Saturday, May 18, 2013

C'mon, Ref!

"If black and white people truly are equal on a bone-deep level, then the game might really be rigged, and we might actually have to do something about it."
Ta-Nehisi Coates "The Social Construction of Race"
The If-Then statement that Mr. Coates makes is flawed. Whether or not the game is rigged has nothing to do with whether or not "black and white people truly are equal on a bone-deep level." These two considerations are independent of one another. And visible evidence of a game being rigged is different from the rigging itself, to the degree that one may exist in the absence of the other.

To use a sporting analogy, just because the local college team is not likely to be as talented as the national Olympic team doesn't stop me from rigging the game to ensure the Olympians win. That rigging may not have been required, and the difference in skill levels may make it hard to detect, but the fact that the Olympians are better players doesn't mean that the game is fair. So rather than searching for proof of equality as a means of detecting cheating, we should concern ourselves with looking directly for the evidence of rigging - as whether or not any two groups are equal under normal circumstances, a group that was help back due to an unlevel laying field will do better once that impediment is removed.

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