The Passing of Anita Roddick: There Was Nothing Like This Dame

I lost a friend, and the world lost a visionary social activist and human rights defender this week, when Dame Anita Roddick died at age 64 from the effects of a brain hemorrhage.

Roddick, the working class British daughter of immigrants, was an unlikely global business pioneer, who as founder of the socially responsible cosmetics firm Body Shop fought to bring sustainable and ethically-sourced products to the beauty industry long before it became fashionable, earning her the sobriquet "Queen of Green."

From its humble beginning in 1976 as a single store in Brighton, England, with only fifteen products, the company grew rapidly on the strength of strong demand for both those products and Roddick's in-your-face social activism. After eight years, the company went public and franchises spread all over England, and later the world. Today there are more than two thousand Body Shop stores in 55 different markets, serving more than 77 million customers speaking 25 languages.

How did it happen? By happenstance, according to Anita, who explained it all in 1993 in Third Way Magazine:

Read More Show less
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
Sign up