It has been publicized, the unconscious biases of white developers proliferate on the internet, mapping our social structures and behaviors onto code and repeating the imbalances and injustices that exist in the real world.
There was the case of black people being classified as gorillas; the computer system that rejected an Asian man’s passport photo because it read his eyes as being closed; Earlier this year, the release of Google’s Arts and Culture App, which allows users to match their faces with a historical painting, produced less than nuanced results for Asians, as well as African-Americans. Additionally, a new book, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, argues that search engines themselves are inherently discriminatory.
Installation view of Stephanie Dinkins, “Conversations with Bina48,” 2014-present, at Recess’ Assembly Gallery, Brooklyn, 2017.
Stephanie Dinkins has since ventured into investigations with the way that culture—particularly the experiences of race and gender—is codified in technology. She has become a strong voice in the effort to sound the alarm about the dangers of minority populations being absent from creations of the computer algorithms that now mold our lives. Her research into these imbalances has taken her on a head-spinning tour of tech companies, conferences, and residencies over the past few years. Dinkins is currently in residence at the tech programs of both Pioneer Works and Eyebeam, nonprofit art centers based in Brooklyn.
Among astronomers, some 28% of women of color reported feeling unsafe in their workplace due to their race, and about 40% reported feeling unsafe because of their gender. Women of color face more harassment than any other group, according to a new study published on Monday.
The online survey of 474 astronomers and planetary scientists found that 28% of the women of color who responded reported feeling unsafe in their workplace due to their race, and that about 40% reported feeling unsafe because of their gender. Women of color were also more likely than men to experience verbal harassment related to their race.
Eighteen percent of women of color — as well as 12% of white women — said they’d skipped at least one class, meeting, fieldwork opportunity, or professional event because they were worried about their safety. Although the number of white women faculty members has increased across science fields, the number of women of color has decreased.
The study also outlined several remedies in addressing the problem, including creating a code of conduct, diversity and cultural awareness training, and hiring many more women of color.
Kathryn Clancy, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois and lead author of the paper, says”You can’t keep putting women of color in the position of being an only, or being in such low numbers that they’re tokenized.”
Clancy also stressed that while professional societies could do a lot to foster culture change and make demands on their memberships, universities need to have swifter consequences for discrimination, and make it easier for victims to discuss these issues both formally and informally.
Just this past Sunday, the trustees of the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School, near Boston, suspended a dress code policy that banned hair extensions, including the braided variety that many black girls sport.
Black residents have been present in Harlem continually since the 1630s, and as the neighborhood modernized in the late 19th century, they could be found especially in the area around 125th Street and in the “Negro tenements” on West 130th Street. By 1900, tens of thousands lived in Harlem. The mass migration of blacks into the area began in 1904, due to another real estate crash, the worsening of conditions for blacks elsewhere in the city, and the leadership of black real estate entrepreneurs including Phillip Payton, Jr. After the collapse of the 1890s, new speculation and construction started up again in 1903 and the resulting glut of housing led to a crash in values in 1904 and 1905 that eclipsed the late-19th century slowdown. Landlords could not find white renters for their properties, so Philip Payton stepped in to bring blacks. His company, the Afro-American Realty Company, has been credited with the migration of blacks from their previous neighborhoods, the Tenderloin, San Juan Hill (now the site of Lincoln Center), Minetta Lane in Greenwich Village and Hell’s Kitchen in the west 40s and 50s. The move to northern Manhattan was driven in part by fears that anti-black riots such as those that had occurred in the Tenderloin in 1900 and in San Juan Hill in 1905 might recur. In addition, a number of tenements that had been occupied by blacks in the west 30s were destroyed at this time to make way for the construction of the original Penn Station.
In 1907, black churches began to move uptown. Several congregations built grand new church buildings, including St Philip’son West 134th Street just west of Seventh Avenue (the wealthiest church in Harlem), the Abyssinian Baptist Church on West 138th Street and St Mark’s Methodist Church on Edgecombe Avenue. More often churches purchased buildings from white congregations of Christians and Jews whose members had left the neighborhood, including Metropolitan Baptist Church on West 128th and Seventh Avenue, St James Presbyterian Church on West 141st Street, and Mt Olivet Baptist Church on Lenox Avenue. Only the Catholic Church retained its churches in Harlem, with white priests presiding over parishes that retained significant numbers of whites until the 1930s.