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Unsilenced Science’s chart of average SAT scores by race from 1941-2019 has attracted accusations of bias due to his or her using easily recognized colors to represent each race: e.g., a black line represents blacks while a yellow line represents Asians.

As everybody knows, respectable institutions try instead to make their color schemes as hard to read as possible. iSteve commenter Calvin Hobbes points to this masterpiece of the inscrutable from an official University of California website entitled “The Facts: Diversity:”

The pie-chart color scheme is “shades of blue”, with some of the shades differing only slightly from each other.

The shades-of-blue coding also differs from graph to graph.

None of this invidious coding of different groups with different colors.

The purpose of official diversity graphs is not to communicate facts about diversity, they are to give us something to blankly stare in the direction of while we think about something else.

 
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  1. Never forget: the reason red states are red and blue states are blue. Dems refused to be red because it was too obvious. True story!

    • Replies: @Polynices
    That's not true. Every 4 years the networks flipped red and blue between the parties and it just happens that in 2000 when there was the Bush-Gore hullabaloo red had been used for Rs and blue for Dems.
    , @Malcolm X-Lax
    It didn’t used to be like that. I can remember watching election results back in 1984 with my father, a life-long Democrat. I distinctly remember him complaining that the network (ABC I think) made the Dem states red and the GOP states blue solely to link the Dems with communism.
    , @Anon
    Funny, but not true.This is another of those "I know this is wrong because I personally lived through it" moments that is one of the perks of being old.

    The colors used on television election night maps varied from year to year and station to station at the whim of network graphic designers. One year they coincidently coalesced, and the red-blue terminology thus arose in the days and weeks following and stuck. As with most such origin stories it's not that interesting.

    Linguists often rate word's etymology stories based on how uninteresting they are. The fascinating stories with a plot are usually BS. The boring ones that that depend on a vowel shift are more likely. This is all a species of Occam's Razor when you get down to it.
    , @Dougfir
    IIRC the colors of the parties alternated between elections until GWB when they became fixed, probably for the reason you give. Too obvious.
  2. Anonymous[413] • Disclaimer says:

    Note that in terms of shade, it’s still in order of skin color. lol

    The whole purpose of this is to constantly make whites apologetic and supplicating. It doesn’t matter what it is, whether colored people, negro, black, Black, African American is the right or wrong thing to say. It’s that you are wrong, that you must apologize for what you do, and that you have no power to dictate anything.

  3. >Is this fundamentally a question of design?
    Yes.
    >so what did Tufte say?
    In this case, the racial sensitivity —
    >you started with Tufte, right?
    The racial —
    >In all matters of design, and especially with charts and presentations, the moral layperson feels commanded to consult or rely on the works of Edward Tufte, even if he then departs from them. Did you presume to ignore Tufte?
    Stop hitting me! Hitting is wrong! The racial —
    >Here, I’ll tldr. A chart’s color scheme should be as instantly distinguishable and memorable as a good corporate logo. Greyscale is the work of the devil. And that “six shades of powder blue” [email protected]#^%&$ is greyscale for our purposes. Now read Tufte or suffer like your audience did.

  4. @Charon
    Never forget: the reason red states are red and blue states are blue. Dems refused to be red because it was too obvious. True story!

    That’s not true. Every 4 years the networks flipped red and blue between the parties and it just happens that in 2000 when there was the Bush-Gore hullabaloo red had been used for Rs and blue for Dems.

    • Replies: @Charon
    But I read it somewhere on the internet.
    , @Milo Minderbinder
    I don't think the networks flipped every 4 years. I think they adopted the scheme of Blue=Incumbent, Red=Challenger. And then when 2000 hit, the colors solidified as parties. I still remember NBC rolling out their giant electoral map in 1976; Ford and the Republicans were coded blue.
    , @Bardon Kaldian
    Hullabaloo?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgZvfQwpWtU

    or

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sEArYFZAco
    , @res
    Based on this it is more complicated than that:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_states_and_blue_states#Contemporary_use
  5. I blame the latest graphic design fashion. These days, you are supposed to color-code your categories with shades of the same color. You are allowed to use a second color only in extremity, for “emphasis.” You are not allowed to use a third color under any circumstances.

    Of course, you are not allowed to use a pie chart either, but there you go.

    • Replies: @Muggles
    >>Of course, you are not allowed to use a pie chart either, but there you go.<<

    So, pie is now somehow racist? Like fried chicken and watermelon? Or sexist, "round" being female, and pointy being male? Round as in "round eye", i.e. everyone not Asian? "Pie in the sky" instead of God, so atheist? Insulting to mathematicians, who prefer pi to pie?

    Does someone put out an app so I can keep up?
  6. Maybe it is a color blindness thing. This way everybody has trouble.

    • Replies: @photondancer
    A six-shades-of-blue graph like that breaks accessibility guidelines for people with vision impairments. Heck, it's not that easy to decipher even if your vision isn't impaired. UC undoubtedly has a HR group whose job it is to pounce on things like this, so it's revealing that they allowed it to be published anyway.
  7. @Charon
    Never forget: the reason red states are red and blue states are blue. Dems refused to be red because it was too obvious. True story!

    It didn’t used to be like that. I can remember watching election results back in 1984 with my father, a life-long Democrat. I distinctly remember him complaining that the network (ABC I think) made the Dem states red and the GOP states blue solely to link the Dems with communism.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Networks tended to flip back and forth between red and blue from election to election. In 2000, most (but not all) of the networks happened to be using red for Republicans, and then the 35 day recount happened, so that that year's dominant color scheme stuck.
    , @ScarletNumber

    I distinctly remember him complaining that the network (ABC I think) made the Dem states red and the GOP states blue solely to link the Dems with communism.
     
    In most countries, red represents the liberal party and blue represents the conservative party. On the election maps in the US, blue generally represented the party in power, which in 1984 was the Republicans, while red generally represented the other party, the Democrats. In 2000 that was switched, but because those maps were on TV every day for over a month, the colors became entrenched.
  8. @Malcolm X-Lax
    It didn’t used to be like that. I can remember watching election results back in 1984 with my father, a life-long Democrat. I distinctly remember him complaining that the network (ABC I think) made the Dem states red and the GOP states blue solely to link the Dems with communism.

    Networks tended to flip back and forth between red and blue from election to election. In 2000, most (but not all) of the networks happened to be using red for Republicans, and then the 35 day recount happened, so that that year’s dominant color scheme stuck.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Networks tended to flip back and forth between red and blue from election to election.
     
    Except in print, where it was black and white. Which we should consider returning to.

    There are other colors in the spectrum-- orange, green, pink, yellow, indigo. Let's utilize them. A mix of pink and brown for the left's coalition, for instance.
  9. Wow, I would have thought you were kidding if you didn’t provide the sources.

    Back in my time, the point of conveying information was to, you know, convey information.

  10. @Malcolm X-Lax
    It didn’t used to be like that. I can remember watching election results back in 1984 with my father, a life-long Democrat. I distinctly remember him complaining that the network (ABC I think) made the Dem states red and the GOP states blue solely to link the Dems with communism.

    I distinctly remember him complaining that the network (ABC I think) made the Dem states red and the GOP states blue solely to link the Dems with communism.

    In most countries, red represents the liberal party and blue represents the conservative party. On the election maps in the US, blue generally represented the party in power, which in 1984 was the Republicans, while red generally represented the other party, the Democrats. In 2000 that was switched, but because those maps were on TV every day for over a month, the colors became entrenched.

    • Thanks: Malcolm X-Lax
  11. When the Antifa savages age out of vandalism and move into elected office, Mayor of Portland maybe and then state office and Congress and the Senate, they’ll reclaim red. And black.

  12. Anon[596] • Disclaimer says:
    @Charon
    Never forget: the reason red states are red and blue states are blue. Dems refused to be red because it was too obvious. True story!

    Funny, but not true.This is another of those “I know this is wrong because I personally lived through it” moments that is one of the perks of being old.

    The colors used on television election night maps varied from year to year and station to station at the whim of network graphic designers. One year they coincidently coalesced, and the red-blue terminology thus arose in the days and weeks following and stuck. As with most such origin stories it’s not that interesting.

    Linguists often rate word’s etymology stories based on how uninteresting they are. The fascinating stories with a plot are usually BS. The boring ones that that depend on a vowel shift are more likely. This is all a species of Occam’s Razor when you get down to it.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Left- right was literally the seating arrangement in the French parliament during the French Revolution (the radicals sat on the left side of the chamber). Is that boring or interesting?
  13. Anonymous[363] • Disclaimer says:

    Reminds me of the ‘dazzle’ camouflage that was used, once upon a time, to paint naval battleships. There, the explicit aim was to ‘dazzle’ the enemy by giving him a a very confusing and ill defined picture – exactly the same thing, for the same reason is being done here.

  14. The fact that the person chose stereotypical colors is proof of bias which can be extrapolated to the inherent bias of our white supremacist society.

    Oh by the way we’re winning

    Gov Whitmer has been vindicated by the court

    Maddow won her lawsuit

    The he Georgia thugs will get the death penalty

    white girls are choosing Black Men as partners

    Die angry conservatives

    • Replies: @Charon
    I'm not a conservative, TD, but I will admit you scored the ultimate perk: a new screen name every day on iSteve.
  15. @Steve Sailer
    Networks tended to flip back and forth between red and blue from election to election. In 2000, most (but not all) of the networks happened to be using red for Republicans, and then the 35 day recount happened, so that that year's dominant color scheme stuck.

    Networks tended to flip back and forth between red and blue from election to election.

    Except in print, where it was black and white. Which we should consider returning to.

    There are other colors in the spectrum– orange, green, pink, yellow, indigo. Let’s utilize them. A mix of pink and brown for the left’s coalition, for instance.

    • Agree: Malcolm X-Lax
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    There is this:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_color_code

    All coded components have at least two value bands and a multiplier; other bands are optional.

    The standard color code per IEC 60062:2016 is as follows:
    Ring color Significant figures Multiplier Tolerance Temperature coefficient
    Name Code RAL Percent [%] Letter [ppm/K] Letter
    None – – – – ±20 M –
    Pink PK 3015 – ×10−3[8] ×0.001 – –
    Silver SR – – ×10−2 ×0.01 ±10 K –
    Gold GD – – ×10−1 ×0.1 ±5 J –
    Black BK 9005 0 ×100 ×1 – 250 U
    Brown BN 8003 1 ×101 ×10 ±1 F 100 S
    Red RD 3000 2 ×102 ×100 ±2 G 50 R
    Orange OG 2003 3 ×103 ×1000 ±0.05[8] W 15 P
    Yellow YE 1021 4 ×104 ×10000 ±0.02[8][nb 1][9] P 25 Q
    Green GN 6018 5 ×105 ×100000 ±0.5 D 20 Z[nb 2]
    Blue BU 5015 6 ×106 ×1000000 ±0.25 C 10 Z[nb 2]
    Violet VT 4005 7 ×107 ×10000000 ±0.1 B 5 M
    Grey GY 7000 8 ×108 ×100000000 ±0.01[8][nb 3][nb 1][9] L (A) 1 K
    White WH 1013 9 ×109 ×1000000000 – –

    Offensive

    Offensive and vulgar mnemonics include:

    Bad boys rape our young girls but Violet gives willingly.[11][12] (Get Some Now (refers to the tolerance bands Gold, Silver or None))
     
    In reality, that's the only one anyone I know ever used or remembered. Sometimes rendered as "Black Boys Rape...." , this makes it easier to remember the first B is black, the second brown. By the time you get to blue, that's pretty close to violet. There are dozens but no one used any other than the one I mentioned except maybe at religious schools or something. I never heard of any at any of the dozen plus electronic plants I worked, or among hams, audiophiles , or illegal CB linear builders.
  16. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Networks tended to flip back and forth between red and blue from election to election.
     
    Except in print, where it was black and white. Which we should consider returning to.

    There are other colors in the spectrum-- orange, green, pink, yellow, indigo. Let's utilize them. A mix of pink and brown for the left's coalition, for instance.

    There is this:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_color_code

    All coded components have at least two value bands and a multiplier; other bands are optional.

    The standard color code per IEC 60062:2016 is as follows:
    Ring color Significant figures Multiplier Tolerance Temperature coefficient
    Name Code RAL Percent [%] Letter [ppm/K] Letter
    None – – – – ±20 M –
    Pink PK 3015 – ×10−3[8] ×0.001 – –
    Silver SR – – ×10−2 ×0.01 ±10 K –
    Gold GD – – ×10−1 ×0.1 ±5 J –
    Black BK 9005 0 ×100 ×1 – 250 U
    Brown BN 8003 1 ×101 ×10 ±1 F 100 S
    Red RD 3000 2 ×102 ×100 ±2 G 50 R
    Orange OG 2003 3 ×103 ×1000 ±0.05[8] W 15 P
    Yellow YE 1021 4 ×104 ×10000 ±0.02[8][nb 1][9] P 25 Q
    Green GN 6018 5 ×105 ×100000 ±0.5 D 20 Z[nb 2]
    Blue BU 5015 6 ×106 ×1000000 ±0.25 C 10 Z[nb 2]
    Violet VT 4005 7 ×107 ×10000000 ±0.1 B 5 M
    Grey GY 7000 8 ×108 ×100000000 ±0.01[8][nb 3][nb 1][9] L (A) 1 K
    White WH 1013 9 ×109 ×1000000000 – –

    Offensive

    Offensive and vulgar mnemonics include:

    Bad boys rape our young girls but Violet gives willingly.[11][12] (Get Some Now (refers to the tolerance bands Gold, Silver or None))

    In reality, that’s the only one anyone I know ever used or remembered. Sometimes rendered as “Black Boys Rape….” , this makes it easier to remember the first B is black, the second brown. By the time you get to blue, that’s pretty close to violet. There are dozens but no one used any other than the one I mentioned except maybe at religious schools or something. I never heard of any at any of the dozen plus electronic plants I worked, or among hams, audiophiles , or illegal CB linear builders.

  17. I stopped doing presentations when I was told to stick to the corporate colour scheme. I’ll give speeches, do calls, or talk mano-a-mano, but I will never do another effing Powerpoint® deck in my life.

    • Replies: @donut
    I'd forgotten about Powerpoint and the hand outs of that came with them . They were fiendish in their conception and execution .
  18. @Polynices
    That's not true. Every 4 years the networks flipped red and blue between the parties and it just happens that in 2000 when there was the Bush-Gore hullabaloo red had been used for Rs and blue for Dems.

    But I read it somewhere on the internet.

  19. @Greeted Greg
    The fact that the person chose stereotypical colors is proof of bias which can be extrapolated to the inherent bias of our white supremacist society.

    Oh by the way we're winning

    Gov Whitmer has been vindicated by the court

    Maddow won her lawsuit

    The he Georgia thugs will get the death penalty

    white girls are choosing Black Men as partners

    Die angry conservatives

    I’m not a conservative, TD, but I will admit you scored the ultimate perk: a new screen name every day on iSteve.

    • Replies: @Pericles

    you scored the ultimate perk: a new screen name every day on iSteve.

     

    It's a sign of Ron Unz's affection.
  20. @Polynices
    That's not true. Every 4 years the networks flipped red and blue between the parties and it just happens that in 2000 when there was the Bush-Gore hullabaloo red had been used for Rs and blue for Dems.

    I don’t think the networks flipped every 4 years. I think they adopted the scheme of Blue=Incumbent, Red=Challenger. And then when 2000 hit, the colors solidified as parties. I still remember NBC rolling out their giant electoral map in 1976; Ford and the Republicans were coded blue.

  21. I’m partially color blind, primarily red/green but some other shades are difficult to determine. Graphs like that one about race and SAT scores from a few posts ago are impossible for me to read because the shades are too similar and the key is useless.

  22. @Charon
    I'm not a conservative, TD, but I will admit you scored the ultimate perk: a new screen name every day on iSteve.

    you scored the ultimate perk: a new screen name every day on iSteve.

    It’s a sign of Ron Unz’s affection.

  23. @Anon
    Funny, but not true.This is another of those "I know this is wrong because I personally lived through it" moments that is one of the perks of being old.

    The colors used on television election night maps varied from year to year and station to station at the whim of network graphic designers. One year they coincidently coalesced, and the red-blue terminology thus arose in the days and weeks following and stuck. As with most such origin stories it's not that interesting.

    Linguists often rate word's etymology stories based on how uninteresting they are. The fascinating stories with a plot are usually BS. The boring ones that that depend on a vowel shift are more likely. This is all a species of Occam's Razor when you get down to it.

    Left- right was literally the seating arrangement in the French parliament during the French Revolution (the radicals sat on the left side of the chamber). Is that boring or interesting?

  24. @Polynices
    That's not true. Every 4 years the networks flipped red and blue between the parties and it just happens that in 2000 when there was the Bush-Gore hullabaloo red had been used for Rs and blue for Dems.

    Hullabaloo?

    or

  25. @The Alarmist
    I stopped doing presentations when I was told to stick to the corporate colour scheme. I'll give speeches, do calls, or talk mano-a-mano, but I will never do another effing Powerpoint® deck in my life.

    I’d forgotten about Powerpoint and the hand outs of that came with them . They were fiendish in their conception and execution .

  26. ‘…The purpose of official diversity graphs is not to communicate facts about diversity, they are to give us something to blankly stare in the direction of while we think about something else.’

    Something like that is certainly the case with that graph. I’d put it as a matter of preventing thought about the information; if you can’t see exactly what it is, you can’t start noticing that whites are underrepresented, or to what extent Asians nevertheless manage to dominate enrollments, or whatever.

    In passing, I’ll note that the UC’s admission policies are literally cruel. There are all these blacks who went to grotesquely substandard black schools; what is taught as ‘algebra’ there, for example, doesn’t even bear a passing relationship to the actual branch of mathematics.

    …to the extent that anything is taught at all. Nevertheless, relatively well-behaved black children will amass lots of A’s and B’s in ‘Algebra,’ ‘Biology,’ ‘English,’ etc. Of course, they haven’t been taught even the most rudimentary skills. But they have amassed a nice transcript.

    So they get admitted to Cal — and get slaughtered. At one point, I heard that half the black students admitted to Cal Berkeley dropped out by the end of their first term.

    Now what is the point of that? Almost by definition, these aren’t bad people; their grades signal they were able to show up for school regularly and behave reasonably well. So is this experience supposed to be good for them? What’s the lesson that is taught?

    Is there some point to hurting people like that? It’s not a matter of them choosing to fail; they can’t do the work. The equivalent would be just throwing me into the Patriots’ offensive line and seeing what happens. Do we really need to try it?

  27. @Polynices
    That's not true. Every 4 years the networks flipped red and blue between the parties and it just happens that in 2000 when there was the Bush-Gore hullabaloo red had been used for Rs and blue for Dems.

    Based on this it is more complicated than that:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_states_and_blue_states#Contemporary_use

    • Replies: @A123

    Based on this it is more complicated than that:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_states_and_blue_states#Contemporary_use
     
    I concur.

    An additional likely contributing factor is that "Political Red" was linked to Communism in China and the USSR. Was the use of red for the U.S. Democrat party discouraged to avoid that association?

    Sailer (and others) correctly identify the events of 2000 as the force that locked in the concept of Democrat Blue and Republican Red.

    PEACE 😷
  28. A123 says:
    @res
    Based on this it is more complicated than that:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_states_and_blue_states#Contemporary_use

    Based on this it is more complicated than that:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_states_and_blue_states#Contemporary_use

    I concur.

    An additional likely contributing factor is that “Political Red” was linked to Communism in China and the USSR. Was the use of red for the U.S. Democrat party discouraged to avoid that association?

    Sailer (and others) correctly identify the events of 2000 as the force that locked in the concept of Democrat Blue and Republican Red.

    PEACE 😷

  29. @inertial
    I blame the latest graphic design fashion. These days, you are supposed to color-code your categories with shades of the same color. You are allowed to use a second color only in extremity, for "emphasis." You are not allowed to use a third color under any circumstances.

    Of course, you are not allowed to use a pie chart either, but there you go.

    >>Of course, you are not allowed to use a pie chart either, but there you go.<<

    So, pie is now somehow racist? Like fried chicken and watermelon? Or sexist, "round" being female, and pointy being male? Round as in "round eye", i.e. everyone not Asian? "Pie in the sky" instead of God, so atheist? Insulting to mathematicians, who prefer pi to pie?

    Does someone put out an app so I can keep up?

  30. @Charon
    Never forget: the reason red states are red and blue states are blue. Dems refused to be red because it was too obvious. True story!

    IIRC the colors of the parties alternated between elections until GWB when they became fixed, probably for the reason you give. Too obvious.

  31. A few years back, I was asked to make a dashboard for our inclusivity department, and color-coded like this. I knew that the powers-that-be would not approve, but I thought it was more readable. So I shifted the colors over by one and it was no longer racist.

  32. @eee
    Maybe it is a color blindness thing. This way everybody has trouble.

    A six-shades-of-blue graph like that breaks accessibility guidelines for people with vision impairments. Heck, it’s not that easy to decipher even if your vision isn’t impaired. UC undoubtedly has a HR group whose job it is to pounce on things like this, so it’s revealing that they allowed it to be published anyway.

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