Last updated on September 26, 2019
Ruha Benjamin is an Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, where she studies the social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine. She is the founder of the JUST DATA Lab and the author of People’s Science and Race After Technology and editor of Captivating Technology.
In Race After Technology, Ruha Benjamin cuts through tech-industry hype to understand how emerging technologies, from everyday apps to complex algorithms, can reinforce white supremacy and deepen social inequity. Benjamin argues that automation 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.
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