Advancing Racial Literacy in Tech

Daniels, Jessie; Nkonde, Mutale; Mir, Darakhshan

Racial literacy is a new method for addressing the racially disparate impacts of technology. It is a skill that can be developed, a capacity that can be expanded. To advance racial literacy in tech requires three foundations:
· An intellectual understanding of how structural racism operates in algorithms, social media platforms, and technologies not yet developed;
· An emotional intelligence concerning how to resolve racially stressful situations within organizations; and
· A commitment to take action to reduce harms to communities of color.

The real goal of building capacity for racial literacy in tech is to imagine a different world, one where we can break free from old patterns. This will take real leadership to take this criticism seriously and a willingness to assess the role that tech products, company culture, and supply chain practices may have in perpetuating structural racism. The path forward is exciting. Next steps will include:
· Creating a series of online videos about racial literacy;
· Developing an assessment tool;
· Designing a racial literacy curriculum for computer science classrooms;
· Conducting research on racial literacy in tech;
· Piloting experiential learning workshops;
· Hosting a convening in late 2019;
· Your imagination!