This Week in Tech Racism: January 22-27, 2017

Your weekly updates on news events surrounding technology and race

Tech Racism
The Untimely Death of Emmett Till

A black man sleeping with a White woman during the Civil Rights Movement was unheard of, but whistling at one was just as bad. Unfortunately, 14-year-old Emmett Louis Till learned that the hard way. During the summer of 1955, Till was visiting his family in Money, Mississippi when he caught himself interacting in an “unacceptably” flirtatious manner with a 21-year-old White woman named Carolyn Bryant in Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market. Carolyn happened to be the wife of the store’s owner.

Four days later, not realizing the boundaries between blacks and Whites were different down South than in the Midwest, the promising Illinois native found himself in the hands of the White woman’s husband and his half-brother, Roy and J.W. respectively, at 2:30am. After taking Till to the Tallahatchie River, the two men brutally beat and shot him; “tied him up barbed wire to a large metal fan; and shoved his mutilated body into the water.” Emmett’s uncle, Moses Wright, told police his nephew was missing, but three days passed before his body was recovered from the waters.

This week in tech racism looks at an online article on a national tragedy and shame that jettisoned the civil rights movement; a Mississippi politician uses Facebook to spread vitriol; a new study gets specific about race and salary inequity in tech; and more news on tech and racial matters.

Vanity Fair’s Online Article Exposes Woman’s Lies That Freed Emmett Till’s Brutal Murderers

A shocking online article from Vanity Fair of an interview with the then-72-year old Carolyn Bryant Donham, the white woman with whom Till is alleged to have flirted back in 1955. Till was lynched as a result of the woman’s accusation in Mississippi. Bryant Donham admits in the interview that she fabricated parts of her testimony in the trial of Till’s murderers, who were acquitted.

Over 95% of This Tech Workforce is White

A new study shows that over 70% of those in these high-paying tech positions are Caucasian.

Mississippi Senator Takes to Facebook to Insult President Obama and Make Other Inflammatory Posts

Chris McDaniel, a Republican state senator representing Mississippi’s 42nd District, posted a flurry of inflammatory Facebook messages that range from crowing about Trump’s win to insulting people—including President Obama.

#BoycottUber Trends on Twitter After CEO Suggest Support of Trump

SFGate reports that the hashtag started trending “after the company’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, defended the company’s decision to work with the Trump administration.”

Technology May Severely Raise Africa’s Unemployment Rates

IT News Africa reports that as new technology adoption increases in African nations, so may unemployment rates. From the article: “A taxi driver could be replaced by driverless cars, health professional by artificial intelligence, or even the barman at your local pub could be replaced by a robot. This will be intensified in the mass production/manufacturing industries where machines could prove to be more cost-effective and increase productivity and could take away thousands of jobs at a time.”