Racial discrimination refers to the separation of people through a process of social division into categories not necessarily related to races for purposes of differential treatment. Racial segregation policies may formalize it, but it is also often exerted without being legalized. Researchers Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, at the University of Chicago and MIT found in a 2004 study that there was widespread discrimination in the workplace against job applicants whose names were merely perceived as "sounding black". These applicants were 50% less likely than candidates perceived as having "white-sounding names" to receive callbacks for interviews. Devah Pager, a sociologist at Princeton University, sent matched pairs of applicants to apply for jobs in Milwaukee and New York City, finding that black applicants received callbacks or job offers at half the rate of equally qualified whites. In contrast, institutions and courts have upheld discrimination against whites when it is done to promote a diverse work or educational environment, even when it was shown to be to the detriment of qualified applicants. The researchers view these results as strong evidence of unconscious biases rooted in the United States' long history of discrimination (e.g., Jim Crow laws, etc.)
- "Discrimination in a Low Wage Labor Market: A Field Experiment," 2009, American Sociological Review, by Devah Pager, Bruce Western, and Bart Bonikowski
- "The Mark of a Criminal Record," 2003, American Journal of Sociology, by Devah Pager
- Biskupic, Joan (April 22, 2009). "Court tackles racial bias in work promotions". USA Today. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- "The Struggle for Access in Law School Admissions". Academic.udayton.edu. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
- Bertrand, M.; Mullainathan, S. (2004). "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination". American Economic Review 94 (4): 991–1013. doi:10.1257/0002828042002561.