The Census Is Still Trying To Find The Best Way To Track Race In America

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-30 00:12Z by Steven

The Census Is Still Trying To Find The Best Way To Track Race In America

FiveThirtyEight
New York, New York
2014-11-26

Ben Casselman, Chief Economics Writer

At FiveThirtyEight, we use census data all the time to track demographic and social trends, from the aging of the U.S. population to the decline in marriage and shifts in immigration patterns. But the census not only reveals societal changes, it responds to them. This week, we’re examining three changes the Census Bureau is considering for its 2020 questionnaire. In the first two installments, we looked at the proposed changes to the way the census counts people of Arab ancestry and same-sex couples. Here, in our final article: The bureau ponders a new way of asking about Hispanic ethnicity.

Nancy López considers herself Latina — more specifically, Dominican. But she knows that when she walks down the street, many strangers see her as something else: a black woman.

“Race is not one-dimensional,” said López, a sociologist at the University of New Mexico and co-director of the school’s Institute for the Study of Race and Social Justice. “It’s multidimensional.”

The census has struggled to capture that complexity for its entire history, from 19th-century battles over how to count free black Americans to more modern efforts to categorize the U.S.’s growing mixed-race population. Now as it prepares for its 2020 population count, the Census Bureau is considering its biggest change in decades: combining its questions about race and ethnicity into a single, all-encompassing question. López could still, as she did in 2010, mark herself as black and Latina. But she could also select just one category – an option many U.S. Hispanics have said better reflects their self-identity.

That may seem like an academic distinction, but there are significant real-world implications, too. The government uses census data to help draw congressional boundaries, protect voting rights and allocate federal grant dollars. Researchers use it to track discrimination and social trends. And advocacy groups use it to secure political influence.

“Census taking,” said Tanya Hernández, a Fordham University law professor who studies discrimination, “is inherently a political act.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Making Race Count in the Census

Posted in Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2014-09-17 17:29Z by Steven

Making Race Count in the Census

New York University
King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center
53 Washington Square South
New York, New York 10012
Wednesday, 2014-09-17, 18:30-21:00 EDT (Local Time)

Are Hispanics becoming white? Are Latin@s a race? How can we account for race and ethnicity in ways that best represent our interests? Can a Census form really capture our social realities?

Join a distinguished panel of experts for a dialogue on race, Latin@s, and the U.S. Census.

  • Angelo Falcón is president of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP) and editor of its Network on Latino Issues.
  • Zaire Zenit Dinzey-Flores is associate professor of sociology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
  • Nicholas Jones is the Director of Race & Ethnic Research and Outreach of the Population Division at the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Nancy López is associate professor of sociology and director and co-founder of the Institute for the Study of “Race” and Social Justice at the University of New Mexico.
  • Edward E. Telles teaches courses in race, ethnicity and immigration, with a special emphasis on Latin America and Latinos, at Princeton University.

“Making Race Count in the Census,” is part of the public programming leading up to our second transnational conference Afro-Latin@s Now: Race Counts! to be held in New York City on October 23-25, 2014.

To RSVP, click here.

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An Inconvenient Truth: “Hispanic” is an ethnic origin, not a “race”

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2013-09-30 18:17Z by Steven

An Inconvenient Truth: “Hispanic” is an ethnic origin, not a “race”

National Institute for Latino Policy, Inc.
2013-08-24

Nancy López, Guest Commentator and Associate Professor of Sociology
University of New Mexico

Kenneth Prewitt’s provocative August 21st New York Times commentary calls us to “fix the census archaic racial categories.” He contends that the current national statistical system is untenable because it has not kept pace with post-1965 demographic shifts. However, it is puzzling that while Dr. Prewitt chides the Census for conflating race and nationality, he proceeds to do just that.

His solution is to ask two new questions: “One based on a streamlined version of today’s ethnic and racial categories/’ and a second, separate comprehensive nationality question. This recommendation would effectively conflate race with ethnic origin as if these were one and the same thing. But the inconvenient truth is that knowing a person’s ethnicity, (for example, their cultural background, nationality or ancestry), tells you nothing about their race or their social position in society that is usually related to the meanings assigned to a conglomeration of one’s physical traits, including skin color and facial features.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Dr. Prewitt’s recommendation for a streamlined version of today’s ethnic and racial categories is his proposal to make Hispanics a “race.” He points to the fact that 37% of Hispanics marked “some other race” in the 2010 Census race question as proof that the question is flawed. But could it be that it is that many Hispanics or Latinos occupy an in-between racial status that precludes them from being readily identified as white, black, Asian or Native American in the U.S. context?…

Read the entire article here.

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Some Critical Thoughts on the Census Bureau’s Proposals to Change the Race and Hispanic Questions

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-09-30 01:50Z by Steven

Some Critical Thoughts on the Census Bureau’s Proposals to Change the Race and Hispanic Questions

National Institute for Latino Policy, Inc.
2013-01-10

Nancy López, Guest Commentator and Associate Professor of Sociology
University of New Mexico

As a sociologist of racial, ethnic and gender stratification, I applaud the Census Bureau’s ongoing efforts to examine how we can collect race and ethnicity data that address our increasingly complex and changing demographics for generations to come. Among the key recommendations of their 2010 Alternative Questionnaire Experiment (AQE) Report is a call for further testing of the combined race and Hispanic origin question format.

Accordingly, the Census will continue testing questionnaire formats that include Hispanic as a racial category (the first and only time that a specific Hispanic origin group was included in the U.S. Census was in 1930 when “Mexican” was included as a racial group). Including Hispanic as a racial category is a significant departure from current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidelines that require that Hispanic Origin (ethnicity) is asked as a separate question from Race (racial status). It is important to note that since 2000, individuals may mark one or more race (but only one Hispanic ethnicity).

While the Census engages in further testing and refinement of questionnaire formats for race and ethnicity data collection, it is important that we consider why we collect and analyze race and ethnicity data in the first place: the focus is to assess our progress in Civil Rights enforcement. Data collection on race and ethnicity is used by federal, state and local agencies to monitor discrimination and segregation in housing (Fair Housing Act), labor market participation (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), political participation (Voting Rights Act, Redistricting), educational attainment (Department of Education), health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and criminal Justice (Department of Justice), among other policy areas…

Read the entire commentary here.

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Mapping “Race”: Critical Approaches to Health Disparities Research

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-09-01 02:10Z by Steven

Mapping “Race”: Critical Approaches to Health Disparities Research

Rutgers University Press
2013-08-12
256 pages
6 figures, 8 tables, 6 x 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8135-6136-3
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8135-6137-0
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-8135-6138-7

Edited by:

Laura E. Gómez, Professor of Law, Sociology, and Chicano Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

Nancy López, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of New Mexico

Forward by:

R. Burciaga Valdez

Researchers commonly ask subjects to self-identify their race from a menu of preestablished options. Yet if race is a multidimensional, multilevel social construction, this has profound methodological implications for the sciences and social sciences. Race must inform how we design large-scale data collection and how scientists utilize race in the context of specific research questions. This landmark collection argues for the recognition of those implications for research and suggests ways in which they may be integrated into future scientific endeavors. It concludes on a prescriptive note, providing an arsenal of multidisciplinary, conceptual, and methodological tools for studying race specifically within the context of health inequalities.

Table of Contents

  • List of Figures and Tables
  • Foreword by R. Burciaga Valdez
  • Preface
  • 1. Introduction: Taking the Social Construction of Race Seriously in Health Disparities Research / Laura E. Gómez
  • Part I: Charting the Problem
    • 2. The Politics of Framing Health Disparities: Markets and Justice / Jonathan Kahn
    • 3. Looking at the World through “Race”-Colored Glasses: The Fallacy of Ascertainment Bias in Biomedical Research and Practice / Joseph L. Graves Jr.
    • 4. Ethical Dilemmas in Statistical Practice: The Probelm of Race in Biomedicine / Jay S. Kaufman
    • 5. A Holistic Alternative to Current Survey Research Approaches to Race / John A . Garcia
  • Part II: Navigating Diverse Empirical Settings
    • 6. Organizational Practice and Social Constraints: Problems of Racial Identity Data Collection in Cancer Care and Research / Simon J. Craddock Lee
    • 7. Lessons from Political Science: Health Status and Improving How We Study Race / Gabriel R. Sanchez and Vickie D. Ybarra
    • 8. Advancing Asian American Mental Health Research by Enhancing Racial Identity Measures / Derek Kenji Iwamoto, Mai M. Kindaichi, and Matthew Miller
  • Part III. Surveying Solutions
    • 9. Representing the Multidimensionality of Race in Survey Research / Allya Saperstein
    • 10. How Racial-Group Comparisons Create Misinformation in Depression Research: Using Racial Identity Theory to Conceptualize Health Disparities / Janet E. Helms and Ethan H. Mereish
    • 11. Jedi Public Health: Leveraging Contingencies of Social Identity to Grasp and Eliminiate Racial Health Inequality / Arline T. Geronimus
    • 12. Contextualizing Lived Race-Gender and the Racialized-Gendered Social Determinants of Health / Nancy López
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index
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