Before automatically concluding that race is an issue in any situation, several steps need to be taken. If racial differences remain after tackling these six steps, the case is strong that race matters. This is part of a comprehensive Race Matters toolkit. For more information visit the Race Matters Institute website.
Just because racial diversity exists in a given circumstance doesn’t mean the situation is free of racial inequities.
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Thus, the argument that an issue is about poverty rather than race or education rather than race or neighborhood rather than race is, on the face of it, insufficient. These claims can only be made accurately if racial disparities disappear within groupings (e.g., that poor people regardless of race have comparable experiences with a public system, or that high school graduates regardless of race fare similarly in the job market, or that all middle income neighborhoods regardless of population demographics enjoy similar levels of public and private sector investment).
Control for other key variables. Before concluding that race matters, be sure to control for key factors such as age, income, and education level. Specific issues will have additional key factors that can explain differences (such as region of the country, state-specific policies, and the like). If racial differences remain after other key factors are taken into account, the case is strong that race matters.