All Articles Tagged "racial bias"
Although you may not be paying attention to the advertisements that come up during your Google search, one professor over at Harvard University have been studying them. And according to the scholars, when people type in names typically associated with black people during a Google search, the ads that pop up are more likely to be related to criminal activity. All the data has been collected by the Harvard University paper of Professor Latanya Sweeney.
Here is one example: A Google search for a name such as “Tom Smith” may bring up personalized public records, such as “Looking for Tom Smith,” or may be suggestive of an arrest record, such as “Tom Smith, arrested?” reports the UK Telegraph. But plug in names that are more associated with black people, such as DeShawn, Darnell and Jermaine, and ads with links to websites that offer criminal record checks are produced.
Professor Sweeney suggested that the Google results may expose a “racial bias in society.”
“Prof. Sweeney’s investigation suggests that names linked with black people — as defined by a previous study into racial discrimination in the workplace – were 25 percent more likely to have results that prompted the searcher to click on a link to search criminal record history,” writes the newspaper.
Google responded to the Harvard findings: “AdWords does not conduct any racial profiling. We also have an “anti” and violence policy which states that we will not allow ads that advocate against an organization, person or group of people. It is up to individual advertisers to decide which keywords they want to choose to trigger their ads.”
Have you ever noticed anything strange during a Google search?
The average time most doctors spend with their patients during each visit is just 20 minutes, according to 2009 estimates by the National Center for Health Statistics. And a survey last year by health care consultant group Press Ganey determined that before patients even get in to see a doctor, they’ve waited an average of 23 minutes.
But while health care professionals have offered advice on how to minimize waits and how to make the most of your one-on-one time with a doctor, few have ever addressed a hurdle that many black patients may face — racial bias.
In a study published in a March issue of the American Journal of Public Health, researchers found that two-thirds of doctors harbored “unconscious” racial biases toward patients. When those biases were present, researchers found that doctors tended to dominate conversations with African-American patients, pay less attention to their personal and psychosocial needs and make patients feel less involved in making decisions about their health.
“It’s been really extensively shown that minorities don’t receive the same quality of health care as whites in the United States,” said Lisa A. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., a professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and lead author of the study. “I’ve been interested in the extent to which that is accounted for by the fact that a lot of minorities see physicians who are different from them culturally and racially, and that there might be some problems with cultural misunderstandings or miscommunication.”
Get the rest of the story and learn what you can do to fight this mistreatment at Black Voices.com.
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by R. Asmerom
In Philadelphia, four white teachers have filed suits alleging that they were harassed, intimidated and discriminated against by the former principal Charles Ray III at their elementary school. Ray allegedly told them that they were “unfit to teach African American students at Mifflin.”
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, two husbands of those teachers have also joined the suits, “alleging they suffered a loss of companionship since 2008-09 because their wives have been “unable to fully participate with familial relationships. . . .”
One of the accusations is that Ray hired someone to harass and intimidate the teachers in order to force them out or influence them to leave the schools. It seems like a radical tactic for a principal of a public school but apparently, this community and this school has a history of racial tension, with a white principal stepping down in 2008 amidst accusations of racial insensitivity.
Although the surrounding community is mostly white and affluent, 86 percent of the students who attend the school are mostly Black.
The teachers are seeking $150,000 in damages each.
By Charlotte Young
A new study of capital sentences proves what has always been suspected—there is a racial bias against minority defendants who kill whites.
According to Freakonomics, the study, conducted by Harvard economist Alberto Alesina and Universita’ Bocconi’s Eliana La Ferrara, looked at the race of defendants and victims for capital appeals in the U.S. between 1973 and 1995.
Using the key feature that all first degree capital sentences are automatically appealed in the U.S., the researchers then narrowed their observation to the original court errors and sentencing that higher courts later reversed. Alesina and La Ferrara’s findings are based on the assumption that in order to improve the lower court’s findings, they had to remove part or all of the racial bias involved in the case.
Their conclusion: sentences handed down for minority defendants who killed white victims are nine percent more likely to see that sentence reversed than in cases where a minority victim killed another minority victim.
Alesina and La Ferra’s results also varied by region; the South had the largest difference in error in cases where a minority defendant received a capital sentence that was appealed and reversed at 15.5 percent.
(Huffington Post) — For years, the SAT has come under attack for having a certain bent. From the Harvard Educational Review to the Princeton Review, the measurement tool has been called a “white preference test.” Last year, Harvard published a study arguing that SAT questions in the verbal section favored white students by using language with which they were more familiar compared to other non-white groups. The study said black students of equal academic aptitude scored lower on the section, Education Week reported. But FairTest, an organization that focuses on fairness and accuracy in student testing and scoring, doesn’t think it’s just the questions on the SAT that are the problem. In a recent interview with CNN, Monty Neill, FairTest deputy director, says the issue is that schools rely too heavily on the SAT in admission decisions. He says that one test is not the best predictor of college success.
Do you subconsciously make instantaneous judgments about people of other races? Does implicit bias really affect decisions in the real world? The New York Times bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink, primarily focused on how we make snap judgments on different aspects of life such as race and how these quick conclusions are more accurate than well-researched and careful analysis.
Based on Gladwell’s book, two economists Joe Price and Justin Wolfers explored the basic theory outlined in Blink by researching implicit racial bias amongst NBA referees. The relatively controversial academic-based study, which was recently published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, concluded that there was a 4 percent racial bias among the referees. Specifically, the research surmised that “the whiter the three-man NBA referee crew, the better the calls were for white players.” Conversely, “the blacker the crew, the more favorable were the calls for black players.” On the whole, the study purportedly discovered that “that there is a low level of implicit bias among NBA officials.”
Although this peer-reviewed research was interesting to a certain degree, it did not yield any surprising or atypical findings in comparison to similar studies involving Major League Baseball umpires, Oprah viewers, corporations and other sample groups who have been analyzed on “blink of the eye” racism. Moreover, the rigorous study did not account for the superstar effect on the referees- that is, the superstars of the NBA receiving more favorable calls in comparison to lesser-known players. Perhaps, the biggest failure of Blink and like examinations such as this NBA analysis is their failure to offer advice on how to improve negative subconscious attitudes relative to race, gender, religion, etc.
Arguably, the larger narrative has to be focused on more than just the fact that we live in a world where snap judgments are relatively ubiquitous and do affect many aspects (e.g., politics, business, finance, etc.) of our lives. Are there any real solutions? In my humble opinion, I would state, “yes.” And, is it possible for one to reverse subconscious attitudes, particularly implicit racial basis? Absolutely!
The following list of suggestions is not all-inclusive, but it does represent some of the best practices that one can implement to help overcome “blink of the eye” racism and implicit racial bias:
1. Acknowledge that racial stereotypes and biases are dangerous. Oftentimes, individuals learn ethnic and racial stereotypes as children from their parents. For example, a child raised in a home with two racist parents will likely internalize their behavior and carry the racism subconsciously into their adulthood, which can certainly result in implicit racial bias. In some cases, these individuals don’t believe that these erroneous judgments are toxic. However, it is very important to consciously acknowledge that racial stereotypes that distort the truth about a person or group based on preconceived notions of their habits, abilities and expectations is unequivocally hazardous.
2. Acknowledge that you may have implicit racial biases. Exclusive of background, many individuals have exhibited “blink of the eye” racism at one time or another. If this occurs often, it is important to consciously acknowledge that one engages in negative thinking on a consistent basis. It is very difficult to change subconscious habits, if you are not consciously aware of negative thinking and how they affect your rationalization about people or a certain group.
3. Make careful judgments in lieu of snap judgments. I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that individuals should rely more on snap judgments in lieu of thorough analysis, as Gladwell and some commentators have suggested. To accurately discern another person’s character requires time and careful observation. The “trusting your instinct except when it is wrong” philosophy is not a sound manner of thinking and decision-making.
4. Speak positively on a consistent basis. A plethora of psychological studies have proven that consciously engaging in positive self-talk and speech relative to race helps to modify behavior at the subconscious level and dampen implicit racial bias.
Although the abovementioned NBA study had some fundamental weaknesses and was limited in scope, it did and does bespeak of a very important topic that requires further assessment. The breadth of impending analyses has to focus not only on the obvious xenophobia that most individuals experience but also on additional recommendations to overcome implicit racial bias.
(Charlotte Post) — Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated of Charlotte has agreed to pay $495,000 in back wages and interest to 95 African-American and Hispanic job seekers for racial discrimination. The applicants applied in 2002 for sales support positions at the company’s Black Satchel Road distribution facility in Charlotte. The settlement follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. In addition to back pay, the Coca-Cola bottler agreed to make offers of employment to the applicants until at least 23 are hired. Those hired will receive retroactive seniority benefits they would have accrued from July 1, 2002, if not for the discriminatory actions of the company.
(CNN) — African-American farmers hoping for government settlement money in a racial bias case met with lawmakers Wednesday and called on Congress to come up with a way to fund the $1 billion deal.
A March 31 deadline to appropriate the funds has passed, and farmers now may withdraw from the settlement and pursue independent litigation against the government. Congress now has a target date of the end of May to come up with a plan.