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Embedded Racial Bias

Posted on Jan 04, 2015

Filed Under: social-justice


Racial Bias, Even When We Have Good Intentions: A good (bad?) rollup of studies which show that embedded, perhaps subconscious racism is alive and well.

  • When doctors were shown patient histories and asked to make judgments about heart disease, they were much less likely to recommend cardiac catheterization (a helpful procedure) to black patients […]
  • When whites and blacks were sent to bargain for a used car, blacks were offered initial prices roughly $700 higher, and they received far smaller concessions.
  • [...] sending emails with stereotypically black names in response to apartment-rental ads on Craigslist elicited fewer responses than sending ones with white names.
  • White state legislators were found to be less likely to respond to constituents with African-American names. This was true of legislators in both political parties.
  • Emails sent to faculty members at universities, asking to talk about research opportunities, were more likely to get a reply if a stereotypically white name was used.
  • Even eBay auctions were not immune. When iPods were auctioned on eBay, researchers randomly varied the skin color on the hand holding the iPod. A white hand holding the iPod received 21 percent more offers than a black hand.

Lots more in the article, including some analysis as to why this happens.