RaceSex & Gender

Meet the woman on a mission to end racial & gender bias in web coding

February 19, 2018

Created by MIT graduate researcher Joy Buolamwini, the Algorithm Justice League is an on-going collective project aimed at understanding and calling out the biases that are embedded into digital coding. Nothing takes place in a vacuum, not even coding, which is generally thought of as a neutral, science-based language used as instructions for computers and the web. But what about the people who write the code? “Whoever codes the system, embeds her views. [This is] A call for inclusive code.”

When we look at coding from that perspective, we’re able to understand that, in the tech industry, more often than not the people writing the code and determine the criteria for algorithms controlling the types of information and content we see, all share the same (white male or NB male) perspective. When it comes to tech and digital information, the scoop of content we are presented with or interact with is as limited as the shared perspectives of the coders.

Confused? Think about the Dove soap ad from last Fall. The one with the black woman changing out of a brown shirt and into a white woman, conveying the visual subtext that black equals bad and dirty. It seems pretty obvious that commercials like this one make it to air because there is no decision-making POC in the rooms where these conversations take place to prevent white people from presenting their racist narratives. The same seems to be true for the world of coding:

Learn more about the Algorithm Justice League and how to get involved, here.