Sunday, December 10, 2017

Stats or individuals?

One of the paradoxes of identity politics is that it backfires. Identity politics treats people as statistics rather than individuals. It consigns you to a larger class. You have the aggregate characteristics of the class to which you're assigned. 

But consider what that means if applied consistently. The crime stats for young black men are hugely out of proportion to their percentage in relation to other ethnic groups. By the logic of identity politics, the first association I should make when I seen a teen or twenty-something black male is violent criminality. Yet that would be the definition of prejudice. That would be grossly unfair and harmful to hard-working, law-abiding black males. 

According to identity politics, we should treat young black men as statistics rather than individuals. Yet that means the frame of reference will be the crime stats. But why should responsible young black men be saddled with that invidious and adventitious association? 

I've lived in different parts of the country. I often see young black men working at supermarkets and fast-food joints. It takes a sense of duty and dedication to work a job with low pay, low prestige, lousy hours. That's very admirable. 

I judge blacks as individuals, on a case-by-case basis, the same way I judge whites, Asians, Latinos, &c. I have no opinion about blacks in general, any more than I have an opinion about whites in general. When we meet a stranger, it's best not to make assumptions one way or the other, but to make a preliminary judgement based on the evidence right before our eyes, rather than a narrative. 

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