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Is Discrimination About Inequality?
Though “discrimination” is a central theme of our modern world, it is closely connected to many other powerful related concepts. So we might wonder: what is the essential motive or passion driving attitudes and behaviors here?
To explore this, I did 5 sets of 8 Twitter polls (with 7361 total responses) asking folks to rank 16 diverse bases for discrimination regarding 5 different related themes. (Polls asked which of four options is “most”; I then ranked the 16 bases via least-squares fits to a simple proportional response model.)
The following table shows how folks ranked the 16 bases on these five themes: a) how okay they are with it, b) how much they want law/govt to ban it, c) how naturally it would arise via genetic or cultural evolution, d) which is most driven by direct selfish reasons (as opposed to partiality or social pressure), and e) which is most asymmetric where a “down” side is more allowed to punch “up” than vice versa. For each, 100 is max, 0 is min.
Note first that even though we are on average more Okay with bases that we see as more Evolved and more Selfish, we are also on average more eager to Ban such bases. Note also that while the strongest correlation for Okay is with Ban, for all the other themes their strongest correlation is with UpDown. And the strongest correlation for UpDown is with Ban.
This all tentatively suggests that UpDown is the closest among these to the core here. And UpDown seems to me primarily about egalitarianism. Suggesting this thesis:
We dislike inequality where “up” types have more and “down” types have less, and are willing to “tax” ups to advantage downs. Banning ups but not downs from discriminating is one accepted way to “tax” the ups more.
In this view, discrimination isn’t due to a general aversion to treating “like” things differently, to using apparently irrelevant decision criteria, or to social coordination by one group to disadvantage rivals, or due to either an aversion to or sympathy for partialities that result from evolution. Instead, discrimination aversion maybe mainly inequality aversion.