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

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Clarence D. Kreiter


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.

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

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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
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