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1. Indicators of racism
1.1. Interracial marriage and dating
1.2. Racial segregation
1.3. Other indicators
2. Employment and racism
The degree of interracial marriage (or miscegenation) in a society is a good indicator of the degree of racial bias and racism in this society. A strong increase in the number of such marriages, combined with the repeal of laws banning them, a decrease in the number of honor killings of women having a relationship with a man from another race, and a gradual disappearance of talk about “the purity of the race” and such, are all signs of the demise of racism.
In the U.S., the Supreme Court ruling in Loving v. Virginia in 1967 struck down the legal bans on interracial marriages that persisted in some states in the South.
Here are some graphs showing the increase in the number of people approving of interracial marriage and dating in the U.S.:
And this graph shows the evolution of the actual number of interracial marriages, also a traditional indicator of racism:
Still, it’s mostly Asians and Hispanics, rather than whites, who marry someone from another race:
According to some, the current dispute over gay marriage is of the same type as the now settled dispute on interracial marriage (settled in the West at least), and will know the same fate. Let’s hope so.
Another quite popular indicator of racism is public opinion on racial residential segregation/integration. This indicator of racism – the willingness to live in the neighborhood of other races – is of course related to the previous one: the less interracial marriage, the more residential segregation. And school segregation is the consequence of residential segregation.
Of course, as in the case of interracial dating/marriage, it’s not just public opinion that counts; what the public actually does matters too, if not more. Hence, here are some data on levels of segregation.
The interracial marriage/dating and segregation are only two among many possible indicators of racism. You could also use a population’s willingness to vote for a political candidate of another race as an indicator of racism (or the relative absence of racism). Here’s an example:
Willingness to live next door to people from another race is also a good indicator:
Other indicators of racism:
- incarceration statistics by race
- poverty rates by race
- health statistics by race
- and racial discrimination in employment.
Below you’ll find some data about the last of those other indicators of racism, namely employment discrimination.
This study shows that black men without a criminal record are less likely to be called back for a job interview than white men with a criminal record:
These data were collected during an experiment in which different testers applied for the same jobs advertised in newspapers. The testers had fake credentials that made them equivalent in terms of education, job experience, and so on. The testers were either black and white. Some testers from each group were instructed to indicate that they had a past non-criminal drug possession offense. The data would undoubtedly have shown an even more dismal picture had the testers faked a record for a property or violent crime.
Whites with a criminal record are more than 3 times more likely to get a callback than blacks with a criminal record. If you combine this blatant discrimination in employment decisions with the racially disproportionate rates of incarceration in the U.S., you have a recipe for economic exclusion of blacks.
In 2004, Jean-François Amadieu, a sociologist at the Sorbonne, sent out 500 CVs replying to ads for sales jobs in the Paris region. The CVs were identical except in one regard: some applicants had north African names, and others traditional French ones. The white male French names received five times as many job offers as the north African ones. When Amadieu repeated the exercise in 2006, the ratio was 20:1. (source)
Such examples of racism in employment policy have an impact on unemployment rates across races. Here are some data for the U.S.:
Of course, this difference between the unemployment rates for blacks and whites isn’t entirely caused by direct discrimination in employment decisions. Other elements play a part:
- Jobs are often concentrated in white suburbs, difficult to reach for blacks without cars.
- Blacks can’t rely on networks of family businesses as much as whites or Latinos.
- Blacks ”have been relegated to precarious, low-wage work … at disproportionate rates” (source), making them more vulnerable to recessions, outsourcing and competition from immigrants.
- Indirect discrimination: if blacks receive substandard education, are less healthy and more poor, then this will affect their employment prospects: