I get a lot of my news from the most reliable sources: with John Oliver, with Samantha Bee and, of course, .
Last week, did a superb analysis of “stop-and-frisk” – the policing tactic pioneered in New York City under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and struck down by a judge who branded it “.”
In the clip below, Trevor Noah goes through the problems with stop-and-frisk one after the other:
§ The rate of false positives – innocent people stopped and frisked – is staggering.
§ Though the name suggests a gentle, benign process, the reality is a deeply frightening, humiliating experience to those who must undergo it.
§ It is racially biased.
§ Defenders say it’s not biased, it’s based on applying a series of risk factors said to be associated with criminal behavior.
§ It backfires by sowing so much fear and distrust in poor communities of color that it undermines law enforcement and compromises safety.
But backers of stop-and-frisk – overwhelmingly white and middle class – say they know better than people who actually live in communities of color. Former House Speaker put it this way:
But what else would you expect from right-wing Republicans like Gingrich, or Giuliani or Donald Trump himself? Liberals would never tolerate such a harmful, racially biased intrusion on civil liberties.
Or would they?
As you watch the clip, try this: Whenever Trevor Noah says “crime” or “criminal” substitute “child abuse” or “child abuser.” And whenever he says stop-and-frisk, substitute child welfare’s version of stop-and-frisk, that much-hyped approach in which in which a computer uses demographic and other information to tell caseworkers which parents supposedly are a danger to their children: .
As with stop-and-frisk, predictive analytics puts a pseudo-scientific veneer on indirect racial profiling. . And as with stop-and-frisk, predictive analytics leads to an enormous number of false positives, guaranteeing that many more innocent families will be swept into the system, and their children needlessly consigned to foster care, with all of that .
Indeed, if anything the collateral damage of predictive analytics can be worse than stop-and-frisk. With stop-and-frisk, a child may see his father thrown up against a wall and roughed up, but at least when it’s over the child still will have his father.
Yes, there are some in the research community and elsewhere who are making a good-faith effort to wring the racial bias out of predictive analytics algorithms, or otherwise curb their misuse. But that will last only until the first news story about the death of a child “known to the system” that supposedly could have been prevented if only the child welfare agency had used the data it had – essentially the Gingrich argument.
Unfortunately, once again too many on the left are willing to they claim to believe in as soon as someone whispers the words “child abuse” in their ears. That never turns out well for children.