Sunday, May 09, 2010

More on discrimination

Here's another list of discrimination questions from the Midus Study asked of black respondents. The numbers indicate the percent who have never been victims. Keep in mind that this is a middle-aged sample, so many of these are folks were born in the 1950s or even earlier (the survey was conducted in 2004, and the mean age is 53.5). They have been around a long time. In spite of this, the vast majority have never been hassled by a police officer, for example. I thought this was a constant occurrence among blacks. 

Respondents were asked how many times they have been victims, but I didn't list the numbers because reports go up to 100 times (e.g., not hired 100 times).  But more on this tendency later.


  1. Anonymous10:37 AM

    It's surely no coincidence that "not hired for a job" is by far the most commonly reported form of discrimination. Whether race is involved or not, it's next to impossible to prove why you didn't get the job. The employer's not going to say, and it's unlikely that you'll know who ended up getting the job and how his or her qualifications compared to yours.


  2. Whew! Only 25% of blacks have been harassed by police. I'm sure glad that this isn't a REAL problem.

  3. silly girl3:34 PM


    Have you done a post on personality and number of children? Like which personality traits seem to vary by the number of kids?

    Are people with 8+ kids more extraverted or agreeable, open, etc. than people with zero or people with two?

  4. Anonymous3:44 PM

    "Whew! Only 25% of blacks have been harassed by police. I'm sure glad that this isn't a REAL problem."

    You have to see context. What percent of crime victims claim the perp was black? What percent of blacks actually commit crimes or fail to cooperate with police?

    It would be interesting to see how other races compare, of course, because if their rates are related to their actual crime rates etc. then there really isn't a problem from an objective point of view (although the perception of harassment isn't particularly objective). If 5% of blacks commit crimes and 25% are harassed by police that is a factor of 5. So if 1% of whites commit crimes, and 5% are harassed by police, that is the same factor. So it is proportional.

  5. Ricketson: The wording of the question is "hassled" not harassed. I can think of incidents with police I could characterize as hassled if I wanted.

  6. Anonymous11:27 AM

    The low self-reports of discrimination amaze me, not because I believe there is more discrimination, but that I would have expected more blacks to exaggerate/fantasize/lie about it.

    And 25% of blacks self-reporting police harrassment is nothing when you consider the amount of contact blacks have with law enforcement (e.g. black males have a 32% lifetime chance of going to prison.) Any contact with the police where you are a suspect is going to be unpleasant at the best of times.

  7. I don't trust people to divorce themselves from personal bias in answering these questions honestly.

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