Sent time:   Sunday, November 06, 2011 8:23:02 PM
Subject:   Re: [september17discuss] Analytics and race

 You say, "Race has no biological basis -- race is created by racists. We should track it as such, not as self-identity, or not only as self-identity."
But if we track it the way racists track it, aren't we racists?  We do we say it is important for people to go by their self identified gender, but not their self identified race?  I think that OWS should attack racism inside and out, but not perpetuate it by identifying everyone. 

On 11/06/11, rob hollander<> wrote:
I had an opportunity to see Prof. Cordero-Guzman's full survey report. It includes a good deal of background explanation and a great deal of detail, quite unlike the infographic, which was not made by the professor.

I had a talk with the author of the report about the "race" categories. I see no reason why OWS can't innovate in its survey categories to bust up some of these notions of race. For one thing, race is tracked mostly for the consequences of discrimination, not political identification, although both are useful, and surveys typically ask the question as "do you identify yourself as__".

For example, Harrison says that he doesn't identify as white. Admirable -- but do police, prospective employers, landlords, bankers and local businesses care about his political self-identification or do they care only about whether he appears to them as white when he applies for work, an apartment, a loan, or for a spell in jail?

Self-identification is largely a personal matter; appearance is all about discrimination (or privilege in the case of white-appearance) wherever you go. A Hindu student of mine at Hunter harbored deeply anti-muslim sentiments after 18 of his friends died in 9/11 -- until he was accused of being a Muslim terrorist on the subway and attacked.

Race has no biological basis -- race is created by racists. We should track it as such, not as self-identity, or not only as self-identity.

I'd like to see a question, "People typically seem to identify you as ____."

I'm hoping there will be a lively discussion on all this, because a firmly believe that OWS is capable of creating wonderfully new, creative perspectives on surveys.


Rob Hollander
Lower East Side Residents for Responsible Development
622 E 11, #10
NYC, 10009