Durst: Miss America Gets PC

The organizers of the Miss America Pageant are hugging the middle of the road so tight, they're going to end up with squashed opossums on the white dotted lines down the center of the speed bumps they call foreheads. Last year they dumped high heels as a requirement for the swimsuit competition; now they're going to let viewers tell the participants whether they should wear the suits at all. No, it's not being telecast on Fox. During the 75th anniversary show in September, Americans will call a number and vote: swimsuit or no swimsuit; competition, that is. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. First, they score points with those pesky feminists, and they garner huge publicity by appearing sensitive, which should translate to bodacious ratings. Hey, c'mon, its called a BEAUTY PAGEANT. What, am I alone here? If these women know enough to spread Vaseline on their gums so their phony smiles last longer, they've got to be aware their thighs may be in play, and so far very few disgruntled contestants are knocking each other off with automatic weapons. Figure out what's wrong with that darn stress filled Post Office Pageant. Might help to give everyone the Miss Congeniality Award. Frequently. Will Durst chooses not to be seen in public in a bathing suit, due to his fear of the lawsuits his snowblinding calves would cause.

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Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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