Why do we have laws protecting job candidates from discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity, age, gender and so on? Because hiring managers have preconceived notions about whether candidates of a particular race, ethnicity, etc. will fit into their corporate culture and are capable or intellectual enough to execute the duties of their open positions. You know this. Minorities are the underdog. Well this recent story reveals how foolish and off base are biases are.
Just as we have pre-conceived notions about minorities we too also have similar assumptions about children attending Ivy League universities such as Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia and so on. We assume they are pretty darn smart. All eight Ivy League schools are ranked on the list of the top twenty colleges in America with five residing in the top ten. The average acceptance rate among them is less than twelve percent and even tighter among the top three. In short you must be smart and talented to get in.
Recently I read a story about a group of students each of whom were accepted into all eight Ivies! All eight! Getting wait listed for one Ivy school is pretty impressive but gaining acceptance to all eight is quite a feat confirmed by the mere few capable of achieving this goal. Three of this group were also accepted at Stanford, the college into which gaining admittance is the most difficult and one more was accepted to and has decided to attend M.I.T., the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an equally prestigious school.
Gaining acceptance to all eight Ivies in addition to a number of other prestigious schools isn’t the most interesting part. The fact that all of these kids are immigrants or children of first generation immigrants is. And no they aren’t all white immigrants from European countries. Victor Agbafe’s mother emigrated from Nigeria, Munira Khalif’s parents emigrated from Somali, Kwasi Enin’s parents are from Ghana, Alexander Roman’s dad emigrated from Mexico and Harold Ekeh moved to the U.S. from Nigeria when he was eight. Stefan Stoykov arrived in the U.S. also at the age of eight from Bulgaria and started the second grade not knowing English.
Only students possessing intelligence, a can-do attitude and the ability to fit in culturally, could gain acceptance to all eight IVY league schools and also in some instances, prestigious schools on the West coast. These are the type of individuals who may one day change the direction of our world but in most cases they are all minorities, furthermore their parents aren’t born Americans.
Minorities are underrepresented in executive positions, especially at the C-level. In 2014 African-Americans, Asians and Latinos combined to make up just over 4% of all CEOs on the Fortune 500. Women accounted for only 4.8%. According to Utah State Univ. professor, Christy Glass, “When they [women and minorities] slip up — even if it’s not their fault — it’s really easy to blame them because we already have these biases that they may not be as competent as other leaders.”
Aren’t they as capable and hard working as the race, gender or ethnicity we subconsciously prefer to hire no matter what the position?
Intelligence and a powerful will to succeed can come in any package but according to the group above, more often than not, you may find it in an underprivileged minority.