Biden sparked outrage calling Jan. 6 'the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War' — he was right

In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Joe Biden called the January 6 insurrection "the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War." This is an apt comparison. The insurrection was the worst attack on our democracy since the shelling of Fort Sumter, because the president of the United States schemed to overturn a free and fair election and remain in power against the will of the people, a high crime for which he was impeached. It was pure luck that the insurgents didn't assassinate the vice president for refusing the president's order to steal the election.

Revisionists are already trying to memory-hole the full significance of the attack and cast it as a mere riot rather than as a coordinated assault on American democracy orchestrated by a sitting president. While the out-and-out hacks allege January 6 was a false-flag operation masterminded by BLM, the more intellectually respectable apologists are trying to muddy the waters with spurious historical objections.

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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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