Race and ethnicity categories

In this assessment, we use the following race and ethnicity categories. Generally speaking, we use the categories and definitions established by the U.S. Census Bureau, with the exceptions noted in brackets below. The brief name we use in this assessment for each group is in parenthesis.

  • Asian (Asian people): A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • Black or African American (Black people): A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.
  • Hispanic or Latino (Hispanic/Latino people): A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.
  • [Native American] or Alaska Native (Native people): A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment. [The U.S. Census sometimes includes "American Indian" as a descriptor for this group, but we prefer "Native American" because it is our understanding that is the term generally preferred by Native Americans.]
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.
  • White (White people): A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

The Census Bureau explains:

The race and ethnicity categories generally reflect social definitions in the U.S. and are not an attempt to define race and ethnicity biologically, anthropologically, or genetically. We recognize that the race and ethnicity categories include racial, ethnic, and national origins and sociocultural groups.

How we ask respondents to indicate their race and ethnicity

Our approach to asking respondents what racial/ethnic group they are a part of is based on a "combined question approach" which is being considered for use in future censuses and which some researchers believe is more effective than the "separate questions approach" which was used in the 2020 Census. For details, see this paper.

Leadership levels

In our organization assessment, we ask about the actions/views of two types of leaders in the organization. Our definitions for the two types of leaders are provided below. If you are not sure of who is in these groups in your organization and their actions/views, please provide your best estimate.

  • Level 1 leaders: Have a significant role in determining the policies and practices of the organization (e.g. mission/vision, budget, hiring/promotions, etc.). In other words, major decisions in the organization typically need to be run by these individuals before they are implemented. This may be one person or many people in an organization. In a church, for example, Level 1 leaders may be pastors, elders, deacons, executive team, board members, etc.
  • Level 2 leaders: All individuals who are not Level 1 leaders but who have a leadership role in the organization. Their perspectives may or may not be taken into consideration with an organizational policy or practice change.

Other Key Terms

The following are some quick definitions of other key terms used in the assessment.

  • Interracial: Involving interactions between people in different racial groups.
  • Multiracial people: Individuals who are a part of two or more racial groups.
  • People of color: Individuals who are understood to NOT ONLY have ancestors from Europe.
  • Racial group: A collection of people who are perceived to share geographical ancestry and biological characteristics such as facial features, skin tone, hair color, etc.
  • Racial equity: A condition in which a person’s race does not provide them with advantages or disadvantages.
  • Racial identity: A person’s sense of connection to their racial group.
  • Racial inclusion: A condition in which individuals in all racial groups are an integral part of a group, community, or nation.
  • Racial justice: A condition in which people in all racial groups receive equitable (fair) opportunities and outcomes.
  • Racism: A system of advantage based on race.
  • Reparations: Seeking to correct the damages caused by the history of racism in the U.S.
  • Undocumented immigrants: Individuals born outside of the U.S. who are living in the U.S. without receiving permission (documentation) by the government.