Statistics, a path to prejudice

>>  Friday, February 10, 2012

Today I was reminded of the Burka and the Bikini drawing by a conversation I had.  Having to remind myself again that the lady in the burka possibly has a greater empowerment than the lady in the bikini.

I also saw this picture on Facebook:

This picture bothers me.  Trying to use simple statistics to prove a point in a complicated picture is a path to prejudice.

This picture by glance shows that America takes the most asylum requests in the counties given as an example, they probably do I'm not checking the figures, but maybe they are also better placed to do that than say Sweden.

Look at the numbers by head of population (please excuse the hastily thrown into excelness): 

Suddenly America is no longer jumping out, it's Sweden. This implies Sweden will have more asylum seeker per national than any of the other countries mentioned.

How about people per square kilometre - who's squeezing the most in.  It's Germany.  But Australia has a lot of uninhabitable space and America also has a lot of desert.

How about asylum seekers per GDP of Capita - it's Malaysia.  The Malaysians are going to feel the cost the hardest.

Actually I think the main point the original picture is trying to make is that Australia hold asylum seekers for a very long time in detention. 224 days.  Interesting that they chose not to compare to the UK with an expected detention time of up to 180 days and 10% being held longer than a year.

I have no argument with the immigration policies of any of the countries just that the picture shows something in a biased manner and my first reaction to it was 'Crikey, Oz need to sort themselves out', which is precisely the reaction it wanted.

It can be very hard in the rush we all live in to take a quick hit of data, believe it, form an opinion and quickly move onto the next. And all the time the advertisers and the politicians rely on our lazy nature to act this way.

I also stumbled across this video which makes you think from outside of the box (It reminded me a little of feeling I had to the 'Smack my bitch up' video - be warned it is highly offensive if you chose to investigate) :

It is so important to step outside the box, I am not always very good at it.


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