It's All in the Name: Employment Discrimination Against Arab Americans1

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Abstract

Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Arab Americans faced increased discrimination that permeated almost every aspect of their lives. Previous research has documented the negative attention toward Arab Americans after 9/11 and the effect it has had on this community. However, less research has focused on discrimination against Arab Americans during the process of obtaining employment in the United States. To address this gap in the current literature, we conducted a correspondence study in which we randomly assigned a typical white-sounding name or a typical Arab-sounding name to two similar fictitious résumés. We sent résumés to 265 jobs over a 15-month period. We found that an Arab male applicant needed to send two résumés to every one résumé sent by a white male applicant to receive a callback for an interview by the hiring personnel. Our findings suggest that the difference in callbacks may be the result of discrimination against the perceived race/ethnicity of the applicant by the hiring personnel.

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