This post contains:
- A discussion of some of the ways the media and society discuss complex socioeconomic phenomena such as disparate racial outcomes and movements like Black Lives Matter. I argue that culture is highly underplayed in explaining unequal outcomes across socio-economic indicators. I believe that a failure to acknowledge underlying cultural-behavioral differences between groups invalidates many conclusions which declare differences in outcome to be the results of bias, prejudice, sexism or racism. I start by addressing why this issue is important.
- Two short appendixes:
- Some further reading sources with key sections excerpted. These key excerpts might be the most valuable part of this post!
- A brief description of Canadian Black immigration patterns and demographics vs the US.
Intro: Why is this topic interesting to me? I have thought a lot about why this particular topic interests me, especially as talking about it can get you into some trouble these days. A couple of reasons come to mind:
- Non-rigorous thinking needs to be challenged, even if it touches on ‘uncomfortable’ societal issues.
- This issue seems rife with very poor journalism and statistical reasoning, which coupled with the policy responses that result from this reasoning, may have detrimental effects on society.
- The same errors of statistical thinking which one finds in this topic area are found in thinking about other important social and cultural issues.
- The race and BLM issues of 2020 form a subset of a new societal/corporate/media consensus about what can and cannot be said and thought. This is a dangerous development for society. The extreme media bias in reporting about black societal outcomes, race & police violence, and the BLM protests showed a degree of groupthink in mainstream media that was beyond what many people could have predicted.