back to article IBM so very, very sorry after jobs page casually asks hopefuls: Are you white, black... or yellow?

IBM has apologized after its recruitment webpages asked applicants whether their ethnicity was, among other options, the racial slurs Yellow and Mulatto. In online application forms for positions within the US tech giant, in among other questions ranging from military veteran status, and eligibility to work in America, a …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    DNA?

    "When coming to attend a job interview, please bring a DNA sample so that we can verify your ethnicity answer."

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: DNA?

      It would be tricky coming to a job interview without DNA.

      1. caffeine addict Silver badge

        Re: DNA?

        The question is, does it have to be your own DNA?

        That sounds a lot creepier than it did in my head.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: DNA?

        "It would be tricky coming to a job interview without DNA."

        If you can truly give 120% for your new company, coming along with no DNA is a piece of cake.

        Clearly you don't want to work here?

    2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Re: DNA?

      What's the accepted method for giving your sample... do you just spit at the interviewer?

    3. Jtom Bronze badge

      Re: DNA?

      Wow, if that had actually been done for the past few decades, there is at least one US Senator who would be an unemployed person lacking a college degree.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DNA?

      Your DNA saliva swab test indicated you are one woman and 17 men. Welcome aboard, you start in the boardroom on Monday!

  2. Ole Juul Silver badge

    sorry or not

    Somebody obviously works there who thinks in these terms. Perhaps still does.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Guus Leeuw

        Re: sorry or not

        Dear Shadow Systems,

        why the coder(s)?

        HR Rep: Please put this ethnicity drop down in the application form.

        Coder(s): Are you sure you want Yellow?

        HR Rep: Yes, put it in, please.

        Coder(s): Can I have that in writing, please?

        HR Rep: Sure, here you go. Put it in!

        I have you this: The person who made the decision to have that put in needs piking, but it is not necessarily the coder(s) who is(are) at fault.

        Best regards,

        Guus

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sorry or not

      The clue is in that "Brazil_" prefix; ethnic descriptions used in the Brazilian census and elsewhere include amarelo (yellow) and mulatto (mulatto). The most likely explanation seems to be that someone's picked up an anglicised Brazilian list and used it out of context elsewhere in the world where some of those terms are considered offensive.

      1. holmegm

        Re: sorry or not

        Precisely so.

        Caring what your race is, trying to find out if flat out asking you isn't allowed, trying to hire more of some and less of others, etc., *that's* all just fine - you just can't use these magic words, in English, to do it.

        1. Knewbie

          Re: sorry or not

          Blue is a very difficult colour to properly skin match...

          1. sprograms

            Re: sorry or not

            Not so difficult to Pict-ure though.

          2. PaulFrederick

            Re: sorry or not

            Blue is not hard to match. You just OD on colloidal silver and you look like Papa Smurf then. At least that's what happens to caucasians who I think are the only people idiotic enough to take that supplement in the first place.

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: sorry or not

          "flat out asking you isn't allowed"

          In most countries there are laws against requiring job applicants about their ethnicity, but not everywhere. Perhaps it's allowed in Brazil and the tag "Brazil_" was not correct that wound up pushing that element to all of the web portals.

      2. jmch Silver badge

        Re: sorry or not

        "...ethnic descriptions used in the Brazilian census ..."

        Doesn't really matter where the list came from, nor whether in Brazil 'amarelo' and 'mulatto' are considered offensive*. Even if the dropdown said 'Asian' or 'East Asian' or 'mixed-race' or whatever supposedly inoffensive term they could come up with, it's still highly inappropriate to ask this question. And THAT isn't something a developer just came up with - if it's part of IBM's main US recruitment website you can bet that it's some pretty high-up people in HR who requested and/or approved that.

        *I would think that they are offensive regardless

        1. Cederic

          Re: sorry or not

          It's impossible to gather and assess data on the racial demographics of people applying to work for you, and whether they were successful in that application.

          There are multiple legitimate reasons for performing such an assessment, none of which are inappropriate or illegal, some of which may even be legally mandated (but I'm not sure - certainly gender is legally required to be tracked so maybe race and skin colour are too).

          I'd have had to select 'other'; my skin colour is lemon chiffon.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: sorry or not

          Why?

          Which whitey was it who unilaterally deemed the term 'yellow' to be offensive, and when? And to whom? Not the yellows themselves: I don't know about mulatto, but actual yellow people rarely find the term 'yellow' offensive. My wife is one and contentedly describes herself as such, as do just about all the other Japanese I've ever met. They regard themselves as 'yellow', not 'brown', and certainly not 'black'.

          Recruiting on the basis of ethnicity (or gender) rather than skill, experience, aptitude, and ability to integrate with the employer's culture: now *that's* racist (or sexist).

          People talk about 'diversity'. Exactly how much 'diversity' do you want in, for example, airline pilots? Personally, I want *none*. I want them all to be intelligent, able flyers, operationally competent, good at Cockpit Resource Management, resourceful when required. Their ethnicity or gender is of no account unless it can be shown to impair those requirements.

          1. Jtom Bronze badge

            Re: sorry or not

            My comment when this issue comes up is, if meritocracy is not the basis of selecting doctors, airplane pilots, and jobs, why is it allowed in trivial pursuits like sports teams? Do people really demand the best on the playing field, but less than the best for open heart surgery is perfectly acceptable?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: sorry or not

            Some ethnicities - ironically, often East Asian - culturally tend to be poor at Cockpit Resource Management and initiative. No-one dare challenge the Lord High Captain when he (invariably, it's a he) makes a bad decision. Plenty of people have been killed as a result of this: Asiana at SF and Korean at Guam spring to mind. Makes me wary of flying with Chinese and Korean airlines, although KLM at Tenerife was a notorious example, as have been plenty of Russian pileups.

            1. Spunjji

              Re: sorry or not

              You know what these preventable aviation tragedies all have in common? They are caused by shitty airlines with low margins, low pay and low standards. There's literally no need to bring race into it - it's a redundant variable. Trying to wedge it in there says bad things about you.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: sorry or not

                Ever heard of Authority Gradient?

                https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Authority_Gradients

                Take a look at the section entitled Cultural Differences. For Authority Gradient in action:

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenerife_airport_disaster

                "This was one of the first accident investigations during which the contribution of "human factors" was studied.[51] The human factors included:

                Captain Veldhuyzen van Zanten, a KLM training captain and instructor for over 10 years, had not flown on regular routes during the 12 weeks prior to the accident.[52]

                The flight engineer's and the first officer's apparent hesitation to challenge Veldhuyzen van Zanten further. The official investigation suggested that this might have been because the captain was not only senior in rank, but also one of the most respected pilots working for the airline"

                Is KLM one of the 'shitty airlines with low margins, low pay and low standards' to which you refer?

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Air_Flight_801

                "The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the captain’s failure to adequately brief and execute the non-precision approach and the first officer’s and flight engineer’s failure to effectively monitor and cross-check the captain’s execution of the approach."

                Is Korean Air one of the 'shitty airlines with low margins, low pay and low standards' to which you refer? Interestingly, Malcolm Gladwell writes up the effect of Authority Gradient on this accident in his book Outliers.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asiana_Airlines_Flight_214

                "Lack of compliance with standard operating procedures and crew resource management were cited as additional factors".

                Is Asiana one of the 'shitty airlines with low margins, low pay and low standards'?

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crew_resource_management

                Authority Gradient was a serious problem in airliner cockpits worldwide until the 1978 crash in Portland, Oregon of a United Airline DC8 - flown by three middle-aged white American males - , which along with the Tenerife disaster, brough about Cockpit Resource Management training. This ended the era of the Lord High Captain and effectively removed Authority Gradient from Western airliner cockpits, but for cultural reasons it can tend to persist in some non-Western airliner cockpits.

                It's all beautifully written up by David Beaty in his book The Human Factor in Aircraft Accidents, which I thoroughly recommend if you'd like to understand this stuff.

                Unless you'd simply rather continue with your woke rants, that is.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: sorry or not

                  https://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20070307-0

                  Status: Final

                  Date: Wednesday 7 March 2007

                  Time: 07:58

                  Boeing 737-497

                  Operator: Garuda Indonesia Airways

                  CAUSES:

                  "1. Flight crew communication and coordination was less than effective after the aircraft passed 2,336 feet on descent after flap 1 was selected. Therefore the safety of the flight was compromized.

                  2. The PIC flew the aircraft at an excessively high airspeed and steep descent during the approach. The crew did not abort the approach when stabilized approach criteria were not met.

                  3. The pilot in command did not act on the 15 GPWS alerts and warnings, and the two calls from the copilot to go around.

                  4. The copilot did not follow company instructions and take control of the aircraft from the pilot in command when he saw that the pilot in command repeatedly ignored warnings to go around.

                  Steep Authority Gradient, d'you reckon?

          3. Spunjji

            Re: sorry or not

            No anon, what's really racist/sexist is pretending that we don't live in a world where racism and sexism already inform hiring decisions.

            Implicit bias is a very well scientifically documented aspect of human nature. It capably and sufficiently explains differences we see in employment levels across gender/ethnicity/class boundaries in a way that no other mechanism does. To deny its existence or randomly posit some other explanation without evidence isn't just racist/sexist, it's anti-science.

            Your comment starts with some fact-free generalisations about how Asian people feel about being called "yellow", implies that looking for racist/sexist hiring practices is worse than the practices themselves, and ends with some off-topic ranting about diversity, a topic you clearly do not understand. Yet according to you it's other people who are the "real racists". Sure.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: sorry or not

              "No anon, what's really racist/sexist is pretending that we don't live in a world where racism and sexism already inform hiring decisions."

              Of course they do. They always have, and always will. That's human nature. Other factors also inform hiring decisions. The important thing is to be aware of the influence of racism and sexism, and consciously counter it.

              "Implicit bias is a very well scientifically documented aspect of human nature. It capably and sufficiently explains differences we see in employment levels across gender/ethnicity/class boundaries in a way that no other mechanism does. To deny its existence or randomly posit some other explanation without evidence isn't just racist/sexist, it's anti-science."

              Bollocks, pal. Read some Jonathan Haidt. Implicit bias has been roundly debunked. That's science - or at least as close to science as the social sciences get.

              "Your comment starts with some fact-free generalisations about how Asian people feel about being called "yellow","

              No it doesn't. It starts with empirical observation. I never claimed tats. Got some?

              "...implies that looking for racist/sexist hiring practices is worse than the practices themselves,

              It is. I don't want to be flown by an incompetent aitline pilot whio got the job simply because they're not white, or not male, or can afford to 'pay to fly', which is most definitely a thing and has already resulted in crashes. Look it up. My 'diversity' list didn't include 'rich enough', but perhaps should have.

              "...and ends with some off-topic ranting about diversity, a topic you clearly do not understand."

              What is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. I know exactly what *you* mean by 'diversity': the sacred Hierarchy of Oppression. Whitey male bad; everyone else good. Sod off with your divisive racism.

              "Yet according to you it's other people who are the "real racists". Sure."

              I rest my case, M'lud. Come back when you're a grown up and we can resume this discussion.

      3. Daniel M

        Re: sorry or not

        Thank you for digging out "Brazil." It immediately looked to me like a Latin American list, but I was stuck at Spanish, in which not all these terms would be used.

        The Register may now resume its anglophone pearl-clutching.

      4. midcapwarrior

        Re: sorry or not

        “Our recruiting websites temporarily and inappropriately solicited information concerning job applicant ethnicity, based on local government requirements in Brazil and South Africa,” Edward Barbini, IBM’s vice president of corporate communications, said in a statement to The Washington Post. “Those questions were removed immediately when we became aware of the issue and we apologize.”

        The site has since switched to ethnic designations that are standard in the United States, Barbini said, such as “Asian” and “Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.” It also allows applicants to check “unknown” or “not indicated.”

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: sorry or not

        Coming from the division that this came out of, its highly unlikely that this was a mistake or some list that was taken out of context. Everything with these forms are HR approved with approval from legal.

    3. holmegm

      Re: sorry or not

      "Somebody obviously works there who thinks in these terms. Perhaps still does."

      Lots of people who work there - and everywhere else - think in those terms, including in HR.

      There is plenty of obsession with race.

      They just don't use those specific words, that's all. But they are still obsessed though with your race, how many they hire of each, how to hire more of some and less of others, etc.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: sorry or not

        There is plenty of obsession with race.

        Sadly given the increasingly frequent calls for diversity at any cost, the obsession is largely necessary.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: sorry or not

          Sadly given the increasingly frequent calls for diversity at any cost, the obsession is largely necessary.

          Therein is the problem. Governments, activists, even the general population for the most part think diversity is a good thing. The problem is measuring it. Do you have a questionnaire for employees? Someone walking around and noting things about employees without asking? Or????

          Perhaps someday, those who push for "diversity" won't have to care because people will be hired on merit or potential only. At least the idea of quotas (like we saw back in the 60's-70's) has been done away with, or least openly done away with.

          1. BigSLitleP

            Re: sorry or not

            I get what you are saying and agree with you. I even gave you a thumbs up.

            The problem we have is that we need the quotas in order to break the institutional racism but quotas themselves are inherently racist.

            So yeah, if people were less racist we wouldn't need racism to defeat the racism we already have.

            1. Jtom Bronze badge

              Re: sorry or not

              You fight racism using Courts, not quotas. When you use quotas, you are just creating a new group of victims who will respond by becoming racists. Meritocracy should be the only determining factor, with the Courts ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity.

              If the results produce segments of the population being under-represented in a field, then you must look elsewhere for the answer. If, for example. Asians are under-represented in a basketball league, is it the result of racism or some other factor? On AVERAGE, Asians are physically shorter than other groups. That is the reason for the sparseness of Asian pro-basketball players (yes, there are exceptions). The real debate then becomes, is it in the public’s best interest to make any exception to meritocracy to adjust for that factor for a particular job? People are less likely to object to helping the disadvantaged (think handicap parking) than simply discriminating on race. In the above example, the solution would be to make exceptions for short people, not quotas for Asians.

            2. PaulFrederick

              Re: sorry or not

              Well I do not agree with you. Defeating racism is attacking an individual's right of association. Racism practiced on an individual level is protected behavior. It's no different than folks going to church really. This has all been decided in court too. See National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie and learn how to freedom better. Take a civics course or something will ya? What is the world coming to these days, I swear! Someday you're going to realize just how short life really is. Then you're going to wonder why we all put up with you for so long.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: sorry or not

            If only that were true. Quotas are still alive, and proliferating. The BBC has recently declared that its staff must faithfully reflect the proportion of blacks, browns, gays, muslims, women, handicapped, etc. in the UK population.

            That means they'll have to fire some gay presenters, then.

            And let's not get started on women-only MP selection lists.

            Of course, all of this will be roundly subverted by the legalisation of gender self-identity on a whim.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: sorry or not

          "Sadly given the increasingly frequent calls for diversity at any cost, the obsession is largely necessary."

          The biggest problem with diversity is the calls for more diversity at any cost. In a fair world, you'd just hire the person who best passed the interview stage.

    4. hmv

      Re: sorry or not

      Not necessarily so.

      Not everyone working for IBM is a native English speaker and may not be aware of some forbidden words in association with "race". Of course such translations need to be checked by a native speaker to check for such gaffs.

    5. RLWatkins

      Re: sorry or not

      Gee whiz, I think that may be the least of their problems.

      Mind you, I've never met a yellow person, but I'm in the Southern US and I've never met anyone who was black or white either. Most of us are some shade of pink or brown. So why is it acceptable to describe some people as being black or white, while yellow is not?

      (It amazes me that people here who can't seem to get along will describe themselves as polar opposites and then wonder out loud why the problem persists.)

      And why is that information required on a job application to begin with? Granted, in the US one must report the numbers of employees on staff by ethnic group to the EEOC, but there are no actual quotas to fill so why make it a factor in making a hiring decision?

      This may be a Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious, but it looks like there are more problems here than just referring to Asians as "yellow".

      1. Stork Bronze badge

        Re: sorry or not

        It's sometimes quite arbitrary. My son has two friends: one has an African and a German parent and the other two (European) Portuguese parents. Their skin colours are virtually identical. But one is black and one is white.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: sorry or not

          "My son has two friends: one has an African and a German parent and the other two (European) Portuguese parents."

          Over 40 years ago, am advert on local TV for something I've long forgotten about, had a Geordie lad (James Bolam IIRC) chatting with an old Chinese guy in a takeaway. Only James did the taking until right at the end when he says "So, what part of China are you from?" and the old "Chinese" guy replies, in a broad Geordie accent, "Ahm from Sooth Sheels, Man!".

          The moral of the story is you can't really specify someone by their nationality based on colour, eg "German" could mean someone of any ethnicity. South Shields, being a sea port, has had, for example a significant Somali population since the mid-1800's so I'm pretty sure those people descended from those immigrants all see themselves as British by now.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: sorry or not

            "Ahm from Sooth Sheels, Man!"

            That's all right, then. At least he wasn't from Hull.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: sorry or not

              Where else would you get the wisdom of the Far East, if not from Hull?

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: sorry or not

                From further East, of course. Bridlington comes to mind ...

          2. jake Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: sorry or not

            Works the other way, too. A friend of mine is of English extraction ... by way of several generations of Jamaican fishermen. He looks like Graham Chapman. He sounds remarkably like Bob Marley.

            Diversity. Ain't it grand? This round's on me ... Red Stripe, of course.

  3. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    FAIL

    There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

    I'm of a certain age, back when politically incorrectness was common, I can take amusement out of early Jim Davidson* etc, enjoy Jeremy Clarkson trying to bridge the gap (Unsuccessfully most of the time) between then & now**.

    I've dated black, white, indian, asian & currently with a lady from the Philippines, I have friends & colleagues from a lot of those nationalities too, some of them are open to a bit of ribbing about their racial stereotypes & also return the favour back in my direction.

    But I cannot fathom for the life of me is what complete & utter fuckwomble thought it was a good idea to use "polite" terms like these from an era that predates\stem from the Jim Crow laws on a high profile companies, public facing website looking to hire talent.

    *Even he didn't to the best of my recall use the "N" word on TV, even when using Chalky as the subject of his jokes, although other sitcoms used a commonly phrased lesser varient (Love Thy Neighbour etc, which rarely had Eddie Booth come out on top).

    **See header - Failing deliberately or in error (It wasn't a term I was familiar with, others I would have been).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

      I still don't think Clarkson had any idea that what he said might be offensive, on that particular occasion.

      For a large proportion of the UK audience, the word slope has no racist connotations in general use, it's much more of a US term, and all he was doing was pointing out that the ramp / bridge wasn't level.He could equally well have said it had a slant on it, again without any racist intent.

      When a commonly used word is co-opted as a racial slur, should we stop using it for it's original intended meaning?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anne-Lise Pasch

        Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

        I think he knew exactly what he was saying, on that occasion.

      3. myhandler

        Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

        Of course he knew what it meant - it's used in Australia as well - anyone who thinks Clarkson didn't know is beng a troll racist apologist. Clarkson said it with a little girn on his face. Vile humour.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

          "Clarkson said it with a little girn on his face."

          Clarkson usually says everything with a little grin on his face. Exceptions include "Where's my steak?".

      4. Cederic

        Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

        Of course he made the joke on purpose. He wouldn't have said anything at all otherwise, and even if he had they wouldn't have included it in the final edit.

        RE: "When a commonly used word is co-opted as a racial slur, should we stop using it for it's original intended meaning?"

        No. We should also not demonise someone for using it in a joke, even if it was one of poor taste. Doesn't stop it being funny.

        1. Diogenes

          Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

          RE: "When a commonly used word is co-opted as a racial slur, should we stop using it for it's original intended meaning?"

          I am outraged that Microsoft has called its popular presentation software what it has as I have heard that word used to describe Asians.

          If you are in the UK this makes no sense as Asians are from the sub-continent, everywhere else Asian tends to mean people with pronounced epicanthic folds .

          It also makes no sense outside the countries that have diagonal pins and a vertical earth (like Australia - google australian powerpoint)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

            The 'East Asians' I know call themselves Oriental. I know all this started with Edward Said and his appalling Orientalism, but it seems he was actually describing Arabs as being 'Oriental'. Yer average Japanese doesn't take too kindly to being called a Westernised Oriental Gentleman.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

        > He could equally well have said it had a slant on it, again without any racist intent.

        He could also have made the comment while showing the bridge with nobody on it. But he didn't. He knew exactly what he was doing. The only question is whether he is a racist or was just provoking a reaction. Or both.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

          We'll never know will we?

          I think what the OP wanted to convey was "how do we treat cases where ignorance lead to the event".

          Not talking about 8-word prefixed racist words invoking tropes and stereotypes and which itself is obviously speaking of many, not an instance, but "subtle" things now.

          Build a sloped bridge (or don't risk it!) 100 times, maybe someone is on it when you stand back and look at your work. While contrived we may hear about it (but perhaps not the 99 other imperfect bridges).

          I imagine somewhere someone considers yellow emotes to be racist, apparently the "alt right" has co-opted many memes and colloquialisms with their own slant and as usual I am apparently way behind on these - I thought that frog thing was just "permanently pessimistic frog" - like Eyore (spelling?) but without (maybe - I don't want to commit) the copyright issues *cough* happy birthday song *cough so yeah plausible.

          Posted anon for this bit: Not liking Israel's use of Mossad et al in targeted killings (which often involve some collateral), the same dislike at seeing that video of a US Apache shooting journalists (or indeed any person really... but being journalists didn't help) is what's there for me at least, but the two are becoming entangled.

      6. sprograms

        Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

        My son had to learn the formula for a line in analytic geometry, with its slope intercept.

        I still ski the slopes.

        I've never heard someone use the term "slope" as a racially derogatory term. It must be a regional thing?

        1. Trilkhai

          Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

          I can only imagine that it is indeed a regional term, because I've never heard of it being used that way here on the West Coast, either.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

            My only knowledge is in the term 'slope off', used by the Greatest Generation in the UK to mean 'leave', 'go away', 'go and do something', 'leg it'. As a kid hearing it I was completely unaware of any racial connotation: it was simply a tasty and amusing bit of argot.

            Exactly the same went for 'nignog', commonly used in my family in the '60's to describe someone, usually me, as being daft. To me it was simply an abstract word like so many others. I was astounded when I later realised what it was a corruption of.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

          "I've never heard someone use the term "slope" as a racially derogatory term. It must be a regional thing?"

          ISTR hearing it as a derogatory term by soldiers in US war movies based in Vietnam (or Korea??). Not sure now, it was a long time a go I don't recall hearing it elsewhere or since then.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

            This is the first place I remember seeing the term "slope" in it's derogatory meaning. I'm a Californian.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

          According to Wiki,

          "Slope, slopehead, slopy, slopey, sloper(Aus, UK, and U.S.) a person of Asian (in Australia, especially Vietnamese; in America, especially Chinese) descent.[325][326] Also slant, slant–eye.[327][328]"

          I've been around 50 years or so, never heard of a slope being anything other than an indication of a slight angle off horizontal, usually referring to a hillside. And I was raised in what folks would call the "racist South" in the US. Never understood this either, because while I've run across racists n the South, it's nowhere near the depth nor density of the Northeast or the coastal areas of the US. Folks in the South stopped caring about race, for the most part, about 30 years ago.

    2. caffeine addict Silver badge

      Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

      I felt bad for being amused by the following (paraphrased) in last week's Grand Tour "China" episode. Couldn't quite decide if it was an attempt to get around being racist, trying to own racism, or trying to say "ha, silly people reading racism into innocent things".

      Clarkson/May : "I see you've brought the long car."

      May/Clarkson : "And you've brought the long car too."

      Hammond : "Erm, chaps, are we really going there?"

      May/Clarkson/whichever : "No, they're both long cars. All manufacturers are making long cars just for China".

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

        Long cars? WTF. No idea. Explain?

        1. Is It Me

          Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

          My guess, not having seen the episode, is that they had some form of stretched car, and were also trying to be funny with a potential mispronunciation of the word "wrong".

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

            I saw it, the Chinese like over priced, over sized cars, it is a status symbol.

            If it was a pun on wrong, it went over my head.

            Also I am the only one who would shout out if they saw the PM and the Chancellor "Where's Clarkson?".

            1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

              Nope you are not the only one, every time I see a newspaper headline for Hammond & May.

              I think they would probably make a better job of it too.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

            "My guess, not having seen the episode, is that they had some form of stretched car, and were also trying to be funny with a potential mispronunciation of the word "wrong"."

            That sounds plausible. Not having watched the show, and based on the comments, my first through was it was a poor pun based on The Long March.

        2. caffeine addict Silver badge

          Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

          Literally long cars. Audi, Merc, BMW, Jag, etc, all make versions with "L" designations that are lengthened by a bit (less than a foot) to make them more attractive to the Chinese market.

          The racist bit coming in from the hilarious 1970s observation that people from the far east sometimes get the pronunciation of L and R around the wrong way.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

            The irony behind the 1970s humour is that people from that part of the world do in fact distinguish L and R sounds, but the distinction in languages such as Mandarin or Japanese is much more subtle than in English. So in reality they are saying the correct sound -- or at least their closest native tongue approximation to it -- but to Western ears it sometimes slips into sounding like the wrong one*.

            So when people make that joke, they are actually saying "I don't listen very closely"...

            *For how this happens, see any good book on how the brain tunes its neural networks to the sounds it hears as an infant.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

            "Audi, Merc, BMW, Jag, etc, all make versions with "L" designations that are lengthened by a bit (less than a foot) to make them more attractive to the Chinese market."

            That's not the reason they are made: Those have been made since late 70s and no Chinese market then (for those).

            More leg room for rear seat, that's the actual reason as normal (short) version is basically a driver's car while long model is for owners sitting in the back seat and chauffeur drives.

          3. Stork Bronze badge

            Re: There's A Bit Of A Slope On It

            Well yes, if you have not heard particular sounds before adolescence it can be very difficult to learn how to pronounce or even distinguish them. German doesn't have th (Danish and Icelandic have the sounds), I cannot tell the difference between the words for chin and cheese in Portuguese and our Thai cooking teacher made the day talking about flied lice.

            It's okay if you can laugh with the person struggling and not at.

  4. EmilPer.

    what if you're multiracial ?

    What if you're multiracial ? I'm so mixed-race I qualify to become the evil lord from all the racist conspiracy theories and if there were a "affirmative action" policy in my country I'd have been nominated be the lord of the universe.

    What about us, no "mixed blood degenerates" category at IBM ?

    1. joeldillon

      Re: what if you're multiracial ?

      You would be expected to pick 'mulatto', I would assume. I'm surprised they didn't go the whole hog and add quadroon, octoroon etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: what if you're multiracial ?

        <Hogwarts> or mudblood </Hogwarts>

    2. Snorlax

      Re: what if you're multiracial ?

      Mixed blood degenerates?

      My father in law still uses terms like half-caste... So much casual racism.

      1. James Anderson

        Re: what if you're multiracial ?

        Its not actually racist to describe someones ethnicity. Some people are proud of their ancestors.

        If you want to experience real patronising ethnic prejudice try going to China where you have a choice of "white ghost" or "black ghost" as ethnicity if you are not Asian.

        Incidentally even if the choices were something as PC as "East Asian" and "mixed race" the pull down would still breach several US Federal employment laws -- you are not allowed to ask. Which makes it rather tricky to fulfil the legal requirement to report how many employees you have by ethnic group.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: what if you're multiracial ?

      It's all right for you, I'm neither Caucasian nor white but a sort of pinko-grey.

      (At least I'm pretty sure from the family tree that none of us came from the Caucasus back to at least 1800).

      1. Stork Bronze badge

        Re: what if you're multiracial ?

        Aren't we all African?

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: what if you're multiracial ?

      What about us, no "mixed blood degenerates" category at IBM ?

      I think they should have used the "Heinz 57" type of phrase. Looking at a few family trees, there's all sorts hanging on the branches and we truly are a mixed bunch. Certain politicians here in the States have suddenly had to change their tune or bail from politics once the family tree went public.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: what if you're multiracial ?

      Just start checking off boxes till you hit them all, perhaps?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They should have stuck to the *scientific* definition of ethnicity ...

    oh, hang on ....

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big Blue ?

    IBM is one of the most integrated companies out there and really does take this seriously. I worked with some fantastic people from all over the world who were recruited on the basis of their skills and experience.

    Having worked for IBM I am surprised they omitted asking if the applicant was Big and Blue.

    During RA they treat everyone equally harshly, no matter what your background, experience or skills. Where they are lacking is in their treatment of aged out staff.

    1. stiine Bronze badge
      FAIL

      Re: Big Blue ?

      Bullshit.

      Also, IBM's quote:

      "IBM has long rejected all forms of racial discrimination and we are taking appropriate steps to make sure this does not happen again.”

      Really must be qualified to read:

      "IBM hasn't rejected all forms of racial discrimination since the conclusion of the Nuremburg Trials when we began taking some small inappropriate steps to make sure this does happen again.”

      1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Big Blue ?

        IBM has long rejected all forms of racial discrimination...

        Are IBM employees going to show public outrage at Will Smith wearing blueface for the upcoming Aladdin movie?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Godwin Re: Big Blue ?

        IBM has a long history of social "firsts" including things like the industry's first black salesperson, first black manager, promoting women long before it was considered normal, benefits for gay couples, etc. etc. You can say a lot of mean things about IBM, but discrimination is not one of them.

        But hey, congratulations on Godwinning the thread.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Godwin Big Blue ?

          "But hey, congratulations on Godwinning the thread."

          I don't think what Mike wrote in 1990 means what you think it means. For your education, here it is in it's entirety: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.".

          Godwin himself further wrote "its purpose has always been rhetorical and pedagogical: I wanted folks who glibly compared someone else to Hitler to think a bit harder about the Holocaust."

          Nowhere does it suggest never mentioning Hitler or Nazis. On the contrary, in fact. All it suggests is that you think before posting.

          1. Someone Else Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Godwin Big Blue ?

            He (Godwin) also said that any comparison of Donald Trump to Nazis is accurate and is therefore immune to Godwin's Law.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Godwin Big Blue ?

              Godwin's law isn't a law, and is more properly known as Godwin's rule of Hitler analogies. It reads: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."

              Comparison of Trump to Nazis is an example that proves the rule. Immunity doesn't come into it.

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Big Blue ?

      Blue is Beautiful. Blue is Best.

      I'm Blue, I'm Beautiful, I'm Best!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Big Blue ?

        I'm Blue, I'm Beautiful, I'm Best!

        Ah...I've seen Avatar, I know what you mean. Would you tangle tails with me, perchance?

      2. 10forcash Bronze badge

        Re: Big Blue ?

        Here's the story

        About a little guy that lives in a blue world

        And all day and all night and everything he sees is just blue

        Like him, inside and outside

        Blue his house with a blue little window

        And a blue Corvette

        And everything is blue for him

        And himself and everybody around

        'Cause he ain't got nobody to listen

        ...

        I have a blue house with a blue window

        Blue is the color of all that I wear

        Blue are the streets and all the trees are too

        I have a girlfriend and she is so blue

        Blue are the people here that walk around

        Blue like my Corvette, it's in and outside

        Blue are the words I say and what I think

        Blue are the feelings that live inside me

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Big Blue ?

          I thought this was a reference to Douglas & The Blue Cat (Now there was a mind scaring experience as a kid).

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Big Blue ?

            Dougal & The Blue Cat.....Damn typo

  7. joeldillon

    I wonder if this is anything to do with firing all their more experienced employees and replacing them with people in 'low cost countries'. Cultural and linguistic differences can cause this sort of problem, unfortunately.

    1. stiine Bronze badge
      WTF?

      Cultural differences? Do you mean like a culture that contains a strict caste system? Like India? Really?

  8. Dr Scrum Master

    Ethnicity != Race

    How are Caucasian and Black even ethnicities? Ethnicity is a social group.

    1. joeW

      Re: Ethnicity != Race

      I'm pretty sure "Black" isn't a race either.

    2. aks Bronze badge

      Re: Ethnicity != Race

      Ethnicity is just another weasel word for race.

      How else are companies going to fill their quotas for diversity?

      On forms, I simply write that the question itself is by definition racist.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I have officially been asked if I'm a few other races I am not... so do I get to be a token diverse employee for them?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ethnicity is just another weasel word for race

        And the scientific definition of race is ?

        1. stiine Bronze badge
          Devil

          Re: Ethnicity is just another weasel word for race

          42 kilometers, according to Google.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ethnicity != Race

        Living in the US, I am asked this question in some form multiple times every week. My response is "human" since the whole construct is based in 19th century racism.

        I always declined to answer if there was no freeform entry option, and when my old company was acquired by Oracle, their systems converted this to the first option in the their list which was "Asian - Pacific Islander" After that I kept getting invited to meetups with fellow Hawaiians and Polynesians working in the org.

        I should clarify that I 100% agree with encouraging applications from traditionally under-represented groups but that this absurd box ticking is NOT the way to do that.

        1. A.P. Veening

          Re: Ethnicity != Race

          When I am asked this question (rarely, not an issue), my answer usually is "Manx" as I lack a tail ;)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ethnicity != Race

      If I remember correctly, it is a legal requirement for US companies to collect statistics about the race/ethnicity of their employees. Even recently published standards seem to encourage having "Asian" be one the possible answers, never mind that this covers 60% of the world population, and a very large amount of races and ethnicities...

      1. jmch Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Ethnicity != Race

        "it is a legal requirement for US companies to collect statistics about the race/ethnicity of their employees"

        Yes, it occurred to me that HR might be actually wanting this data so they can positively discriminate towards underrepresented ethnicities in their workforce and thus earn brownie points for 'improving' the mix. And then miss-specified the requirements horribly and passed the actual work through a few layers of outsourcers, ending up in a lazy / clueless dev nabbing a list off an existing Brazilian site.

        1. JacobZ

          Re: Ethnicity != Race

          ...or they might be wanting this data so that they can comply with Federal law that requires them to collect it, and so that they can verify they aren't discriminating *against* anybody.

          No brownie points or imaginary preferential hiring required to explain it.

          But it's fascinating how easily trigged the "anti-PC" crowd are by anything that challenges their privilege.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Ethnicity != Race

            >But it's fascinating how easily trigged the "anti-PC" crowd are by anything that challenges their privilege.

            I always refuse to tick these boxes because it really shouldn't matter. And then there's the "you only got your job because you're black/Asian/female/gay/whatever" attitude.

            I'm very anti pc because I don't think it helps. But I do try my best not to discriminate, and I totally agree with what John Barnes said on newsnight on the subject.

            If there were a "genetically diverse" box I'd tick that.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Ethnicity != Race

              I am very discrimatory when I hire. I want someone who will show up on time, do ther job correctly, then go home. I don't want unnecessary drama, or people that spend all day on social media instead of doing their jobs. I want people willing to ask for help when they don't know something, but I don't want someone who has to be shown the same simple procedures 5 times a day. I want people smart enough to be able to figure things out, take responsibilty for their actions and willing to learn from their own mistakes as well as the mistakes of others. If you are unwilling or incapable of doing these things I won't hire you, or I'll quickly fire you. Stupid crap like what color your wrapper is or what kind of parts you have in your shorts are irrelevant to me as a hiring manager.

              But more importantly than all that, I want people who know what a friggin bar of soap is. If I've gotta be in tight quarters with you for 8 to 12 hours I don't want to be smelling arse all day.

  9. paulll Bronze badge

    Racist bastards!

    Apparently brown people aren't welcome to apply.

    1. PhilipN Silver badge

      Re: Racist bastards!

      Nor me. Brit born and bred from a long line of Brits and I think I can just about qualify as lightly dirty grey/pink.

      Definitely not white.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Racist bastards!

        Then, assuming you're still in Britain, you'd be "indigenous". Good word, that. Look it up.

        I took a headline writer to task, years ago, for the phrase "indigenous immigrant". That's a contradiction in terms.

        1. I'm Dugly

          Re: Racist bastards!

          We're all African immigrants.

        2. holmegm

          Re: Racist bastards!

          Except of course that there really are British people, and even if you were born there, that doesn't magically make you one, if you aren't.

          I'm not sure why people have such a problem with that, but only in certain countries. If I move to the Amazon river basin, nobody is going to call my children Indians, even though they were born there.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Racist bastards!

            "Except of course that there really are British people, and even if you were born there, that doesn't magically make you one, if you aren't."

            You missed the point. All modern humans originated in Africa. There were no Britons until some moved here then after many 1000's of years decided what they should be called (after multiple invasions and merging of many other "ethnic" groups. For that matter, the people called the "Brtons" were invaders displacing the Celts (who in turn displaced Picts etc)

        3. PhilipN Silver badge

          Re: Racist bastards!

          I don't need to look it up. I went to skule!

    2. holmegm

      Re: Racist bastards!

      Parenthetically, I've only ever heard or seen the term "brown people" used by "progressives".

      So apparently that *would* be an acceptable term.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Racist bastards!

        My 4 year old daughter's in quite a mixed up class at school. She's adamant that people are either pink or brown. I think she's probably right.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not really someone to hire

    > "... from what I generally consider to be a respected and top technology company,"

    Sounds like a very new uni graduate who's never been in the workforce.

    No-one else (unless incompetent or in marketing) would have that opinion of IBM.

    1. Snorlax

      Re: Not really someone to hire

      I never tire of reminding people that IBM played a big role in the Holocaust, conducting censuses and helping those trains to the concentration camps run on time...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not really someone to hire

        IBM also played a big part in the allied effort to undo the axis powers.

        1. stiine Bronze badge
          FAIL

          Re: Not really someone to hire

          I think that's called 'playing both sides against the middle,' see Milo Minderbinder in "Catch 22".

          1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

            Re: Not really someone to hire

            I think that's called 'playing both sides against the middle,' see Milo Minderbinder in "Catch 22".

            IIRC see also Bofors, a neutral Swedish arms company, neutrally selling weapons to both sides.

        2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

          Re: Not really someone to hire

          ...but NCR got all the press:

          https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/local-military/dayton-wwii-role-longer-secret/4pXg9x4wEWAmYZaFD5f8ZO/

          // no Enigma icon?

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Not really someone to hire

            Being originally from Dayton and very familiar with NCR and the places mentioned, this article was an eye opener for me. Thanks for posting it.

      2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Re: Not really someone to hire

        Surprised "Aryan" isn't one of the choices...

      3. Kernel

        Re: Not really someone to hire

        "I never tire of reminding people that IBM played a big role in the Holocaust, conducting censuses and helping those trains to the concentration camps run on time..."

        Don't forget to also remind people that the unfortunates carried on those trains were trucked to the stations in Ford and GM trucks built for the German army - and the guards and drivers were probably refreshing themselves with a beverage (Fanta) supplied by the CocaCola company at the time.

        1. Stork Bronze badge

          Re: Not really someone to hire

          Nit: I think Fanta was originally German but taken over by Coca-Cola after the war

      4. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Not really someone to hire

        Hypothetically, I wonder if the sales pitch went like this:

        German bureaucrat: We'd like to by some tabulating and sorting systems.

        IBM sales person: Great! We sell those. What will you be using them for?

        German bureaucrat: Well. we want to start sorting out which of our people might be Jews.

        IBM sales person: Oh. Why's that?

        German bureaucrat: We were thinking about exterminating them.....

        I don't think that it would have gone anything like this.

        All the Germans has to do was say that they were carrying out a census, without expanding on the reason for doing it, and IBM would have been none the wiser. It's only after the fact that we can see that the IBM systems that were used to single out the Jews and other racial types.

        And if you are flinging mud, maybe you ought to look at who financed Germany, a nearly bankrupt company in the early 1930's. Significant names such as Rockefeller, Morgan, DuPont, General Motors, and Ford were all involved through financing deals and share ownership of German companies such as Interessen-Gemeinschaft Farbenindustrie - the group that gave significant backing to Hitlers election campaign, Focke-Wulf, AEG, Siemens, ITT and Volkswagen.

        So is IBM any worse than the rest of the American corporate system, merely because they supplied sorters that had multiple uses, but just happened to be used for a war crime after the machines were sold?

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Not really someone to hire

          Oops. You could not call Germany a company...

          Of course I meant country.

  11. joeW

    Dummy data, in more ways than one

    To me it seems likely that whoever was setting up that form added a few "funny" dummy values while waiting for the proper list of values to be sent across. Then they were promptly forgotten about.

    1. aks Bronze badge

      Re: Dummy data, in more ways than one

      That happened to me when internationalising software. I put in some phrases for English (USA) such as Howdy Partner and See y'all but somebody (definitely not me) included these in the production build.

      Egg on face.

  12. petethebloke

    Google Translate?

    It looks a bit like someone in a less-enlightened part of the world used Google Translate. What a fook-up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google Translate?

      Just for fun, type something into google translate and translate it into any language, just not one of the Latin based ones. Copy the results, translate it back. Repeat 5-6 times, because it gets way out there sometimes.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Google Translate?

        Reminds me of a children's game. Us supposedly racist Yanks call it "Telephone". You more enlightened Brits call it "Chinese Whispers" ...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Google Translate?

          Here in France it's Arab Telephone

  13. m0rt Silver badge

    "Naturally, I was shocked to see this on an application from what I generally consider to be a respected and top technology company,"

    I don't think I know anyone in the IT field who thinks that about IBM.

    i remember once meeting them regarding a weird error that was introduced with an OS upgrade to the I Series. If you coded something one way before the upgrade, it failed to work after the upgrade. If you coded it to work after the upgrade, it failed to work with the current OS. So you had to upgrade and change the code at the same time - which on a Mini computer was a little bit of a problem considering all the production systems that were run on it.

    So we go to IBM - present some managers, and our account manager with the evidence and they say that they hadn't come across it before, they would look into it and see how do address this. After the meeting we get a tour, and are shown the first line support. We start speaking to a guy working there and we happened to mention why we are there.

    "Oh yes!", he said. "We have quite a few clients who have complained about this particular problem..."

    1. A.P. Veening

      OS-level dependent coding

      "i remember once meeting them regarding a weird error that was introduced with an OS upgrade to the I Series. If you coded something one way before the upgrade, it failed to work after the upgrade. If you coded it to work after the upgrade, it failed to work with the current OS. So you had to upgrade and change the code at the same time - which on a Mini computer was a little bit of a problem considering all the production systems that were run on it."

      I had a similar (or maybe same) problem a while ago, solved it using some logic (if/else) based on the retrieved OS-level. As long as that compiles, the problem is solved.

  14. STOP_FORTH

    Unfortunate

    Perhaps some of these terms are not un-PC in Brazil? I realise the I in IBM stands for International but US cultural norms are not "normal" everywhere. I don't know of anybody in the UK who self-identifies as African-British for instance. (I'm not saying nobody does, but it is not common.)

    Anybody from Brasil care to comment? (See I can spell it correctly?)

  15. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Welcome to Agile development

    No need to do user testing, push it to production, if there's a problem it can be fixed in a new build..

  16. DougS Silver badge

    Probably a third party contractor was responsible for operating this

    A large company's HR organization knows it isn't legal to even ASK what race someone is during the application process, and such a selection wouldn't pass muster regardless of what nomenclature was used.

    Or if that page was run by IBM, maybe they have a discontented employee who altered the page as a last act after he got his layoff notice?

    I mean, I'm all for calling out companies that do stupid shit, but this is way too stupid to even be believable. "Yellow", c'mon now!

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Probably a third party contractor was responsible for operating this

      Well put, Doug.

  17. Mr Dogshit

    I'm Yellow

    But I identify as Mulato.

    1. Ken 16 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: I'm Yellow

      Are you willing to publish this form without testing first or are you yellow?

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: I'm Yellow

      Do you work for Dara O'Briain?

      Or Sajid Javid?

      Or the real Gru

  18. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Simple explanation

    My guess is that the code was written in an IBM offshore Site of Excellence by a fairly junior programmer with poor cultural skills. Somewhere with a great deal of racial homogeneity. Bangalore comes to mind. The list was races was probably generated through a Google search for "races in the US", applied uncritically.

    In the best tradition of MS, nothing was tested or reviewed.

    I've been asked by offshore workers whether "I'm a nigger. You sound different..." I've got the check my outrage at the door as the speaker probably hasn't a clue. Trick then is to gently educate without coming across as a triggered nutjob.

    1. The First Dave

      Re: Simple explanation

      And that't the problem with this whole scenario. You are getting upset about a word, despite there being no intent to offend.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Simple explanation

        In the U.S., "No intent to offend" means that you are an unapologetic racist. Your non-intent is merely evidence of your white privilege, whether or not you realize it. You see, in the U.S, ANY perception of racism by the offended party is proof of racism... even if there was "no intent to offend". The more you protest your innocence, the more racist you are made out to be.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Simple explanation

          Ok... but I find your post wrong at so many levels. In certain communities, I'm a "honkie". In others, I'm a "round eye". And the list goes on. Racism goes both ways whether it's intentional or not. Among friends and in private, the racial things get tossed about back and forth. In public, we chose our words differently so as not to offend those who don't understand our friendships.

          I note from acquaintances and travel that Brasil is probably the least racist country in north or south America. Race just isn't an issue.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On a similar topic ...

    Am I alone in noticing an increase in the forms/systems which don't have a "refuse to give" option ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: On a similar topic ...

      You are not, now answer the question.

      Is this legal? I can see the ads now, " Have you been forced to answer a question that does not give the option you are happy with? If so, call 1-800-Sued now."

    2. localgeek

      Re: On a similar topic ...

      In the days when you could write in your own option, I would consistently enter "human" as my race.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: On a similar topic ...

        And of course you were correct.

        A form that read "Sapiens/Neanderthalensis/Denisovan/Hobbit - that would be OK, if a little out of date.

        1. tony2heads
          Trollface

          Re: On a similar topic ...

          Sapiens/Neanderthalensis/Sasquatch (large feet)

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: On a similar topic ...

          "Sapiens/Neanderthalensis/Denisovan/Hobbit"

          The jury's out on whether that's racist or speciesist.

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: On a similar topic ...

        In the days when you could write in your own option, I would consistently enter "human" as my race.

        Given the option, I'd have to write 'last' as that's were I usually came in races at school sports day.

        Alternatively 'subscription expired' to acknowledge that myself, like many people was not a naturally paid up member of the human race.

        as observed by Terry Pratchett in 'Men at Arms'

    3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      Re: On a similar topic ...

      When that happens, I just choose something inappropriate at random

      // the Elizabeth Warren approach, I call it.

    4. pavel.petrman

      Re: On a similar topic ...

      The recent user survey from stack Overflow asked multiple time what do I currently identify as (gender, sexual transmutaion, orientation etc). They did offer both "I'd rather not say" and "I¨ll write my own" options. I used the latter and answered the identification questions with "I don't actively identify myself".

  20. Warm Braw Silver badge

    I don't know of anybody in the UK who self-identifies as African-British

    And yet, ultimately, we all are. Funny old world...

    1. STOP_FORTH

      Good point. Not all Reg readers are from UK though! Maybe we could have forms that just ask if we are human? Keep the robot apocalypse at bay for a while.

      1. Ken 16 Silver badge
        Meh

        The forms I fill out not just ask that but say I have to prove it. As it turns out, I'm human about 2/3rds of the time.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Today I learned...

    TIL that there's such a word as "mualtto"

    However, today I also learned what that word means so won't be able to use it in conversation.

    1. Snorlax

      Re: Today I learned...

      Not unless you hop in a time machine and go back to the 1950s anyway

      1. upsidedowncreature

        Re: Today I learned...

        Or sing Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. I knew the word was in there, never knew what it meant.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Today I learned...

          Or Dylan Thomas: I'll take the mulatto, by God, who's captain here?

          I'm not sure when and where the word was considered offensive but I'm fairly certain that lots of words we use today will in a few decades' time be considered offensive.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Today I learned...

            Yes. And any document/video of you using such word will be held against you... forever.

    2. John Doe 12

      Re: Today I learned...

      And I just upvoted you to balance the really weird downvotes by the Taliban?? They are the first group who come to mind when learning is forbidden / frowned upon. But also it could just be people who spend their lived looking to be offended ha ha.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Today I learned...

      I thought mulatto was something served at Starbucks.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Today I learned...

      > TIL that there's such a word as "mualtto"

      And tomorrow I'll learn how to type it correctly!

      ;-)

  22. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Devil

    Are you black, white or yellow?

    Then you're all disqualified!! IBM only hires Indian people these days.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Are you black, white or yellow?

      Then you're all disqualified!! IBM only hires Indian people these days.

      I think you mean 'people in India'.

      Race is not important, skills are largely unimportant, that they work cheap is, seemingly, vital.

    2. jmch Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Are you black, white or yellow?

      "IBM only hires Indian people these days."

      Red or Brown?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Are you black, white or yellow?

        IBM hires more Chiefs than Indians.

        1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

          Re: Are you black, white or yellow?

          And the Indians they hire are definitely not in Cleveland.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Colin Wilson 2

        Re: Are you black, white or yellow?

        You need Purple in there too to get the full Sugarhill effect

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Are you black, white or yellow?

        Which works cheapest? There's always a cheapest. And you get what you pay for.

  23. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    I always pick 'other'

    ..in these "surveys" not wanting to give accurate information to stoke their demographic info. I'm kind of a mongrel anyway, not knowing 1/4 of my heritage.

    With IBM it probably doesn't matter anyway, as you're likely to be laid off in a year or so..

  24. Johan Bastiaansen

    optional

    So the options are insulting but the question is not?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: optional

      "So the options are insulting but the question is not?"

      In due course I'm quite sure it will be so considered. What passes for normal in one generation is despised in the next, especially by those not old enough to remember.

  25. devTrail

    Better the slur than the hypocrisy

    At this point I would not be so shocked as the journalist. I was shocked the first time that I applied for a job with an American corporation in London and the procedure asked for my race, pardon ethnicity, in order to protect me against racism. How come nobody sees the appalling hypocrisy?

    But what's worse is the fact that this is allowed in Europe, that's a sign that workers right are going down the drain, already in some cases we are on par with the US lack of protections. At least in the EU this should be banned and who cares for the racial slur, that is nothing compared to the shame of a practice that is so widespread that it is considered normal.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Better the slur than the hypocrisy

      I have commented upon this to our HR department. It also asked me for my sexual preference and I think my religion when I started.

      The trouble with those is that people could lie. Sometimes they may not know. Most Brits put Christian by reflex, even if the second time they went to church, they got married and the first time they were baptised.

      Most people here really don't care about where your ancestors came from. They don't care about your religion or whether you prefer males or females. They are more interested about how well you will fit in. I suspect that your politics is of more interest to that. Nowhere is going to discriminate against people for having the wrong ancestors. Few will try and keep them away for having the wrong preferences in their private life.

      How would I feel working a company where no-deal Brexit is considered a fantastic idea or the NHS is an attack upon morality? Interviews work both ways and I probably would not want the job!

      1. devTrail

        Re: Better the slur than the hypocrisy

        The trouble with those is that people could lie.

        No. You are ignoring the pressure on the job seekers. A job applicant of a mixed race might lie, but everything else could be easily noticed at the face to face interview, nobody is going to risk their job application for this.

        Even religions that put constraints on what people can do or wear can be difficult to hide.

        Most people here really don't care about where your ancestors came from. They don't care about your religion or whether you prefer males or females.

        If they have the information written in front of them they might eventually use it especially when they have to compare similar profiles and choose one. If you want to prevent any bias the only way is not collecting such information.

        How would I feel working a company where no-deal Brexit is considered a fantastic idea or the NHS is an attack upon morality? Interviews work both ways and I probably would not want the job!

        I did it. I once applied for a job with a French company, I was told that before the interview I had to complete an online attitudinal test, after some pages of multiple choices questions I realized they were subtly collecting information on my political leaning, which didn't have anything to do with the role of a software developer. Even the fact that it was financial software requiring strong security didn't justify the intrusion, so I completed the test giving always the same average reply just to get a snapshot of the questions then I wrote them to withdraw my application.

        The trouble is that a lot of people don't care and they accept this kind of intrusions on their privacy and on their ideas. Private companies should not be allowed to collect such information.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Better the slur than the hypocrisy

          "The trouble is that a lot of people don't care and they accept this kind of intrusions on their privacy and on their ideas. Private companies should not be allowed to collect such information."

          Maybe it would be worth reapplying. If they're using the same questions you could grass them up under GDPR.

      2. devTrail

        Re: Better the slur than the hypocrisy

        BTW I forgot to add an important detail. No matter all the promises to protect your privacy, often the data you enter when you apply for a job for a big company is leaked to small recruitment agencies. Sometimes the data are passed by too friendly HR employees, but a lot of times it is easier, the small agency outsources the preselection and exploits the chance to gather data.

        So, not only you have online application platforms collecting sensible data without any legal constraint, but those data are not even protected as they should be.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Better the slur than the hypocrisy

        " Nowhere is going to discriminate against people for having the wrong ancestors. Few will try and keep them away for having the wrong preferences in their private life."

        USAian here. You haven't traveled much is the US, have you? In urban areas, sure. In some more bucolic areas, going to the "wrong" church, or being the wrong ethnicity (not Swedish where I live). I have been ostracized for not loving country music.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Better the slur than the hypocrisy

      "But what's worse is the fact that this is allowed in Europe"

      It isn't. Hasn't been in a long time ... .and that means 70s.

      But corporations still do that as they know no-one bothers to sue. Or don't have the money to do that.

  26. andy gibson

    Johnny Mathis

    It always amuses me when "When A Child is Born" is played on the radio at Xmas:

    https://youtu.be/gjYWYJudTPE?t=123

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Johnny Mathis

      It always amuses me when "When A Child is Born" is played on the radio at Xmas:

      Any xmas song, played any time of year, no.

      The overplaying of xmas songs from mid-november up until just after xmas is maddening.

  27. Aslan
    Mushroom

    Amatures at IBM need to review the flowchart

    The amatures at IBM need to review the mixed race flow chart https://youtu.be/xNchNBJN4TA

    The clip is from the movie Domino a sort of acid dream of a movie about the daughter of a movie star, who became a model and then turned to bounty hunting people. The clip is a sort of parody, sort of exactly the thing that could happen on real trash daytime TV in America in the 90's. Another way to put it is it's a 90-minute feature film of what reality TV wished it was.

    My guess is, this was put in as a joke in poor taste. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/02/25/who-me/

    and BTW this post is meant as a joke.

    Roger Ebert said, "the damned thing has its qualities, and one of them is a headlong, twisting energy, a vitality that finds comedy in carnage." https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/domino-2005/ After all Godard said, "All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun", and wow does this movie ever have it. The trailer gives away too much, despite telling you nothing, yet somehow misses the seductiveness of watching the movie https://youtu.be/PRXsehF4bok It's rather like looking at photos of a music video while the song plays.

    My guess is, this was put in as a joke in poor taste. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/02/25/who-me/

    and BTW this post is meant as a joke.

  28. adam payne Silver badge

    "IBM has long rejected all forms of racial discrimination and we are taking appropriate steps to make sure this does not happen again.”

    But age discrimination is fine.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      But age discrimination is fine mandatory

  29. Mog_X

    Yellow?

    I guess IBM want some new Minions....

  30. Binraider666

    I have in the past commented that asking by questions of ethnicity for purposes of tracking I&D proportions is itself contributing to the existence of racial lines. Some companies now do not expose names on cvs to recruiting managers to avoid the inherent bias we have hard coded in our DNA and culture towards prejudice. We like to think ourselves as an evolved species but from any rational standpoint that such measures are necessary says a lot about how far we have to go.

  31. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Not the usual English spelling

    One "t" is the Spanish or Portuguese spelling.

  33. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Indigenous? Indigenous to where? I'm indigenous to Yorkshire.

    1. jmch Silver badge
      Happy

      I guess everyone is indigenous to somewhere... so 100% inigenous it is, then

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Me Too

      Ay up lad..

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "I'm indigenous to Yorkshire."

      It's saddening to think there are those who aren't.

  34. tony2heads

    How about pale pink and slight tan, with brown freckles and a dark brown mole.

    Perhaps they can show a colour swatch on the website and ask you to match it

  35. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Was "long pork" an option?

  36. Cesar Maciel

    Aren't we becoming too sensitive to everything???

    I am Brazilian. Mulato and Amarelo (mulatto and yellow) are not racial slurs in Brazil, and we even expect to see these options while picking ethnicity. Also, calling someone Black *is* racist in Brazil! You have to call them negro (which is racist in the US) - or the politically correct and scientifically stupid "afro-descendent" (stupid because humans first appeared in Africa, so technically everybody is afro-descendent).

    The tag "Brazil" in the code hints that the form was written in Brazil, and although it would be used internationally (and I completely agree that the code should follow the rules for the deployment location), the issue can very well be attributed to the fact that the brazilian portuguese speaking developer added it as the normal rule for the local convention.

    It may be bad code (since it was not meeting the rules of the target audience), but it is really an excess of freaking out to call it racism.

    1. sisk Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Aren't we becoming too sensitive to everything???

      stupid because humans first appeared in Africa

      That was actually up for debate last I checked - the two possibilities being Central Africa and Mesopotamia. However they did manage to trace us all to a couple common ancestors through DNA - one male, one female, though they were separated by thousands of years - who were both African. So your point still stands, though not the reasoning for it.

      Pedant icon because....well, isn't it obvious?

      1. Cesar Maciel

        Re: Aren't we becoming too sensitive to everything???

        Yeah, I did a quick Google check just before posting, but I did not go further (it wasn't the main point anyway). But thanks for the clarification and more in depth information :-)

    2. devTrail

      Re: Aren't we becoming too sensitive to everything???

      You didn't think that one day you may apply for a job abroad, once the data has been collected by a company it may end up anywhere in the world, so the data you entered while you were in Brazil might be used somewhere else and the impact might be different.

      But the real point is that this information tells absolutely nothing about your skills, there is no point in collecting such data other than profiling people beyond the scope of the advertised job.

      1. Diogenes

        Re: Aren't we becoming too sensitive to everything???

        As has been stated before, US cultural norms are not the norms elsewhere, and IBM has stated that these are actually REQUIRED in some countries, and they should not have ended up on the main site (cut 'n paste error).

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Aren't we becoming too sensitive to everything???

      "we even expect to see these options while picking ethnicity"

      The fundamental problem is being required to pick ethnicity, not the choices.

    4. halldor

      Re: Aren't we becoming too sensitive to everything???

      Adjective

      amarelo m (feminine singular amarela, masculine plural amarelos, feminine plural amarelas, comparable)

      yellow in colour

      Synonym: amarelado (but often suggesting partial yellowness)

      (dated, of a person) Oriental (of East Asian descent)

      Synonyms: oriental; asiático (more generic, but usually refers to East Asians rather than other peoples of Asia); mongoloide (obsolete, now offensive)

      (of a smile) wry; forced; unnatural

  37. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    It does matter

    If an applicant were to state "yellow" it could be an indication of a liver disease. It's not unreasonable to factor in a possible serious medical condition when deciding who to hire. If the job involves carrying heavy loads, it would also be advantageous to employ a person who sees themselves as a young mule.

  38. sisk Silver badge

    Oddly, every time racial slurs are discussed I see terms that either I've never heard of or didn't realize were slurs. Case in point, my only encounter before today with the term "mulatto" was in a middle school social studies text book, and I went to middle school long after most text books had been scrubbed of racial slurs. I just assumed it was an outdated term. It never occurred to me that it might be offensive.

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Cultural sensitivity

      "Oddly, every time racial slurs are discussed I see terms that either I've never heard of or didn't realize were slurs."

      It's quite culturally dependent too, certain slurs carry a lot more weight depending what side of the Atlantic you're on. There are things I can say to a black chap from London that I couldn't say to a black chap from New York.

      It's also about intent. Some things you can give a person a pass for ignorance. So if my Brazilian friend refers to my Scottish friend as English rather than British, he doesn't take offence. But if this Southern pansy called him English he'd be offended.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cultural sensitivity

        > So if my Brazilian friend refers to my Scottish friend as English rather than British, he doesn't take offence.

        Don't be so sure.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anonymous

    The data has to be anonymized, so lie about your origins.

  40. wgianopoulos

    This reminds of why I never applied to Rensselaer polytechnic institute even though it was on my list of schools i wanted to attend. they sent me a letter saying that in compliance with a recent court decision, they no longer could ask what my race was, but they were adding a new requirement that I include a color, passport type photo,with my application. For context this was in the late 1960's time-frame, but then thumbing their noses at the court decision.

  41. W. Anderson

    Race Obsessed

    Unfortunately the USA remains obsessed by racial divide, and it therefore does not matter how strong are corporate policies and practices put in place to try override this divide, there will always be prejudices expressed since it is not possible to eliminate racism - no matter how Herculean the effort.

    Besides which, it is unrealistic for any sane person to expect great progress in racial equality after hundreds of years of slavery and racial animus against Native Americans, including Eskimos, Latinos and Asians.

    IBM cannot be immunized from that factual histry and present. Racism is part of American DNA.

    1. sisk Silver badge

      Re: Race Obsessed

      Besides which, it is unrealistic for any sane person to expect great progress in racial equality after hundreds of years of slavery and racial animus against Native Americans, including Eskimos, Latinos and Asians.

      I disagree. All it would take for us to make extreme progress in that direction is for people to let the past stay in the past. People who keep insisting that they're owed something more than equality because their great-great-great-great grandfather was a slave are part of the problem. People who insist on hating on whites for similar reasons are also part of the problem.

      People who just ignore race and treat everyone the same are part of the solution. Removing the question of race from the application problem is part of that.

      1. W. Anderson

        Re: Race Obsessed

        Unfortunately the harsh reality of racism in USA is not on your side.

        First the excuse that blacks are racist against whites. Disdain for racist attitudes and actions against oneself by whites cannot in any description in English language be describes as reverse racism which is a false argument and lame excuse from white Americans.

        Furthermore, a credible, comprehensive International/USA study released about two and half years ago revealed, that - "Germany after Nazism and South Africa after Apartheid had made significantly more progress toward true Equality, NOT tolerance, than had the USA in more than one hundred and thirty five years"".

        The study did not cover issues of economics, nor did the study proclaim that either Germany or South Africa had achieved any level of racial nirvana, just "greater progress".

        1. sisk Silver badge

          Re: Race Obsessed

          First the excuse that blacks are racist against whites. Disdain for racist attitudes and actions against oneself by whites cannot in any description in English language be describes as reverse racism which is a false argument and lame excuse from white Americans.

          Well you're half right. That wouldn't be reverse racism. It's just racism. Saying it's not is like saying someone who distrusts blacks because they were bullied by some black kids growing up isn't racist. Both are equally absurd statements. Having a what you feel is a good justification for your bad behavior doesn't make it any less bad. Nor is "someone who looked like you treated me poorly so I'm going to treat you poorly" even a halfway decent justification.

          If you look at someone, see they have white skin, and immediately assume that they're racist then that is every bit as bad - and wrong - as assuming someone must be a criminal because they're black. Racism does not magically become something else when it's pointed at whites. It's still racism. Nor does it suddenly become OK just because someone was racist towards you. It's still wrong. It's that eye-for-an-eye thing that makes everyone blind. Or, in the case of racism, stupid, since it's just about the most idiotic form of insanity from which a human can suffer.

    2. devTrail

      Re: Race Obsessed

      and it therefore does not matter how strong are corporate policies and practices put in place to try override this divide

      Actually all the policies and all the discussion about political correctness seem so well designed to fuel resentment that I think they are designed to backfire. Divide and rule is always a powerful tool.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Race Obsessed

      "Racism is part of American DNA."

      Really? What gene governs it?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Race Obsessed

      "Racism is part of American DNA."

      In this case mandated by legislation. A fact you casually toss aside as it doesn't fit into ideology.

  42. IanMoore33

    SO nice to see IBM reaching out in the Trump Era

    Cut the Politically Correct crap -- are you LGBT , yellow, brown, tinted , black, half-breed, mutt , or pure Aryan Nation blue eyed ?

    We only want WHITE MALES

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SO nice to see IBM reaching out in the Trump Era

      "We only want WHITE MALES"

      Specifially they don't want those: Too expensive.

      They want brown people for two reasons: To fill the quota and they are cheaper.

  43. Kyle Roberts

    Godwin?

    We might have to coin a new truism:

    "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison insulting Donald Trump approaches 1." :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Godwin?

      > "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison insulting Donald Trump approaches bigness." :-)

      FTFY.

      1. the Jim bloke Silver badge

        Re: Godwin?

        But Trumps Bigness will be bigger than anyone elses bigness, even if the other bigness had more people.

        It will be HUGE

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Godwin?

          It will be HUGE

          I think the correct spelling on that is "YUUUUGE".

    2. A.P. Veening

      Re: Godwin?

      "insulting Donald Trump"

      Is that even possible? So far all comparisons with Donald Trump I've seen are insulting to the compared party, not to Donald Trump.

  44. Snowy
    Facepalm

    Why ask

    If the do not want to discriminate they should not be asking on an application form?

  45. David Kelly 2

    Ain't Government Great!

    This is completely unsurprising as what happens when mindless corporate bureaucrats respond to forced government bias to create "diversity." Someone has to keep score so as to appease the government to continue to receive contracts no one else can win for lack of insufficient diversity. So sad the color of one's skin is more important than one's skills.

  46. earl grey Silver badge
    Terminator

    they're all pink and red on the inside

    you find that's the case when you cut them in two.

    1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: they're all pink and red on the inside

      You will actually find that once you cut them in two, or fractions or multiples thereof, the pink and red gets to be on the outside.

  47. This post has been deleted by its author

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Future discrimination

    Can we give past sufferers a break from the discrimination.

    Time to move on.

    Instead, have a question: Were you in favour of Brexit?

    Yes: Reject the application outright.

    No: Place application in the 'might be OK' pile.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aliens

    No green?

  50. pavel.petrman

    I wonder how this application questionnaire was discovered.

    Surely no-one in their right mind applies for a job with IBM today!

  51. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

    ARS

    ARS are now covering this with no mention of The Reg or a link back?

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    definitely yellow

    Yeah, I'd definitely say I'm yellow. As in I'm too chicken to ever work for IBM again.

  53. Dedobot

    Mullato and yellow degaratory?!?

    I grow up with Karl Mey, Meyne Reid, Emilio Salgari, Jule Vern....behind the iron curtain.

    Maroons, metists , mullatos everywhere.

    Now I understand I had a very rasist childhood hahaha

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't blame it on the sunshine

    Don't blame it on the moonlight

    Don't blame it on good times

    Blame it on Watson

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was in the US in 2000 so got to fill in their census and I was somewhat amazed by the long list of options for the "race question" .... probably 25+ different options which on closer observation turned out to basically amount to white, black, asian, native american, south american and then a sequence of hispanic options which seemed to contain a full set of permutations of parantage going back 2 or 3 generations where at least one antecedent was hispanic - complete with a sub-division of hispanic to distinguish cubans - an "mulatto" (with bracketed clarification of precise combination of parantage required) was definitely one of the options.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Why do ACs think they can lie with impunity?

      This is the 2000 US Census long form[0]. This is the short version. Regardless of version, it bears almost zero resemblance to the AC's supposed recollection. And no sign of mulatto as an option.

      [0] The long form was sent to 16% of US households, the rest received the short form, which is a subset of the long form. Both contain identical "race" questions.

  56. aqk
    Coat

    You don't have to go back to 1939.

    In the late 1970s and early '80s I was systems programmer for a large Canadian hospital. After designing my own online CICS registration/admissions system and successfully getting it up and running, I was gradually implementing more and more features into it.

    Then the IBM suits walked in with their inferior (in my modest estimation) system, and sold it to the top brass for beaucoup $$.

    Anyway- one of the demographic boxes on this "new" IBM system had exactly that: WHITE, BLACK YELLOW. I don't remember if there was a fourth "MULATTO" box - this may have come in a later release.

    BTW, our IBM sales "engineer" had just come back from Rio de Janeiro, where he had helped to install this vaunted IBM hospital system. Perhaps this is where Brazil picked up these descriptions.

    Anyhow, I was gladly outa there, and let several COBOL hacks, um.. programmers (not hackers!) take over its implementation, replete with an older version of CICS.

    Finally, by the 21st century, I had thankfully retired, as the suits with their "Master of Hospital Administration" and MBA degrees had increased at least tenfold, running rampant. Then the hospital became embroiled in huge financial and operating scandals, with the CEO and his wife escaping arrest by fleeing to Panama, where he eventually died. But I think it's still safe to have an operation or other medical procedure performed in this hospital - the medical staff appears to be competent enough....

    1. TimMaher
      Coat

      Re: You don't have to go back to 1939.

      And you had to use CICS. Bummer.

      As I used to sing in the olden days... “l get no CICS from VM!”... meaning VM370.

      I’ll get my coat. It’s the one with the POP refernce card in the inside pocket.

  57. This post has been deleted by its author

  58. o p

    deep learning

    Obviously they want this information to train their hr machine learning model. If you do not give the information they will infer it from other ones.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What?

    The only yellow people i know of have the surname Simpson. So Homer cant work at IBM?

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