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Politically Incorrect Statistics

Warren Buffet is praised for his ability to analyze the performance of companies in which he considers investing.  He uses information about the companies to predict future performance.  He has been very successful as an investor.

Bookies take bets on sporting events and base the “odds” for winning on statistical analysis of many factors about teams and athletes.

Insurance companies use underwriters to predict life expectancies and health risks based on statistics for people in certain categories based on age, weight, family medical history, and other factors, such as whether a person smokes or consumes alcohol.  They don’t know which smokers will develop lung cancer, but they know that smokers, for example, have a higher risk statistically than do non-smokers.

The TV show Criminal Minds is about a “behavioral analysis unit” known by the acronym BAU.  They study patterns of criminal behavior to solve crimes.

Analyzing companies, teams, and individuals is apparently done using statistical information because there is value for predicting probabilities of behavior (or danger) based on statistics about past behavior or performance.

Statistics are just numbers calculated by mathematical principles.  Statistics are not mean or prejudiced about race or religion.

Despite the neutrality of the process of statistical analysis, many people get offended by what the numbers reveal.

We are not supposed to “profile” Muslim Arabs as terrorists because that is somehow “prejudiced” despite the historical facts that the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks and many other terrorist acts fit that category.  You are not paranoid (or prejudiced) if they are really after you.  The jihadists have said they are in a holy war with non-islamic people, i.e., infidels.  The statistics bear that out.

The federal government has told us recently that it needs to look at private phone records of American citizens, which many see as a violation of rights to privacy, for the greater good of protecting us.  Would it not also help protect us to focus on tracking people who “fit the profile” of terrorists?  I do not see that as islamophobia.  Wouldn’t that be for the greater good of protecting Americans?

Who says I am unlikely to become an NBA star?  Are those scouts prejudiced against me because they are considering my age, vertical leap, speed, shooting percentages and stuff like that?  They think, based on statistics, that I won’t do well in the league.

I like sports that involve timed races, such as track and swimming.  Your time is your time, regardless of color.  Is it unfair that a skewed percentage of Olympic sprinters are black and the vast majority of Olympic swimmers are white?  Oh, well!  The performances speak for themselves.  Warren Buffet probably would not bet on me to win the 100 meter event in track, you know, based on statistics, including my time in prior races.  It is what it is, whether I like it or not.  Pulling the race card does not change how fast or slow I run or swim.

I understand intellectually, but I prefer to say that I am a victim of racial profiling which, my friends, is politically incorrect.

Please join me in protesting my exclusion from the NBA.

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8 thoughts on “Politically Incorrect Statistics

  1. When it comes to work, I have an inherit work ethic due to my German DNA. My father is 100 per cent German, my mother about 60 percent. Yet, I am never given the option of choosing, “German-American” on any census. I usually don’t complain because in my neighborhood of Norweigans and Swedes, I was just glad to be accepted. And if you really really look for race discrimination, look at the Jewish population. Wow, they really get hit, but they don’t yell in protest. Too bad about the NBA. Seems from your pictures you are kinda tall. LOL.

  2. This is funny and also true! However, I think people often get too caught up in stereotypes

    • Stereotypes are unfair to individuals who do not fit the stereotype, but profiling for protecting citizens from danger need not be politically correct. For me, I do fit the stereotype that “White Men Can’t Jump.” That is negative. But I wouldn’t mind if the stereotype of “Dumb Swede” was “Smart Swede.” Sadly, for me, it is not.

  3. I tend to think you Swede are much like us Norwegians (and I hear that it is a trait we share with Yorshiremen as well) “You can always tell a Norwegian but, you can’t tell him much.”. If you run across them down there, tell Ole and Lena that it’s about time to check in 🙂

    And in a proper world I’d be playing for daBears.

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