There is a controversy concerning popular “ban the box” initiative for colleges and businesses, because absence of data may worsen discrimination.
The initiative for banning or refusing to request information concerning past convictions from future college students and employees of the businesses is growing more and more widespread. Even President Obama’s administration asked colleges to give up offering such uncomfortable questions to prospective applicants.
U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King proposed a new policy to the educational institutions, saying, “We believe in second chances and we believe in fairness.”
“We must ensure that more people … have the chance at higher education opportunities.”
At the same time, the supporters of this effort face quite unexpected negative consequences. Institutional racism turned out to be rooted too deeply in the hearts of American officials, business owners and recruiting personnel at all levels.
A similar situation is connected with college admittance. As there are no clear rules of how to treat the information about criminal past, educational institutions rather often refuse to deal with ex-convicts wishing them to rethink their lives.
In the end, bias and racism, which continue to poison our society has led to gloomy unemployment statistics. In the first quarter of 2015 there were about 16 percent of unemployed white young men in America but for blacks this number reached 27.5 percent, for the men aged between 20 and 24 these values were 9.1 percent and 17.8 percent respectively.
Experts from urban institute are sure that high incarceration of black men is mostly to blame for the situation as the latter make just 37 percent of the country’s population but 67 percent of local prison inmates.
Criminal past becomes a lifelong stigma preventing one from entering into respectable colleges or finding decent jobs. Especially this problem touches upon the people of color adding more discrimination to what they have to face every day.
Urban institute offers to reconsider “ban the box” practice and says, “What is needed instead are policies and programs that address problems much farther upstream, where members of minority communities are being funneled into the criminal justice system.”
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