Raven-Symone Won't Hire People Because Of Their Names & Her Reasoning Is Unfair
Letting down those who once loved her yet again, The View host Raven-Symoné said that she wouldn't hire people based on their names. In a discussion on the show called "Are You Judged By Your Name?", the hosts discussed racial biases based on names and inexplicably watched a YouTube video that joked about what it referred to as "ghetto black names." Symone maintained that she would discriminate against certain names during the hiring process: "Can we take back 'racist' and say 'discriminatory'? Because I think that's a better word. And I’m very discriminatory against the words like the ones that they were saying in those names. I'm not going to hire you if your name is Watermelondrea. It's just not going to happen. I'm not going to hire you."
Raven's statement is strange and unfair — and unfortunately, this is not even the first time she's made controversial statements about race. But, by parodying black names, coming up with an offensive example like "Watermelondrea," and admitting that she wouldn't hire someone based on that name, she's suggesting a link between someone's race and their job qualification. Her statement is difficult to understand logically — and, additionally, she seems to be holding people accountable for their names, which most people understand to be out of someone's control and unrelated to their competence or ability. Co-host Whoopi Goldberg, for what it's worth, appears to be shocked throughout the clip:
While it's a sad truth that having a stereotypically "white" name can increase your job prospects, that is a bias that influential media personalities should be fighting against and working to check in their own decisions — not casually admitting on daytime TV. She also leaves out the key details about why "discriminatory" is a better word than "racist," and what exactly about those names would make someone less hirable in her eyes.
Twitter users have registered their anger and disappointment with Raven's statement:
What exactly Symone meant by replacing the term "racist" with "discriminatory" is unclear, and her statement that she wouldn't hire a person based on their name us unfair because a name says nothing of one's job qualifications. But, the forces that make minorities so underrepresented in Hollywood are at work in her statement — at least Goldberg's seemingly shocked look serves as a reminder that this is not OK.
Bustle reached out to Symone's reps for comment in response to her statement, but has not yet heard back.