March 10, 2013

Underneath the appearance of racial equality...

... is something unrecognizable:

86 comments:

chickelit said...

She says on the one hand that blacks and whites received equivalent sentences for the same crime and yet on the other hand blacks and whites with "Afro-centric features" received harsher sentences than Eurocentric looking blacks and whites. This demands a follow up of "what does an Afro-centric white look like."

Michael K said...

The harsh penalties for crack vs powder cocaine are usually the focus of these complaints. Those harsh penalties were requested by black Congressmen during the crack epidemic.

You can't win in the race contest if you are white.

bagoh20 said...

Maybe that's true, but you have to know if there is a correlation between "Afro-centric features" and criminality before you know if the judges are being intuitively correct or unfair. The assumption is that there is no criminal look. There seems to be a "warrior gene" that leads about 1/3 of people to the use of violence more than the rest. Maybe it manifests itself physically and we know it when we see it without even knowing it.

chickelit said...

Could an artist caricature a white person having "afro-centric" features in a magazine cartoon and not be accused of bigotry?

bagoh20 said...

Miss Benaji is obviously a super hero or a pro wrestler on the side?

chickelit said...

Gendler is a very cool sounding name BTW.

bpm4532 said...

I'd like to see the study and not just take someone's word on this. It would be interesting to see how they set it up, what the null hypothesis was, and other things they considered. As we have come to understand there are genetic reasons for certain behaviors and it is not unreasonable to think that the same combination of genetic factors that link to certain behaviors may also link to physical characteristics.

Sorun said...

"what does an Afro-centric white look like."

What's the television stereotype for a white prison inmate? They're more often large men with broad features.

chrisnavin.com said...

Why, this raft made up of race theory has holes in it.

Saint Croix said...

I don't even want to guess what an Afro-centric white guy looks like.

Is this ear discrimination? Nose discrimination?

You're really desperate to find race discrimination when you start throwing in the Jew-fros to get your numbers right.

Sorun said...

Is it anti-intellectual to comb your hair before appearing on camera?

Sorun said...

Imagine two white men, partners in crime. One is thin and one is broad. One is the brains and one is the brawn.

bagoh20 said...

An Afrocentric White would be Barack Obama, and it clearly brings out the racism in me.

Fernandinande said...

"Underneath the appearance of racial equality..."

... is legal equality and the never-ending desperate attempts to show otherwise.

Too bad neither are remotely true for sex.

Carl Spackler said...

Thank God I'm not in college anymore where this nonsense was supposedly education.

Fernandinande said...

"Legal equality" referring to sentencing only; every other part of the gov't has an anti-white bias.

madAsHell said...

Next up.....we will explain the difference between weather and climate!!

bagoh20 said...

This may be an excellent example of Gendler's "alief".

madAsHell said...

Where da fug did she find those eye-glasses??

edutcher said...

Community organizing at its best.

Even when things are just, they're not.

War Is Peace.

Hate Is Love.

Ignorance Is Strength.

madAsHell said...

A study has shown.....

Astro said...

What she describes doesn't sound like a double-blind study, so it's bullshit.

jacksonjay said...


Research 101 - when one doesn't get the desired result, go "a step further"!

rhhardin said...

If it's a study, it's wrong.

Lezer said...

She has finally unearthed the crime of Kafka's Joseph K.

Bob Ellison said...

The one on the left is pretty.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Those are uses of "Afrocentric" and "Eurocentric" that I've never seen before.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

bahoh20, you aren't going to go all Lombroso on us here, are you?

Shouting Thomas said...

Digging deeper and deeper into the bullshit to discover the omnipresence of racism.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diogenes of Sinope said...

We're gonna keep studying until we get the results we already know are right. Is this science? No. BTW when they talk about African features are they talking about bushy hair, broad noses, fat lips, large ears, clue me in I want to know what the Intellectuals consider to be African features.

Moose said...

If you seek an outcome long enough and hard enough, you'll find it.

bagoh20 said...

"bahoh20, you aren't going to go all Lombroso on us here, are you?"

I'm not afraid to ask the questions, that's all. Which truth would be preferable: that dangerous criminals would have distinguishing characteristics, that they would not, or that we never find out?

How about if it's 99% accurate? 75%?

EDH said...

Where does the "-centric" business come from in the first place when talking about physical features?

This woman is full of shit.

Sully8253 said...

Ugliness has its price.

Sully8253 said...

And she's been paying it her whole life.

Baron Zemo said...

"what does an Afro-centric white look like."

That would be somebody with a
Jew-fro!

Baron Zemo said...

If Cedarford was awake he would be coming in his pants.

Baron Zemo said...

This is the one were they talk about the fact that they don't want the pressure to have a boyfriend right?

I don't think they need to worry. Just sayn'

bagoh20 said...

Those two have a look that can only be described as the Andrew Dice Clay of feminism.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I believe here is a link to the study being referenced.

el polacko said...

wait...what?? this 'study' found zero difference in sentencing BUT after digging and digging came up with a bullshit theory why the sentencing really WAS different, even though it was not...huh?
that's a whole lotta crap stuffed into one short video clip!!

LilyBart said...

bpm4532 said...
I'd like to see the study and not just take someone's word on this. It would be interesting to see how they set it up, what the null hypothesis was, and other things they considered


My thoughts too. Not finding what she expected to find (wanted to find?) with her first study - she changes the study and, behold, finds the racial prejudice she was originally expecting to find.

Makes one want to look more closely at her 2nd study to see if the 'studier' had her own biases.

Bob Ellison said...

Wikipedia: "Tamar Szabó Gendler (born 1965) is the Vincent J. Scully Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University, and Chair of the Yale University Department of Philosophy.[1] Her research areas include philosophical psychology, epistemology, metaphysics and issues related to philosophical methodology."

Philosophical psychology? Epistemology? That's the study of studying studying. Metaphysics? Philosophical methodology?

Still pretty, though.

Bob Ellison said...

...but wait: I gotta say I love that her chair is endowed in honor of the great voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

jr565 said...

Pure junk science. Subjective opinions about afrocentrism in features is just that, purely subjectivie.
So, trying to gleaning any meaning from afrocentric faces versus non afroncentric faces and whether they will get harsher or less harsh sentences tell you nothing.
Are the judges the same? Are the details of hte case the same, and I mean EXACTLY the same? Are the juries the same? IF not then this info is meaningless and does not tell us anything.


ErnieG said...

My infallible shockproof bullshit detector™ is detecting.

Franklin said...

Spoiler alert:

when you look at the subjective choices the Yalie coed made about what defines afro-centric features, you'll immediately realize that the study is bunk (garbage in, garbage out) and that she's actually kind of racist herself.

ErnieG said...

This whole thing reminds me of the "scientific" studies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to identify criminal types by appearance.

Bob_R said...

I doubt that this "study" is worth my time, but if I was going to "look deeper" I'd be very interested in what standards were used to judge "Afrocentric" and "Eurocentric" faces. I greatly doubt that Afrocentric means more like Sidney Poitier and Eurocentric means more like Prince Charles. If the raters gave A ratings to "ugly" features and E ratings to "beautiful" features, maybe we should be looking for racism in them and not the judges. (And maybe (probably) judges should be as aware of prejudices based on beauty as they are prejudices about race.)

Chip S. said...

when you look at the subjective choices the Yalie coed

Which of the authors was a "Yalie coed"?

Synova said...

If she used a word other than "afro-centric" for the facial features involved, I don't know if it would be controversial and I don't know if it would imply racism.

Because, you know, I'd bet the same sort of bias would be found in pre-colonial europe and it's a bias for beauty and physical symmetry.

I'd believe without question that men who appeared more attractive got lighter sentences than the men who had less symmetry and physical beauty.

Did men with unbalanced "european" features also get lighter sentences? You know... no lips, tiny eyes, a narrow pig nose...

What other "control" sortings were done on appearances?

Did attractive, healthy looking men with highly "african" features get the same bad results?

Paco Wové said...

If you're going to start delving deeply into the faces of the perpetrators, then you have to start delving into the details of the crimes committed as well.

R. Chatt said...

I didn't have time to listen to the whole discussion, but found interesting the observation that certain limiting negative attitudes are deeply engrained below the conscious mind. How do you change that? Hypnosis? That's where techniques like meditation are helpful to free and expand the conscious mind.

Paco Wové said...

"techniques like meditation are helpful to free and expand the conscious mind."

They are? Do you have any evidence for that? How do you measure "mind freedom" and "mind expansion" anyway?

I suspect the fully developed argument from the original authors to be something like: You can't fix these negative attitudes, ergo legal and political remedies will always be necessary (kinda like the Voting Rights Act, in a way).

Chip S. said...

I'd believe without question that men who appeared more attractive got lighter sentences...

And you'd be wrong.

From the study @ the link so kindly provided by Ignorance Is Bliss:

Finally, we examined the influence of facial attractiveness and babyish features on sentence length. Controlling for criminal record, neither variable was a significant predictor of sentence length...

Paco Wové said...

But if the 'bias' has no disparate impact on blacks, how can it be a 'racial' bias?

We seem to have gotten to the absurd result that Joe Bob Q. Redneck gets an unfairly long sentence because of a deeply-hidden 'anti-black' animus on the part of the judge.

Isn't this really just the authors of the study saying, "Hey, we think black people look like thugs"?

The Godfather said...

I conclude from this study that ugly people, black or white, are sentenced more severely than good-looking people, black or white. I also conclude that the attractiveness distribution is about the same for blacks and whites.

The author of the study equates ugliness with blackness, which sounds racist to me.

Chip S. said...

Godfather said...
I conclude from this study that ugly people, black or white, are sentenced more severely than good-looking people,

What part of my comment @ 5:00 PM is unclear to you?

The only person equating ugliness w/ blackness is you.

Joe Schmoe said...

These both look like severe women who spend inordinate amounts of their days in judgment of others.

Paco Wové said...

Ah, yes, here we are (thanks for the link, IiB):

Racial stereotyping in sentencing decisions is still going on, but it is not a function of the racial category of the individual. Instead, there is perhaps an equally pernicious and less controllable process at work.... Our
research shows that addressing one form of bias does not guarantee that the other will also be eliminated. Both must be considered to achieve a fair and equitable society.


Uh, right. Anyway, I have a number of qualms with the paper (starting with the appropriateness of their statistical methods... by the time I got to Fig. 1, the phrase "garbage in, garbage out" was popping into mind) that dinner-making duties prevent me from exploring right now.

One parting shot:

Acknowledgments — Support for this research was provided by National Institute of Mental Health Grants R03-MH63372 and R01-MH45049 to the first and second authors, respectively.
We thank... the University of Colorado Stereotyping and Prejudice Lab for their helpful comments.


Your tax dollars at work!

Chip S. said...

Discussing the actual paper would be interesting.

My 2¢:

1. The tiny sample size requires them to use a nonstandard way of treating their categorical variables. OTOH, their estimated effects of those variables are quite robust to the inclusion or exclusion of their race categories, so their technique doesn't seem like a big problem in this case. Still, it's a very small sample.

2. The "race" and "Afro-centrism" variables are strongly correlated. This means that it's the combined effect of both that can be estimated w/ the greatest precision. And that means that race + Afro-centrism has no effect on sentence length.

3. Fig. 1 suggests to me that their result is driven mostly by the fact that white men w/ "Afro" features get much longer sentence lengths than white men w/o those features.

4. If this might be evidence for the weakness of the dichotomous "race" indicator as a true measure of what influences judges, then what would be of interest would be the effect of the "Afro-ness" variable by itself. Since it's not reported, I presume that it was not statistically significant.

Synova said...

"Finally, we examined the influence of facial attractiveness and babyish features on sentence length. Controlling for criminal record, neither variable was a significant predictor of sentence length..."

I don't believe it. And why bundle the two as if "attractive" and "babyish" are a single category?

jr565 said...

Did they look into the color of the shirts that the jurors were wearing? Because if they were wearing red they were far more likely to give harsher sentences.
Did they look into the hair and eye color of the jurors as well as defendants. Because if the jurors and judge had brown eyes they were far more likely to convict and if the defendant had blue eyes he was far more likely to be convicted.
(i'm just making stuff up, but no more than this study).
So how do the people studying afrocentrism not know that it wasn't eye color that wasn't the determining factor as opposed to the afrocentrism?

ken in sc said...

OK, time to tell the truth. Until I turned gray, I had dark hair and blue eyes--still have the eyes. I had Irish good looks. If I had a narrow face, squinty eyes, and a hawk nose, I would have been put under the jail for stuff that I did. I'm like a pretty girl, I get away with everything.

ken in sc said...

I mean, I never get traffic tickets, or have to pay for my own drinks, or meals. I am so good looking. It is great.

Russell said...

So...basically, one must become racist to properly find the racism that must be there when none seemingly existed on the first look through the data. I suppose there is a certain logic to it that only a self-described intellectual could parse through.

Illuninati said...

My take on the study is that African American people and white people get the same sentence for the same crime. That is good.

The afrocentric part is puzzling. I assume that people who have the strongest afrocentric features are already included among the people assigned to the category of African Americans and the most Eurocentric appearing people are assigned to the white category. Therefore if there is a significant difference between sentencing between those with strong Afrocentric appearance and those with strong Eurocentric appearance that should show up in the nosentencing of the African American group and the white group.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Eureka! She's got it. Blondes seem to have more fun...more jobs, more dates, and more friends.

And Sephardics are favored over Ashkenazim. It will never end.

I blame DNA.

pduggie said...

I wonder if the study didn't actually find "Whites" with afrocentric features, but just noted that the most afro-centric looking black people got the wort sentences.

chickelit said...

pduggie said...
I wonder if the study didn't actually find "Whites" with afrocentric features, but just noted that the most afro-centric looking black people got the wort sentences.

But this would contradict the original fact that blacks and whites were treated equally.

There is something amiss with this study.

Paco Wové said...

I suggest reading the study (). Actually, taking the study at face value, "whites with afrocentric features" got disproportionately longer sentances.

Paco Wové said...

God damn it. LINK.

gadfly said...

There exists the so-called "Skin Color Paradox" that is beyond black vs white.

Wiki says:The light to dark hierarchy within the African American race is one that has existed since the time of slavery, but its problems and consequences are still very evident and lead to various stereotypes. Darker skinned blacks are more likely to have negative relationships with the police, less likely to have higher education or income levels, and less likely to hold public office. Darker skinned people are also considered less intelligent, less desirable in women mostly, and are overall seen as inferior to lighter-skinned people.

So this afro-centric, euro-centric study by Professor Irene Blair somehow ignores what is already known about a universal bias against darker skin - but we can say she confirmed it.

rcocean said...

(1) Blacks and whites received the same overall sentence
(2) However, Blacks with more Afro-centric faces higher sentences
Logically then:
(3) Whites with MORE Afro-centric faces must have also received higher sentences.

I think we've found a new group facing discrimination: Whites who look black.

chrisnavin.com said...

I absolutely trust this kind of research probably got someone tenure, and will absolutely lead to wonderful social thought, position papers, public policy and laws.



David Davenport said...

"techniques like meditation are helpful to free and expand the conscious mind."

Q. Why do hippies tend to wear headbands?

A. To symbolically restrain their minds from expanding so much that they blow out, never to come back down.

gadfly said...

I found this post in a Chinese blog (scroll to bottom) discussing the theory that Chinese discriminate based on skin tones, but the showcase was this American Classic:

I know that in the past, blacks in America categorized, labeled and otherwise discriminated against one another based on the shade of their skin color and texture of their hair.

If you're white, you're alright.
If you're black, get back.
If you're brown, stick around.
If you're yellow, you're mellow.
If you're red, you're already dead If you're Black - get back!
If you're white - you alright

If you're Black - get back!
If you're white - you alright

If you're Brown - stick around
If you're Yellow - you must one mellow fellow!

I don't want nuthin' black - but a Cadillac.

This is the one that I most often heard while growing up. African in American popular expressions of color. If you're Black - get back! Stratification circa 1940.

David Davenport said...

How about this:

The Northern Euro-centric visage to purely Semitic hierarchy within the ... race is one that has existed since the time of the Roman Empire, but its problems and consequences are still very evident and lead to various stereotypes.

Rusty said...

A thesis looking for a phd.

The Godfather said...

Dear Chip S re your comment at 5:33 pm:

I apologize for not realizing that your previous, 5:00 pm, comment definitively ended the discussion.

I still wonder, though, what we should call facial features that (according to the study) cause observers to react in such a negative way. "Ugly" seems so apt ("morally offensive or objectionable"; "surly, quarrelsome").

pduggie said...

I just am surprised the study doesn't include any representative pictures.

and an "Afrocentric" feature is defined in a footnote as including "dark skin"

Whites with dark skin and broad noses? I'm not saying they don't exist, but can I have a picture?

Franklin said...

Which of the authors was a "Yalie coed"?

The author of the study.

pduggie said...

Ok some interesting things from the study

1. Blacks were rated as being "afrocentric" on 1-9 scale with an average score of 5.92

Whites were rated as being afrocentric with an average of 3.33

so the whites aren't that afrocentric. What was the highest afrocentric score for a white? Doesn't say.

I also cant' find these alleged people in images anywhere. One site had "white celebs who look black" and counted some maori and indian people as such. I know Indians are 'caucasians' but still.

Rhett F. Butler said...

So here is what it looks like to me: the researcher sets out to prove the racism he/she just knows is there, but the results don't give the desired results. No problem, we will just change and refine the criteria until WHALLA!, there it is- racism.

Like the old song says: "What the fool believes, he sees. And no wise man has the power to reason away what the fool believes."

Jeff