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Demographics and Population Data

Data is never neutral. There is an array of international, national, tribal, state, provincial, regional, and local data available to collect age, gender, race/ethnicity, income, location and other demographics. In every instance, there are both technical and political issues to consider: the raw data that is collected, in addition to the stories that the data tells, generally reflects the values of the entity, for example the government or private institution, that is collecting the data. Databases also reflect individual and societal decisions about what information groups are open to making public. Finally, data is often categorized in ways that reflect dominant cultural norms. And, even when these norms are changing (as in the case of acknowledging multi-racial identities or a spectrum of gender identities), public databases may lag years behind how researchers and activists are reconfiguring identity groups and other classifications.

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“Race is the great taboo in our society. We are afraid to talk about it. White folks fear their unspoken views will be deemed racist. People of color are filled with sorrow and rage at unrighted wrongs. Drowning in silence, we are brothers and sisters drowning each other. Once we decide to transform ourselves from fearful caterpillars into courageous butterflies, we will be able to bridge the racial gulf and move forward together towards a bright and colorful future.”

~ Eva Paterson

SPOTLIGHT

The Fractured Politics of a Browning America – Vox

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GLOSSARY

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