IRHS - Institutional Racism in Health and Science


The Instrument

After the annotation phase, you should have a good sense of the main themes of the overall text as well as a hint of how biased the author is. The next phase is designed to help you concretize this intuition by answering a set of structured, objective questions about the overall text related to bias and equity. The current questions, in order are as follows, with example responses from the text examined in the annotation phase:

Question Example Answer For Davenport Passage
What is the overall claim or thesis presented in this text? The text makes an argument against the reproductive mixing of individuals from different human race groups. The author states that mixing of races will lead to decreased “peace and unity of ideals” on Earth.
To whom is the claim of the article applied? Is it a single person, or a group of people, or neither? Is the target of the claim stated in the text explicitly or is it implied? The claim in this article is applied to groups of people who live in Jamaica, and that are divided by race into white, black and mixed race. Specifically, the figures which are used for argument come from the following: “To carry out the program of the committee in charge of the investigation it was necessary to study carefully one hundred full-blooded Negroes-male and female called hereafter “Blacks”; one hundred white people and one hundred mixtures between the two races-whom we may call Browns. To make the two groups comparable it was necessary to take them, as far as possible, from the same social stratum.”
Does the claim implicitly or explicitly include certain groups? Does the claim implicitly or explicitly exclude certain groups? If so, who? If not, what information do we have about the included/excluded groups? The text explicitly makes claims in the figures about people of white and black races and those identified as mixed race. The arguments used to talk about the mixing of races from this data set are then extrapolated beyond these race groups and ultimately include worldwide populations. Davenport explicitly mentions white people, Chinese, Negroes, and “other groups.”
Who is making the claim in the text? Who are the authors and what are their backgrounds and areas of expertise? (You may have to look beyond the source for this information). Charles Davenport is the author of the paper. He was a biologist and eugenicist who lived in the early 1900s. He was the director of Cold Spring Harbor, and a founder of the Eugenics Records Office there. (Source consulted: accessed Jan 25, 2023)
To what audience is this claim being made? Is the intended audience clear? Are there clues as to the background or level of expertise the audience must have to understand the text? He does not directly specify his intended audience. However, by singling out a “homogenous group of white people” via his phrasing in the article, we might infer that this is his intended audience. From the publication of this article in the precursor of Science magazine, we might infer he is targeting biologists, like himself.

Note that explicit quotations from the text are included in some of the answers. These quotations should be the direct evidence in the text that led you to your answer of the question. Note that the “Who is making this claim?” question may not have associated quotations, but quotations from other sources that describe the author may be used with appropriate citations. These questions should help you form a high level conceptual view of the perspective of the author, and how the text is biased or exclusionary.