HIGHTOWER: Why People Hate Banks

You want to know why people hate banks? It's because banks hate people.Some years ago when I took out a mortgage from Franklin Savings to buy my little house in Austin, Texas, Bob was my bank officer. Nice guy. And if I had a problem or question, I could just call-up Bob, or even pop-over to see him -- they always had a pot of fresh coffee going.But this was before America's banking system was "improved" by having nearly all local banks gobbled-up by national MegaBanks. Now, Bob is gone, and I am in the clutches of something called Mellon Mortgage Company. I don't know anyone there, and even if I did, I couldn't pop-over to have a cup of coffee with them, since they don't have an office here -- they're in Kansas.This month, I had a question about my account. No problem, the new high-tech MegaBanks have all the latest computer gizmos to make them super-efficient. So I call the toll-free Customer Service Line. "All circuits are busy. Please try later." I try later. I get the same machine. I try again . . . and again . . . and again.Finally, I call Mellon's regular number in Kansas and on my quarter. I get voice mail, which takes an eon before telling me which button to press for an actual human. That number rings fifteen times before the human pops-on with practiced cheeriness: "How may I help you?" By answering a question about my mortgage, I reply. "That is handled in Denver," she tells me, still cheery, "let me give you our Customer Service line . . . ." I've been trying that all afternoon, I interrupt. "If you try early in the morning you'll have a better chance of getting through," she instructs me, now less cheerful. Isn't there an office number there, I ask? "If you'd like to try it, here it is," she responds testily.I try it "All circuits are busy . . . ."That's why people hate banks.

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.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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