This Open Educational Resource (OER) carries a significant responsibility by presenting statistics through an equity lens. The metaphor of a lens is used intentionally–as the glasses one wears can have a profound effect on what one sees. The book encourages further inspection of the ways in which data is collected, interpreted, and analyzed on a variety of social justice issues, such as health disparities, hunger and food insecurity, homelessness, behavioral health (mental health and substance use), and incarceration of males of color. It also attempts to reveal how the misuse of data can reinforce inequities, for example, by stigmatizing people and labeling neighborhoods as high poverty, violent, and having poor educational opportunities. Whether an intended or unintended consequence, irresponsible data use can contribute to racist impressions of people and communities.
Additionally, there are thousands of students studying animal science, biology, education, economics, medicine, nursing, public health, psychology, and sociology who thought they would be free of mathematics and suddenly discover they have to take a statistics course in order to graduate. Even students who are majoring in the most mathematical disciplines like physics, engineering and mathematics itself, somehow have an aversion to statistics. Regardless of your race/ethnicity, income status, gender or your zip code, taking a statistics course is accompanied by feelings of anxiety, dread and even panic. This book lessens the fear of statistics by transferring statistics knowledge to the real-world, and applying statistical concepts and procedures to social justice data. In this way, the student is exposed to both statistics and its application to social justice scenarios.
The essence of this book is that quantitative skills are important for studying and understanding social injustices and inequalities. Its premise is that keeping compassion as a core value of data equity analysis changes our lens. The book helps us to stop seeing Statistics as abstract and inhuman but rather as a science that can help create a culture of empathy and understanding of social justice issues. Having this perspective encourages us to develop sustainable solutions, prioritize the well-being of individuals, families, neighborhoods and whole communities, and just simply work towards a more equitable and just world.