What shall we do with the racist lap-top?

6 February 2013

11:18 AM

6 February 2013

11:18 AM

Important work from Latanya Sweeney of Harvard University into the inherent racism of internet search engines. She carried out a study which demonstrated a clear difference between the sort of ads that appear on the page if you’re searching for either a “black” name or a “white” name. She used a bunch of names which had previously been identified as being associated with one race or another. For “black” names she used DeShawn, Darnell and Jermaine; for “white”, stuff like James, Emily and The Rt Hon Nicholas Soames or something. When the white names were tapped in, up came adverts for nice sofas and dating agencies and holidays in agreeable places. When the black names were tapped in up came adverts for criminal record searches.

How can we stop our computers being racist? Is there some sort of course we could send them on? One name bucked the trend, according to Latanya; despite being identified as “white”, the name Dustin pulled up loads of crime references. Toot toot tootsie, goodbye.

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Show comments
  • Hexhamgeezer

    Is it OK to write’Black History month’ on a class ‘chalkboard?

  • Christian

    Race is simply a question of different skin pigmentation ay? How quaint.

    • OldSlaughter

      Are you suggesting there is a genetic imperative towards crime?

    • StephanieJCW

      Yes and no. One’s skin colour defines nothing more than how likely one is to burn in the sun. But race is largely what we invent it to be. Which is why in modern Britain Sikhs and Jews are racial groups and in America they make reference to black people who can pass for white.

      In real terms race is no more important than eye colour.

  • David Ossitt

    “How can we stop our computers being racist?”

    Why should we Rod?

    I was born and raised in Leeds, now in my early seventies I have lived in a small market town that is part of the Leeds conurbation a dozen miles from its centre for over forty years.

    Apart from necessary hospital visits it is seldom that I return, today the wife and I did go to visit a large furniture store just outside the main centre, to get there we had to pass through areas of Leeds that we were very familiar with; as these were very much our stomping ground in our youth.

    It was awful; in fact it was quite shocking there were few if any indigenous faces to be seen, the once familiar shops, offices, banks, cinemas etcetera were all foreign to us, the mainly white English population is no more, it is now an alien land, one that neither of us could wait to get away from.

    To be a racist, or to be accurately accused of racism I had always thought to be shameful in the extreme but I now wonder, is it?

    Or is it a new norm forced on us by those who actively allowed or more probably encouraged these changes to our national make up.

  • Robert Taggart

    Hoping no Liebore politico reads this – Orwell warned us about their likely response !

  • Nele Schindler

    Maybe black people could stop giving their kids these insanely demented names with capital letters midway through.

    • Wilhelm

      There’s one called Shitavious.

  • Wilhelm

    The eloquent Jared Taylor discuses anti white propaganda in academia and the media, like Liberal Susan Sontag ” The White race is a cancer of human history.”

  • Wilhelm

    When the Left says ” Race doesn’t exist, it’s a social construct, ” which goes back to the Franz Boas school of thought.

    How can one be a ”racist” then, if race doesn’t exist ?

    • StephanieJCW

      Very easily. The fact that race is largely a social construct does not prevent people from behaving in a discriminatory manner to people based on what they perceive to be the person’s race.

      What I find hard to understand are people who struggle with this.

  • Wilhelm

    I never use the word ”racism”as a serious word, because it isn’t. ”Racism”is a propaganda term, devised and cultivated by the Left over decades, the only purpose is to stigmatize any racial self assertion by whites. ”Racism” has never been anything but anti white propaganda. When Liberals squeal ” Are you racist ?” They’ve already made up their mind, by asking that loaded, gotcha question.

    If in the 1920s before the arrival of ”racism,”that prohibiting non white immigration into Europe was ”racist” because the label ”racism” was not invented. The proponents of multiculturalism and mass immigration would be forced to argue in a reasoned way and would fail. It’s no great challenge to prove that importing fanatical muslims into Holland or primitive Sub Saharan Africans is bad for Europeans.

    • Drogo Santiago

      Racism is a genuine term used to describe the ideology of mass murderers and genocidal maniacs. You may think “racism” is non-existent, but the mass graves and history books disagree. Only a racist will resort to reality-warping Orwellian tactics. Like “war is peace”, for a racist “racism is non-racist”.

  • BorderlineFascist

    Its really old hat- this colleague of Latanya at Harvard is crazy as a coot and is on the verge of doing mad things.
    I see wot your doing, a powder dustin toot or something?- you on the sheen again?

  • David Lindsay

    Obviously, if she had typed in “Barack Obama” and “Charles Manson”, then she might have got different results.

    But from The Brussels Journal, to The Commentator, to Peter Hitchens’s blog twice in the last week, I have lately been confronted with an advertisement for my own more recent book. What that tells anyone about it, or about them, or about me, I leave it to others to judge.

    • salieri

      Since you insist on an answer: what it tells me, about you, is that you can’t stop referring smugly to the authority of your own writings; about your ‘more recent’ book (the credentials of your others being of course universally established) that I shall lose no time in reading it; and, about the advertisers, that they can’t have waded through the interminable, convoluted and leaden prose you continue to inflict so boringly, on every conceivable subject, on the readers of this blog.

      • David Lindsay

        You are well-named, aren’t you?

        • salieri

          Yes, but you’re not Mozart; his conceit was justified.

          • David Lindsay

            Keep proving my point.

            I have just seen it advertised on Harry’s Place, the Neocon Central where I am banned from commenting. My triumph is complete.

            • Hexhamgeezer

              You’re a motorcycle mechanic as well?

              • Deputy Dawg

                David Lindsay, you are being served an advert for your book because the advertising system is aware that you are interested in it. It is NOT ‘being advertised’ on these sites, it is just that YOU are being fed the advert because it is clear to Google, (probably), that you are always looking at it. If you started visiting holiday sites in Sardinia you would start to see lots of adverts for holiday sites in Sardinia. Probably no-one else is seeing the advert for your book because they have not indicated an interest in it.

    • Vindice

      David, a bit late for me to reply here, sorry. I’m assuming that you’re not trolling and that you genuinely believe that the same adverts are served to every user of a website. Please disabuse yourself of this notion; it is utterly wrong.

      Try searching for a product on google, click a link to a major retailer, browse their products. Now watch them advertised back to you incessantly for the next few days.

  • MikeF

    Now as an experiment I typed the name ‘Latanya’ into Google and the first advert that came up was as it happened for a very agreeable looking holiday resort of that name in Turkey. But the main listing also included the home page of the lady in question. She says of her current work:

    “I began my “privacy rethink” at Harvard in 2009. The goal is to replace the 3 historical pillars of privacy (consent, notice, and de-identification) with new technology-powered mechanisms that jointly provide a privacy fabric appropriate for today’s setting.”

    I don’t quite know what she means by that, but I don’t like the sound of it.

    • DougS

      MikeF: I defy anyone (even Latanya) to declare honestly, that they understand it.

      It’s total bollocks!

    • Hexhamgeezer

      I think her ‘privacy rethink etc etc’ is about making sure the buttons on ones flies are secure but not so as to prevent access.

    • Hugh

      Is “privacy fabric” underwear?

  • humeanbeing

    Not being racist used to be about judging people on the content of their character rather than the colour of their skin. Such an approach, which makes sense, morally, legally and socially, is of course entirely incompatible with the multi-culti identity politics bandwagon that swiftly attached itself to the cause of “anti-racism”.

    It’s a classic case of wanting to have your cake and eat it. These people are saying, in effect, that on the one hand skin colour is unimportant or irrelevant. But, on the other hand, it forms the whole basis of their shared cultural identity.

    Not being sufficiently “sensitive” to this incoherent drivel is, of course, a thought crime – as well as an actual crime in some cases.

    Orwell would have been proud.

    • Daniel, Oxford

      Orwell would have been horrified, not proud.

    • LEngland


      Please quit the conventional imbecilic antilanguage – antithought of the conditioned Left. Say what you mean in logical terminology. The English Language allows for this, you know. Perhaps you are merely demonstrating subservience to that which you fear ?

      Otherwise, you might as well say that Leonardo was revered for being highly ARTIST. Quod erat etc. ?

      No one ever ultimately judged skin colour. However, crude characteristics CAN portend certain behaviours. Old knowledge. Physiognomy ? Individual character and spiritual qualities anyone ? That last is anathema to leftists. This is all a widely – trumpeted socialistic typification of the average person against whom the leftist ( being, he says, much nicer than the average person ) will protect the frightened recent immigrant. Standard mythology, swallowed by some, regarded with contempt by most.
      Please show us that you are of independent thought and are unwilling to stoop before the trough of leftistic verbal incoherent babbling – nonsense and thereby, make your point with greater efficacy.
      Thank you. ’13 02 08 Liddle

  • Eddie

    Oh dear. Yet more evidence that race and racism has become an industry, like making cheese or colostomy bags, but less useful and decidedly more whiffy.
    Remember, these African-American academics also believe using the very word ‘black’ is racist, (pc platitude peddlars also ban words and phrases such as blackboard, blackmail, black day at colleges and universities here), and want to ban words and phrases they say (wrongly, often) were associated with slavery – eg nitty gritty. They have even banned in a de facto way, words such as snigger – (because it sounds like and includes the word, well, y’know) – and niggardly.
    Ironic really that they embarrassingly uneducated race-fixated riders of the identity politics gravy train are now enslaved by their pious and pompous self-deluding judgemental absurdity, seeing race in everything, no doubt even Marmite (if they had it in the United States of Stoopid).
    On the positive side, no-one takes the blind bit of notice what these useless thick university twerps say, especially the American ones. As a mate of mine says wheneever someone mentions university research: “Is is proper university research, or is it American?’

    • Eddie

      And to answer Mr Liddle’s question: what shall we do with a racist laptop?
      Well, send it on a diversity training course, dear, so it can learn how Islamists, witchdoctors and muggers have enriched all our lives!
      The people who run those all talk like robots, as they mechanically crunch out the propaganda of divisive diversity – which seems to argue that people should be treated the same, by recommending that they be treated differently…
      Oh dear… The inherent paradox of segregationist multiculturalism againt…

  • OldSlaughter

    Classic example of the Chesterton’s Man Who Thinks Backwards.