Evette Dionne thought she was tweeting into the void. Then the void tweeted back. When Muhammad Ali died last year, Dionne, a 27-year-old journalist, posted a handful of tweets reflecting on what the boxing legend and cultural icon meant to the black community. She shared her thoughts on how commentators seemed to sand down the edges of a man who was an outspoken civil rights activist. She noted that Ali wasn't afraid to talk about racism in America, even if that meant repercussions from the white establishment. Dionne included a personal reminiscence: the thrill of meeting Ali in New York's LaGuardia Airport with her mother and brother when she was a kid. "My mom whispered, mostly to herself, 'Muhammad Ali?' He came over to her, grabbed her hand, and kissed her cheek," she tweeted before putting her phone away.Within half an hour, her tweets had gone viral. They spread to Facebook after someone screen-grabbed them and posted them to the social network. For four days, Dionne suffered … [Read more...] about This is your brain on hate
Racism on social media
The founders of Predictim want to be clear with me: Their product—an algorithm that scans the online footprint of a prospective babysitter to determine their “risk” levels for parents—is not racist. It is not biased. “We take ethics and bias extremely seriously,” Sal Parsa, Predictim’s CEO, tells me warily over the phone. “In fact, in the last 18 months we trained our product, our machine, our algorithm to make sure it was ethical and not biased. We took sensitive attributes, protected classes, sex, gender, race, away from our training set. We continuously audit our model. And on top of that we added a human review process.” At issue is the fact that I’ve used Predictim to scan a handful of people I very much trust with my own son. Our actual babysitter, Kianah Stover, returned a ranking of “Moderate Risk” (3 out 5) for “Disrespectfulness” for what appear to me to be innocuous Twitter jokes. She … [Read more...] about Predictim Claims Its AI Can Flag ‘Risky’ Babysitters. So I Tried It on the People Who Watch My Kids.
Police in West Monroe, La., are searching for two white men who followed and harassed a black woman at a Louisiana Walmart. Because the overpoweringly nosy collective of social media knows all, suspects for the Nov. 29 attack were identified after the release of surveillance footage from the store. According to KNOE, “West Monroe police say warrants have been issued for 22-year-old Dylan Reynolds and 24-year-old Michael Walters, each on a charge of Felony Hate Crime.” Here’s part of what they report the police had to say on the incident: On 11/29/2018 the West Monroe Police Department was dispatched to Walmart (1025 Glenwood Drive West Monroe, LA) in reference to a disturbance/property damage call for service. Upon arrival, it was learned a black female victim was terrorized while exiting the store in the parking lot area of the business for no apparent reason. While the victim was leaving the store and attempting to load her purchased items in her vehicle, she was … [Read more...] about Put Them on Blast: Police Searching for Suspects Who Harassed Black Woman at Louisiana Walmart
Looking back at what feels like a lot longer than 12 months—did you even remember that there was an Olympics this year?—it’s easy to forget what aired in April when you’re knee-deep in October’s bounty. Plus, plenty of shows that aired on niche cable channels earlier in the year are now available to stream on widely available platforms. With so much good television these days, not everything can make our Best Of TV list (though a few of these recommendations do). And with such an embarrassment of riches, there’s plenty to choose from, whether you’re looking for something to share with family over the holidays or looking for something to curl up with by yourself. Here’s a look back at the year in streamable television, month by month. January Waco, limited miniseries Waco crafts a sturdy if inelegant study of how it all went so wrong, aided by almost uniformly strong performances that work to sell merely adequate dialogue. Topping the … [Read more...] about Catch up on a year’
We often speak of the internet as if it’s an independent entity, with a mind and a will of its own. But thankfully, that’s not quite the case—yet. For the time being, the internet is ultimately run by human beings, and is filled with the by-products of human thought and imagination. Sometimes, as we detailed yesterday, those by-products are more toxic than antifreeze mixed with the runoff from a copper mine, because they come from toxic people. But the internet also has the potential for sparkling clear waters and blue, cloudless skies, for innocence and silliness and solidarity and communal bonding and simple enjoyment of the moment. Okay, so sometimes that enjoyment is of the schadenfreude variety. So what? You’ve got to take joy where you can get it these days. And it’s probably not a coincidence that a significant portion of the things that delighted us online in 2018 were related to animals, which are, by their very nature, pure. But, in a year that … [Read more...] about The best things on the internet in 2018