Wow. A little blatant racial discrimination to start your day?

We’re in the process of looking for a nanny for our infant son for when DeathLlama and I return to teaching in the fall. It’s pricey as crap, but still cheaper than me cutting to half time. And just FTR, we intend to be borderline obsessive in the screening process.

Anyway, I just got off the phone with one of the local agencies. Through her thick accent, I was told it was $1400/month for Chinese nannies/housekeepers, and $900/month for Hispanic nannies/housekeepers. If I wanted a good cook, the Chinese are better. If I want a good housekeeper and someone better at taking care of the baby, I should go with a Hispanic.


Now, I don’t know if maybe I’m missing something that would tell me this isn’t blatant discrimination ($500 difference in pay based on your ethnicity??), or a case of sweeping generalizations about racial abilities, but…wow.

And no, we won’t be using this agency.

Should have asked the person on the phone: “Oh. What race are you?”


“Just out of curiosity”

“I’m fill_in_the_blank”

“How much for one of your kind?”

Isn’t that just flat-out illegal? It’s like some kind of bizarre nanny meat market where the menu is broken down by ethnicity and the skillsets each one supposedly posesses. The simple fact that an oriental costs more than a hispanic must violate discrimination laws. And WTF is up with a good cook costing more than someone who’s good at taking care of children? Are they implying that a good meal is more important than child care?

Was the number for this “agency” attached to a disposable cell phone by any chance?

C’mon, everyone knows you want a Jew running the office. They’re good with numbers and they’re practically white.

So you can either have a good meal or a clean house and a well-cared child. What, does the Chinese nanny leave you to clean the kitchen and the rest of the house?? Let me guess, the Chinese nanny would cook Chinese food. :rolleyes:

Her accent told me she was decidedly Asian and presumably Chinese. Her Kind get paid more, y’hear?

People are weird.

This kind of cr@p is inescapeable with nannies and maids.

Remember when they used to all be Caribbean? In Canada in the early part of the century they developed a program to bring specifically Caribbean women to Canada to act as maids (so liberated Canadian women could get out of the house to make some money; it was much cheaper for the gvt than providing child care). Since they were neither citizens nor tourists nor regular guest workers nor immigrants, we didn’t have to worry about petty things like paying them a living wage and ensuring their human rights are respected.

(A very interesting article about this is here - caution, not a PDF but a very slow-loading Word document)

Then in the 1970s the women started to fight back against all this (bouyed by the Civil Rights movement, I expect) and people started wanting more docile maids, and the legislation changed to allow women from anywhere to come (while simultaneously placing more and more restrictions on them), so Philipina maids became more common.

Now, people call up agencies wanting maids of specific national origin (and gender! How many male nannies have you ever heard of?). The agencies are just meeting the demands of many of their customers.

It also has to do with how much the women in question are willing to accept in wages - clearly, one could hire an undocumented Hispanic woman for substantially less than a native-born American woman (because the American could get much more elsewhere, and the Hispanic couldn’t - even if they have the exact same skill set). There are similar gradations among most ethnic groups that come from nothing more than subtle prejudices in mass numbers of individuals who make decisions whether or not to hire people and at what wage.

Disgusting? Yes, absolutely. But the deep historical and global precedent to all this is even more disgusting.

(My cite: I did my thesis on this topic and read all this stuff a few years ago, plus more that would make your hair curl. I still have references if anyone cares but I’m at work right now and couldn’t get them until tomorrow.)

Jeez. That’s almost like discrimination that’s legalized (or at least tollerated) purely by precedent. An old prejudice grandfathered in simply because there’s still a market for it. Kind of an institutionalized form of racial profiling used only to select and “grade” maids.

I’m probably not the most socially sensitive human being around (though I try), but that strikes me as uniquely absurd.

My thought on that would be that the hispanic workers they use are illegal aliens. For me, that would be the reason not to use them.

Maybe it’s because the Chinese hire themselves out as cooks (who also watch the kids), and the going rate for a good cook is $1400/mo, whereas the Hispanics hire themselves out as housekeepers (who also watch the kids), and their going rate is $900/mo. Different job, different pay scale? No?

I tried.

good point. To follow up on my long post above: I believe that, unlike Canada, the USA doesn’t have a program specifically geared towards live-in nannies. So almost all of them are (probably) illegal, meaning there is little or no regulation at all.

Anyone with legitimate papers would likely be able to get a significantly better wage than the going rate for nannies, regardless of where they are from.

And aside from a difference in composition (eg there are probably a lot more Hispanics in the US than in Canada), the racial dynamics (in terms of potential employers being willing to pay more for certain nationalities) are the same.

It would be nice if it were that simple, but I can’t help thinking that I’d pay more for somebody who would actually do something good for my kids. Whether I like their cooking is less important.

Your point did make me think about job skills. FWIW, I do know a couple who have a Chinese nanny specifically because they want the kids to learn Chinese. Those folks are relatively well-off, so it would follow that if the demand for Chinese-speaking nannies is high enough, the agency could ask for more for their services.

What’s entirely uncool about this is that it’s not “If you want your kids to learn Mandarin/Shanghai/Taiwanese/whateverdialect, it’ll cost you $xxx. If you want your kids to learn Spanish, it’ll cost you $xx.” It’s not about the skills, it’s about the race. That’s just wrong.

Kudos to the OP for refusing to play.

Plus, everybody knows that elderly Scottish grandmotherly-types make the best nannies, cooks and housekeepers, despite the fact that you’ll always think that they’re channeling Robin Williams.

:mad: :mad: :mad:

I really have nothing to say. It chaps my hide to even hear about it.

Yup, for the third time today I’m posting this: People can really suck.

But, I did get ahold of a much more respectable (at least, respectable-sounding) nanny agency an hour or so ago. The only thing remotely relating to ethnicity/culture/language that was brought up was the level of English fluency we’d require; I said they needed to speak it well enough for us to understand them, and vice versa. So, she marked “Fluent English speaker” down as one of our requirements, and that was that.

She also had a lot more professional things to tell me–like their careful screening process, background checks, interview process, trial period, etc. They also pay their nannies a more respectable wage based on experience (and whether or not we’d need them to have a driver’s license and car)…decidely not whether they are “Chinese or Hispanic.”

I’m still stunned by the other “agency,” though.

Hi Laura! It’s great to see you back. And congratulations on the little one!!

I might be able to help you find a nanny. Might. I’ll drop you an email.

I agree that it’s absurd, but unless I’m misreading it, you’re jumping to conclusions. It’s $500 difference in cost, not necessarily in pay. It’s remotely possible that they are just making money off the racism of their clients, who somehow assume that the Chinese are worth more.

I am so going to hell.

Wow. Awkward question.

I’ve always thought if I had kids and were going to hire a nanny, I’d like an older Russian woman, if and they were in short supply, I’d be willing to pay more. It’s because I’d kinda like my kids to grow up bilingual Russian-English.

But I really don’t want to hear the agency say, “Chinese good at X, Hispanic good at Y, Russian good at Z! You pay more!”

If you get there first, save me a seat by the window.