Monday, April 30, 2018

Preference, prejudice, and problems

I don't think I'm a terribly prejudicial person. Not anymore. I think I've moved beyond that. But I do have preferences, and I do notice problems.

Preference isn't necessarily prejudice.

For example: I prefer girls with dark hair. I am not prejudiced against blondes, and there is no judgment implied. All else being equal, I just like the look of dark hair better. It's not set in stone, though. It's just a trivial preference.

Is it prejudice even if I don't assume hair color makes someone somehow "better"?

Well, what about other things?

Is it prejudice to notice trends?

My neighborhood is probably over 50% Hispanic. I think all the (adult) neighbors I know are fine people-- (not so sure about the people remodeling the house next door). However, the vast majority of the people caught committing crimes (both real and counterfeit) which end up in the news in this area are Hispanic, if you can tell by their names. It isn't prejudiced to notice this, is it?

There may be reasonable explanations for this little statistic that have little or nothing to do with actual archation.

Maybe the local cops are more prone to watch or molest the Hispanic residents. That wouldn't surprise me in the slightest (although I think the police chief in this little town is also Hispanic).

Maybe the local cops are more likely to pursue the "illegal" activities the local Hispanics are more likely to engage in.

Or maybe the Hispanic names in the police report are more likely to catch my attention (although I almost never read it, and I scoff at the fake "crimes" listed when I do).

It may even be something else entirely.

Whatever it means, if anything, it appears that almost no local Hispanics commit "crimes", but almost all the crimes (and "crimes") that end up in the news are committed by Hispanics.

It bothers me to notice this problem. But I do notice. I'm just not quite sure what the problem is that I'm noticing.

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