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Re: Casual racism in job posting

Community Guru
Renata S Member Since: Jun 10, 2014
11 of 26

Priscilla O wrote:

All this client had to say was that he was looking for US English native speakers. There are native US speakers who happen to be born on the African continent. What are they supposed to do when they see a post like this one?   


Hi Priscilla

I agree, the statement is offensive. I think the trouble is, this looks like it might be a decent job in some ways, although I would definitely ask to see a copy of the manuscript because the client claims to have used Google Translate on 90% of it to translate the text from French to English. Petra's right about the English. The client doesn't seem to be a native English speaker, so this could be a 200,000-word nightmare. Also, the client has specified you've got a month to get through it. That's 200 pages per week. 

What are you supposed to do when clients post a preference? Apply or don't apply. Even if the client didn't state the preference, he or she might still be biased in that way. I'm Canadian and although the English here is pretty much the same as it is in the US, I'm not allowed to apply for jobs that are posted for US-only freelancers. Yes, the site has biases. Looking at this client's page and the other freelancers this person has hired, I'm not sure I would say this was racially motivated, but it's hard to tell. It might be that the client is getting a lot of low-quality proposals from African countries.

If you think you want the job, you might just send a proposal and see what happens. If it works out with the client, tell them what your first impressions were once the contract is over. People don't always realize what they're putting out. If you assume the client won't even look at it, don't apply. 

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
12 of 26

Renata S wrote:

the client claims to have used Google Translate on 90% 

Lol, the guy (or girl) is a total idjit. Whoever takes this, probably extremely low-pay, job is shooting themselves in the foot, the ankle, the hand and the head (remember to reload).

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
13 of 26

Heather H wrote:

I think that the posting was not properly worded and it came off as racist but that is not the intent. I have posted may project seeking Native English speakers only to be flooded with applications from freelancers from Africa. It has nothing to do with the skin color and everything to do with targeting applicants that have been requested. 

 

It gets pretty annoying very quickly to be forced to keep reposting the same project just to keep getting the same people you are NOT seeking. 


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The thing is English is the lingua franca of many African countries and there are obviously many Africans who are qualifed on this site to be writers and proofreaders in English. Unfortunately, in the Western world there is massive misconception about Africans and their skills in English. So I still feel it is language prejudice rather than colour. 

 

Given this particular job, proofreading (a misunderstood skill if ever there was one) is a job that anyone who has read a book thinks they can do - or that it is an easy option/skill to put on a profile. So anyone looking for a proofreader is likely to be swamped by replies from all over the world. For sheer numbers, African and Asian freelancers probably top the list, and many of those misrepresent their skills, which is completely unfair on the qualified freelancers from those countries.  

 

I think the posting is insensitive and the OP should ask at least for the wording to be changed. But I don't know if Upwork would do that. 

 

Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
14 of 26

This might be beside the point, but I think the client is ignorant, and too cheap to post the job as US only, if US English was so vital. Also, I can't speak for anyone else, but there's no way I would comply with requirements such as "test you on one page including some traps. I expect to receive a full resume and I will ask you some references that I could contact. In a next step, I will ask you an ID to certify your identity" Cat Mad

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"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
Community Guru
Renata S Member Since: Jun 10, 2014
15 of 26

John K wrote:

This might be beside the point, but I think the client is ignorant, and too cheap to post the job as US only, if US English was so vital. Also, I can't speak for anyone else, but there's no way I would comply with requirements such as "test you on one page including some traps. I expect to receive a full resume and I will ask you some references that I could contact. In a next step, I will ask you an ID to certify your identity" Cat Mad


I would see that as a red flag. But then again, the topic of the book is cyberterrorism, so maybe a little extra paranoia goes a long way? 

All in all, I think we're looking at an unforgettable freelance experience. 

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
16 of 26

Nichola L wrote:

Heather H wrote:

I think that the posting was not properly worded and it came off as racist but that is not the intent. I have posted may project seeking Native English speakers only to be flooded with applications from freelancers from Africa. It has nothing to do with the skin color and everything to do with targeting applicants that have been requested. 

 

It gets pretty annoying very quickly to be forced to keep reposting the same project just to keep getting the same people you are NOT seeking. 


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The thing is English is the lingua franca of many African countries

 


But it is not the same English. Sometimes the difference is subtle, mostly it is obvious, often it makes your skin crawl.

 

 

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
17 of 26

Petra R wrote:
[...]


But it is not the same English. Sometimes the difference is subtle, mostly it is obvious, often it makes your skin crawl.

 

 


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Not the same English as whose English? There certainly are differences. But there are also huge differences in English speaking countries such as the United Kingdom and America and certain accents and linguistic disabilities in these countries can make my skin crawl.

 

I have also edited a few books in my time written by non-native authors that took my breath away they were so good (a couple of traditionally published African writers among them). Yes there were syntactical errors, but the content was (still is) superb.  But then, I was brought up in an African country and I suppose that gives me a different view. 

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Community Guru
Renata S Member Since: Jun 10, 2014
18 of 26

Hey Priscilla, 

I ended up rewriting my first response to your posting, but I think I'll add it here. 


I agree the statement you mentioned was offensive, but in this case, the client appears to be telling you something very important upfront: they may not be the type of person you want to work with. A careful reading of the job description seems to confirm this. Smiley Happy 

It's just as important to use your reading skills before you apply for the job as it is to use them once you've landed it. 




Active Member
Priscilla O Member Since: May 12, 2019
19 of 26

I definitely agree with you Renata and had a good laugh at the many entertaining replies especially those pointing the red flags and unforgettable experience . What is concerning though is the bad precedent set here. Imagine every client stating in their post how they don't want freelancers from Asia or Africa or whatever continent . very pernicious ! But I am sure you understand what I mean.

 

Community Guru
Renata S Member Since: Jun 10, 2014
20 of 26

Priscilla O wrote:

I definitely agree with you Renata and had a good laugh at the many entertaining replies especially those pointing the red flags and unforgettable experience . What is concerning though is the bad precedent set here. Imagine every client stating in their post how they don't want freelancers from Asia or Africa or whatever continent . very pernicious ! But I am sure you understand what I mean.

 


I understand it and I understand about people making assumptions about the quality of your English -- my last name is Polish, and although it doesn't happen often, I have had people ask me pointed questions about where I'm located and where I was born. And I'm sure there are people who don't hire me because I don't have what they think is a standard English-sounding name. 

But I also realize that there are a lot of people who misrepresent themselves or overestimate their skills on this platform. There are some freelancers who promote their English ability as native or bilingual when it's clearly not. Clients who are not English speakers are really quite vulnerable on this platfrom because some of them can't recognize whether the freelancers they're hiring have adequate language skills to do the job. Unfortunately, they may make uninformed assumptions. They may also make uninformed assumptions about the quality of your education based on where you're from.  

I agree that it's uncomfortable for people to be able to post such overtly prejudiced and exclusionary statements. I don't like this and I don't agree with it. However, the precident wasn't  established yesterday. It's been around for a while. That's not to say it's acceptable, just that from a pragmatic point of view, there's only so much you can do about policies that other people set. And you can only work with the clients who want to work with you. But in my experience, the people who agree to work with me are usually really great, and those people definitely value my skills. And I have clients from places I wouldn't have access to otherwise. 

One good thing I've recently discovered is that clients don't often see other clients' postings (this only happens if they also have freelancer profiles themselves), so at least they're not being encouraged to add these sorts of statements by seeing other clients' postings. 

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