After several months of attempting to find a job as an artist’s assistant, recent graduate Kiana Frater has done what was previously thought to be impossible: She has learned to live solely off the encouragement to apply to jobs she receives as – according to the listing’s specific wording – a BIPOC woman.
“There definitely isn’t enough being done to fight nepotism, systemic inequality, and implicit bias in the workplace nowadays,” Frater explained. “But fortunately there’s plenty of encouragement for BIPOC to go around. Phew!”
Kiana has been using the encouragement she gets for various job postings to fund her life. She has been able to use the encouragement to make small payments on her student debt and has also been using encouragement to complete her roommates’ Venmo requests for utilities.
Despite the encouragement she receives to apply as a BIPOC woman, with job postings often reading promising things like ‘ALL BIPOC WELCOME’ or ‘Diverse candidates apply now’, Kiana has still experienced microaggressions and other barriers when she would interview for various artist assistant positions.
“I have an MFA from Parsons, but one artist insisted on me having five years of experience for a job that pays $15 an hour. And then she said I was very ‘well-spoken’,” Frater said. “So I just took my encouragement and left.”
Kiana then went to use the last of her encouragement to buy herself some bad-interview-consolation ice cream, before realizing that she would have to pay her rent with real money the next day.