The GOP has turned their #1 issue into a joke

Image via Screengrab.

This week, Congress finally started work in earnest on the topic of voting rights. On Monday, the House of Representatives held a hearing on the topic of making Washington, D.C. a state, granting its 700,000 residents actual representation in Congress. On Wednesday, the Senate held a hearing on the House-passed H.R. 1, called the For the People Act, which would reform democracy in a multitude of ways, including protecting the right to vote against a series of anti-voting laws in red states known collectively as the "new Jim Crow."

It would be an understatement to say Republicans are panicked by both the ideas of voting protections and D.C. statehood. After Donald Trump, the GOP understands their party exists because of racism and white grievance. Rather than try to moderate those views and appeal to more diverse voters, they instead are laser-focused on trying to prevent people of color from exercising their right to vote. That means keeping D.C. from becoming a state and enacting a series of draconian laws in states to make it harder for people, especially people of color, to vote.

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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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