A lot of ink is spilled talking of the mythic creature known as 'White Privilege'. Normally these arguments say---hey, these elite guys, who happen to share the same skin color as you, have a lot of things going for them and the system cuts them obscene amounts of slack. Therefore you, Mr Non-Elite white person shouldn't grumble about you or your kids being discriminated against for the benefit of Mr. Present or Future Elite non-white person. Obviously this is a crock, and, even if we DID enjoy a substantial advantage by way of something shady, we'd be fools to volunteer to reverse that advantage. But let's investigate just what a non-elite white person has going for him in the US today.
An observer can reasonably infer that your IQ, conscientiousness, executive function, etc are drawn from the white distribution. Which is to say, in the case of IQ, 100 mean with approximately 15 as a standard deviation. Whether you want to toss in the fact that, as a non-elite white person, your 'attributes' are generated in the first place using that sort of distribution is something of a philosophical point, and not one I'll go into in this post. The point is, when an observer is analyzing your capabilities, and doing that little regression towards the mean thing to correct for his fairly low r-squared in his estimate, that's the underlying distribution he's using for his priors. He'll likely do a similar computation when estimating how criminal or antisocial you are. Were you, a black guy, his prior estimate of the probability of you being, say, a murderer, and thus potentially very dangerous, would be around 9x higher (if he had a set of priors informed by the FBI UCR or reality).
One can infer that this is probably reasonably advantageous in most cases, although someone visibly Jewish or Japanese/Chinese might in fact do slightly better in terms of the priors.
Ironically, the better the tests you've got available in your battery, the less said priors matter. If you've got, say 95% reliability or more, like a lot of the most popular psychometrics on intelligence, the correction for regression towards the mean is pretty small. On the other hand, if you're doing what I'll call folk psychometrics (and people are actually not half bad at this), that correction is pretty large. So having a lot of tests and such pervasively applied actually reduces this advantage, insofar as it exists.
The next big advantage is the places wherein you look out of place are usually a lot less desirable than if you were, say, a NAM. You are likely to fit in culturally in a considerably larger fraction of reasonably functional neighborhoods.
The final big advantage is that you presently enjoy demographic hegemony. Hopefully you're not so foolish as to fail to defend it.
Foundationalism: in praise of vagueness
2 days ago