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A man who didn't get a job due to 'discrimination' inadvertently demonstrated what white privilege looks like

Viewers on Twitter called the man ‘entitled’ and ‘arrogant’.

WE’VE SEEN ALL kinds of people on ITV’s This Morning over the years.

From the woman who has sex with ghosts, to an Asda worker who impersonates Ed Sheeran while packing the shelves, you never really know what you’re going to tune into on a weekday morning. 

On today’s episode, Phillip and Holly had a chat with Matthew Furlong, a man who wanted to work in the British police force since he was a kid, as his father is a detective. Holly opened up the segment by saying:

In 2015, a number of police forces were shamed by then-Home Secretary Theresa May because they had zero black officers. In the years that followed, those forces say they made steps to change that. But has it come as a price to others? 

Phillip then introduced Matthew, who “lost out on his dream to become a police officer after he wasn’t hired after over candidates.”  It was then explained that Matthew had taken the case to court, because he felt it was unfair that he was discriminated against for being “a white, heterosexual male.” 

PastedImage-30803 Source: This Morning/Youtube

Matthew, who is 25 years old, explained that he did work experience with the police as a teen, volunteered working with them and performed well in the three stages of the application process. He claims that when he left the face-to-face interview, the chair of the interview said, “It was refreshing to meet someone as well prepared as yourself.” 

I walked away thinking I had absolutely nailed it. I went away just waiting for the email for the job to start.

The email Furlong received congratulated him on his performance and on passing the exams, but informed him that a huge number of applicants had passed and Cheshire Police were unable to offer him a place as a result. Matthew said he was embarrassed, because he told everybody he had done very well in the interview and had fully expected to get the job. 

So, because Matthew was lucky enough to have a father working in the police force, he asked his dad to find out why he hadn’t been selected. At this stage, it’s clear that Matthew had numerous advantages over other applicants – a father with a prominent role in the police, access to work experience and volunteer work, and somebody who can go behind the scenes and look at the marking scheme for the interview.

Matthew explained that of 180 applicants, 127 passed and there were only 85 positions, so it was beyond him how one of them had not been reserved for him.

To level the playing field and introduce more diversity to the police force, those behind the hiring process decided that of those who were fully competent and had performed well in the interview, priority would be given to those who were underrepresented in the police force. After this, people who were fluent in a language other than English were also prioritised (it’s obvious why a second language would be extremely useful in this field of work). After that, preference was also given to people who already worked for the organisation. 

Phillip pointed out that this selection process was implemented because:

Back in 2015, Cheshire Police was one of the four forces shamed for the fact that they had zero black officers. 

Unfortunately for Matthew, he didn’t meet any of this criteria. He was now in the position that basically every black applicant before him had been in until the new hiring principles were introduced. The other applicants were not necessarily more or less qualified for the job than him – they all passed the same exam.

Source: This Morning/YouTube

We’ve all been disappointed and turned down for jobs at one stage or another, but the rest of us usually just keep trying or find an alternative. Rather than going back and applying for the same job the following year, or applying for another police department in the UK, he decided to take legal action. This is something that really isn’t an option for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, like those that are underrepresented in the police in the UK. We don’t all have the time, connections and financial resources to launch a complaint and investigation when we get turned down for jobs.

The fact that Matthew Furlong was able to take legal action, and go on to talk about his case on national television is a huge privilege that isn’t afforded to people of ethnic minorities or LGBTQ people or women, or anybody else who is discriminated against when applying for jobs. 

It seemed that viewers were well aware of this, too. If you scroll through the #ThisMorning hashtag on Twitter, there are many viewers suggesting that Matthew felt entitled to a job with Cheshire Police because his father worked there. One Twitter user wrote:

You didn’t get in, daddy couldn’t sort it for you and now you’re on #ThisMorning claiming it was due to being a white, heterosexual man? I’ve had countless interviews, in which feedback has been great but sometimes you just don’t make the cut. I think it’s probably time to move on. 

Another viewer wrote

Positive discrimination isn’t okay, however not all of those applicants had a dad already in the police. He had the privilege of being perfectly prepared, so much so that he assumed he had the job. How is that fair on applicants who don’t have family in the force? 

While one commented, “A millennial doesn’t get the job he wants in the Police, and naturally he’s offended by that decision and claims discrimination… Welcome to the real world son.” 

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About the author:

Kelly Earley

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