How do you Deal "You Only Got Your Job Because You're Black"

I have been friends with my circle since high school but they know me as an autist who screams on discord because we played video games together all this time. He has never been in an academic or professional setting with me and literally has no clue how smart I am. I've worked extremely hard in high school to get into a target school (with the help of affirmative action) and was always on par or a few points behind white students who got into Ivies/ other top schools.  The other day, we were talking to a mutual friend's parents and they congratulated me because I am about to graduate from one of the best schools in the country and work at a BB in S&T. They said I was a "go-getter" and before I could even get a word out he said, "He only got the job because he's black". I just looked at him like what the fuck is wrong with you.

It made me think he is envious and has an inferiority complex. I never talk about my professional, academic, or intellectual goals because he and one or two others in this group always say disrespectful and condescending things to belittle my goals or achievements. The funny thing is this person is kind of a buffoon. He hardly can use a computer and whenever he talks about macroeconomics he uses jargon but clearly has no clue what he is talking about. He's constantly talking about his job like it's the most important and prestigious thing anyone could hope to achieve despite the fact that no one ever asks or even feigns interest (keep in mind he went to a mediocre state school which he considers a target). That combined with his knee-jerk reaction to discredit my accomplishments makes me think he's fishing for praise and needs the spotlight on himself. 

I did not want to come off as arrogant or start an argument in front of his parents so I brushed it off but shit like this makes my blood boil. This person's image of me is so different from any other group in my life. I am well respected by my peers and I believe I have impressed many professors and senior professionals through my conversations with them. I think it's ironic that people who are way more intelligent and accomplished than he could ever hope to hold me in much higher regard. 

How do I approach this next time it comes up? I was going to say I'm lightyears more intelligent than him, he is clueless about his major, and tell him he had an inferiority complex but then I'd be the bad guy. 

Comments (59)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
2mo 

Yeah, whatever man - just shrug it off & try not to internalize their insecurity. I went to HYP and got similar comments in high school despite 99th percentile test scores & when I got my IB offer despite knowing my technicals cold and not going through any diversity programs. Just live your life

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1mo 
marketMergerMaddie, what's your opinion? Comment below:

^ This. 

Get the same kind of stuff all the time. Never did diversity programs during recruiting either so was often the only woman or one of a few to show up to the regular recruiting super-days. 

People say this stuff about other people regardless of background or creed. Just don't listen to it and move on. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
1mo 

Theres nothing wrong with going through diversity programs. Im cool as long as its the same questions/difficulty & qualifications are up to par. I find it depressing afff that there really aren't black, hispanic, & natives in IB and PE. Also that generally we are significantly poorer. Bias & Discrimination are definitely a factor. im a part of a diversity finance club on campus & soo many kids are complete morons. idk just really has me questioning things **sorry for rant**

I can only think of underep diverse founders/leaders in PE

Robert F. Smith - Vista Equity Partners (black)

Jose E. Feliciano - Clearlake Partners (hispanic)

  • Managing Director in IB-M&A
2mo 
[Comment removed by mod team]
  • Analyst 1 in VC
2mo 

It was it is, I just take it in stride. If i gave a shit what everyone said, I will have no time to enjoy myself

  • 2
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2mo 
vegabroom, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What makes you think this is fake? I feel like the scenario I described isn't unrealistic at all. Also, you think its unusual to care if your childhood friend is minimizing and discrediting your accomplishments? 

  • 5
  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
2mo 

You generally shouldn't let what people think of you bother you, especially if they're morons. He can think whatever he wants, you're the one with the great job/degree.

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2mo 
outofcapecod, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Why are you friends with someone that talks to you like that? Also what does he do, just curious now 

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1mo 
teamryan15, what's your opinion? Comment below:

thats what i am wondering myself. Someone who has the balls to make that comment at all, let alone in front of you and other people, isnt your friend or someone you would want to be around. If you're not going to check that person (peacefully of course, I dont condone violence) then that person is going to continue to discredit you. Either way thats the prime example of a person you should cut out of your life.

Funniest
  • Incoming Analyst in PE - LBOs
2mo 

Lmao some kid said to me I only got my job bc of affirmative action (I'm an Asian male???) I'm like uh..... not sure if you know how that works but ok

  • Intern in IB - DCM
2mo 

I think it's helpful to evaluate your friends/circle on a few points:

  • Are they supportive of you no matter what?
  • Are they in a similar place in their lives or headed in a similar direction?
  • Are they from a similar background as you? Will they understand your experiences? (This one is helpful, not necessary)

I'm a middle-class Asian in the UK, pretty good family, parents university educated/landowners etc, and I went to both a normal and then an academically selective school before uni. There would always be people who projected their own jealousies and insecurities who would try to bring you down to their level because they didn't want to see someone whom they might have thought were better than them. These are kids who don't fit the criteria, and I never hesitated to cut them off quickly. Why? Because:

  • I started to reject the false idea that everyone's equal - sorry, but Tom from a council flat who keeps making derogatory comments whilst having a shit background and no prospects isn't my equal or peer, and I didn't need someone like *that* in my circle 
  • I was sure of who I was, my position, and where I wanted to go. Not the same? Dead weight then.

You just need to admit some simple truths: you're better than them and shouldn't feel bad about it; they're dead weight holding you back, doesn't matter how long you've known them, once they've shown their true colors that's that, don't waste your time on someone like that. Don't just bear bigoted comments on your chin. I never take disrespect from anyone, especially those from inferior backgrounds and neither should you.

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  • Associate 3 in PE - Growth
1mo 

I sure hope your friends don't support you no matter what. Pretty shitty friends if so. I get that you're probably not thinking like this but if you've got friends that would let you drive your life into a ditch while just cheering you then you need better friends. 
 

Your broader point is obviously correct though.

  • Intern in IB - DCM
1mo 

Obviously not like that lmao

  • 1
2mo 
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Email him your resume. That will speak for itself.

Array

Most Helpful
2mo 
liquidiot, what's your opinion? Comment below:

1) He's not your friend - he's an insecure and underachieving prick, you're probably best to leave him in the past in the long run. "Jokes" just reveal what people really feel about you and it seems this guy can't cope with the fact a Black dude is more well off than he is, his personal issue not yours.

2) I know you're referencing this one guy but stop looking for outside approval from ANYONE. Doesn't matter which professor or professional you think you "impressed" that's doing nothing for you but putting other human beings on a pedestal. Of course you should respect people who have come before you, but they're not better than you innately because they achieved X thing. Your need to cling to how others view you in comparison to this one dude shows you have some deep rooted insecurities you need to work through yourself. It's okay to have these, we all do to a certain extent, but you should work on this now before you go running behind people in the industry thinking winning everyone over is the key to success. You're just going to be unhappy and invalidated.

All in all, congrats on what your achieved. You have enough to be thankful for to shut out the noise of jealousy - keep grinding and find peace within yourself despite what people will say. Only opinion that matters is the one that cuts your check or the one gets your rocks off - good luck.

  • 16
2mo 
Top Bucket, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Cut off most of childhood and HS friends because our paths are so different. It wouldn't matter in a few years. They either grow with you or else they get drop.

Controversial
2mo 
Green_Bananas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm afro latino and have heard this a lot. I've noticed that it's always said by mediocre people or people who are salty they didn't get a job they thought they deserved. 

The truth is that over the last 5-10 years, the IB/PE/HF labor market has been so competitive that literally no one has ever gotten hired "just b/c they're black". That would imply that a black McDonalds cashier would get hired at a BB "just b/c they're black". Bullshit.

The black/latino kids that get hired (even if it's through a diversity program) are just as qualified as the average hired person b/c there's so much talent and so little roles. If people really want smoke w/ people who don't "deserve" their jobs, then they should focus on nepotism hires but no one wants to talk about that smh. 

"I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse."

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  • Business School in CorpStrat
2mo 

I'll also like to add, diversity hires need to know their technical questions way earlier at least at MBA programs. One of my buds who was an early diversity hire eventually got an offer but struck out at a few banks. He was honestly more technically sound in September while recruiting vs. some of us now who are still interviewing/beginning to interview. He also got asked one of the hardest technical questions (I will not say which one) that took a 2nd year nearly a hour to figure out (a 2nd year who had a return offer at this point to a bank after a full summer and wasn't a diversity candidate). 

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1mo 
Green_Bananas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I've seen the same on the undergraduate side too. Those of us who broke in through programs like SEO were rigorously trained on technicals before we earned our first round interviews. I remember helping out non-URM candidates from my target undergrad and was surprised at how a lot of them were behind on technicals. 

"I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse."

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1mo 
Fjsjrjdns, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I mean maybe you're one of the people that compete on grades and test scores, but let's be real, that isn't the norm. Median black gpa and test scores are significantly below other races when it comes to undergrad, MBA admissions, med school admissions, etc. Yes, there are some people that get in on their own merit, but they're dwarfed by those getting a major leg up through AA and woke politics.

These are undeniable facts based on publicly disclosed information, but oh well.

  • Business School in CorpStrat
1mo 

It's true but it doesn't deny the idea that diverse black IB applicants may be better prepared vs. those who are recruiting lackadaisically. 

1mo 
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You're not wrong, but what he's arguing is that IB is so competitive that all the people who get in end up being brilliant. Even if the 50th percentile for test scores is significantly lower by race, the 99.5th percentile is unlikely to be that different.

Array

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  • Associate 3 in PE - LBOs
2mo 

Not too much to add that hasn't already been said in here, but that is clearly a shitty thing for a "friend" to say.  Envy can really fuck with some people, which ties in to the other theme of this thread: nobody's opinion / thoughts of you, as a person, matter more than your own.  Period.  Just go out and crush it - there will always be haters.  I'd almost certainly continue to distance myself from a "friend" that exhibits toxic behavior like this.  Probably a good time for you to reevaluate this relationship.  

1mo 
tokeville, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yah shit friend, I feel similarly about some of my old friends who said similar things about how I managed to get into school. Just dump em; you can't change your friends, but you can change your friends. Life's short, no point in spending it with assholes. 

1mo 
faster.than.you, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Definitely a sign you have outgrown that relationship (whatever it meant to you in the past) and it's time to distance yourself. Wasting precious energy dealing with crap like this is such a negative suck, I would prioritize dropping this guy.

1mo 
ironman32, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I can't draw a diagram but I'll try to type it out, essentially you have two paths here:

1. Your friend is correct, YOU GOT THE JOB, because of your race

2. Your friend is incorrect, YOU GOT THE JOB, because you were highly qualified. 

Both would lead to the same outcome, YOU GOT THE JOB. 

Anyone can break down/hate on any accomplishment into any version of "You only did it because of this...". Every Super Bowl, every NBA Finals, every World Series (and every other sporting event) is broken down along those lines. But they don't take back the trophies. "Michael Phelps only won all those gold medals, just because he has a freak of nature body"...ok, but he did it, they don't put an " * " next to his name in the record books. 

P.S., I'm not taking his side ether (Even though this is a one sided story), and I could be reading this very wrong, seems like you a little "my stuff don't stink" in you, and maybe your friend is dealing with that too. Maybe he's trying his best and you're hitting him with his schools not great. Don't be that guy.  

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
1mo 

He is not your friend and it's not worth dealing with microaggressions. Sounds like your heading in a different direction than your friends from high school. Also black, had to drop many of childhood friends because they became haters. 

1mo 
Liteiffel, what's your opinion? Comment below:

These people sound like they suck but, you could start from here: If you don't believe in yourself-- no one else will. You started this off by saying you got into a target school with help of affirmative action. Why do you feel like you need to say that? Just say you got in through hard work like everybody else, end of story. Accept that as your narrative from now on and don't ever internalize anything they say to you. If you're confident in yourself and how you've earned your spot in any room, comments like this will be laughable to you.

I agree that he has an inferiority complex and is envious on some level and agree with everyone else that it's best to phase these people out of your life as you grow up. I was surrounded by some people like this at some point and it made me afraid to share my good news and achievements. Took me a while to realize friendships shouldn't make you feel that way. That being said, it's not always possible to cut people off completely and if the situation arises again, I don't think there is anything wrong with standing up for yourself. You can tastefully dismiss a comment like that by saying something like "eh, more like a shit ton of hard work."

Sorry you have to go through this. 

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1mo 
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:
[Comment removed by mod team]
1mo 
nutmegger189, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's hilarious to me that after this whole thing you're still wondering what to say next time as if this whole situation didn't prompt you to realise THIS GUY DOES NOT LIKE YOU AND IS NOT YOUR FRIEND.

Retaliating would be weak and show that his comment got to you (which it clearly did but the last thing you'd want to do is give him that satisfaction).

1mo 
thebrofessor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

how do you approach this next time it comes up? ask the question "what makes you think that?" "what evidence do you have backing up this idea?" or perhaps a snarky "oh I didn't know you worked in HR at my bank, did you make the hiring decision? thanks!"

this is a lazy knee jerk comment by a moron, do not give it more attention than that, if it comes up again, put it back on them and let them dig their own grave. 

but if I were you, I'd just kick them out of my life, I've heard comments like this before "oh well you know why brofessor got that lead, diversity and all," and those people don't ever get the time of day again. fuck 'em, life is short, you don't need negative people like that in your life

1mo 
MarthaStewartsAFelon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

i am black and have gotten that comment.

  1. let me make this clear: he is not your friend. none of my friends have ever said that to me. in fact, when i was insecure when i was younger i said it a few times about myself and my friends challenged me.
  2. i personally would not want to be friends with them after that especially w/ the context in which they said it. my trust would be eroded in that person.
  3. if you do want to remain friends with him have a straightforward conversation. "i felt really hurt and discredited by your comment. it shocked me that such a good friend of mine would say something so hurtful about me. […]"
  4.  the situation is a a bit different since its a friend, but these days if someone does allude to that i generally ignore it. an acquaintance in high school did make that comment to me because i got into a school they didn't get into with lower grades (lots of ECs, major in a field i had gotten and national level accolades in, good test scores), and i told them "you dont know that for certain, and neither do I. what i do know is my degree will say {SCHOOL} and you don't even know what yours will say yet."
  5. youre going to get a lot of rude comments like that, among others, your whole life. the opinions of me held by people i do not care about are not my business (clarifying point: ME as a person ➔ what my coworkers think about me as an employee matters, what my landlord thinks about me as a tenant, etc. matters)
  6. that comment and such similar comments are rarely worth a response. it's based in prejudice and envy. that person was not in the room when your candidacy was decided. unless that person was there with the hiring team the whole time, they are either assuming b/c you are a minority you could have only gotten the job with affirmative action, OR they are envious you got a role they did not.
  7. how someone got a job is of little concern to me. when i was in banking we all knew that half the people had family connections (there was a special round for those people) or their school recruiting team fed them answers.
  8. think about this contrast: diversity candidates get a lot more press than family connection hires (who are mostly white). they sent out all our resumes when we hit the desk and no one ever mentioned the two white kids in my class with a 3.2 GPA, but i remember someone saying they couldn't believe one of the other black analysts got the job with 3.3 (he studied biology and chemistry).
  9. final point: despite diversity recruiting, there are scant minorities in finance. clearly white people can get jobs in finance just fine. if you're a white candidate who didn't get a job and blames diversity recruiting…i dont know what to tell you. you should been a better candidate.

congrats on your offer. work hard and kill it, and screw anyone who sh*ts on you.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
1mo 

That's crazy you still got the job tho right? Alright then lmao

1mo 
Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You handled it well.  It's an extreme situation that fortunately won't come up often.  Based on your description the guy sounds incredibly insecure.  His parents are no doubt used to this kind of thing, and were probably mortified when he said it.  You come off as wise beyond your years by just letting it go.  Nothing about his comment reflects on you, it just embarrasses him.

Know that even those of us who don't like AA programs, me among them, are still reasonable people who will judge you fairly.  We know that your ethnic status gave you a few extra points but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter much.  We know you still had to be smart and competitive to get to where you got.  We know others had unfair advantages that are much bigger.  And in the long run success boils down to the individual.  I'm confident that's how most people look at it.

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
1mo 

Imo diversity recruiting programs are a good thing. There are sooo few hispanic (like me), black, & native Americans in IB, PE, HF, VC, CO, etc. Those URM candidates should be getting a look first but still be given the same questions etc. The qualifications need to be the same or at least close. It is depressing aff to generally see that URMs are the poorest people in the country. Bias & discrimanation are a part of it. I have read that 70-80% of your IQ is genetic. Im aware that IQ and how much you earn are directly correlated up until you reach a certain IQ. Thats why I believe that other ethnic minorities immigrate to the US and dominate. (indians etc.)

  • Prospect in IB - Cov
1mo 

That guy is not your friend, first of all. As a black person myself, please make an effort to connect more with the black community in finance/in general and stop talking to people like this so you don't go your whole life surrounded by people with a white superiority complex that always make you feel less than. 

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1mo 
burryjr, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You need to cut that person off. 

  • 1
1mo 
thegreatspoofing, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Shrug it off and gradually distance yourself. Maybe he's part of your inner circle currently and you have just outgrown him, do a little housekeeping. Fuck what he thinks.

  • 1
1mo 
WolfofWSO, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Just own it. " 100! My resume is only a picture of my face yo!"

Array

1mo 
joejoejoerogan, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Start try to align your expectations with something you have control with, or simply lower your expectations in general. Hope it helps :)

  • Intern in ER
1mo 

why not just cut off all contact? I've done that to several people, including most toxic high school friends. They bring me down, harm my mental health, and I cut many toxic people out as a conscious decision when I decided to put my foot down and look after my mental health. Made an active decision to barely contact any high school peeps after finishing school.

When I say cutting people out I don't mean 'Fuck you brother', you can let a relationship fizzle out slowly and subtly. I've run into these people who I've cut out before, in a store or whatever, we can still have normal conversations

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
1mo 

This dude does not sound like someone you want to be around. Just keep grinding and fly higher than him. He'll get the point eventually

1mo 
FinEA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

WSO is 95% white. I don't think these type of ppl to be receptive to your issues.

1mo 
Apex Kurtosis, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Drop him man that's a shitty friend pretty clear cut. He said you only got your job because your black to your face? Is he also black because that kinda makes a difference but not that much. That's fucking outrageous and serious disrespect. Your one professional dude I would have told that guy to go fuck himself right their and never talked to him again.

1mo 
teddybear2, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Did you get your job only because you're black? If not then there's no need to be phased by this.

1mo 
TheBuellerBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Echoing the above - fuck that noise. You got the job because above all, you had what it took and you're likely thriving there. Any of that "you're there because you're black" noise is coming from a place of deep insecurity. No one, especially a friend, would say that to you given how marginalizing and condescending it is. Continue crushing and cut that person out of your life - you don't need that negativity around you.

And btw - if you got a leg in to the job because you're black, so be it. It's not the reason you got the offer. That is almost always contingent on you being competent. If anyone says otherwise they're just envious and toxic to your environment.

  • 2
1mo 
PerplexedInvestor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It can be tough to hear someone make negative comments about your achievements, especially when they're based on stereotypes and prejudice. It's understandable that you're upset and frustrated by this person's comment.

One approach you could take the next time this happens is to calmly and respectfully explain to this person why their comment is hurtful and unfounded. You can tell them that you've worked hard to achieve your goals and that your success isn't due to your race, but rather your own efforts and abilities. You can also point out that making generalizations about someone's abilities based on their race isn't only unfair, but it also perpetuates harmful stereotypes.

Additionally, you can let this person know how their comments make you feel and why they're not acceptable. It's important to set boundaries and let people know when their behavior isn't okay.

It's also important to remember that you don't have to engage with this person if they continue to make offensive comments. You can choose to distance yourself from them or limit your interactions with them if necessary. Ultimately, the decision is up to you and what you feel comfortable with.

  • PM in HF - Other
1mo 

Whoever passes that comment to you, find their girlfriends and give them BBC. 

You need to cuck your haters. 

1mo 
FinnesseGod, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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1mo 
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1mo 
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