I’m still totally geeking out about the Census Bureau starting to release data from the 2010 Census, so today you’re getting another post based on it. Kristina K. let us know that Salon has up maps of the 10 most racially-segregated metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000+, based on analyses from the University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center and available at CensusScope. Note that in the race categories, Hispanic is presented as a separate category; all other racial groups include only members of that race who said they were not of Hispanic origin. The Population Studies Center also has data available broken down by specific races and at the state level, though they don’t have maps for them, just the raw dissimilarity indices.

Here’s L.A., at #10:

Here, just for my friend Tony, is his hometown of Buffalo, NY, #6 on the list:

New York comes in second:

The most segregated 500,000+ metro area in the U.S.? Milwaukee:

Based on the dissimilarity index, over 81% of Milwaukee’s non-White population would have to relocate to be distributed similarly to Whites.

Interestingly, given assumptions many have about race relations in the U.S., the South doesn’t show up here. St. Louis is the most Southern city in the top 10, which is dominated by cities in the old industrial core of the North and upper Midwest/Great Lakes regions.

The U.S. Census Bureau has started releasing data from the 2010 Census. This map shows the change in the racial/ethnic minority (i.e., anything other than non-Hispanic White) population over the last decade:


They released a report, An Overview: Race and Hispanic Origin in the 2010 Census (available here), which includes data on those who reported more than one race. Among those who reported more than one race, the vast majority listed two. Here are the most commonly reported combinations:

AIAN = American Indian/Alaska Native, NHPI = Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and SOR = some other race.

Laura E. pointed out that New Geography posted some maps based on 2010 Census data. Here’s the Hispanic population as a percent of the total population, by county (notice that the legend need to be multiplied by 100 to get the percent):

The African American population (alone or in combination with another race, and again, multiply by 100):


Students of mine who are unversed in race politics frequently use the phrase “colored people.” They hear me use the phrase “people of color” and assume that the phrases are equivalent. This is a truly reasonable assumption, even as people familiar with race-based struggle know for sure that “colored” is an offensive term and “people of color” is typically not considered so.

Occasionally a student asks me what the difference is and, to be frank, I’m not quite sure. I’ve simply absorbed the rules of talking-about-race and have a good idea of how to do so in ways that reflect grass roots language claims.

Accordingly, I was really excited to see a clip of famed activist Loretta Ross at Racialicious explaining the history of the phrase “women of color,” and later “people of color.” She explains that, while “colored people” was a phrase used to delegitimate black- and brown-skinned people, “people of color” was coined by activists hoping to bring all non-white people together into a coalition against racism.

(Thanks to decius for placing a transcript in the comments. I’ve pasted it in after the jump.)


Via Bruce Jacobs, Lesley Hazleton describes her experience of reading the Koran, for real, for the first time:

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

In early 20th century America, eugenics was promoted as a new way to scientifically shape the human race. The idea was to change the human population for the better through selective breeding and sterilization. As you can imagine, this led to serious abuses. People of color, the poor, and those deemed otherwise unfit for reproduction were disproportionately targeted, and usually the sterilization was accomplished by targeting women’s bodies in particular.

One interesting facet of the effort to promote eugenics is the language used, or the framing of the issue. Indeed, just last week I introduced my students to the notion of “Birthright.”  The term birthright suggested that all children have the right to be born into a sound mind and body.  Why was it important to sterilize individuals deemed morally, culturally, or biologically inferior?  Why, we must do it for the children, of course!

I was reminded of the idea of children having such a birthright by a vintage ad (posted at, predictably, Vintage Ads).  The ad is for a school designed to improve the future of the human race by improving parenting.  The school would, therefore, teach parents how to engage in civilized “intelligent” “parenthood.”  The idea that such parenting can be taught points to the way that eugenics evolved from a biological to a cultural basis.  And in several places you see the term “birthright” (excerpted below).


For a time, pro-sterilization laws were very popular.  The U.S. map below, for example, shows which states had pro-sterilization laws in 1935 (striped) and states with laws pending (black). As you can see, most of the United States was on board at this time.  Later, condemnation of the practices in Nazi Germany would take the blush off of the eugenics rose.


For a wonderful book on the history of eugenics, read Wendy Kline’s Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom.

For more on eugenics and sterilization, see our post with additional pro-eugenics propaganda and two contemporary examples of coercive sterilization campaigns by your health insurance carrier and politician who’ll pay the “unfit” to get tied.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Amy H. sent in a Dove ad from O magazine. The ad clearly means to say that women get “visibly more beautiful skin” because their body wash moisturizes dry skin. However, the placement of the women in front of the “before” and “after” text may unfortunately, based on a quick glance, inadvertently convey a different message:

I continue to be puzzled that multinational corporations with resources for large-scale marketing campaigns so often stumble in awkward ways when trying to include a range of racial/ethnic groups in their materials. This seems to occur by not sufficiently taking into account existing or historical cultural representations that may provide a background for the interpretation of images or phrases in the advertising. In this case, the arrangement of the models combined with the text above and below them unfortunately intersects with a cultural history in which White skin was seen as inherently “more beautiful” than non-White skin (not to mention thinner bodies as more beautiful than larger ones).

It would be possible to make this same ad, using these same models and basic idea, in a way that avoided any potential misinterpretation — all it would take, I think, would be to take the before-and-after pics and make them small off-set images on the side, so “before” and “after” couldn’t be read as referring to the women’s bodies. Given that advertising materials are often highly scrutinized, Photoshopped, market tested, and focus grouped, I can’t quite figure out how potentially problematic racial/ethnic connotations aren’t caught before such ads are released.

UPDATE: In my analysis, I gave Dove the benefit of the doubt in assuming this was a non-intentional aspect of the ad, largely because even in the “best case scenario” where this is entirely unintended, it is problematic. However, several readers suggest that we shouldn’t too quickly assume that instances such as these are accidental.

Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.

Sarah Glassman, a graduate student at Michigan State University spotted this sign in a campus dining hall restroom.  It’s a neat example of how a sign can avoid centering whiteness and instead be inclusive of people with different skin tones.

Thanks Sarah!

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Way back in November David M. sent in another example of the tendency to conflate curves with women of color. This ad for a bodyshaper that appeared in the magazine i-on Glasgow (via wishiwerebaking on Flickr) says that wearing their product will give you “Latino curves,” and the code for the discount is “Latino” (which perhaps should be “Latina,” but we have much bigger issues than that to deal with).

I’m putting it after a jump because one reader said it was slightly NSFW or, more specifically, some public libraries; it’s an image of a woman in a strapless bra and body shaper, so you don’t see any nudity.