Its no surprise that being a black man in the U. S. is tough. Nor is it a surprise that being a gay black man is seen by many as double-jeopardy – the whole double minority thing. But as it turns out, being a black gay man has its benefits. Especially when it comes to the corporate world, according to a study done by Princeton University.
And that may come as a surprise to many.
The study was led by sociologist David Pedulla, who directed his researchers to explore what effects race and sexuality have on the chances of being considered for jobs and starting salaries. And what they ended up with is that a gay African-American man not only stands a better chance of landing a job, but also getting paid better than his heterosexual counterpart.
So contrary to popular belief, where two minority groups are considered, again, double-jeopardy, apparently that doesn’t apply here; where it seems to work for you rather than against.
According to Financial Juneteenth, past studies have laid out the disadvantages faced by a man who is black and gay. A 2003 study showed both straight and gay African-American men with no negative history still face more difficulty getting jobs than their white counterparts with a crime record. Another study also found that Black teens who are gay are more likely to become homeless than their gay peers from other races.
So how did the Princeton researchers come to this latest conclusion, which is so far-fetched than previous studies?
They conducted a resúmé test that included hundreds of employers across the country. Pedulla and his team posed a fictional position for applicants and sent resumes to 231 White employers asking them to suggest a starting salary. The resúmés used either a typical white male name like Brad Miller, and a black male name like Darnell Jackson. Half of the resúmés 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.”
And wow, the responses were surprising at the very least. The team observed that gay black men were more likely to receive the same starting salaries as heterosexual white men. Gay white men and straight black men were considered for lesser salaries.
But then again, is it really so surprising when you think about it historically: where white men have always felt sexually threatened by black men. Pedulla said the study revealed gay black men were considered less threatening than their heterosexual counterparts.
Keli Goff from The Root certainly wasn’t surprised by this at all and writes that “Fear of the sexual power and prowess of black men has been at the root of the most horrifying acts of racial violence against black Americans, from the lynching epidemic of the early 20th century to the torture of young Emmett Till for supposedly flirting with a white woman in 1955.”
This brings into question though, those sitting in the position to hire. Is it the white man sitting behind the desk in human resources making this decision or the white woman? Further, it calls their agenda into question (not to mention their sexual preference). My point, there may be other intricate factors involved as well.