What do we mean in the U.S. today when we use the terms "race" and "ethnicity"? What do we mean, and what do we understand, when we use the five standard race-ethnic categories: White, Black, Asian, Native American, and Hispanic? Most federal and state data collection agencies use these terms without explicit attention, and thereby create categories of American ethnicity for political purposes. Davora Yanow argues that "race" and "ethnicity" are socially constructed concepts, not objective, scientifically-grounded variables, and do not accurately represent the real world. She joins the growing critique of the unreflective use of "race" and "ethnicity" in American policymaking through an exploration of how these terms are used in everyday practices. Her book is filled with current examples and analyses from a wealth of social institutions: health care, education, criminal justice, and government at all levels. The questions she raises for society and public policy are endless. Yanow maintains that these issues must be addressed explicitly, publicly, and nationally if we are to make our policy and administrative institutions operate more effectively.
Part I. Laying the Groundwork: Giving a(n) (Ac)count; 1. Constructing Categories: Naming, Counting, Science, and Identity; 2. Toward an American Categorical "Science" of Race and Ethnicity: OMB Directive No. 15; Part II. Making Race-Ethnicity Through Public Policies; 3. Color, Culture, Country: Race and Ethnicity in the US Census; 4. Identity Choices? Agency Policies and Individual Resistance; Part III. Making Race-Ethnicity Through Administrative Practices; 5. Ethnogenesis by the Numbers, Ethnogenesis by "Eyeballing"; 6. Constructing Race-Ethnicity Through Social Science Research: Managing Workplace Diversity; Part IV. Telling Identities: The Contemporary Legacy; 7. Public Policies as Identity Stories: American Race-Ethnic Discourse; 8. Changing (Ac)counting Practices: Meditation on a Problem