Algorithms of oppression
The misconceptions and stereotypes of minorities have always been present in literally everything we do. But knowing that there is something bigger out there that reinforces racial and sexist ideas is absolutely heartbreaking. It feels me up with anger that at a certain point one could not look up the words “black girls” without being smacked in the face with images and websites that are detrimental to a women’s image. I was scared to think about what it would be like for a little girl to look these words up (what describes her), and see the world’s portrayal of them and what they have to say about them. I myself was scared to look up the word “Latina” till the end of the book thinking that what describes me would most likely have the same result.
What really grinds my gears in all of this, is that Google has the power to change what comes up when people look up certain words yet, they decide not change it. They let people believe that the first results are what is most commonly searched for when in reality they are only prioritizing their business interests. Not considering that Google, to literally everyone, is considered as an information engine where people without realizing who posted what and with what intentions consider what is posted as legitimate information. Obviously they don’t consider what this could do to small business owners like Kandis either.
What I did notice throughout the reading, is that although Google tries to say that they can’t really do anything about what comes up in images or when we look up certain keywords, when they are pressed enough they do make changes. Like it was the case of “black girls”, and when “three black kids” and “three white kids” were googled. By the end of the book when I mustered up the courage to google “Latina”, I kind of knew what to expect. The first links to pages were not pornographic, they actually seemed to have pages dedicated to Latina and empowerment. Of course if you keep scrolling down , you find the links to “exotic beauties”. 😦
Lastly, I wanted to look up the word “illegals” and see what I would find in images. Again I was not surprised to find that the world’s image of illegals are obviously Hispanic particularly Mexicans who are “storming our borders” and “jumping the fence”. Because Mexicans are the only undocumented not “illegals” in this country and that is the only way undocumented people arrive here. Or so says Google…
PS: Never again, after reading this book will I say “ just google it”