The beauty of disaggregating data

Over the past week, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts about disaggregating data as a guest on NPR’s Marketplace, as part of the Equity Series Panel, “Measuring What we Value: Bridging Gaps in Data and Reporting on Race and Ethnicity,” Ways and Means Committee, and as a guest on the Malveaux Show.

Here is an excerpt from my conversation with Kai Ryssdal of Marketplace.

Ryssdal: What do you suppose it looks like? If we collectively — right, because it’s our challenge — if we get this right?

Sharpe:  When we get this right, we can have honest conversations about our inequality. And then, we can begin to have collective conversations about how do we address that.

Ryssdal: Which I absolutely understand it. And obviously, we get better policy when that happens. But let me ask you the reality check question. The American economy is a $20 trillion beast. It is hard to maneuver and get policy decisions made in the best of times. Is it really possible to make these decisions at such a granular level, do you think?

Sharpe: So yes and no. And so my yes is we have seen that when we are concerned about the economy when we are concerned about people, we move. I think what’s most important about this, and what I like to say is the beauty of disaggregating data, is that every person, every business and sector, can see themselves in the data. It influences, I think, just overall how we see America progressing towards an equitable society. And that’s not a partisan issue.

Our WISER Dialogue guest for this month is Alicia Netterville, Deputy Director, ACLU-Mississippi.  Alicia, Julianne Malveaux, and I were guests on The Tammi Mac Show episode, “I Deserve The Same As You: Equal Pay For Women.”  On The Tammi Mac Show, Alicia mentioned that the Equal Pay Act does not address intra-gender pay discrimination, i.e., if I am paid less than another woman.

In this month’s episode of WISER Dialogue, Alicia notes:

When looking at the data, the positions of black women in terms of employment and pay those numbers, haven’t changed significantly. So what appears to be African-American women or black women on the front lines fighting for everybody else is actually African-American women and black women being on the front lines, really fighting for ourselves.

So if the policy is neutral on its face as to not leave us out, we go and we look at the implementation of the policy and then we see that we’re really left out.

Alicia and I also discussed access to healthcare and voting.  Click here to watch. 

Have a good Memorial Day Weekend!