Study Finds Americans Are Less Likely to Respond to Emails If the Sender is Black


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A new study by scholars at Pennsylvania State University, Dartmouth College, the University of Virginia, and Brigham Young University finds that that “in simple day-to-day interactions, such as sending and responding to emails, the public discriminates against Black people. This discrimination is present among all racial/ethnic groups (aside from among Black people) and all areas of the country.” The researchers sent emails to a random list of 250,000 Americans. The emails asked recipients to respond to a brief survey. The researchers used names for senders of the emails that they believed identified them as either Black or White. Very few people responded to the emails, considered spam by many recipients. But when the sender had a White-sounding name, they were 15 percent more likely to receive a response than emails where the sender had a Black-sounding name. The disparities occurred in all areas of the country and among all racial and ethnic groups except for when the recipients were African Americans. Republicans, Independents, and Democrats all were less likely to respond to emails from senders who had Black-sounding names. “We were motivated by the old adage ‘actions speak louder than words,’” said John Holbein, a professor of public policy, politics,...