In a study laying bare the staggeringly non-self-aware culture of academia on several hilarious levels, a trio of business professors at three fancypants universities has opined about the results of a racist and sexist experiment which, they say, reveals that other professors are a bunch of racists and sexists.
“In the world of higher education, we professors like to believe that we are free from the racial and gender biases that afflict so many other people in society,” declares the high and mighty professors’ May 9 op-ed in The New York Times. “But is this self-conception accurate?”
The racist, sexist study, conducted a couple years ago, involved sending fraudulent emails to over 6,500 arbitrarily chosen professors at over 250 colleges and universities in the United States.
The fraudulent authors of the fraudulent emails were imaginary students from other schools who were fraudulently expressing an interest in the recipient professor’s Ph.D. program.
“These emails were identical and written in impeccable English, varying only in the name of the student sender,” the three professors behind the study add in their op-ed.
The stereotypically racist and sexist names the professors gave to the fake students included Brad Anderson (a white guy), Chang Huang (a Chinese guy), Carlos Lopez (a Hispanic guy), Lamar Washington (a black guy), Meredith Roberts (a white woman), and Indira Shah (an Indian woman).
The study, which resulted in two bone-dry papers you can download here and here, used a total of 20 different grossly stereotypical names representing males and females from different racial classifications.
Overall, fully two-thirds of the professors responded to the fraudulent queries. Almost 60 percent agreed to meet with fake people who had sent them emails out of the blue. (The professors stressed that they later canceled the proposed meetings.)
However, when the three professors sorted the results of their racist, sexist study by race and sex, they were deeply troubled because, they said, the professors they contacted were most likely to respond to the fake students with grossly stereotyped white male names. The email recipients were less responsive, to varying degrees, to fake black, Chinese, Hispanic, Indian and female students seeking Ph.D. program information.
The professors behind the study noted that this race and gender breakdown for fake, stereotypically-named students held true in all types of universities and in almost every academic discipline.
The study found that the professors responded least to emails signed with fake Chinese names, like Chang Huang, perhaps because the professors are vile racists to the core, or perhaps because they are regularly spammed with virus-filled fishing emails from guys with names like Chang Huang. (On the bright side, fake Chinese students contacting real Chinese professors had better luck.)
“We doubt that we, or many professors in our sample, or many Americans generally, intentionally discriminate against women and minorities,” the professors conclude in the op-ed. “But based on our research, we are a little chastened.”
The professors behind the study are Dolly Chugh of New York University’s Stern School of Business, Katherine L. Milkman of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and Modupe Akinola of Columbia Business School.