Nike: the antithesis of Dischord

I still don't trust Nike, even though it gets a (very tiny) cookie for its recent pledge to "end child labor, follow U.S. occupational health and safety standards, and allow non-governmental organizations to participate in the monitoring of its Asian factories."

The company still scares me for what it represents: the caterwauling King Kong of Big Business, the macho Tarzan-ian monster beating on its chest and bleating "ohhhh oh oh oh ohhhhh!" as it swoosh-es its smaller, gentler athletic-wear competitors into submission.

And now there's another reason to loathe Nike. Indie-rock music news site Pitchfork (and other in-the-know peeps around the blogosphere) has reported that Nike stole cover art from legendary punk band Minor Threat's classic 1984 release. Nike appropriated the record's cover image and band logo for its "Major Threat" East Coast skateboarding tour.

This really pisses me off -- not only because I'm from DC, Minor Threat's hometown, but because it's not like Nike is stealing from a fellow Massive Corporate Asshole, e.g. Atlantic or Columbia or Island Records. Noooo -- instead they're stealing from much-loved but totally not-loaded independent Dischord Records, which probably doesn't have the funds, lawyers, or PR power to squash Nike's grabbiness.

Indeed, Dischord is "disgusted": "They stole it and we're not happy...Nike is a giant corporation which is attempting to manipulate the alternative skate culture to create an even wider demand for their already ubiquitous brand. Nike represents just about the antithesis of what Dischord stands for and it makes me sick to my stomach to think they are using this explicit imagery to fool kids into thinking that the general ethos of this label, and Minor Threat in particular, can somehow be linked to Nike's mission." OUCH.

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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