We all know the partisan divide in the country has gotten pretty bad, or at least so we are told by our social media overlords. And according to this same line of thinking, it’s significantly worse than it was in the “good old days.” (Defining when those allegedly good days were will likely depend on your age group.) But has it really gotten to the point where ideological affiliation between conservatives and liberals is really replacing racism as the worst line of conflict in American society?
That’s essentially the point being suggested by Clemson Professor Philip L. Roth at The Hill this week. Roth was part of a group that conducted a pair of studies of professional employment recruiters to see if there was any impact on which job candidates they would rate the highest based on indications as to which political party or ideological group the candidates were associated with. (I should note that Roth doesn’t explicitly say “racism” here, but rather the more generic term “discrimination.”)
The description of the study is worth reading. They created a series of Facebook pages and other social media signatures for potential job candidates that might turn up during a recruiter’s normal background searches. In one study there were obvious clues, such as the applicant putting a donkey or an elephant on their page along with a statement about being vice president of campus Democrats or Republicans. In the other study, the clues were more subtle, demonstrating support of various political positions such as pro-abortion or pro-life signals, or support for either Black Lives Matter or Blue Lives Matter.