David SimsEssays

The Important Skill That Enhances Family Safety: Racial Profiling

by David Sims

I DISAGREE with the idea that there is no reason, value, or wisdom in assuming that an individual will be closer to the average of his race (in intelligence, in behavior, and so on) than he is 1) to yourself; 2) to your race, if different than his; 3) to the average for all humankind, all races included.

I think that “racial profiling,” as an initial working assumption, with your opinion subject afterward to revision, is the right thing to do. I think that it will lead to correct judgments more often than any alternative initial assumption would.

As you live your life, you must make decisions based on incomplete information. There’s no way to avoid that necessity, yet it is important, sometimes important to the point of life or death, to make those decisions well. Or well enough. For example: Where, and among whom, will you live? Where, and among whom, will your children play and attend school?

I have a metaphor that I like to use. A certain metal canister is filled with nitrogen gas. The molecules (N₂) of that gas move within the can at speeds distributed according to what physicists call the Maxwell distribution. It’s a probability distribution that has a skew, unlike the more well-known normal distribution. The temperature of the canister will be determined by the average speed of the gas molecules, and that temperature is the criterion by which you should decide whether or not it is safe to associate yourself with the canister by walking over to it and picking it up in your bare hands. Although it is a statistical certainty that some of the molecules of nitrogen in the canister are moving only slowly, the canister itself might nevertheless be too hot to handle.

Were all of the nitrogen molecules in the canister behaving like the slow molecules were behaving, then the temperature of the canister would be lower and it would be safe to touch. But that isn’t how things really work.

Likewise, it doesn’t matter how many Blacks in a Black neighborhood would never dream of robbing you, or raping your daughter, or stabbing your wife sixteen times with a butcher knife. What does matter is how many of them would do such things, given a chance. You (and everyone else) conducts a rational assessment of the danger of being harmed by Blacks by assessing the relevant data. By racial profiling.

And it works. As a result, you and your family are safer, less likely to be harmed, because you have decided that you and they should avoid a lot of contact with ordinary, common, unfiltered-for-media-purposes Blacks. You have made use of the same common sense principle that also causes you to avoid touching metal canisters full of hot nitrogen gas.

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Franklin Ryckaert
Franklin Ryckaert
1 October, 2018 2:49 am

Racial profiling is simply risk profiling, which is always necessary for survival.