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Oct 7 - Pinpointing Racial Discrimination by Government Officials


 


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Oct 7 - Pinpointing Racial Discrimination by Government Officials
 

 
visit this link Pinpointing Racial Discrimination by Government Officials

visit this link Economic View

image
Dani Pendergast
A team of economists has uncovered persuasive evidence that local government officials throughout the United States are less responsive to African-Americans than they are to whites.

The researchers sent roughly 20,000 emails to local government employees in nearly every county. The emails posed commonplace questions, like “Could you please tell me what your opening hours are?”

The emails were identical except that half appeared to come from a DeShawn Jackson or a Tyrone Washington, names that have been shown to be a*sociated with African-Americans. The other half used names that have been shown to be a*sociated with whites: Greg Walsh and Jake Mueller. The email sent to each local officeholder was determined by chance.

Most inquiries yielded a timely and polite response. But emails with black-sounding names were 13 percent more likely to go unanswered than those with white-sounding names. This difference, which appeared in all regions of the country, was large enough that it was statistically unlikely to have been a matter of mere chance.

These troubling results were documented in the paper, visit this link “Racial Discrimination in Local Public Services: A Field Experiment in the US,” by visit this link Corrado Giulietti of the University of Southampton in Britain, visit this link Mirco Tonin of the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano in Italy, and visit this link Michael Vlassopoulos, also of the University of Southampton. The study is to be published in the Journal of the European Economic a*sociation.

The findings appeared to be a striking indication of racial discrimination in seemingly benign and mundane interactions. The tendency to ignore emails sent by African-Americans was particularly pronounced in sheriffs’ offices, but it was also evident in school districts and libraries.

In a clever twist, the authors analyzed whether the replies were polite, counting responses that included either the sender’s name or words like “hi,” “Mr.,” “dear,” “good” (which captures “good morning,” “good afternoon” and “have a good day”) or “thank” (which captures both “thanks” and “thank you”). By this measure, those with apparently African-American names received 8 percent fewer polite responses than those with white names.

While many studies have found differences in treatment for African-Americans and whites in visit this link employment, visit this link housing and the visit this link criminal justice system, it hasn’t always been clear whether these differences reflect discrimination or other factors.

The usual difficulty is that it’s impossible to find, say, job seekers who are absolutely identical in every respect except race. As a result, it is difficult to conclude whether a white job seeker succeeded — and a black one didn’t — because of discrimination. While statistical techniques can adjust for some of these factors — education, geography and the like — no analysis can account for all of them.

But the new research allows for a clearer conclusion: It appears to have documented straightforward discrimination.

As a real-world experiment, it built on visit this link earlier “audit experiments,” as they are known in social science. Perhaps the visit this link most famous is a study by visit this link Marianne Bertrand of the University of Chicago and visit this link Sendhil Mullainathan of Harvard (who is a regular visit this link contributor to this column). In that earlier experiment, Ms. Bertrand and Mr. Mullainathan sent fictitious résumés to employers, finding that people with white-sounding names were more likely to receive a positive response than those with black-sounding names.

The new findings provide further indication of the many ways in which discrimination shapes the lives of African-Americans. What’s more, when it’s harder to get your neighborhood librarian to respond to a simple email about opening hours, it’s not much of a leap to imagine other interactions — dealing with a computer help desk, the front office at a school or just the dry cleaner — that go less smoothly.

Economists tend to group explanations of discriminatory behavior into two buckets: taste-based and statistical. If a librarian chooses not to respond because a person is black, that’s taste-based discrimination. In common speech, there’s a simpler label: racism.

Statistical discrimination, on the other hand, occurs when a librarian uses a person’s name or race as a marker for other characteristics. Perhaps an African-American-sounding name signals that a person is more likely to be poor. The librarian happens to be biased against poor people. In this case, race is being used as a statistic for inferring poverty, and it’s the perception of poverty that causes the discriminatory behavior.

But two pieces of suggestive evidence in this study point to the problem here as being straightforward, taste-based discrimination.

First, the authors repeated the exercise — sending an additional 20,000 emails to the same recipients — although this time with a twist. They added a signature line, identifying the sender as a real estate agent. This extra information made the sender’s name — whether it seemed to be African-American or white — less relevant for inferring income or socioeconomic status. If statistical discrimination had driven behavior in the first round, this extra information should have led to less discrimination in the follow-up. It did not.

Second, the pattern of evidence was consistent with taste-based discrimination. While the researchers didn’t determine the race of the people who responded to their emails, they did have data on the racial breakdown of the municipal work forces. The racial gap in email response rates was greater in counties where the proportion of whites was higher.

Taste-based discrimination — basically, racism — isn’t necessarily the result of conscious thought. In an email, Mr. Tonin, one of the study’s authors, said that it’s possible “this behavior is due to some sort of unconscious bias” and, therefore, that “making people aware of the problem may contribute to the solution.”

If awareness really is the first step toward a fix, then the study may be helpful in refining our understanding of racial discrimination in America. It occurs not only in the labor market and the criminal justice system, but also in countless small frictions every day.

The culprit may not be a hate-spewing white nationalist, but rather a librarian or a school administrator or a county clerk, unaware that she’s helping some clients more than others.

__________________________

Justin Wolfers is a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan. Follow him on Twitter at visit this link @justinwolfers.
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144 comments for "Oct 7 - Pinpointing Racial Discrimination by Government Officials"

 2 years ago '17        #2
ddy807 12 heat pts12 OP
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 LAW |
Prosecutor Apologizes For Putting Innocent Man On death Row



NPR's Audie Cornish talks to prosecutor Marty Stroud, who put Glenn Ford on death row for the 1983 murder of a jeweler in Shreveport, La. Ford was recently released after nearly 30 years in prison.

Transcript:

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In 1984, Marty Stroud was 33 years old. He was, as he writes now, arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. That year, 1984, Stroud was one of the prosecutors who sent a man named Glenn Ford to prison for a crime he didn't commit - the murder of the Shreveport, La. jeweler. Almost 30 years later, Glenn Ford was released from death row and declared an innocent man. He's now seeking compensation from the state of Louisiana for time lost. Marty Stroud recently wrote a three-page letter to the Shreveport Times - an apology to Mr. Ford. Marty Stroud joins us now to talk about that letter. Welcome to the program.

MARTY STROUD: Thank you.

CORNISH: Mr. Stroud, to begin, why did you write this letter?

STROUD: Well, I felt that Mr. Ford was entitled to be compensated for a crime that he did not commit.

CORNISH: At what point did you actually really feel guilt about what happened to Glenn Ford?

STROUD: I felt within four or five years of the verdict, I started to question the procedure. The fact that Mr. Ford was indigent, really had no defense. Attorneys were appointed who had never tried a capital case. And at the time, I was concerned about the process - that is the procedure by which he was convicted. And I felt and came to believe that the procedure was fatally flawed and that he should receive a new trial.

CORNISH: In the years since, as you've been an attorney, you've also argued in cases on the side of the defense, right, including a death penalty case? How did that point of view change your mind and have you rethink the death penalty altogether?

STROUD: Well, when I was young, I was foolish. And I thought that when cases were brought to you, that they were properly made, that I was on God's side, that I was a Fire-Eater, that I believed that my job was to put criminals away and those that deserved the death penalty should get it and should be executed. Over the years, my view changed. I've come to the conclusion - it's my opinion and my opinion only - that there is no system that can be effective in order to ensure that only the guilty are convicted and the innocent go free.

CORNISH: Mr. Stroud, do you have a copy of your letter on hand?

STROUD: Yes, ma'am.

CORNISH: I was wondering if you could read the very last paragraph, the last three sentences or so?

STROUD: (Reading) I end with the hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford. But I'm also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it. Yours very truly.

CORNISH: Mr. Stroud, this is a very lengthy letter. What would you say to Glenn Ford if you were able to speak with him in person?

STROUD: Well, I would apologize to Mr. Ford. I would wish him well and wish him the best in his efforts to get compensation and be compensated for the years that he's been deprived of. I would - I believe it's a horror story from beginning to end, and I played a part in that. I would ask for his forgiveness. However, if he did not offer forgiveness, I really couldn't blame him. And that's what I think I was getting at at the last of three sentences of my letter.

CORNISH: Well, Marty Stroud, thank you so much for speaking with us.

STROUD: It was my pleasure.

CORNISH: Marty Stroud, he wrote a letter to the editor in The Shreveport Times apologizing for the role he played as a prosecutor in the imprisonment of Glenn Ford. After 30 years behind bars, Glenn Ford was released from death row and declared an innocent man.

Copyright © 2015 NPR. All rights reserved.

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Last edited by ddy807; 10-07-2017 at 08:07 AM..
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 2 years ago '05        #3
fatrenzo 37 heat pts37
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Racism and discrimination exists in all of the following categories:

(1)Economics,
(2)Education,
(3)Entertainment,
(4)Labor,
(5)Law,
(6)Politics,
(7)Religion,
(8)s*x and
(9)War
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 2 years ago '17        #4
ddy807 12 heat pts12 OP
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Last edited by ddy807; 10-12-2017 at 08:45 PM..

 2 years ago '17        #5
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 2 years ago '17        #6
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Last edited by ddy807; 10-24-2017 at 04:36 AM..

 2 years ago '17        #7
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 2 years ago '05        #8
fatrenzo 37 heat pts37
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 ddy807 said
Wow. I appreciate this thread.
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 2 years ago '05        #9
fatrenzo 37 heat pts37
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 2 years ago '17        #10
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 2 years ago '17        #11
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Last edited by ddy807; 10-26-2017 at 08:34 PM..
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 2 years ago '17        #12
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 2 years ago '17        #13
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Last edited by ddy807; 11-02-2017 at 04:55 AM..
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 2 years ago '17        #14
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 2 years ago '17        #15
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Last edited by ddy807; 11-07-2017 at 06:03 PM..
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 2 years ago '05        #16
fatrenzo 37 heat pts37
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 ddy807 said


The more things change...

 2 years ago '17        #17
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 fatrenzo said
The more things change...


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 2 years ago '05        #18
fatrenzo 37 heat pts37
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 ddy807 said


It never ends. This is not a unique story. That's the world we live in.

 2 years ago '17        #19
ddy807 12 heat pts12 OP
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 2 years ago '17        #20
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Last edited by ddy807; 11-16-2017 at 11:24 AM..
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 2 years ago '17        #21
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Last edited by ddy807; 11-16-2017 at 08:43 PM..
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 2 years ago '17        #22
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 1 year ago '05        #23
fatrenzo 37 heat pts37
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 ddy807 said
I was speaking to my girlfriend about being an advocate for Black kids that get in trouble in her school.
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 1 year ago '16        #24
Shika 23 heat pts23
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I wonder what it's like for Hispanics. Whenever I read things like this, I take it in as if im treated the same way because of the color of my skin or the sound of my legal name. What makes it worse? You can't portray your character through a damn resume, just getting your resume picked out for an interview can be a battle by itself. Then when you finally meet the employer, you have to check yourself when they say some slick sh*t like "Wow, you're more well spoken than I thought, based off your resume."

I hate this system of employment, everything is via email/internet. No physical applications. Back then, I would go straight to the manager, shake his hand, and ask him for an application. You can't really do that nowadays.
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 1 year ago '17        #25
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