Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Terry Pratchett Thoughts. On the Role of the Media and On Citizens as Consumers. A Re-Posting

Originally from here.

I've been re-reading many of Terry Pratchett's books, in his memory.  I often come across little jewels (or chocolate truffles) of ideas.  For example:

"the public is not interested in public interest."

Which is true.  The reasons for that are many and varied, but it's almost impossible to try to write about topics of public interest on a commercial basis (so send money).

My most recent re-read is The Truth, about the first newspapers in Ankh-Morpork.  Mr. William de Worde starts the very first one, with actual news in it (though also stories about funny-shaped vegetables).  A competitor soon catches on with scandalous stories such as "a woman gives birth to a cobra."

de Worde gets a statement from the king of the area where this miracle-birth was supposed to have happened, at some cost for himself.  The king denied any cobra-human births to have happened.

The response of the readers was that of course the king would deny everything, of course.  In any case, stories about women giving birth to cobras are a lot more fun than stories about politics, say.

All that reminds me of American politics, in a gently ridiculous sense. Weird people writing or nattering about Hillary Clinton's cankles (a term for fat ankles) as if it matters what size ankles a president has and as if we ever otherwise measure the ankles of presidential contenders.  Presidents being judged on the basis of whether we'd like to have a beer with them.

Imagine using that way of judging for picking your neurosurgeon.

All this links in a vague way to a Finnish article I recently came across, on the new approach to citizens as consumers.  This is the part I wish to translate:

Kun on riittävän monta vuotta toisteltu, että kansa tietää parhaiten kaiken, ovat sivistysinstituutiot alkaneet nöyrtyä.
Korkeakoulujen oletetaan palvelevan paitsi liike-elämää ja politiikkaa, myös oppilaitaan, joista on tullut asiakkaita.
Lehdet ovat luopuneet vanhanaikaisesta valistajan roolista ja kyselevät yleisöltä, mikä on tärkeää. Nettiäänestyksissä media tenttaa lukijan mielipidettä asioihin, jotka eivät ole mielipiteestä kiinni: tuliko lama, lämpeneekö ilmasto, tappavatko rokotteet, mitä mieltä jengi.
Asiakkaan rooli voi imarrella meitä hetken, mutta demokratian ja sivistyksen osalta se on tylsä loukku: olemme aina oikeassa, ja siksi meidän ei tarvitse omaksua uutta.

My approximate translation:

When we have repeated for many years that the people (here meant as the audience) know best all the cultural institutions have begun to agree.  Universities are assumed to serve both business and politics but also the students who are now customers.  Newspapers have given up their old-fashioned role as educators and enlighteners.  Instead, they ask the public what is important.  In online polls the media wants the reader's opinions on matters which are not based on opinions:  did we have an economic recession, is the climate warming, do vaccinations kill.  What do you guys think?

The role of a customer can momentarily flatter, but it's a boring trap from the point of view of democracy and culture:  we are always right and that's why we don't have to learn anything new.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

For Your Toolkit 3: The Need to Distinguish Between Small And Large Numbers


This post was originally published here.


I've always liked statistics as a science  but never thought it hawt and sexy.  Now I wish we could make statistics more sexy (bare more skin?) in order to save more of us from falling into those hidden wolf traps of the net.  They don't have sharpened sticks, those traps (holes in the ground, covered by branches), but they do hurt our understanding in somewhat similar ways.

An example of the wolf trap:  Someone writes on, say, racism or sexism in recent events and then gets attacked by trolls.  Suppose that in one scenario there are five very active trolls hammering at the poor writer, in an alternative scenario there are five thousand such trolls.

The two scenarios are not the same, they don't tell us the same story about the likely number of people "out there" believing whatever those trolls believe.  That's why it's very wrong to argue that the presence of five Twitter trolls in one's mentions means that the troll-opinion is extremely common in the real world.  Yet in the last week I've seen several people take that view of events:  The mere existence of any nasty trolls (and nasty they are) means that those trolls have sizable backing in the world of opinions, ideas and values.

So that is about proportions or percentages.  There will always be people with extreme nasty values, there will always be some who troll.  To unearth a troll comment and then to write about it as if it represents a sizable number of people in the real world is lazy and just wrong.  Even utopia would have a few trolls, hankering for life in hell.

It matters whether 0.1 percent or 60% of Americans believe that broccoli should be banned.  Those who don't get that difference are going to create "the-sky-is-falling" stories, and they are not ultimately helpful.

Add to all that the problem of self-selection, which means that those who comment on any particular incendiary topic are much more likely to be the ones who hold the extreme opposite view of the one any particular writer has used in a piece (broccoli haters, whether 0.1% or 60%, will be much more likely to be in the comments section of your Broccoli Is King article than anyone else).

That's why the comments sections, especially if not moderated, are dominated by angry voices and often opinions better suited to critters who just crawled out of the primeval slime*.  You know, the way any article about gender inequality that focuses on women gets comments from angry meninists.

People who agree with the writer tend not to waste time scribbling that down under the article, and people who aren't that bothered either way tend not to spend time in the comments, either.  The Twitter discussions work on somewhat similar principles, though the fact that people have followers makes them less hostile to the imagined writer here.  But those who hated what you wrote are the ones with real energy to look up your handle and then enter the "discussion."

These two problems I've described above are a) ignoring the actual prevalence of various beliefs  and b) ignoring self-selection on the net.  That double-ignorance can have bad consequences:  We may be misled into believing that a molehill is a mountain, we may initiate much larger angry fights with an imaginary enemy (windmills?) and we may misunderstand the scope of the problem altogether.

A similar problem is born when someone writes an article starting with the planned plot.  Suppose that the plot is how much people hate broccoli.  The intrepid journalist will then go out and interview people.  What if the vast majority of those interviewed aren't bothered about broccoli at all?  That statement will not have a prominent place in the planned story.  Instead, even if it takes a very long time, the journalist will find a few people who reallyreally hate that green tree-pretender among the vegetables, and it is the opinions of those few people that we all will then read.

The next stage (and believe me I've seen this stage recently, though not about broccoli hating) is for people to talk about the vast camp of broccoli haters and mention the opinions of the interviewed few as representative of what that vast camp thinks.

This doesn't mean that anecdotes cannot reflect majority views or the views of an important numerical minority.  But strictly speaking an anecdote, if true, tells us only that one particular person held a particular opinion.  It doesn't tell us how common that opinion is.  For that we need the collection and analysis of statistical data about the whole relevant population (all vegetable eaters in the case of broccoli).

So all this was what has stopped me from writing on various interesting topics yesterday.  Aren't you glad I shared?
-----
*With all due apologies to critters from the primeval slime who are probably charming and empathic ones.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Alcohol And Fertile Women Who Don't Use Contraception. Or: Hi, Baby-Making Factories!



This post, on the CDC recommendations about alcohol consumption by fertile women not using contraception was first published last February.  It's worth re-posting, given that what it describes is a part of a longer-term trend.



1.  The USAToday's Summary of New CDC Recommendations


The Big Brother has arrived!  According to the USAToday:

Women of childbearing age should avoid alcohol unless they're using contraception, federal health officials said Tuesday, in a move to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome.
“Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,” said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking.
"The risk is real. Why take the chance?” Schuchat asked.
The CDC estimates 3.3 million women between ages 15 to 44 are at risk of exposing a developing fetus to alcohol because they drink, are sexually active and not using birth control. Even when women are actively trying to get pregnant, three in four continue drinking after they stop using birth control, according to the CDC report.
There is no known safe level of alcohol at any stage of pregnancy, according to the CDC. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends women abstain completely from alcohol while pregnant.

The bolds are mine.  Read the first bolded sentence and then the second bolded sentence.  Notice any difference?  The hook in the article tells us that all women not using contraception who belong to a usually fertile age group should stop drinking, for the sake of future babies (whether planned or completely imaginary, and even if they will be born to someone else).  Even Lesbians, hermits, nuns, other celibate individuals and infertile people should abstain from alcohol!  Any woman might accidentally fall upon a penis, I guess.

Now imagine the Pre-Pregnancy Police coming for you if you try to get a drink and don't have enough wrinkles to prove your new legal drinking age! (1)  Bartenders and other volunteers might refuse to serve you that glass of wine or at least first demand to know if you are on the pill, and then decide if you are allowed to drink.

The Pre-Pregnancy Police doesn't yet exist.  But the Pregnancy Police, in the form of not only actual police but also concerned volunteers is a real thing and a real pest for pregnant women. I guess one advantage of this new recommendation is that now those helpful strangers can pester all younger women equally and not just the ones who are visible pregnant.

After writing that rant about the USAToday summary I read what the CDC  actually says:

An estimated 3.3 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 years are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol because they are drinking, sexually active, and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy, according to the latest CDC Vital Signs report released today. The report also found that 3 in 4 women who want to get pregnant as soon as possible do not stop drinking alcohol when they stop using birth control.
Alcohol use during pregnancy, even within the first few weeks and before a woman knows she is pregnant, can cause lasting physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities that can last for a child’s lifetime. These disabilities are known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). There is no known safe amount of alcohol – even beer or wine – that is safe for a woman to drink at any stage of pregnancy.

Bolds are mine.

That is not the same as the first sentence in the USAToday story.  I wish newspapers didn't promote shitty journalism.


2.  The CDC Recommendations.  On Statistics And Medical Studies.
 

But even more I wish that the people at CDC had a better understanding of statistics, more transparency about what  medical research actually shows and doesn't show.  I also wish that they had hired someone who would have edited the writing  in this sentence:

 An estimated 3.3 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 years are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol because they are drinking, sexually active, and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy.

Those 3.3 million women don't all have "a developing baby".  They are potentially at risk for becoming pregnant.  Those two are very different things, and what is developing during any resulting pregnancy is not called a baby until it is born. 

For the statistical problems, consider this quote that was used in the USAToday article as well as in the original CDC report:

About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking.

That half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned does NOT mean that every woman has a 50% chance of having an unintended pregnancy!  Yet all public health announcements aimed at fertile women seem to assume that the 50% frequency difference applies to every single fertile woman, even those who don't have heterosexual intercourse.

The actual situation is quite different, as this Guttmacher Institute graph shows:





I quote from the graph:  The two thirds of US women at risk of unintended pregnancy who practice contraception consistently and correctly account for only 5% of unintended pregnancies.


I suspect that the CDC researchers who wrote the recommendation did take that Guttmacher information into account, because the recommendation doesn't extend to women who use reliable contraception.  But the USAToday made a hash of it all and the CDC still parrots the statement without giving that sentence I bolded.

Even the more moderate statement from the CDC is not moderate when it comes to certain hidden assumptions about what various groups of women can be asked to sacrifice and for what types of reasons. To see why that is the case, let's talk about the medical evidence on fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).


Friday, August 19, 2016

On High Heels And Other Clothing Coded As Female. A Re-Posting



The post is originally from here.  For other posts about female clothing, see, for example,  this, this and this post.



Richard Stainthorp's  wire sculpture (hat tip to Rabih Alameddine) makes the pain of very high heels visceral:  Ouch!





High heels are almost compulsory in fashion photographs, even so high heels that nobody could run in them should a saber-tooth tiger attack.  The reason is that they make women's legs look longer and tilt their butts to an inviting angle (for saber-tooth tigers?).

Many items of clothing which are intended to signal female gender hurt*.  Think of girdles which American women wore until fairly recently, think of Victorian corsets, think of those high-heeled shoes, think of dresses as tight as fish skin or belts pulled so small that the stomach commits suicide.  All those are intended to showcase female beauty.

From the other end, modesty clothes (to hide female beauty),  long dresses, niqabs or face veils, abayas or long cloaks,  hurt in a different way.  Abayas are stifling in hot climates, their bagginess means that they can catch on things which can result in accidents, and burqas, say, make women likely to stumble because they restrict vision .  Hearing is harder through several layers of fabric, too.  And in the colonial America women's long dresses could catch fire in the kitchens.

What both the "revealing" and the "covering" female-coded clothing share is that they make it much harder for someone to be physically active.   A woman or a girl cannot run in them, she cannot play soccer in them, she cannot climb a tree in them.  Even knee-length dresses make that tree climbing impossible, if anyone can look up that dress. 

Is it female passivity that these gender-coded clothes are intended to promote**?

Never mind.  No laws currently require American women and girls to wear girdles or high-heeled shoes or abayas, and it can be fun to take a little bit of pain when dressing up for a wild party.

But not all women on this earth are in an equally free position when it comes to their clothing.  Both Iran and Saudi Arabia have laws which stipulate that all women inside their country's borders must wear the government's approved version of Islamic dress, including women who are not Muslims.

And then there's this recent British case:

A receptionist claims she was sent home from work at a corporate finance company after refusing to wear high heels.
Nicola Thorp, 27, from Hackney in east London, arrived on her first day at PwC in December in flat shoes but says she was told she had to wear shoes with a “2in to 4in heel”.




Thorp, who was employed as a temporary worker by PwC’s outsourced reception firm Portico, said she was laughed at when she said the demand was discriminatory and sent home without pay after refusing to go out and buy a pair of heels.
Thorp found out that nothing in the British laws stops firms from requiring that their female workers wear high heels***.  I wonder if a British firm could demand that its male workers wear, say,  codpieces?  They don't seem to have the health risks  that high heels do, after all.  And I think they would look great!

-------------------------
Please support this blog.  It's the fund-raising week and I promise I won't spend the money on clothing.


*  This tends not to be the case for clothing intended to show that someone is male, though men's business uniform (suit, tie, clunky dark shoes etc.) might be more restricting today than the equivalent women's business uniform (unless high heels are required).

That is an exception to the rule.  In my opinion the reason is that the male business suit has not changed for roughly a century.  When it was first created it was considerably more comfortable than female clothing of the era.  But in the West women's clothes have changed a lot during those hundred years, while men's business suits have not.

**  And if so, was it always the case?  In the medieval era European women and men dressed more alike than they did for several centuries afterwards, with both sexes wearing tunic-type outfits.  Women's tunics were longer than men's tunics, but close enough in style so that medieval wills sometimes leave clothing to individuals who are not the same sex as the person who made the will.  I believe that it was the available technology and the great expense of cloth that caused this similarity.  Gender was signaled by head-dresses and jewelry, not by most clothing. 

It is only recently that the everyday clothing of the sexes has once again become pretty similar.

*** She launched a petition to change this.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Life Is Complicated. A Re-Posting.


Originally from here.


Sometimes I despair of people's desire for very simple solutions to complicated problems.  Life is complicated, human behavior is complicated and the causes for many phenomena are myriad and interacting.  Yet what most people want are the kinds of explanations which can be made into television soundbites or which can be understood immediately by a person who has no training in the field.

Hence the popularity of, say,  evolutionary psychology where my guesses about the past are as good as your guesses about the past, and neither one of us needs actual data from that imaginary past!  We can just make up simple explanations.  That's partly why those theories apply to so many.  Why they apply to misogynists goes without saying.

Take that Search For Simple Answers to politics and you get Ron Paul believing in some weird god of free markets who will take care of everything for him.  He's not the only politician or public person who loves Simple-But-Wrong-Answers, and they are not all on the right side of the political aisle.  But that search for simplicity appears to be almost universal.  And very wrong.

I've been following the obesity debates and the same thing is going on there:  The Search For One Cause.  It's much more likely that the causes are many and that they, once again, interact, though I'm willing to bet quite a lot that the most important part of that puzzle is some change in the practices of the food industry, sometime before 1980s.  Other causes do, however, also exist.  But the change in extreme obesity levels, in particular, was too fast to be caused purely by lifestyle changes and the shape of obesity itself looks to me to have changed as well.  Fat deposits on the sides, even in an otherwise thin person, for instance.

The obesity debate is also interesting in revealing that unpleasant moralizing side of Americans (and probably people in general).  If only we all had enough willpower we'd all be slim and supple!  This turns the focus to purely individual solutions, purely individual failings and leaves the societal changes and frameworks unaffected.   Never mind that the food industry advertises soft drinks all the time!  Never mind that exercise has been cut in schools, that fears of pederasts make middle-class parents keep their children indoors and that the environment really is too dangerous for poor children to play outside.  Never mind that healthy food is expensive and bad food is cheap.  It's all about willpower and even that is assumed to be something you can acquire if you are good enough.

OK, that aside was more like a rant.  It's a hot day here at Snakepit Inc..

The Search For Simple Answers often has false duality built into it.  If the choices for an explanation are apples or bananas we tend to accept the initial setup and vote for either apples or bananas.  But what if the cause is in both?  Or in neither?   Public political debates are usually set up in those falsely dualistic terms and any attempt to explain that things are more complicated becomes inaudible.  For some weird reason.

Then take the reductio ad absurdum.  This is a common trick in political debates:  All liberals want to live off the government so that only conservatives end up working hard and paying all taxes.   All feminists want to kill unborn babies.

Substitute your own reverse argument for that one.  Then note how common such arguments are in political squabbling.  There's no good way of responding to those arguments, by the way, not because they were true (they are not) but because the debate would deteriorate into addressing an absurd argument.  Their point is not to present facts but to express loathing or hatred of the political opposition, and they work for that purpose.

The soundbite mode of public conversation makes things much worse, much more focused on short emotional comments.  Think of Twitter or television programs.  Television, in particular, may warp our understanding more than it aids it, given the short amount of time one has for presenting complex issues.  The one with the funniest soundbite wins!



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Why The Republican Alternative to ACA Would Fail



The Republicans presented their alternative to  "Obamacare" (the Affordable Care Act or ACA) in June.  That would be the system they are going to install once ACA is properly destroyed, stomped on and sent to the trash bins of history.

There's lots I could write about that alternative, too fluffy to be truly viewed as an alternative realistic proposal.   But in this post I want to focus on one basic belief the conservatives will not let go: 

If we only give consumers more choice and greater incentives to learn about prices then competition will drive the costs of health care down and the quality of health care up.

Here's the same statement from the Republican manifesto:

Unleashing the power of choice and competition is the best way to lower health care costs and improve quality. One way to immediately empower Americans and put them in the driver’s seat of their health care decisions is to expand consumer-driven health care. Consumer-driven health care allows individuals and families to control their utilization of health care by providing incentives to shop around. This ultimately lowers costs and increases quality.

The problem with that statement is that it is largely false, or that at least it is false in evaluating the bulk of health care expenditure.  Greater consumer choice can lower costs when it comes to getting dental cleanings and check-ups, new eyeglasses and certain other simple-to-understand basic services essentially healthy people consume.  But most of health care consumption is not of that sort, and consumer choice will not result in lower costs or higher quality.

For more detail on my counter-argument, the following earlier posts are useful: 

This one and this one explain why health care markets are inherently not competitive markets, and this one (ignore the pre-ACA stuff and scroll down to the where-when-who-why part) gives more information about the characteristics of health care costs.

Finally, note that the Republican statement I quote also has that little bit about "providing incentives to shop around."  What might those incentives be?

My guess is that they want people to pay more out of pocket and to rely more on their own savings for health care spending.  But that, of course, means that health care would become less affordable to many individuals, especially those without high incomes.

That fits, in a way, given the Republican drive to abolish the Affordable Care Act.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

For Your Toolkit 2.: The Challenge: Prove That Discrimination in Labor Markets Exists


This is the second post* in the toolkit series which tries to equip you with a few tools that might come handy in debates with people who don't believe in things such as labor market discrimination:




SleeZee Lyers in the comments to my earlier post on the gender gap in wages asks this question:

Regarding hidden discrimination, I would think that in the 50 years since the Equal Pay Act of 1963, that if such hidden sex associated wage discrimination as you hypothesize existed, that you would be able to find testimony to that effect from retired managers, retired executives, retired HR employees.
Surely someone must know and be ready to talk!
...
Occam's Razor isn't the be all and end all, but given a choice of personal choice / no discrimination or discrimination hidden by thousands for 50 years, I'd say the burden is on you to demonstrate that discimation.

This post is my answer to that Occam's Razor argument, though I wish to preface it with the fact that I believe the earnings differences reflect many reasons:  Choice based on societal expectations about what is appropriate for women and men,  gendered differences in family responsibilities, gendered preferences (whether innate or societally molded or both) and discrimination of various types.  Thus, there is no reason to go for just one explanation, such as choice.

To return to the main point:  That the burden is on me to demonstrate that gender discrimination exists in the labor markets:

First, there are fields of studies which do exactly thatThe audit studies are one group.  These consist of using trained actors, in this case men and women, to go out and apply for jobs in some industry.  The actors are coached to say all the same things and they are provided with equally good resumes.  The studies usually randomize the order in which they visit the firms and do other stuff to guarantee that the results make sense.  The studies then measure call-back rates and other measures to see whether the female and male job applicants, otherwise the same, are treated the same.

The classic study in this field is a 1990s study about server job applications in Philadelphia restaurants. It demonstrates some discrimination against female applicants to server jobs at that time and in that place.

The other important example of studies which have demonstrated the impact of gender discrimination is the classical orchestra study.  Musicians audit to get employed by orchestras.  A simple change in auditing rule:  introducing a screen so that the evaluators cannot observe the appearance of a musician but only his or her musical talent increased the probability that a female musician would be hired by an orchestra.

A further group of studies which can be used to study possible discrimination in hiring are the correspondence studies where various evaluators are asked to judge an application.  Some evaluators get the application with a female name, others get the exactly same application with a male name.  Given that the actual application is the same for both names,  in the absence of any discrimination we would expect the average evaluations of the candidates to be the same.

This is sometimes the case in such studies, but not always.  A recent study in this field shows that science faculty evaluated fictional female applicants to a laboratory manager position more severely than the fictional male applicant.  In other words, being called "John" rather than "Jane" caused the same application to be treated less harshly and also resulted in higher estimated salary offer.

Both male and female evaluators treated "Jane" worse than "John," by the way.  Thus, what these studies find is probably a societal and unconscious gender bias, not some kind of explicit discrimination by either men or women.  Other studies in this field have also found that female evaluators are usually no less discriminatory than male evaluators.

Correspondence studies about gender do not always show discrimination just against women in gender studies.  What seems to matter here is whether a job is regarded as somehow "belonging" to men or somehow "belonging to women."  Women are judged more harshly in traditionally male-dominated occupations (such as science and in writing plays), men are judged more harshly (in at least some studies) in traditionally female-dominated occupations (such as secretarial work). 

Most of this appears to be something the evaluators are unaware of.  In other words, they are not explicitly singling out applicants with female or male names.

But note that whatever the causes for this might be, the likely effect this tendency has is to keep occupations more gender-segregated:  Men are more likely to be hired in traditionally male occupations and more likely to be offered a higher starting salary, whereas the reverse applies to women in traditionally female occupations.  That the latter occupations pay much less is, however, important to remember in this context, because the benefits the applicants accrue from being treated as "typical" for their occupations are smaller for women than for men, on average.

Second, the existence of discrimination can also be measured from court cases which decide for the plaintiff in gender discrimination cases.  Such cases have appeared in the years since the 1960s and are too numerous to list here.  A few examples:  The AT&T case, the Price-Waterhouse v. Hopkins case and the Lily Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire&Rubber Co case.

It is more difficult to study the existence of any possible gender discrimination in long-term labor contracts, because we cannot force actors to keep on acting roles over time and because it is much harder to control for individual differences in skills etc. under that setting.  The multiple regression techniques which studies us are a way around that.  If we could establish and measure all the variables which are non-discriminatory but which affect earnings, we could create studies where whatever gender difference we have been unable to account for after controlling for all those other variables would clearly be due to men and women being treated differently just on the basis of their gender.  But in reality there are always variables we don't have data about.  This means that the unexplained residual even in good studies could be an overestimate of discrimination.

At the same time, some of the variables which are included in the "neutral" category could themselves have a partially discriminatory background.  For instance, in my earlier post I noted that if women don't get promoted into certain jobs then the fact that they are not in that job category terribly often might not be a "neutral" part of the explanation.  That would require that occupations are simply chosen in the same way by both men and women.

This post is most likely a partial one.  It probably should include a discussion of the different concepts of discrimination (including institutional discrimination etc.), but I think I have written enough for the time being.

------
*  Originally from here.