What images should appear when you Google “white couple”? Probably two people of European descent. If you search those words today, though, you’ll find almost exclusively black couples. The results are similarly skewed for “white man & white woman” and “white couple with children”. Try it. Strange, a bit annoying, and vaguely political – just imagine the reaction if a query for “black couple” turned up only whites. I suspect that wouldn’t fly at Google.
What results would you expect when Googling “American inventors”? Likely a mix of great innovators from our past and present, from a variety of backgrounds. Instead, Google tells us they’re almost all black. No Benjamin Franklin, no Samuel Morse, no Bill Gates. Without disrespecting Dr. Patricia Bath and her cataracts-surgery machine, the telegraph and personal computer merit a higher placement.
Somebody at Google is skewing the queries, in this case a form of digital affirmative action: conceivably another point scored in an endless matchup against “white supremacy,” whose presence at all turns is the greatest of progressive obsessions. The implication is that anything related to whiteness – even the telegraph – shouldn’t be searched for at all, and takes up “space” from the accomplishments of marginalized people. In both of the above examples, we receive a political indoctrination in lieu of sought after information. In the second one, we actually learn an altered version of history.
Google made its name by doing what no one before them could: Produce meaningful search results of the web’s nearly unlimited and completely un-curated information. Their results were, by far, the best — and it made the company untold billions.
Clearly that’s no longer true