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01 July 2021

How Lack of Workplace Diversity Cultivates Three Types of Dangerous Techno-Racism

Techno-racism is an insidious form of discrimination that poses a threat to equity in the United States. This technology-based racism permeates everything from facial recognition software used by the police to mortgage tools that prevent Black/African Americans from loan approval. Keep reading to learn the important details you should know about techno-racism.

Techno-Racism in the Workplace Impacts Artificial Intelligence

Techno-racism encompasses many forms of discrimination related to technology, such as hiring practices. In 2014, Silicon Valley revealed that their workforce was made up of mostly Asian and Caucasian men. Since then, companies have made pledges to incorporate more diversity and inclusion, and yet the hiring of Black/African Americans and Latino/Hispanic workers has yet to increase by more than 15%. As technology evolves, new challenges are created and reinforced by the lack of diversity and inclusion. This has resulted in the creation of A.I. programs that fail to calculate dark skin and absorb the biases of their creators. 

Techno-Racism In Video Surveillance, Unemployment Fraud, and Loan Approval

For decades, law enforcement has relied on the use of facial recognition technology to identify potential criminals. In 2020, a Black man was falsely arrested outside his home using this program. These cases are becoming increasingly common as these systems are unable to distinguish the correct identity. Unemployment fraud is also a growing problem. So far, 23 states, including California, Florida, Nevada, Georgia, Arizona, etc., have incorporated the program ID.me to reduce fraud claims for unemployment benefits. This program uses A.I. algorithms and facial recognition to authenticate the documents and compare I.D. images to a selfie. Yet this year, the company faced significant criticism after several users reported the denial of their documentation. This issue applies to mortgage risk assessment tools as well. When applying for mortgage loans, programming can incorporate bias towards Hispanic/Latinos and Black/African Americans. In fact, according to the Urban Institute, the homeownership gap between Black/African Americans and Caucasian groups is still vast. Even in states with higher populations, the Black/African American group still has a 20-25% homeowner gap. As technology continues to evolve, techno-racism will continue to linger in these different forms until corporations hire a more diverse and inclusive workforce.