Race After Technology Part 2

As part of your reflection, based on the self-portrait app presentations, comment on how your experience with technology is similar or different from your peers'.

Race After Tech Reading

Please read Chapters 1 and 2 of Race After Technology. Below are some discussion questions to consider in your reflection:

Glitch Case Study: Google Search

Watch Safiya Umoja Noble's talk on Algorithms of Oppression. (12:18) Note: Discussion of porn, particularly of porn depicting Black girls, but no explicit images or descriptions.

Dr. Noble's discovery of this "glitch" of porn results when searching the term "Black Girls" led her to investigate more systemic problems with Google Search. Here are a few of the issues she identifies and discusses in her research:

Take some time to look into Google Search, as well as alternative search engines (e.g. Duck Duck Go, StartPage, Qwant, etc), and try them out. Some things that you might want to consider:

  • How is the search engine making money, and how might that shape what results it shows you?
  • What care does the search engine take when it comes to your privacy and collecting/protecting your information?
  • Who is the search engine prioritizing in its searches? To test this out, if you feel comfortable, you can search for terms like "Black girls" or "Chinese girls" with the warning that on certain search engines, this will result in a lot of objectifying/pornographic content.
  • In your reflection, please discuss:

  • Has your investigation into search engines made you want to switch your default search browser?
  • Who is responsible when sexist, racist, or other hateful content appears? Is it the user or Google? In turn, should Google be responsible for hateful acts done as a result of finding hateful content, like the murders perpetrated by Dylan Roof?
  • Should search engines be responsible for flagging hateful content? Pornographic content?
  • What types of content should search engines prioritize in their search results?
  • What types of content do search engines actually prioritize in their search results?
  • Further Optional Reading