To Save Tech, #ListentoBlackWomen

To Save Tech, #ListentoBlackWomen

Community voting for the 2019 SXSW conference begins today, so I wanted to let people know about To Save Tech, #ListentoBlackWomen , a panel proposal by Shireen Mitchell of Stop Online Violence Against Women, Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble of USC (author of the excellent Algorithms of Oppression), and me.

Here’s the description:

The disinformation, hacking, harassment, recruiting to extremist causes that we saw online during the 2016 elections highlight patterns Black women have long called attention to.  So do the algorithmic biases of search algorithms, facial recognition software, and ad targeting; and the woefully inadequate responses of big tech companies including their tendency to look to AI as a magic tech solution. Listening to Black women is a path for the tech industry to get beyond its history of aiding hate, racists, sexists, nativists, and anti-LGBTQ+ bigots, and move in the direction of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion within the industry.

There’s a lot more to say about all of these topics, and hopefully we’ll get a chance.  SXSW gets a lot of proposals, and community voting counts for 1/3 of their decisions, so your support would be greatly appreciated.

Sign saying ':isten to black women'

The origin for this specific proposal was a Twitter Moment that Shireen put together a few months ago called Hacking of 2016 would have never happened had folks #ListenedToBW.  All three of us have focused on the underlying issues in our presentations and writings.   To get an idea of where we’re coming from, as well as the videos on the SXSW page, check out

And while you’re at it, look around the SXSW site for other interesting panels featuring Black women – and vote them up so that SXSW attendees can listen to them as well 🙂


Image credit: Jeff Swensen, Getty Images, via Kiratiana Freelon’s March for Black Women Organizers Want to Put Our Issues Front and Center During March for Racial Justice on The Root

Also published on Medium.

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