Facts are Cool
After reading John Scalzi’s post on SWM being the lowest difficulty setting in the game of life, and then reading the 800+ comments, I figured I’d join the crowd who decided to write a response. So I’ve dug up some information for those commenters who seemed to completely lose their minds…
I’ve done my best to find reliable, objective sources for all of the following information. Like Scalzi’s post, the following is focused on the United States, though the trends certainly aren’t exclusive to the U.S.
“[B]lack males receive [prison] sentences that are approximately 10% longer than comparable white males with those at the top of the sentencing distribution facing even larger disparities.” –Racial Disparity in Federal Criminal Charging and Its Sentencing Consequences, 2012.
“The ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings was 77.0 for full-time, year-round workers in 2009 … African American women earned on average only 61.9 cents for every dollar earned by white men, and Hispanic women earned only 52.9 cents for each dollar earned by white men.” –The Gender Wage Gap: 2009.
Poverty rates in 2009, from Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States (2009).
- For non-Hispanic Whites: 9.4%
- For Asians: 12.5%
- For Blacks: 25.3%
Hate Crimes in 2010, from the U. S. Department of Justice Hate Crime Statistics.
- Race: 69.8% were motivated by anti-black bias, compared to 18.2% that stemmed from anti-white bias.
- Religion: 65.4% were anti-Jewish and 13.2% were anti-Islamic.
At birth, the average life expectancy of a white baby in the United States is four years longer than the average life expectancy of a black baby. -U. S. Census Bureau, Life Expectancy by Sex, Age, and Race: 2008.
“30.4% of Hispanics, 17% of blacks, and 9.9% of whites do not have health insurance.” –Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Nearly 1 in 5 women in the United States has been raped in her lifetime (18.3%) … Approximately 1 in 71 men in the United States (1.4%) reported having been raped in his lifetime.” –National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2010).
“Nearly 1 in 2 women (44.6%) and 1 in 5 men (22.2%) experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives.” –National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2010).
Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth “are nearly one and a half to seven times more likely than non-LGB youth to have reported attempting suicide.” –Suicide Risk and Prevention for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth (2008).
39.3% of white first-time, full-time college students complete a degree within four years, compared to 20.4% of black students, 26.4% of Hispanic students, 42.8% of Asian/Pacific Islander students, and 18.8% for Native American students. –National Center for Education Statistics (2010).
The event dropout rate for white high school students in 2007-2008 was 2.8%, compared to 6.7% for black students, 6.0% for Hispanic, 2.4% for Asian/Pacific Islander, and 7.3% for Native American students. –National Center for Education Statistics.
U.S. population vs. representation in Congress. “In the total population, whites make up 66.0%, Hispanics are 15.1%, Blacks are 12.8%, APIA (Asian and Pacific Islander American) are 5.1%, and AIAN (American Indians and Alaskan Natives) are 1.2%. In Congress, whites make up 85.8%, Hispanics are 5.8%, Blacks are 7.5%, APIA are 1.7%, and AIAN are 0.2%. Men are 49% of the total population, while women are 51%. In Congress, men are 82% and women are 18%.” -Ragini Kathail, Race, Gender, and the US Congress (2009).
There are only four openly gay/lesbian members of Congress (0.7%). –Congress gets 4th openly gay member (2011).
I could go on, but this seems like enough to present a glimpse of the playing field.
Now, if you say, “I don’t care about race/gender/orientation. I only look at the individual!” these are some of the things you’re looking away from.
If you say, “Why are you attacking straight white men?” then let me reiterate that I’m presenting facts and research. Are you suggesting that reality is attacking straight white men?
If you say, “But I’m a SWM and my life wasn’t easy,” I’ll tell you to take Remedial Logic. Nobody here or in Scalzi’s original post suggested otherwise.
If you say, “Women have it easier because they can use sex!” I’ll probably just ban you for being an idiot.
If you ask, “Well what do you want me to do about it?” then I’ll say I want you to be aware. I want you to recognize the problems. I want you to take some responsibility — not for historical injustices you weren’t personally a part of — but for trying to make this country better for everyone.
May 17, 2012 @ 11:29 am
Thank you, thank you….thank you.
May 17, 2012 @ 11:34 am
That last bit there is what most people can’t seem to come up with on their own. We can hope seeing it laid out so concisely will open their eyes, but I know plenty of people who wouldn’t change their minds if the proof that they were wrong was chewing on their tush.
I bought one of your books because of the male-female cover poses and I’m sure I’ll end up with the rest throughout the next year or so. Did you know “Stepsister Scheme” doesn’t have a cover on the Kindle? I felt like I was buying one of those “stripped books”. Considering the most exciting thing lately has been battling the spiders in our storage unit, it made me feel like a badass. I’m so lame 😀
May 17, 2012 @ 11:36 am
“I don’t care about race/gender/orientation. I only look at the individual!” — this is the easiest trap to fall into. Like many privileged people I see it as stupid and senseless to make judgments based on skin color, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion–and imagine that I never do it. Unfortunately, while I am free to ignore these things (or not, as I choose), the minority/gay/transgender/etc. individual is not. They will consistently be judged on these factors, and have been judged, and most likely have faced other struggles because of them. In an ideal world, we would all be like Stephen Colbert and “not see color,” but the world is not ideal, and requires us to be conscious of such things.
May 17, 2012 @ 11:37 am
Thanks for posting this, Jim. As a SWM I appreciated Scalzi’s original post as it confirmed things I already believed (and am grateful for) about my life. Then you came along an gave us actual facts to back it up. It all puts life in perspective.
May 17, 2012 @ 12:39 pm
Darn reality with its liberal bias, as Jay Lake likes to say.
May 17, 2012 @ 12:59 pm
Yup. It’s not about whether an individual person says, “I am color-blind, gender-indifferent and class-neutral. I see everyone equally and treat them as such.” First, that’s hard to do but if you can pull it off, congratulations! That still doesn’t make the rest of humanity able and willing to do the same, so please start passing on your neutrality skills to those you know, your place of business and everyone in the area when a non-neutral situation arises.
People are tribal by nature, we pidgeon-hole as a survival mechanism, and we are greedy. That makes it easier to fall back into those traps than to escape them, meaning that for some reason supposedly-simple things like “equal pay for equal jobs” still haven’t been achieved in 2012. The more we can change simple things – marriage, job equity, etc – the easier it will be to achieve traction on the harder things.
But it all requires No-Duh fights in the meantime, because even the simple things aren’t achieved yet. Though some would like to act as if they are.
May 17, 2012 @ 1:08 pm
In an ideal world, we would all be like Stephen Colbert and ‘not see color’…
I disagree. As woman who’s a member of a couple different visible and invisible minority groups, my ideal future is not that, nor is my present one where difference is solely a source of judgment and discrimination. (Or, as you suggest, “they will consistently be judged on these factors, and have been judged, and most likely have faced other struggles because of them”. Sure, that’s one very important aspect of minority experience. But it’s hardly the only one. When those in privileged positions maintain an exclusive focus on the pain of otherness, however well-meaning, they contribute to the ongoing process of othering.
Rather, differences are awesome! It’s the structural inequalities that play on difference that suck, as Jim’s marvelous array of facts helps demonstrate.
I don’t want a colorblind future, or a genderless one, or one where sexuality “doesn’t matter” (whatever that means); I do want a classless one, but I realize that’s pretty pie in the sky. I want a future where we’re all treated equally and our differences respected and acknowledged, not erased or ignored.
May 17, 2012 @ 1:24 pm
I think the last paragraph of that post is the most profound thing I’ve read all year.
May 17, 2012 @ 1:29 pm
Yeah, I was going to do a post on “if you think that discrimination ended with Obama’s presidency, think again” and do the congress (and particularly presidency) stats:
% of US population identified as Black – 12.8 % of US presidents identified as Black – 2.5
% of US population identified as Hispanic – 15.1; % of US presidents identified as Hispanic – 0.0
% of US population identified as female – 51; % of US presidents identified as female – 0.0
Still some progress to be made there, I’m thinking.
May 17, 2012 @ 1:34 pm
PS – I’m also tired of SWMs whining, post-Scalzi, “I was born poor and didn’t have the opportunities rich black people have!”. This is true, and no-one is pretending that EVERY white male has EVERYTHING easier than EVERY black one.
But remember, some of those opportunities, you might not want. Prof. Henry Gates, anyone?
May 17, 2012 @ 1:36 pm
I think it was Lucy who said, “As they say on TV, the mere fact you realize you need help indicates you’re not too far gone.” Denial, it’s not just a river in Egypt.
May 17, 2012 @ 1:37 pm
(I should qualify, I’m speaking toward the rest of the US, not at the host)
May 17, 2012 @ 1:45 pm
I apologize–I did not mean to imply that difference is no more than a source of judgment and discrimination, or that judgment and discrimination are the main aspects of minority experience. I merely wanted to highlight that it does happen, more often that anybody would like, and that it’s sometimes too easy for the rest of us to forget that.
May 17, 2012 @ 2:29 pm
I think you’ve proved an important point: It’s all in the phrasing. If you set white males as the baseline value of 1.0 and show the disparity, I see the injustice and I want to do something about it! (Granted, this is a topic that’s come up before and I’m aware of the injustice and already want to do something about it, but let’s pretend I’m coming to this topic completely neutral.) So you’ve opened a dialogue of “here is this category the reader falls into and here is how other categories receive less.” Easy peasy.
Now phrase it as “your group has it easy.” What did you just do? You made it personal. Now you’re not talking about a baseline, now you’re talking about those groups getting less but this group getting more. And for those people who have experienced hardship, that can feel unreasonable and aggressive.
His point was well intentioned, but he phrased his argument poorly.
Jim C. Hines
May 17, 2012 @ 2:31 pm
Re: the whining, yeah … there was an awful lot of misreading or not-reading-at-all going on in the comments.
Jim C. Hines
May 17, 2012 @ 2:34 pm
Stepsister is coverless on Kindle? I’m sorry. This is the first I’ve heard of that problem. I’m guessing it’s because the book is old enough that the publisher was still figuring out how to do e-books. How annoying.
Don’t underestimate the badassness of battling spiders. Some of those spiders are pretty dang tough!
May 17, 2012 @ 4:34 pm
I’ve been watching all of this with interest; interesting addition, Jim.
Oh my lord, this is horrifying — regardless of race, we can’t come up with a 50% graduation rate?
May 17, 2012 @ 4:34 pm
Hey, coding fail.
Jim C. Hines
May 17, 2012 @ 5:19 pm
Jim C. Hines
May 17, 2012 @ 5:19 pm
The numbers increase when you look at the five-year and six-year rates, but … yeah.
May 17, 2012 @ 5:22 pm
Can we do something about my tendency to comment as though I were a member of the Department of Redundancy Department? No? Alas.
May 17, 2012 @ 6:21 pm
I’ll ask the same question here that I asked there: If I can’t win, why should I play? SWMs can do anything I can do, only better and more easily because they’re playing on easy. Why shouldn’t I hit the big reset button and hope for something better the next time around?
May 17, 2012 @ 6:55 pm
Because there’s no reason to think there *will* be a next time around. This sure looks from here like the only chance you get to play this game.
If you’re so miserable that non-existence seems better than playing an unfair game, I’m damn sorry; that sucks. If you’re not that miserable, don’t throw away what may be the only chance you get, rigged or not.
May 17, 2012 @ 8:04 pm
I don’t have the numbers at my fingertips (and I’m supposed to be packing, so I don’t have time to look them up), but I remember that the unemployment numbers by race were horrifying. Even more horrifying than the unemployment numbers in general, and that’s saying something.
May 17, 2012 @ 8:49 pm
Unless a person believes in reincarnation. Then that question gets a lot muckier.
Michael Z. Williamson
May 17, 2012 @ 11:04 pm
I dislike debates like this.
I dislike debates like this because in comparison to the rest of the world, even the “poor” Americans are rich.
We should by all means work to make things even better.
We should also rejoice that we live in a nation where “poor” people can have so much food they’re obese, have roofs over their heads, schools they can attend, refrigerators, stoves and TVs (well over 99% of Americans).
Also, “poverty” is now defined in the US as a fixed bottom percentage, meaning it will never go away.
And ANY invocation of white privilege is an admission of failure. If you’re equal to a white male, then what’s the problem? (HINT: what color is the current president? Who voted for him?) Otherwise, you’re effectively claiming to be inferior and begging some social superior to fix the problem for you.
I am not your superior and don’t want to be treated as such.
(Generic “You.” I am not accusing Jim of this, but it is a not uncommon refrain.)
http://www.michaelzwilliamson.com/blog/item/you-keep-using-that-word–i-do-not-think-it-means-what-you-think-it-means This is my perspective on what poverty is, for those who care to read it.
Michael Z. Williamson
May 17, 2012 @ 11:07 pm
That’s because the Education Industrial Complex (run in large part on taxpayer money) has to keep recruiting more students who really don’t need degrees to get degrees that won’t really help them in order to keep all that lovely money flowing in for important things like football stadia and grants for studies on where the government might save money.
Sorry, does that sound snarky?
Michael Z. Williamson
May 17, 2012 @ 11:10 pm
Sorry, I seem to have conflated two blogs and posted a somewhat tangential response.
May 18, 2012 @ 2:27 pm
“If you say, “But I’m a SWM and my life wasn’t easy,” I’ll tell you to take Remedial Logic. Nobody here or in Scalzi’s original post suggested otherwise.”
I understand that you’re not suggesting that everything is easy for white guys nor was the original article, but there are a lot of people who do. I’m not going to air a list of challenges I’ve had or unfortunate perceptions people have leveled at me because I’m a white guy. This isn’t Festivus and no one needs or wants a pissing contest. But seriously, there *are* a lot of people who think my life is roses and rainbows because I’m a white guy so the automatic response is to often bristle and throw down a defensive “You know nothing about me.”
I think everyone rational can agree that the world has a long way to go, but there is a fine line between having a productive discussion and getting accusatory. Again, I don’t think that’s the case here but it’s a reason why white guys tend to bristle about this topic and need to take a breath before saying anything stupid that makes everything worse =P Whenever this kind of thing shows up,
Also, I agree that you’re closing statements are very insightful. Understand and learn from the past, but don’t dwell on it, focus on making things better in the here, now and future. I think if more people can take on an attitude like that, the world will go a long ways towards getting better.
May 18, 2012 @ 2:33 pm
It sounds snarky but it’s completely true. I had to plan very carefully from day one to get my degree in 4 years. This is almost ten years ago now, but most of my friends rolled into Super Senior years because my school made it more and more difficult every year to get all the classes and requirements done on time. This perfectly coincided with the state of New Hampshire having more and more budgetary problems. So whitest state in the country (at the time, VT edged it out on last census) was rocking maybe a 30% on time rate.
“So What if Privilege is the Lowest Difficulty Setting?” A Response to Scalzi’s Post | Dr. Sheila Addison
May 18, 2012 @ 8:45 pm
[…] the 101-level topic of “what is privilege?” because there are resources for [making it unnecessary to do] that. (Links kept to four because honestly, I have 141 items on Delicious tagged […]
May 22, 2012 @ 5:29 pm
I love this post — I think the biggest thing Scalzi’s article was lacking was facts. His was all editorial with nothing really backing up. You’ve provided the back-up.
My only complaint is that about half of these statistics seem to be the effects of “playing on harder difficulty settings”. For example, poverty rates, attempted suicide rate, lack of health insurance. There are deeper rooted reasons for these (as a result of not being a SWM).
But others, like prison sentence length, percentage of rape and sexual victimization, lack of representation in Congress, are most telling.
The angle I’m trying to take on interpreting this (and explaining to others) is someone entering the Game of Life, and what they can expect to encounter at different difficulty levels.
David A. W.
May 23, 2012 @ 3:00 pm
Certainly the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you; if you don’t bet you can’t win
— From the Notebooks of Lazarus Long
Dark Matter Fanzine
May 23, 2012 @ 3:10 pm
At the risk of sounding like an echo: thank you. Well researched, well put together. I’d like to see the statistics for disability put into the mix: it’s a fact that if you’re a woman and disabled, you’re much less likely than a disabled man to have a job.
And then there is the hierarchy of disabilities as well…
May 23, 2012 @ 3:22 pm
Here is another link: Also minority children face harsher punishments in school. This has to do with Scalzi’s contention that school and advancement is easier for white children, which it is. We get more “do-overs” than other children, especially black children.
May 23, 2012 @ 3:28 pm
You’re cherrypicking. This chart says everything you need to know about the “difficulty mode” of our society:
Asians make more money than white people.
Jim C. Hines
May 23, 2012 @ 3:32 pm
Oh, good. I guess that nullifies all the points everyone else has brought up. Thanks!
May 23, 2012 @ 4:35 pm
I don’t disagree with Mr. Scalzi’s point – I thought his metaphor was clever and inventive. And I applaud your expansion of the argument into the realms of the more concrete.
However, some of the facts you cite have been debunked (or, more charitably, shown to be unsupportive of the broader argument when viewed in context) to the point where introducing them will just give rise to more “AHA! Obviously you are citing these KNOWN FRAUDS because your argument is simply FRAUDULENT!” type rejoinders, which are fun to read but tend to just make everyone more frustrated.
Jim C. Hines
May 23, 2012 @ 4:48 pm
May 23, 2012 @ 4:52 pm
Median data is kind of useless without standard deviation and min/max to give the average some context.
May 23, 2012 @ 7:12 pm
Yeah, I may be in a demographic, but I am not that demographic. A nit-picky yet important distinction. Although, if this stuff doesn’t become personal it becomes too easy to disassociate from the issue and see it as somebody else’s problem.
May 23, 2012 @ 9:34 pm
“This study leads to the unambiguous conclusion that the differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and that the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.”
May 23, 2012 @ 9:45 pm
Sorry, somehow that got posted as a new post instead of a reply.
That was an example, so you know I’m not just making this up. However, I’m not particularly interested in debating particular points. All I’m asking is that everybody, on both sides, look into their claims. The more outrageous and one-sided a claim seems to be, the more carefully it should. E examined before being introduced as supporting evidence. Otherwise, as I said, people on the other side will seize on said outrageous and one sided claims as evidence that you are being purposefully deceptive when at worst your fault is inadequate fact-checking.
May 23, 2012 @ 9:53 pm
ten seconds on google later…
May 24, 2012 @ 1:30 am
As a privileged white male, I’d like to affirm the difficulty setting observation. I am 33 yrs old and as I’ve matured a bit I’ve started to come more to terms with reality as it is, not as I wish it were. I have noticed that I do receive a certain amount of possibly unearned respect from society, generally speaking. It is subtle, but it is quite nice. I don’t want that to change for me, but I do wish everyone who is not on the easy setting could be treated with the same respect. Pervasive, entrenched institutions take a long time to change without bloodshed and chaos though.
May 24, 2012 @ 1:48 am
That may actually be backwards (i.e., NH’s policies exacerbated its budgetary problems rather than being a scheme to fix them). I don’t know about New Hampshire specifically, but most state post-secondary education systems run at a loss for each student served.
May 24, 2012 @ 11:56 am
In keeping with that point(the EIC and tuition), the universities also keep front-loading the classes with remedial classes that actual college-ready students wouldn’t need. But the EIC promotes college for EVERYONE, regardless of aptitude or necessity. And there are so many administrative requirements on the teachers (and a truncated school day for the students) that no one can teach those kids what they need to succeed in college, especially because they don’t particularly want/aren’t able/aren’t safe enough to learn it. So we end up wasting at least a semester on things that should have been learned in high school. And then, there is so much that needs to be imparted that the class scheduling is tight for 4 years.
I wonder how many schools still schedule 24 credit hours per year like my school did way back when I first went? I bet it’s at least 30 per year nowadays.
May 24, 2012 @ 12:35 pm
Very interesting statistics. Looking at them, I think these represent two broad categories, which I would label “causal” statistics and “symptomatic” statistics.
The causal statistics I think would include those related to crime, sentencing, wages and life-expectancy. These things actually CAUSE harder lives for non-SWMs.
The symptomatic statistics I think would include those related to graduation/dropping out, health care coverage and congressional representation. These are EFFECTS of harder lives for non-SWMs.
(To be clear, I’m making very broad statements. All of these statistics probably bleed somewhat into both of these categories. For example, fewer congressional representatives is probably as much causal as symptomatic, but I put it under symptomatic because very few people aspire to run for congress to begin with, and likely many non-SWMs are discouraged BECAUSE it’s a higher bar for them to jump over.)
Both of these types of statistics are important, but I think they are important for different reasons.
The Causal statistics show us how we can make lives better for non-SWMS. For example, we can make lives better by identifying why black males receive longer prison sentences, why women get lower wages and are raped more, and why overall life expectancy is lower for minorities.
The Symptomatic statistics show us how well the changes we make are working. People are more likely to graduate or afford health care coverage if they’re not worried about spending their time in jail, working for lower wages or getting raped.
Good stuff. Keep the conversation going.
May 24, 2012 @ 6:40 pm
Post-Highschool training is needed desperately for several reasons, whether or not someone ends up going to a college or university. Note that a degree is required even for jobs like ‘manager at McDonalds” … and that even trades need more training and skill than you can get coming out of a highschool, even with apprenticeships and such.
But let’s look at what you said there…
The requirement for remedial classes that actual college-ready student’s wouldn’t need.
The content of most of those classes is “basic competency” that I would expect to find in a high school graduate.
Seriously? The problem has been the fixes imposed by people who don’t really understand why the educational system was having trouble in the first place, but were convinced that they did. These fixes actually prevent real learning.
Until we address the real problems, we won’t “fix” the problem, and remedial courses will continue to be necessary. The trick is to identify the “real problems”.
May 25, 2012 @ 3:54 am
Facts are wonderful, but sometimes they depend on how you choose to look at them. When I read John’s original post I didn’t originally disagree. I wasn’t sold on him being right either. After reading it, the comments, the follow-up posts, and now your post I think my biggest issue with the analogy and what it is trying to convey is that it comes across (to me at least) as hinging on those 3 variables. Sure, John was clear that other factors do matter and can matter a lot, but I read it as a “if everything else were equal” argument. That if you could effectively take twins where one was a SWM and the other wasn’t and given a large enough sample size, that you would see the disparity. To that, I’m inclined to disagree and say that the variance would smaller than the chance of error.
Using the facts you posted, consider life expectancy. You rightly shared that a Black child is expected to live 4 less years than a White child. Fair enough. I trust that data. However if you look at the data and order up the 4 possible race/sex groups, white males place 3rd in the list. Both black and white women are expected to live longer. In fact, women are expected to live 5 years longer.
You point to the CDC study on races and their health insurance coverage. I don’t have data to back it up, but dollars to donuts the disparity has less to do with race and more to do with employment and levels of poverty. Keeping everything else equal, I’m inclined to believe the numbers would be much more similar.
I completely agree that race, sex, and sexual-orientation influence the “difficulty mode” for life, but what I’m not convinced of is that they are the key influences. In some areas, they absolutely are, but in the big picture I’m not so sure. If we were to list out as many factors as we could, that included wealth, location, background, family, religion, …. would race, sex, and orientation be the top three? I don’t think so. I’d put wealth and upbringing above all 3 of them for starters.
Perhaps John didn’t mean for it to be though of as an “all other variables being equal” sort of mental exercise, but from many of the comments that take issue with his posting, I think it’s clear that others also read it that way. If we’re just ignoring all of the other variables the I agree with him 100%.
May 25, 2012 @ 8:36 pm
Facts ARE cool. How you select the facts, however, is important.
You cite the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Having actually read the survey, I know a few interesting things about it. You cite it to imply that the lifetime risk of rape for women is more than 10 times higher, and the rate for other sexual violence is also higher for women, though not as drastically.
If you actually examine the data, though, the story is a little bit more complicated. Take a look at how the report defines rape. The definition only includes cases where the victim is penetrated. In other words, the “default” penis in vagina mode of sexual intercourse is rape if the women is forced by the man, but not if the men is forced by the women. Minimization, under-reporting, and under-tracking of male sexual assault victims, especially men victimized by women, is a serious problem. Fortunately, the CDC tracks “made to penetrate” assaults, which uses the same criteria of force as “rape”, but tracks assaults where the victim is forced to penetrate the attacker. If you combine those catagories, the lifetime risk for women is essentially the same, but the lifetime risk for men almost quadruples. The situation, then, is not nearly as skewed as you suggest.
It gets even more interesting if you look at the data on recent assaults, rather than just the lifetime data that you reported. If you include the “made to penetrate” assaults the 12-month risk of rape reported in the study was EXACTLY THE SAME for men and women, and the total rate of sexual assault was fairly close (6.7% for women, 5.3% for men). So, as to what life is like for men and women NOW, as opposed to historically, the difference is far less clear.
And the survey did not cover institutionalized people. Far more men than women are in prison, though other studies show that, on a per-prisoner basis, female prisoners are more likely to be assaulted than males. And, of course, examining incarceration rates will put a nice emphasis on how important it is to be white (especially if you happen to be male).
Don’t get me wrong. SWMs do have it pretty good (and so do SWFs, at that). But let’s be clear and honest, here.
May 26, 2012 @ 2:38 pm
As a small personal example of control and experiment, I have experienced a home appraisal as a woman that was $40,000 lower than an appraisal for the same house less than 5 months later after my legal transition to male. Granted, this was during the beginning of the housing boom, but I live in a small, rural and somewhat impoverished county in the southwest that did not experience a great boom in housing during the bubble. Plus now I find that, well, people pay attention when I speak. They may not necessarily agree, but they listen, whereas previously my comments were ignored. This is an observation of a situation I hadn’t really expected, but have to admit I am delighted about. It’s a grand thing, to be listened to.
Jim C. Hines
May 26, 2012 @ 4:12 pm
Definitely good when people listen to you. But it’s rather disgusting that this isn’t the default for everyone.
It’s something I think about a fair amount when I’m blogging. Some of the things I write about have been said before, but because of who I am, people are often more likely to listen.
Weekend Reading « Backslash Scott Thoughts
May 27, 2012 @ 9:53 am
May 27, 2012 @ 5:52 pm
But Scalzi didn’t write that white males had it easy. He explicitly wrote that being a white male didn’t guarantee an easy time of it. What he wrote was they (including myself) have it easier. Which, according to you, is what he should have written.
May 27, 2012 @ 6:32 pm
And let us not forget to consider how the number of people in the household has an impact as well as the number of household members bringing in income.
May 27, 2012 @ 9:12 pm
Because it cannot be posted often enough: Tim Wise, The Pathology Of White Privilege: http://youtu.be/Y2mjvFNOwmc
Explains and debunks a lot of the issues discussed
May 28, 2012 @ 4:18 am
White men are the most successful? Case closed I guess. I’m not sure why that means the New York Yankees are in some way responsible for last place teams. The Yankees play, the last place team plays, it’s not a conspiracy of privilege, but of talent. The fact that the president of the SFWA and a fantasy writer can believe in such stuff as white privilege is a sure sign fantastic literature is starting to fall back into itself. Even a science fiction story would fall if it tried to use white privilege as a plot. It’s showing a thing by its shadow rather than the thing itself. It’s an interesting theory that someone outside the justice system “knows” that judges from coast to coast are unwitting racists while those at a distance can call up decontextualized statistics and see these people better than they can see themselves. Now that’s privilege.
Epic Bliss » Blog Archive » Die niedrigste Schwierigkeitsstufe
May 28, 2012 @ 7:42 am
[…] das ausgesucht zu haben. Aber es ist nun einmal so. Hier ist noch ein Artikel von Jim. C. Hines, der auf weitere Ungleichheiten eingeht, er bezieht sich zwar auf die USA, aber ich denke, vieles trifft so oder so ähnlich auch auf […]
May 28, 2012 @ 10:35 am
Wise is a glib racist, a clever con man. He is full of circular and self-sealing arguments such as explaining that white literature isn’t called “white” because it doesn’t have to be. Therefore people who show no interest in such a thing are dragged into racial privilege and supremacy, Wise’s favorite topic.
May 28, 2012 @ 10:46 am
White privilege is a crock of racist nonsense. If racism is a language, the theory of white privilege is racist. You can’t prove people are racist using statistics – you have to build a much larger case. That case can’t be built – that’s why no essays, websites or other actual philosophies are invoked – they’re not there. It’s all unconscious and unwitting. That’s not how Jews got into camps.
You can’t Sudetenize culture into making it seem like the deck is stacked racially. And when did white privilege stop – in 1965 when white men stopped cheating? Did Cortes and the East India Company benefit from white privilege? Why does white privilege completely ignore value systems that emerge from racial huddling even as the bizarre theory acknowledges racial huddling exists? That’s because it has to. In the world of white privilege, all baseball teams would finish with identical won-loss records. If not, the winners are somehow cheating or benefiting from cheating. In fact, some teams are better than others. The politically correct literally believe all men are created equal – that’s because they don’t move among the very cultures they defend.
Jim C. Hines
May 28, 2012 @ 10:50 am
You’ve twice invoked your baseball metaphor to suggest that it’s not about privilege, it’s about talent.
If you’d like to explain the discrepancies I posted by saying white men are just more talented/skilled/whatever, could you please just come out and say it instead of hiding behind rather nonsensical baseball analogies?
May 28, 2012 @ 10:51 am
If I brought up statistics that showed whites in community colleges that are 50% black take the “easy” nursing classes and stay out of the “hard” html and photoshop classes I’d be blasted as a racist. White privilege is racist voodoo – you only have to replace the word “white” with the word “jew” to see how much.
May 28, 2012 @ 10:55 am
Prof. Gates runs a website that is little more than a hate speech-lite version of Stormfront – anyone who’s ever read The Root knows this is true. The Root is obsessed with race. It has mainstream ads and the participation of mainstream celebrities. There is not one equivalent “white culture” site in the United States. To make the Orwellian argument that the rest of the country already is white is to suggest it’s that way because of a similar de facto obsession with race. It’s nuts.
May 28, 2012 @ 10:58 am
In other words, the less you think about race the more you enable racism. A glib child or con man’s argument that amounts to nothing more than semantic and intellectual gibberish to make a clever point. In fact it’s not clever, but brutally stupid.
May 28, 2012 @ 11:17 am
Fantastic literature has a history of showing us how to escape perceptual traps by showing us ourselves from different angles, coming at us from our blind side so we may learn to get past our biases.
E.M. Forester did this with The Machine Stops (1909) and Orwell with “1984.” On a pop culture level. E.C. Comics did it in the early ’50s with Judgment Day and the original Star Trek with Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.
To see writers from such a legacy fall into perceptual traps like white privilege which is the exact opposite of the latter two examples on race is disheartening to say the least. To me it shows how dangerous and mindless political correctness is. To me it shows people who don’t really know history beyond decontextualized versions that simply state white people all over America lynched black people and had picnics while doing it and that slavery and Jim Crow were extremely popular with whites.
It shows people who have a faith-based view of other countries they’ve never been to and the reason why they fail or succeed. The entire lens through which the world is seen is thus seen through something adherents of white privilege profess to detest, a lens of race, while indulging in that lens wholesale themselves and in fact arguing that those who don’t are in fact the guilty ones.
I can’t imagine a better example of pure doublethink. Go backpack around the world before making such assertions and then visit Adult Detention Centers and see who’s in there and why. You can’t see it from a knowing keyboard and sheer intellect and a smug sense of taking the moral high ground. By an amazing coincidence, the people writing are immune to the perceptual trap that professes white privilege is for others to be unconscious of. In fact, they themselves are so deep in that trap they probably can’t escape it. The insane theory of white privilege is like a black hole no one can escape from – case close, argument over. It precludes and locks out any other possible sources of success and failure, and indeed not only turns those concepts upside down, but distributes morality according to gender, skin and gender preference. It’s hard to speak the language of bigotry better than that.
They say Wagner wrote great music but I think that for writers who consider themselves artists it’s artistic suicide to cozen such obvious voodoo as white privilege.
May 28, 2012 @ 11:24 am
[Removed for repetitiveness and name-calling. -JCH]
Jim C. Hines
May 28, 2012 @ 11:24 am
I have no problem with you coming here to disagree or try to make your point. But you’re getting repetitive and rather long-winded, and seem to be ignoring or belittling a lot of the conversation. I’ll be screening further comments from you. If you have something new to contribute, fine. If not, please consider using your own blog as a platform for whatever points you’re trying to make.
May 28, 2012 @ 11:36 am
[Removed by the Department of Redundancy Department. -JCH]
May 28, 2012 @ 5:24 pm
[Removed for violating Godwin’s Law, though I’ll give partial credit for not directly naming Hitler. -JCH]
May 29, 2012 @ 9:50 am
>>Go backpack around the world before making such assertions and then visit Adult Detention Centers and see who’s in there and why.<<
My wife has done both these–the former in Europe and the latter since becoming involved in the criminal justice field several years ago. She, white, hadn’t actually believed in white privilege until doing those things.
May 29, 2012 @ 8:31 pm
If you believe in reincarnation, you understand that if you “restart” the game, you’re only going to come up with similar challenges until your soul progresses. (In fact, there’s argument for a karmic debt being incurred by the damage you do to others when you reboot. You think credit card debt is hard to shake…)
How the Game is Gamed
May 30, 2012 @ 4:00 pm
[…] Facts are Cool by
June 3, 2012 @ 9:12 pm
The professional baseball analogy fails because, contra Bull Durham, life is mostly not like baseball.
Professional baseball employs extremely highly paid people for short careers, based largely on innate physical talent, in a system of predictable and constant cycling of new players, under constant evaluation and media scrutiny, and with transparent and un-fake-able metrics of success.
(And even so, baseball _was_ all-white, until Jackie Robinson came along. And even then, it was a slog for a while.)
But yes, these days, a Black or Latino player who hits .350 and has pop will get a starting job on the team. Sure.
Now, look at your average bank teller or accountant or mail carrier or police officer or realtor or car salesperson or whatever else. In how many ways is that job like (and unlike) baseball?
1. The average professional baseball career lasts 5 years. 5! That allows for an incredible amount of shuffling the deck. Since Jackie Robinson in 1947, we have had 13 generations (!) of the average player’s career. And so, status quo problems have had a lot of time to work their way out of the system.
If the average banker or lawyer or cop or teacher has a 30 year career (and many have much longer!), we haven’t even had 2 full generations of career change since the 1964 Act.
2. Baseball skills are strongly correlated with raw physical ability. Yes, some amount of education and training is needed. But a player’s “tools” are the driving force. If someone doesn’t have the eye-hand coordination to hit a fastball, no amount of education will put them on a team. (Cf. the old saying in basketball, that “you can’t coach height.”)
This is also unusual compared with the overall job market, where most jobs require education and networking. Some also require physical components (e.g., fire fighters), but education is the key to working in most sectors in today’s society.
3. Baseball has a predictable cycle of new people in, every single year. There will always be baseball jobs open. If some 17-year-old from Venezuela can hit, there is always a place for him.
4. Professional baseball hiring is under the microscope, all the time. If there’s residual racism that’s causing some general manager not to hire Latino players, for instance, it is likely to be noticed. There is a ton of press covering all of the ups and downs.
Again, unlike almost every other workplace in America, where a single highly placed manager can prevent Blacks/women/gay and lesbian people/whoever from working there, almost indefinitely.
5. Possibly most important (other than the turnover time), baseball players can be easily evaluated on agreed-upon, un-fake-able metrics. We _know_ how good a player Derek Jeter or Sandy Koufax is. We have stat geeks who obsess over their metrics and can tell with perfect certainty whether Ichiro is striking out too much or whatever else.
Again, like very few other jobs in America. Yes, many jobs have evaluation processes. They tend to be fuzzy and soft and subjective. Or to have basic thresholds of acceptability, beyond which it’s all okay. And while there’s been some shift towards more objective job evaluations in some fields, we largely remain a society where people get jobs and keep jobs through soft avenues (friends, networks, someone who knows someone) and subjective measurements (the office interview) significantly more than by objective statistical evaluation.
Which is, again, completely unlike baseball.
Huh. It turns out that life doesn’t always mirror professional baseball, does it?
June 5, 2012 @ 8:59 pm
Which year of the National Intimate Partner Violence Survey are you citing? Because one year, they removed all mention of sexual assault from the definitions, because it ‘skewed’ the results toward women. There were other problems with methodology. It’s been greatly misused and mis cited.
And the 12-month risk rate is not at all the same. You’re citing percentages as equal, when in fact, first, what percentage of men are raped, and what percentage of them are raped by women and then what percentage of that percentage are made to penetrate?
Far more men are in prison than women because far more men than women commit crimes than do women. The US prison population, now, is two million. (Give or take.) The US population as a whole is inching toward four hundred million. Approximately half of that population is female. One in four of those females will be raped in her lifetime, in addition to harassment, sexism, street harassment, and all kinds of other things on the sexual assault continuum. Some women, in fact, get raped more than once. So, no, the rates aren’t ‘nearly equal’.
June 17, 2012 @ 6:25 pm
Not to take away from Jim has written here, b/c it is awesome truthiness–however, if that is actually the case for you Bill, I highly suggest you add some social justice & blogs written by W/POC to your blogroll/feeder/reader
July 9, 2012 @ 1:15 pm
Thanks for a fantastic addition to Scalzi’s fantastic post.
The point you’re making first crystallized for me when I got the tenth reunion book for my law school class. At the end of the book was a list of our nine classmates who had died since graduation. Of the nine, four were African-American gay men. I can assure you that four-in-nine was not a statistically representative sample of our class. It hit me then like a smack in the face: driving while black will get you arrested, but walking around while black, male and gay will get you dead, even if you’re an Ivy League law school graduate.
July 12, 2012 @ 1:40 pm
Nursing is easy?
July 14, 2012 @ 3:35 am
At the risk of feeding the troll — this comment only makes sense if you think that racism/sexism are solely the products of explicit, overt motivations. I.e., a person can only be racist if their overriding motivation is to be racist, such as when burning a cross perhaps. Under this definition, nobody but Nazis and Klan people are racist, everyone else is just following the best path to their own self-interested goals, and sometimes that could have the appearance of racially-biased motivation, but actually none exists.
A lot of things could be said about this line of thinking. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that only people largely unaffected by race issues make this sort of claim.
July 14, 2012 @ 3:48 am
So, either it is like a mini-Stormfront or there is not an analagous site run for white people, but not both. That is even if we accept your comparison in the first place. Also, as might have been pointed out elsewhere: much of American culture is driven by white people already, obviating the need for a specific channel highlighting white culture.
It seems that you’re upset about The Root existing, either because it is specifically targeted at people not like you, or that you feel that it reinforces racial identification (and so, is discriminatory). In both cases, it seems that you don’t want racism to exist just like anyone else here. But your specific vision of racism not existing means that black people (in this example, but it applies to all different groups) should not highlight and embrace their differences, or separately engage with each other on those differences, sice you find that racist.
They should instead seek to erase differences, and presumably you think they should close the gap by becoming more like you and not the other way around. I think it’s obvious what’s wrong with that idea.
Skepticlawyer » None so blind
August 6, 2012 @ 10:31 pm
[…] SF writer Joe Scalzi has expressed how unequal standing in society works quite nicely with his