Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Racial Profiling

Well, the laws a game, in more ways than one...

Note: I waited quite awhile for some transcripts from the 7:30 report but since this was an interview and not a story, I don't think any will be available from what I can tell - I'm working from my human memory of the interview.

So, I'm watching an interview where the police chief is saying something like 'Well, there were a number of complaints from area X, and the suspects were African. But there wasn't any racial profiling.'

It's amazing how it was right there, yet not even the journalist picked it up.

You don't have ANY suspects yet - you have a description. Along with clothing, shoes, etc, you have a skin tone (and perhaps facial configuration)

You have no suspects yet.

But it's right there, out in the open in the interview - that 'the suspects were African'

If someone was reported commiting a crime and part of their description was that they are caucasian, would you say you have any suspects?

No, because there's a hell of alot of caucasians in this country.

But when it comes to a minority - that's how the human brain gets lazy (it's part of all our brains to be lazy like this) - that there's less of them and...we have suspects who are African.

No, you have no suspects at all. You have a description - work from the description, looking for a person.

Because either A: you have no idea who the perpetrator is and need to filter through a bunch of people to try and find them or B: You think you have begun to nail down who is the perpetrator, just because you have a description that includes an African background. No, you have made no progress at all - HERE is your racial profiling! The sense that you've somehow achieved something already, just by hearing the guy is African. No, you haven't!

If there was only one African person in Australia, I might pay this line of thinking as working.

Otherwise no - you've made zero progress on determining any suspects - having a description that they are African has done nothing towards determining one or more suspects.

It's the lazyness of the human mind that jumps upon A: Their minority status in Australia as a B: Clever narrowing down of possibilities. Ha, there's so few! So now we've cut down on who it could be, that means we have suspects!

No, that means you have a standard human brain which is prone to such lazy short cut thinking.

Technically even if there were only two people of African descent in Australia, you still wouldn't have any suspects.

But I'm sure you'd bring them both in for questioning anyway.

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