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Is Your Librarian Racist?

Findings from a new study indicate that “black-sounding” names are less likely to get a reply from public service providers.
A study found signs of email discrimination among librarians and other public sector service providers.
A study found signs of email discrimination among librarians and other public sector service providers. Francois Lenoir/Reuters

It’s been well documented that people with names like LaKeisha or DeShawn, which became popular among African Americans during the civil rights era, can face disadvantages in the job market.

But that’s not the only place they are likely to bump up against conscious or unconscious biases. A recent study finds that a LaKeisha is much less likely to get a response when they contact public librarians or school district officials than, say, a Becky. And when they do, it’s less likely to be polite.