How the Christian Right's Homophobia Scares Away Religious Young People

Christian Right activists who give money, pressure politicians and organize against gay rights may think they’re accomplishing a couple of goals, like rolling back gay rights and asserting their religion’s primacy in American culture. Unfortunately for them (but fortunately for the rest of us), one of the things they're doing in the long run is alienating their young people -- not a good long-term strategy. Short-term victories like passing more bans on gay marriage, sometimes repeatedly in single states, might feel good for homophobic Christians, but in the long run, it’s their religion that will pay the ultimate price; available evidence shows that anti-gay activism is souring young people on Christianity.

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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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