Illustrating The Racial Breakdown of Crime Stats Is Irrelevant

There’s nothing better (for me, personally) than having my assumptions challenged, and running into new ways of thinking about the issues.

This is one of those times.

This time, I had the privilege of coming across T. Greg Doucette’s twitterstorm on the irrelevance of demographic breakdown of crime stats. More specifically, how wrong the assumptions pulled out of them are.

Here’s his tweetstorm, formated for easy reading…

Y’all I want to talk data briefly. Not really a rant per se, but just want to put something out there for you to marinate on.

I get a lot of DMs and @’s from the alt-reich. Especially in response to police brutality tweets. Most of these ppl are painfully stupid. A good many of them like to talk statistics, shooting me infographics with citations at the bottom that don’t actually match the pic, etc And a good many tend to focus on two things

(1) the racial breakdown of who commits what crimes, and

(2) that police can in fact get through most interactions without killing someone

Here’s the thing: none of that information actually matters (And the underlying argument being made logically conflicts with itself, but I digress). To illustrate why who commits what crimes is irrelevant, do a thought experiment.

Pretend 100% of all murders in 2015 were by black ppl. That’s roughly 13,500 murders in 2015. Pretend not a single one of them was by a white person. What conclusions would you draw from that assumption? That black folk were murderers / violent / etc?

Now, ponder this

There were 46,282,080 African-Americans in the United States in 2015. Meaning – even if we assumed every. single. murder. was done by a black person – most black folks weren’t murderers

Because math.

100% – ((13500 murders / 46,282,080 black folk) * 100) = 99.97% non-murderers. There is no conclusion you could draw from your 13,500 sample size that wouldn’t be contradicted by your 46,282,080 populace

So the ppl trying to argue the racial breakdown of crime stats w/ me, or w/ you, don’t actually care about the facts. Because racists. #duh

“But T.! But T.!” you exclaim. “You said earlier the logic was contradictory! Aren’t *you* making group-based claims about police??? 😱”

The short answer is no (obv[iously]) (Pretty sure I’m already on record as saying I evaluate individuals as individuals. But I digress.). The longer answer is that there are some key differences between a police officer who kills someone and a gangbanger who does the same. Namely that my tax dollars pay and arm the former, who will almost always escape accountability for taking a life, and who operate in a system that promotes life-taking because of the fact there will be no consequences

So it doesn’t much matter whether you take the “individual as individual” approach or group approach, one type of killing is worse. Because one is a rogue act against our laws that will almost certainly be punished. The other is given the imprimatur of society itself.

So TL;DR version of this thread: racists don’t actually care about the statistics, and your words will never persuade them.

Content yourself with know they’re all going to die soon enough.

(Oh and 69%+ of all violent crimes last year were committed by white folk according to the FBI. Ijs.)

Sometimes math can be your friend.

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About John-Pierre Maeli

Keeping it simple and crystal clear, because anything else is useless. I'm here to not only inform you, but to also connect with you. That's what The Political Informer is all about. Feel free to follow me on either Twitter or Google+ Let's talk!

  • Bob Cochran

    Not sure simple stats make sense on their own. For example the Washington Post study of 2015 police shootings show that men were killed about 22 times as often as women. This is true for shootings of black men vs black women (about 25 times as many black men were killed by police as black women) so using the simple stats would say that the bias is gender not racial.

  • Cinnamon Speiss

    “(Oh and 69%+ of all violent crimes last year were committed by white folk according to the FBI. Ijs.)”

    Whites and Hispanics (who are more violent than whites but not as violent as blacks) are lumped into together.

  • Dr. James Russell, PhD

    “None of it matters because if it did it would be inconvenient to my world view.”

    It’s really disgusting how dishonest people can be.

  • Anna

    One of my favorite stats is that only 6% of terror attacks are committed by Muslims. Clearly we are biased, you may say. But Muslims only make up 1% of the population. Are the FBI and TSA racist? No. The vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists but it IS accurate to say one group is more likely to commit a certain crime in relation to its proportion of the population. But instead of trying to fix the crime rate we simply justify it and are worse off as a result.

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