Saturday, January 26, 2019

No Systemic Racism, Questions/@Criticisms/ And Answers

There’s this:


Sounds right to me. I wish I understood or had the patience to learn about statistics, but I get the idea.  I doubt that getting rid of false claims of discrimination will help much politically, but are good intellectually.  Two quotes seems wrong to me.

"The point is that these practices [gerrymandering is one] are not aimed at black people because they are black, but because of the way they vote."  

The GOP southern strategy was aimed at getting white votes not denying blacks.  Those who designed it need not be racist.  Just as the Dems supported racism in order to have the Southern vote.  The designers were not racist but just wanted votes.

"We don’t know the hirer’s previous experience. Perhaps she is racist; but in any case, this is individual not systemic racism."  The hirer picked white names over black.  Lots of individual racism can make a difference, and I think people confuse IR with SR.  In an awarding grants experiment, gender was indicated but erroneous.  Certain facts (I recall one, taking time out from career to travel) were ranked high when male (adventurous) low for women (not dedicated to the job).   These are individual, not systemic, but have a bad effect on the grant candidates.  

Not sure why this doesn't add up to systemic. 


On the first quote, why is it wrong? 

Aren’t you saying, in correcting his error, what he’s saying? 

His point is that gerrymandering, which everyone in power tries if they can, isn’t about racism, or isn’t aimed at groups of people qua their perceived essence, but is aimed at getting their, or any group’s, votes based on an expectation of how they vote. If the group’s pattern of voting changes, the instances of gerrymandering will change. Short of missing something, I don’t see you saying anything *in principle* different. 

On the second point, here are three arguments:

1. Why would his example show systemic racism? It’s an institutional thing, a de jure thing, not a de facto thing—hence the adjective “systemic.” Wikipedia: ....Institutional racism (also known as systemic racism) is a form of racism expressed in the practice of social and political institutions....

So If the state’s law and the state’s institutions are colour blind—save ironically for affirmative action policies and equality of outcome and disparate impact theory—then how do we speak of systemic racism? 

2. Besides that point, one of Staddon’s central arguments is that we can’t discredit behaviour to racism until we have eliminated all other possibilities: and we have to have done that before we can make any conclusions about racism.

....Systemic racism is a poor concept. First, it is almost impossible to prove, because racism is discrimination without any reason other than race. To prove discrimination, all other possible reasons—reasons like differential ability, interests, criminality, etc., as in the examples I gave earlier—must be eliminated. Does the tech industry discriminate against women? 

Does the nursing profession discriminate against men? To show racism, which is differential treatment for no reason other than race, alternative explanations for disparities must be eliminated. But in practice not only are they not eliminated, efforts to explore these other causes are actively suppressed.

So, the second, and perhaps most important, problem with the charge of systemic discrimination is that it deflects attention from the proximal causes, endogenous as well as exogenous, of the racial disparities that led to its invention. 

Disparities—racial, ethnic, or gender-based—are not proof of anything. Disparities raise questions about their cause. Absent further information, a racial disparity does not favor one answer over others. To say, as some academic critics have, that “When I See Racial Disparities, I See Racism” is simply wrong. If only things were that simple!

The beauty of “systemic racism” is its air of permanence. It is here forever, and its victims must be compensated in perpetuity. It has become the elusive and inexpugnable cause of all the ills of people of color. And it provides an endless supply of ammunition for those whose careers depend on the persistence of racism. It has become a cause of racial division rather than part of the cure. It should be abandoned....

3. And even if we can say a hirer, or some hirers, will choose white sounding names over black sounding ones on the belief that blacks are inferior, then that’s an instance, or instances, as the case may be, of individual racism too often conflated with systemic racism. See above quote.

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