On employment applications, academic or non, there are those EEO questions: race, Hispanic/Latino, gender, veteran status, and disability. (I don't think I left any out, but feel free to add). In addition to the actual options (e.g., male, female) there is usually an option for "Prefer not to say" or something similar. I don't know for sure, but the EEO and the "Prefer not to say" option might even be a requirement for all jobs.
So, I always want to check this "Prefer not to say" option for all of the questions for a couple reasons:
- I think truly neutral merit-based hiring wouldn't and shouldn't inquire about that. It's kind of a political statement for me to check "Prefer not to say" because while I don't like any kind of personal attribute-based bias in hiring, I don't support this method of increasing diversity.
- I'm a white, non-Hispanic man who isn't disabled or a veteran, so I am not an official "protected class". It may not be obvious of this fact from my name, as I am sometimes considered other things by those who do not know me (e.g., I often get mail addressed to me as a Ms.) I always feel like checking the correct boxes to indicate my true status puts me in a less desirable category, at least in terms of EEO and diversity hiring. "He's another white male."
However, I always check them anyway because:
- They will find out who I am anyway if they interview me.
- They may not appreciate my unwillingness to participate in the EEO system.
What do people think? Does anyone - of any race/ethnicity or gender etc. - refuse to answer those questions? Do you think that this refusal makes them more likely to contact you for an interview? Has anyone refused to answer and gotten questions or blowback about this on the interview? I'm now considering doing it every time for my reasons above, but wonder if there will be consequences.