A recent study highlights the impact of implicit biases on our young people even at the college level, where we often expect merit to speak for itself. In this study, the authors sent identical emails from prospective students seeking mentorship to more than 6,500 American college professors.
The students had “names like Meredith Roberts, Lamar Washington, Juanita Martinez, Raj Singh and Chang Huang;” names previously perceived as belonging to “a white, black, Hispanic, Indian, or Chinese student.” The professors’ responses, or lack thereof, clearly show implicit bias exists in higher education:
Professors were more responsive to white male students than to female, black, Hispanic, Indian or Chinese students in almost every discipline and across all types of universities…business showed the most bias with 87 percent of white males receiving a response compared with just 62 percent of all females and minorities combined…We saw the same levels of bias in both same-race and same-gender faculty-student pairs that we saw in pairs not sharing a race or gender [excepting Chinese faculty-student pairs].
As the authors note, most Americans do not intentionally discriminate – so we clearly still have a lot of work to do.
Click here to read the full op-ed posted on May 9.