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msoth7
Community Member

Casual racism in job posting

**edited for Community Guidelines**

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wlyonsatl
Community Member

Every one should be judged solely by the quality of their work, which has nothing to do with national origin, race, gender, etc., etc.

 

I expect you'll see that job posting removed by Upwork soon.

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25 REPLIES 25
wlyonsatl
Community Member

Every one should be judged solely by the quality of their work, which has nothing to do with national origin, race, gender, etc., etc.

 

I expect you'll see that job posting removed by Upwork soon.

msoth7
Community Member

Exactly Will! The irony being that there are millions of naturalized US citizens who happen to be born on the African continent. So basically that client excludes them as well.


Will L wrote:

Every one should be judged solely by the quality of their work, which has nothing to do with national origin, race, gender, etc., etc.

 

I expect you'll see that job posting removed by Upwork soon.


______________________________

I don't think it will be. This subject has been addressed before. Upwork allows clients to specify countries. As is amply demonstrated by the geoblocking strategies already in place. 

colettelewis
Community Member

Priscilla,

 

I think it is probably less racially prejudiced than language prejudice - or assumption - that Africans (whatever their colour) will not be up to proofreading American English. I have several times been turned down for a proofreading job because I am not native US.

 

The other problem is that some people from African and Asian countries make life very difficult for genuine freelancers (whose English is perfect) from those countries because they falsify their profiles and skills. (I had someone not so long ago from Madagascar steal my profile - everything on it - who was 18 years old, whose language skills were basic, and who was bidding on the same jobs as me. He was young enough to be my grandson!) It's this sort of person that gives others a bad name!  

 

It is certainly possible that there is a racist undertone, but I genuinely believe it is more because some clients may have been conned by people who should not be on this site.  


Nichola L wrote:

 

I think it is probably less racially prejudiced than language prejudice - or assumption - that Africans (whatever their colour) will not be up to proofreading American English. I have several times been turned down for a proofreading job because I am not native US.

 


I can almost invariably pick up if something was written by a British writer, an American writer or a writer from Nigeria or Kenya.

It is not the same English. It sounds and feels different. Different style. Sometimes a little, sometimes dramatically.

 

Maybe Upwork will remove the posting, but frankly I think it is better that applicants know not to waste their connects on a certain job post when they will not be selected anyway and their proposal nt even opened because they do not fit the client's preferred profile.

 

msoth7
Community Member

Also Petra , it is definitely much more complex than that in reality. You have millions of people of African or Asian descent who lived in Europe or the  US all of their lives and speak the language fluently and write it perfectly. The same applies to Europeans who settled in Caribbean countries and speak the patois fluently.

petra_r
Community Member


Priscilla O wrote:

Also Petra , it is definitely much more complex than that in reality.


Everything is.

I am a native German speaker and lived in the UK for well over 20 years.

Yet I get excluded because I now live in Italy (weather and food better, people nicer) and clients want freelancers in Germany or the UK.

Just the way it goes, I just move on to the next one.

 

Clients have every right to choose. I have every right to apply anyway and see if I can change their mind.

If I can't, living next to an olive grove with my own tangerines in the garden makes it worthwhile ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

That said, the client themself is not a native English speaker by any stretch of the imagination either and that job post contains so many red flags that the location-specification is barely the tip of the iceberg.

 

 

 

 

ladyelexia
Community Member

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. 

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?   

renata101
Community Member


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. 


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).

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   โ€”William Ashbless


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. 


_________________________________

 

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. 

 

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

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce


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. 


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. 


_________________________________

 

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.

 

 


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.

 

 


_________________________________

 

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. 

renata101
Community Member

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

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. 




msoth7
Community Member

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.

 

renata101
Community Member


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. 

msoth7
Community Member

Thank you for your advice Renata,

I guess because my experience on the platform so far has been very positive , I was taken aback by this post.  Let's hope it doesn't become standard practice. Also,  you're right! I forgot that clients don't see other clients' postings so it's encouraging.

Thank you all for your replies and thanks for the laughs...Cat Very Happy

I know this says 'solved', but I'd like to chip in my 2 kobos nonetheless.

 

First, as others have said, it's in line with Upwork's rules for people to be able to specify which countries they want to get applications from and which ones they don't want to. I don't have a problem with it - there are legitimate instances where it'll be better to have writers from a particular location. 

 

Since this one apparently doesn't mind everyone else but Africans, the post was clearly prejudiced but not necessarily racist (although that's likely to be present too, based on real-life experience). 

 

I agree with you that there are a lot of high-quality writers from Africa (whether native or migrants) and I understand why the posting would be offensive. As someone who has been published in a few major publications, it irritates me to see such illogical discrimination too.

 

Sometimes, when I come across (on other job boards - I'm quite new on Upwork) similar "native speakers only" guidelines but I really want the job, I apply anyway and SHOW that though I'm not a native-English speaker (this is another absurdity but for another day), I'd be the best for the job based on my qualifications and experience. It often works. You might want to try it too if you come across a very attractive job, not a poor one like this.


Alex A wrote:

[...]

Sometimes, when I come across (on other job boards - I'm quite new on Upwork) similar "native speakers only" guidelines but I really want the job, I apply anyway and SHOW that though I'm not a native-English speaker (this is another absurdity but for another day), I'd be the best for the job based on my qualifications and experience. It often works. You might want to try it too if you come across a very attractive job, not a poor one like this.

 

______________________

+1000


 

I love your perspective on this topic!๐Ÿ‘


Priscilla O wrote:

I love your perspective on this topic!๐Ÿ‘


Me, too!

And Alex's tactical point has been attested to many times on Upwork. Success is possible when applying for jobs for which one is nominally "disqualified." If we have a compelling case for being the best candidate despite a client's specified preference (or prejudice), we can hazard a proposal, and often win the job.

Kudos to Alex.  He is absolutely correct.  I've won jobs by simply stating "I don't live in X but I'm an expert in Q, Y, and Z ... and those skills are what you need."  And then prove it.