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  • Writer's pictureHamid Rafizadeh

Is being a racist the same as or different from “acting like a racist”?

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

Consider the notion of an “outlier” in statistics. The outlier is a feature that is quite distant from all other features. For example, in human societies winning the lottery is an outlier. Very few win the lottery jackpot. Now assume someone points at a lottery winner and says, “See! I am offering you the evidence that everyone on earth is a lottery winner.” Everyone should know that such claim is absurd and based on incorrect logic. Yet we don’t. Humans regularly rely on outliers as a way of proving their point. “If my cousin can get straight A, then everyone should be able to do the same.”

Recently this type of illogical behavior got highlighted in a congressional hearing where a congressman brought in a black woman who says Mr. Trump is not racist. He declared the presence of that woman as the PROOF that Mr. Trump is not racist. My point here is not that Mr. Trump is or is not racist, but the low level of knowledge that a congressman and his staff have about good reasoning—good knowledge processing. They demonstrate serious knowledge deficiency at highest level of decision making in the society. Would they read The Sucker Punch of Sharing to learn about the foundations of good decision making, needed especially at a place like Congress where the affairs of the nation are to be settled? I doubt it. It is so easy to point at an outlier and then make a universal, though false, claim.


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