Racist Museum In China
A museum in China has removed an exhibit this week that showcased photographs of animals with portraits of black Africans, sparking complaints of racism.
The exhibit titled This Is Africa at the Hubei Provincial Museum in the city of Wuhan displayed a series of diptychs, each one containing a photo of an African person paired with the face of an animal. In a particularly striking example, a child with his mouth wide open was paired with a gorilla and other works included baboons and cheetahs.
The curator said exhibit was eventually removed after complaints by Africans, including some living in China, All the photographs were taken by Yu Huiping, a construction magnate who has traveled to Africa more than 20 times, has previously won awards for his work and is vice-chairman of the Hubei Photographers Association.
About 92% of the population belongs to the dominant Han ethnicity and ethnic minorities mostly live in the sporadically populated far west of the country. African countries are increasingly important trading partners, but cultural stereotypes dominate Chinese popular discourse on the continent.
Artificial intelligence is currently being used by law enforcement across North America to identify convicts at risk of re-offending and high-risk areas for crime. However,recent reports reveal that AI will disproportionately target or otherwise disadvantage people of colour.
Example: If a data set contains a bunch of faces of mostly white people, or if the workers who assembled a more diverse dataset (even unintentionally) rated white faces as being more attractive than non-white faces, then any computer program trained on that data would likely “believe” that white people are more attractive than non-white.
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Racial tensions at the University of Missouri and Yale University have escalated dramatically in the last week. At the University of Missouri, a student at the flagship campus at Columbia has been on a hunger strike to demand the resignation of President Tim Wolfe, who has not done enough, minority students charge, to deal with racist incidents on campus. The black football players announced on Saturday that they would boycott games in the future unless Wolfe resigns. He has vowed to do more to improve race relations and he has apologized for his role in one disputed.
At Yale, the last week there was widespread condemnation of an alleged racial incident at a fraternity, and debate over whether an associate master of a residential college showed insensitivity to minority students when she sent out an email encouraging less of a focus on offensive Halloween costumes.
At Missouri at Columbia black students reported being on the receiving end of racial slurs. Halloween parties set off racial tensions at many campuses, just about every year, with some students using blackface or racially oriented costumes in ways that offend. This year was no different; consider this controversy over white students at the University of Wisconsin at Stout dressing up in blackface as members of the Jamaican bobsled team. Yale has seen two Halloween party controversies this year. One has been over allegations that members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity barred minority women from attending a Halloween party, telling them that “white girls only” were wanted there. The Yale advice (available here) stressed the importance of not basing costumes on race or ethnicity, and the problems with using blackface or wearing clothing that reinforces stereotypes.
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