Sophisticated models that learn patterns from large datasets offer the promise of providing impartial, efficient, accurate, "smart" decision-makers. As such, they are becoming more widespread and have a lot of influence over people's life outcomes. Weapons of Math Destruction argues, however, that these algorithms have troubling features that codify unjust discrimination and are inscrutable and unaccountable. I focus in this post on these undesirable features and how to counteract them.
The benefits of intersectionality I put forward are more apparent when given math analogies. Set intersection provides an easy reminder that choosing both is a wise idea. Conceptualizing oppression as a multidimensional space discourages Oppression Olympics. Intersectional analyses are good/responsible practice in the same way that checking for and reporting significant interactions is in statistical analysis.
Intersectionality is a fairly recent buzzword in the social justice left that is often accused of being divisive and the root of puritan perfectionism. I argue why intersectionality is (1) the opposite of those things, at least in my experience, and (2) necessary for making the world a better place.
How do you teach a student from an oppressed class without the wider oppression of society being mirrored in the teacher/student relationship? This book describes how control and oppression work, and argues why it is important to take care that education helps people imagine and create a world with less oppression, rather than merely embodies and reinforces oppressive structures. To accomplish this, the author proposes a pedagogy built around the practice of education as dialogue and the practice of problem-posing.
I talk about what Nice Guy Syndrome is, the faulty mental model I think causes it, and how that faulty thinking is reinforced by fairly commonplace and uncriticized portrayals of romance.
This book is about the process by which conflict is mistaken for, and thus escalated into, abuse. The author also talks about how shunning shuts people off from crucial knowledge, and how a mentality of supremacy and/or trauma drives this escalation + shunning behavior. She analyzes how this process plays out for an eclectic set of social issues ranging from abusive relationships to large-scale political conflict. I discuss the shared themes of Conflict Is Not Abuse, Why Does He Do That?, and Nonviolent Communication in order to give some insights into abuse, rationalizations of violence, coercion/control, and deescalation.
Dealing with criticism is hard. I give some tips drawn from my life experience for dealing with criticism gracefully without feeling bitter and resentful at the person dishing it out.