Monday, March 28, 2005

Civil Rights Analysis Without Civil Rights Numbers: Change of Data Sources Yields Anomalies

By Greg Moses

A Texas agency charged with taking over Civil Rights analysis has decided to
stop basing its civilian workforce report on data collected by the federal
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Instead of basing its analysis on data collected for civil rights purposes,
the Division of Civil Rights at the Texas Workforce Commission in its debut
report this year used less precise figures reported by the Bureau of Labor
Statistics (BLS).

In the past, noted the report, the Texas Commission on Human Rights had
compiled the civil rights report from data provided by the EEOC. As a result
of the switch in data sources, the first table of the Texas Equal Employment
Opportunity Report shows some civil rights anomalies.

For example, Caucasian Americans, African Americans, and Hispanic Americans
collectively represented 128 percent of all Texas workers; and all three
categories of race-ethnicity cited were under-represented in Administration
jobs. While these anomalies are common in reports from the BLS, they make a
poor basis for analyzing civil rights.

Since the civil rights report is supposed to compare state agency employment
figures with civilian workforce numbers, the choice of BLS data as a
baseline raises further questions about the "comparison charts" presented in
the report.

Chart One for instance (not Table One) presents numbers on the employment of
African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Females in the Statewide Civilian
Workforce. Numbers used in the chart for race and ethnicity are taken from
the overlapping BLS categories.

Chart One in turn is compared to employment of protected classes in state
agency employment. From attachments, it appears that state agency employment
is calculated according to more rigorous EEOC standards, where protected
classes do not overlap.

Throughout the report, numbers are presented in such isolation that it is
difficult to scan for internal consistency. Why does no chart present a
complete spectrum of protected classes, with comparisons to Anglos and
Males? Why are women rarely considered as various races and ethnicities? Why
are discussions, analyses, and footnotes so scarce?

In the end, the reader wants to know, what purpose is this report intended
to serve beyond simply complying with some law that says a report is to be
issued? Do the laws themselves not have a civil rights context that can
serve as the basis for stating the purposes, findings, and recommendations
of this report?

Perfunctory is the word that would most charitably describe this report.
Evasive is the word I would rather use. From start to finish, the reader
gets the impression that no one has really set out to show her the state of
equal opportunity in Texas in a way that the plain language of civil rights


The Texas Equal Employment Opportunity Report(pdf)

The EEO-1 Aggregate Report for 2002

The BLS distribution of employment report 2003 (pdf)

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