HIGHTOWER: A Stain on the Name of Levi Strauss

Last fall, Levi Strauss announced that, because of a worldwide glut in the production of jeans, it was shutting-down 11 of its U.S. manufacturing plants and terminating 6,400 workers.Just five months later, however, Levi Strauss has suddenly reversed itself, saying it will now expand the number of factories it has for making jeans. Guess what though? The factories will not be in the U.S. and those 6,400 good American jean-makers are not being called back. Instead, Levi's expanded production will go to China! Proof again that today's corporate executives have all the characteristics of dogs ... except loyalty.Levi Strauss is also abandoning its principles. In the early '90s, it had been one of the few global manufacturers to say no to the low-wage lure of China, correctly deciding that the intolerable labor practices and human rights abuses in that country are so gross that doing business there puts an indelible stain on a corporate name. Now, however, Levi executives have had a change of heart, announcing that they are willing to accept that moral stain in exchange for the financial gains of human exploitation. CEO Peter Jacobi put it curtly: "Levi Strauss is not in the human rights business."Besides, said Jacobi, "It's clear to us that the [labor] environment is getting better there." Oh? That'll come as news to Chinese workers. Just the month before Jacobi tried to put his rosy, conscience-salving PR gloss on Levi's move, a firsthand report on Chinese factories found 96-hour workweeks, no freedom for workers to assemble, 13-cent-an-hour pay and arbitrary firings. And Harry Wu, the renowned Chinese dissident, says flatly: "The business opportunities are improving, but human rights conditions are getting worse."This is Jim Hightower saying ... Shame on Peter Jacobi and Levi Strauss."

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

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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