noticed that the executive rates for African-Americans within the entertainment industry is fairly low, however the talent exceeds tremendously and there is nothing more I long to do than become recognized on an executive level for my professional contributions, rather than becoming marginalized because of my race,” said Shekara Brooks, an entrepreneurship major from Baltimore, Maryland. Her statement simply implies that a person’s ethnic background fails to effectively determine an individual’s capabilities and shouldn’t be criteria for a job position.

Essentially, one must have more to offer than their racial qualifications to produce longevity within any company. Though diversity can represent equality and unity, one must put forth a substantial amount of effort towards professional contributions to receive sufficient recognition. According to a study by Young Invincibles, African-American students need to complete two more levels of education to have the same chance of getting a job as their peers.

The job market is tough enough as it is, so it is understandable why some students are so desperate to take what ever job offer they can get but at what extent are they willing to do so. Sacrificing your morals and value is not enough reason for accepting a job offer.


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