The purpose of this report is not to promote a single “right” way to measure discrimination.
In some situations, one approach may be more easily implemented and more credible; in other situations, another approach may be more appropriate.
One reason it is difficult to assess discrimination is that changes have occurred in the nature of prejudiced attitudes and discriminatory behaviors.
With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other laws that prohibit discrimination because of race in a variety of domains, overt discrimination is less often apparent.
The panel develops a cross-disciplinary research and data collection agenda for action by public and private funding agencies and the research community.
The report makes no attempt to actually measure current or past levels of discrimination in any domain.
Often, multiple approaches will be needed to provide credible evidence about the prevalence of discrimination in a domain.
Thus, the panel attempts to identify the broad range of approaches for measuring discrimination and to provide a critical review of their relative credibility when applied in different situations.
Our purpose is not to report numbers or impacts but to provide guidance and encouragement to researchers and policy analysts as they work across domains to identify where discrimination may be present and what its effects may be.
In the first part of this report, the panel defines the concepts of race and racial discrimination from a social science perspective, which we believe is the appropriate perspective for research and policy analysis on discrimination.