No simple fix to weed out racial bias in the sharing economy

Two options to combat implicit bias and discrimination: less information (blind cv approach) or more information (expanded online reviews). The first has empirical evidence behind it, the second is exploratory at this stage:

One of the underlying flaws of any workplace is the assumption that the cream rises to the top, meaning that the best people get promoted and are given opportunities to shine.

While it’s tempting to be lulled into believing in a meritocracy, years of research on women and minorities in the work force demonstrate this is rarely the case. Fortunately, in most corporate settings, protocols exist to try to weed out discriminatory practices.

The same cannot necessarily be said for the sharing economy. While companies such as Uber and Airbnb boast transparency and even mutual reviews, they remain far from immune to discriminatory practices.

In 2014, Benjamin Edelman and Michael Luca, both associate professors of business administration at Harvard Business School, uncovered that non-black hosts can charge 12 per cent more than black hosts for a similar property. In this new economy, that simply means non-white hosts earn less for a similar service. This sounds painfully familiar to those who continue to fight this battle in the corporate world – although in this case, it occurs without the watchful eye of a human-resources division.

In the corporate world, companies have moved from focusing on overt to subconscious bias, according to Mr. Edelman and Mr. Luca, but the nature of the bias in the sharing economy remains unclear.

It’s either statistical, meaning users infer that the property remains inferior based on the owner’s profile, or “taste-based,” suggesting the decision to rent comes down to user preference. To curb discriminatory practices, the authors recommend concealing basic information, such as photos and names, until a transaction is complete, as on Craigslist.

Reached by e-mail this week, Mr. Edelman stands by that approach.

“Broadly, my instinct is to conceal information that might give rise to discrimination. If we think hosts might reject guests of [a] disfavoured race, let’s not tell hosts the race of a guest when they’re deciding whether to accept. If we think drivers might reject passengers of [a] disfavoured race, again, don’t reveal the race in advance,” he advised.

While Mr. Edelman feels those really bent on discrimination will continue to do so, other, more casual discriminators will realize it’s too costly.

An Uber driver who only notices a passenger’s race at the pickup point might think to himself he already has driven about five kilometres. If he cancels, not only will he be without a fare, but also Uber might notice and become suspicious, Mr. Edelman surmised.

Not everyone agrees that less information is the best route to take to combat discrimination in the sharing economy. In fact, more information may be the fix, according to recent research conducted by Ruomeng Cui, an assistant professor at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, Jun Li, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business, and Dennis Zhang, an assistant professor at the John M. Olin Business School at Washington University in Saint Louis.

The trio of academics argues that rental decisions on platforms such as Airbnb are based on racial preferences only when not enough information is available. When more information is shared, specifically through peer reviews, discriminatory practices are reduced or even eliminated.

“We recommend platforms take advantage of the online reputation system to fight discrimination. This includes creating and maintaining an easy-to-use online review system, as well as encouraging users to write reviews after transactions. For example, sending multiple e-mail reminders or offering monetary incentives such as discounts or credits, especially for those relatively new users,” Dr. Li said.

“Eventually, sharing-economy platforms have to figure how to better signal user quality; nevertheless, whatever they do, concealing information will not help,” she added.

Still, others believe technology itself can offer a solution to the incidents of bias in the sharing economy, such as Copenhagen-based Sara Green Brodersen, founder and chief executive of Deemly, which launched last October. The company’s mission is to build trust in the sharing economy through social ID verification and reputation software, which enables users to take their reputation with them across platforms. For example, if a user has ratings on Airbnb, they can collate it with their reviews on Upwork.

“Recent studies in this area suggest that ratings and reviews are what creates most trust between peers. [For example] when a user on Airbnb looks at a host, they put the most emphasis on the previous reviews from other guests more than anything else on the profile. Essentially, this means platforms could present anonymous profiles showing only the user’s reputation, but not gender, profile picture, ethnicity, name and age and, in this way, we can avoid the bias which has been presented,” Ms. Brodersen said.

Regardless of the solution, platforms and their users need to recognize that combatting discriminatory practices is their responsibility and the sharing economy, like the traditional work force, is no meritocracy.

“This issue is not going to be smaller on its own,” Ms. Brodersen warned.

Source: No simple fix to weed out racial bias in the sharing economy – The Globe and Mail

Barbara Kay: Actually, it turns out that you may be less racist than you’ve been led to believe

What Kay misses is the usefulness of the IAT for people to become more mindful of their implicit biases, and, in so doing, be more aware of their “thinking fast” mode to use Kahneman’s phrase.

It is not automatic that being more mindful or aware changes behaviour but it can play a significant role (and yes, the benefits can be overstated). Having implicit biases does not necessarily mean acting on them.

Kay did not mention whether or not she took the test. Given her biases evident in her columns, it would be interesting to know whether she took the IAT and what, if anything, she learned.

I certainly found it useful, revealing and most important, discomforting as I became more aware of the gap between my policy mind and views, and what was under the surface.

Anyone can take the test on the Project Implicit Website, hosted by Harvard U. By October 2015, more than 17 million individuals had completed it (with presumably 90-95 per cent of them then self-identifying as racist). Liberal observers love the IAT. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote in 2015, “It’s sobering to discover that whatever you believe intellectually, you’re biased about race, gender, age or disability.” Kristof’s tone is more complacent than sober, though. For progressives, the more widespread bias can be demonstrated to be, the more justifiable institutional and state intrusions into people’s minds become.

Banaji and Greenwald have themselves made far-reaching claims for the test: the “automatic White preference expressed on the Race IAT is now established as signaling discriminatory behavior. It predicts discriminatory behavior even among research participants who earnestly (and, we believe, honestly) espouse egalitarian beliefs. …. Among research participants who describe themselves as racially egalitarian, the Race IAT has been shown, reliably and repeatedly, to predict discriminatory behavior that was observed in the research.”

Problem is, none of this can be authenticated. According to Singal, a great deal of scholarly work that takes the shine off the researchers’ claims has been ignored by the media. The IAT is not verifiable and correlates weakly with actual lived outcomes. Meta-analyses cannot examine whether IAT scores predict discriminatory behaviour accurately enough for real-world application. An individual can score high for bias on the IAT and never act in a biased manner. He can take the test twice and get two wildly different scores. After almost two decades, the researchers have never posted test-retest reliability of commonly used IATs in publication.

It’s a wonder the IAT has a shred of credibility left. In 2015 Greenwald and Banaji responded to a critic that the psychometric issues with race and ethnicity IATS “render them problematic to use to classify persons as likely to engage in discrimination,” and that “attempts to diagnostically use such measures for individuals risk undesirably high rates of erroneous classifications.” Greenwald acknowledged to Singal that “no one has yet undertaken a study of the race IAT’s test-related reliability.” In other words, the IAT is a useless tool for measuring implicit bias.

In an interesting aside, Singal points to a 2012 study published in Psychological Science by psychologist Jacquie Vorauer. As her experiment, Vorauer set white Canadians to work with aboriginal partners. Before doing so, some of the participants took an IAT that pertained to aboriginals, some took a non-race IAT and others were asked for their explicit feelings about the group. Aboriginals in the race-IAT group subsequently reported feeling less valued by their white partners as compared to aboriginals in all of the other groups. Vorauer writes, “If completing the IAT enhances caution and inhibition, reduces self-efficacy, or primes categorical thinking, the test may instead have negative effects.” As Singal notes, this “suggests some troubling possibilities.”The IAT has potentially misinformed millions of test-takers, who believe that they are likely to act, or are routinely acting, with bias against their fellow citizens. Harbouring biases is part of the human condition, and it is our right to hold them, especially those warranted by epidemiology and reason. Our actions are all that should concern our employers or the state’s legal apparatus. Any directive to submit to the IAT by the state or a state-sponsored entity like the CBC constitutes an undemocratic intrusion into the individual’s privacy.

Source: Barbara Kay: Actually, it turns out that you may be less racist than you’ve been led to believe | National Post

Bias Isn’t Just A Police Problem, It’s A Preschool Problem : NPR

Worth reading in terms of just how embedded implicit bias is:

New research from the Yale Child Study Center suggests that many preschool teachers look for disruptive behavior in much the same way: in just one place, waiting for it to appear.

The problem with this strategy (besides it being inefficient), is that, because of implicit bias, teachers are spending too much time watching black boys and expecting the worst.

The Study

Lead researcher Walter Gilliam knew that to get an accurate measure of implicit bias among preschool teachers, he couldn’t be fully transparent with his subjects about what, exactly, he was trying to study.

Implicit biases are just that — subtle, often subconscious stereotypes that guide our expectations and interactions with people.

“We all have them,” Gilliam says. “Implicit biases are a natural process by which we take information, and we judge people on the basis of generalizations regarding that information. We all do it.”

Even the most well-meaning teacher can harbor deep-seated biases, whether she knows it or not. So Gilliam and his team devised a remarkable — and remarkably deceptive — experiment.

At a big, annual conference for pre-K teachers, Gilliam and his team recruited 135 educators to watch a few short videos. Here’s what they told them:

“We are interested in learning about how teachers detect challenging behavior in the classroom. Sometimes this involves seeing behavior before it becomes problematic. The video segments you are about to view are of preschoolers engaging in various activities. Some clips may or may not contain challenging behaviors. Your job is to press the enter key on the external keypad every time you see a behavior that could become a potential challenge.”

Each video included four children: a black boy and girl and a white boy and girl.

Here’s the deception: There was no challenging behavior.

While the teachers watched, eye-scan technology measured the trajectory of their gaze. Gilliam wanted to know: When teachers expected bad behavior, who did they watch?

“What we found was exactly what we expected based on the rates at which children are expelled from preschool programs,” Gilliam says. “Teachers looked more at the black children than the white children, and they looked specifically more at the African-American boy.”

Indeed, according to recent data from the U.S. Department of Education, black children are 3.6 times more likely to be suspended from preschool than white children. Put another way, black children account for roughly 19 percent of all preschoolers, but nearly half of preschoolers who get suspended.

One reason that number is so high, Gilliam suggests, is that teachers spend more time focused on their black students, expecting bad behavior. “If you look for something in one place, that’s the only place you can typically find it.”

The Yale team also asked subjects to identify the child they felt required the most attention. Forty-two percent identified the black boy, 34 percent identified the white boy, while 13 percent and 10 percent identified the white and black girls respectively.

The Vignette

The Yale study had two parts. And, as compelling as the eye-scan results were, Gilliam’s most surprising takeaway came later.

He gave teachers a one-paragraph vignette to read, describing a child disrupting a class; there’s hitting, scratching, even toy-throwing. The child in the vignette was randomly assigned what researchers considered a stereotypical name (DeShawn, Latoya, Jake, Emily), and subjects were asked to rate the severity of the behavior on a scale of one to five.

White teachers consistently held black students to a lower standard, rating their behavior as less severe than the same behavior of white students.

Gilliam says this tracks with previous research around how people may shift standards and expectations of others based on stereotypes and implicit bias. In other words, if white teachers believe that black boys are more likely to behave badly, they may be less surprised by that behavior and rate it less severely.

Black teachers, on the other hand, did the opposite, holding black students to a higher standard and rating their behavior as consistently more severe than that of white students.

Here’s another key finding: Some teachers were also given information about the disruptive child’s home life, to see if it made them more empathetic:

[CHILD] lives with his/her mother, his/her 8- and 6-year old sisters, and his/her 10-month-old baby brother. His/her home life is turbulent, between having a father who has never been a constant figure in his/her life, and a mother who struggles with depression but doesn’t have the resources available to seek help. During the rare times when his/her parents are together, loud and sometimes violent disputes occur between them. In order to make ends meet, [CHILD’s] mother has taken on three different jobs, and is in a constant state of exhaustion. [CHILD] and his/her siblings are left in the care of available relatives and neighbors while their mother is at work.

Guess what happened.

Teachers who received this background did react more empathetically, lowering their rating of a behavior’s severity — but only if the teacher and student were of the same race.

Source: Bias Isn’t Just A Police Problem, It’s A Preschool Problem : NPR Ed : NPR

Surprising New Evidence Shows Bias in Police Use of Force but Not in Shootings – The New York Times

Surprising_New_Evidence_Shows_Bias_in_Police_Use_of_Force_but_Not_in_Shootings_-_The_New_York_TimesUnderlying bias and discrimination remains of concern, but useful nuance to current debates:

new study confirms that black men and women are treated differently in the hands of law enforcement. They are more likely to be touched, handcuffed, pushed to the ground or pepper-sprayed by a police officer, even after accounting for how, where and when they encounter the police.

But when it comes to the most lethal form of force — police shootings — the study finds no racial bias.

“It is the most surprising result of my career,” said Roland G. Fryer Jr., the author of the study and a professor of economics at Harvard. The study examined more than 1,000 shootings in 10 major police departments, in Texas, Florida and California.

The result contradicts the image of police shootings that many Americans hold after the killings (some captured on video) of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.; Tamir Rice in Cleveland; Walter Scott in South Carolina; Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La.; and Philando Castile in Minnesota.

The study did not say whether the most egregious examples — those at the heart of the nation’s debate on police shootings — are free of racial bias. Instead, it examined a larger pool of shootings, including nonfatal ones.

The counterintuitive results provoked debate after the study was posted on Monday, mostly about the volume of police encounters and the scope of the data. Mr. Fryer emphasizes that the work is not the definitive analysis of police shootings, and that more data would be needed to understand the country as a whole. This work focused only on what happens once the police have stopped civilians, not on the risk of being stopped at all. Other research has shown that blacks are more likely to be stopped by the police.

Photo

Roland G. Fryer Jr., a professor of economics at Harvard. CreditErik Jacobs for The New York Times 

Mr. Fryer, the youngest African-American to receive tenure at Harvard and the first to win a John Bates Clark medal, a prize given to the most promising American economist under 40, said anger after the deaths of Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and others drove him to study the issue. “You know, protesting is not my thing,” he said. “But data is my thing. So I decided that I was going to collect a bunch of data and try to understand what really is going on when it comes to racial differences in police use of force.”

Source: Surprising New Evidence Shows Bias in Police Use of Force but Not in Shootings – The New York Times

We never see Trump or Brexit coming because we drown in data and biases – Implicit Bias

Good piece by Mike Ross, Davide Pisanu and Blanche Ajarrista on the risks of bias and automatic thinking and the need to be more mindful:

Three ways to diminish the risk of overreliance on analytics or biased forecasting are the use of premortems, devil’s advocates and self-reflection. Tools that we all (including the market research organizations and newsrooms of the world) can implement more systematically to avoid shocks such as the Brexit result.

  • Premortems start with imagining that you are wrong, dead wrong, and that the worst has occurred. You then ask, what could be the cause of this predictive failure? Through this type of questioning, we can identify the limitations of the available data and dig deeper to improve the quality of the quality of the information used.
  • A devil’s advocate is appointed to ensure that contrarian positions have a voice at the table when groups are making decisions, but they are also useful on an individual basis. This person’s role is to argue against the group’s intention – essentially stating why everyone else is wrong. By clearly nominating someone to take this on (or by forcing yourself to question your own assumptions in this way), we free the advocate from the constraint of not wanting to go against the position of the group and in doing so allow them to highlight our collective blind spots.
  • Self reflection (by an individual or a group) is more of a habitual practice – ensuring that you think deeply on how your background, beliefs and socioeconomic context heavily bias your views. From the people you regularly interact with to the Facebook algorithm that pushes content to your stream, your view of the world is curated by your context. Forcing yourself to acknowledge this and actively seek out opinions counter to your own will diminish the influence your personal situation has on your decision-making, broaden your context and expand the range of data you’ll use to inform your decisions.

It’s not that data and analytics are inherently bad or that our biases are not useful in decision-making, but rather that these can be flawed.

By recognizing and using a set of tools to overcome these flaws, we can be much more effective decision-makers and avoid (and perhaps profit from) the shocking and the unexpected.

Source: We never see Trump or Brexit coming because we drown in data and biases – The Globe and Mail

We Just Can’t Handle Diversity: HBR

We_Just_Can’t_Handle_DiversityGood long read by Lisa Burrell at HBR and the difficulties in ensuring diversity given our implicit biases and automatic thinking:

Senior leaders need to recognize their organizations’ inequities—probably more than anyone else, since they have the power to make changes. But once they’ve climbed to their positions, they usually lose sight of what they had to overcome to get there. As a result, Rosette and Tost find, “they lack the motivation and perspective to actively consider the advantages that dominant-group members experience.” This is especially true of successful white women, who “reported [even] lower perceptions of White privilege than did highly successful White men.” It’s fascinating that their encounters with sexism don’t help them identify racial advantage after they’ve gotten ahead. Perhaps, the authors suggest, their hard-earned status feels so tenuous that they reflexively tighten their grip.

Beyond murkily defined concepts and somewhat defensive motivations, we have an even-higher-level conceptual obstacle to overcome: our bias against diversity itself. Recent research by Ohio State University’s Robert Lount Jr. and colleagues (Oliver Sheldon, of Rutgers; Floor Rink, of Groningen; and Katherine Phillips, of Columbia) shows that we assume diversity will spark interpersonal conflict. Participants in a series of experiments all read, watched, or listened to the exact same conversations among various groups. They consistently perceived the all-black or all-white groups as more harmonious than those with a combination of blacks and whites.

If we expect people to behave less constructively when they’re in diverse organizations or teams, how do we interpret and reward their actual performance? Under the influence of those flawed expectations? Quite possibly.

So, Is It Hopeless?

According to the renowned behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman, trying to outsmart bias at the individual level is a bit of a fool’s errand, even with training. We are fundamentally overconfident, he says, so we make quick interpretations and automatic judgments. But organizations think and move much more slowly. They actually stand a chance of improving decision making.

Research by John Beshears and Francesca Gino, of Harvard Business School, supports that line of thought. As they have written in HBR, “It’s extraordinarily difficult to rewire the human brain,” but we can “alter the environment in which decisions are made.” This approach—known as choice architecture—involves mitigating biases, not reversing them, and Beshears and Gino have found that it can lead to better outcomes in a wide range of situations. The idea is to deliberately structure how you present information and options: You don’t take away individuals’ right to decide or tell them what they should do. You just make it easier for them to reach more-rational decisions. (For more on this idea, also see “Designing a Bias-Free Organization,” an interview with Harvard behavioral economist Iris Bohnet.)

There’s still an element of manipulation here: The organization sets the stage for certain kinds of choices. But that brings us back to what most of us can agree on, at least in the abstract: Diversity improves performance, and people who apply themselves and do good work should be treated fairly.

If the members of an organization could get behind those broad ideas, would it bother them that they were being nudged to do what they wanted to do anyway? It might—and that would be another cognitive roadblock to clear.

Source: We Just Can’t Handle Diversity

Interesting that the recent public service discussions on diversity, judging by reports I have seen, show no evidence of this deeper thinking of the challenges involved (even if, judging by the numbers, the public service is reasonably diverse – see Diversity and Inclusion Agenda: Impact on the Public Service, Setting the baseline).

When making a presentation on multiculturalism and the government’s inclusion and diversity agenda this week at Canadian Heritage, my assigned ‘homework’ for attendees was to take the Harvard-developed Implicit Association Test to be more mindful of their internal biases and prejudices. It certainly was revealing to me, as it has been to those I know who have taken it:

Public Servants Get Real About Diversity in the Public Service

How Talking To People Can Reduce Prejudice

Interesting example of how face-to-face conversations that help people understand the other’s experiences, and identify some commonalities, can make a difference:

After the dust settled [from a previously falsified study], Broockman and Kalla went on with their experiment on transgender prejudices. LaCour’s misconduct only made them more determined to do the study for real. “There were all these volunteers who gave their Saturdays [to do the experiment],” Broockman says. “We had a certain sense of responsibility.”

They sent out surveys to thousands of homes in Miami, asking people to answer questions that included how they felt about transgender people and if they would support legal protection against discrimination for transgender people. Then volunteers from SAVE, an LGBT advocacy organization based in Florida, visited half of the 501 people who responded and canvassed them about an unrelated topic, recycling. Volunteers went to the other half and started the conversations that Fleischer thinks can help change minds.

After the canvass, the study participants answered the same questions about transgender people that they had answered before the study, including how positively or negatively they felt towards transgender people on a scale of 0 to 100. Those who had discussed prejudice they’d experienced felt about 10 points more positively toward transgender people, on average.

Broockman says that public opinion about gay people has improved by 8.5 points between 1998 and 2012. “So it’s about 15 years of progress that we’ve experienced in 10 minutes at the door,” he says.

Three months after the canvass, Broockman asked participants to fill out the survey again. They still felt more positively about transgender people than those who had gotten the unrelated canvass. “[That’s] the moment I backed away from my monitor and said, ‘Wow, something’s really unique here,’ ” he says. If the effect persists, Broockman says, the technique could be used to reduce prejudice across society.

That doesn’t mean everybody came away feeling more positive about transgender rights. Kalla says some people came away from the canvasser feeling very differently and some people not so much at all. And an uptick in 10 points on a feeling scale of 0 to 100 doesn’t sound like an epiphany. There wasn’t, however, any indication that those who started out with very negative feelings about transgender people were particularly resistant to the conversation. Broockman and Kalla published the results in Science on Thursday.

It is a landmark study, according to Elizabeth Paluck, a psychologist at Princeton University who was not involved with the work. “They were very transparent about all the statistics,” she says. “It was a really ingenious test of the change. If the change was at all fragile, we should have seen people change their minds back [after three months].” There are very few tests of prejudice reduction methods, and Paluck says this suggests the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s approach is actually far more effective than previous efforts, like TV ads.

There might be a couple of reasons for that. Broockman, now an assistant professor of political economy at Stanford University, says asking someone questions face-to-face like, “What are the reasons you wouldn’t support protections for transgender people, or what does this make you think about?” gets them to begin thinking hard about the issue. “Burning the mental calories to do effortful thinking about it, that leaves a lasting imprint on your attitudes,” he says.

Empathy may also be a factor. “Canvassers asked people to talk about a time they were treated differently. Most people have been judged because of gender, race or some other issue. For many voters, they reflect on it and they realize that’s a terrible feeling they don’t want anyone to have,” Broockman says.

The study’s conclusions differ from the conclusions of the LaCour’s falsified study from 2014 in one crucial way, Broockman says. LaCour claimed that there was only an effect from the deep canvass if it came from someone who was LGBT. “We found non-trans allies had a lasting effect as well,” Broockman says. That means canvassing is much more about conversational skill rather than identity.

It will take more studies and replications of this study before scientists know exactly what is influencing people’s opinions. But for now, the findings are a relief to David Fleischer. “To go into it with high hopes and then get this really bad piece of news, then to go forward anyway and have the accurate results? What a roller coaster of emotions,” he says.

The technique might be used to target any societal prejudice — or be used to increase prejudice, Broockman acknowledges. But even if that happens, he says, it at least will encourage people to think deeply about the issues they’re going to vote on.

Source: How Talking To People Can Reduce Prejudice : Shots – Health News : NPR

Jobseekers resort to ‘resumé whitening’ to get a foot in the door, study shows

Further to earlier studies by Oreopoulos (How an ethnic-sounding name may affect the job hunt), additional confirmation of bias in resumé callbacks and the strategies being used by some visible minority applicants to improve their chances:

It’s a disturbing practice called “resumé whitening” and involves deleting telltale signs of race or ethnicity from a CV in the hopes of landing a job.

And it happens more often than you’d think.

According to a two-year study led by University of Toronto researchers, as many as 40 per cent of minority jobseekers “whiten” their resumés by adopting Anglicized names and downplaying experience with racial groups to bypass biased screeners and just get their foot in the door.

It’s when “Lamar J. Smith” becomes “L. James Smith” or “Lei Zhang” morphs to “Luke Zhang” — and the callback rates soar.

“It’s really a wake-up call for organizations to do something to address this problem. Discrimination is still a reality,” said Sonia Kang, lead author of “Whitened Resumés, Race and Self-Presentation in the Labour Market,” to be released in the Administrative Science Quarterly Journal Thursday.

“It shows us that racial minorities aren’t just passively receiving this discrimination. They are trying to do something about it.”

In the study, only 10 per cent of black job applicants — created by researchers based on real candidate profiles — received callbacks for job interviews if they stuck to their African names and experience with black organizations. However, the callback rate went up to 25.5 per cent if their names were “whitened” and their black experience was removed from their resumés.

In the case of the Asian applicants, only 11.5 per cent received callbacks if they used their Asian-sounding names and experience, compared to 21 per cent using whitened resumés.

When seeking jobs with employers known to have a pro-diversity image, minority job applicants were less likely to “whiten” their resumes, the study found.

But, perhaps most surprising, even with pro-diversity employers, the odds of getting called in for an interview were greater when a minority applicant took steps to hide their race, the research shows.

….In the third part of the research, 1,600 fictitious resumés — with no whitening, a whitened first name, whitened experience or a whitened first name and whitened experience — were sent in response to job ads.

In total, 267 or 16.7 per cent of the applications led to a job interview request. For black applicants, the callback gap between unwhitened resumés and those for which both the name and the experiences were whitened was 15.5 percentage points; for Asians, the gap was 9.5 percentage points.

Kang, an assistant professor of organizational behaviour and human resources management, said employers must go beyond the rhetoric of how they appreciate diversity in their workforce. “By creating a false sense of security, these (diversity) statements merely provide an illusion of diversity that might end up making things worse for minority applicants.”

How minority job applicants ‘whiten’ their resumés:

Unwhitened: Name of a black applicant on resumé appears as “Lamar J. Smith”;

Whitened: Changed to “L. James Smith”;

Unwhitened: Name of an Asian applicant on resumé appears as “Lei Zhang”;

Whitened: Changed it to “Luke Zhang”;

Unwhitened: Lists involvement as vice-president of Aspiring African American Business Leaders and peer counsellor of Black Students’ Association;

Whitened: Removes those organizations and replaces with causes such as “Give Kids a Smile Day” and first-year student orientation;

Unwhitened: Lists volunteer experience and interests that are exclusively within Korean community organizations;

Whitened: Removes them and replaces with hiking, snowboarding and activities common in Western culture;

Unwhitened: Being the political action chair of Black Students Association;

Whitened: Changes that to member of a generic minority business and entrepreneur group.

Source: Jobseekers resort to ‘resumé whitening’ to get a foot in the door, study shows | Toronto Star

Could a ‘blind recruitment’ policy make Canada less racist?

Good debate and discussion to have, given work by Oreopoulos and others demonstrating hiring bias:

What’s in a name? More than you may think. Removing names from job applications — a process known as blind recruitment — can actually curb both overt racism and unconscious bias.

And at least one MP thinks that Canada should adopt the policy.

Liberal MP Ahmed Hussen made that statement after CBC Marketplaceinvestigated how race and culture influences how companies treat shoppers, apartment-hunters and job-seekers across Canada.

Hussen stood in Parliament Wednesday to suggest that the federal government follow Britain’s lead to better ensure our government ranks reflect the people they serve.

“We must ensure our public service adopts name-blind recruitment,” the newly elected MP said. “I rise today to bring attention to an idea that will assist in our fight to end discrimination and attain real equality in our country.

“It is crucial that Canadians who have got the grades, skills, and the determination succeed.”

Britain adopted a blind-recruitment policy for its civil service in October 2015 after a number of organizations found the practice worthwhile.

While visible minorities make up almost 20 per cent of Canada’s population, the civil service is less diverse at only 14 per cent, according to 2013 data.

The months-long Marketplace investigation looked at blind recruitment and how bias affects how we’re treated and how we treat one another, including why we intervene — or don’t — to defend a stranger.

‘It’s had a huge impact’

When the Toronto Symphony Orchestra began to audition musicians blindly in 1980, putting them behind a screen, the result was profound.

While the hiring committee could hear an applicant’s performance, they not see what he or she looked like. They even put down a carpet so high heels couldn’t be heard.

Now the orchestra — which was made up almost entirely of white men in the 1970s — is almost half female and much more diverse.

“It’s had a huge impact from the beginning, when screens came in,” says David Kent, the TSO’s principal timpanist and personnel manager.

Source: Could a ‘blind recruitment’ policy make Canada less racist? – Canada – CBC News

The remarkably different answers men and women give when asked who’s the smartest in the class

Interesting:

Anthropologist Dan Grunspan was studying the habits of undergraduates when he noticed a persistent trend: Male students assumed their male classmates knew more about course material than female students — even if the young women earned better grades.

“The pattern just screamed at me,” he said.

So, Grunspan and his colleagues at the University of Washington and elsewhere decided to quantify the degree of this gender bias in the classroom.

After surveying roughly 1,700 students across three biology courses, they found young men consistently gave each other more credit than they awarded to their just-as-savvy female classmates.

Men over-ranked their peers by three-quarters of a GPA point, according to the study, published this month in the journal PLOS ONE. In other words, if Johnny and Susie both had A’s, they’d receive equal applause from female students — but Susie would register as a B student in the eyes of her male peers, and Johnny would look like a rock star.

“Something under the conscious is going on,” Grunspan said. “For 18 years, these [young men] have been socialized to have this bias.”

Being male, he added, “is some kind of boost.” At least in the eyes of other men.

The surveys asked each student to “nominate” their most knowledgeable classmates at three points during the school year. Who best knew the subject? Who were the high achievers?

University of Washington

To illustrate the resulting peer-perception gap, researchers compared the importance student grades had on winning a nomination to the weight of the gender bias. The typical student received 1.2 nominations, with men averaging 1.3 and women averaging 1.1.

Female students gave other female students a recognition “boost” equivalent to a GPA bump of 0.04 — too tiny to indicate any gender preference, Grunspan said. Male students, however, awarded fellow male students a recognition boost equivalent to a GPA increase of 0.76.

“On this scale,” the report asserted, “the male nominators’ gender bias is 19 times the size of the female nominators’.”

Source: The remarkably different answers men and women give when asked who’s the smartest in the class