Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Annals of white supremacy

Score 3-0 for the good guys over the past few days:

  • Toronto resident Francisco Lafreniere is behind bars, after allegedly threatening neighbours in his condo and impersonating a police officer. A search of his place revealed a stash of weapons and Holocaust-denial literature. He was found to be in possession of "a real deputy sheriff’s badge, which has been traced to a small town in Texas. Police are unsure how the badge was acquired, but said it may have been purchased online."

  • Contrary to persistent belief in some quarters, white men do not provide the best service, a UBC study has concluded.

    The researchers analyzed more than 12,000 patient reports on 113 doctors at the health maintenance organization and found that female and minority (mostly Asian) physicians were consistently rated lower than white male doctors providing the same services. In fact, the more the female and minority doctors tried to provide better service, such as being available to patients, returning patients' emails and taking time to talk, the worse they scored.

    "This is very surprising and disturbing to us. But we don't have any data to explain why patients felt this way," Aquino said. "The findings are also significant because physicians received bonuses based on their customer service satisfaction ratings."

    The researchers also found that close to 4,000 golfers from 66 golf courses gave lower ratings to courses that employed high percentages of women and minorities, even when productivity and quality of the facilities were the same.

    For the bookstore setting, the researchers filmed actors interacting with customers and had university students rate the level of customer service. Even though the scripts and behaviour of the actors playing the bookstore employees never changed, the students gave the female and black male bookstore employees significantly lower ratings than the white male employees.

    The students also gave lower ratings to the physical environment of the bookstore when females or minorities served customers, a phenomenon known as the "contamination effect."

  • Warren Kinsella, author of Web of Hate, persistent irritant to Canada's neo-Nazis, has defeated a defamation action brought by local KKK fan Ian Verner Macdonald, who had sued the Liberal strategist for $1.2 million for, well, calling him a KKK fan. In her ruling, Justice Monique Métivier wrote, "It is clear from the evidence that Macdonald was known for his anti-Semitic, racist views and friends, and for being at least an admirer of the KKK."

    Macdonald's lawyer, the infamous Doug Christie, is appealing. Good luck with that.

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