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More Evidence of Racial Discrimination, this time in Academics

Our reader Frank has left comments issuing a challenge for Irregular Times and Irregular Times’ readers to provide “ONE EXAMPLE” of evidence pointing to “white privilege” and discrimination against black people in America. Earlier this week, I named and provided references to not one but six research studies that document discrimination against black people in controlled field experiments (also known as “audit studies”) in which actual auditors or paper applications are paired in a way so that the only difference between them is racial identity. Over and over again in these six research studies, statistically and substantively significant results indicate that among equally qualified pairs of applicants, white members of the pairs are more likely to receive positive treatment than black members of the pairs.

Frank is still working at responding to the first of the six research articles, and I don’t mean to rush him through his work, but I would like to add a seventh piece of research. This is another recent field experiment, the results of which were published in the peer-reviewed journal Psychological Science in 2012. In that paper, authors Katherine L. Milkman, Modupe Akinola, and Dolly Chugh (professors of management at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia Business School and New York University respectively) describe research in which they sent e-mails to 6,548 professors in all doctoral-level graduate programs in the United States. These e-mails featured requests to meet “next Monday coming from fictional people describing themselves as interested in applying to those graduate programs. The fictional applicants’ requests were of comparable written quality, differing only by names, which were selected to strongly indicate racial and gender identity. In their research results, requests by otherwise equivalent applicants with strongly typical white and male names received positive responses 26 percent more often than applicants with non-white and non-male names, indicating both racial and gender discrimination.

5 thoughts on “More Evidence of Racial Discrimination, this time in Academics”

  1. frank says:

    You named and provided “studies” that allegedly demonstrate “white privilege”. But being these “studies” just what the name says, is not per se “evidence”!! If the reader would like to read my counter comments to one of these studies (an dthe others follow the same flawed concept) then he/she will understand why i shut them down. I am not working in responding to one…i already did, and i am not wasting time with other liberal bullcrap (i.e. the other 5). In such studies is assumed that equality means the rule of the 50/50!! In the real world, labor market and colleges, there are MORE white males going to college or applying for jobs and less minorities. More empirical are statistics on crime, for example,those are real and are facts!! That’s what you failed to provide: facts, not studies, FACTS. A “study” it is just that, an investigation about a situation, but is not “scientifical evidence”. Also, i would like to ask you,mr Cook, what is your “solution” for solving this alleged “white privilege” and “oppression(??)”. If you know of ANY system in the world that works better and in a more fair manner than the American system i would love to hear it!!

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Your comments speak for themselves. I hope that some day you decide to engage with information that might disconfirm your prejudices and actually read the studies that you specifically asked for.

  2. frank says:

    Really a “study” on how college professor respond to request for a “meeting” as an evidence of “white privilege”…really? Can we get more ridiculous than this? What next ? A study on how many airlines refuse seats to minorities? Too many whites flying!!!!! LOL

  3. DrRGP says:

    And how do black reviewers, admissions committees, panels, etc., judge whites relative to any blacks with whom they are competing?

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Thanks for writing. The research I describe here does not regard “reviewers, admissions committees, panels, etc.”, so I cannot empirically speak to that. It regards contact with faculty, who are gateway figures for admission to graduate school but who do not themselves constitute admissions committees. Within these limits, to your point, I suggest you read the research article for yourself:

      And look particularly at Table 2, which shows that there is no statistically significant difference in treatment of Black students by Black professors, compared to the overall main effect.

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