• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


    from Twitter


    Tuesday, September 13, 2005

    Stupid Polls

    I hate polls like this. And I also shake my head that CNN is using it as it's title story right now.

    I think the issue of race is overblown in the aftermath of Katrina. People, when put in stressful and dire situations, will speak and act from their core. This is often neither logical nor correct in substance. Although slavery was formally ended 140 years ago, and the civil rights movement ended segregation 40 years ago, there is undeniably still racial tensions in many parts of the US and many individual Americans can be called racist.

    It is these underlying tensions that come to the surface during a situation like Katrina. Because of stress, people talk before thinking, and assume things based on individual opinions and prejudices without taking the time to explore the actual events.

    First, polls with plus/minus 6 percentage points are never statistically accurate, and (in my opinion) should never be reported. In every basic statistics class you learn that a poll is not indicative of a general population unless it is +/- 3% or less. Most polls reported on tv don't meet this requirement, explaining why actual voting results often are opposite poll results.

    It also means that you have a theoretical 12 point swing in every number. In the poll on CNN, assuming that it is accurate (which I just stated it isn't), 20% of blacks and 29% of whites blame Mayor Nagin. However, it could just as accurately been 26% of blacks and 23% of whites. This is still within the margin of error.

    All in all, such polls should be discarded as useless.

    If race is an issue, than it stems not from racism, but the situation of our society that makes it hard for a segment of the population to increase in wealth, who 140 years after obtaining economic freedom (sort of, reconstruction is another beast) still make up a large segment of the lowest economic class in Louisianna. It is an issue that Louisianna is generally regarded as the most corrupt state in the US in politics and law enforcement. It is an issue that race relations in the area are still strained because when segregation ended, many whites took their children to private schools and so their is a large racial divide in the makeup of private vs public schools in the area.

    These issues contribute to the racial makeup and tensions of New Orleans today. It has been far too costly politically for messing up the aftermath of Katrina than anyone sanely would have pursued because of personal prejudice. There is too much at stake--supreme court nominees and presidential elections of 2008--than either party would give up because of racism. Some people in govt might be racist, but they're also power and money hungry. Race may have played a roll in the demographics of those stranded, and racism may have played a roll in that as well, but let's look at this logically--racism did not play a roll in the rescue efforts.

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