You won’t believe the difference just one word makes! Internet users are shocked by the image results they’re getting when they search ‘three black teenagers’ versus those seen after searching ‘three white teenagers.’ And for good reason!
A senior from Clover Hill High School in Midlothian, Va., posted a video on Twitter this week of a Google image search for “three black teenagers.” What 18-year-old Kabir Alli‘s search turned up was a series of police mugshots. But what did Kabir get when he input “three white teenagers” into the search engine? Groups of smiling youth. And these results are NOT sitting well with internet users.
“I had actually heard about this search from one of my friends and just wanted to see everything for myself,” Kabir told USA TODAY. “I didn’t think it would actually be true. When I saw the results I was nothing short of shocked.”
Kabir’s post has been retweeted nearly 66,000 times since going up on June 6. People have taken to Twitter, using the hashtag #threeblackteenagers when referencing the video and online racism. “I understand it’s all just an algorithm based on most visited pages but Google should be able to have more control over something like that,” Kabir said.
So is Google racist? Not according to the company. Though many are speaking out against Google, the company said its image search results are a reflection of what’s on the internet, “including the frequency with which certain types of images appear and how they are described,” according to an emailed statement obtained by USA Today. “This means that sometimes unpleasant portrayals of sensitive subject matter online can affect what image search results appear for a given query,” the statement said. “These results don’t reflect Google’s own opinions or beliefs — as a company, we strongly value a diversity of perspectives, ideas and cultures.”
But Khabir doesn’t place all the blame on Google. “The fact all these mugshots came up is wrong, but black males making poor choices also plays a major role. If we don’t want that image, we need to work to change it,” he said. “It shouldn’t be so difficult to find normal non-offensive pictures of three black teenagers. That search sort of portrays us as a whole and those pictures are not us. We have a lot to offer and that search does not do us any kind of justice.”
The timing of this revelation comes just as controversy is brewing over the fact that a high school yearbook photo was the image used for Brock Turner, 20, the white former Stanford University student who has been convicted in a VERY high-profile sexual assault case, not his mugshot.
HollywoodLifers, do you think Google is to blame, or society? Sound off below!