How does Historical Racism Impact Technology?
- The 1905 Aliens Act closed the UK’s borders to Jewish refugees fleeing widespread persecution and massacres in Eastern Europe (1).
- The 1968 Commonwealth Immigration Act stripped emigrating Asian peoples from Kenya & Uganda with British citizenship of the right to enter Britain unless they had parents or grandparents who were born in the UK or citizens of the UK. We will look at examples of racist technologies in immigration later on (2).
- The 1981 Nationality Act required that nationality and citizenship be traced through the ancestry of those born on the island and effectively excluded non-white people (3).
- The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry: following the racially motivated murder of a teenager, the Metropolitan Police Service was found to be institutionally racist, incompetent and that officers had committed errors in their investigation, leading to the victim’s family pursuing a private prosecution (4, 5).
Technology & Racism in the UKRacist policies, practices and beliefs have persisted despite shifting attitudes and legislation. Stereotyping and racial discrimination are embedded in technology in harmful ways. In the UK the 2021 “Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities’’ report rejected the well-evidenced existence of institutional racism and failed again to acknowledge that there has been little or no work done on the experience of everyday racism. (6).
Racism in the History of The USAThe history of racism in the USA is also extensively documented. Here are some examples of legal racism and policies in more recent history:
- Jim Crow laws facilitated the segregation of Americans of African descent leading to a denial of services and economic and social disadvantages of Black peoples of America (7).
- Redlining was the practice of designating neighbourhoods into various categories based on race. Areas with racial minorities were thereby considered high risk for mortgage lenders and excluded from certain services and opportunities. This limited the ability of African Americans to participate in wealth building (8).
Technology & racism in the USA
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Anti-Racist Approaches in Technology
- Dr. Madge Dresser, no date. Jewish immigration and the Aliens Act, Our Migration Story.
- UK Government, 1968. Commonwealth Immigrants Act
- UK Government, 1981. British Nationality Act 1981
- Sir William Macpherson of Cluny, advised by Tom Cook, the Right Reverend Dr. John Sentamu, Dr. Richard Stone, 1999. The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.
- Danny Shaw, 2019. Stephen Lawrence: how has his murder changed policing? BBC.
- Uk Government, 2021 Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities
- Examples of Jim Crow laws – Oct. 1960 – civil rights, Ferris State University.
- Brandon G. Donnelly, no date. A short history of redlining, Smart Cities Dive.
- Rashida Richardson, Jason Shultz and Kate Crawford, 2019. Dirty data, bad predictions: how civil rights violations impact police data, predictive policing systems, and justice, SSRN.
- Rebecca C. Hetey and Jennifer L. Eberhardt, 2018. The numbers don’t speak for themselves: racial disparities and the persistence of inequality in the criminal justice system,, Association for Psychological Science.
- Ruha Benjamin, 2019. Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code, Polity Press.
- USC Annenberg, 2018. In ‘Algorithms of Oppression,’ Safiya Noble finds old stereotypes persist in new media
- Notting Hill/Dale Riots (1958) (7) Alice Bhandhukravi, 2008. Notting Hill riots – 50 years on, BBC.
- Race Relations Act 1965 (8) UK Government, 1965. Race Relations Act, 1965
- Danyelle Solomon, Connor Maxwell, and Abril Castro, 2019. Systemic inequality: displacement, exclusion, and segregation, American Progress.
- Andrew Lee Park, 2019. Injustice ex machina: predictive algorithms in criminal sentencing, UCLA.
Anti-Racist Approaches in Technology
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