The researchers divided 86 college students into three groups and showed each group one of three video clips about sales clerks. The sales setting details in the clips were identical, with one important exception: the demographic characteristics of the sales clerks varied. In one clip the sales clerk was a white woman, in the next a black man, and in the last a white man.
There were substantial numbers of women and nonwhites in each group, but the students rated the white man’s performance highest.
The study’s lead author stated in an interview that
Everyone –white, black, men, women—think the white man is more valuable. Someone needs to call customers out on their biases.
It’s a noble suggestion, but in all likelihood the outcome will not be the one hoped for: Customers will be more cautious about expressing in public their true beliefs on sex and race.