mfioretti: discrimination*

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  1. But the cultural generation gap is also a product of the specific eras during which the different groups were raised and became adults. Conceived during the prosperous post−World War II period, the baby boomers brought a rebellious, progressive sensibility to the country in the 1960s, 1970s, and beyond. With the help of the programs of the Great Society, they became the most well-schooled generation to date and the epitome of America’s largely white, suburban middle class, with which most of today’s adults now identify.

    Yet the baby boomers also came of age at a moment when the United States was becoming more insular than it had been before. Between 1946 and 1964, the years of the baby boom, the immigrant share of the U.S. population shrank to an all-time low (under 5 percent), and the immigrants who did arrive were largely white Europeans. Growing up in mostly white, segregated suburbs, white baby boomers did not have much interaction with people unlike them. Although baby boomers have been interested in righting domestic wrongs, such as racial discrimination, and bursting glass ceilings, they are now joining seniors in voicing sharp resistance to America’s new racial change. A 2011 Pew Research Center poll shows that only 23 percent of baby boomers and seniors regard the country’s growing population of immigrants as a change for the better and that 42 percent see it as a change for the worse. More than one-half of white baby boomers and seniors said that the growing number of newcomers from other countries represents a threat to traditional U.S. values and customs.

    The Pew survey found marked differences between baby boomers and millennials—who are known for their racial inclusiveness—with regard to agreement that the following are changes for the better: that more people of different races are marrying each other (36 percent versus 60 percent), that the population of Hispanics is growing (21 percent versus 33 percent), and that the population of Asians is growing (24 percent versus 43 percent).

    Underpinning the generational divide are shifts in what demographers call old-age dependency and child dependency, which now have a distinct racial dimension. By 2020, the old-age dependency ratio for whites will exceed the child dependency ratio, and for the two decades that follow, white seniors will outnumber white children. That stands in marked contrast to the position of Hispanics, whose youth dependency will remain well above 45 through 2040, even as the old-age dependency ratio inches up to 21.
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  2. Exclusive: former employee alleges that women hired to work as preschool teachers in the company’s childcare center were paid lower salaries than men with fewer qualifications doing same job
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  3. a typical white neighborhood would have twice more listings on the platform (four listings, at $120 per night, and 96 percent rating) compared with a non-white neighborhood (two listings, at $107 per night, and 94 percent rating). That is, not everybody has equal opportunities to participate as a host on Airbnb.

    A similar experimental study (i.e. fictitious Airbnb profiles) conducted in 2016-2017, showed that requests from guests with African-American names (vs. white names) were 19 percent less likely to be accepted. So despite Airbnb's efforts — community commitment, removing host pictures in the initial search — these studies document that racial discrimination has always been and is still a critical issue today. There's even a study specifically focused on Airbnb's change of layout last year, comparing daily bookings and price data before and after the implementation of the "anonymity" policy, but it only shows a negligible increase in bookings for black hosts, and only in New York City — not in Los Angeles, New Orleans, or Philadelphia.

    The issue applies to other sectors in the sharing economy. For instance, a study of Uber and Lyft ride-hailing companies indicated a similar pattern of discrimination: Drivers canceled the hailed rides twice more for passengers with African-American sounding names.
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  4. A new ProPublica investigation1 uncovered a disturbing fact: Facebook allows advertisers to exclude Black, Hispanic and other so-called “ethnic affinity” groups from seeing ads.

    Let us say it again: Facebook is allowing advertisers to discriminate based on race.

    This is more than the normal yuckiness of targeted advertising. Facebook's system allowed ProPublica reporters to purchase a housing ad that excluded people of color in what prominent civil rights lawyers describe as a clear violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.
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  5. A May 2014 White House report on “big data” notes that the ability to determine the demographic traits of individuals through algorithms and aggregation of online data has a potential downside beyond just privacy concerns: Systematic discrimination.

    There is a long history of denying access to bank credit and other financial services based on the communities from which applicants come — a practice called “redlining.” Likewise, the report warns, “Just as neighborhoods can serve as a proxy for racial or ethnic identity, there are new worries that big data technologies could be used to ‘digitally redline’ unwanted groups, either as customers, employees, tenants or recipients of credit.” (See materials from the report’s related research conference for scholars’ views on this and other issues.)

    One vexing problem, according to the report, is that potential digital discrimination is even less likely to be pinpointed, and therefore remedied.

    Approached without care, data mining can reproduce existing patterns of discrimination, inherit the prejudice of prior decision-makers, or simply reflect the widespread biases that persist in society. It can even have the perverse result of exacerbating existing inequalities by suggesting that historically disadvantaged groups actually deserve less favorable treatment.” The paper’s authors argue that the most likely legal basis for anti-discrimination enforcement, Title VII, is not currently adequate to stop many forms of discriminatory data mining, and “society does not have a ready answer for what to do about it.”

    Their 2014 paper “Digital Discrimination: The Case of” examined listings for thousands of New York City landlords in mid-2012. Airbnb builds up a reputation system by allowing ratings from guests and hosts.

    The study’s findings include:

    “The raw data show that non-black and black hosts receive strikingly different rents: roughly $144 versus $107 per night, on average.” However, the researchers had to control for a variety of factors that might skew an accurate comparison, such as differences in geographical location.
    “Controlling for all of these factors, non-black hosts earn roughly 12% more for a similar apartment with similar ratings and photos relative to black hosts.”
    “Despite the potential of the Internet to reduce discrimination, our results suggest that social platforms such as Airbnb may have the opposite effect. Full of salient pictures and social profiles, these platforms make it easy to discriminate — as evidenced by the significant penalty faced by a black host trying to conduct business on Airbnb.”

    “Given Airbnb’s careful consideration of what information is available to guests and hosts,” Edelman and Luca note. “Airbnb might consider eliminating or reducing the prominence of host photos: It is not immediately obvious what beneficial information these photos provide, while they risk facilitating discrimination by guests. Particularly when a guest will be renting an entire property, the guest’s interaction with the host will be quite limited, and we see no real need for Airbnb to highlight the host’s picture.” (For its part, Airbnb responded to the study by saying that it prohibits discrimination in its terms of service, and that the data analyzed were both older and limited geographically.)
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  6. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing the majority opinion, said the court now holds that same-sex couples may “exercise the fundamental right to marry.” He characterized this as a liberty that had been denied to them.

    Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito dissented and, in an unusual step, each wrote separate opinions.

    “The majority's decision is an act of will, not legal judgment,” Roberts said. “The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this court's precedent.”

    “Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law,” he said.

    Justice Antonin Scalia characterized the decision as a “threat to American democracy,” “hubris” and a “judicial putsch.”

    Justice Thomas said the decision means that conflict between the recognition of same-sex marriage and religious liberty appears “all but inevitable” as individuals and churches face demands to participate and endorse in these marriages. The use of the judicial process “short circuits” the political process that could consider religious freedom implications, “with potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty.”

    Similarly, Justice Alito said the decision “will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.” He objected to the majority’s comparison of traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women, saying this analogy’s implications “will be fully exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”

    Parents in some school districts have faced difficulty in exempting their children from classes voicing approval of same-sex relationships, while small businesses with moral reservations about participating in same-sex ceremonies have faced discrimination lawsuits. Catholic-run adoption agencies have been forced to close because the law would require them to place children with same-sex couples against their religious beliefs.

    Those who supported efforts to defend marriage have also faced professional retaliation. In 2014 Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was forced to leave the company he co-founded after activist groups and media publicized that he had donated to support California’s Proposition 8.
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  7. This is an excellent post to keep in mind when you see another recent post criticizing the current trend of dystopian sci-fi and going on about how sci-fi used to be about hope and wonder.

    No. It used to be about men. And now it’s not.

    Specifically white men. And I say this because a lot of the feminist sci fi centers white women & replicates the racism of classic sci fi. Not to mention the weird fetishization of POC on display in other spec fic like urban fantasy.
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  8. The other aspect is the outrageous shark-jumping on the part of gay marriage advocates. They’ve strained credulity repeatedly by equating their wedding cakes and flowers with the massive and singular violation of human rights that we call segregation. This is a bogus argument. (A statement that I’m sure will engender endless rounds of circular debate.)

    It is also stupid because almost all gay people are down here the pits with the rest of us. Empowering corporations to attack the one voice capable of challenging their hegemony over our government and our way of life, which is the Church, is a little bit like arming the mob that wants to burn down your neighbor’s house because you don’t like your neighbor. How long before that same mob, armed with the weapons you gave them, will turn on you? When they do, your neighbor, who would have come to your aid, will be too weak to fight.

    The political exigency is that gay marriage advocates are endangering their still unsolidified victories in the sphere of gay marriage by seeking to conflate themselves with people who were slaves in this country for several hundred years, and who then were subjected to massive violations of their basic human rights by legal structures that clearly violated both the Constitution and the Gospels.

    Gay people have their just claims about mistreatment as well, but the public mistreatment of homosexuals has pretty much fallen by the wayside. As it should have.

    If they’re smart, they’ll take yes for an answer and let time resolve this debate about wedding cakes. If they’re stupid, they’ll keep on harassing and attacking hapless individuals and ruining their lives. They’ll pit themselves against basic freedoms that belong to everyone, including themselves.

    This is stupid politically, because it raises up an opposition they have not dealt with before. That is those people who actually treasure freedom of religion in this country, irregardless of gay marriage.

    It wasn’t a post attacking homosexual people. It was a post warning of the utter cold-bloodedness of politics. But the ire it wrought was entirely along the “how can you saaaayyyyy that about me?” line. The reason, I think, is that I accidentally hit a nerve. Neediness is at the bottom of a lot of this political sturm und drang. My advice to gay marriage advocates is to get your head out.

    Politics is an uncaring bosom on which to lay your emotional head. Gay people are the same as straight people. Nothing will fill the holes inside their hearts except the love of God in Christ Jesus. Take those sorrows, rejections and self-questions to the cross.

    Politics is a tool. Use it freely as any other American citizen should. But do not confuse it with your worth or your value as a child of God. There is only one affirmation any of us needs. Without it, no other affirmation will suffice. Go to the cross. And trust Him. Just, trust Him.

    Jesus loves gay people as much as He loves any one else. He wants to enfold you in His mercy. He wants to lift your pain off you and set you free from the chains that bind you. Go to Him and trust Him.

    As for politics, We the People need to get together against these overbearing corporatists while we still can. By that I mean all the people, both gay and straight.
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  9. Once big data becomes fully consumerized, it will be possible for anyone to identify anyone based on anything from religious affiliation, sexual preference, political association, even something as trivial as rival sport team fanhood, which can then be used by individuals to discriminate against entire groups of people.

    And here we thought price discrimination and redlining by companies was all that society had to worry about in terms of rampant discriminatory behavior.

    Of course as Mitt Romney and others including the Supreme Court claim, "corporations are people" so, yes, discrimination of this type could conceivably happen on a very large scale and practically everywhere. Not because corporations and businesses are really people, for in fact they are merely legal and tax designations, but because people do indeed run businesses and therefore some of them may act as the flawed beings they are on occasion.
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  10. Led by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Apple CEO Tim Cook, Silicon Valley is loudly complaining about homophobic laws passed in Indiana and Arkansas in recent days that allow businesses to refuse service to customers based on religious beliefs.

    A who’s who of leaders from companies such as Yelp, Square, Twitter, Lyft, Airbnb, eBay, PayPal and others signed their names to a petition today urging legislatures to forbid discrimination or denial of services to anyone, saying, “Discrimination is bad for business.” Petition leader Max Levchin, a PayPal co-founder and currently CEO of finance startup Affirm, told Re/code: “I am asking all CEOs to evaluate their relationships and investments in states that do not specifically protect LGBT people from discrimination.”

    That’s great and even admirable, except that here on the home front, Silicon Valley has its own very obvious discrimination problems. Gender is a big one. Race is another. The numbers are so incredibly skewed for the majority — the published diversity numbers in technology are something like 70 percent men, 90 percent white and Asian — that the situation is very often unhealthy for people who don’t or can’t fit in.

    While these are not twin causes, there are obvious parallels, and the inconsistencies between them became all the more evident this week.
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