Using Systemic Racism as an Omnibus Explanation of Social Inequality: The Dependent - Independent Variable Conundrum

Main Article Content

Clarence D. Kreiter
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8303-2387

Abstract

In adhering to a widely held social science convention, researchers assume that racism is the cause of Black-White social disparities. This assumption manifests in a large multidisciplinary research literature that tacitly assigns racism as an independent variable to explain observed racial differences. While that research does document Black-White social disparities, it does so primarily by characterizing the magnitude of those differences rather than investigating their cause. This means that assigning racism as the cause of those differences is usually based upon an assumption rather than scientific evidence. Two examples are provided to demonstrate how this impacts current research. The research practice of uncritically assigning racism as an independent variable to explains group differences is unscientific and has produced ineffective interventions for addressing the problem.

Keywords:
Racism, research design, social science theory, intergroup dynamics, public policy, research bias

Article Details

How to Cite
Kreiter, C. D. (2021). Using Systemic Racism as an Omnibus Explanation of Social Inequality: The Dependent - Independent Variable Conundrum. Asian Journal of Sociological Research, 5(1), 7-9. Retrieved from https://globalpresshub.com/index.php/AJSR/article/view/1147
Section
Commentaries / Opinion Articles

References

Bleske-Rechek A, Morrison KM, Heidtke LD. Causal inference from descriptions of experimental and non-experimental research: Public understanding of correlation-versus-causation. The Journal of General Psychology. 2015; 142(1):48-70.

Leonardo Z, Grub WN. Education and racism: A primer on issues and dilemmas (Second Edition) – Rutledge 711 Third Avenue New York, NY, 10017; 2019.

Crime in the United States. U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Criminal Justice Services Division, Uniform Crime Reporting; 2019.
Available:https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019

Bennett S, Farrington DP, Huesmann LR. Explaining gender differences in crime and violence: The importance of social cognitive skills. Aggression and Violent Behavior. 2005;10:263-288.

Galvin BM, Randel AE, Collins BJ, Johnson RE. Changing the focus of locus (of control): A targeted review of the locus of control literature and agenda for future research. Journal of Organizational Behavior. 2018;39:820-833.

Karaman MA, Watson JC. Examining associations among achievement motivation, locus of control, academic stress, and life satisfaction: A comparison of U.S. and international graduate students. Personality and Individual Differences. 2017;111:106-110.

Peterson L, Homer AL, Wonderlich SA. The integrity of independent variables in behavior analysis. Journal of applied Behavior Analysis. 1982;15:477-492.

Barton EE, Meadan-Kaplansky H, Ledford JR. Independent variables, fidelity, and social validity – chapter in Single Case Research Methodology (First Edition) – Routledge 711 Third Avenue NewYork, NY, 10017; 2018.