Stolen Slogans

In the World of crime there are thieves in the streets and thieves in the suites, there are bank robbers and banks that rob, there are muggers, murderers, polluters, and finaglers--all kinds and all levels of crime. But the House Republican leadership summoning all of its moral outrage and all six of its brain cells, has now singled out one particular crime for national attention [Dragnet Sting]: Slogan Theft.

Yes, GOP leaders have gotten their tights in a twist because, they allege, the dastardly Democrats have stolen one of the Republican's favorite political slogans. The Democrats recently unveiled their 2002 congressional campaign theme: "Securing America's Future for All our Families." This prompted Republican House leader Dick Armey to call a press conference on the Capitol steps, where he harrumphed and harangued, accusing the Democrats of committing a sloganeering heist. Working himself into a froth, Armey growled: "We were securing America's future long before they stumbled onto this rhetorical--what should I say?--hijacking."

Of course, the real hijacking is of the American people's political power, with both parties selling control of our democratic process to the Big Money interests, then trying to appease us with vacuous slogans that have all the substance of a soap ad, minus the sincerity.

Instead of standing on principle or exciting us with bold ideas--the parties have become experts at soothing, smoothing , schmoozing sloganeering. Said slogans are carefully polled, subjected to focus groups, and phrase-tested to be inoffensive, middle-of-the-road, and mildly hallucinogenic. "Compassionate conservatism," said George W in the 2000 presidential race. "Pragmatic Idealism," said Al Gore. "Huh?" said the majority of America's eligible voters, who voted for neither of them.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... If the only thing the two parties have to fight about is the ownership of sappy slogans ... America is in a heap of hurt.

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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