95% of Police Killings in 2015 Occurred in Neighborhoods With Incomes Under $100,000

The movement for criminal justice reform has finally brought the topic of police brutality back to the forefront. One unexplored aspect of police killings is the economic profile of the neighborhoods where the killings occur. In a first of its kind research project, I examined police killings this year and found that in the first five months, 95 percent of reported police killings were in neighborhoods with incomes under $100,000.

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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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