This probably won't come as a surprise to anyone who's spent any time on the Craigslist Rants And Raves forum (what can I say -- it goes good with a glass of Franzia Sunset Blush), but science has now proved that Craigslist posters are -- and this is my own terminology here -- racist assbags. God, I love science.
A couple of sociology professors from George Washington University and the University at Albany wondered if race had anything to with replies to rental inquiries. The results are in, per Huffington Post: They sure as hell do. George Squires and Samantha Friedman chose Dallas and Boston to study because they're "two fairly representative cities in various regions of the country," according to Squires, who was kind enough to give me a call (and send me the entire 40-page report, which follows). They sampled about 730 advertisers in each city, choosing Dallas because of its large population of both Hispanics and African-Americans.
Write Squires and Friedman:
Between January and May of 2009 we submitted responses to a representative sample of 726 housing providers who advertised rental units on Craigslist in the Dallas metropolitan area. Each provider received similar e-mail responses from three "testers;" one with a white sounding name (Neil Baker or Matthew O'Brien), one with an African American sounding name (Tyrone Jackson or Tremayne Robinson), and one with a Hispanic sounding name (Jorge Rodriguez or Pedro Gonzales). (We also tested 739 housing providers in Boston with similar results.) The discrimination that was encountered was not the overt, explicit, door slamming type that was common a few decades ago. Though more subtle, it was clear.
"Clear," as in: Don't hope for a reply of any substance if your name isn't Cracker McHonkytown.
Do go on:
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Initially most of the testers appeared to be treated similarly. In the Dallas area more than three-quarters of all testers received a response. But this was true for 82 percent or the white testers and less than 78 percent of the African Americans or Hispanics, a small yet statistically significant difference.
As we moved deeper into the search process the disparities grew. In the total sample whites were more likely to be told the unit was still available, receive more than one response from the provider, be advised to contact the property owner, and informed of additional units that were available. The most significant measure in our research was whether or not the tester was invited to inspect the advertised property. In the Dallas area almost 73 percent of whites were invited to inspect the unit compared to 66.5 percent of Hispanics and 62.7 percent of African Americans.
BUT WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? Here's a big paragraph that will 'splain you:
There are reasons to believe our measures underestimated the true extent of discrimination in the electronic rental market. It is likely that the initial response from the providers in some cases was virtually an automated response that all inquiries received. It is probably the case that several providers did not pay much attention to the names of the people sending the e-mail inquiries and just responded with "form" responses. Most importantly, we did not follow up and actually make appointments to visit any units or make an offer to rent any of them. Given our findings that disparities grew as we moved through the process, it is likely that if we had taken the further steps of trying to arrange a visit or actually rent the unit, the disparate treatment would have been even greater.
The study's below. It too goes well with Franzia Sunset Blush.Cyber Segregation in Boston and Dallas is Neil a More Desirable Tenant Than Tyrone or Jorge