Do diversity programs ever cross the line?
I generally consider myself pretty liberal and am a strong proponent of diversity, but there’s one policy in the name of diversity that really does not sit well with me. Several companies in the Bay Area have special referral bonuses for referring underrepresented minorities, i.e. If you refer an engineer and they get hired you get a $5,000 referral bonus, but if you refer an underrepresented minority you will get a $10,000 bonus.
Whereas other diversity programs seem to target reducing barriers to entry within the market and reducing biases within the interview process (which I 100% support), increasing referral bonuses doesn’t seem to do either. And maybe this is just me being naive, but I don’t see how it even gets additional minorities into the funnel. Are there really people out there thinking “Oh, I wouldn’t even think about referring this person for $5000, but for $10,000 I’ll sing to a different tune”? So to me it just seems like racist virtue signaling.
Like, if Spotify noticed that its user base was prominently of one race, and they decided to target advertising and billboards towards underrepresented areas, that would be a-okay in my book. But if they all of the sudden started saying “Refer a friend, get a free month of premium. Refer a minority friend, get three free months of premium”, that wouldn’t sit well with me. It just feels wrong. And that’s kind of how I feel about these referral bonus structures.
I’m open to hearing other view points and evolving my own opinion, but I’m afraid if I were to start a dialogue in person I would be immediately labelled a bigot. So I turn to you Blind. Do you work at a company with these sort of policies? And do you feel they are moral and justified? If there’s a policy you don’t agree with, do you usually just keep quiet and nod along?