Demographic Assumptions

By Indi Young: For Entire Post, Go Here…

The harm comes when a demographic belief hits actual people instead of concepts of people.

References to groups of people by demographic, coupled with phrases about their behavior, intentions, or worth, is common in media and in our day-to-day work and chats with friends. For example, The survey says 66% of teachers want online learning in fall 2020, but those respondents who are 55+ are less likely because they are less tech savvy. Or, My daughters are just like typical teenagers: whiny and self-centered. These kinds of demographic generalizations are the foundation of racism and other demographic discrimination. Discrimination comes when you apply these thoughts you have about big groups to a specific person.

Notice when demographics are cited, and notice when you cite them yourself.

There is a global tendency to generalize behaviors of a group when referencing or using research results. Many people have a subconscious habit of naming a demographic and extrapolating or implying a behavior. Even thought-leaders and highly experienced people do it. When you find a pattern in your data, like, “59% of product managers and UX designers aren’t interested in learning how to work better together,” the human mind simplifies and shortens it to something more black-and-white like, “product managers and UX designers aren’t interested in working together.” It’s a reflex.

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