Missouri Legislature nixes ‘Rush Limbaugh Day’ after Dems decry radio host’s 'racist and homophobic comments'

In Missouri, right-wing admirers of the late talk radio host Rush Limbaugh were hoping that January 12, his birthday, would be named Rush Limbaugh Day in the midwestern state. But the proposal to honor Limbaugh, according to St. Louis Today reporter Jack Suntrup, ended up being dropped from a bill when Democrats in the Missouri State Legislature vehemently objected.

Suntrup reports, "The push to create 'Rush Limbaugh Day' in Missouri died quietly on the last day of the recent legislative session when lawmakers gave final approval to a bill that leaves out mention of the late conservative radio host…. Democrats, frequently targets of Limbaugh's commentary, strongly opposed honoring the Cape Girardeau native, citing what they said was his long record of racist, misogynistic and homophobic comments."

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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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