On the surface, one might not notice the relationship between emerging technologies and discrimination. But, as author Ruha Benjamin outlines in her latest work “Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code”, the rise of automation could potentially deepen, and even accelerate, discrimination in a not so visible manner.
Benjamin is an Associate Professor in African American Studies at Princeton University. She studies the line between innovation and equity and this book is one more foray into understanding the cause and effect between the two.
In “Race After Technology” (released on June 10, 2019), Benjamin urges that we can’t look at racism with the same historical lens, otherwise it won’t be apparent. What’s happening now around technology doesn’t look the same as racism of previous eras.
The book introduces the concept of the “New Jim Code.” With it, Benjamin set out to depict 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.”
If you want to continue to explore this subject, be sure to check out another recent work edited by Benjamin, “Captivating Technology: Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life.”
“Captivating Technology”, which was released in May 2019, takes a close look at how technology affects prisons and inmates. The contributors in this book explore how devices like ankle monitors “are being deployed to classify and coerce specific populations and whether these innovations can be appropriated and reimagined for more liberatory ends.”