State Department ends anti-LGBTQ policy that targeted same-sex parents

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken tours the Quantum Materials Lab at the University of Copenhagen, in Copenhagen, Denmark on May 17, 2021.

[State Department photo by Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain

The U.S. State Dept. under Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday ended a Trump-era policy targeted directly against LGBTQ families. The policy, supported by then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, mandated that children born outside the United States to parents who are U.S. citizens must be biologically related to both parents, or they would not be allowed to be granted U.S. citizenship.

The discriminatory policy ensnared only same-sex couples, and hewed to Pompeo and Trump's anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant beliefs.

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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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