Race After TechnologyAbolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code
Race After Technology
Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, Ruha Benjamin cuts through tech-industry hype to understand how emerging technologies can reinforce White supremacy and deepen social inequity.

Benjamin argues that automation, far from being a sinister story of racist programmers scheming on the dark web, has the potential to hide, speed up, and deepen discrimination while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to the racism of a previous era. Presenting the concept of the “New Jim Code,” she shows how a range of discriminatory designs encode inequity by explicitly amplifying racial hierarchies; by ignoring but thereby replicating social divisions; or by aiming to fix racial bias but ultimately doing quite the opposite. Moreover, she makes a compelling case for race itself as a kind of technology, designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice in the architecture of everyday life.

This illuminating guide provides conceptual tools for decoding tech promises with sociologically informed skepticism. In doing so, it challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold but also the ones we ourselves manufacture.

<i>If you adopt this book for classroom use in the 2019-2020 academic year, the author would be pleased to arrange to Skype to a session of your class. If interested, enter your details in this sign-up sheet:</i> https://buff.ly/2wJsvZr 

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  • August 2019 (hb)
    June 2019 (pb)
  • 172 pages
  • 135 x 214 mm / 5 x 8 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9781509526390
  • Paperback $19.95
  • 9781509526406
  • Open eBook $9.99
  • 9781509526437
Table of Contents
Introduction:   The New Jim Code     
1    Engineered Inequity: Are Robots Racist?
2    Default Discrimination: Is the Glitch Systemic?
3    Coded Exposure: Is Visibility a Trap?
4    Technological Benevolence: Do Fixes Fix Us?
5    Retooling Solidarity, Reimagining Justice
About the Author

Ruha Benjamin is Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University

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Race After Technology is a brilliant, beautifully argued, engagingly written, and groundbreaking work. Ruha Benjamin is that rare scholar whose sophisticated understanding of science and technology is matched by her deep knowledge of race and racialization. Here she guides us into fresh terrain for understanding and tackling the persistence of racial inequality. This book should be read by everyone committed to creating a more just world.”
Imani Perry, Princeton University, author of Vexy Thing and Looking for Lorraine

Race After Technology is essential reading, decoding as it does the ever-expanding and morphing technologies that have infiltrated our everyday lives and our most powerful institutions. These digital tools predictably replicate and deepen racial hierarchies — all too often strengthening rather than undermining pervasive systems of racial and social control.”
Michelle Alexander, Union Theological Seminary, author of The New Jim Crow

“Benjamin’s work is ideal for anyone who is unafraid to look at the historical intersections of racial injustice, technology, and where these topics inform possible solutions for the future.”
Library Journal

“[I]mpactfully written, well researched and refreshingly clear […] Simply said, Race After Technology will become a staple in contemporary critical thinking at a time when it is most needed.”
Marx and Philosophy

"Shines light on an important issue"
Morning Star


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