The Racism and Sexism of College Faculty

The Racism and Sexism of College Faculty

Say you're a prospective doctoral student e-mailing a professor, asking if he or she would have time to meet with you. If you're not a white guy, should you use a fake name to make it sound like you are?

Well, you probably shouldn't assume a false identity if you want this person to like you, but if your only goal is to get a response, you might want to call yourself Brad Anderson. According to a new study, when researchers sent thousands of these e-mails, varying the names at the bottom, there were stark differences in response rates depending on the stereotypical race and gender of the name used, especially at private schools:

The discrimination against Asian applicants is easy to reconcile with what's happening in these schools' admissions departments; the evidence is quite clear that colleges, especially the elite ones, tend to set the bar higher for Asian applicants to keep their overrepresentation in check. Discrimination against blacks, Hispanics, and in some fields women, however, is evidence of a much simpler prejudice and works at cross-purposes with the goals of school administrators.

Here's how the problem broke down by field of study (or see page 56 of the study for a big chart that breaks down race/gender and field):

Hat tip to Inside Higher Ed.

Robert VerBruggen is editor of RealClearPolicy. Twitter: @RAVerBruggen

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