Media and the math of racism
Published by MartinVarsavsky.net in General with No Comments
In Spain 1 immigrant in 1000 is a convicted criminal. That means that for every 999 immigrants Spain gets one immigrant who ends up as a convicted criminal. That means that 99.9% of immigrants are not convicted criminals. And yet, because there are very few criminals in society overall, it happens that 60% of all the convicted criminals in Spain are foreigners. And Spanish media repeats that number to the point that it is beginning to feed racist sentiments. If you read it lightly it could be understand that 60% of immigrants are criminals, not 1 in 1000. That is the worrying math of racism. Should media say that 99.9% of immigrants are honest and sell few newspapers, or should it say that 60% of the criminals are foreigners and sell many? The math of racism feeds media the wrong way.
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Francisco on September 8, 2010 ·
El teorema de Bayes, vamos. 🙂
pablovilan on September 8, 2010 ·
El 100% de los inmigrantes son extranjeros. =P
José Luis on September 8, 2010 ·
In Spain we have one of the highest incarceration rates in Europe. On the other hand, for white collar crime and corruption cases in politics, punishment is lighter than in the US or most advanced developed democracies. Public opinion even applauds and keeps voting the offender along party lines. Anyway, I agree on your comment about the biased reporting of Spanish media, not only regarding the immigration issue, but also any issue related to US or Israel (well, reporting on Israel is even more negatively biased).
Miquel on September 8, 2010 ·
I do not know why Spain has a high incarceration rate, but surely not because of toughness on street crime and recidivism, as has been pointed out in this blog in previous occasions, stealing below 400 euro is not even considered a criminal offense, the result is that some areas in Barcelona (those with higher number of tourists, not a coincidence) have become a sort of “Wild West” where criminals act with total impunity, some have been arrested hundreds of times, they know nothing serious will happen to them.
Cathal Morrow on September 8, 2010 ·
Good post – I worry that Spain may go the same way as the UK. Cheap foreign labour was brought in during the boom years, and then people turned against them during the downturn.
Jeanette Rifkin on September 14, 2010 ·
Martin, your absolutely right about statistics (and economics, and other lies to get the whole book.) Pure Xenophobia numbers (the ones about 60%) and a lot of horrible crimes are committed by minors, which go free. White collar corruption rarely goes to jail, much less than in Scandinavia.
anen on September 23, 2010 ·
foreigners=illegal immigrants xD….
That’s a serious issue
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Alex Rayón on September 8, 2010 ·
I do agree with your comment about how to use the maths, but, few criminals in Spain? According to our “Código Penal”, there are so much 🙁 http://alexrayon.tumblr.com/post/1086383840/en-espana-el-codigo-penal-es-muy-duro-y-poco-efectivo
Thanks for sharing these interesting topics 🙂