Skip to main content

“American Behavioral Scientist” Special Issue

Mary Campbell, along with Jenifer Bratter (Rice University) and Wendy Roth (University of British Columbia), has edited a forthcoming special issue of American Behavioral Scientist entitled “Measuring the Diverging Components of Race” that is now available online. This special issue brings together original research that advances the emerging subfield on the measurement and analysis of varying components of race. The articles provide insight into how social scientists can tease apart the multiple components of race and leverage them to better understand how race continues to divide life chances, creatively using existing and new sources of data. The articles speak to three key themes: how we can better understand the various ways that race is experienced, alternative approaches to measuring the different components of race, and the implications of race measures for understanding social inequality.

As the editors describe in the introduction to the issue: “Consider the following example: Raquel, a Dominican woman in New York, has light skin and European features, but because she has some African ancestry, she identifies as Black, although she may be perceived by her Latino/a neighbors as Dominican, by her non-Latino/a White employers as Latina, and by strangers as White (Roth, 2012). For increasing numbers of people, the lived reality of race is not monolithic—not all of their experiences with racial categorization are consistent. Rather, there are a number of different components to how they experience race in their daily lives. Such components include how a person self-identifies, the more limited identity she expresses when asked “what is your race?” on a questionnaire, her racial ancestry, how she is classified by others, how she believes others classify her, and a range of racialized physical characteristics that may shape how people treat her. As is the case with Raquel, these components do not always align. But with multiple components at work, how can we measure race reliably and understand how an individual’s experiences are shaped by racialized interactions if we only collect information about one component of that experience?”

To explore cutting edge work addressing these questions, check out the articles in the special issue, now available online:

Cynthia Feliciano
Shades of Race: How Phenotype and Observer Characteristics Shape Racial Classification

Denia Garcia and Maria Abascal
Colored Perceptions: Racially Distinctive Names and Assessments of Skin Color

Nicholas Vargas and Kevin Stainback
Documenting Contested Racial Identities Among Self-Identified Latina/os, Asians, Blacks, and Whites

Sonya R. Porter, Carolyn A. Liebler, and James M. Noon
An Outside View: What Observers Say About Others’ Races and Hispanic Origins

Aaron Gullickson
Essential Measures: Ancestry, Race, and Social Difference

Aliya Saperstein, Jessica M. Kizer, and Andrew M. Penner
Making the Most of Multiple Measures: Disentangling the Effects of Different Dimensions of Race in Survey Research

Stanley R. Bailey, Fabrício M. Fialho, and Andrew M. Penner
Interrogating Race: Color, Racial Categories, and Class Across the Americas