Equality, Progressive Politics, San Francisco ... and the X-Men?

When I was a kid I read a lot of comic books. To be honest, as an adult I probably read more than average. But in all the years that I've been enjoying our modern take on mythology one thing has always bothered me: Why in the hell is it that so many superheroes live in New York City?

Sure you've got Batman and Superman, but everyone knows what city Gotham and Metropolis are actually supposed to be. As long as there have been comics, most caped crusaders have shared the location city of their HQ with the U.N. Building, and (as someone who has never lived in NYC) it's bothered me.

Well no more. Marvel's X-Men are moving out of New York City's suburbs and will now call the Bay Area home. As a proud resident of San Francisco I couldn't be more excited. But Marvel Comics didn't make such a large change to one of their most popular titles just for kicks, it seems equality politics plays a role:

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