Justice

Rent-A-Minority Website Is Perfectly Racist

Are you an employer who worries that your office isn't Black enough? Are you throwing a party and are ashamed that no Muslims will be in attendance? Don’t fear, Rent-a-Minority is here.

Rent-A-Minority

Rent-a-Minority is a site that offers people the ability to rent a token person of color for any occasion, according to the website. Whether you need the "intellectual Black guy" or the "cheerful woman of color that won't embarrass you by being an angry Black woman," you can get diversity on demand.

Thankfully, the site is just a joke. Rent-a-Minority's creator — Arwa Mahdawi, a half-British, half-Palestinian woman — created the website to call out the lack of genuine diversity in media and tech companies, according to the BBC.

Rent-A-Minority

On the site, Mahdawi explained that, too often, companies preach diversity and try hard to paint a picture of inclusiveness, while failing at actually implementing diversity among their personnel.

"The site is a #satire on a type of tokenism that is particularly rife in the tech and media world. Rather than address institutional inequality in any meaningful way, diversity is something that is generally just for (temporary) show.

Rent-A-Minority

Rent-A-Minority

Mahdawi was inspired to create the website after being fed up with employers — especially tech and media companies — and the "superficial ways" they include minorities, she told the BBC.

"Companies tend to be very careful to ensure that their websites contain an acceptable ratio of women and non-white people; on their leadership boards, however, it’s another matter."

Institutional racism in the workplace

It's a real thing.

The Black jobless rate "has been consistently almost double the unemployment rate [of] white people for the past 60 years," The Huffington Post reported, adding that it is twice as hard for Black college grads to land jobs after college.

For minorities in the field of technology, the numbers are even worse.

Tech companies appear to cater to a younger and more open-minded generation, but they have not been as progressive in the hiring of minorities, Forbes reported. "Tech companies are experiencing growing pressure to diversify their workforce, which is predominantly white, Asian and male," Forbes said. Just 1 percent of Google's tech staff is Black, and only 2 percent are Hispanic, while Asians make up 34 percent of Google's tech coworkers, a recent USA Today study found. A whopping 83 percent of international Google's tech workers are male, the study added.

"Women and underrepresented minorities have been denied access to resources and opportunities that would allow them to enter and succeed in computer science," Coleen Carrigan, an anthropologist who researches high-tech culture, told USA Today.

A lack of resources and education aimed at minorities plays a role in their ability to access job opportunities or meet job qualifications. But there's a bigger social problem at work, Forbes contributor Bonnie Marcus wrote.

It’s the culture. We can attempt to solve the problem by educating more women and minorities and challenging hiring practices, which are all important initiatives, but the underlying issue that must be addressed to solve this problem is the hidden and often overt discrimination that prevails in the tech industry.

The Solution?

Mahdawi said that she recognizes that the problem cannot be cured overnight. She suggested that employers be more accountable and institute real changes to diversity their workforces. Among her ideas: "Offering paid internships instead of unpaid internships that only wealthy people can afford to do" and intentionally seeking out the best and brightest in minority candidates.