Can a last name influence your employment?

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

Can a last name influence your employment?

Although, i know it is considered illegal for companies to not hire based on a last name due to discrimination. I do believe that it is done anyways by employers, whether it be to hire a status quo of minorities. I am a Asian minority who wants to change my last name back to my adoptive parents name which is American sounding. Do you think that will hurt or help my chances of employment? I have references either way.

The conditional wisdom says Asians are very smart, so changing your name from Chen to Walkers will probably hurt your chances in anything that is considered to be at least somewhat intelligent occupation.

In general, discrimination on the basis of names is still alive and well, especially against the Blacks. Check this out:

http://papers.nber.org/papers/w9873

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