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What's in the name?

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Dec 13, 2002.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Two professors at the University of Chicago and MIT conducted an experiment:
    <blockquote>Nine names were selected to represent each category: black women, white women, black men and white men. Last names common to the racial group were also assigned. Four rsums were typically submitted for each job opening, drawn from a reservoir of 160. Nearly 5,000 applications were submitted from mid-2001 to mid-2002. [The professors] kept track of which candidates were invited for job interviews.<blockquote>

    <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/12/business/12SCEN.html">So what happened?:</a>

    Applicants with white-sounding names were 50 percent more likely to be called for interviews than were those with black-sounding names.

    Surprising? Maybe not, but certainly something to think about when it comes to naming Junior or Juniorette. And what the hell is a 'black-sounding name' anyway? 'Ebony'? 'Charcoal'?

    Anyone think there's something to this study? Personally, the name Leon is applied to blacks and I've had a few doozies--albeit not related to job seeking.
  2. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    Ethics, we can all pretend that there is no such thing as "sounding black" when one speaks or that a name can not "sound black." But deep down, we all know it is true. When I am greeted on the phone by a representative of my credit card company, and she introduces herself as LaShonda, I think it's a pretty good assumption that she is black.

    I've heard so many black leaders ask the question, "How does one <i>sound</i> black?" Whom are we kidding here? :rolleyes:

    I am not justifying the lack of interviews for those with black sounding names. I guess I am just trying to support the research that was done.
  3. Ravenink

    Ravenink Veteran Member

    actually when I found out your name was Leon I assumed you were black for the longest time :p

    While I don't think discrimination based on name or race is appropriate, I'm not sure what we are supposed to learn from this.

    I do think there are alot of names that "sound" as though they belong to one ethnicity. After all, just take a precious metal, and man, berg, or stein at the end, and you have a jewish last name ) (btw, I'm jewish, not anti-semetic in case anyone was wondering why I would say something so...rascist)
  4. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Hmmm...actually, I have some things to contribute on this one...I just can't do it while this thread is in BNA and accessible by anyone who finds this place ;)
  5. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    What are we saying then? Name over talent? Name gets you to the interview with or even possibly without the talent on the resume but without the 'right' skin tone at the interview you're history even if perfect otherwise?

    Are employers still that short-sided?

    Am I still that naive?
  6. yazdzik

    yazdzik Veteran Member

    Dear Friends,

    I am going then to pose the following question(with a nod to Haywire):

    What is the difference between being "liberal," in the sense of tolerant, and "a liberal?"

    At what point can we accept each other?

    Two nights ago, an Asian student and I got waylaid in a coaching, and it became time to feed my two young. I said, "Shit, Naomi's going to be home, and I have nobbut air in the larder." She suggested, "Christ, let's send out for chink." We did. She ordered in fluent, if accented, Mandarin.

    There is nothing wrong with sounding black, or gay, or whatever, unless we act upon it in an unkind way. (I, naturally, have no accent whatsoever)

    Forcing compliance with an ethical code, whether it be "liberal" or "conservative" is hardly liberal.

    Political correctness aside, how many wasps named lashonda do we know? And if most of them are black, what is wrong with that? How many non-scots named MacCleod do we know? So I should pretend my grandmother was Jewish? Or how many wasp Naomis? My wife is (secular) Jewish. From Brooklyn. She looks at the price on the bottle of milk. I do not.

    Funny story:
    When we first moved here, my daughter was in public school, and the curriculum was immigration. She was excited, as she spoke less than native fluency English at the time, and told me all about the various childish papers, and how I would love the one about Scotland. I showed up for "publishing day," and sure enough, a little girl read about six eternal pages about her grandmother moving from scotland to canada, replete with county, clan, tartan, to the point I heard the pipers playing. Her skin was not even brown, but a stunning jamaican black. Her grandfather was not from scotland. She knew what oatcakes are. Black skin, scots canadian english. Any linguist can hear dialect.

    Ask Henry Higgins. Or me.

    Why do we just not grow up and learn to tolerate each other?

    Or as a very close friend said, as I threw my fairway receipt in the rubbish without looking at it, "Martin, I'm a flaming jew queen housewife - don't do that. I gotta read the receipt."

    So, I bent down, pulled it out of the rubbish, as watched as he blanched as he read what I paid. He began the litany, "Do you know how much you paid for xxx?" "Not a clue, Steven." Well, he did this for about ten items, and then, as he was comfortable being a jewish queen from long Island, I was comfortable with being me. I tore it up in front of his eyes.

    I care no more for a name than for a colour.

    Let's grow up now, before another generation judges. Get rid of the politically correct idiocy, and say Lashonda is probably black. Only then can we say with any sincerity, "So what?"

    Whether the Sneetches have stars or not, it surely helps not to say there are neither Sneetches nor beaches.

    In the meantime, she should face an identity crisis because it is politcally correct not to admit what we all can see or hear?

    I'd be pissed, too.

    All good wishes,
  7. yazdzik

    yazdzik Veteran Member

    I though all Leons were Italian.....
  8. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    It is a well known fact there are only two types of people in this world- Italians and those that want to be.


    P.S. Anyone disagreeing with this can take it up with those well known scholars and researchers, Rocco and Guido. They make house calls and come complete with a well-stocked supply of horse heads.
  9. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    You are not the only one. People think it's black or sometimes Hispanic.
  10. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Leon is short for Leonid (Yes, I know, Brezhnev was the only other one I can point to, until the recent Meteor showers :)).
  11. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Sadly fascinating

    Not the first such study done which apparently points out some sort of bias in our society. I'm sure it won't be the last, either.

    I, for one, cannot understand the attitude that would cause someone, either consciously or not, to exclude a person from anything, based upon something as trivial and meaningless as a perceived ethnic origin associated with that person's name.

    I understand and can even sympathize with anyone who chooses to dislike another individual for purely personal reasons. To do so based on ethnicity or race, let alone on the <u>assumption</u> of ethnicity or race, is peurile and stupid.
  12. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Been reading some more on this "study"

    I've read the NY Times column in print now and have to say something's wrong here. A chart that accompanies the print version of the Times story but doesn't appear online shows the frequency with which people with "white" names and "black" names got called for interviews:

    "White" names

    Kristen: 13.6%
    Carrie: 13.1%
    Laurie: 10.8%
    Meredith: 10.6%
    Sarah: 9.8%
    Allison: 9.4%
    Jill: 9.3%
    Anne: 9.0%
    Emily: 8.3%

    "Black" names

    Ebony: 10.5%
    Latonya: 9.1%
    Kenya: 9.1%
    Latoya: 8.8%
    Tanisha: 6.3%
    Lakisha: 5.5%
    Tamika: 5.4%
    Keisha: 3.8%
    Aisha: 2.2%

    Now, what's "white" about names like Laurie and Jill? Wouldn't a fair comparison have included some odd-sounding white names, like Dweezil or Moon Unit? And if employers discriminate against people with "black" names, how come Latonyas and Latoyas were more likely to get called back than Emilys were?

  13. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    You know, all other things being equal we all tend to go for the safe route. Some of those black names I would be worried about mispronouncing. An HR manager might call Sarah back instead of Tamika since he does not want to be accused of racism by not knowing how to pronounce her name. Silly? Not when you have actually been accused of racism for that reason.
  14. Violet1966

    Violet1966 Stand and Deliver Staff Member

    Hey Martin...you know you sound like Morris the cat to me? I swear...that's the voice I hear in my head when you post. So you have an internet accent...cat accent ;) LOL

    I think RR hit the nail on the head. Laquanda type names do sound more "Black" to me too.
  15. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    Re: Been reading some more on this "study"

    Good point. And in just analyzing the raw data why is Kristen twice as likely as Emily to be called back although both are "white names?"

    Correlation is not necessarily causality. This is a weak study.
  16. Coriolis

    Coriolis Bob's your uncle

    Re: Re: What's in the name?

    Tell it like it is dude. I think you nailed that one. Is there anything racist about admitting there are black sounding names, or as Ravenink pointed out, Jewish sounding names? I don't think there is. Certain names are more highly connected with certain cultures, so big deal.

    It is a big deal, however, to discriminate based on this, and the study certainly appears to suggest that blacks entering the work force are still discriminated against. Sadly, this comes as no great surprise, and is one of the reasons I remain a supporter of affirmative action.
  17. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    Leon, I always though you an ex-boxer......one more dream dashed in this cruel world.
  18. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    Re: Re: Re: What's in the name?

    I agree with everything you said as well as what you quote from RRedline's post, but with a qualification on affirmative action.

    I am completely for affirmative action in concept and as it was originally created and practiced. But I am not for much of it the way it has been changed from the original---but those details and issues are for another thread somewhere. :)

    With my limited GA free time I will probably post on it two weeks from now.:(
  19. wapu

    wapu Veteran Member

    I listened to Sendhil Mullainathan on the Dave Ross Show today during lunch. I liked his interview, he was articulate without being haughty. He seemed to have a genuine excitement about the results that made me feel excited about them too. I am glad I caught the interview.

    As for the results? my first thought is my mental image of an Aisha or a Tyrone. I see trouble. Tyrone was in a gang and has anger issues. Aisha thinks of herself as a nubian princess and has 3 inch fingernails and hair extensions. Are these images wrong? No, they are my images. They come from the sum of my life history and what I know and have experienced. Would I call them in for an interview? that depends on whether I think the mental image I have of them would be a good fit with the environment they would be working in. Call me racist, but I do not think affirmative action supporting, come from a welfare mom Aisha should share a cubicle with HaYwIrE. That is not a slam on either one, I just do not think they would enjoy work as much. If they are not happy then they are not productive and that hurts my bottom line.

    Who's fault is it? I would say that the blame falls on the black community itself. The black community wants to be seen as a unified force and wants to be taken seriously. That will never happen with a leadership that promotes separation and a culture that is seen as angry, superficial, and completely devoid of personal responsibility. And that is the key, how the culture is seen. It is not my responsibility to look past what is presented to me and find the inner black culture. It is your responsibility to show me who you are. If you don't like that and you want to keep showing me your rap music side and keep committing crimes and keep going on welfare and using food stamps to buy your food while spending $300 on hair extensions or a Jacket that says FUBU. Then do not be surprised if I don't call you back for an interview.

    One last thing. Sendhil Mullainathan mentioned in his interview that they were considering a follow up study on whether the name issue might be class related. they are gonna try names like Bubba and Buford and see if that makes a difference. Also, asian names might be used as well.

  20. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    Wapu, I find it interesting that you say the black community as a whole should take responsibility for the stereotype that a few of it's members have forced upon it.

    Should all mexicans take responsibility for the Chicano culture? Should all middle-aged, middle-class white men take responsibility for the actions of serial killers? Should the Jewish community take responsibility for a few penny-pinching members?

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