When discrimination is baked into algorithms

A recent ProPublica analysis of The Princeton Review’s prices for online SAT tutoring shows that customers in areas with a high density of Asian residents are often charged more. When presented with this finding, The Princeton Review called it an “incidental” result of its geographic pricing scheme. The case illustrates how even a seemingly neutral…

“The new Jews of Harvard”

The title of an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal: In practice, however, there is strong evidence that racial balance is the highest priority at schools like Harvard, and holistic admissions are used to obscure the racial bean-counting necessary to obtain the desired racial mix. At the California Institute of Technology, a selective private college…

Racist teachers in India

This kind of study is difficult to refute, given the strong internal validity (random assignment of caste to exams) and external validity (actual grading versus a laboratory setting). The study involved an exam competition in which teachers graded exams that included a cover sheet listing randomly assigned characteristics (caste, gender, and age) about the students.…

Fascinating data on racism across the U.S.

Based on Google searches for the word “nigger,” aggregated by regions. Why is this a good measure of something traditionally very difficult to measure? “Google data, evidence suggests, are unlikely to suffer from major social censoring,” Stephens-Davidowitz wrote in a previous paper. “Google searchers are online and likely alone, both of which make it easier to express socially…

Can U Oklahoma racist frat boys be suspended or expelled for that video?

Nope, guess again: 1. First, racist speech is constitutionally protected, just as is expression of other contemptible ideas; and universities may not discipline students based on their speech. That has been the unanimous view of courts that have considered campus speech codes and other campus speech restrictions — see here for some citations. The same, of course,…