Study: Gay Black Men Get More Jobs, Higher Salaries Than Straight Ones

April 1, 2015  |  

According to a recent study by Princeton University, gay Black men earn more than straight Black men. Sociologist David Pedulla led the study which looked at the effects race and sexuality have on job opportunities and starting salaries. And it found that not only does a gay Black man have a better shot of employment but he’ll probably be paid more than his heterosexual counterpart.

The Princeton study did something called a resume test, in which they sent out fake resumes to white employers to see what the response would be.

“The resume used either a typical white male name like Brad Miller, and a Black male name like Darnell Jackson. Half of the resumes showed the applicant listed as the president of a ‘Student Advisory Council,’ the other half described the applicant as president of the ‘Gay Student Advisory Council,'” reports Black America Web.

The resumes that were supposedly from gay Black men were more likely to receive the same starting salaries as heterosexual white men. Gay white men and straight black men were offered lower salaries.

Why? As Pedulla points out gay Black men were considered less threatening than straight Black men. There has been many studies on how threatening whites perceive Black men. A recent article for NPR, Michel Martin interviewed Paul Butler, a Georgetown University law professor, and Doyin Richard, a blogger at a parenting blog, Daddydoinwork.com, to talk about the fear of Black men in American society.

Butler spoke of being racially profiled in his  upper middle class neighborhood in D.C. and how the police, themselves African American, who followed him on the street did not believe he lived there.

Richards described how in one instance a white woman was afraid of him just by his presence.  “When I was out with my oldest daughter, who’s [four-years-old], we were in a shopping mall, in a garage in Los Angeles…and there was a lady, who was with her husband. And I could tell they were just really nervous around me. And then we went to an ATM — I had to get some money — and there’s another couple and I heard the woman say ‘Hurry up, let’s go, let’s go.’ Like I was going to rob them…,” he recalls.

But more to the point, employers have a fear of what might happen if they hire Black men. Also on NPR, Michel Martin spoke with Georgetown’s Harry Holzer about what goes through the minds of employers when they’re making hiring decisions.

“I think employers, first of all, worry about weaker performance of black males relative to black women, relative to other groups. And if their performance is weaker, then along with that they might fear more quits, more discharges, needs to discipline employees,” Holzer said.

Moreover, there’s concern over confrontation (verbal or otherwise) and lawsuits stemming from termination or a failure to promote. According to Holzer, most lawsuits filed under equal employment opportunity laws are for these two things.

“… [W]hite employers fear that if they have to discipline a black male employee and maybe even discharge them, that there’s a bigger chance that they’ll be sued for that than if they turn them away at the gate,.” Holzer adds.

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