Racial Equity

What does equity mean and why does it matter?

In this section, we examine racial and ethnic disparities in financial, education and community indicators.

Before understanding data sets, it is important to define what ‘equity’ means. Sometimes, equity and equality are used interchangeably. Arkansas Community Foundation’s experience working with nonprofits shows us that these two terms mean different things. Understanding the differences influences how we, and you, can have an impact in our communities.

Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.  

Equality means every individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities.

Understanding the difference between equality and equity is important to ensure that resources are directed appropriately as well as to support the ongoing process of meeting people where they are. Providing the same type and number of resources to all is not enough. To reduce the disparities gap, the underlying issues and individual needs of underserved and vulnerable populations must also be effectively addressed. Here are some examples to help show the importance of equity in our communities:

Examples of EQUALITY

Examples of EQUITY

A city cuts the budget for 25 community centers by reducing the operational hours for all centers by the same amount at the same times.

The city determines which times and how many hours communities actually need to use their community centers and reduces hours for centers that aren’t used as frequently.

A community meeting, where all members of the community are invited, is held about a local environmental health concern. The meeting is held in English, however English is not the primary language for 25% of the residents.

The community leaders hire translators to attend the meeting, provide brochures explaining the issue in multiple languages, or offer an additional meeting held in another language.

All public schools in a community have computer labs with the same number of computers and hours of operation during school hours.

Computer labs in lower income neighborhoods have more computers and printers, as well as longer hours of operation, as some students don’t have access to computers or internet at home.

Racial and ethnic disparities impact our population of nearly 500,000 African Americans and 237,000 Latino residents in Arkansas. Arkansas is also home to more than 50,000 Asians, 31,000 Native Americans, 12,000 Pacific Islanders and 67,000 residents who have a multiracial background. Unfortunately, Arkansas has a history of policies, practices and systems that affect people of color and have helped create some of the disparities in the data.  

Fortunately, there are a plethora of resources, including this site, we can use to better understand these inequities and how we can address them. There are data resources such as the National Equity Atlas; racial equity-focused research from organizations like the Urban Institute; tools for learning and change such as those available at Racial Equity Tools, and personal narratives from writers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates.

More tools about equity:

Education: Access to Quality Slots for Infants and Toddlers
Education: Access to Quality Child Care Slots for Preschoolers
Education: Grade 3 Reading
Education: Grade 8 Math
Education: Graduation Rate
Education: Remediation Rate
Education: Adults with a High School Degree
Education: Adults with a Bachelor's Degree or Higher
Education: Adults Pursuing Further Education
Education: Imagination Libraries
Health: Low Birth Weight Babies
Health: Early Prenatal Care
Health: Overweight or Obese Students
Health: Overweight or Obese Adults
Health: Physically Inactive Adults
Health: Smoking Rate
Health: Insurance Coverage Rates
Health: Oral Health
Health: Life Expectancy
Health: Routine Check-ups
Health: Overdose Deaths
Families: Teen Births
Families: Children Living in Poverty
Families: People Living in Poverty
Families: Elderly Living in Poverty
Families: Median Household Income
Families: Unemployment Rate
Families: Homeownership Rate
Families: Child Abuse and Neglect
Families: Access to Financial Services
Families: Food Insecurity
Families: Food Deserts
Families: Homelessness
Families: Change in Total Jobs
Families: Cost of Homeownership
Families: Households Below ALICE Threshold
Families: Overall Housing Cost Burden
Families: Child Care Costs for Toddlers
Families: Medical Debt
Families: Households Receiving SNAP
Families: Incarceration Rate
Community: Voter Participation Rate
Community: Charitable Giving
Community: Volunteering
Community: Group Participation
Community: Connection to Neighbors
Community: Local Voting
Demographics: Change in Population
Demographics: Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity
Demographics: Change in Population by Age
Racial Equity: Remediation Rate
Racial Equity: Adults with a High School Degree
Racial Equity: Adults with a Bachelor's Degree or Higher
Racial Equity: Adults Pursuing Further Education
Racial Equity: Low Birth Weight Babies
Racial Equity: Early Prenatal Care
Racial Equity: Overweight or Obese Students
Racial Equity: Overweight or Obese Adults
Racial Equity: Physically Inactive Adults
Racial Equity: Smoking Rate
Racial Equity: Insurance Coverage Rates
Racial Equity: Oral Health
Racial Equity: Life Expectancy
Racial Equity: Routine Check-ups
Racial Equity: Teen Births
Racial Equity: Children Living in Poverty
Racial Equity: People Living in Poverty
Racial Equity: Elderly Living in Poverty
Racial Equity: Median Household Income
Racial Equity: Unemployment Rate
Racial Equity: Homeownership Rate
Racial Equity: Child Abuse and Neglect
Racial Equity: Food Insecurity
Racial Equity: Homelessness
Racial Equity: Cost of Homeownership
Racial Equity: Medical Debt
Racial Equity: Households Receiving SNAP
Racial Equity: Incarceration Rate
Racial Equity: Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity