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Rashida Tlaib: No Whites Can Work the Facial Recognition Software

What happens when a member of the Squad is blatantly racist? Nothing, apparently.

Racism. The term is batted around so commonly today that people hardly blink an eye when someone is accused of being a racist or an object is identified as the same. We’ve forgotten the real meaning of the term as everyone is so quick to label people for the silliest things. Even some foods, for Heaven’s sake, get bashed and berated as being offensive to certain nationalities. Muslims do not eat pork, so someone tries to sue a cafe for making bacon burgers. Whatever happened to “if you don’t like something, just don’t get it”? But, what happens when a congressperson actually does something blatantly racist, on camera? Well, it depends. If it’s a Democrat – especially a member of the left’s beloved “Squad” – part apparently nothing happens.

Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) doesn’t bother to use much of a filter with her words or actions. Remember what she said about President Donald Trump? “… we’re gonna go in there and we’re gonna impeach the motherf**ker.” Or how about when she was physically removed from a Trump rally because of her over-the-top behavior? Well, now she has moved on to another way to insult the American people. While touring the Detroit Police Station to view the facial recognition programs, she told Police Chief James Craig that he should only hire African Americans to work on the program.

“Analysts need to be African-Americans, not people that are not,” Tlaib said. “It’s true, I think non-African-Americans think African-Americans all look the same!”


Tlaib’s insults are what got her invited to the police department in the first place after she criticized facial recognition in a tweet, referring to it as “bull**it.”

To say Chief Craig was shocked would be an understatement. “It’s software. It’s biometrics,” he said. “And, to put race in it … we’re talking about trained professionals. My staff goes through intense training with the FBI, and so they’re not looking at race but its measurements. We were appalled when she made this statement.”

Rashida Tlaib

And rightly so. Is she saying I can’t tell the difference between Eddie Murphy and Samuel L. Jackson, just because they are both black? Well, sometimes I can’t tell the difference between the Baldwin brothers, and they’re white. Anyway, facial recognition is not about race. It uses measurements to identify facial features such as the distance between the eyes or space between the nose and lips. It’s not looking at the color of someone’s skin, but for some reason the Michigan rep. thinks African Americans are the only people qualified for the job.

What was she thinking? Was she trying to appeal to a specific electoral base? “This is a double standard,” Craig said. “If I had made the exact same comment, they would’ve been calling for my resignation and she would have been leading that charge. That’s a fact.”

He’s not wrong. But to take it a step further, what if the chief had been an older white male and had said that white people were the only ones qualified for the job? Oh boy, can’t you just see the outrage?

“We even put her in the seat of an analyst so she could understand how it works!” he exclaimed. “And, she was somewhat resistant. Not really interested. But, it was important for me to invite her in after she made her initial comments. So, at least she could learn about how we use it and maybe have a great appreciation for it.”

Fat chance of that happening. In fact, the all-knowing Tlaib actually tried to school the chief. To demonstrate the process, Craig showed the congresswoman a photo of an African American woman’s mugshot that was mistakenly flagged once a photo of a black male suspect was put into the computer. He started to explain the process of how they eliminate errors such as this one, but Tlaib cut him off.

Police Chief James Craig

Tlaib: “We know it’s close to a 60% error rate because it doesn’t identify black people, you know that, Chief. Chief, the error rate among African Americans, especially women, 60%.”

Craig: “I understand the technology. That’s why I’m taking you through it personally.”

Tlaib: “I know. Just see if you can get some of our money back before we fix it.”

Craig: “No.”

The chief then explained that facial recognition is not reason by itself to arrest someone, that it is a tool used in the process of gaining evidence, but the Squad member wasn’t convinced. She held fast to her claim that African Americans were better suited for the program, especially since Detroit is a city of about 80% black citizens.

“It’s insulting,” Craig said. The analysts are trained by the FBI. “We have a diverse group of crime analysts, and what she said – that whites should not work in that capacity because they think all black people look alike – is a slap in the face to all the men and women in the crime center.” He added, “That’s something we train for, and it’s valuable training, but to say people should be barred from working somewhere because of their skin color? That’s racist.”


Read more from Kelli Ballard or comment on this article.

Read More From Kelli Ballard

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