I’ve written before on Federal racism. In the present case, though the racism may seem apparent, it looks a lot like plain and simple incompetence, instead. Eric Falkenstein offers this hors d’oeuvre, quoting from a Wall Street Journal article:
Justice says that out of 4.4 million loans approved between 2004 and 2008, 525,000 went to African-American or Hispanic borrowers, of which some 210,000 paid higher fees or rates than the average paid by similarly situated “non-Hispanic White Borrowers.”
It goes without saying large numbers of white borrowers also paid higher than the average of all whites. It also goes without saying large numbers of minorities didn’t pay higher rates, though Justice isn’t interested in the average of what minorities paid, only that some minorities paid higher than the average of whites.
If this sounds like statistical malpractice, it’s apparently habitual. In a rare instance where defendants fought back, two Los Angeles car dealers recently won dismissal of a complaint accusing them of favoring Asian over Hispanic car buyers because 600 of 1,300 “non-Asian” buyers were charged higher loan terms than the average of Asian buyers. Notice that 600 is about half of 1,300. As the dealers noted, Justice’s claim amounts to an assertion “half of one group is above average, which means that the other half is below average.”
The WSJ article itself (also linked to in Falkenstein’s post) goes on:
…experiments…suggest salespeople make generalizations about which groups are likely to bargain hardest. Even black salespeople have been found to lead off with a higher quote when meeting a black shopper. Women are said to be less aggressive bargainers than men. Other generalizations suggest themselves….
Who knows why these differences turn up in the data, but no law of nature says every cultural subgroup must be equal in its determination to cadge every nickel of advantage in every transaction.
What’s the outcome of these sorts of things? Taking a just concluded DoJ beef against Bank of America’s Countrywide bank as an example,
Bank of America (without admitting fault) will hand over $335 million so Justice can distribute money to African-Americans and Hispanics (though not whites) who were charged more than the white average, with any surplus funds explicitly reserved for donations to…groups that typically align with the Democratic Party.
However, it’s not just DoJ idiocy. This is the stuff on which affirmative action programs are built. And it’s quite apart from the soft bigotry that says the victimsbeneficiaries of affirmative action programs are simply, of their nature, so incapable themselves that they must be given preferential treatment in order to keep up.
Is this actually evidence of deliberate nefariousness? The cynic in me is conflicted. On the one hand, it’s plainly racism by DoJ. But on the other hand, DoJ seems entirely too incompetent to be this racist.