If You’re Black, People Are More Likely To Ignore Your Emails

Black people face everyday microaggressions and racism at work – and a study has shown how. It found that people are less likely to reply to emails if they think the sender may be Black.

The large-scale research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, observed a quarter of a million Americans to draw its conclusions.

The researchers, whose main focus was racial biases in communication, contacted 250,000 email addresses taken from nationwide voter registration and a commercial email list.

The sample was reflective of the US population, comprising of white Americans, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Black, and Hispanic/Latino.

All respondents received two emails – one from an assumed white sender, and one with an assumed Black sender – weeks apart. Researchers alternated between sending emails from a Black sender and white sender first.

The names of the sender were changed to sound stereotypically Black or white. Recipients of the email were sent a survey about contemporary political issues.

Despite the emails having the same premise, but the names changed, more than 15% of respondents replied to the white sender.

The sender presumed to be white received 4,007 responses while the sender thought to be Black retained 3,620 messages.



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