Checking white privilege

One way to gauge the social status of an ethnic group is to see how the proportion of doctors in the group compares to that of the population as a whole. Of course, this is not flawless: for instance, in the case of Filipinos, I think it must overstate the status, as this seems to be a people that just loves the medical professions. (So, for instance, the percentage of lawyers among Filipinos is going to be much lower compared to the US average than it is for doctors.) But, it is a good rough gauge nonetheless. And in The Son Also Rises, Gregory Clark uses this gauge, by looking at the surnames of registered physicians in America.

So what the ethnic groups top the doctoring US charts? Here they are, starting with number one:

And the top doctoring award, for producing physicians at thirteen times the national average, goes to...

1) Coptic Egyptians

The runners-up:

2) Indian Hindus (about twelve times the average)
3) Indian Christians
4) Iranian Muslims
5) Lebanese Christians
6) Ashkenazi Jews
7) Sephardic Jews
8) Koreans
9) Chinese
10) Filipinos
11) Black Africans (we've reached about four times the average here)
12) Greeks
13) Armenians
14) Japanese
15) Vietnamese
16) Black Haitians

So, what do we find among the top 16 doctor-producing groups in the United States? No European Protestant groups. Not one.

Another fascinating fact I learned: Do you know what ethnic group has been in the US for roughly 100-250 years (depending upon the family) and has remained persistently underclass that entire time? See if you can guess in the comments. (Obviously the time frame I give is wrong for African-Americans, so that can't be the answer. And the high end of the range above is a hint.)

20 comments:

  1. I'm afraid that my guess might offend our esteemed blog host.

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  2. "So, what do we find among the top 16 doctor-producing groups in the United States? No European Protestant groups. Not one." Isn't that to be expected? European Protestants comprise a lion's share of the population, so they constitute the largest determinant of what the average will be and thus they're unlikely to deviate substantially from the average. So assuming that the various European Protestant ethnic groups have comparable status, you wouldn't expect any European Protestant groups in the top 16 no matter what.

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    1. Are you being serious MathMan? You really think that "no matter what" it is not remotely possible that, say, Dutch Protestants, who make up about 1 and 1/2% percent of the US population, could have gotten in the top 16?! Norwegian Protestants, again at about 1 and 1/2 %, make up such an overwhelming bulk of the population they could not conceivably have cracked the top 16?

      Think before you write.

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    2. "So assuming that the various European Protestant ethnic groups have comparable status..."

      And why would you assume that? They're all alike?

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    3. Gene, I didn't mean that European Protestant groups couldn't possibly be in the top 16; of course they could. I meant that no matter what, our Bayesian prior, before looking at what groups are actually in the top 16, should be that it's likely that no European Protestant groups are in the top 16. So the fact that this actually is the case shouldn't surprise us much.

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    4. "And why would you assume that? They're all alike?" I'd assume that because the European Protestant groups have for the most part assimilated pretty well into American society, so that they're considered by others to be "just another white person". That's not to say those groups are alike; the Irish American community has proud cultural traditions, for instance, but that's not what ultimately determines how they're treated by the rest of society.

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    5. "our Bayesian prior... should be that it's likely that no European Protestant groups are in the top 16"

      Why?! The Dutch are 1.6% of the American population? There are more Jews in the US than Dutch. Why in the world should we have a prior that the Dutch couldn't be in the top 16? How about Finns, at .3% of the US population? Couldn't possibly be in the top 16? Swiss, at .4%: couldn't imagine them cracking the top 16?

      That is a really silly prior.

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    6. "the Irish American community has proud cultural traditions,"

      And are not Protestant Europeans!

      Do "we" all look alike to you, MathMan?

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    7. Gene, again, I am NOT saying that our prior should be that it's impossible for them to be in the top 16, just that our prior should be that they probably aren't. And that's because the average American is likely to treat two people from two different European Protestant groups roughly the same in most interactions, so you'd expect them to have a comparable social status.

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    8. "And that's because the average American is likely to treat two people from two different European Protestant groups roughly the same in most interactions, so you'd expect them to have a comparable social status. "

      So THAT'S what determines ones social status?! So Egyptian Copts have so many doctors... because they are treated so well?! Black Africans have four times as many doctors as average because they are treated four times as well as average? And French Canadians achieve well below average... wait: can people tell just by glancing at them that they are French Canadian? According to your "priors," somehow people must be treating them differently in their "most interactions," because that is what determines social status.

      You are spouting nonsense.

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    9. Look at this MathMan: Why do Egyptian Coptics produce doctors at double the rate of Lebanese Christians? According to your reasoning, it must be because most Americans can tell them apart at a glance and therefore treat them differently!

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    10. Or again: Protestants only make up 48% of the US population. So I'd say WHITE protestants are definitely less than 40%. So if "white privilege" were really a big factor in achievement, it could easily be the case that ALL white protestant ethnicities were above average in producing doctors, with the other 60% of us trailing.

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  3. Replies
    1. Josiah wins twice!

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    2. I would never have guessed that, and I've been interacting with a lot of French Canadians lately (which usually happens ... never).

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    3. The trick is to remember that a lot of French Canadian settlers moved south during the French and Indian war, ending up in Louisiana. Then you watch some episodes of True Blood or True Detective, and it all becomes clear.

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