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Publisher's Summary

A revealing look at how negative biases against women of color are embedded in search engine results and algorithms. 

Run a Google search for “black girls” - what will you find? “Big Booty” and other sexually explicit terms are likely to come up as top search terms. But, if you type in “white girls”, the results are radically different. The suggested porn sites and un-moderated discussions about “why black women are so sassy” or “why black women are so angry” presents a disturbing portrait of black womanhood in modern society. 

In Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya Umoja Noble challenges the idea that search engines like Google offer an equal playing field for all forms of ideas, identities, and activities. Data discrimination is a real social problem; Noble argues that the combination of private interests in promoting certain sites, along with the monopoly status of a relatively small number of Internet search engines, leads to a biased set of search algorithms that privilege whiteness and discriminate against people of color, specifically women of color. 

Through an analysis of textual and media searches as well as extensive research on paid online advertising, Noble exposes a culture of racism and sexism in the way discoverability is created online. As search engines and their related companies grow in importance - operating as a source for email, a major vehicle for primary and secondary school learning, and beyond - understanding and reversing these disquieting trends and discriminatory practices is of utmost importance. 

An original, surprising and, at times, disturbing account of bias on the internet, Algorithms of Oppression contributes to our understanding of how racism is created, maintained, and disseminated in the 21st century. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 New York University (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Algorithms of Oppression

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Incredibly well researched and well written

This is a brilliant overview of how modern technologies serve to support and formalize stereotypes and discrimination caused by systemic oppression. Highly recommended to all, especially those working in the tech field.

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Excellent critical review of commercial search

Great review of commercial search and its enforcement of systemic discrimination. The proposal for black feminist technology studies is well made, and certainly needed.

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  • Joshua Daniel-Wariya
  • 2019-06-06

Read this book. Tell everyone you know about it.

This is perhaps the single most important and consequential book I have ever read. Noble frames this discussion specifically around how women and people of color have their identities put into a kind of "default mode" online through search algorithms that are not in their best interest, much less represent them in ways they choose. At the same time, she argues persuasively how the infiltration and monopolization of search by the neoliberal capitalist project is a critical issue for everyone. The audiobook for this is quite well done, and it is written with a precision and clarity that will make it accessible to anyone.

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  • William R Wagner
  • 2021-11-26

Delusional to say the least

The author made a fake problem out of nothing and managed to make a 200 plus page blog post that she parades around as a “book”

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  • JANICE V KENNEDY
  • 2020-10-15

Wow, I was totally shocked by what Google does.

This book at first was hard to get into because I am not technical at all. But it was very educational in opening my eyes on Google rolls in the internet. I am recommending this book to everybody.

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  • Richard Grillotti
  • 2019-02-20

A Very Important Book

This research ought to be required reading/listening for all internet users. Corporations as the intentional and/or irresponsible filters of online information has incredibly detrimental results in real life.

Knowing how, why & what results come up when we search is crucial to understand, lest we believe the top ranking searches are the most relevant & useful results out there, and that the results we do get are neutral & unbiased.

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  • Monica N
  • 2022-01-03

Required reading

For anyone concerned about how the digital landscape is hijacking our brains and exacerbating our already existing biases. An absolute must read for anyone interested in creating a more equitable society, and bettering our digital practices.

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  • Saiya
  • 2021-04-09

a must read if you're in the tech field.

This is an informative book with good points. good real world examples and very relevant for today.

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  • Power Man
  • 2021-02-14

It's good information

This is great information for everyone 6-96. The permanence of racism and bigotry is now flowing through the veins of our search engines. Knowledge is power.

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  • Chicagomom
  • 2021-01-04

Fantastic book

Timely and relevant work. I wish I had listened to it earlier. Great narration of book

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  • Eric P Ross
  • 2020-12-01

This book changed my perception of technology.

This book was one of the most well documented and engaging discussions on the issues of technologies role in perpetuating systematic racism while feigning impartiality. I was riveted from the beginning to the epilogue. A great read.

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  • Elizabeth
  • 2022-04-27

Spectacular, a must read for all!

All employees and owners of tech companies must read this, all students of programming and data science, and all people in internet advocacy and in public health should read this brilliant and Illuminating book. Pure genius.