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eISSN: 2373-6445

Psychology & Clinical Psychiatry

Editorial Volume 11 Issue 4

Scatter plot analysis of malleable variables in the post death era of George Floyd

Jay M Finkelman

Department of Psychology, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, USA

Correspondence: Jay M Finkelman, Industrial-Organizational Business Psychology & Organizational Leadership Department, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, USA

Received: July 03, 2020 | Published: August 6, 2020

Citation: Finkelman JM. Scatter plot analysis of malleable variables in the post death era of George Floyd. Psychol Clin Psychiatry. 2020;11(4):103-107. DOI: 10.15406/jpcpy.2020.11.00681

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This commentary is for the International Journal for Social Policy and Education (IJSPE). Our purpose here is:

  1. To propose which variables are most amenable to change.
  2. To identify which variable have been most successful in producing positive change.
  3. To suggest ways to start implementing these changes.

Our goal is to alter the systemic racism of our social institutions and the prejudice in the hearts and minds of individuals driven by hate of others unlike them.

The whole world was deeply devastated and widely overwhelmed with grief, sorrow, anguish, anger, and agony when George Floyd died. It brought deep sorrow to mothers, accelerated anguish to young African American men, profound agony to fathers their sons, unfathomable grief to local and global communities, and abstruse anger to worldwide protesters. For nearly nine minutes (8:46), we all witnessed this hurtful recondite. It was, indeed, it as one of the absolute saddest days in the four lives of these authors who have and always will be advocates of human justice.

The current climate in many cities to shift funding for police departments to social and human services is a movement worthy of merit in the times we live in, but only if an analysis is completed that identifies how these new funded areas will proactively prevent communities from becoming victims from the remaining funded law enforcement entities.

Key here is to match the variables of the incidents with the needs and demands of preventative law enforcement. This is the main premise of our commentary – vetting with analysis and being proactive for prevention. Since the tragic death of George Floyd, the following killing of an African American has been reported as well as others:

“Police in Vallejo, Calif., fatally shoot man with a hammer kneeling outside a Walgreens”

Sean Monterrosa, 22, was outside a Walgreens that police say was being looted when he ran, then stopped in a half-kneeling position, police said. Source:

Our challenge ahead. Can observers of the underlying variables behind these devastations -- as readers of our conceptual framework -- examine human conditions, cases, and circumstances with unconscionable bias and objectivity to find truth? The former New York City Commissioner Bratton recently remarked on the NBC evening news (6-11-20) that there is a term used in police work called “testilying” and that “the first story is often not the last story”. What does this mean go proactively forward in the post death era of George Floyd?

This commentary is about a quasi-linear positivist approach and the utility, leverage application of determined variables -- extraneous and not – related to how the world might frame the death of George Floyd with clarity and context to clearly see what happened and how it could have been proactively prevented BEFOREWARDS so that people can examine these potential variables as deterrents to future situations. For instance, and first of all, what are the facts and evidence in the death of George Floyd?

What were the independent and dependent variables? Did the victim and the officer have predispositions prior to the deadly force? What could be the rationale for the introduction of other variables in the case, like the alleged the 20$ counterfeit bill, the alleged drugs in the victim's system, the police force introducing untruths of what happened when video revealed otherwise about his resisting the arrest?

Why and how do these variables manifest in most of these cases where the police officers are not held accountable and brought to justice in the same way their victims did not because they are not alive to do so and brought to justice? How can we get to the central core of formative co-existence between law enforcement and communities of color?

Can the variables that contributed and caused the deadly act of disdained indignation also be explored and exploited to proactively prevent another deadly act against unarmed African American men? How can communities be proactive and how can leaders be equipped to face and confront our challenges from possible correlations?

For instance, what if one of the recommendations from examining the variables of scatter plot analyses is to encourage all law enforcement officers to complete an undergraduate degree to heighten, broaden and elevate awareness about criminal justice beyond traditional and conventional law enforcement and more knowledge embedded in liberal arts. This is discussed later in the commentary (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Sample diagram.

Revelations of Dependent, Independent, Interdependent and Extraneous Variables.

The horrific, heinous, and horrible death of George Floyd has caused worldwide reaction among so many people who vary in race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and others who vary in station, stage, and situation in life. The perceptions, judgments, assessments, and attitudes about what actually happened is based on varying variations by many and distinguishable variables by some. This fuels a human experience of "disconcerting uncertainty" (Figure 2).

Figure 2 Scatter plots.

Using a modified definition and scope for conventional and traditional variables applied in educational and psychological experimentation, these four authors have generated a new framework called "SCATTER PLOT ANALYSIS" which offers a way to examine "variables" in plain sight in order to fully understand the variables around, behind, and surrounding the Post Death of George Floyd Era (PDGFE). The definition of varying variables areas follows

Independent variable

in·de·pend·ent var·i·a·ble

/ˌindəˈpendənt ˈverēəbəl/



noun: independent variable; plural noun: independent variables

a variable (often denoted by x) whose variation does not depend on that of another.

dependent upon one another: mutually dependent interdependent statistical variables… the interdependent gyrations of double suns—James Joyce… the interrelationships between social groupings were reciprocal and interdependent.

Extraneous variables are all variables, which are not the independent variable, but could affect the results of the experiment. The researcher wants to make sure that it is the manipulation of the independent variable that has an effect on the dependent variable.

The authors provide a framework for proactive measure in an attempt to be preventative in the future around the world. Interestingly, a man of color was also killed in Australia and plead in his dying breath, “I can’t breathe”.

The key is to examine the variables to prevent another horrific, heinous, and horrible crime in America and others throughout the world. As one person abroad for the United States observed, “Same story, different soil” (Figure 3).

Figure 3 Another sample.

The authors suggest that, especially in this age of explosive social media with information and data distributed without vetting, verifying, and validating, there is a desperate need to consider a quasi linear-positivist approach in order to understand and prevent another devastating human experience. To this point, the victim, George Floyd was accused and alleged to have a previous heart condition that some argued caused his death, which stigmatized the case from the very onset and led to preconceived notions and early on prejudgment of his tragic death.

The authors suggest that in order to clearly and fully understand the complexities of George Floyd's death, a clear, non-emotive, unbiased, and objective series of thoughts must be generated and accepted through, by, and from an understandable framework with variable examination generated for SCATTER PLOT ANALYSIS. The book ?? encourages readers to generate, explore, and examine their own scatter plot analyses for framing understanding of today's societal cases, challenges, conditions, and circumstances with disconcerting uncertainty (Figure 4).

Figure 4 Another sample.

Let us examine the following above alleged areas as potential variables to vet, verify, and validate:

Heart precondition of the victim (independent? interdependent? extraneous?

Predisposition of the officer (multiple previous incidents) independent? interdependent? extraneous?

20$ Counterfeit bill

independent? interdependent? extraneous?

Drugs in the victim's system

independent? interdependent? extraneous?

Resisting the arrest

independent? interdependent? extraneous?

Prior security employment relationship of officer and victim

dependent, independent, interdependent, extraneous?

Sustained application and pressure of officer's knee to victim's neck for nearly 9 minutes’ dependent, independent, interdependent, extraneous?

The Case for Wider as Well as Higher Education

With regard to the above example about higher and wider education for law enforcement officers, we offer this rationale. The higher learning enterprise has always responded to the needs and demands of the greater society. That said, more often than not, higher learning is actually wider learning. In history, the responses have included meeting troubling challenges in society, filing gaps or voids from inquiry, finding solutions to social problems, answering disconcerting questions, and providing evidence to support the answers to questions.

We now have an opportunity for higher education to join the forces of public policy makers and generate a national agenda for positive change. Three things need to occur, given the mounting circumstances and escalating conditions followed by the death of George Floyd. First, college tuition should be waived and eliminated for all of those who serve in front line and first responding positions in the American workforce and communities.

This commentary is about police and law enforcement officers as critical front line, first responders as our country continues to experience widespread divide, division, and divisiveness. Second, it is time for all police and law enforcement officers be required to have college degrees. If that degree is to be in the popular criminal justice degree, that degree needs to heavily embedded in liberal arts and humanities so as to provide the aspiring officers an understanding of psychological, economic, educational, and sociological factors surrounding law enforcement.

This wider and deeper understanding should help with police relations and interactions with others, especially in other-race relations. This also reinforces the suggestion that when police say that "they are just doing what they trained and required to do". If this is, indeed, the case let us train police and law enforcement officers to do their jobs the right way, on balance, lawfully, justifiably, and mindfully.

Third, higher education needs to make certain the curriculum in criminal justice or law enforcement is

  1. Academically" rigorous with subject matter concerning interdisciplinary or cross disciplinary relationships to criminal justice;
  2. "Personally" relevant with subject matter that deals with real-life circumstances, vulnerable interpersonal situations, compelling social conditions, and potentially deadly consequences; and
  3. "Socially" responsive with subject matter that critically deals criminal justice beyond law enforcement in the larger context of human dignity, diversity, and decency.

Tufts, Columbia, Harvard and other prestigious universities recently expedited, accelerated and compressed medical degrees to students this spring in response to the desperate needs and demands of the coronavirus pandemic. We must now ask for this same type academic innovation in response to sustaining social divisiveness and intensifying racial tensions in America. We should have police officers get the right “wider” higher education, it should be incentivized with no expense to them, it needs to happen sooner than later, and it should be accelerated and compressed--over three years instead of four with summer courses provided online.

Given that many American Historically Black colleges and universities are located in urban environments, the local neighborhoods around the campuses would be formative venues for leadership modeling, relationship-building, and community service by the aspiring police officers. Will society always need police and law enforcement?

This part of commentary is about teaching law enforcement officers to think beyond what and when they do and more about how and why they do. In terms of social policy and education, this could be part of the conversations about de-funding police departments in Los Angeles, New York, and Minneapolis. Wider and broader reeducating law enforcement could be a viable, sustainable, and long-term resolution. To illustrate deeper what we are saying in this commentary, we offer the following concerning “malleable variables in an inequitable society.

How we can change the world?

How do we change the hearts and minds of individuals driven by prejudice?.1 Do we overthrow the system that perpetuates an inequitable society, or do we wait patiently for goodwill to overcome the present social order?How then do we best encourage the change process to achieve a more equitable society? Do we begin by destroying the existing racist structure or do we change the hearts and minds of individuals first to ultimately change the structure? Herein lies the dilemma we pose: do we change the racist structure or the racist people who inhabit it?

Structural change is a sociological premise that problems are systemic and, therefore, must be overthrown or altered to create change.2 The perspective of individual change, however, is a psychological perception that assumes the hearts and minds of people must change in order for structural change to occur. The reality, of course, is more complicated than a simple dichotomy between structural and individual change. One cannot occur without the other.

This is why we propose a multi-dimensional perspective using a Scatterplot Analysis to capture the complexity and array of variables needed to effect social change. Foremost in our analysis is the concept of “malleable variables;” that is, those structural and individual phenomena that are most amenable to external change.3 Malleable variables provide an opportunity to effect changes in both structures and individuals in significant ways. Whereas one’s birth parents, age, and race are variables that cannot be changed, education, social class, residence, and employment are malleable variables that can be changed, however. Both individuals and structures, for example, can be influenced by the malleable variables of income, financial incentives, employment opportunities, and legislated and legal changes in behavior.

The possibilities of producing change through malleable variables are illustrated in Figure 5. The x-axis proposes change through Violent Revolution whereas the y-axis offers the direct opposite of Passive Goodwill, waiting for change to happen. The middle dimension, axis-z, illustrates the mid-point between violence and passivity through legislation, change mandated by legal means. Scattered along these three dimensions, based on degrees of aggressive change (x), passivity (y), or legal remedy (z), are the malleable variables that change agents can use to intercede and change the system.
For example, education is a malleable variable that can both help overcome prejudice through schooling as well as providing underrepresented individuals with higher levels of education. Similarly, legislation is a malleable variable that can lead to change in civil, woman’s, and LBGT’s rights to help assure equality in health, employment, and educational opportunities.

Figure 5 Scatterplot of malleable variables to induce social change.

Again, our purpose here, therefore, is:

  1. To propose which variables are most amenable to change.
  2. To identify which variable have been most successful in producing positive change.
  3. To suggest ways to start implementing these changes.

Our goal is to alter the systemic racism of our social institutions and the prejudice in the hearts and minds of individuals driven by hate of others unlike them.





Conflicts of interest



  1. Allport GW. The Nature of Prejudice. New York: Doubleday; 1954.
  2. Kempner K. A Social-Psychological Analysis of the Context for Change. In Sex Equity in Education. Academic Press: New York; 1980.
  3. Majchrzak A. Methods for Policy Research. Sage: Newbury; 1984.
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©2020 Finkelman. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.