The algorithms used to determine how to target ads are based on biased data that assumes most social-media users are white men. I am a white woman living in Minnesota, born and raised in neighboring South Dakota. My dad comes from a long line of Swedes who settled in the Midwest in the late 19th century. Most of the people in popular media look like me. There are three main options: Asian, Hispanic, and African-American.
And, inFacebook got into hot water when it was discovered that advertisers were using this tool to purposefully exclude people of color from their Black dude dating white man at facebook. A brief poll of one of my college friend groups revealed this to be the case.
In the small sample group of approximately ten white people, split fairly evenly along gender lines, revealed that our socially progressive—e. The white men in my group were not categorized with any racial affinities.
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I repeated this experiment on my Twitter, where I have 7, followers. These are groups of marginalized people being assigned to other marginalized identities, however incorrect those identifications may be. It seems that Facebook simply looks for any deviation from White Maleness and proceeds from there. I also have a not-insignificant number of people of color as my friends, thanks to having traveled extensively and being friends with a lot of people from all over the world.
But the fact that Facebook simply assumes that because I have friends who are people of color that I must also be a person of color is indicative of an entrenched white outlook in tech and media that defends and upholds white supremacy without even trying.
One of the major features of white supremacy and white racism is its insidious nature: It is the background radiation of so much that white people often act in oppressive ways simply because we assume whiteness to be the default. Any other race is considered ontologically and irrevocably Other. In the discussion that followed, a number of white women expressed that they had the same categorization of affinity for African-Americans, which was puzzling.
Apparently, deliberately seeking out Black, Asian, or Latinx voices is enough for Facebook to assess my profile and categorize me as African-American, because their bar for media consumption and enjoyment is set at whiteness, while deviations from that norm are immediately distanced and Black dude dating white man at facebook into separate, distinct categories.
I believe white people who wish to be anti-racist have an obligation to listen to media before the majority-white mainstream. According to Facebook, this belief means I inherently have handed off my whiteness—that my whiteness is somehow not as clear or obvious because of what I read and listen to. But Facebook still caters largely to white people with the assumption that white people are the default.
Engagement with non-white media is evidently so uncommon amongst white people that your behavior will get you shifted into an entirely different race if you choose to widen your media diet. Go beyond whiteness and you are immediately Other. And that contributes to the continued assumption that Black people can be expected to consume white media and relate to it, but that media from people of color is only for people of color.
And because whiteness dominates mainstream media, this further stigmatization of media helmed and developed by people of color only serves to contribute further to the divide. None of these problems will change until we start incorporating perspectives other than whiteness into our media. But this is more than just a problem of tech or of media. This is fundamental to the ways in which we move through the world of media and technology: This is a fundamental problem of whiteness propagated through media.
And noticing it is the first and Black dude dating white man at facebook step toward fixing it. Because it matters who covers the news. Become a supporter today. Your financial support helps DAME continue to cover the critical policies, politics and social changes impacting woman and their allies. Help us fund this project.
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