What are Racial Equity Impact Assessments? 

A Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA) is a systematic examination of how different racial and ethnic groups will likely be affected by a proposed action or decision. REIAs are used to minimize unanticipated adverse consequences in a variety of contexts, including the analysis of proposed policies, institutional practices, programs, plans and budgetary decisions. The REIA can be a vital tool for preventing institutional racism and for identifying new options to remedy long-standing inequities.

Why Are They Needed? 

REIAs are used to reduce, eliminate and prevent racial discrimination and inequities. The persistence of deep racial disparities and divisions across society is evidence of institutional racism — the routine, often invisible and unintentional, production of inequitable social opportunities and outcomes. When racial equity is not consciously addressed, racial inequality is often unconsciously replicated.

When Should They Be Conducted? 

The REIA can be a vital tool for preventing institutional racism and for identifying new options to remedy long-standing inequities.

REIAs are best conducted during the decision-making process, prior to enacting new proposals. They are used to inform decisions, much like environmental impact statements, fiscal impact reports and workplace risk assessments. REIAs can also be used as a strategy to review the work of the organization, such as:

  • Policies and practices
  • Budgets
  • Conferences, meetings and events
  • Communications, messaging and media

Below are sample questions to use to anticipate, assess and prevent potential adverse consequences of proposed actions on different racial groups:

  1. IDENTIFYING STAKEHOLDERS – Which racial/ethnic groups may be most affected by and concerned with the issues related to this proposal?
  2. ENGAGING STAKEHOLDERS – Have stakeholders from different racial/ethnic groups — especially those who may be adversely affected — been informed, meaningfully involved and authentically represented in the development of this proposal? Who’s missing and how can they be engaged?
  3. IDENTIFYING AND DOCUMENTING RACIAL INEQUITIES – Which racial/ethnic groups are currently most advantaged and most disadvantaged by the issues this proposal seeks to address? How are they affected differently? What quantitative and qualitative evidence of inequality exists? What evidence is missing or needed?
  4. EXAMINING THE CAUSES – What factors may be producing and perpetuating racial inequities associated with this issue? How did the inequities arise? Are they expanding or narrowing? Does the proposal address root causes? If not, how could it?
  5. CLARIFYING THE PURPOSE – What does the proposal seek to accomplish? Will it reduce disparities or discrimination?
  6. CONSIDERING ADVERSE IMPACTS – What adverse impacts or unintended consequences could result from this policy? Which racial/ethnic groups could be negatively affected? How could adverse impacts be prevented or minimized?
  7. ADVANCING EQUITABLE IMPACTS – What positive impacts on equality and inclusion, if any, could result from this proposal? Which racial/ethnic groups could


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“Creating the Space to Talk About Race in Your School” content on this web site and in our "Racial Justice in Education" resource guide © 2017 National Education Association, in collaboration with Race Forward.