cognitive dissonance

cognitive dissonance (n): the state of maintaining two seemingly contradictory ideas

On the one hand, I don’t really believe that my continuing failure to find a job has anything (or much) to do with my gender or race. I think the positions I have been applying for are simply really competitive. I also believe that many of the other applicants are as qualified or more qualified than I am. Either my knowledge/experience is lacking or I didn’t sell myself well enough.

On the other hand, I’m perfectly aware that discrimination on the basis of gender and/or race is alive and well – even among employers with an equal opportunities policy. Even among employers who think of themselves as open-minded and welcoming of diversity. I’ve read the studies and seen the statistics. No one is a stronger proponent of an anonymised recruitment system than yours truly – partly for altruistic reasons but partly because I know I would be a direct and immediate beneficiary.

But I seem unwilling to view my continued unemployment in this light – in the light of discrimination. I don’t want to be a victim. Moreover, I don’t want to be a victim when I can’t PROVE that I am a victim. It’d be too whiny. And it’d make me even more bitter than I already am.

So when a friend suggested that perhaps I was rejected from one particular position because I wasn’t European, I was caught by surprise. The thought hadn’t occurred to me and even after she planted the thought, I didn’t want to think about it. The feeling of injustice would just eat away at me. Sure, I know the injustice already exists – but as a whole, as a societal phenomenon, to be studied, to be fought! I don’t want to deal with it as it affects me directly and personally. Because there’d be no recourse to justice. I can’t campaign against discriminatory hiring practices against just me!

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