Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code

October 5, 2019 - Comment

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, Ruha Benjamin cuts through tech-industry hype to understand how emerging technologies can reinforce White supremacy and deepen social inequity. Benjamin argues that automation, far from being a sinister story of racist programmers scheming on the dark web, has the potential to hide, speed up, and deepen discrimination while appearing

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, Ruha Benjamin cuts through tech-industry hype to understand how emerging technologies can reinforce White supremacy and deepen social inequity.

Benjamin argues that automation, far from being a sinister story of racist programmers scheming on the dark web, has the potential to hide, speed up, and deepen discrimination while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to the racism of a previous era. Presenting the concept of the “New Jim Code,” she shows how a range of discriminatory designs encode inequity by explicitly amplifying racial hierarchies; by ignoring but thereby replicating social divisions; or by aiming to fix racial bias but ultimately doing quite the opposite. Moreover, she makes a compelling case for race itself as a kind of technology, designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice in the architecture of everyday life.

This illuminating guide provides conceptual tools for decoding tech promises with sociologically informed skepticism. In doing so, it challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold but also the ones we ourselves manufacture.

If you adopt this book for classroom use in the 2019-2020 academic year, the author would be pleased to arrange to Skype to a session of your class. If interested, enter your details in this sign-up sheet: https://buff.ly/2wJsvZr 

Comments

Anonymous says:

A great companion book to Dr Ibram Kendi’s “Stamped from the Beginning.” If you are interested in understanding how to become educated so that you personally may help to contribute to an ever-advancing civilization, this book will offer a way to participate in that effort. Dr Benjamin’s thesis is that in order for society to advance, members of society must address the racial biases embedded in the technology we all use. The eradication of these racial biases (implicit Whiteness) embedded in technology begins with making an effort to learn to perceive the racial…

Anonymous says:

Learning about “The New Jim Code”! “Race After Technology” elegantly disrupts the illusion of the average user (of smartphones, internet search engines and automated technology – such as public bathroom hand dryers) that pervasive bias is not directly influencing tech design. In her book, Dr. Ruha Benjamin shines a powerful torchlight onto current artificial intelligence and technological design describing the “New Jim Code” – how algorithms and technology innovations can mimic and perpetuate institutional racism. Her book is…

Anonymous says:

Read this! This book offers critical thinking and analysis of a subject that needs actionable attention with global societal and individual impact. And it’s an exciting and riveting read! Ruha Benjamin’s writing is a total pleasure.

Comments are disabled for this post.

The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.