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When assumptions “backfire…”

Study Proves Drug Testing Benefits Black Job Applicants

Apparently since employers are often already under the assumption that Black job applicants are drug users, testing actually prevents them from going with their racist gut instincts and increases the chances of drug-free Black applicants gaining employment. Via Time Magazine:

It’s no secret that America’s war on drugs hasn’t gone well, at least in economic and racial terms. Labor economist Abigail Wozniak investigated the relationship between race, drug testing, and employment, publishing a paper in the National Bureau of Economic Research with her findings. Surprisingly, she found that the rise of drug testing actually boosts African-American employment by a significant percentage: In states with a high prevalence of drug testing, African-American employment increased between 7% and 30%, while wages increased between 1.4 and 13%.

“A common assumption is that the rise of drug testing must have had negative consequences for black employment,” she writes. “However, the rise of employer drug testing may have benefited African-Americans by enabling non-using blacks to prove their status to employers.”

In case you missed it: She’s saying that, because African-Americans are perceived to use more drugs, drug testing enables them to objectively prove to employers that they don’t, which therefore results in increased employment.

While it’s great to see the system work in our favor…it’s still pretty messed up to have to disprove a racist assumption before even getting a foot in the door!



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