Race Effects amidst the New Diversity: Assessing The Explanatory Power of Dichotomous, Trichotomous, and Polytomous Conceptions of Race on US Labor Market Outcomes

Amon Emeka, University of Southern California

Large waves of immigration from Latin America and Asia have led many social scientists to conclude that the old “Black and White” characterization of American race relations is obsolete and insist on racial schema with more specificity. Others, however, have begun to recognize the persistence of the White advantage and/or Black disadvantage, even amidst this new diversity, and have suggested that dichotomous and trichotomous conceptions of race may continue to be useful for understanding and explaining American race relations. This paper uses 2006 American Community Survey to gauge how much of the total effect of race on employment and earnings can be captured simply by knowing who is White, who is Black, and who is neither. Preliminary indications are that the great majority of the effects of race lay in White advantage and Black disadvantage with relatively little of the overall race effect being associated with membership in other groups.

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Presented in Session 26: Race/Ethnic Inequalities