Friday, February 18, 2011

Black People, Backgammon and Cheating

I just picked-up the new iPhone from Apple. One of the apps I bought was backgammon for an amazing $.99. I played a lot of this in college many years ago, but what struck me was not how great the gadget is (indeed it is), but rather that this particular game (not made by Apple BTW) cheats like a SOB. I am a software developer and a life-long student of probability. Eight times out of ten the roll of the dice that the computer-as-opponent needs to advance, it gets. Double sixes in a row, right when I’m about to finally win a game - WTF! I am getting my ass kicked. Herein lies a lesson for black folks. Cheating is an integral part of human nature, expressed in games or anything else, and confronting it smartly is critical to competitiveness.

Present-day blacks behave as though they do not understand cheating. The group responds to it very poorly, and practices it even more poorly - with disastrous results. Black slave ancestors would be appalled how their kin have errantly placed so much of their faith in the legal system, and lost their guile and cunning for outsmarting others. Sometimes it seems that everyone, except blacks, understand that laws and cheating walk hand-in-hand. Alternately, when today’s blacks break the rules, they too often take pleasure in doing it in plain, kiss-my-butt, sight of the authorities, making conviction, and punishment inevitable. Again, ancestors would shake their heads in wonderment.

When my backgammon strategy adjusted to take into account the cheating nature of my micro-processing opponent, I immediately began winning. The program continues to roll suspicious combinations, but rather than getting upset and calling Rev. Inc., I think about additional adjustments to my approach in order to confound the little bastard’s cheating heart. Right now, I still lose more than I win, but I have only had the game for a week and I already see how this is going to end.

Let’s be clear, I do not practice or advocate cheating, and the game maker may have simply wanted a challenging interaction, but laden herein is the lesson that cheating is a fact of life. Furthermore, we must each factor cheating adversaries into our game plan for achievement, or prepare for the short-end. Finally, no legal system, including one as good as ours, can match the cheating nature of humans, so expecting the law to deliver predictable, consistent, and fair results is simply not realistic. I think it is time for a different approach.

James C. Collier


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Anonymous said...

Sometimes I find your analysis baffling on this blog...African Americans are demonize for cheating, and are scrutinize more often because of racism, but truth be told...Whites, Asians tend to cheat more and in greater numbers, they aren’t getting caught, because no one is really investigating their habits and success!
Only recently have widespread cheating scandals have erupted amongst the elite military academics, phony diploma mills owned and managed by Whites…providing other Whites, Asians, and Middle Easterners with fake degrees! I would not encourage African Americans to engage in this unethical or egregious behavior!

James C. Collier said...

Anon 5:17, laws, depending on your community, are just one part of the competition equation. Circumvention of laws is another. I am not advocating cheating, rather that acknowledgement of circumvention must be part of any winning approach. The lengths the individual reaches is a personal choice, which carries its own risks. Perhaps blacks are demonized, but not for cheating, rather for ignorant cheating. Creative (advancing) cheating, more than not, is greeted positively, despite (distracting) moral protestations.

James C. Collier said...

Desertflower, history is replete with the heinous acts of one group on another. This will never change. But continued black mono-reliance on legal remedies for protection and advancement fits Einstein's definition of insanity. Black willingness to do all that is best for itself should lead, rather than follow, the law.

lincolnperry said...

Professor Collier
You remind me of my former Director, another member of the Black Conservative Construct, I agree with anon 5:17, sometimes Professor I think you are yanking our chains!

Atlanta Public Schools are in the midst of alleged cheating scandal brought on by a former disgruntled white teacher and all white oversight board...I think we need to stay away from any cheating stratagems right now!

James C. Collier said...

Lincolnperry, I have no grip on your chains, sir. You illuminate my very point, in treating honesty as a linear function, when in fact it is not. Dishonesty is also non-linear, as is the application of laws. In case of the law, it is also minimalist in its non-linearity, and to ignore this is to repeatedly fall victim to that ignorance. I will say again, cheating is bad in action and policy. But a strategy of advancement that relies on laws, to defend against adversarial cheating, is ineffective out of the gate.

Anonymous said...

Mr Collier sir, I agree completely with you on this.

Anonymous said...

ahhh cheating.

I was recently told the story where a lady tried to buy dog food with her food stamp card and was told by the clerk she could not buy dog food with it.
The lady promptly told her husband to take back the dog food and get some hamburger, that the dog liked that better any way.

Black? White? Who knows. But cheating is cheating regardless of color.
And it happens a-l-l the time especially in our entitlement society.

atldude said...

Prof Collier,

I think I agree with the statement "Black willingness to do all that is best for itself should lead, rather than follow, the law" in the "game plan for achievement" if I understand your point correctly. Are you saying Blacks should "lead the law" by example? For instance, by being top-notch citizens in our American society?

@lincoldperry - been following the Atlanta Public school mess too. Does it matter what color the whistleblower was or board is? Are they more to blame than the cheaters?