Akee Highlights Need for Better Data on Experiences of Racism

Associate Professor of Public Policy Planning Randall Akee co-authored a Brookings article with KJ Ward about the lack of available data on experiences of racism in the COVID-19 era. While the media acknowledges instances of hate crimes and racial violence that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, they are often dismissed as outliers and fail to be the subject of meaningful research. “In the absence of systematic data on this topic, we are left to these anecdotal instances, and that makes it much more difficult to identify pervasive patterns and behaviors in society,” Akee wrote. Furthermore, smaller race groups are often excluded in national surveys or are clustered in a general “other” category. A new survey explicitly oversampled for small race and ethnic groups and illustrated the pervasiveness of racism toward all non-white groups. Akee argued that collecting data by race and ethnicity is the first step to identifying, diagnosing and dismantling systemic racism in society.

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