If Colleges Didn't Waste Your Tuition Dollars, We Wouldn't Need New Student Loan Reform

The student debt crisis – currently the subject of executive orders, pending Senate legislation, protests and much boomer hand-wringing – is more accurately an education cost crisis. Tuitions have more than doubled since the early 1980s, but not because the quality of a college education has improved that much. Rather, it's because because policymakers and administrators have come to treat higher education as a commercial marketplace, rather than a public trust – and stop-gap student loan reforms like those "unveiled" by President Obama this week fail to confront this ethical dilemma underlying the debt pile.

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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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