Perusing my feed in Reddit, one person posted a question as to whether freelancing resists age discrimination, ageism being a common obstacle faced by many workers in their 40s and 50s (or older) looking for new employment. The overwhelming response agrees that older workers find freelancing resistant to age discrimination: what matters most to t their clients is quality, not the writer’s age.

The same cannot be said for other types of discrimination, specifically “reverse discrimination” favoring BIPOC and LGBTQ+ writers. It’s becoming increasingly common to see solicitations for writers expressing blatant favoritism toward those groups. Society would rage if any company released a job description specifying that the freelance or contract writer be a white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant male. However, discrimination that clearly indicates such a disfavored applicant submitting a proposal would be discounted based on his demographics rather than the quality of his work draws nary a blink of surprise.

I find that offensive and insulting. Such blatant discrimination implies the lowering of standards, that  others who do not match the desired demographic cannot possibly produce the quality or type of work requested. In short, it implies that BIPOC and LBGTQ+ folks can’t compete.

When I apply for a gig, I make no mention of my sex, the color of my skin, my religion, or anything else that has no relevance to whether I can do the work and complete the project. Frankly, that demographic data is none of their business. What I do mention is my experience and direct potential clients to my portfolio for writing samples. If a potential client cannot determine whether my skill is sufficient to perform the work, then there’s no need for discussion.

When I do seek to hire someone, I don’t ask for his or her demographics. I want to know whether (1) that person can they do the work at the level of competence I require and (2) will we get along? Just as I respect the client’s expertise and knowledge in his or her field, I expect the client to respect my expertise in the work he or she hires me to do. When applying to edit more technically oriented content, I make a point of stating that I am not the subject matter expert. The subject of the document is the author’s expertise; my expertise focuses on improving the quality of language in written material.

I am convinced that 2020 in large part succeeded in the attempt to reduce American society to an age of discrimination by demographic. It’s not pretty and it hurts more than the people whom it excludes.