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At a Loss for Words: Measuring Racial Inequality in America

Major G. Coleman ()
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Major G. Coleman: State University of New York

The Review of Black Political Economy, 2016, vol. 43, issue 2, 177-192

Abstract: Abstract Scholars of race tend to measure racial inequality in either absolute or relative terms. How much Blacks have advanced from their historical antebellum status is an absolute measure. How the status of Blacks compares with that of Whites is a relative measure. A more revealing measure might be how much racial equality will be strategically necessary to avoid a major politico-economic crisis like the ones that occurred during the civil war and the 1960s. Though it is easier to measure absolute or relative equality, measures of strategic equality yeild more important information. Using the Current Population Survey, General Social Survey, Center for Education Statistics, Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality, and Census Bureau estimates, I find that, strategically, America is actually declining in racial equality, not advancing.

Keywords: Racial inequality; Racial equality; Wage inequality; Strategic equality; Racism; Discrimination (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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DOI: 10.1007/s12114-015-9229-y

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