Or after a white liberal offers a standard gambit of blaming black poverty on white racism, a white conservative might counter, “Well, all African Americans have to do is work as hard as Korean immigrants.” In general, though, the miscellaneous don”t much interest white people. (And blacks pay them almost no attention whatsoever.)
Fourth, the reigning mindset that demonizes “profiling” (i.e., practicing Bayesian analysis) periodically causes these embarrassing mass mental meltdowns. For example, NAACP head Benjamin Jealous argued for charging Zimmerman with a hate crime because “There is a pattern of George Zimmerman making dozens of calls to 911 over several years, frequently about young men of color.”
The problem is that profiling is an indispensable part of a living a safe, rational life. There actually are huge statistical differences in behavior by demographic groups. For example, an obscure Obama Administration report admitted:
While young [age 14 to 24] black males have accounted for about 1% of the population from 1980 to 2008…(b)y 2008, young black males made up about a quarter of all homicide offenders (27%).
Yet to many Americans these days, the thought of noticing giant facts such as this 27-to-1 ratio seems like blasphemy against the Declaration of Independence’s “proposition” that “all men are created equal.”
Yet every American is guilty of sacrilege by noticing the falsehood of the tribe’s idols.
On the other hand, we”re also not supposed to get carried away with our anti-profiling principles. For instance, the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, has been having New York’s 44,000 policemen racially profile on an industrial scale in deciding whom to stop-and-frisk. Bloomberg ardently defends flagrant profiling in the world’s media capital by pointing to its statistical rationality, publicly stating last month, “I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.”
A little tut-tutting ensued, but, hey, Manhattan is overwhelmingly less crime-ridden than it was a couple of decades ago, so let’s not rock the boat. Who cares about Mayor Bloomberg’s profiling when we can obsess over neighborhood-watch volunteer Zimmerman’s profiling?
Thus, to release these psychic tensions, the press occasionally does us the favor of picking out a ritual sacrifice like Zimmerman. His public crucifixion fulfills our unarticulated need to symbolically expiate our manifold sins of desecrating the sacred ideology that demands we never notice patterns.
Daily updates with TM’s latest