IBM Justifies for Including Racially Insensitive Tags in the List of Job Application

IBM Justifies for Including Racially Insensitive Tags in the List of Job Application


IBM published an apology letter on Tuesday for including racially-insensitive terms in the list of the company’s job application website. The company asked job applicants to label their ethnic status from a pull-down menu which included yellow, colored, and mulatto. The drop-down menu also features other options like Caucasian and black. One of the potential job applicants posted a video on Twitter. The post highlighted IBM’s act to list various racially insensitive terms to select for identification. Rich Park, an applicant, said he was shocked by the list of names mentioned in the list. Thus he decided to take a video and post it on the social media platform.

Alex Gao, a student at New York University computer science, said the move left him upset. He stated the company forced people to select their community to apply for a role of a software developer in the U.S. The list also included categories like not a Brazil national, not a South African National, etc. The groups are not at all present in the U.S. despite that IBM mentioned them in the drop-down menu. But the company clarified itself by saying that the application asked questions depending on local demands in Brazil and South Africa.

Edward Barbini, IBM’s vice president of corporate communications, apologized about the act. He said the recruiting websites had temporarily and improperly requested data about job applicant’s ethnicity. Barbini added the questions were removed as soon as the company realized about the problem. The company also replied to Park on Twitter and said the categories showed up due to a translation error. IBM jobs verified account thanked Rich to notify the company about the issue. The account added some of the company’s websites had been translated improperly. IBM has removed the insensitive language and is checking its other site to avoid further issues. Barbini said the company’s recruitment entirely depend on skills and qualification. IBM do not use race or ethnicity in its hiring process. The company has discarded all forms of racial bias and taking appropriate moves to ensure that things do not revise.

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