Posts Tagged ‘discrimination’

Airbnb discriminates against blacks in the US (and in Sweden as well)

October 3, 2016


First a new paper to be published in the American Economic Journal:

Edelman et al, Racial Discrimination in the Sharing Economy: Evidence from a Field Experiment 

PDF airbnb-guest-discrimination-2016-09-16

In an experiment on Airbnb, we find that applications from guests with distinctively African-American names are 16% less likely to be accepted relative to identical guests with distinctively White names. Discrimination occurs among landlords of all sizes, including small landlords sharing the property and larger landlords with multiple properties. It is most pronounced among hosts who have never had an African-American guest, suggesting only a subset of hosts discriminate. While rental markets have achieved significant reductions in discrimination in recent decades, our results suggest that Airbnb’s current design choices facilitate discrimination and raise the possibility of erasing some of these civil rights gains.

The same story is repeated in Sweden.

Swedish Radio:

Rental service Airbnb – which provides private rooms and apartments for guests all over the world – has problems with discrimination.

Tim Davis from New York tried to book an apartment through the service in Stockholm last summer, but was denied by the 15 hosts. He believes that it has something to do with that he is black. “I sent out 15 different requests and they all said no, but I also noted that the dates were still on the site”, said Tim Davis from New York.

After having contacted 15 hosts on Airbnb in Stockholm but had been rejected by everyone, Tim Davis, who himself is an Airbnb host in New York, started to suspect that the reason that all the hosts denied him to hire his skin color. “I’ve never been in Sweden, so I began to investigate. Is it okay to go there? Will there be problems? Will there be a big problem for me to be there as the black man?”

In the US, this issue has received much attention this year, partly due to a scientific study by Harvard University showed that it is easier to get rental accommodations through Airbnb, if you have a name that is common among white Americans than if you have a name that is common among African Americans.

But we wanted to know if this is also a problem in Sweden and made our own small survey where we borrowed several black and white people’s Airbnb accounts. With the help of the black persons’ accounts, we asked 200 Airbnb hosts in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö about their places were vacant on specific dates. More than half of the respondents said yes. But when we asked those who had said no again from an account that belongs to one of the white test subjects, nearly one in three hosts said instead that the apartment was vacant.

So here are what some of the hosts said when a black person asked:

“No sorry, friends are coming to visit”.

“Unfortunately, we will not be home on these dates”

“No, unfortunately,  the accommodation is not available, we had forgotten to change the dates. “

And this is how the hosts responded when we let a white person repeat the question:

“-You are more than welcome!”

“We will arrange that, what time are you coming on Friday?”

“Absolutely, it works well. Welcome!”

Process Manager Martin Dark at the Equality Ombudsman’s Office  said about the test: “It’s difficult to say something about the individual cases but as it looks there appears to be a problem. Typically, private behaviour is protected from discrimination legislation, but in this case when you have advertised on a commercial site with the purpose of making money, these people may be guilty of discrimination.”

– As anti-discrimination law stands today, it is values that are responsible for it. …….

……. Airbnb declined to participate in an interview …… but says that discrimination is unacceptable and that it will take action if guests report that they encountered discrimination.

Discriminate is what homo sapiens do. To discriminate is the automatic consequence of thought.

This kind of discrimination may be “deplorable” but I am not sure that forcing people – by legal coercion – to disregard or abandon their own values is not equally deplorable. You may not agree with someone’s values but to force them to adopt yours is either oppression of the individual or it is brainwashing.

After all, the essence of justice lies in being able to discriminate

March 31, 2015

I was recently accused of discrimination.

It is a pity – linguistically – that the word “discrimination” is used as – and generally taken to be – “unjust discrimination”.

A discerning person, a person of judgement is one with the ability to discriminate. Discernment, discrimination and judgement all weigh something against some value scale. The value scale comes first. To judge or discriminate, whether for music or literature or taste or behaviour, first requires some standard value scale against which to compare.

Without being able to compare and discern differences and then make judgements which necessarily require discrimination, we could not achieve justice. Some discrimination may be considered to be unjust. Other discrimination may correct an injustice. The same action may be unjust to the one while being just to another. The same action resulting from discrimination may be considered just by some and unjust by others.

Virtually all human behaviour is based on discrimination. We choose one food over another, make friends with some and not with others, listen to jazz but not to punk-rock or kill some people but not others. We discriminate whenever we give “more” care to a sick person or an old person or a child. And that is just. We discriminate when we don’t give one of Usain Bolt’s competitors a head start. We discriminate with different tax rates for different people. Nobel prizes are awarded subsequent to discrimination. We discriminate when we prefer anything or anyone. But we don’t take that to be unjust. Without discrimination there would be no appreciation (or contempt).

Those without values cannot judge or discern or discriminate. A person with sensibilities is one with values. Nearly all behaviour discriminates. The issue is not the discrimination, but where the subsequent actions lie on the scale of being just. And that scale of justness (rather than justice) too is a value scale.

The ability to discriminate is what tells us where we are on our (or somebody elses) scale of justness. It is what makes us sapient. In a world without discrimination there would be no values, no good or bad, or just or unjust.

And so when I was accused of discrimination, I took it as a compliment.

Discriminating (adj): discerning, selective, judicious, refined, cultivated, cultured, sophisticated, sensible, enlightened, sensitive, subtle, nuanced, critical, perceptive, insightful, perspicacious, penetrating, astute, shrewd, ingenious, clever, intelligent, sharp, wise, erudite, aware, knowing, sagacious, sapient.


Status of German women directors degraded to be “quota directors”

November 27, 2014

German companies have a reputation for excellence. But this is being sacrificed for the sake of political correctness. Currently every woman company director in Germany can be assumed to be of exceptional competence. When a new quota law goes into force in 2016, every woman director in Germany will be nothing more than a “quota employee”.

Discrimination to fight discrimination is an invitation to failure. I do not find any case of “affirmative action” – which is a euphemism for introducing a new, institutionalised and unjust discrimination ostensibly to correct the effects of some other unjust discrimination – which has actually achieved its objective. No program of enforced quotas has yet succeeded in achieving a condition where the “affirmative action” becomes unnecessary because the original injustice has been eliminated. Quotas or confiscation and rationing, enforced by the state and based on irrelevant criteria, remain a favourite tool of those with socialistic aspirations. But not only don’t they work, they also perpetuate the “injustice” that they are intended to correct.

Fifty years of quotas for the “scheduled castes” in India have only become entrenched and have been counter-productive. Rather than ensuring that the lot of the “disadvantaged” groups have improved such that they can compete fairly for jobs or education places, the “affirmative action” has instead ensured that competence and ability have been removed as requirements for selection. Even worse, the “system” is self-perpetuating and encourages the reduction of standards. Those who were to be helped now only need to be the “best of a bad lot” to be selected. Instead of raising standards, “affirmative action” allows and enables lower standards to become “acceptable”. To be classified as a “scheduled caste” has now become a path to privilege.

The experience  in the US with reservation of places in education and in the work-place for minorities has been no different. Even after over 25 years of “affirmative action” the SAT scores of African-Americans admitted to the top US universities remains significantly lower than the average of all those admitted. But this is only to be expected. Effectively the SAT scores to be targeted by aspirants for admission have been reduced for those qualifying for the privilege. Aiming high has no longer any value. Reserving jobs for women or Latinos or other “disadvantaged” minorities has only succeeded in lowering standards but – what is worst – also in making these lower standards acceptable. The quotas for the employing of ethnic Malays in Malaysia has removed any incentive for such “quota employees” to excel at anything other than being Malay. Quota students or quota employees are not burdened by requirements of superior performance or competence – let alone any expectations of excellence.

It should be obvious by now that I believe that quotas based on having an irrelevant characteristic are counter-productive and contribute to equalising standards only by lowering them. Even when quotas try to bring in minimum qualification requirements, it is inevitable that the criterion becomes being “just good enough” and not “to be best”. The use of quotas automatically and inevitably downgrades the quest for excellence. It is settling for the mediocre.

So I am not very impressed by the new German law which will now force the largest companies to have women constituting 30% of their supervisory boards from 2016.. Again the justification is that it will be a trigger for social change and anyway that there are enough women who are qualified. That misses the point. Women directors for these companies have now been effectively degraded to become quota directors – even where they are there for their competence. They can no longer claim to be the “best available” even if they are. Angela Merkel has had to give in to the socialists on this point. Forty percent of the German cabinet is women. Angela Merkel herself is there because she was the “best” for the job. But note that many of her female cabinet colleagues are there not because of their competence or excellence but only to fill an unwritten quota. Other countries are also considering quotas for women directors – not least in “politically correct” Sweden. For example, I observe when I watch Swedish TV – which is very politically correct – that it is easy to discern when a female presenter or a news reporter has been selected to fill some gender quota rather than for her excellence.

But why stop at women quotas? Why not quotas also for other minorities and abandon excellence or competence? Why should women be more privileged than some other disadvantaged minority? Is the disadvantage suffered by women more important to correct than the disadvantage suffered by a gay person? or an immigrant? Perhaps there will come a day when a German Supervisory Board will have to be at least 30% female, 10% gay, 5% transgender and 15% of immigrant origin! That will be the time when I shall sell any German stocks that I might have.

As an investor in any company I would prefer that the Directors be the best available and affordable and not “just good enough” to fill a compulsory quota.

Weight discrimination against obese politicians

May 21, 2014

Two new papers of little intrinsic interest but much more interesting in juxtaposition.

On the one hand we hear from the National Health Interview Survey that obesity is increasing in the US

Prevalence of Obesity by Occupation Among US Workers

Prevalence of obesity steadily increased from 2004 through 2008 across gender and race/ethnicity but leveled off from 2008 through 2011. Non-Hispanic black female workers in health care support (49.2%) and transportation/material moving (46.6%) had the highest prevalence of obesity. Prevalence of obesity in relatively low-obesity (white-collar) occupations significantly increased between 2004-2007 and 2008-2011, whereas it did not change significantly in high-obesity (blue-collar) occupations.

On the other hand we also hear from a new study that

Weight bias plagues U.S. elections

Overweight political candidates tend to receive fewer votes than their thinner opponents, finds a new study by a weight bias expert. Both obese men and women were less likely to get on the ballot in the first place. When it came to merely being overweight, women were underrepresented on the ballot, though men were not. This is consistent with previous research showing men who are slightly heavy tend not to experience discrimination like that of slightly overweight women.

Perhaps it should be a Fundamental Human Right not to be discriminated against merely for being obese? Maybe we need some affirmative action to ensure that we have the proper representation of fat people in employment, in politics and on Company Boards?

When gender equality denies gender difference – limericks (6)

December 28, 2013

1. Sometimes, the “fight” for gender equality gets more than a little ridiculous when it denies gender difference. 

“Gender Equality” is the battle-cry that’s heard,

But just what that means can be a little bit blurred.

Must each and every known profession,

Comprise equally of men and women?

But fathers giving birth is just a little bit absurd.

2. In Sweden, “hen” is proposed by the politically-correct, gender-equalisers as a neutral form between “han” (him) and “hon” (her).

A politically correct young lady from Sweden,

Insisted on being referred to as a “hen”,

She objected strenuously to “she”,

and quite violently to “he”,

Which caused consternation among her young men.

3. Still in Sweden, poor Zlatan Ibrahimovic got into hot water for stating the blindingly obvious that it was more than a little idiotic to compare his game with that of a lady footballer. But – and especially in Sweden – political correctness has become a matter of faith and is often quite unconcerned with reality.

Zlatan the Viking footballer,

Took umbrage when an idiot reporter,

Compared him to a “hen”,

Who kicked a ball now and then,

And Ibrahim-ovic refused to idolise her.

4. In the UK, Thomas the tank engine is under attack from Mary Creagh. She seems rather a silly person – but she was probably only after the publicity.

A cross Labour MP of feminist gender,

More female train drivers would engender,

She demanded the State’s intervention,

To curb the masculinity of Thomas the tank engine,

And required that the “him” be changed into a “her”!

5. At Wimbledon, women now have the same prize money as the men, but they work far fewer hours and play even less. The ladies champion now has an hourly rate about 60% higher than the men’s champion.

Gender equality at Wimbledon has gone a little bit funny,

The men and the women get the same prize money,

But being of the much weaker sex,

The women play just the best of 3 sets,

And the men will be unable to reverse this calumny

6. And all over the world “quotas” for women/minorities/scheduled castes/disabled in various professions are proposed. But fighting discrimination with discrimination only legitimises discrimination.

Oppressing minorities is unacceptable persecution,

But discrimination to fight discrimination is still discrimination.

And if percentage of the population,

Is to be mirrored in every profession,

Competence must be ignored to follow some blind equation.

Strange are the ways of man

October 22, 2013
  1. If a woman is drunk and is raped she is responsible for inviting the rape.
  2. If a man is drunk and rapes he is not responsible for his actions!
  3. Discrimination is bad. Reverse discrimination is good.
  4. Discrimination is unfair. Reverse discrimination is unfair to others (but who don’t deserve fairness).
  5. Discernment is good, discrimination is bad.
  6. Being intelligent is good. To choose intelligent people is discrimination.
  7. If you are born intelligent it is luck and not to your credit.
  8. If you are born stupid it’s your parents’ fault.
  9. To judge people is wrong. Not to judge people is irresponsible.
  10. If you are having fun you are being irresponsible.
  11. The ability to discriminate is good, to discriminate is bad.
  12. If it’s in your genes it’s not your fault. All deviant behaviour is genetic. Ergo – it’s nobody’s fault
  13. The sins of the parents excuse any sins of the children.
  14. There is no God except mine and I am one of my God’s preferred people.
  15. MY God does not report to any superior God. Your God is therefore subordinate to my God.
  16. To kill for God is a good thing.
  17. Just as there is no sound when a tree falls and there is no brain to hear, cheating without being detected can not be cheating.
  18. What is true can be determined by a vote. 
  19. Scientific truth is determined by a consensus.
  20. Results from expensive research are more true than results from inexpensive research.
  21. Biological gender difference can be eliminated by legislation.
  22. There are more than two genders.
  23. As long as I stick to to my constitution, my democracy allows that my majority can oppress your minority.
  24. Immigration from Africa to Europe is bad. European expatriates in Africa are good.
  25. I know best what is good for you.
  26. I also know best what is for the common good.
  27. If it tastes good it’s bad for you.
  28. Normality is a myth. If you think you are normal it’s a bad thing.
  29. Everybody is mentally sick (according to DSM 5)
  30. All mental illness can be treated by expensive medication.

A mindless pursuit of “equality” does not excuse stupidity

June 12, 2013

Political correctness is not always rational.

“Discernment” is considered a good thing but “discrimination” is not.

“Equal pay for equal performance” sounds good but it is often illegal to pay an incompetent union member less than a competent one. Discerning a good worker can be considered discrimination.

And now it is apparently wrong to avoid the employment of criminals because it could be “discrimination”.

Washington Post: 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday accused two major companies of indirectly discriminating against African Americans by using criminal background checks to screen out workers.

The commission said BMW effectively fired 70 black employees with criminal histories from a facility in South Carolina, even though many had been there for years. One woman with 14 years under her belt was let go after a misdemeanor conviction surfaced that was more than 20 years old and carried a $137 fine, according to the EEOC’s lawsuit. 

The agency also alleged that retailer Dollar General revoked job offers to two black women after conducting criminal background checks. In one case, the EEOC said that the records were inaccurate but that Dollar General declined to reconsider the woman’s application. The other involved a six-year-old drug conviction. …

…… The EEOC is not alone in focusing on the role of criminal background checks in black employment. Since the recession, seven states — including Maryland — have adopted laws that prohibit employers from including questions about criminal history on job applications. ……

Stupid is as stupid does.

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