Arizona ranks fourth in nation for racial integration, study finds

Jan 10, 2018, 4:33 AM | Updated: 8:58 am
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PHOENIX — Arizona ranked fourth in the nation, according to a new study measuring the current integration levels of blacks and whites ahead of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

“I’m leery of jumping on the bandwagon to say, ‘Wow, look how much we’ve improved,’” said Dr. Neal Lester with Project Humanities at Arizona State University. “Because somehow the improvement doesn’t look at what we were improving from.

“If it’s just a matter of looking at numbers, we also have to look at the quality of life,” he said.

The study, called 2018’s States with the Most Racial Progress, also ranked Arizona No. 12 in the nation for racial progress over time.

“There’s no single answer to how to measure progress,” Lester said. “It’s like how do you get rid of racism, how do you get rid of sexism, how do you stop men from harassing women, how do you lose weight … there’s no simple thing.

The study compared the 50 states across three areas: Employment and wealth, education and civic engagement and health.

“What is important about this study is that it looks at multiple indicators,” he said. “Because there are often times that we talk about progress but only in one area without looking at it [with] more intersectionality.”

People don’t have to pretend that there has been no progress, Lester said, but we shouldn’t be lulled into thinking we can now relax and the issue of race in America has been solved.

“Yes, the numbers are helpful, in the same way that rankings are helpful,” he said. “People have to be really cautious about looking at numbers and expecting those numbers to tell the only story.”

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Arizona ranks fourth in nation for racial integration, study finds