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One factor that should be considered is the role of racial discrimination.
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.
In particular, this panel was asked to conduct the following tasks: Although there is substantial direct empirical evidence for the prevalence of large disparities among racial and ethnic groups in various domains, it is often difficult to obtain direct evidence of whether and to what extent discrimination may be a contributing factor.
Differential outcomes by race and ethnicity may or may not indicate discrimination.
Nonetheless, existing social and economic disparities among racial and ethnic groups suggest that our society has yet to achieve this goal.
For instance, Hispanics have higher school dropout rates than other racial and ethnic groups (Hauser et al., 2002).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.In addition, concepts of race and ethnicity are not clearly defined for many Hispanics, so for these two reasons our discussion often refers to Hispanics as well as to specific racial groups.Throughout the report, the term is used to refer to groups in the United States (e.g., blacks) whose disadvantage can be linked historically to discriminatory practices and policies and who are, consequently, part of a legally protected class.And some Asian Americans, among other minority groups, have poorer access to health care services and treatments than whites (Institute of Medicine, 2003).Such racial disparities are pervasive and may be the result of racial prejudice and discrimination, as well as differences in socioeconomic status, differential access to opportunities, and institutional policies and practices.Contact us if you experience any difficulty logging in.Most people would agree that equal opportunity to participate as a full and functioning member of society is important.The report is designed to help social science researchers, policy analysts, federal agencies, and concerned observers better understand how to assess racial discrimination in different domains, drawing on different social science methods and data sources as appropriate.To approach this important but difficult task, the panel focused on defining relevant concepts, examining various methodological approaches and data sources, and considering directions for future research.