- Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019In her new book Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code, Ruha Benjamin breaks down the “New Jim Code,” technology design that promises a utopian future but serves racial hierarchies and racial bias. When people change how they speak or act in order to conform to dominant norms, we call it “code-switching.” And, like other types of codes, the practice of code-switching is power-laden. Justine Cassell, a professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, creates educational programs for children and found that avatars using African American Vernacular English lead Black children “to achieve better results in teaching scientific concepts than when the computer spoke in standard English.” But when it came to tutoring the children for class presentations, she explained that, “We wanted it [the avatar] to practice with them in ‘proper English.’ Standard American English is still the code of power, so we needed to develop an agent that would train them in code-switching.” This reminds us that whoever defines the standard expression exercises power over everyone else, who is forced to fit in or else risks getting pushed out. But what is the alternative?
- Wednesday, Jul 17, 2019A research and civic-engagement project delves into an uprising and its aftermath
- Tuesday, Jun 25, 2019
Stories have been told for almost two millennia about the Virgin Mary and the miracles she has performed for the faithful who call upon her name. One of the most important collections of such folktales is the body of almost 700 Ethiopian Marian miracles, written from the 1300s through the 1900s, in the ancient African language of Gəˁəz (also known as classical Ethiopic).
- Thursday, May 23, 2019Donald Joseph Goines was born on December 15, 1936, in Chicago. Father Joseph and mother Myrtle were hardworking migrants from the South who had managed to open up their own cleaning store. Around 1940 the family, which included older sister Marie, relocated to Detroit and resumed the cleaning business. It was in the Motor City that, according to biographer Eddie B. Allen Jr., Goines started down a dark path.
- Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019Lincoln signed a bill in 1862 that paid up to $300 for every enslaved person freed.
- Tuesday, Apr 2, 2019Studies have shown that black students are subjected to higher disciplinary rates than whites, resulting in a number of negative life outcomes, including involvement in the criminal justice system.