Racial Justice x Technology Policy

As They Watch Us: The History of Surveilling Black and Brown Bodies, The Future of Tech, and the Continued Limitations of Freedoms

Our team will be looking at the continued monitoring of black and brown within this country after the Emancipation Proclamation, Old Jim Crow, and into the New Jim Code era. We will explore how AI and technology are continuing to monitor black and brown, bind their freedom, and hinder the next generation of young people.

In this project, we will document policies permitting and encouraging the surveilling of Black and Brown individuals that have been enacted from Emancipation to the present day, and that have been fueled, in part, by technological advancements and privatization of the carceral system. We will examine how inequities within technological advancements, practices, and policies—including lack of diversity within the tech workforce and career pipelines— have exacerbated inequities within who is surveilled. We will build an interactive game and training designed to build awareness about and understanding of this issue, and identify policy and practice solutions toward dismantling the surveilling Black and Brown individuals.

Research questions:

  1. What policies have permitted the surveillance of Black and Brown people from emancipation to the present? Are those same policies in place for White people?
  2. How has technology supported and advanced the surveillance of Black and Brown people from emancipation to the present?
  3. What predictions can we make about the limitations on freedom of Black and Brown people given the biases and inequities in AI and technology that have existed historically and that are present today?

Check Out the Team's RJxTP Awards Powerpoint

Meet the Justice System Team

Team members: Janelle Ridley; Susan Rivers, PhD; Julia Warheit; Dana Duque; Luisa Duque; Mitchaneah Morency; Kaleya Casterlow; Justin Martin