- Summarize key findings from article:
Experiment data shows that so far, previous experimental studies may underestimate the degree of discrimination in the housing market in the United States. Discrimination occurs not only in face-to-face contact, but also in telephone contact. Discrimination can happen based purely on verbal interactions between tenants and agents. Discrimination is not only reflected in the telephone communication but also without any contact, mainly through the use of e-mail and answering machines of such racial screening equipment. Second, discrimination in the current era does not only vary from race to race but also from one genre to another. Being identified as blacks based on one’s speech patterns significantly reduced the chance of getting rental accommodation, but being blacks and women further reduced their chances, while blacks, women and the poor further reduced their chances of getting a home. As a result, groups of black women, who may most need shelter from poverty, may have significantly reduced their access to rental housing because of strong discrimination. Finally, the analysis shows that telephone auditing constitutes a potentially cheap, simple and effective way of measuring and studying racial discrimination in urban housing markets.
- Which group was most likely to be discriminated against? Poor black women
Poor black women—poor black men—middle class black women—middle class black men—middle class white women—middle-class white men
- Who had easiest access rental markets?
Middle class white men
- Did men or women, regardless of race, have on easier time accessing rental market?
Men have easier time accessing rental market
- What does this study tell us about discrimination in the rental market?
In this article, the author reports on the results of the discrimination study in the rental housing market in Philadelphia. They assume that there is a new approach to racial discrimination in the postmodern era of cell phones, answering machines and voice mail, and that this new “postmodern discrimination” differs from past discrimination because it is very easy and cost-effective, and does not require any inconvenience as it does not relates to any actual personal connection. Sociolinguistic studies shows that American listeners can easily infer the speaker’s race through accents, grammar, and phrases. The authors argue that leasing agents now use language cues over the phone to assign potential renters to ethnic groups and thus act to them accordingly, often interacting with class and gender. The study, which uses a quasi-experimental design and works with the undergraduate research methodology course at the University of Pennsylvania, called students to call a rental agent for an apartment in one of three language styles: Black English Vernacular,Black Accented English, and Black Accented English. The male and female auditors obtained six basic conditions of treatment corresponding to the six basic categories of race-gender: white middle class men, white middle class women, black middle class men, black middle class women, black low class Male and black poor women.
During March and April 1999, the author conducted experiments on 79 rental units advertised in Philadelphia newspapers or rental guides. The author found the evidence of phone-based racial discrimination. African Americans are less likely to be interviewed by an agent than white people, and are less likely to be told about the availability of an apartment, they are more likely to pay for an application, and more likely to be told that credit creditworthiness as eligible for a lease problem. These racial influences interact with gender and class. Lower-class blacks have less chance of obtaining rental housing than middle-class people. Black women have less access to than black men. However, the most disadvantaged groups are black women. In all trials, female speakers of Black vernacular English had the worst performance. Because of this unusually strong discrimination, poor Philadelphia black women are forced to spend more time and devote more energy to calling future landlords. They experienced the lowest possible chance of contacting and communicating with a rental agency, and even if they were able to pass, they were most likely to be told the houses were not available and were most likely to pay an application fee. On average, they make 32 more applications for assessment than white middle-class men.