We are really bad at statistics as a species.

This makes it really easy for people to manipulate us to get us to believe things that aren't actually supported by those statistics.

Particularly white supremacists

Here's how to shred their nonsense arguments.
Some takeaways?

If someone tries to prove a group of people is worse than another by comparing the number of arrests between the two... ask a few key questions...

1) What percentage of the population was arrested? This is because there's usually only a teeny tiny sliver who was
2) How many people are represented in those arrests? This is because 10 arrests of the same person shouldn't be presented as 10 different arrested people, inflating numbers.
3) How big are the populations relative to each other? We ask this because we need to understand the scale and proportion of arrested people to each other. Comparing a group of 10 to a group of 10,000 is sketchy
4) Are both groups proportionally policed? We ask this because legal distributions aren't random. It's not pure math. WHO gets policed more is a subjectively influenced variable.
5) How reliable is the underlying data?

Is it gathered evenly?
Is it gathered voluntarily or regulated?
Is it internally reliable data?
Are the sources reputable?
Are there biases at lower levels that get amplifed in aggregate?
None of these questions PRESUMES that the other person is wrong or acting in bad faith.

But they are critical things to know before coming to any sort of sweeping conclusion.

Those trying to inflame and incite won't want to provide these

Because they don't want to give context
Those who are just parroting statistics from a script likely don't know or understand the answers to these questions.

They have just been shown numbers and told to accept that they mean one specific thing.

Either way, asking the questions is key before swallowing the premise.
Context and scope are really important things.

If I ask how tall you are, and you say 18. I don't know what that means unless you give me a unit of measurement. A point of reference.

Without reference points, statistics are meaningless.
If someone tells you a city is dangerous and cites a murder rate.

Ask how much of the city those murders actually took place in.

It's likely a small fraction of the overall city.

"Crime of passion" violence is random.

organized instrumental violence is usually contained
Does it mean that there's not a problem to be addressed? No.

But it does illustrate that the tendency to pretend that an acute set of incidences is characteristic of the whole is problematic.
"But doesn't this apply to bad police stuff too?"

Yep. Murders by police, overall are a tiny fraction of the actions of police as a whole.

The reason this isn't a rebuttal to BLM is because it's not raw numbers that are at issue, but the systemic response to each incident.
When there is an indictment of cops, the problem isn't that MOST cops are murdering people.

It's that the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of cops and their command structures will cover for the tiny sliver of those who do murder people.
This brings me to false equivalencies.

Absent context, people can present two very similar sets of statistics and argue that each circumstance is the same.

But same in a vacuum isn't same in real life.

Real life is more than the math, it's what underlies it.
Always ask the questions.

The willingness of the person to answer will be a good marker of where they stand with regard to intellectual honesty.

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More from @absurdistwords

24 Feb
Imagine honestly believing that white people have never acted as a self-interested group.

Whew.
Whiteness was literally only competitive in America through violent white protectionism.

It was never able to compete in the "free market"
It needed chattel slavery to drive its economy.

It wrote disenfranchisement into its Constitution to prevent competition

It gained political dominance by killing and disallowing nonwhite opponents

It gained fiscal dominance through specifically racist protectionist laws.
Read 4 tweets
24 Feb
Can you please name a law in all of American history that specifically prevents white people from doing a thing they should have a right to do?
Then when you're done with that, please explain where all the white people in this country came from?
Then please explain how the thousands of laws passed to specifically give white people access to legal, political and commercial protections specifically denied to others does not count as "racial advocacy"

Or you know.. don't. I don't much care.
Read 4 tweets
24 Feb
More like non-consensually dragged into a "Superiority" grading contest they never asked to participate in and would desperately like out of.

White people invented race so that racial superiority was a question people had to address at all.

Nobody else wants to play this game.
You get that? The GAME is trash.

You keep asking people what their rankings are and if they beat you or not.

Everybody keeps telling you they DON'T WANT TO PLAY.

But white folks need to keep score. So game on.
It's like if a kid in school came up to you and was like "Ok we're gonna play king of the school, whoever is king gets to punch everybody. I get to be king first! OK?"

Everyone else is like "No. This sounds like a terrible game" and the kid says "GO!" and starts punching.
Read 4 tweets
24 Feb
I mean. Ultimately you don't REALLY need one. The sources of those stats literally tell you themselves why and how they're not valid for drawing the kinds of racial group conclusions white supremacists pretend that they draw.
Like you don't need to "Debunk" FBI stats if you just read the disclaimers and limitations sections first.
But the white supremacists will pretend that they had no idea there was a big warning saying "If you use the stats this way, you'll be way off base"

So they present it anyway. Frequently without citation so nobody can go look.
Read 5 tweets
23 Feb
Elon Musk just lost $15 billion and if nobody had told him, he never would have noticed.
You know what the biggest effect on Elon is of losing more than twice New York City's yearly budget right now? He's only the SECOND biggest billionaire.

That's it. He's down on the Leaderboards.

Cause it's just a game.
But don't worry, Billionaire fans, this just means that Bezos is on top once more!

Stay tuned!
Read 5 tweets
23 Feb
There's an interesting exploit that right wing white supremacists trolls use against white liberals.

The fact that most white liberals BELIEVE their statistical conclusions about Black people being criminals.

So they don't really have a valid rebuttal.
The flawed statistical arguments and the flogging of FBI data till it's gasping for air have ALWAYS worked on white liberals.

They just tend to feel really conflicted and guilty cause they're supposed to not believe the truth that's in front of them. It's not PC.
This is how the dapper Nazis got a foothold.

Because everyone's bad at stats and white people generally aren't learning stats so they can defend Black people, bullshit rides.

But it puts liberals in the "I know they're Nazis, but they've got a point here" position.

Then cable.
Read 17 tweets

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