Report that Racial Bias Widespread in Customer Service

by Jeff Sovern

The NY Times has an op-ed, Beyond Starbucks: How Racism Shapes Customer Service. Here’s an excerpt:

In one experiment, we emailed approximately 6,000 hotels across the United States from 12 fictitious email accounts. We varied the names of the senders to signal different attributes, such as race and gender, to the recipients. 

* * * 

The inquiry these fictitious people made was simple: They asked for local restaurant recommendations. We tracked whether hotel employees responded and also analyzed the content of the emails from those who did respond.

Across the range of responses, racial discrimination was clear. Overall, hotel employees were significantly more likely to respond to inquiries from people who had typically white names than from those who had typically black and Asian names. But racial bias did not end there. Discrimination also happened in many subtle ways.

Hotel employees provided 20 percent more restaurant recommendations to white than to black or Asian people. * * * 

The essay is by Alexandra C. Feldberg and Tami Kim.  I apologize for the formatting; I can’t get it right.

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