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If disparity is racism, and.....

Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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10/25/2015 12:12:08 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
If disparity is evidence of racism (systematic or otherwise), and racism is reason for outrage and change, does this necessitate outrage and cries for change in ANY case of disparity?

For example, take police shootings:
Assume a U.S.A. where police hardly ever shoot suspects and population demographics are the same . And, in the last ten years, a combined 30 people were killed by police (justified or otherwise). Of these 30 people, nationwide over a decade (so 3 people killed each year), 12 of them were black.

Does this necessitate change or warrant outrage? It is a clear disparity, in fact, this would be a higher disparity than what is current.

Is disparity inherently evidence there is a problem?

I ask because it seems like the major talking point of most people (i.e. the public sheep) seems to be that there is a disparity, therefore, there is a problem, even though, in the context this conversation appears (police killings), the problem is only about 300 blacks are killed by police. I don't understand the charges of "police are annihilating blacks" or "hunting them down", ONLY because a disparity exists.
By their logic, in the hypothetical above, the charges would be equally valid that police are hunting blacks down, even if only one is killed each year.
My work here is, finally, done.
pakicetus
Posts: 66
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10/26/2015 12:00:45 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
It can be evidence of systematic racism. It can also be evidence of inborn differences.

What I don't get, is why everyone automatically assumes it's the former these days.
ford_prefect
Posts: 4,138
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10/26/2015 12:21:41 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/25/2015 12:12:08 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
If disparity is evidence of racism (systematic or otherwise), and racism is reason for outrage and change, does this necessitate outrage and cries for change in ANY case of disparity?

For example, take police shootings:
Assume a U.S.A. where police hardly ever shoot suspects and population demographics are the same . And, in the last ten years, a combined 30 people were killed by police (justified or otherwise). Of these 30 people, nationwide over a decade (so 3 people killed each year), 12 of them were black.

Does this necessitate change or warrant outrage? It is a clear disparity, in fact, this would be a higher disparity than what is current.

Is disparity inherently evidence there is a problem?

I ask because it seems like the major talking point of most people (i.e. the public sheep) seems to be that there is a disparity, therefore, there is a problem, even though, in the context this conversation appears (police killings), the problem is only about 300 blacks are killed by police. I don't understand the charges of "police are annihilating blacks" or "hunting them down", ONLY because a disparity exists.
By their logic, in the hypothetical above, the charges would be equally valid that police are hunting blacks down, even if only one is killed each year.

It's not just about the total number of deaths. Regardless of whether you think 300 deaths over a given time is too many or not, you also have to consider the psychological effects of the fact that police are more likely to kill you if you are black. What do you think that does to blacks' attitudes towards police? What does that do to your trust of the police force charged with protecting you and your kids, if you are a black parent? Even if only 30 people died in a decade, if they were disproportionately black, you'd still fear and distrust the police, because it seems like they are targeting a group that you're a part of.

I don't know about you, but if I knew that police are more likely to pull me over and question me, due to my skin color, and this encounter could possibly end with my death, I'd feel less safe on a regular basis. I'd say that's a problem.
JMcKinley
Posts: 314
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10/26/2015 7:01:30 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I agree that disparity is not enough to prove that a problem exists. But its not true that claims about police killings of black suspects is based solely on disparity. There is corroborating evidence of systemic racism.

For instance, there are far more black men in prison than white men. This alone can not prove that there is a racism problem. But when you take into account that the US imprisons far more of its subjects per capita than any other first world nation, and that the incarceration rates have skyrocketed over the course of a single generation, then that is cause for concern. When you have generations of black boys growing up without fathers that is a problem. When we have thousands and thousands of young black men doing hard time for low level drug possession crimes, while whites are routinely let off for possessing the same amounts, we have a problem. When there is a demonstrable difference in conviction rates and sentence severity between white and black defendants for comparable crimes, we have a problem. When the prison lobbies are among the most powerful lobby groups in Washington, we have a problem.

Its not just the police shootings. Its not just a single disparity. Its a trend of disparities that shows up across the board in the American justice system.
pakicetus
Posts: 66
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10/26/2015 7:48:09 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/26/2015 7:01:30 PM, JMcKinley wrote:
When we have thousands and thousands of young black men doing hard time for low level drug possession crimes, while whites are routinely let off for possessing the same amounts, we have a problem.

This is a myth: https://www.youtube.com...

When there is a demonstrable difference in conviction rates and sentence severity between white and black defendants for comparable crimes, we have a problem.

Does the disparity in the severity of sentencing still exist (to a significant degree) after accounting for prior convictions (which blacks are more likely to have)?
JMcKinley
Posts: 314
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10/27/2015 10:34:55 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/26/2015 7:48:09 PM, pakicetus wrote:
At 10/26/2015 7:01:30 PM, JMcKinley wrote:
When we have thousands and thousands of young black men doing hard time for low level drug possession crimes, while whites are routinely let off for possessing the same amounts, we have a problem.

This is a myth: https://www.youtube.com...

When there is a demonstrable difference in conviction rates and sentence severity between white and black defendants for comparable crimes, we have a problem.

Does the disparity in the severity of sentencing still exist (to a significant degree) after accounting for prior convictions (which blacks are more likely to have)?

I do believe that it does, but I don't have a source for you now. I'll try to dig one up. But even if that is the case then you have the question of why they tend to have more prior convictions. There is most definitely a problem. I don't think that it is all attributable to racism because societal problems are never that simple. There are socio-economic and historical factors at play here as well that are likely just as important (if not more so) to the issue as present day racism. But I think we're fooling ourselves if we eliminate it as a factor.
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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10/27/2015 12:34:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/26/2015 12:21:41 AM, ford_prefect wrote:
At 10/25/2015 12:12:08 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
If disparity is evidence of racism (systematic or otherwise), and racism is reason for outrage and change, does this necessitate outrage and cries for change in ANY case of disparity?

For example, take police shootings:
Assume a U.S.A. where police hardly ever shoot suspects and population demographics are the same . And, in the last ten years, a combined 30 people were killed by police (justified or otherwise). Of these 30 people, nationwide over a decade (so 3 people killed each year), 12 of them were black.

Does this necessitate change or warrant outrage? It is a clear disparity, in fact, this would be a higher disparity than what is current.

Is disparity inherently evidence there is a problem?

I ask because it seems like the major talking point of most people (i.e. the public sheep) seems to be that there is a disparity, therefore, there is a problem, even though, in the context this conversation appears (police killings), the problem is only about 300 blacks are killed by police. I don't understand the charges of "police are annihilating blacks" or "hunting them down", ONLY because a disparity exists.
By their logic, in the hypothetical above, the charges would be equally valid that police are hunting blacks down, even if only one is killed each year.

It's not just about the total number of deaths. Regardless of whether you think 300 deaths over a given time is too many or not, you also have to consider the psychological effects of the fact that police are more likely to kill you if you are black. What do you think that does to blacks' attitudes towards police? What does that do to your trust of the police force charged with protecting you and your kids, if you are a black parent? Even if only 30 people died in a decade, if they were disproportionately black, you'd still fear and distrust the police, because it seems like they are targeting a group that you're a part of.

So, you are assuming that a disparity in such a small sample size is obviously due to the color of your skin?
Would you agree, then, that with 30 deaths in 10 years, police are "hunting blacks down" and "annihilating" them?

I don't know about you, but if I knew that police are more likely to pull me over and question me, due to my skin color, and this encounter could possibly end with my death, I'd feel less safe on a regular basis. I'd say that's a problem.

Do you feel safe around your family?
It is more likely that your family will try to molest, rape, or assault you than a stranger.
Is that a problem, too?

Should men feel the same animosity towards police, when they are currently 11x more likely to kill men over women?
Should all Americans be scared of white men offering people rides, since we are overwhelmingly and disproportionately serial killers?
Should the American youth be fearful of police, when they are more likely to be killed by police than others? (15-19 yr olds represent over 1/3 of police killings)

Further, using your logic ford, is police were to just kill more people in the year (just not blacks) to lower the disparity, would that stop the cries of "annihilation"?

There are other factors in play, of course, and you can't help but make appeals to history when dealing with perceived undue targeting. But, I get sick and tired of hearing people say: because there is a disparity, therefore it is wrong.
There will always be a disparity, and when the effect of said disparity is so minute, as in my example of 3 deaths per year, is it really evidence of a situation that needs to be addressed? Of course, we can argue what that level is, but that is not what people seem to believe.
My work here is, finally, done.
Sarai.K82
Posts: 30
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10/28/2015 1:41:19 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
In the context of this conversation, I would argue that statistical racial disparity exists when law enforcement or the criminal justice system appears to treat one racial or ethnic group differently than other racial or ethnic groups based simple statistical analysis of the percentage of those groups in the general population.

Now in the hypothetical, forty percent of those killed over a ten year period are African American in a population that is a little over 13% black. So there is clear evidence of a statistical racial disparity in the impact that this hypothetical society's law enforcement is having on this particular ethnic minority. But I would object to the original poster's proposed contention that a statistical disparity alone is evidence of racism.

This may lead us to investigate the cause for the disparity. Is the statistical disparity due to illegitimate or unwarranted biases in the system? Are we treating people differently based on race? This isn't always an easy question to answer. But I think a statistical disparity in the treatment of different ethnicities can be sufficient grounds for investigation further. I do not think a statistical disparity alone is a sufficient basis for declaring racism.

So I would answer the original poster's question in the negative. Disparity is not inherent evidence that there is a problem, but it is likely sufficient to prompt us to ask why the disparity exists and whether it is justified.
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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10/28/2015 3:12:16 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/28/2015 2:32:15 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
why do you assume that this disparity happens in a vaccuum?

I don't.
However, the charge that police are hunting down blacks to annihilate them is, in fact, taking one fact in a vacuum. I am asking if disparity is evidence of inequality, then is EVERY LEVEL of disparity an issue of inequality?

Care to answer the core issue of the OP, or just do a drive-by? After all, I even explicitly stated the reason for posting this OP. There are people who say because a disparity exists, therefore there is inequality. That is a vacuum statement and I challenge it. I'd assume you would too.

The statement in question does not take into account other factors, so by acknowledging there is no vacuum, you are not going to suggest that the disparity is proof of inequality, only that it is supplemental to other evidence.
My work here is, finally, done.