I was curious to see the range of opinions on that study that MIT and U of Chicago released last week that indicated that resumes with “black-sounding” names got fewer responses from employers than resumes with “white-sounding” names, all qualifications being equal.
The talking heads on TV and the chattering classes were quick to say this proved racism. I’m not so sure. While I’m not saying conclusively that there wasn’t racism, I am saying that there could have been other causes at work as well.
Some other possibilities: 1) Suspiciousness on the part of employers that the qualifications of those with “black sounding” names were in fact inflated because those individuals may have benefited from affirmative action, meaning that they didn’t really view the equal numbers as being equally well earned; 2) Fear that if the employee turned out to be a bad one that he or she would be virtually un-firable due to the threat of racial-discrimination lawsuits.
As I said, I’m not saying that racism is eliminated as a possible cause; all I’m saying is that I think it is one among many possible, non-mutually-exclusive causes, and I think the ones I listed are likely more powerful. What do you all think?