Google Urged to Investigate Racial Bias

by Jan Frazier

Washington, D.C. (Washington Insider Magazin ) Some Democratic senators have been urging the parent company of Google – Alphabet – to look into how its policies as well as its products may be hurting Black people.

In a letter to Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, as well as other executives, it is stated clearly that the Democrats are concerned about racial bias. The executives consist of “Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Mark Warner of Virginia, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.” This discrimination, as they see it, is in both the products of Google as well as the way that Google has “handled workplace diversity.”

The Senators stated in the letter: “We are concerned about repeated instances where Alphabet missed the mark and did not proactively ensure its products and workplaces were safe for Black people.”

It seemed that there were several Google products “that appeared to produce biased results or potential harm for Black people.”

The Senators also wrote: “Google Search, its ad algorithm, and YouTube have all been found to perpetuate racist stereotypes and white nationalist viewpoints.”

There was also a report from Vice saying that there is a new app to “identify skin conditions,” and that it hadn’t been tested using a “sufficiently diverse dataset and, therefore, wasn’t effective on people with dark skin.”

It was also pointed out that Timnit Gebru, the first Black lady hired as a research scientist at Google, had been fired for controversial reasons. Gebru also had been a very “vocal critic of the company’s diversity efforts.”

Following the murder of George Floyd over a year ago, Pichai made “racial justice pledges” in a letter to Google’s employees. The Senators “suggested the company has not made good on” these pledges.

The Senators are suggesting that Google work on a “racial equity audit.” They believe that if Google could identify “the root causes of any discrimination within the company and its tools” through working with “outside civil rights and legal experts,” Google could possibly address and solve their problems.

Google and other technical giants seem to make very slow progress “in diversifying their largely white workforces.” Google has 3.7 percent staff members who are Black. This is according to a 2020 diversity report.

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