Patterns of Discrimination, Implicit Bias, and Social Inequality

Banaji, Mahzarin R., and Anthony G. Greenwald. 2013. Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People. New York: Delacorte Press, 254. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In this accessible and groundbreaking look at the science of prejudice, Banaji and Greenwald show that prejudice and unconscious biases toward others are a fundamental part of the human psyche.

Banaji, Mahzarin, R Bhaskar, and Michael Brownstein. 2015. “When bias is implicit, how might we think about repairing harm?.” Current Opinion in Psychology 6: 183-188. Publisher's Version
Bertrand, Marianne, and Sendhil Mullainathan. 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. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We study race in the labor market by sending fictitious resumes to help-wanted ads in Boston and Chicago newspapers. To manipulate perceived race, resumes are randomly assigned African-American- or White-sounding names. White names receive 50 percent more callbacks for interviews. Callbacks are also more responsive to resume quality for White names than for African-American ones. The racial gap is uniform across occupation, industry, and employer size. We also find little evidence that employers are inferring social class from the names. Differential treatment by race still appears to still be prominent in the U. S. labor market.

Bohnet, Iris. 2016. What Works: Gender Equality by Design. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 385. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Gender equality is a moral and a business imperative. But unconscious bias holds us back and de-biasing minds has proven to be difficult and expensive. Behavioral design offers a new solution. Iris Bohnet shows that by de-biasing organizations instead of individuals, we can make smart changes that have big impacts--often at low cost and high speed.

Cheryan, Sapna, Victoria C. Plaut, Paul G. Davies, and Claude M. Steele. 2009. “Ambient belonging: How stereotypical cues impact gender participation in computer science..” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 97 (6): 1045 - 1060. Publisher's VersionAbstract

People can make decisions to join a group based solely on exposure to that group’s physical environment. Four studies demonstrate that the gender difference in interest in computer science is influenced by exposure to environments associated with computer scientists. In Study 1, simply changing the objects in a computer science classroom from those considered stereotypical of computer science (e.g., Star Trek poster, video games) to objects not considered stereotypical of computer science (e.g., nature poster, phone books) was sufficient to boost female undergraduates’ interest in computer science to the level of their male peers. Further investigation revealed that the stereotypical broadcast a masculine stereotype that discouraged women’s sense of ambient belonging and subsequent interest in the environment (Studies 2, 3, and 4) but had no similar effect on men (Studies 3, 4). This masculine stereotype prevented women’s interest from developing even in environments entirely populate

Coleman, James S. 1988. “ Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital.” American Journal of Sociology 94: S95-S120. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The concept of social capital is introduced and illustrated, its forms are described, the social structural conditions under which it arises are examined, and it is used in an analysis of dropouts from high school. The conception of social capital as a resource for action is one way of introducing social structure into the rational action paradigm. 3 forms of social capital are examined: obligations and expectations, information channels, and social norms.

Edmondson, Amy. 1999. “Psychological Safety and Learning Behavior in Work Teams.” Administrative Science Quarterly 44 (2): 350-383. Publisher's Version
Gilligan, Carol. 1982. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 184. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Carol Gilligan believes that psychology has persistently and systematically misunderstood women--their motives, their moral commitments, the course of their psychological growth, and their special view of what is important in life. Here she sets out to correct psychology's misperceptions and refocus its view of female personality. This little book started a revolution, making women's voices heard, in their own right and with their own integrity, for virtually the first time in social scientific theorizing about women. Its impact was immediate and continues to this day, in the academic world and beyond. It has inspired new research, new educational initiatives, and political debate--and helped many women--and men--to see themselves and each other in a different light.

Jack, Anthony Abraham. 2014. “Culture Shock Revisited: The Social and Cultural Contingencies to Class Marginality.” Sociological Forum 29 (2): 453-475. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Existing explanations of class marginality predict similar social experiences for all lower-income undergraduates. This paper extends this literature by presenting data highlighting the cultural and social contingencies that account for differences in experiences of class marginality. The degree of cultural and social dissimilarity between one’s life before and during college helps explain variation in experiences. I contrast the experiences of two groups of lower-income, black undergraduates—the Doubly Disadvantaged and Privileged Poor. Although from comparable disadvantaged households and neighborhoods, they travel along divergent paths to college. Unlike the Doubly Disadvantaged, whose precollege experiences are localized, the Privileged Poor cross social boundaries for school. In college, the Doubly Disadvantaged report negative interactions with peers and professors and adopt isolationist strategies, while the Privileged Poor generally report positive interactions and adopt integrationist strategies. In addition to extending present conceptualizations of class marginality, this study advances our understanding of how and when class and culture matter in stratification processes in college.

Jarvenpaa, Sirkka L., and Dorothy E. Leidner. 1999. “Communication and Trust in Global Virtual Teams.” Organization Science 10 (6): 791-815. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This paper explores the challenges of creating and maintaining trust in a global virtual team whose members transcend time, space, and culture. The challenges are highlighted by integrating recent literature on work teams, computer-mediated communication groups, cross-cultural communication, and interpersonal and organizational trust. To explore these challenges empirically, we report on a series of descriptive case studies on global virtual teams whose members were separated by location and culture, were challenged by a common collaborative project, and for whom the only economically and practically viable communication medium was asynchronous and synchronous computer-mediated communication. The results suggest that global virtual teams may experience a form of “swift” trust, but such trust appears to be very fragile and temporal. The study raises a number of issues to be explored and debated by future research. Pragmatically, the study describes communication behaviors that might facilitate trust in global virtual teams.

Jarvenpaa, Sirkka L., Kathleen Knoll, and Dorothy E. Leidner. 1998. “Is Anybody out There? Antecedents of Trust in Global Virtual Teams.” Journal of Management Information Systems 14 (4): 29-64. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A global virtual team is an example of a boundaryless network organization form where a temporary team is assembled on an as-needed basis for the duration of a task and staffed by members from different countries. In such teams, coordination is accomplished via trust and shared communication systems. The focus of the reported study was to explore the antecedents of trust in a global virtual-team setting. Seventy-five teams, consisting of four to six members residing in different countries, interacted and worked together for eight weeks. The two-week trust-building exercises did have a significant effect on the team members’ perceptions of the other members’ ability, integrity, and benevolence. In the early phases of teamwork, team trust was predicted strongest by perceptions of other team members’ integrity, and weakest by perceptions of their benevolence. The effect of other members’ perceived ability on trust decreased over time. The members’ own propensity to trust had a significant, though unchanging, effect on trust. A qualitative analysis of six teams’ electronic mail messages explored strategies that were used by the three highest trust teams, but were used infrequently or not at all by the three lowest trust teams. The strategies suggest the presence of “swift” trust. The paper advances a research model for explaining trust in global virtual teams.

Lareau, Annette. 2015. “Cultural Knowledge and Social Inequality.” American Sociological Review 80 (1): 1-27. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Using both qualitative longitudinal data collected 20 years after the original Unequal Childhoods study and interview data from a study of upwardly mobile adults, this address demonstrates how cultural knowledge matters when white and African American young adults of differing class backgrounds navigate key institutions. I find that middle-class young adults had more knowledge than their working-class or poor counterparts of the “rules of the game” regarding how institutions worked. They also displayed more of a sense of entitlement to ask for help. When faced with a problem related to an institution, middle-class young adults frequently succeeded in getting their needs accommodated by the institution; working-class and poor young adults were less knowledgeable about and more frustrated by bureaucracies. This address also shows the crucial role of “cultural guides” who help upwardly mobile adults navigate institutions. While many studies of class reproduction have looked at key turning points, this address argues that “small moments” may be critical in setting the direction of life paths.

Loewen, James W. 2016. “10 Questions for Yale’s President.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. Publisher's Version
McPherson, Lionel K. 2015. “Righting Historical Injustice in Higher Education.” The Aims of Higher Education: Problems of Morality and Justice, edited by Harry Brighouse and Michael S. McPherson, 113-134. Chicago; London: The University of Chicago Press, 113-134. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This chapter argues that mainstream institutions of higher education in the United States have a distinctive moral responsibility to promote corrective racial justice for Black Americans. It traces this moral responsibility to the fact that these institutions have historically been complacent actors in the perpetuation of racial injustice. According to the author, current corrective policies like affirmative action fail to allow institutions to satisfy their responsibility towards Black Americans. These policies fail, first, because their basis in the value of diversity is morally inadequate, and second, because they do not do enough to remedy Black socioeconomic disadvantage insofar as they fail to increase the number of qualified Black students seeking entry to these institutions. The author calls for additional measures to secure corrective justice. He proposes one such measure: Mainstream institutions of higher education sponsoring “academy schools” directed at serving underprivileged Black students at the primary and secondary levels.

Moss-Racusin, Corinne A., John F. Dovidio, Victoria L. Brescoll, Mark J. Graham, and Jo Handelsman. 2012. “Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109 (41): 16474-16479. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Despite efforts to recruit and retain more women, a stark gender disparity persists within academic science. Abundant research has demonstrated gender bias in many demographic groups, but has yet to experimentally investigate whether science faculty exhibit a bias against female students that could contribute to the gender disparity in academic science. In a randomized double-blind study (n = 127), science faculty from research-intensive universities rated the application materials of a student—who was randomly assigned either a male or female name—for a laboratory manager position. Faculty participants rated the male applicant as significantly more competent and hireable than the (identical) female applicant. These participants also selected a higher starting salary and offered more career mentoring to the male applicant. The gender of the faculty participants did not affect responses, such that female and male faculty were equally likely to exhibit bias against the female student. Mediation analyses indicated that the female student was less likely to be hired because she was viewed as less competent. We also assessed faculty participants’ preexisting subtle bias against women using a standard instrument and found that preexisting subtle bias against women played a moderating role, such that subtle bias against women was associated with less support for the female student, but was unrelated to reactions to the male student. These results suggest that interventions addressing faculty gender bias might advance the goal of increasing the participation of women in science.

Murphy, Mary, and Mesmin Destin. 2016. Promoting Inclusion and Identity Safety to Support College Success: College Completion Series: Part Three. New York; Washington, D.C.: The Century Foundation. Publisher's Version
Patten, Alan. 2014. “ Introduction: Liberalism and the Accommodation of Cultural Diversity.” Equal Recognition: The Moral Foundations of Minority Rights, 1-37. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1-37. Publisher's Version
Sennett, Richard. 2012. “Introduction: The Cooperative Frame of Mind; and Part Two: Cooperation Weakened.” Together : The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Co-Operation, 3-34; 133-198. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 3-34; 133-198. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Discusses why people tend to avoid social engagement with those unlike themselves, why increased cooperation is necessary to make society prosper, and the skills necessary for strengthening cooperation.

Sidanius, James, Shana Levin, Colette Van Laar, and David O. Sears. 2008. “Part 3. The Impact of Specific University Experiences on Sociopolitical Attitudes and Academic Adjustment.” The Diversity Challenge: Social Identity and Intergroup Relations on the College Campus, 183-292. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 183-292. Publisher's Version