mfioretti: racism*

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  1. a typical white neighborhood would have twice more listings on the platform (four listings, at $120 per night, and 96 percent rating) compared with a non-white neighborhood (two listings, at $107 per night, and 94 percent rating). That is, not everybody has equal opportunities to participate as a host on Airbnb.

    A similar experimental study (i.e. fictitious Airbnb profiles) conducted in 2016-2017, showed that requests from guests with African-American names (vs. white names) were 19 percent less likely to be accepted. So despite Airbnb's efforts — community commitment, removing host pictures in the initial search — these studies document that racial discrimination has always been and is still a critical issue today. There's even a study specifically focused on Airbnb's change of layout last year, comparing daily bookings and price data before and after the implementation of the "anonymity" policy, but it only shows a negligible increase in bookings for black hosts, and only in New York City — not in Los Angeles, New Orleans, or Philadelphia.

    The issue applies to other sectors in the sharing economy. For instance, a study of Uber and Lyft ride-hailing companies indicated a similar pattern of discrimination: Drivers canceled the hailed rides twice more for passengers with African-American sounding names.
    https://www.shareable.net/blog/what-d...iscrimination-and-the-sharing-economy
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  2. Myanmar has been a technologically backwards authoritarian state for much of the past 50 years, with less than 1% of the country connected to the net, until 2015, when the country held its first elections in decades, a moment that was swiftly followed by a relaxation in telcoms controls and widespread access to the internet via mobile devices.

    50,000,000 people are now able to get Facebook, in other words. The net has delivered a complex basket of social changes, among them a revival of the country's ugly, murderous history of ethnic cleansing, fueled by blood libels about minority Muslims attacking the Buddhist majority. The new incitements to violence are travelling hand in hand with news about Trump and his promise to end Muslim migration into the USA. Trump's election is being used to normalize and justify ethnic cleansing movements in Myanmar ("We should do like America and do it here too. No more Muslims!").


    As was the case in earlier eras of the internet's history, these new users equate the net with the service they use the most (once it may have been "Netscape" and "the net"; then "the web" and "the net"; then "Google," etc) -- they use "Facebook" and "internet" interchangeably. This is due to increase, as Facebook has sold the carriers on its "Free Basics" system -- a net discrimination deal with the mobile carriers, who take bribes from Facebook to exempt the company (but not its rivals) from their data-caps.

    The racist extremists in Myanmar are using Facebook to forge alliances with xenophobic movements elsewhere in the world.

    Sheera Frenkel's piece on the rise of Facebook, the internet and xenophobia in Myanmar is a fascinating and detailed look at the complex and often unique circumstances of the country's high-speed entry into the networked world: from the division in the kinds of script used to represent written Burmese to the legal crackdown on parodists who attain notoriety by shooping politicians' heads onto Hollywood stars' bodies.

    Wirathu rose to prominence as part of a group of extremist monks once known as the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion, and then the “969” movement. Today, they are called Ma Ba Tha, after their Burmese acronym. Since the end of military rule, monks have assumed an increasingly public role in the largely Buddhist country. Wirathu, and the Ma Ba Tha movement, have denied any role in the Buddhist lynch mobs, which, in recent years, have killed more than 200, and displaced more than 150,000 of the country’s Muslims, who make up roughly 4% of the total population. Civil society groups allege that the state’s security forces have fomented recent outbreaks of violence against the Rohingya. But there is no denying that Ma Ba Tha’s bashing of Muslims as “cruel and savage” is often repeated by those who want to see all Muslims expelled from Myanmar — and they admit that their anti-Muslim stance has gained its largest following through Facebook.

    This week, following news that Trump’s administration was being staffed with hardliners, Wirathu released a statement hailing Trump’s White House as a victory in the fight against “Islamic terrorism.”


    “May US citizens be free from jihad. May the world be free of bloodshed,” Wirathu wrote in a public statement. It was one of many Trump received from figures across the world who appeared to feel emboldened by his win.
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/sheerafrenke...orld?utm_term=.ys2Z9p7PeZ#.sewdrNl1Od
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  3. Whether or not Willie Lynch is “Midnight” remains to be seen. But many experts see the facial recognition technology used against him as flawed, especially against black individuals. Moreover, the way the Jacksonville sheriff’s office used the technology – as the basis for identifying and arresting Lynch, not as one component of a case supported by firmer evidence – makes his conviction even more questionable.

    The methods used to convict Lynch weren’t made clear during his court case. The Jacksonville sheriff’s office initially didn’t even disclose that they had used facial recognition software. Instead, they claimed to have used a mugshot database to identify Lynch on the basis of a single photo that the detectives had taken the night of the exchange.
    An ‘imperfect biometric’

    The lack of answers the Jacksonville sheriff’s office have provided in Lynch’s case is representative of the problems that facial recognition poses across the country. “It’s considered an imperfect biometric,” said Garvie, who in 2016 created a study on facial recognition software, published by the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law, called The Perpetual Line-Up. “There’s no consensus in the scientific community that it provides a positive identification of somebody.”

    Experts fear the new technology may actually be hurting the communities the police claims they are trying to protect

    The software, which has taken an expanding role among law enforcement agencies in the US over the last several years, has been mired in controversy because of its effect on people of color. Experts fear that the new technology may actually be hurting the communities the police claims they are trying to protect.

    “If you’re black, you’re more likely to be subjected to this technology and the technology is more likely to be wrong,” House oversight committee ranking member Elijah Cummings said in a congressional hearing on law enforcement’s use of facial recognition software in March 2017. “That’s a hell of a combination.”

    Cummings was referring to studies such as Garvie’s. This report found that black individuals, as with so many aspects of the justice system, were the most likely to be scrutinized by facial recognition software in cases. It also suggested that software was most likely to be incorrect when used on black individuals – a finding corroborated by the FBI’s own research. This combination, which is making Lynch’s and other black Americans’ lives excruciatingly difficult, is born from another race issue that has become a subject of national discourse: the lack of diversity in the technology sector.
    https://www.theguardian.com/technolog...tion-white-coders-black-people-police
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  4. “When we’re representing people,” Lopez explains, “we need to make sure we’re mindful and respectful and acknowledge that history of a lack of trust — based on the way that these organizations or communities feel like they’d been treated in the past.”

    For Aaron Mair, who has led one of those distrustful communities and also served as president of the biggest environmental organization in the country, he hopes his tenure as Sierra Club president showed green groups that they could serve their traditional missions while broadening their mandates to address the needs of vulnerable communities.

    “White privilege and racism within the broader environmental movement is existent and pervasive,” Mair says. “The current is not maintainable — we’re becoming a brown nation.

    “It’s not about a one-off,” he adds. “It’s about sustainability.”
    https://grist.org/feature/the-unsustainable-whiteness-of-green
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  5. lasciare il diritto di raccontare la storia a coloro che possono vedersi riconosciuta una certa etnia non è il modo in cui funziona la conoscenza. La ricerca della verità e della comprensione della storia deve essere aperta a tutti, indipendentemente dalla classe, dall’etnia o dal genere. L’accesso deve essere universale. È così che le questioni possono essere esplorate e le vecchie forme di autorità contestate.

    Si parla spesso del problema delle storie nascoste, invisibili e inedite perché quelle delle donne e delle minoranze sono scritte dalle maggioranze. Ma i musei d’identità sono colpevoli dello stesso peccato di omissione, dato che la cessione dell’autorità di formare le collezioni dei musei alle comunità indigene ostacola la comprensione delle persone che afferma di aiutare. Viene creata una versione idealizzata del passato, che non dà mai spiegazioni perché non può essere messa in discussione.

    L’antropologo statunitense Michael Brown ha osservato come tutti i tipi di informazioni sui popoli indigeni passati, in particolare riguardo la religione, sono considerati oggi “culturalmente sensibili” e inadatti alla discussione pubblica in questi musei, lasciando le questioni tradizionali della religione nativa con poco da dire se non una generica “spiritualità”. Il risultato è stato quello di rendere impossibile la ricerca sulla vita indigena. E, paradossalmente, svuotarla dall’individualità che guadagnava dalla sua distinzione.
    http://www.indiscreto.org/gruppi-etni...-possiedono-gli-oggetti-della-cultura
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2017-06-03)
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  6. Without going into the details (which you can Google or simply read on the wall of this professor, Bret Weinstein, who happens to be a friend of mine), I want to share a perspective based on my research into the psychological dynamics of political behavior among people who claim to promote social justice, yet are so deeply broken down by the larger pathologies of Western culture that they have lost the ability to tell friend from foe.

    In the last year, I had a similarly dramatic experience where social justice activism was blindly pursued in a manner that caused otherwise good-hearted people to turn on one of their own. Blindly in their fear, these people lashed out and hurt me with cruel and empirically incorrect judgments about my behavior in their group.

    At a deeper level, there is an information war being waged against our societies that is designed to create this kind of anguish and confusion. Divide and conquer is the age-old strategy here. Get us to fight amongst ourselves and it is easy to keep status quo systems in place. This is a natural outcome of what Jordan Greenhall describes in his excellent (yet disturbing) article, The War on Sensemaking.

    What I am seeing in these patterns is a profound inability to discern what is really going on in the world. When student protestors accuse a person who has consistently stood up for racial equality and cultural diversity of being a racist (as is happening now at Evergreen), there is call for taking pause to reflect on just how deeply confused so many among us have become.

    Millions among us fear Trump supporters when they don’t realize that the real danger comes when social unrest grows to the point that ANY group begins expressing emotionally intense rage without critical inquiry at another group.
    https://medium.com/rally-point-perspe...ghting-against-ourselves-ea8d06d53e96
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  7. “Stop telling people of color they’re fucking useless,” a female student demands of Weinstein at one point.

    “You’re useless, get the fuck out of here,” she adds, saying “fuck you, you piece of shit” as her peers ask Weinstein for an explanation of his email.

    Weinstein attempts to answer–asking “may I answer that question?”–butthe student protesters suddenly decide that they no longer want his explanation, and respond with a resounding “no!”

    They drove him off campus out of fear for his own safety:

    As a biology professor for 15 years at Olympia’s The Evergreen State College, Bret Weinstein has seen his share of protests, but he’s never been afraid of being on campus until this week.

    “I have been told by the Chief of Police it’s not safe for me to be on campus,” said Weinstein, who held his Thursday class in a downtown Olympia park.

    An administrator confirmed the police department advised Weinstein it “might be best to stay off campus for a day or so.”

    Demonstrations involving as many as 200 students filled classrooms and the President’s office on campus on Tuesday and Wednesday. Protesters are upset over what they believe are racist policies at the college, and some called for Weinstein to resign.

    Every one of those students who intimidated that professor should be disciplined, and probably expelled. Every one. Including this nitwit:

    But when student Marissa Parker, one of the protesters, heard Weinstein was advised to stay off campus, she responded, “If he feels unsafe or frightened for two days, he can only imagine what black and brown bodies have feared for years.”

    According to the report from Seattle’s KING television station that I linked to above, Evergreen State officials are considering changing the school’s racial policies in response to the protesters. And look at this — the administration is gutless:
    https://www.theamericanconservative.c...ing-of-bret-weinstein-evergreen-state
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  8. Students at Evergreen State College in Olympia, who filmed their exploits and posted the videos on social media, have occupied and barricaded the library, shouting down anyone who disagrees with them or shows insufficient passion for racial justice.

    Biology professor Bret Weinstein was berated by dozens of students outside of his classroom Tuesday morning for refusing to participate in an event in which white people were invited to leave campus for a day. Now, he says police have told him to hold his classes off campus due to safety concerns.

    Things are “out of control at Evergreen,” he said.

    “Police told me protesters stopped cars yesterday, demanding information about occupants,” Mr. Weinstein told The Washington Times. “They believe I was being sought. It appears that the campus has been under the effective control of protesters since 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Police are on lockdown, hamstrung by the college administration. Students, staff and faculty are not safe.”

    A spokesman for the Evergreen Department of Police Services confirmed the agency had been in contact with Mr. Weinstein. He said officers would be in touch with The Times, but three subsequent phone calls during business hours were not answered.

    A college spokesman declined to comment on Mr. Weinstein’s situation or any of the other activity on campus.

    Evergreen student Blake Vincent said he was participating in the protests and was unaware of any searches for Mr. Weinstein’s whereabouts.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2...te-students-demand-professor-resign-f
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  9. Apparently, if you're not Asian, U can't tell if rice is cooked
    https://sputniknews.com/us/2017052110...-yale-university-dean-racist-comments
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  10. Comics studio’s vice president of sales tells summit that some stores say people ‘have had enough’ of new female and ethnic minority characters
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/201...-diversity-may-have-alienated-readers
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