Book by Ruha Benjamin.
Published by Polity.
From everyday apps to complex algorithms, Ruha Benjamin cuts through tech-industry hype to understand how emerging technologies can reinforce White supremacy and deepen social inequity.
Benjamin argues that automation, far from being a sinister story of racist programmers scheming on the dark web, has the potential to hide, speed up, and deepen discrimination while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to the racism of a previous era. Presenting the concept of the “New Jim Code,” she shows how a range of discriminatory designs encode inequity by explicitly amplifying racial hierarchies; by ignoring but thereby replicating social divisions; or by aiming to fix racial bias but ultimately doing quite the opposite. Moreover, she makes a compelling case for race itself as a kind of technology, designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice in the architecture of everyday life.
This illuminating guide provides conceptual tools for decoding tech promises with sociologically informed skepticism. In doing so, it challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold but also the ones we ourselves manufacture.
Table of Contents
- Introduction: The New Jim Code
- Engineered Inequity: Are Robots Racist?
- Default Discrimination: Is the Glitch Systemic?
- Coded Exposure: Is Visibility a Trap?
- Technological Benevolence: Do Fixes Fix Us?
- Retooling Solidarity, Reimagining Justice
About the Author
Ruha Benjamin is Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University.
If you adopt this book for classroom use in the 2019-2020 academic year, the author would be pleased to arrange to Skype to a session of your class. If interested, enter your details in this sign-up sheet: https://buff.ly/2wJsvZr