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Nicholas Stryker October 15 2002 Essay 3 In Lani Guiniers writing Second Proms and Second Primaries she discusses the polarized voting problem in Phillips County Arkansas In Malcolm Gladwells The Power of Context he discusses the crime epidemic in New York City Within both of these scenarios the people involved are looking for a way to solve their problem One way to try and fix these problems is to use the Fundamental Attribution Error FAE The FAE can be explained as human beings making the mistake of overestimation the importance of fundamental character traits and underestimating the importance of situation and contextGladwell 296 In an example a group of people are asked to watch two equally talented basketball players One player is shooting in a well-lighted gym while the other is shooting in a badly-lighted gym The player playing in the badly-lighted gym had missed more shots than the other in the well-lighted gym The group of people watching were then asked who they believed was the better basketball player they responded by saying the player in the well-lighted gym was because he had made more baskets Gladwell 296 We notice this because we are more adjusted to personal cues than contextual cues Gladwell 297 In both Phillips County and NYC if someone were to try and use the FAE theory to resolve the problems they would discover that their problems might become solved but the solution would be socially unacceptable Racial profiling would be a solution to solve NYCs crime problem using the FAE During the 1980s New York Citys averaged well over 2000 murders and 600000 serious felonies a yearGladwell 287 If someone were to attempt to improve the citys conditions they might use the FAEs theory If they were to follow this theory I believe NYC officials would racially profile their population Racial profiling occurs when the police target someone for investigation on the basis of that persons race national origin
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