I fully and completely understand that you aren’t in control of what shows up on Google Images. I’m not 100% sure of how it works (honestly, I’m not even 40% sure of how it works, but I’m willing to learn once I cool down) but the picture your pictures paint based on searches perpetuates subliminal racism.
This a problem, and I heavily advocate for you to somehow attempt to remedy it.
Exhibit A: The Perception of Beauty
The world is not Black and White, but anyone who has had any form of media thrust upon them (aka anyone who does not live under a rock) can say that media is Whitewashed. It presents race as if only one exists, and any and all other must match the prescribed standard.
If and when “Beautiful Women” is searched, you get a collage of women with bedroom eyes and long hair, staring into the camera like it were the last rib at a Barbeque. But the issue is, they’re all white, and the different races are presented in subcategories, as if they couldn’t possibly be put into the same category.
Imagine you’re a teenager again. You want to write a story and describe the love interest to most appeal to the audience. What you instantly relate to is what you’ve seen. Or imagine your objective was to ogle with your friends. The images you see are ingrained into your mind, so the next time you go to reference beauty, the pathways in your brain jump to that memory, and you don’t even realize you’re doing it.
Such instances continue through this time of discovery and experimentation, and these images continue to bombard you every single time you reference such material.
Remember, you’re still a teenager. You want to add another factor because, somehow, it’s become clear to you that it exists. You most likely scan the images and continue with your daily tasks, but here’s they key aspects I observe:
64% of the black women are sexualized. Breasts overflow, butt is accented, or they are completely in the nude. Only in 20% of the original search does this occur. Such subliminally imply that, in order to be beautiful as a black women, you too must do this. Meanwhile, the white women just need to smile.
64% of these women also possess well-known Western standards of beauty: long, straight hair and light skin. In the original search, 90% of the women exhibit this (Emma Watson being the only exception, with her signature short hair). This indicates that, regardless of how you’re born, you’d do well to match this.
The trend continues:
100% of the women have light skin, which is contrary to a large of Indian women. This perpetuates, again, Western beauty.
71% of the women have the desired long and straight hair. This again differs from the typical genetic straight. One can do whatever it is they wish to with their hair, but why is it pictured as the main way to be beautiful?
60% of the women (or more, depending on your perception) of the women have light skin, to the point that most would identify as white, had there been no search result (actually, I asked 4 people in the coffee shop I currently reside in, and they all identified the women in question as white, without any prompting).
45% of the women differ from the typical genetic trait of straight hair in Asian women, in exchange for wavy hair. Again, this indicates that one must stray from their natural identity to be beautiful.
Exhibit B: It’s the Same with Babies
I am convinced I am not the only human being on earth who looks up cute babies when I’m in a bad mood. No one can convince me otherwise. But sadly, the subliminal racism continues. To me, this is quite sad.
100% of the babies are white. 100% of the babies have blue eyes. 100% of these babies, even before they can speak, represent “cute” for the whole world to see. A lot of them also have hats, which has nothing to do with anything, but is still rather interesting.
When you directly search for the cute babies of color, only 8% of the ones pictured are babies of color…And his skin is still rather light. 83% of the babies still have blue eyes. And only 50% of them have any color at all (yes, I’m talking about the paint and hats). Such doesn’t have much to do with perpetuating racism, but it’s pretty darn frustrating.
80% of the babies have light skin. 20% are flaunting light eyes. This is not to say that black babies cannot have light skin or eyes, but when you display these factors as the cutest we have to offer, it’s a problem. Also, why are the subcategories “Swag”, “Twins with swag”, and “Blue eyes”?
100% possess light skin. Again, this isn’t an unheard of trait in the slightest, but when you put it as the representation of cute for the entire Indian race…
Damnnn Google. 100% have light skin. And the “Swag” subcategory is back.
And this reflects in adoption rates
Image: (http://www.adoptionhelp.org/open-adoption/statistics). Which is a fantastic read, if you’re interested.
Google, you aren’t responsible for what babies get adopted. But you contribute to the already mainstream subliminal racism by your images. Note how the trend just goes incredibly down when you get beyond caucasian.
Exhibit C: It Just goes on
Perpetuates that black teenagers are criminals. Literally, these are mug shots. And the only images which aren’t mug shots (33%) feature black teens with light skin, again subliminally advocating for Western beauty
Happy kids. Friendship Happiness. Long, straight hair, light skin. Features 5 people of color. Only one mugshot.
This doesn’t even feature Indian teenagers. Instead we’ve got HIV, police, and bad kids. ’nuff said.
First search we’ve got where the first image is a person of color without prompting. He’s black and, for once, not light-skinned. Note that the only people featured who are not under 3 are black. Think about that.
White. Other races are subcategories.
White. Note subcategories
Ooh! People of color! Finally! Oh, wait…
Google, you have over 100 BILLION searches in just a mont (Citation). 59% of these people are teenagers (based on voice search statistics). These brains are malleable and developing; therefore more influenced to subliminal racism.
In 2013 you made 58.8 BILLION dollars in revenue (Citation). Again, I’m not an expert in how you use your money,and I know that you don’t control the internet…But you’re pretty damn close.
I think it’s reasonable to say that you could look into this, and I must say that, for one of the most efficient companies in the world, you’re more than capable of it.
With upmost respect, and therefore expectations,
Diary of a Teenage Activist