Saturday, November 29, 2014

Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics

They say there are lies, there are damned lies. Then there are statistics. This means that statistics are the worst of the three for being untruthful. The fact is statistics don't lie, the people who use them do. I will give you an example.

I read in a local paper in NZ that 13% of the US population is African American, but 25% of police shootings of US citizens is of AAs. Therefore they are twice as likely to be shot as the population in general This is quoted to prove that AAs are picked on by police, especially white ones. The article was 'proving' they are victimised.

I'll give another statistic. 40% of US citizens in prison are AA. Now if that is so, you would think 40% of arrests are for AAs. Now why are AAs only involved in 25% of the shootings, which take place during violents arrests? They seem to be less likely to be shot than another race, as a percentage of arrests. Is it because police know the backlash that takes place if a shooting does involve an AA? Is all the publicity this brings affecting how the police do their job. The statistics could be interpreted so.

Whatever the reason, considering how many crimes AA are involved in, they don't figure as high in the police shootings. Perhaps other races should complain about police bias against them when it comes to shootings. No one wants to see a section of the community picked on and sadly it seems to be so, with non-AAs.

Statistics can be used to misrepresent the truth. The stats point to AAs getting soft treatment on shootings, but they don't think so. They read the papers and get damned lies, or is that statistics?

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