A Boy Named 'Messiah'?
By LZ Granderson CNN Contributor | 8/13/2013, 6:54 p.m.
I spoke with a handful of HR professionals who told me off the record they would be hesitant to bring in someone with a controversial name such as "Messiah" if they were hiring for a conservative company. It is very similar to the impact of having an address based in a poor neighborhood on the resume.
And consider this: Researchers combing through U.S. Census Bureau records found that more than 100 years ago, the 20 most popular names were largely the same for blacks and whites, but after the 1970s, that number became much smaller.
And a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research did show that the "whiter" sounding names on a resume were 50% more likely to get a call back from an employer than a more ethnic sounding one. Another analysis by that group suggests the reason for this isn't directly because of the applicant's race but rather over the past 20 years, certain names have been linked to certain socio-economic status.
And we know other minorities such as Asians and Indians have been known to ditch their more ethnic name to blend in and/or avoid having constantly to tell people how to pronounce their name.
"John" may be a boring, but it is burdenless.
Then again, you can't get more ethnic sounding than "Barack Hussein Obama." and he has a pretty good job. Maybe there's room for Messiahs and Kia Sophias at the top as well.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.