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Boston University




Filling out your race and ethnicity on a form may feel tiresome, and even uncomfortable. You have been checking these boxes for years, as has everyone else, and the questions may seem irrelevant.

“What does race have to do with my doctor’s appointment?” you might ask. Or a form may be inaccurate: “I’m Middle Eastern, why don’t I get a box to check?” Perhaps it feels intrusive: “How is this information going to be used?” And you may wonder, “Why are we always talking about race?”

The truth is, we need to keep talking about race. Even more than we currently do.

This isn’t because race tells us anything about how people think or act; it doesn’t. Race is not a fixed, biological fact but rather a social and power construct. We need to talk about it because we need to root out racism. We need to understand and document how people’s lived experiences differ based on how they are racialized.


Article originally appeared as a column in The Emancipator:

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