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Putting Race Back on the Table

Racial Impact Statements

By William Kennedy, Gillian Sonnad & Sharon Hing

Are we in a “postracial” society, where policymakers no longer need to take race into account? When confronted with racial disparities, officials often respond that they are “color-blind” and thus they cannot “intend” the disproportionate impact that their policies have on those of racial and ethnic communities. Combat that specious argument with the racial impact statement, which should be community-driven and document a policy’s impact on such communities. Officials must choose: ratify the statement’s outcomes as their own and face the consequences, or pursue policies that reduce adverse effects on those communities.

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