GIS as Framework for Racial Equity

Authors: Clinton Johnson*, Esri
Topics: Ethnicity and Race, Geographic Thought, Ethics and Justice
Keywords: racial equity, social justice, racial equity lens
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 20
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


People around the world are trying to live healthy and successful lives. And yet, far too many are plagued by a wide range of inequities across a broad spectrum of topics. Spatial data can help us explore, understand, and confront these issues. Moreover, the inequities we face are intrinsically and structurally related and, as such, create a wide range of experiences and outcomes for people across your communities. Fortunately, GIS offers a wide and growing array of techniques and tools to help us understand and unravel interrelated concerns, address barriers to equality, and design more equitable outcomes. Essentially, GIS can be applied as a framework for racial equity and social justice, and it is up to us to make every map, analysis, and app helps create benefits and not harm for communities of color and other marginalized groups.

Race and place matter. Meaning, people have different experiences and outcomes based upon their perceived racial identities and where they live, work, and get educated. However, we recognize that racial disparities do not begin and end with race and ethnicity. Inequities in outcomes and community conditions are the results of policies, budget decisions, and programs impacting individuals differently based on intersections of race, gender, language, religion, orientation, ability, socioeconomic status, and many other factors.

GIS can help us apply an intersectional racial equity lens to assess overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination and disadvantage including Racism, Anti-Semitism, Ethnonationalism, Tribalism, Classism, Xenophobia, Sexism, Homophobia, and more.

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