Dynamic Racial Triangulation: Examining the Racial Order using Two Experiments on Discrimination among Millennials
66 Pages Posted: 17 May 2019
Date Written: April 13, 2019
Millennials are shaping up to be the most racially/ethnically diverse and most educated generation in the history of the U.S., leading many to suggest they are “post-racial.” Yet, racial inequality persists throughout society. Given these facts, what model most accurately depicts the coming racial order of the U.S.? We examine the structure of the racial order in two parts. First, we conduct a correspondence audit by sending over 4,500 emails of inquiry to “roommate wanted” advertisements and measuring response rates to uncover patterns of racial/ethnic and immigrant generational status discrimination. Next, we investigate the mechanisms behind these patterns using a survey experiment. We find consistent discrimination against African Americans, Latinas, and East Asians and some bias against South Asians. Discrimination against Asians is erased and attenuated against Latinas when our immigrant generational signal indicates “Americanization.” Furthermore, we find that while all non-Americanized racial/ethnic minority groups face some level of cultural exclusion, only African Americans also face discrimination due to negative valorization perceptions. Additional evidence suggests that Millennials are prone to social desirability bias. We suggest that rather than conform to any existing racial theory, Millennials enact an emerging racial order rooted in what we call dynamic racial triangulation.
Keywords: race/ethnicity, inequality, racial order, correspondence audit, discrimination
JEL Classification: C93, J60, J70, J71, L85, R20
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