A council today defended a decision to exclude white people from applying to join a management training scheme.
Bristol City Council is facing criticism after the two-year graduate placement, worth £18,000, was offered only to ethnic minorities.
The council - the city's largest employer - said the process was legal and is addressing an imbalance in the ethnic mix of its workforce.
One potential applicant, who did not wish to be named, told the Bristol Evening Post: "I am a tolerant white person who has lived in Bristol for 27 years.
"I am currently searching for a job and stumbled across a job advertisement on Bristol City Council's website that I see as totally racist.
"I feel the job itself would be an excellent opportunity for me to make use of the skills and qualifications that I have acquired. However, being white I am totally excluded from applying for the post."
Seven per cent of the council's 9,000 non-school members of staff are from ethnic minorities, compared to 12% of Bristol's population as a whole.
The placement description, which does not guarantee a job at the end, reads: "You should have a strong interest in the delivery of local public services, be able to take the initiative and have the confidence to relate to people at all levels within the council.
"The traineeship will involve rotating placements in different services of the city council where you will be given 'on the job' training and undertake projects including policy and research work. The successful candidates will be offered a postgraduate diploma in management studies, a tax-free training allowance and mentoring and support throughout."
The city council says it has other training schemes that are open to everyone.
A spokesman said today: "This is the third year of running the traineeship and it was started because of the marked under-representation of BME (black and minority ethnic) people in the council's workforce. Seven per cent of our staff are BME compared to 12% in the city population and the figure for BME is even lower at management grades.
"The normal recruitment process was not rectifying this unacceptably low trend, so there was a strong case for this small positive recruitment traineeship for two BME graduates a year, as set out by section 37 of the Race Relations Act 1976. We have a total workforce of over 9,000 employees (excluding school staff) so this is a very small training programme.
"Graduates from any ethnic background are, of course, open to apply for the national graduate local government programme which we recruit from every year - we have just recruited two graduates in this way.
"We also run a successful apprenticeship programme for the under-24s - so far we have placed 62 to date. And of course there are a range of jobs advertised externally via our website, which graduates can apply for.
"It is also worth remembering that this is a training position - at the end of the two years there is no guarantee of work and the successful candidates would have to apply for a job with the council in the usual way on the open market."Reuse content