Imagine crafting an ad only for white people. Maybe you narrow down the targeting to a certain location and slice out certain ages for good measure. That might make sense if you’re trying to sell a cream-colored foundation in your Manhattan boutique, but you’d be ill-advised to try it for advertising housing or jobs — because it’s against the law.
A familiar voice booms in the background in a commercial extolling the virtues of artificial intelligence (A.I.) technology. The voice’s slight accent and cadence suggest, without even looking up that it’s the voice of a Black man. “It’s possibility. It’s adaptability. It’s capability.” The voice spitting the spoken word on the value of technology and Microsoft A.I. belongs to Common.
Last week, members of the Congressional Black Caucus visited Silicon Valley, on a trip largely dedicated to pushing major tech companies to increase the racial diversity of their workforces. That is an important goal, but it’s not enough for the Apples, Twitters and PayPals of the world to employ a particular number of members of racial minority groups.
By Leah Wright Rigueur and Bärí A. Williams, Columnists
Last week, while in West Virginia for a roundtable discussion, President Donald Trump made a sharp detour from his scheduled remarks on taxes to rail against alleged voter fraud in elections. “In many places, like California, the same person votes many times,” he told his audience. “They always like to say, ‘Oh, that’s a conspiracy theory.’ Not a conspiracy theory, folks. Millions and millions of people.”