Race In America And Why No One Is “Color Blind”
Recent events have drawn unprecedented attention to the atrocities and abuses suffered by African Americans in the United States. The public killing of an unarmed George Floyd, inspired protests and police reform in cities across the country.
People of all races have joined a movement to address hundreds of years of systemic racism. The fabric of American society was stitched together with threads of bias. It’s almost unfathomable in a world so advanced, people had to be reminded that Black Lives Matter.
Are You “Color Blind”
In an ideal world, so called “color” wouldn’t be a factor. But is that even possible? When that friend of ours says “I don’t see color,” are they sincerely a human being with an unbiased desire for inclusiveness, or is that a convenient tag line?
A recent study conducted at Ohio State University indicates, that it’s impossible for the human brain to ignore how a person looks or sounds. Your perception of a person upon meeting them is shaped by their appearance and the sound of their voice.
There’s No Way Around It
Some of the studies participants were presented a photo of a face while hearing a tiny snippet of speech at the same time. They were told that the picture and voice belonged to different people.
In some instances, study participants were told to rate how strong of an accent they thought the person shown in the picture would have.
Participants thought the person in the picture would have a stronger accent if the voice they heard had a stronger accent despite being told the image and voice represented two different people.
The same happened when study participants were asked to determine how attractive the person with a particular voice was. They couldn’t help being influenced by the photo they saw, even when they were told it was a different person from the voice they heard.
“Even though we told them to ignore the voice, they couldn’t do it completely,” said Kathryn Campbell-Kibler, an associate professor of linguistics at Ohio State.
A Stereotype And A Side Order Of Bias
As humans our brains are wired to make a general perception of a person, place or thing at first glance. A “stereotype.” How many times were your “stereotypes” disproved? Perhaps you thought “black cats” were bad luck, and missed out on the joy of having a pet. We are constantly reminded “never judge a book by its cover,” as away of over coming this deeply wired brain function.
Your Computer Might Be Racist
A study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology found that, when conducting a database search known as “one-to-one” matching, many facial recognition algorithms falsely identified African-American and Asian faces 10 to 100 times more than Caucasian faces.
Maybe someone needs to look into how many African Americans and Asians are working at the facial recognition algorithm factory!
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