Why Does the NCAA Test Athletes for Marijuana More Stringently Than US Soldiers or Airline Pilots?

Prior to their shellacking at the hands of The Ohio State University in the College Football National Championship Game, the fans of the Oregon Ducks were rocked by the pre-game suspension of star wide receiver Darren Carrington for failing an NCAA-administered drug test due to marijuana metabolites.  But what most fans don’t know is that had Carrington been a soldier, airline pilot, or Olympic athlete, it’s entirely possible he wouldn’t have failed their drug tests, since college athletics maintains the lowest threshold for testing positive for marijuana compared to almost all sports and, for that matter, industry.

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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:
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