Multiracial in 2060

Research finds that members of the multiracial group are more likely to be miscategorized than members of any other racial group. Compared to categorizing people into a single-race category, categorizing someone as multiracial is more mentally cumbersome, takes longer and is less likely to occur.


By Marisa Franco – What Racial Discrimination Will Look Like in 2060 in Scientific American

Feds Approve Policy of Multiracial Discrimination

Feds approve California’s policy of multiracial discrimination

Is race a qualification for contractors in California?  Last November, the United States Department of Transportation approved the policy of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) that 9.5% of the federal funds the state receives for transportation projects will go to subcontractors of preferred races.  The policy is contained in a document called the Caltrans’ Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Overall Annual Goal and Methodology for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2013-2015.

As part of its approved race-conscious policy, Caltrans requires prime contractors to favor subcontractors who are African American, Asian-Pacific American, Hispanic American, Native American, and women.  But prime contractors may not give preferences to male subcontractors who are Subcontinent Asian American, or white.  Subcontinent Asian Americans include persons whose origins are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

The peculiar decision by Caltrans to favor, say, Chinese Americans over Bangladeshi Americans, or Burmese (Myanmar) Americans over Bhutanese Americans, is based on a disparity study performed last year at Caltrans’ behest.  That study combined all data from 2007-2010 state and local prime contracts with data from all subcontracts, including contracts from the transportation construction and engineering industries. 

The massed contracting data showed statistical disparities from 2009-2010 that were substantial for firms owned by African Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and white women.  Caltrans chose not to rely on the full data from 2007-2010 showing no disparities for white women.

Although Caltrans has never disbarred a single prime contractor for engaging in discriminatory conduct (or even accused any), Caltrans assumes that the statistical disparities are proof of intentional discrimination occurring industry-wide.  To remedy this supposed discrimination, Caltrans imposes a one-size-fits-all racial preference for all federally assisted transportation construction and engineering projects.

As I noted in an earlier post, Caltrans’ attempt to enforce one preference statewide fails the constitutional requirement for narrow tailoring.  In yet another post, I discussed why it is wrong for Caltrans to mix prime contracting data with subcontracting data.

Caltrans’ new DBE program is intended to remedy combined statistical disparities, but the result is state-mandated discrimination. 

For instance, on engineering subcontracts, prime contractors must give preferences to engineers who are Asian-Pacific American and Hispanic American.  But the disparity study showed there were no disparities for engineers from these racial groups on engineering subcontracts.  On the other hand, there were substantial disparities for Subcontinent Asian American engineers, who receive no preferences.

On construction subcontracts, the disparity study reveals no substantial disparities for white women, or Hispanic or Native American contractors – in other words, no inferences of discrimination against these groups.  But they all continue to receive preferences on construction subcontracts.  This means that if intentional discrimination is truly the cause of the disparities for African American contractors, the Caltrans DBE program offers a “business as usual” approach with no remedy.  Racist prime contractors, if any exist, may continue to discriminate against African American contractors while meeting the program’s race-conscious goals at the same time!

Pitting minority group against minority group, and dividing certain minority groups by sex, but not others, is the result of Caltrans’ twin untenable assumptions that statistical disparities alone can prove discrimination, and that such disparities can be “remedied” by aggregate preferences.  The Caltrans requirement that prime contractors treat businesses differently based upon the owner’s skin color or sex is discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.
Source: Pacific Legal Foundation/

Teachers Union Sues based on Race Discrimination

Stories like this always make me wonder about the multiracial teachers… -Susan

Citing Race Discrimination, Chicago Teachers Union Sues Over Layoffs


The Chicago Public Schools’ recent rounds of layoffs have disproportionately affected African-American teachers, the Chicago Teachers Union alleges in a class action filed this week.

Even though black teachers make up only less than 30 percent of the teaching force, they were hardest hit by the layoffs, the lawsuit states. For example, of the 347 tenured teachers laid off in 2012, 51 percent were African-American.

In the lawsuit filed Dec. 27, the union says that the district’s “turnaround” efforts, which involve the replacement of up to every teacher in a school so designated—and sometimes the conversion of the school into a charter—are to blame for the disproportional layoffs. Those schools have been located on the city’s west and south sides, where many African-American teachers work. And the district’s process for selecting the schools for turnaround isn’t transparent or clear, the union contends.

The lawsuit seeks a moratorium on turnarounds and the implementation of “less discriminatory alternatives.”

The CTU has long been opposed to turnarounds, which threaten its membership numbers as well as longstanding perks like seniority. But the policy has also been controversial among teachers, students, and communities.

The lawsuit could have national implications, too, given that Chicago’s turnaround program was the basis of the federal School Improvement Grants, under which “turnaround” is one of the four allowable options.
We’ll wait to see how the district responds.
Source: Education Week/Stephen Sawchuk

A Different Kind of Racism

A Different Kind of Racism
By Thera Naiman
In any campaign season, political enthusiasts look to the polls as a way to monitor candidates’ relative success. When a candidate pulls ahead by a few percentage points, speculation abounds: could it be due to a boost in the economy? A US Supreme Court decision? An effective new campaign ad? 
When President Obama’s lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney waned in a recent poll of Virginian voters, state Senator Louise Lucas had another explanation for the results: race. Lucas, who is African-American, suggested that some voters support Romney simply because they “do not want to see anybody but a white person in a leadership position.” She continued: “I absolutely believe it’s all about race, and for the first time in my life I’ve been able to convince my children, finally, that racism is alive and well.”1
The second part of Lucas’ quote illuminates a peculiar truth about people’s perspective on race in the United States. Why did she have to convince her children of the persistence of racism in U.S. society? Because of our country’s sordid history of race relations, many think of discrimination only as the blatant acts of hate committed by extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan, whose racist intent is clear. 
This belief is reflected in our legal system, which primarily uses an intent standard that requires a plaintiff to prove a policy or action was intended to produce racially discriminatory results in order to show it is unconstitutional. A growing body of scientific research on implicit bias—the collection of unconscious mental processes that cause people to unknowingly act with racial bias – has shown that this emphasis on intent is flawed. Contrary to what Lucas’ children thought, implicit bias can have the same pernicious results as explicit racism. 
Many groups say that the research on implicit bias should help push the United States legal system to use a legal standard that focuses on effect rather than intent in deciding cases involving racial discrimination. Such a standard already exists: it is known as the disparate impact standard, and national advocacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Equal Justice Society (EJS) are lobbying on its behalf. Under this standard, practices that have an adverse effect on a minority group are discriminatory (and thus illegal), even if the practices in question are facially neutral. A disparate impact standard would enable victims of institutional discrimination to demand compensation for their injuries and would more accurately reflect the reality of how racial discrimination operates in our society.

Implicit bias: a scientific reality

Twenty-five years ago, Stanford professor Charles R. Lawrence III published a groundbreaking article2 criticizing the intent standard established by Washington v. Davis3 for its failure to address unconscious racism. Lawrence’s argument was (and remains) powerful, but his evidence rested largely upon Freudian notions of the Id and the Ego. Since 1987, the scientific research supporting Lawrence’s thesis has become much more sophisticated. 
As neuroscience advances by leaps and bounds, scientists now have a better understanding of the mental processes that underlie implicit racism. Every day, our senses are bombarded with an overwhelming amount of information. It would take an extraordinary amount of mental energy for our brains to process each new stimulus individually. Instead, the mind uses neural shortcuts, known as “schemas”, to sort stimuli into more general categories. This enables us to bring a cup of water up to our lips without first taking the time to consciously identify the object that we’re holding.4
Source: National Center for Youth Law. To read more go to: