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“We’re changing the system with this one”: Black students using critical race algorithmic literacies to subvert and survive AI-mediated racism in school

Tiera Chante Tanksley (Department of Psychology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA)

English Teaching: Practice & Critique

ISSN: 1175-8708

Article publication date: 2 April 2024

Issue publication date: 8 April 2024

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to center the experiences of three cohorts (n = 40) of Black high school students who participated in a critical race technology course that exposed anti-blackness as the organizing logic and default setting of digital and artificially intelligent technology. This paper centers the voices, experiences and technological innovations of the students, and in doing so, introduces a new type of digital literacy: critical race algorithmic literacy.

Design/methodology/approach

Data for this study include student interviews (called “talk backs”), journal reflections and final technology presentations.

Findings

Broadly, the data suggests that critical race algorithmic literacies prepare Black students to critically read the algorithmic word (e.g. data, code, machine learning models, etc.) so that they can not only resist and survive, but also rebuild and reimagine the algorithmic world.

Originality/value

While critical race media literacy draws upon critical race theory in education – a theorization of race, and a critique of white supremacy and multiculturalism in schools – critical race algorithmic literacy is rooted in critical race technology theory, which is a theorization of blackness as a technology and a critique of algorithmic anti-blackness as the organizing logic of schools and AI systems.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: CU Boulder Engineering Education and AI-augmented Learning Seed Grant; UCI Connected Learning Lab (CLL) Connected Impact Studio Seed Grant

Citation

Tanksley, T.C. (2024), "“We’re changing the system with this one”: Black students using critical race algorithmic literacies to subvert and survive AI-mediated racism in school", English Teaching: Practice & Critique, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 36-56. https://doi.org/10.1108/ETPC-08-2023-0102

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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