1. Conduct a thorough evaluation of current methodologies for measuring discrimination in a wide range of circumstances where it may occur.

  2. Consider how analyses of data from other sources could contribute to findings from research experimentation, such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development paired tests.

  3. Recommend further research as well as the development of data to complement research studies.


There is no single concept of race. Rather, race is a complex concept, best viewed for social science purposes as a subjective social construct based on observed or ascribed characteristics that have acquired socially significant meaning. In the United States, ways in which different populations think about their own and others’ racial status have changed over time in response to changing patterns of immigration, changing social and economic situations, and changing societal norms and government policies. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, for example, some European Americans, such as Italians and Eastern European Jews, were regarded as distinct racial groups. Although these distinctions are no longer sanctioned by the U.S. government, some segments of the population may still act in ways that are consistent with such distinctions. For certain populations and in some situations, race may be difficult to define consistently; for example, many Hispanics consider themselves to be part of a distinct racial group, but many others hold no such perception. Because concepts of race and ethnicity are not clearly defined for many Hispanics and because of the discrimination they have faced, we include Hispanics, along with specific racial groups, in our discussion of racial discrimination.

The ambiguity involved in defining race has implications for how data on race are collected. The official federal government standards for data on race and ethnicity currently identify five major racial groups (black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and white) and one ethnic group (Hispanic) that may be of any race. These categories are used by federal program and statistical agencies to collect data through self-reports (preferably) or by assigning individuals to one or more categories. The federal racial categories have changed over time, in part reflecting the changing conception of race in the United States. The government standards are not always consistent with scholarly concepts of race or with concepts held by individuals and groups; as a result, it may be difficult to obtain data on race and ethnicity that are comparable over time or across different surveys and administrative records. Comparability may also be affected by differences in the data collection

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