Gone fishing

I'll be in Chicago on Monday and will be back blogging on Tuesday. Just to wrap up the whole race/gender and the blogosphere issue, here are some things I learned from the experience.

My sense is that much of the strum and drang was sparked by these two sentences: "Pardon me for saying so, I think we've had plenty of revolutionary movements of change headed by white males. Call me crazy, but I'd like to hold out for one that includes folks who look like me." Looking back, it's clear that there are a number of more helpful ways to frame that opinion -- ways that would encourage someone to consider the issues I raised rather than create an us vs. them atmosphere, which in my view defeats the very purpose of raising the issue in the first place.

I still stick to my original contention, which reworded would read as follows: A progressive movement with a leadership that does not reflect the rich diversity of the people who make up that movement is likely to reproduce the failures of the past. And this is true for the blogosphere in so far as it is being positioned as the engine of a reenergized progressive movement.

(One of the aspects that some of the readers raised and I am mulling over is whether it is useful to think about the "top 30" list as an indication of influence. It's an interesting point and I haven't quite figured it out.)

Finally, I am glad that the two posts generated an important and potentially useful conversation about race and gender. And I appreciate all those who made the effort to express how they feel, including those who agreed and disagreed with me. I strongly believe that it is important to speak openly about these issues, even if it means that all involved don't always hear what they like. We're never going to get to a society where race, sexuality, gender are not markers of our destiny until we do so.

Or so I keep telling the white male who rules my life, but-- as you can see -- he's just a big fat bully.

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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