"Journalists and Academics and the Delivery of Race Statistics: Being a Statistician Means Never Having to Say You're Certain." Race and Society, 2001.

Oscar H. Gandy, Jr.

This article examines a number of public issues that have been framed in racial terms with the aid of statistical data and analysis. It explores the efforts of journalists and public intellectuals to shape public understanding of the causes and consequences of racial disparity through the strategic use of statistical data and representations. Journalistic frames emphasize discrimination in financial markets and in the administration of justice. Public intellectuals interpret the statistics behind the debates over racial profiling as they engage the alternative frames of “Intelligent Bayesians” and other “reasonable racists.” Expert witnesses confront a judiciary that is unwilling or unable to establish and be guided by meaningful standards of confidence and regard for statistical evidence. Statistical reasoning is likely to extend its influence on the social construction of race; the consequences remain uncertain.