A few weeks ago a former acquaintance, that’s all it really takes to be facebook friend, posted a rather foul infographic that was well racist in short. Ignorant, intolerant and a really poor reflection of his judgement in reality.
Where to start? Maybe that our public education system has systematically failed this country. In so far as not giving 38,100 Facebook users the ability to think critically.
Or maybe with the comment, “You won’t get these kinds of stats from the MSM”. That’s the main stream media to save you the googling effort. Could it be because some journalists have integrity and fact check their sources? Weird.
Of course Mr. TheHannaChannel (a religious extremest and total asshole, see for yourself) would insinuate that Eric Holder (a Black man as made obvious by the photo) thinks that Black Americans are almost unanimously violent criminals. It’s a cute play on peoples simplicity. Awhhh look, pretty pictures, stick figures, confident assertions, better blindly believe them.
I as I often do, was moved to correct him.
[Side track for a sec– J and I are constantly having this discussion.
R: “Oh my God babe, so and so said/did/posted this idiotic thing, can you believe it?”
J: “And then did you tell them everything that was wrong with them and they got pissed off? ”
R: “Well yeah, but….. ”
J:”You are not going to change people, give it up.”
R: I scowl and sulk mostly.
Does sitting idol and watching trash perpetuate across the internet make me an accomplice in ignorance? Maybe, okay completely, my rants are more for me than you. I’m mostly okay with that.
I do have this brilliant bit of data (presented by the ever incredible This American Life it’s a GOOD listen) to support that minds can be changed, though my delivery is rarely as cajoling as the research dictates. Maybe I’ll get finer in time…. maybe.]
Back to the story. To this f-ed up post I responded,
“Here’s the issue Blacks make up 12.3 percent of the American population. Don’t be a sucker for b.s. misconstrued statistics.”
To which the following slew of shit followed:
To be fair Patrick Middleton, your not alone in offering that little pledge to make everyone feel better. We can all get on the better jobs and more education band wagon now can’t we. These are are social theories (save healthcare) that every American politician adds to the top of their campaign platforms. Well except for this…fucktard…that would like to be the next GREAT American president, the one and only Rick Santorum.
Let me give you the benefit of the doubt Pat, maybe in your heart of hearts your a decent person. Maybe you don’t actually believe that “black privilege = murdering whitey”, BUT we would have no other way of judging your actual perspective because you keep posting shit like this above and countless others.
Following was this lovely insight into the real issue. Tell me more, dear enlightened one.
It was going well wasn’t it. You were using multiple syllable words, “statistics are multifocal”— G-damn someone give this man a diploma. Well and then you FUCKING LOST ME, “African Americans commit nearly 85% of crime in America and commit nearly 5 times more violent crime than do Caucasians. [It gets better] This validates the actions of SOME [brownie points for putting that in caps bro] but it certainly increases their chance of having negative interactions with police.” WOW (caps lock).
He does go on and offer some of the standard right wing nut job olive branches: let’s stop the criminal tendencies, let’s get cops to stop MURDERING THE DISPROPORTIONATE FUCK OUT OF YOUNG BLACK MEN, I mean change how they conduct themselves. Tip of the hat.
Over dinner I tell J, I got in a semi-internet fight today, wanna read. He does and responds with the following:
Now let’s do what takes some actual effort and look at the statistics from the National
Crime Victimization Survey from 2010 that is cited in the infographic (despite that the FBI have published this reports up until 2013).
Here’s the synopsis (yes I read the entire thing and took notes like a good little scholar):
The study is put out every year by the federal government to track and report information about VICTIMS. There is no information about the RACE OF THE PERPETRATOR. Every single chart and topic in the report discusses the demographics of the victim. The methodology (that it very clearly lays out in the Methods section go figure) explains that this information was gathered from a “representative sample” of American crime victims. They interviewed 73,283 individuals representative of the 18.7 MILLION acts of violence committed against Americans. Let’s give the nay sayers the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say that every victim of crime in 2010 had 2 crimes committed against them. That brings us to 9.35 million victims. At that rate this sample is 127 times smaller than the actual population. That’s a pretty shitty sample size. Which gets better, I’ll explain later.
My next issue is that any good researcher should admmitley acknowledge that all of their data represents reported and documented crimes not actual crime committed. According to the internet consensus over 3 million violent crimes go unreported every year. That puts a wrench in your cut and dry bold faced image huh.
Here I am scrolling though this puppy with my calculator, prepared to move the decimal place and divide by hispanic origin, until “! Interpret with caution; estimate based on 10 or fewer sample cases, or coefficient of variant is grater than 50%”. Here’s a little stats 101 for those of us who haven’t used math in more than a decade. The coefficient of variant is the relative variability of the population studied. In this particular chart that means the race, sex and hispanic origin of the victim. You find this by dividing the standard deviation by the mean. If you were to attempt to publish any research with N=10 or fewer and C.V = 50% the first peer that reviewed said research would laugh you out of town.
Seriously you couldn’t turn that in to any high school math teach with out getting a D and a stern talking to about how maybe you should actually try next time. To their credit the Department of Justice Statistics clearly explains the following on page 13, “In general an estimate with a smaller standard error provides more reliable approximation of the true value than an estimate with a higher standard error”. It goes on to say very clearly,
“Readers are cautioned not to draw causal inferences based on results presented”.
Whoops http://www.facebook.com/TheHannaChannel. Maybe you’re not the best at reading comprehension. OR MAYBE YOU PULLED ALL OF THESE NUMBERS OUT OF YOUR ASS AND SLAPPED THE NAME OF THIS REPORT AT THE BOTTOM BECAUSE YOU KNOW THAT YOUR AUDIENCE ISN’T ACTUALLY INTERESTED IN THE FACTS.
Really this infographic should look like this:
*BASED ON THE CITED REPORT WE DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE RACE OF PERPETRATORS OF CRIMES IN 2010 AND NOTHING ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF POLICE MURDERS OR EVEN SHOTS FIRED.
In fact as a friend pointed out we actually don’t know shit as a country about police murders or shots fired. This Washington Post article by Wesley Lowery puts it rather succinctly. The conclusion: “There is no reliable national data on how many people are shot by police officers each year”. The only data is self-reported and unreliable. There have been a few dedicated researchers that have scoured the internet everyday for a year to gather the best estimations that we have on police shootings. One effort found in 2011 that there were, “1,146 police shooting of those 607 were fatal in 2011”.
Again being more than generous lets say that police kill 500 civilians yearly (justified or otherwise). From 1999- 2011(years referenced in the infographic) (thats 12 years) there would by approximately 6,000 police killings. The infographic states that there were a total of 3,281 police killing in those 12 years white and black combined. Maybe we should assume that the other 2,719 police killings were of other minority populations? Or maybe we should assume like everything else on this infographic that it is completely illogical and mathematically unsound in the least.
Memes that would have actually been useful and accurate based on this 2010 report:
-The rate of total violent crime dropped by 13% in 2010, which is 3 times the annual average decrease.
-Even more impressively, between 1993 and 2001 violent victimization fell by half (granted most of that was in the mid to late 90’s. thanks Clinton).
-From 2001 to 2010 between 6% and 10% of violent crime was committed with a fire arm. That means that guns weren’t involved in 90% of crime. So maybe the one stick figure pointing a gun to the other stick figure’s head wasn’t the most representative choice.
I’d like to think that most violent crime is a duel between ninjas (the robbery and rape stick figures weren’t as cute for some reason???).
-How about this one that hits close to home:
In 2010 females knew 64% of their violent offenders. Compared to males that knew 54% of theirs. Sounds like something that I wrote about here.
-Or this dose of gender equality for you:
In 2010 for the first time since this report collected these statistics the victimization by sex leveled out. That means that men and women were equally the victims of violent crimes. At 15.7% for men and 14.2% for females in 2010.
Let’s compare that to a corrections.com report about incarcerated offenders in 2010. There were 113,000 female offenders incarcerated verses 1,500,000 male offenders incarcerated. Let’s assume that that’s a reasonable representation of who is committing crimes. That’s over 13 times the number of male criminals than female. Here’s a fun little inference for you men are were increasingly more violent toward women since 1994 when there was less gender equality in violent crime victimization. Now that’s something to write home about.
In conclusion, fuck this stupid infographic and everyone that has the audacity to defend it.
*I debated long and hard about editing out people’s actual names and decided not to. As an adult with a voice you need to be accountable for what you put on the internet. By all means stand by your position as I will mine, but don’t be mad if your words end up on a bigger platform. Accountability folks.