25 June 2008

White People hate math, but like statistics

Did you know White People hate math, but like statistics?

This is from Stuff White People Like. There are three things you should know about SWPL, if you don't already. First, it's SATIRICAL. Second, it is not actually about "white people" (i. e. people whose ancestors originally hail from Europe) but "White People". These are best defined as people who like things on this list, like irony, Netflix, Wes Anderson movies, indie music, having two last names, Oscar parties, having black friends, indie music, The Wire, and the idea of soccer. (This is actually a randomly chosen sample from the list, which is conveniently numbered; random.org gave me 41 twice, and indie music is #41, hence the duplication. I was going to just pick a few things at "random", but I realized that I was kind of biased towards the things that I like.)

By "statistics" is meant not the mathematical field but various interesting-sounding numbers. For example, if each White Person has a favorite thing from the list of Stuff White People Like, and you pick ten white people at random, there's a 36% chance that two of them will have the same favorite White Person Thing. (This is the White Person version of the birthday paradox.)

Also of interest there: the entry on graduate school, which I think pretty clearly refers to grad school in the humanities.


Anonymous said...

This I really have to disagree with. Yes, there are some nerds in math departments, but almost all the math majors I know are White People (in the sense of the list). They even outnumber Asians as undergrads.

Oli M. said...

Being in New York (and in Brooklyn, but not the applicable part) it sounds much more like a description of a "Hipster" to me.

Anyway some of my classmates and I were going to play a game of bingo using this list in the cafe across the street from the math building. I was about to write a script that would create randomized boards from the list items, when I realized I hated myself and stopped.

Anonymous said...

bravo for actually generating a set of random numbers for picking your samples from the list. although you should have noticed that it's a ranked (weighted) set, so your random numbers should have been skewed towards rank 1 as those would better represent a sample :)

Michael Lugo said...


I'm not sure if it's ranked. Sure, there's an ordering, but it might just be the order in which the author thought of them.