David McMillon (Emory)

David McMillon (Emory)

Oct 30, 2023 - 3:40 PM
to Oct 30, 2023 - 5:00 PM

David McMillonDescription: Labor-Public Workshop: David McMillon (Princeton)

Location: Virtual

Contact Person: John Winters Donghyuk Kim

Title: What Makes Systemic Discrimination, "Systemic?" Dismantling the Master's House with the Scientist's Tools

Abstract: Systemic Discrimination has become one of the most salient, misunderstood, and definitionally amorphous concepts, not only in the social sciences, but also in political and legal circles as well. Drawing on work spanning economics, public health, education, sociology, and law, I argue that what makes systemic discrimination “systemic” is the amplification of inequities. We develop a taxonomy of amplification mechanisms using a formal model that can embed a myriad of well-established scientific principles. Finally, I show that the amplification mechanisms can either be targeted directly and disrupted, or exploited, amplifying the effects of equity-focused policy interventions like a social hyper-drive.  This is because the very features that amplify inequities in the status quo can amplify the effects of equity-focused interventions as well.  By harnessing well-understood, scientific principles to reveal the technical features that make systemic discrimination “systemic,” this paper provides a pragmatic and replicable means to amplify the effects of equity-focused interventions, large or small. This includes but is not limited to reparations for slavery and Jim Crow, Affirmative Action, Covid-19 policies, and educational interventions.