This week we chatted with Charlton McIlwain, a professor of media, culture, and communication at NYU. He is the author of the new book, Black Software: The Internet & Racial Justice, from the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter.
We discuss how a demand for more diverse clip art helped lay the foundation for some of the first black owned and operated software companies in the United States, and the ways in which social media has helped to empower a new generation of voices to demand change in the tech industry and beyond.
You can check out some of the pioneering work on building digital community at Afrolink, NetNoir, and UBP.
McIlwain also draws attention to the history of computer technology as a tool of police surveillance, going all the way back to the Police Beat algorithm in 1968.
You can find out more about Prof McIlwain here. You can purchase his book here.
We also spend some time this week talking about our new community initiatives.
Sara, along with Juan Garza from our community team, wrote a big post outlining all the work we’re hoping to do in 2020 and how we’re using data to inform the changes we are making.
Keep an eye out for future posts in this series, The Loop, and let us know what you want to see by lending your voice to our Through The Loop survey.