How Different Countries View Race

By Anti-Racism Resources Interest Group | March 11, 2023

The Black Lives Matter and indigenous rights movements, as well as international migration in recent years, have caused many organisations, including IASSIST, to re-examine their own understanding and knowledge, processes and practices. It also made IASSIST members feel compelled to collect materials that can help everyone recognise, acknowledge, and combat implicit racial bias.

The goals of the Anti-Racism Resources Interest Group are to gather these resources and together with IASSIST’s Professional Development Committee organise webinars on related topics. The group also collects essays to briefly summarise varying national perspectives on data collection by race. The Interest Group consists of data stewards and librarians who do not necessarily have prior expertise, but who are interested in discussing race and ethnicity in terms of the data available for research. This also underlines that raising awareness and recognising biases is everyone’s business.

IASSIST members have alredy submitted essays or resources explaining how their respective nations have viewed or counted racial groups over time. One should note that the authors do not claim expertise as researchers in this field. Rather, they are data professionals who help researchers and students find data on race, racism, and racial justice. In most cases, they have cited the literature about these issues or compiled documentation from their country’s official statistics to describe how such counts were done. These essays have intentionally been kept brief and easy to read.

There are currently four essays available covering the US, UK, Canada and Germany. We welcome any volunteers who wish to contribute an essay with an emphasis on a specific country or revision to one of the existing ones. Please contact Michele Hayslett (michele_hayslett at if you are willing to contribute. The more comprehensive and richer the collection becomes, the greater its importance for research and research support services.

Essays for Specific Countries and November 2022 webinar

A Conversation About Data on Race and Ethnicity Around the World webinar in November 2022

This webinar focused on data available for research. The panel, made up of data stewards and librarians from the four countries mentioned above, considered key questions about how race and ethnicity are recorded in key data sources, whether these definitions have changed over time, which groups are identified and how much detail is available.

Webinar recording and presentation slides are available on the website.

(Illustration for the blog list: Erica Fischer, Race and ethnicity: Detroit. 2010. CC BY SA. )