Race after Technology

Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code

Race after Technology (2019, Polity Press)

172 pages

English language

Published Nov. 8, 2019 by Polity Press.


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4 stars (2 reviews)

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, Ruha Benjamin cuts through tech-industry hype to understand how emerging technologies can reinforce White supremacy and deepen social inequity.

Benjamin argues that automation, far from being a sinister story of racist programmers scheming on the dark web, has the potential to hide, speed up, and deepen discrimination while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to the racism of a previous era. Presenting the concept of the “New Jim Code,” she shows how a range of discriminatory designs encode inequity by explicitly amplifying racial hierarchies; by ignoring but thereby replicating social divisions; or by aiming to fix racial bias but ultimately doing quite the opposite. Moreover, she makes a compelling case for race itself as a kind of technology, designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice in the architecture of everyday life.

This illuminating guide provides conceptual tools for decoding tech promises with sociologically …

3 editions

they wanted to title this "The New Jim Code"

3 stars

Easy overview of inequality-preserving tech trends, dismantling the notion of automation as neutral or objective or beneficent, by nature or design. But at this point nothing in here felt very revelatory or thorough, covers a lot in a short book.


  • Information technology
  • United states, race relations
  • Whites
  • African americans, social conditions
  • United states, social conditions, 21st century