House GOP defends the right of racist car-dealers to overcharge people of color

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And the stupid part is corporations fight tooth and nail to avoid transparency, and when they’re finally forced to disclose their practices, it’s good for business. Would you be more likely to buy food if you didn’t know what was in it? Me either.


As is often the case, the reactionary right isn’t pro-racism, it’s just depraved in its indifference to the racist outcomes of being pro-crony-capitalism.

That might be true in this case, but not, I’m thinking, in most. Racism is a tool for the powerful members of the reactionary right, and a hardcore belief system for most of the rest of them.


This suggests an interesting line of thought. As people learn to hide overt discrimination, it disperses into lots of little discrimlets that can’t be dealt with one by one. The aggregate data might show that cabs ignore black people every day, but if there’s no single, unambiguous incident then no one can be prosecuted; as long as racism exists, it’ll find ways to leak out.

But as far as economic harm goes, it might be possible for algorithms to sweep up all those discrimlets and redress them collectively. Like, if you can add up exactly how many dollars are diverted from white people to black people by unconsciously biased car dealers and job interviewers-- not an estimate, but the exact figure-- why not simply transfer that amount right back again through the tax system?

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Following the post back to the original article:

A little background on why the measurement is so involved. In mortgage lending, the race of the borrower is recorded. In fact the race of every applicant is recorded, so that later on people can go back and see if there are racist practices going on. This is not so for auto lending, however. That means that when the CFPB suspects racism in auto lending, they have to impute the race of the applicant based on the information they know. Then, once they have partitioned the borrower population into “probably minority” and “probably white” subgroups, they measure the extent to which the “probably minority” gets overcharged. If it’s substantial, they charge the lender with discrimination and allot damages.

Interesting. Apparently a key element of the debate is defining who exactly is “minority” and who exactly is “white”, and in a country with more multiracial people every year, I can well see why that’s problematic.

I wonder if the CFPB has considered employing any of the statisticians who were employed by the former South African government? They seem to have worked it all out rather tidily.

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Which former SA government? The last Apartheid government?

Shut up! The rabble aren’t supposed to know that!


It’s great to see people applying modern quantitative methods to this stuff. It’s really amazing how many really good blogs (like the one linked to) are out there, and how difficult it is to find any of them.

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Exactly. If it’s a necessary function of the CFPB to “impute the race of the applicant” then they should at least try to establish a legally defensible methodology, and this might be a starting point:

Yeah, that was a starting point for a lot of things.

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I wonder how much cars would cost if auto loans simply did not exist.


I don’t think it’s a matter of defining minority, it’s inferring who is or isn’t based on things like home address and name because there’s no “race” entry on an auto loan form. Probably they’re making assumptions about the ethnicities of Jerry Goldblum on Amsterdam Ave., Paxton Wimbledon-Diddlepenny on Fifth, and Luther X. Washington on MLK Blvd. I wonder if it goes any deeper than that — are they cross-indexing Facebook and LinkedIn profiles?

I’m not sure exactly the apartheid structure worked out for, but it sure as hell wasn’t anyone classified as non-white. How about we NOT employ the work of racist governments, like, ever.

How do these people make their way through the world without being spat at? Scum of the earth.

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