FiveThirtyEight ran the piece “Here’s What Happens When You Ban Affirmative Action In College Admissions” that ran some dicey stats.
Affirmative Action is, as all know, the practice of rewarding somebody for some physical characteristic but where the physical characteristic is beside the point. Implementing it always leads to quotas and to officially sponsored racism. This is always an irony because AA was meant to be the cure of racism. That instead of a cure it is corrosively iatrogenic is never recognized or acknowledged by those pushing it.
Some people do recognize it, however, which is why there have been many lawsuits seeking to ban it, and there will be many more. The Supreme (as they call it) Court is on new case: you can go to FiveThirtyEight and read about it.
One thing AA supporters often claim is that AA doesn’t lead to quotas. Now this is always nonsensical because that is exactly precisely what AA is: mandatory quotas. Don’t believe me, believe 538.
FiveThirtyEight was concerned that officially sponsored racism would be removed by banning AA, and that this removal would “hurt black enrollment”. They produced the figure at the top of this post (which I left in color) as proof of that claim.
It shows the percent of blacks (of a certain age) who live in the same state as one of several colleges by the percent of blacks who are undergraduates in those colleges (they don’t say these are the same age, which is a bias). Equality demands that these points either be the same percentage, or that the latter percentage is higher, which it is (if I counted right) in 16 colleges. (Equality does not mean equal. The dashed line represents equality, not Equality.)
The other two lines are unnecessary, eye-distracting fictions. They are replacements for reality and not reality itself. Ignore them, if you can. Which you probably can’t, because the lines seems to explain the dots, which they don’t. The lines are models which in our day are keen substitutes for actuality. They are not actuality.
Boy do those lines latch on the eye and shake it about, no? Remember our many, many, many lectures about not replacing time series with fiction, i.e. smoothers and the like? Same thing applies here. We do not need a model to tell us what we already know. Models tell us what isn’t true when we know the truth. Why? Because the models aren’t the reality!
Am I getting through to anybody?
Yes, nearly everybody does what FiveThirtyEight did, including professional statisticians. To paraphrase Lina Lamont, everyone’s a dope. Everybody is wrong. Never do this. The dashed line is harmless enough, because it represents a reality, which is where the points would align if equality (not Equality) held. But the other lines are nothing.
Anyway, that’s one error, and in the context a small one. The major one was to use these models to implicitly demand Equality, i.e. quotas. Whether quotas are moral (I have no idea about the law) is the real question, and that question FiveThirtyEight bypassed by jumping right to data that does nothing to answer this question.
If quotas are judged immoral and harmful, those points on the graph may lie anywhere, who cares where. If quotas are judged moral, then it’s a simple matter to ensure, by strict and immediate enforcement, to push all the points north (by north west) of the proportional representation line, and so gain by fiat the desired Equality.