I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about the disingenuous (deceptive and insincere) use of statistics. So, I made an over-simplified graphic to help illustrate why some statistics are numerically true and simultaneously misleading. The United States is roughly 76.3% White and 13.4% Black according to the 2021 census. Overlay those numbers on the graphic of a 10-person population if you’d like. My point about disingenuous use of statistics lies in the first two bulleted conclusion being factually correct while misrepresenting the impact to a population… even inverting it.
The technique of hand-picking statistics to skew a narrative is not new. Nor is it unique to a particular side of any given argument. I chose population here because it was simple, easy to imagine and this tactic is commonly applied in various racial debates.. However, this post isn’t referring to any one specific debate.
Here, I just wanted to highlight the point that we all need to view the information we’re being fed through a lens of skepticism. “Do your research” shouldn’t mean googling for supporting opinions. It should mean seeking facts, understanding how they’re being used to influence our opinions and drawing our own conclusions.
Remember when Freddie Gray sustained injuries in police custody which lead to his death? Protesting in Baltimore led to unrest and a CVS somehow became the victim of the story in some (White) circles. More recently, there has been unrest in several cities following each new killing of unarmed Black people by police. Some (White) people like to say scary things about the that kind of violence. It gives the impression that the people being killed do not matter nearly as much as the property being destroyed. If an entire group of people are being repeatedly shown that their lives do not matter, well, it begs for an organization to stand up and assert that Black lives do in fact matter.
Recently, a bunch of Trump supporters launched an assault on the United States Capital. I don’t know for certain but, if I had to bet, I’d say that some of them were pre-planned and highly organized on a mission to seize the electoral ballots and coerce or kill members of congress until they were able to temporarily re-install Trump to the office of President and force a new election. I would also bet that a good portion of them got excited and said, “Hold my beer” and stormed the capitol.
I’ve read countless people trying to compare the two types of unrest. Pointing out the “hypocrisy of the libs” in in “supporting BLM/Antifa riots” while also calling the capitol insurrection what it is, terrorism. I know nobody will read this but, I just have to put it out there… Black people are really being killed by police, there are actual, physical, dead bodies to prove it. There are documented comments all over social media valuing property more than their lives. You can go to the funerals if you don’t believe it. You can read the comments and posts if you don’t believe it. NOBODY STOLE THE ELECTION! Every piece of real, tangible, verifiable evidence, every state election official (regardless of party), every judge, even the Republicans that played games by challenging the votes to launch a feel-good commission while never actually saying that fraud occurred, ALL OF THEM know that Trump lost. Why anyone would choose to believe Trump like he’s some kind of prophet despite literally being unable to substantiate any of the claims in the real world is beyond me.
So, comparing protests over the extrajudicial killings of Black people to a tantrum over losing an election is ridiculous in the first place. Comparing unrest that leads to property damage to an unjustified insurrection that leads to bodies is the epitome of logical fallacy. The only thing they both have in common is in Kenosha, a right-wing zealot killed people and at The Capitol, right-wing zealots killed people. You can watch video of a Capitol rioter beating a police officer with a United States Flag! If that crowd was full of honest folks, tell me why they didn’t immediately rip the flag from that man’s hands and get help for the officer? He’s lucky it wasn’t a Blue Lives Matter flag or that would have been some real hypocrisy.
I spotted the flag above being flown at the end of a driveway while driving around Trump country (A.K.A. rural America with Trump 2020 signs on every other house, truck and mailbox). I checked when I got home and it’s apparently available online from a place called “Cooter’s”. That sounds right.
The CSA wasn’t the only country to attack the United States on our own soil. I wonder why nobody flies flags in tribute of some of those other battles:
Mexican American War
Attack on Orleans WWI
Pearl Harbor WWII
I’ve seen people flying both flags from pickup beds before and that always boggled my mind but, I allowed for the fact the two occupants could each support a different country. What’s the meaning of this blended flag? If the US flag looked like pac-man it could be eating the Confederacy but, that’s not it… it was blended. Truthfully, that’s probably a more accurate flag of the United States right now… two distinctly different countries, with distinctly different values, crudely blended together.
Or, maybe people that fly that flag are hyphenated Americans. Confederate-Americans giving a shout-out to their country of ancestral origins. They’re proud of their ancestors for seceding from the United States in order to fight for the rights of wealthy White people to own Black people.
It’s also possible that they’re just trolling and trying to own the libs. You know, confusing a snowflake like me enough to write a blog post about their ironic flag.
Freddie Taylor grew up outside of Detroit and, according to the story he emailed customers recently, he was never satisfied with the Black history being taught in schools. He also knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur. So, he combined those passions to form Urban Intellectuals, a company that sells Black History flashcards along with other products.
The flashcards are awesome! Each deck contains familiar names and stories as well as people and stories I guarantee you haven’t learned about yet. I’m confident that regardless of how much you think you know about Black history, you will discover something new. Honestly, sharing the additional knowledge you may have with people that look through the cards, exchanging stories of when and how you came to know their history, is all part of the joy of them. Having a child pick a random card and then spending some time learning about the individual, looking for documentaries on Netflix or wherever is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.
So, the Senate voted to acquit Trump of both counts in his impeachment. I feel like there were a few people that thought it might turn out differently. I wonder if those people have a better understanding of American politics now. Anyway, I have a couple of thoughts:
There are so many historical figures we need to learn about, learn more about and even learn the truth about. But, I’m also a big believer in the idea that history is being made every day. I want to take a minute to direct your attention to an impressive young person who’s championing diverse books. She has been reviewing books featuring diverse characters and interviewing authors on her blog for a little while now. She’s even hosting a book giveaway for Black History Month!
I first became aware of her as she stepped up to a microphone to ask questions at a public event a couple of years ago. I remember being inspired by how passionate she was. Her questions were also very insightful and yielded some deep responses. So, if you’ve got kids that might enjoy reading some of the books she’s reviewed or maybe you’ve been thinking of compiling a reading list for your classroom… maybe you’ve even got the means and desire to donate books to increase the diversity of reading material at a nearby school… I don’t know. What I do know is you should go check out her blog; ElenaReads.com, her Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.