Acm Sigcas Computers and Society 49 (2):11-13 (2021)

Right after the spring semester ended, I was invited to do an ethics workshop for a Data Science for the Common Good graduate student research program [6]. It had been a week since George Floyd was killed by police [15], and weeks before Covid-19 related deaths had initially peaked in most parts of the U.S. Organizations, and then even retailers, started sharing anti-racism statements, promises, and in the case of Amazon, Black Lives Matter banners on their website. Press related to facial recognition technology and algorithmic decision making's increasingly troubling role in our criminal justice system had already began the reckoning within computer science [1], calling for a fundamental change in how computing professionals think. So, it shouldn't have been surprising that my lesson for these common-good minded, data-science inclined Ph.D. students could be stated simply as explaining the connection between the myth of objectivity and racism. The stop in the middle connecting a belief in objectivity to racism is a concept called essentialism.
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DOI 10.1145/3447903.3447908
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