Kenneth (kensmind) wrote in polloftheday,
Kenneth
kensmind
polloftheday

Prejudice and Systemic Bias

This poll comes from a lecture I heard yesterday at a conference I'm attending. A speaker was talking about ways to reduce the number of African-Americans in prisons, arguing that the system was biased. Another speaker was arguing that the reason for this has nothing to do with skin color and more about poverty. A pretty wild discussion followed, but it made me think about my biases and when a bias was justified and when it wasn't. All of which gives birth to this poll.



Imagine this scenario: in your community, 75% of the people charged with crimes are of a certain race. That race makes up only 33% of the population of that community. In your mind, which explanation best explains the over-representation of that race in criminal charges?

Members of that race are more prone to commit crimes
5(7.5%)
There is a systemic bias against that race on the part of the police and courts
9(13.4%)
Crimes are mostly committed by poor people and there's a high incidence of poverty among that race
38(56.7%)
I don't really have a strong theory among the previous three choices
9(13.4%)
I have no idea why the over-representation exists and am at a loss to explain it.
4(6.0%)
There is another explanation for this, I'll explain in a comment.
2(3.0%)

Imagine this scenario: In a given profession composed of 51% women and 49% men, the average salary of the female workers is about 80% of the average salary for a male. In your mind, which best explains this discrepancy?

The quality of the male professionals is better than the quality of the female professionals.
0(0.0%)
It's primarily because the men are more experienced and on average have been in the profession longer.
2(2.9%)
The female professionals earn less because they require more absences for maternity leave.
5(7.2%)
There is a bias in the profession against women.
51(73.9%)
I have no idea about what the best explanation is for why this salary discrepancy might exist.
10(14.5%)
There's another explanation for this, I'll comment on what it is.
1(1.4%)

Do you think some biases about certain races, sexes, or nationalities are justified?

Yes, many
3(4.3%)
Yes, a few
15(21.7%)
I'm not sure, some might be
27(39.1%)
No not at all
24(34.8%)

Select as many of the following statements as you agree with.

Girls are better at math.
0(0.0%)
Boys are better at sports
0(0.0%)
African-Americans are more likely to commit crimes
0(0.0%)
Aboriginal North Americans are more likely to become alcoholics
3(5.3%)
Persons of Asian descent are on average worse drivers than others
0(0.0%)
Persons of Asian descent are better at math than others
0(0.0%)
Men who immigrate from India or Pakistan are likely to respect women less than the general population.
1(1.8%)
Female employees are more likely to leave a job sooner than male employees
0(0.0%)
Old people tend to become senile and forgetful.
3(5.3%)
Latino-Americans are more willing than the average person to perform menial labour jobs.
0(0.0%)
A political candidate with a devout Christian background will be a better leader than one without any religious affiliation.
0(0.0%)
Homosexuals are more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexuals.
0(0.0%)
Jewish people make better lawyers
0(0.0%)
Police forces and/or fire departments should have height and weight requirements
3(5.3%)
Obese people are lazy
0(0.0%)
Some stereotypes have merit
2(3.5%)
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