"We Have No Choice But to Step Up": Youth Activists Come Together to Build a Movement for Student Power

I'm on a bus with about 50 student organizers as it pulls out of Union Square in New York and heads for the highway, for Columbus, Ohio and the National Student Power Convergence. I have a tiny zine of “pocket chants for your daily taking-of-the-street needs” in my hand, and someone's stuck a red square—the symbol of the Quebec student movement, adopted by US students for their own organizing—on the window above my head.

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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.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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