Measuring the Racial Impacts of Public Policies
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Measuring the Racial Impacts of Public Policies Host: Alliance for Metropolitan Stability Presenter: Terry Keleher. Presentation Overview. • Racial Impacts Matter • Racial Equity • Racial Equity Impact Assessments • Developing Equitable Policy. Racial Justice. Racial Justice ≠ Diversity

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Measuring the Racial Impacts of Public PoliciesHost: Alliance for Metropolitan StabilityPresenter: Terry Keleher

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Presentation Overview

• Racial Impacts Matter

• Racial Equity

• Racial Equity Impact Assessments

• Developing Equitable Policy

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Racial Justice

Racial Justice ≠ Diversity

(Diversity = Variety)

Racial Justice ≠ Equality

(Equality = Sameness)

Racial Justice = Equity

(Equity = Fairness, Justice)

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Racial Justice:Related Values and Key Ideas

  • Equity / Equitable Outcomes

  • Inclusion / Accessibility

  • Equal Opportunity

  • Dignity / Human Rights

  • Fairness / Fair Treatment

  • Shared Power and Resources

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Racial Justice

Definition: Racial Justice is the creation and proactive reinforcement of policies, practices, attitudes and actions that produce equitable power, access, opportunities, treatment, impacts and outcomes for all.

Indicators: Equitable impacts and outcomes across race is the evidence of racial justice.

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Racial Justice:Strategy for Change

  • Focuses on changing systems, institutional practices, policies and outcomes.

  • Cannot just be reactive -- must propose equitable solutions and engage in proactive strategies.

  • Requires ongoing consciousness and strategic action. We cannot be “colorblind” or silent.

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Dominant Terms of Race Debate


“Transcending Race”


“Playing the Race Card”

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Contested Questions

What is racism?

Does racism exist?

Who’s responsible?

What do we do about it?

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Different Levels of Racism



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Institutional Racism

Institutional racism occurs within institutions. Institutional racism is discriminatory treatment, unfair policies and practices, and inequitable opportunities and impacts, based on race.

Example: A school system that concentrates people of color in the most overcrowded, under-funded schools with the least qualified teachers.

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Structural Racism

Structural racism is racial bias across institutions and society. It’s the cumulative and compounded effects of an array of factors that systematically privilege white people and disadvantage people of color.

Example: The “racial wealth divide” (where whites have many times the wealth of people of color) results from generations of discrimination and racial inequality.

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It’s All in the Eyes (I’s)

Comprehensive View

of Racism

  • Racism is OFTEN…

Individual bias

Institutional inequity

Intentional acts

Impacts of actions

Isolated incidents

Infused throughout society

Immediate and obvious

Invisible and insidious

In the past

In the present

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Changing the Focus

From: Personal Prejudice

To: Institutional Inequity

From: Attitudes and Intentions

To: Actions and Impacts

From: “Who’s a Racist?”

To: “What’s Causing Racism?”

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Four Goals of Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity

• Share a tool that helps us talk explicitly about race.

• Expose the racial dynamics and unintended consequences of “colorblind” policies.

• Create a multiracial and multi-issue framework to advance racially equitable policymaking.

• Legitimatize racial equity as a standard for measuring government effectiveness.

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Racially Equity Criteria

  • Does the legislation explicitly address racial outcomes and work to eliminate racial inequities?

  • Will the legislation increase access to public benefits and institutions for communities of color?

  • Does the legislation advance enfranchisement and full civic participation for all people?

  • Will the legislation protect against racial violence, racial profiling, and discrimination?

  • Is the legislation enforceable? Are these mechanisms in place to ensure accountability?

  • Does the legislation preserve and strengthen American Indian tribal sovereignty?

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Editorial: “Pay attention to state's racial equity”

“ Perhaps more important than the report's call for action on specific legislation is its plea for greater attention to the racial impact of everything state government does. That's a message those who care about the state Minnesota is becoming should heed.”

--Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial, Jan. 29, 2008

(commenting on MN Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity released by Organizing Apprenticeship Project)

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Racial Equity Impact Assessments

  • A careful examination of the likely impacts of a policy proposal in order to minimize disparities and foster racial equity and inclusion.

  • It can be a vital tool for facilitating race-conscious analysis of proposed policies, practices or programs.

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Racial Equity Impact Assessment Key Questions

1. What ways will the proposal have a positive impact on racial/ethnic equity and inclusion?

2. What may be some adverse impacts or unintended consequences that could have a negative impact on racial equity?

3. What changes could be made to make the proposal more equitable and inclusive?

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United Kingdom Model: Race Equality Duty

Establishes a “general duty” for public authorities:

1. to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination;

2. to promote equality of opportunity between persons of different racial groups, and;

3. to promote good relations between persons of different racial groups.

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United Kingdom Model: Race Equality Duty

Establishes a “specific duty” for public authorities:

1. to prepare and publish a “race equality scheme” or a “race equality policy” (for educational institutions); and

2. to monitor and publicly report employment patterns and address any differences or disadvantages.

and, authorities conduct a Race Equality Impact Assessment on proposed policies that

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King County Model:Equity and Social Justice Initiative

  • Policy development and decision-making (including use of Equity Impact Review Tool)

  • Service delivery

  • Internal education and communication

  • Community partnerships

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King County Model:Equity and Social Justice Initiative

"It is unacceptable that the color of your skin or your home address are good predictors of whether you will have a low birth weight baby, die from diabetes or your children will graduate from high school or end up in jail.”

--King County Executive Ron Sims

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City of Seattle Model: Racial and Social Justice Initiative

  • Change Teams in all City Departments

  • Race and Social Justice Strategic Plans developed by each Department

  • Budget and Policy Filters used for Racial Equity Analysis in policy and budget making.

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City of Seattle Model: Racial and Social Justice Initiative

  • "Race and Social Justice" Neighborhood Matching Fund Grant Program

  • Contracting Development and Competitiveness Center

  • Seattle Police Department Racial Profiling Accountability Plan

  • "Don't Borrow Trouble" campaign combats predatory lending practices

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Minnesota Models

  • Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission uses equity impact assessments.

  • Minneapolis Public Schools completed a Racial, Cultural and Economic Equity Impact Assessment for its School Choice Options (CSO) Education Equity Organizing Collaborative (EEOC)

  • St. Paul Racial Equity Impact Policy (proposed) for developments that receive a public subsidy of $100,000.

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Criminal Justice Racial Impact Statements

•Iowa, Minority Impact Statements required to examine impacts of new sentencing laws prior to passage.

  • Connecticut: Racial and Ethnic Impact Statements for proposed new sentencing laws

  • Wisconsin, Illinois: Commission on Reducing Racial Disparities in the Wis. Justice System

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Racially Equitable Policies


1. Target Institutional and Structural Inequities

2. Focus Explicitly on Racial Equity

3. Prioritize Impact Over Intention

4. Redefine Government Accountability

5. Foster Strategic Alliances

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Racially Equitable Policy Development

  • Identify and engage stakeholders

  • Identify and document racial inequities

  • Examine the causes

  • Identify goals

  • Develop proposal to advance equity

  • Consider any adverse impacts

  • Examine alternatives, make improvements

  • Ensure viability, sustainability and success

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Elements to Include in Policies

1. Define racial inequality / racial equity

2. Develop mechanism to study racial disparities

3. Include an “Equity Mandate”

4. Require “Race Equity Strategic Plans”

  • Community engagement and capacity-building

  • Community Education and Communication

    7. Require racially disaggregated data collection and reporting

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Define Racial Inequality / Racial Equity

  • Example: The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination defines racial discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”

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2. Develop Mechanism to Study Racial Disparity

• Create an authorized body to study problems of racial disparities.

• Examples: Illinois established a commission to address disproportionality in child welfare; and California created a Disproportionality Task Force.

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3. Adopt an Equity Mandate

  • Require public agencies to make it their duty to eilimiate racial and other forms of discrimination

  • Example: The United Kingdom establishes a “general duty” that requires public authorities:

    1. to eliminate racial discrimination;

    2. to promote equality of opportunity, and;

    3. to promote good relations across racial groups.

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4. Develop Racial Equity Strategic Plans

  • Public agencies develop and publish cohesive plans with objectives, strategies, action steps and timetables. The Plan development involves public participation, review and input.

  • Examples “Race and Social Justice Strategic Plans” (Seattle, WA); “Race Equality Schemes” and “Race Equality Policies” (UK)

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5. Foster Community Engagement and Capacity Building

  • Encourage public participation and support community initiatives to advance equity.

  • Example: Florida provides technical assistance to community organizations that help identify permanent families for children of color in foster care. Seattle has a “Race and Social Justice Neighborhood Matching Fund Grant Program”

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6. Engage in Community Education and Communication

  • Provides opportunities for ongoing learning and communication within and across government agencies and between government and the public.

  • Race conversations (King County, Washington)

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7. Implement Comprehensive Data Collection

  • Data collection, analysis and reporting for all identified social groups, with ongoing monitoring, evaluation and information to inform future strategies

  • Race Equity Schemes and public employment reporting (U.K.)

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Strategic Framework for Advancing Racial Equity

  • Focus on systemic inequality.

  • Focus on impacts rather than intentions.

  • Address racial inequity explicitly, not exclusively

  • Propose solutions focused on equity and inclusion.

  • Engage and empower stakeholders.

  • Prioritize racial justice in all social justice efforts.

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Applied Research