Startlingly poor statistical analysis

things appear to be going backward with the number of black executives declining from 29 percent to 27 percent in the most recent figures.

This was a statement from an article where Community and Cultural Affairs Minister Wayne Perinchief justifies the proposed racial equity law.  This is just another example of poor statistical analysis on the part of our leadership. 

29% black executives suggests that out of 100 executives, 29 are black.  Taking that 100 as a benchmark, that means we have a pool of 29 qualified well educated black executives to pull from.

Now consider the 10 new insurance companies that formed in only the last 3 months, let alone who knows how many others over the last couple years. Then ask yourself, if we have 29 qualified and well educated black Bermudians and you add 10 new companies, does that stretch the pool of available qualified black Bermudians? 

Well, using our benchmark of 100, only 7 new executives would need to be added to cause a shift to 27%.  That would mean that while the total number of black executives, 29, has not changed, the percentage would, thus giving us 27% of executives being black.  So, there are now 29 black executives out of 107.

Far too many people incorrectly see this as ‘things going backward’ in a clear misunderstanding of basic analysis.  In reality, lets say that on average those 10 companies each add 1 representative executive to our benchmark.  That means, we have 110 executives overall instead of 100.  Now we take our 27% of 110 which gives us 29.7, or rounded up, 30 black executives.

Is it possible that the number of black executives may well have increased  and not decreased?

Prove me right or wrong.  Show me the hard numbers over the last 5 years of:

# of black Bermudian executives
# of white Bermudian executives
# of black ex-pat executives
# of white ex-pat executives. 

No percentages, hard numbers.  Prove to me that there has been a decrease in the total number of black executives, not just the percentage due too the influx of new companies.

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8 thoughts on “Startlingly poor statistical analysis

  1. You are so right. This initiative is being driven by emotion and politics … not by the facts.

  2. Denis,
    I think its great you are holding the Minister to account and completely agree, but the simple fact is that Mr. Perinchief has no interest in reaching the truth.
    After reading yesterdays article it seems that at best, he is a true believer whose faith that oppression permeates everything insulates him from any facts to the contrary. There are no shades of gray, only black and white.
    At worst, he is a loyal Brown crony deliberately distorting statistics because we are approaching an election (whether pre-christmas or next year)and it pays in Bermuda politics to play the race card.
    You have as much chance getting the raw data from the sitting PLP government as Carrot Top surviving a meeting of the black panthers.
    I would direct your energy into getting the appropriate freedom of information legislation enacted, either by online petition or sending draft commitment letters to every candidate in the next election and posting who has returned them signed or even by hounding the candidates in St. Davids if and when they come to your door.
    Only that legislation opens the door to get the real story on employment, tourism, etc. An underperforming government will never lift its skirts.

  3. Silencedogood,
    Trying to get freedom of information legislation enacted would be just as futile.
    All I’m doing is testing the PLP to see if they are as honest and forthright as many of their supporters contest. Their refusal to answer my basic inquiries serves to demonstrate that they may not be as honest as they are proported to be and may well have dishonourable intentions for our future.
    It matters little what Mr. Perinchief believes or thinks. What does matter is what the voters who elect him into power think. They hold all the true power whether they realise it or not.

  4. Denis,
    I’m not trying to be critical. Hope that is not how it came off.
    I do agree that flagging instances where the PLP are not being forthright is important, but to my mind there are more flags standing out there already than a UN delegation playing minigolf on a cruiseship. (I’m full of poetic license today) At some point I wonder how many more does it take?
    I favor the free information legislation because it’s durable and trancends the present government. Say the UBP wins, but after a few years back in power they start pulling similar stunts to what the PLP is doing now–rather than have to flag them to death I’d rather have legal rights to access information to hammer them into shape.
    The more people can recognize an issue that trancends whomever is currently in power, the more I think will support it. There are enough issues at the fore which would benefit from the clarity.
    I think if an open letter was sent to each candidate and then those who refused to sign it were identified it would make the papers. It’s up to the public to play the interests of politicians against each other for the benefit of the country. Just my thoughts which, given my need for anonymity and lack of personal time to implement them make them only worth the electrons they are written with. Cheers.

  5. Silencedogood,
    I certainly didn’t take your remarks as critical.
    My point is, I’ve been down that road. I watched with a great amount of disgust as our former Premier told half the electorate we were stupid (ie. “we didn’t know what we were signing”)
    I’ve been at this for a while now and have learned is that the only way we will acheive freedom of information legislation is to have the people unite to demand it.
    People won’t be conviced over a single ignored question. They’ll be convinced after hundreds. You need to win the people’s support if you hope to have any change in our governance for it is only when the government fears it won’t be elected into another term will it take the right action.
    Today I hit 3000 visitors in a month. That means that month by month, my voice and my words have greater reach and they don’t stop simply on my blog. It gets people around the island talking and questioning things more and more. The more they question, the greater they’ll wonder and the less they’ll be swayed by hollow rhetoric.
    A an open letter would be a good idea, of which I have intentions of sending them out more frequently. However, the people will not understand why we need freedom of information legislation without knowing how many questions go unanswered.

  6. Very interesting – thanks for posting it.
    One element of the problem is the triangle here:
    While 15 percent of college graduates are African-American and Hispanic, John Rice, president of M.L.T., said, they only represent 8 percent of M.B.A. students at the top 25 business schools, only 3 percent of senior management positions and 1.6 percent of Fortune 1000 chief executives.

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