Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
Only instead of switching between romantically leading a woman on and taking strolls around copenhagen, he switches between subtlety and transcontinentally triggering strangers online and browsing reuters articles.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
This is an impression you've gotten thousands of miles away via news and social media coverage, which is grounded in no personal experience and I imagine, no real statistical investigation.

My understanding is that, controlling for police encounters, the statistics do not show a strong bias where police shoot blacks at higher rates. That higher rates of black victims can be explained primarily the statistics, by rate of encounters with police.

Which isn't to say there isn't structural discrimination in the justice system. But is to say that these kind of hypothetical speculations are ungrounded scientifically.
Does your intensely forensic analysis control for why black people might have more "encounters with the police" than white people do?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
@suspended, if rates of shootings by police are not evidence for racism in the justice system (assuming that includes policing), then what would you say does constitute evidence for it?

I mean, you must think there is some evidence for it in order to think it exists, I presume.
 

suspended

Well-known member
@suspended, if rates of shootings by police are not evidence for racism in the justice system (assuming that includes policing), then what would you say does constitute evidence for it?

I mean, you must think there is some evidence for it in order to think it exists, I presume.
The higher rates of stops, frisks, etc is arguably evidence of structural racism. It just isn't evidence for the intuition that police would gun down any black Rittenhouse in a heartbeat, while regularly letting a white Rittenhouse waltz free. (Which is the usual, widespread/circulated claim that's driving the "racism" discourse on this trial.) Now, from the perspective of a system trying to minimize crime, you can say racial profiling is "fair" because there's a meaningful statistical correlation between race and criminality that gives race some predictive power. Note that, this is just what inference is. Inference just is stereotyping. From the perspective of the individual, OTOH, such a policy means you're getting searched/stopped/put in interactions with police for reasons that have nothing to do with who you are as a person, and which are completely outside your control. Probably both perspectives should be taken into account. E.g. we have widespread gender-based profiling in the justice system. Not clear to me that should change. What's different about race that changes the status? (Open question. I'm sympathetic there is something different, I just can't say what it is.)

And then beyond the stops stuff, I think there have been some reasonable, plausible-sounding findings about sentencing disparities, once non-racial factors have been controlled for. Seems very possible, I could believe it! But I haven't really checked out the relevant literature, so it's not clear to me how well these studies are controlling for more class-related factors, like how a defendant comports themself in a courtroom, how they present themselves. (Mind you, I think it'd be shitty if class factors affect sentencing too—it's just not straightforwardly racist in such a case.)
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
statistics will never be able to prove anything
This is the problem I talked about in the other thread I think. Two major points.

1. Even if you don't take such an extreme position as Luka, stats do have a major image problem - they are hard for most people to understand and are often misused, and also it's easy to manipulate them or for people who understand them well to trick those less well versed into thinking a value means something more than it really does etc

2. There is no other tool - that I know of - to understand large numbers, trends, probabilities and so on

Or to put that more succinctly

1. We can't use stats
2. We gotta use stats
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
Yeah and its easy to trick yourself into cherrypicking stats and convincing yourself that your opinion is more than just an opinion, i.e. a sort of confirmation bias.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
The higher rates of stops, frisks, etc is arguably evidence of structural racism. It just isn't evidence for the intuition that police would gun down any black Rittenhouse in a heartbeat, while regularly letting a white Rittenhouse waltz free. (Which is the usual, widespread/circulated claim that's driving the "racism" discourse on this trial.) Now, from the perspective of a system trying to minimize crime, you can say racial profiling is "fair" because there's a meaningful statistical correlation between race and criminality that gives race some predictive power. Note that, this is just what inference is. Inference just is stereotyping. From the perspective of the individual, OTOH, such a policy means you're getting searched/stopped/put in interactions with police for reasons that have nothing to do with who you are as a person, and which are completely outside your control. Probably both perspectives should be taken into account. E.g. we have widespread gender-based profiling in the justice system. Not clear to me that should change. What's different about race that changes the status? (Open question. I'm sympathetic there is something different, I just can't say what it is.)

And then beyond the stops stuff, I think there have been some reasonable, plausible-sounding findings about sentencing disparities, once non-racial factors have been controlled for. Seems very possible, I could believe it! But I haven't really checked out the relevant literature, so it's not clear to me how well these studies are controlling for more class-related factors, like how a defendant comports themself in a courtroom, how they present themselves. (Mind you, I think it'd be shitty if class factors affect sentencing too—it's just not straightforwardly racist in such a case.)
OK, I can see you've put some thought into that response, so I'm not dismissing it - but I think it's instructive, before we start with a "but what about a black Kyle Rittenhouse?" type thought experiment, to consider the sorts of incidents in which a black man has been killed by police following an actual or suspected infraction infinitely less serious than shooting three people and killing two of them. Just in the last few years, and just out of the ones I can think of off the top of my head - and I am very far from being even an amateur scholar of fatal police violence in the USA - this has included shoplifting a handful of cigars, paying for something (perhaps unwittingly) with a counterfeit $20 bill, and even having an 'illegal' air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror in his car.

So the question is: do white people get killed by police as often, and for reason of such trivial initial incidents, as the kinds of events I've just referenced? Or rather, does it happen five times as often, given the white:black population ratio in the USA? I think, on balance, that if these kinds of events were happening all the time to white people, we'd hear about them - even I, in little old England, would hear about them.

The overwhelming majority of media in the UK is right-wing, by the way, before you start penning an essay on "liberal bias in the media" that might hypothetically account for this disparity.
 

suspended

Well-known member
I think, on balance, that if these kinds of events were happening all the time to white people, we'd hear about them - even I, in little old England, would hear about them.
What you're saying is you have a sense of frequency of events that is based on how often the media circuit surfaces news of it across internationally. You understand how many cycles of human ideology, selection bias etc are involved in the journey from a shooting happening --> local media picking it up --> virality/national news --> your Twitter feed? That when an editor picks a story based on "relevance" he's enacting a cybernetic process, in which events create narrative and narrative "creates" events by curating them out of noise into your Guardian headlines?
 

suspended

Well-known member
Again, this is my fundamental issue. Here are the sources of testimony we have available to us, in trying to form an opinion on a question like "is the American justice system structurally biased in X way?"

(1) You can look at statistics. (2) You can have extensive personal experience in the domain (e.g. doing case work in a Chicago PD dept), at which point you're basically performing statistical computation, it's just under the hood/unconscious. Or (3) you can trust that the media industrial complex is an accurate barometer of event frequency, presents stories in a statistically representative & unbiased way, etc. That it doesn't get swept away by silly hysterias constantly, like how video games give kids brain damage, or how Juul gives people popcorn lung.

Personally, I don't consider myself paranoid, I don't think there's some big conspiracy but I also don't put my trust in that system of reality-presentation. There's a reason Gell-Mann amnesia is so infamous on the Internet: if you have any expertise in a given area, you recognize how ludicrous & untethered the newspaper's claims are. And then you get the amnesia when you go read other columns, in which you don't have personal experiences. A press is better than no press, but it's statistical literacy is a well-documented weakness of journalism majors.

(BTW, that scare—which mis-attributed the source cause of a statistically insignificant health problem caused by Chinese knock-off vapes—cost Juul millions while leading to more popcorn lung casualties.)
 

suspended

Well-known member
Journalism is like, peak middle/upper-middlebrow culture. Like Malcolm Gladwell or some shit. All these very entertaining, tidily packaged narratives that end up failing to replicate when put up to a bare modicum of conceptual or statistical rigor.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
What you're saying is you have a sense of frequency of events that is based on how often the media circuit surfaces news of it across internationally. You understand how many cycles of human ideology, selection bias etc are involved in the journey from a shooting happening --> local media picking it up --> virality/national news --> your Twitter feed? That when an editor picks a story based on "relevance" he's enacting a cybernetic process, in which events create narrative and narrative "creates" events by curating them out of noise into your Guardian headlines?
But that's just my point, really - it's not just the Guardian, is it? I get news shoved in my feed every time I open a browser, and from all sorts of sources, not just liberal ones. Plus the better-funded UK news sources aren't just recycling whatever they can get from CNN, Fox, or the major newspapers or whatever. They have their own correspondents based there.

So a white guy in America getting shot (or suffocated etc.) by cops for having his shoelaces untied would certainly be picked up on by UK news sources, I think. It's exactly the sort of thing the more conservative media would absolutely leap on, in fact.
 

suspended

Well-known member
But that's just my point, really - it's not just the Guardian, is it? I get news shoved in my feed every time I open a browser, and from all sorts of sources, not just liberal ones. Plus the better-funded UK news sources aren't just recycling whatever they can get from CNN, Fox, or the major newspapers or whatever. They have their own correspondents based there.

So a white guy in America getting shot (or suffocated etc.) by cops for having his shoelaces untied would certainly be picked up on by UK news sources, I think. It's exactly the sort of thing the more conservative media would absolutely leap on, in fact.
Start googling around for stories of unarmed white men getting killed by police. I promise you you will find them. They just don't surface to international news. It happens regularly each year. In absolute numbers, as often as unarmed black men according to the statistics. Which no one denies, the contention is that is should happen less often than to white men because blacks are a smaller portion of the population. So your hypothesis here is just laughable.
 

suspended

Well-known member
The statistics just do not support the idea that unarmed white men aren't killed with semi regularity by police. No one has ever claimed that unarmed white men don't get shot for dumb shit by American police. It happens constantly. I promise you that the police force is more incompetent and corrupt than it is racist, even as I'm sure there is also nontrivial racism.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Journalism is like, peak middle/upper-middlebrow culture. Like Malcolm Gladwell or some shit. All these very entertaining, tidily packaged narratives that end up failing to replicate when put up to a bare modicum of conceptual or statistical rigor.
I have to ask, though: with such an extremely dim view of "journalism", and perhaps all media in general, how do you get any information about what's happening in your country or in the world at large? I mean, you are presumably aware that a young man named Kyle Rittenhouse has been on trial for shooting some other men during a protest. Now how did that information arrive in your brain? I know you didn't just extend your antennae and pick up some stray bytes from the cosmic data matrix, because only @luka can do that. So presumably you watched/read/listened to a product put out by one or other of several large media corporations - right? Or maybe some smaller ones, but corporations nonetheless. Now you may have a preference for some of these over certain of the others, based on your opinion of their trustworthiness (among other criteria, perhaps), but that implies that you consider at least some "journalism" not to be totally worthless.

So a position of absolute cynicism towards that "system of reality-presentation" strikes me as maybe a little disingenuous? I mean if you took it seriously, you'd surely give up any attempt to know anything at all, and maybe join an enclosed monastic order for a life of silent contemplation and manual horticulture.
 
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