Systemic Racism at Michigan State University

This is how three professors at MSU talk about innocent Black people being killed by police (podcast transcript at 25minuts and 40seconds into the clip).

Their discussion of tragic deaths suggests that Black lives don’t matter to Joseph Cesario (MSU), Steve Hsu (MSU), and Corey Washington (MSU)

Here is what those rare events look like. I dear everybody to watch them and then reflect on the words of these privileged professors.

Philando Castile: https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2017/06/22/philando-castile-facebook-and-dashcam-full-mashup-video-ctn.cnn

Tamir Rice: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2014/nov/26/cleveland-video-tamir-rice-shooting-police

Eric Garner: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2014/dec/04/i-cant-breathe-eric-garner-chokehold-death-video

George Floyd:

And yes, it doesn’t only happen to Black people, but contrary to the statistically flawed work by Cesario, Young Black unarmed men are more often the target of police brutality and the victims of lethal force errors (https://www.pnas.org/content/117/3/1263.short).

See also:

https://replicationindex.com/2019/10/20/hidden-evidence-in-racial-bias-research-by-cesario-and-johnson/

https://replicationindex.com/2019/10/13/police-officers-are-not-six-times-more-likely-to-shoot-white-civilians-than-black-civilians-a-coding-error-in-johnson-et-al-2019/

https://replicationindex.com/2019/09/27/poverty-explain-racial-biases-in-police-shootings/

https://replicationindex.com/2019/09/28/does-pnas-article-show-there-is-no-racial-bias-in-police-shootings/

https://replicationindex.com/2019/09/24/police-shootings-and-race-in-the-united-states/

4 thoughts on “Systemic Racism at Michigan State University

  1. > Their discussion of tragic deaths suggests that Black lives don’t matter to Joseph Cesario (MSU), Steve Hsu (MSU), and Corey Washington (MSU)”

    The quotation above is not necessarily a justification or a minimisation of racist murders. This quotation is not enough to accuse these two professors of racism.

    Racism is indefensible. Yet, it is not incomparable to other causes of deaths. Such comparison is not necessarily ill-intentioned. I rather have the feeling that these Joe and Steve tell that the ongoing public and social events on behalf of the fight against racist murders are excessive with regard to the real impact of racism in society. Such hypothesis can be contradicted of course, but this is not the same subject.

    Accusations of racism are of very serious matter. For me, racisme is a crime against humanity. I would personally make sure that I have better arguments before doing public accusations.

    Besides, I don’t have a precise estimate for the number of racist murders committed by some US police officers, but I think Joe and Steve underestimate the real number.

    Schimmack and Carlsson’s letter are very interesting. However, this is statistics, not deterministic logic, and you know that statistics pose no problem for describing things but many limits when it comes to explain things, in particular regarding cause-effect relations. To quote Schimmack and Carlsson:

    > Importantly, neither the original finding nor our finding addresses the causes of racial disparities among victims of deadly use of force. Our results merely confirm other recent findings that racial disparities exist and that they are particularly large for young males (2).

    Don’t read me wrong, I am not saying racist murders do not exist and are not a serious matter. But I can’t make myself an opinion on whether racism is that much determinant when a white officer kills an innocent black person, even though “the intercept of this model suggested that victims with these characteristics are 13.67 times more likely to be Black than White”.

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    1. It is nice to hear that you agree that racial disparities in the use of lethal force are a problem for you and that Black lives matter to you. It would be nice to hear the same from these three professors. I am happy to retract the racism label when they do.

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      1. You heard me wrong. Racial disparities in the use of lethal forces are not a problem for me. Disparities can happen from many confounding factors. For me, the problem arises if these disparities are due to racism: racism is the problem.

        Let me explain:

        Suppose that black people, even when innocent, have a bodily gesture that confuses more officers than whites’ bodily gestures, and this confusion increases the feeling of excessive fear in the officers, which increases their rate of erroneous criminal shots. As well, suppose that more officers have some sort of a PTSD with interventions on black people because, proportionally, in their specific experience, these interventions were more subject to violence than with white people. This PTSD then increases the rate of criminal shots. As well, etc. for other confounding factors that are not “racism”.

        Then you will observe a racial disparity in the use of lethal forces.

        I am not telling the exact supposition above are real proven facts. But it illustrates the logic behind the observed statistics. In statistics, we observe some “external” states of the reality but we can only hypothesize about the “internal” hidden states that explain these observations.

        On top of that, we can tell that some confounding factors exist for sure because some innocent white people get killed as well by white officers, and it is sure that not all killings of a black innocent person are due to racism. Pay attention to the logic quantifiers I am using.

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      2. So, you are saying if cops are racist because of PTSD it is not racism. So, you limit racism to feelings of hate. I don’t think that solves the problem. No cop with PTSD should be allowed to carry a weapon.

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