Wednesday, September 15, 2004


Hopefully Polite, And Not Too Snarky

You get more flies with honey, right? Thanks to some excellent backup from Dave Huber (much appreciation, sir!) about this post of mine, I decided to go ahead and write to Paula Zahn, or at least to CNN. So let me know. Was I too soft? Should I have been more harsh? Was it just about right? My thinking was that an adversarial approach would alienate them, so I tried to write a comment that would get them to view me sympathetically and perhaps motivate some sort of response. Read the email I sent and let me know in the comments how you think I should have handled it. The email:

Al Sharpton made a statement that African Americans are dying in disproportionate numbers in Iraq. A moment later, Paula Zahn stated that the statistics bear this out. I find myself wondering which statistics she is referencing.

US Census indicates African Americans are 12.9% of the US population, and African American Males age 18-29 make up 13% of all males age 18-29.

What about African American population within the military specifically? US Department of Defense has the following numbers:

Army: 29.2%
Navy: 20.3%
Marine Corps: 16.4%
Air Force: 18.2%
DOD: 22.3%

American deaths in Iraq now total 1,020 and African American deaths in Iraq now total 126. My calculator tells me that African American deaths are 12.35% of the total deaths.

It appears that among the general population and among military age males (18-29), African Americans are actually dying in smaller numbers than their proportion of the population would suggest.

Among the military population, the difference is even more stark, with African American deaths substantially lower than their percentages in the military population would indicate, anywhere from 4.05% up to 16.85% less.

If anyone is dying in disproportionate numbers in Iraq, it sure isn't African Americans.

I am not a professional statistician. If I am somehow misreading this information, I hope you will correct me so I can be a better-informed citizen. If I am right, I hope Paula Zahn will correct her statement.

I do have links to the above statistics, but I was not sure this comment form was the appropriate place to put them. I would be happy to send them to you in a regular email.

One more thing. I got the death totals from Iraq (total and African American), from the running feature you have on the CNN website.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and for taking your valuable time to address this issue.

Of course, you guys can get the links from my post linked above. I was really fortunate that Dave commented, because he is the one who found the African American population within the various branches of the military. Follow his link above to see his post and the stats he found. Thanks again, Dave!
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