The PC version of “White People Lie”

Trump is going to win (not just steal!) 2020. Ignore the polls because White People Shy, and because Michael Moore thinks so.

A few days before the November 2016 election, I visited Los Angeles for work. I took rideshares between the airport and where I was staying, about a 45 minute drive one-way. I chat to drivers, most them are usually happy to. I won’t write about all the conversations I had, but one in particular shook me with the realisation that Trump would win.

Some background (TL;DR: I don’t trust statisticians. So I wasn’t putting much weight on the prediction of HRC’s victory.): While there were a bunch of polls and analysis that seemed to show HRC riding to a comfortable win, there quite a few non-partisan, non MSM polls that had Trump winning. These were the same polls that early on had showed that Sanders would have a likely bigger margin of victory over Trump than HRC would, and that had been studiously ignored by the MSM.

As I said earlier, I distrust statisticians — they tend to overly rely on the data, never check or calibrate it, assume it reflects reality and don’t have experience with constructing causal models. They aren’t scientists. Even scientists are wrong, continually, but they are continually less wrong as a whole. Statisticians make some observations, perhaps run an “experiment”, collect some numbers that they call data, construct some usually simple metric from the measurements, then run some model-parameter calculations whose complications tend to be not in the causal theory but in the ways they slice and dice the data (“stratification” was a popular buzzword a couple of years ago in Data Seance, basically “intersectionality” as had been coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw two decades earlier), make a prediction — usually the probability of some binary outcome with some phacking — then make the same measurements and calculate the same metric to “prove” their prediction or justify their decision. Never once do they stop to consider whether the data and the metric reflect the societal, economic or plain-language desired outcome.

Plus, Michael Moore had been predicting a Trump victory in 2016, just as he is doing now in 2020.

Back to 2016, after some small talk about a cougar that had been sighted in the hills near Hwy 118 and a history lesson from the driver on the reasons why the hills had been left undeveloped in LA (radiation), I asked the driver (White, 60-ish man) what he thought about the upcoming elections, not who he was going to vote for but what he thought was going on. I’d told him I wasn’t interested in arguing, just listening. Perhaps that’s why he opened up and told me a bit about his life — his children’s crushing education debt, his lack of sufficient retirement savings, his hatred of Uber for their unfulfilled promises, which was why he was drowning under his car loan and was two-timing Uber.

Somewhere early on he told me he’d been excited by Sanders, wanted things to change in DC, hated politicians, couldn’t bring himself to even consider HRC, that he distanced himself from Trump’s racism and misogyny, but that with Sanders long out of the general election, thought that only Trump could destroy “politics as usual”. By way of defending himself he mentioned that he was married to an East Asian — American woman and wanted to move to South East Asia.

I can’t recall what I said or asked, if anything, when he said, “I won’t tell you who I’ll vote for, but I’ll tell you one thing, there is going to be a big surprise on November 8th!”

I clarified, “Everybody is predicting a HRC victory, even she thinks she’s won, so if you are predicting a surprise, are you saying you think Trump is going to win?”

Driver: “Yes, Trump is going to win.”

Me: “So there are all these statisticians with PhDs and their models and professional pollsters and whohaws who all think HRC is going to win, and pardon me, but you drive for Lyft and you are predicting a Trump victory, what makes you think they are wrong?”

Driver: “White people lie. We know what the ‘correct answer’ is supposed to be, we don’t want to appear racist or like we favor Trump even to an unknown pollster, let alone disclose it in public, but within our own gatherings, where we feel safe and not judged, we say all sorts of things and we all are voting for Trump. I’ll give you an example, my sister-in-law, she’s white, in NYC, she ran an informal poll on Facebook with her friends, mostly middle-aged white women in NYC, college friends, almost all of them said they were going to vote for Trump! And they know it is not PC to say so, so when asked, they lie.”

So there you have it, “White People Lie.” (That is not an exhortation, there is no comma after ‘People’!). We know this is not news. Ask any indigenous North American about all those treaties with US Presidents (including George “I think I cannot tell, that cherry tree I did fell” Washington), or ask non-Americans about the unsigned Non Proliferation Treaty, the Comprehensive Test Ban, the promises to Saddam, the treaty with Iran …

On a much smaller scale, we have OKCupid’s studies on race and dating: The first study, about 10 years ago, asked people about their open-ness to dating people from other races. Perhaps they collected data from the responses to questions. They found that the vast majority of whites (~80%) were NOT open to dating people from other races, and they published this on their blog. It also got written up in some newspapers. Two years later, some analyst decided to do a follow-up, the numbers had completely flipped! Now, suddenly, 80% of whites were open to dating people from other races! I doubt that White people actually changed. But somehow, most potential daters became aware of the result of the previous study, and even though it was completely anonymous and aggregated, they didn’t want to appear racist even collectively, not even to themselves in private. So they changed their answer. This was the second blog that was published. But there was a third blog, based on a follow-up to the follow-up, an OKCupid analyst realised they had all this interaction data that they could just query! What they found based on behavioral data was that ~80% of White daters (I’m not sure if 80% of all or 80% of only those who stated they were willing to date outside their race) had never responded to or communicated on the platform with anyone non-White! This is pure Portlandia virtue-signalling,

“I’m going to say I am open to dating non-White people so I appear woke and cool to White people I want to date!”

Apparently, saying “White People Lie” — in context, as a generalization, and as an explanation for the 2016 surprise — is not PC, it makes “people” feel not “safe”, threatened … Talk about a classic symptom of White Fragility!

But here we go, it is 2020, polls indicate a Biden victory, but something feels not right, and Michael Moore is again predicting a Trump victory based on the latter’s base’ enthusiasm compared to that of Biden’s supporters (it is kind of hard to be enthusiastic with one foot in the grave). This is beyond the voter suppression, USPS suppression, Trump campaign mail-in vote challenges upheld by judges, voter intimidation, voter misinformation, voters being magically de-enrolled by Secretary of States running for Governor or gerrymandering.

How do we explain the difference between poll results and this “pulse of the nation” prediction, if not by “White People Lie”? Luckily,

White People Shy

is a thing! The latest to invoke this cute shyness, on FoxyNews, and it goes back to 2016, though some cast doubt on it. Here is a recap.

I stop to miau to cats.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store