Races unequal in job search: study

Law-abiding black men fare no better than white ex-cons when it comes to interviewing for jobs in the city, according to a study released yesterday.
In the year-long study, co-sponsored by the city Commission on Human Rights, 13 men went on 3,500 undercover job interviews around the city.

White candidates offering resumes mentioning phony criminal backgrounds got called back 16% of the time - the same rate as black men with identical credentials and crime-free backgrounds.

Whites with clean backgrounds got called back 21% of the time, compared with 6% of blacks whose resumes had a phony felony conviction.

"I think there is a deep reservation on the part of employers to trust young black men," said Bruce Western, a Princeton University sociology professor who co-authored the study with Devah Pager, a Princeton colleague.

"Not only do [ex-offenders] suffer, but those who suffer the most are black," said John Jay College President Jeremy Travis. "They suffer this double whammy."

Anthony Nurse, 25, a black man who went on numerous job interviews as part of the study, said some interviewers wouldn't even shake his hand - even when he said his record was clean. "I would see my white partner being interviewed, and then when it was my turn the whole demeanor changed," he said.