New Study Confirms Depressing Truth About Names And Racial Bias

Students with stereotypically “black”-sounding names tend to be labeled as troublemakers by teachers. Job applicants with such names are less likely than their white-sounding counterparts to get called in for interviews. When residents with “black”-sounding names contact their local government for information about schools or libraries, they are less likely to receive a response.

Adding to this troubling compendium of results is a disturbing new study, published Thursday in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior. The study of mostly white participants shows that men with black-sounding names are more likely to be imagined as physically large, dangerous and violent than those with stereotypically white-sounding names.

Dr. Colin Holbrook, a research scientist at the UCLA Center for Behavior, Evolution, and Culture and lead author of the study, said that he has “never been so disgusted” by his own data.

“The participant sample, despite being slightly left of center politically, automatically attributed violence to individuals based solely on having names like Darnell or Juan; whereas names such as Connor automatically led to expectations of prestige and status,” Holbrook told The Huffington Post in an email. “This seems to clearly echo the fear of black and Latino men in our society, which is ironic and disturbing as they are often the victims of violence–precisely because people are afraid of them.”

For the study, the researchers conducted a series of experiments involving about 1,500 mostly white adults. In the first experiment, participants were asked to read one of two nearly identical stories about a main character who bumped into a man at a bar, and the man angrily responded “Watch where you’re going, a–hole!”

In one version of the story, the character’s name was either Jamal, DeShawn or Darnell. In another version, the character’s name was —> Read More