Race and the Resume

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Consider it a different kind of name dropping. These days human resource managers are legally required to put on color-blind glasses, to carefully pore over resumes looking for the “best” candidate. But still, discrimination can be as quick and capricious as looking at a person’s name.

That’s according to a new study of 5,000 resumes sent in response to want ads. Researchers found that people with black sounding names like Tamika or Tyrone were fifty percent more likely to get dropped from consideration and those with “white” sounding names were strongly favored. This research has some saying that racism is so deep, so subconscious, that some kind of mass deprogramming is needed. Others say maybe name changing would be easier.


Sendhil Mullainathan, assistant professor of economics, MIT

Preston Edwards Sr., CEO, iMinorities Inc.