On Monday, the Register received an interesting tip from an engineer applying for a position online. Now, IBM is apologizing for its online job app asking applicants if they were “yellow” or “mulato [sic].”
The online application showed the options from a drop down menu asking people to “please state your Ethnic group,” Business Insider reported. In addition to calling themselves “yellow” or “mulato [sic],” people also had the option to pick “indigenous,” “caucasian,” or “black.”
The menu was gone by the time the Register looked at the application, but it was still present in the company’s code. Plus, the internet lives forever and people took videos of it.
In a statement to Business Insider, IBM’s vice president Edward Barbini said their recruitment websites had “temporarily and inappropriately” asked about ethnicity.
“Those questions were removed immediately when we became aware of the issue and we apologize. IBM hiring is based on skill and qualifications. We do not use race or ethnicity in the hiring process and any responses we received to those questions will be deleted,” Barbini said. “IBM has long rejected all forms of racial discrimination and we are taking appropriate steps to make sure this does not happen again.”
The applicant, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Register they were “shocked” to see those options.
“It made me feel as though there are biases and prejudices that exist, that may go unchecked or unnoticed, that may even be directly contrary to what the company as a whole tries to present as their values and image. Also, the fact that it is 2019, and to see something like this, blows my mind,” the applicant said.
The term “Mulatto” itself is a pretty outdated, so it’s weird to think of how it made its way into a company’s application — and that they spelled it wrong in the process.
The Register reported IBM’s job pages are hosted by a company called Brassring. However, it’s still unclear how those slurs ended up in the application menu.