Friday, July 31, 2009

Once more an accusation

Being accused of racism is very annoying, more so I believe if you were brought up in the east end of London like I was. The idea that a person prejudges based on race, or even creed, is obvious and true and we all do it to some degree once we've achieved adulthood. There wasn't a prejudging bone in my body until I left school. I went to college, then university and learnt that the people I had grown up with had decided whether by their own volition, or by peer pressure, to start to conform to the racial and religious stereotypes. This upset me, but I continued to understand that people are all the same on the inside. I had a reinforcement of this view when I spoke with an old friend, now a gang leader, and we talked about the old times. What was strange was, he was telling me that I wasn't like all the other white guys, just like I remember my grandparents saying how the black man in their street wasn't like all the other black men. It made my hope that we were all the same inside a reality, and I will forever be thankful for that moment.

Religious, racial, sexual and age related intolerance is annoying, it's not the end of the world, but it is annoying. I put up with a different kind of prejudice, the prejudice of cultural authority over truth. I was accused of being a racist because I was making observations based on data that had been filtered through ethics committees much more politically correct than myself, and because the observations were negative to only specific racial groups, I was being called racist. I fear that this judgement of my racism was based on the statistical analysis being uncomfortable to witness.

Facts can lead to truths, but not always, and that's why when I'm talking about genetic variance, I always try to remember that facts can be filtered by other factors so that the truth can be misrepresented. For example, you could have said that say that on average, men were healthier than women in the 20th century, because they attended primary care less often, but the opposite has become apparent. The higher rate of male attendance at clinics instigated a study. The study into the cause of the influx. The best guess was that men just didn't want to make too much of a fuss, or couldn't get time off work to look after themselves properly in the past, and now men have become wimpier. Okay, maybe wimpier is a bad and sexist term too. I guess I'll never win.

We must be wary of statistics, they can be misused very easily, and making observations and then having refutation based on other reasoning can be a great way of reducing the likelihood of an incorrect assumption of the truth. But to condemn someone for making observations that fall into the category of racial observation as a racist is much more prejudiced. They have taken the authority of cultural acceptance of the authority of truth, and for that they stifle science. Science is not prejudiced, in fact it defines a prejudiced experiment as a failed one because it generally cannot be falsified.

I admit to using some "common truths" in some of my theories, but if we all need to back up any idea with citations and facts and figures, then we're just disallowing conversation.

Stop being so annoyingly prejudiced against the possibility of truths that are socially unacceptable.

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