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.
Although researchers in specific disciplines have investigated discrimination in particular domains, there has been little effort to coordinate and expand such research in ways that could help to better understand and measure various kinds of racial and ethnic discrimination across domains and groups and over time.
To address this problem, the Committee on National Statistics convened a panel of scholars in 2001 to consider the definition of racial discrimination, assess current methodologies for measuring it, identify new approaches, and make recommendations about the best broad methodological approaches.
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.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.Examples of studies using methods that persuasively measure the presence or absence of discrimination are rare, and appropriate data for measurement are often unobtainable.As a result, there is little scholarly consensus about the extent and frequency of discrimination and how it relates to continuing disadvantages along racial and ethnic lines (Fix and Turner, 1998).One factor that should be considered is the role of racial discrimination.Overt discrimination against African Americans and other minority groups characterized much of U. history; a question is whether and what types of discrimination continue to exist and their effects on differential outcomes.However, discrimination may persist in more subtle forms.Indeed, social psychological research suggests that relatively automatic and unexamined cognitive processes, of which the holder (and sometimes the target) may not be fully aware, can lead to discrimination (Devine, 1989; Fiske, 1998).Such racial disparities persist despite the many legal and social changes that have improved opportunities for minority racial and ethnic groups in the United States.Several factors may contribute to racial differences in outcomes, including differences in socioeconomic status, differential access to opportunities, and others.