Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Dangers of Generalizing

This is not strictly a post on investments but more on habits of mind.  An interview with a White, Southern woman who voted twice for George W. Bush and believes that President Obama is Muslim is a cautionary example of drawing conclusions from too little data or, more precisely, stereotyping.  Based on my description, one might expect that the woman in question is voting for Mitt Romney.  Wrong.  She is voting for Obama, despite her views on the President's religion.  Why?  Because she makes $28,000 a year and doesn't like Romney because, in her mind, he was born rich.  The interview with her is here:

The lesson obviously applies in a wider context.  Moreover, it confirms my personal belief that Americans are a more complex group than our leaders (and possibly the rest of the world) believe.  The access to internet and media available to all levels of American society will only magnify this effect going forward.  Indeed, the Republicans are running into some difficulty now in trying to appeal to disparate groups in American society.

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