Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Quantifying Racism in Cities

The Freakonomics blog has a provocative article asking What is the most racist city in America? The author of the article, Sudhir Venkatesh, asks for input on "quantifying racism" and suggests a "racism index" might allow someone to identify which city was the most racist. (He suggests it might be Boston, as his example.)

The article is generating a number of comments, primarily anecdotal -- "I lived in this city and it was awful" -- with a few suggestions for indicators such as hate crimes or interracial marriages as potential measures of racism.

We've been talking about indicators of racial disparity over the past year or so on this blog. I'm interested in your comments on specific measures of racism in the community. How would you/do you measure racism? What would you reply to the Freakonomics folks?

We're promised a follow-up article on social science research on measuring racism, and I'll pass that along when it appears. If you have a specific project or examples of indicators that you're working on or that you think is worth sharing, please pass it on.


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