My parents, Joseph and Judith, almost named me Jody. Joe and Judy could be a nice white couple from Mississauga, and Jody their equally white-bread daughter. But they chose instead to honour my African and Indian heritage.
My dilemma wasn't unique – these are considerations for many minority applicants at the gates of professional careers. In a recent study, a third of Asian and black participants reported whitening their resumé or covering their minority status. And though it may pain the soul to do so, it works. Black students who whiten resumés get 2.5 times more callbacks. For Jamal to be considered equal to Greg, he needs eight more years of experience. Companies say they want diverse candidates, but the numbers don't bear the claims out. Whitening is just one of the many ways we try to fit into these worlds when we would rather they expand to include us.
I sighed and typed my name in large, bold letters at the top of the page. H-A-D-I-Y-A.