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Suza: AI can be a powerful ally in the war against racism

How artificial intelligence may possess wisdom in light of drastic circumstances
Courtesy of IStock
Guest Columnist Walter Suza highlights how AI may have knowledge in solving health care disparities in America.

“There’s no racism here,” a reader wrote in response to one of my columns. “Take your hate somewhere else.”

“No racism in Iowa? Am I missing something? Me? Hate?” These are all questions I have pondered for a while. 

Last month a friend and I shared about our kids and their time in Ames schools. 

“I now have a better understanding of your story about your child’s experience with racism.” 

“How so?” I asked. 

“Well, it happened to my daughter,” he responded. 

My friend’s daughter is a first-grader in Ames. 

“She came home crying the other day because a kid who is white refused to play with her,” he went on. 

“Seriously?” I exclaimed. 

“Yeah, my daughter asked why, and the white girl responded that her mom said she was not allowed to play with Black kids,” he said. 

Does what happened to my friend’s daughter have anything to do with racism? Let’s bring in my AI partner, ChatGPT, to comment on the incident. ChatGPT’s responses are in italicized text. 

In an elementary school setting, racist acts might involve bullying or teasing a classmate because of their race, excluding someone from games or activities based on their ethnicity, making hurtful racial comments or forming discriminatory cliques based on racial lines.

How many such acts do we need before we can admit that racism exists in our midst? One, two, 10, 100? Let’s learn more from ChatGPT.

What is racism? 

Racism is a deeply ingrained belief or practice that discriminates against individuals or groups based on their race, often resulting in unequal treatment, prejudice and systemic oppression. 

What are the social and economic consequences of racism?

Socially, it leads to marginalized groups facing discrimination, reduced opportunities and unequal treatment, resulting in diminished well-being and psychological distress. Economically, it perpetuates income disparities, limits access to quality education and employment and hinders wealth accumulation, contributing to a cycle of poverty. 

How is racism perpetuated?

Stereotypes and biases in media, education and culture reinforce prejudiced attitudes. Discriminatory policies and practices in institutions sustain inequality. Racial segregation and lack of diversity further entrench divisions. Social and economic disparities uphold racial hierarchies.

How can humans dismantle racism?

  • Recognize and confront personal biases and prejudices.
  • Continuously educate themselves about racism’s history, impacts and contemporary forms.
  • Listen to and amplify the experiences and voices of marginalized communities.
  • Challenge racist comments and behaviors, even in uncomfortable situations.
  • Advocate for policies and practices that promote racial equity and justice.
  • Engage in meaningful conversations about racism with friends, family and colleagues.
  • Support politicians and policies that prioritize racial equality.
  • Contribute time and resources to organizations combating racism.
  • Cultivate empathy to better understand the experiences of others.
  • Commit to long-term anti-racist efforts, acknowledging that change is ongoing and requires dedication.

How can AI help dismantle racism?

  • AI algorithms can identify and mitigate biases in decision-making processes, such as hiring, lending and criminal justice, by analyzing patterns of discrimination and providing fairer recommendations.
  • AI-powered content moderation tools can detect and address hate speech, discriminatory content and online harassment, creating safer online environments.
  • AI can analyze health care data to identify disparities in health outcomes, improve access to care and personalize treatments for marginalized communities.
  • AI-driven educational tools can provide personalized learning experiences, bridge educational gaps and enhance access to quality education for underserved communities.
  • AI can facilitate language translation and processing to break down language barriers and promote inclusivity in communication and access to information.
  • AI can analyze policies and legislation for discriminatory effects, helping policymakers identify areas that require reform to promote racial equity.
  • AI can be used for fair risk assessment, reduced racial profiling and unbiased sentencing in criminal justice systems. 
  • AI can assist in recruitment and talent management processes by identifying and addressing bias, ultimately promoting workplace diversity. 
  • AI-driven data collection and analysis can facilitate community engagement, collecting feedback and insights from marginalized communities to inform policy and decision-making.

What would a racism-free America look like?

A racism-free America would be characterized by:

  • All individuals, regardless of their racial background, would enjoy equal rights, opportunities and treatment under the law. 
  • A society that celebrates and values diversity, where people from all racial backgrounds are represented and included in all aspects of life, from education and employment to politics and media. 
  • A criminal justice system that is free from racial bias and discrimination, ensuring fair trials, sentencing and law enforcement practices.
  • Equal access to quality education for all, with resources and opportunities distributed equitably, addressing historical disparities. 
  • Universal access to health care services, with a focus on reducing racial health disparities and improving the overall well-being of all communities. 
  • A society with reduced income and wealth gaps, where economic opportunities are accessible to everyone. 
  • Communities free from racial profiling, hate crimes and systemic violence. 
  • A culture of mutual respect and empathy, where people understand and appreciate the experiences and perspectives of others, irrespective of their race. 
  • Diverse representation in leadership, media and institutions, ensuring that all voices are heard and valued. 
  • Ongoing education and awareness programs to combat racism and promote understanding among individuals. 
  • Achieving a racism-free America requires collective effort, systemic change and ongoing commitment to dismantling racial biases and disparities in all aspects of society. 

You’re so right ChatGPT. And it’s way past time to get started!

Editor’s Note: This story is part of a weekly series by Walter Suza. Each new story of his will be uploaded Sundays. 


Walter Suza is George Washington Carver Endowed Chair and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Agronomy. 

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  • D

    David Jackson | Sep 12, 2023 at 9:36 pm

    The fact a former university professor is using a chat bot to recite superficial responses based on only the data it was feed as if it’s a relevant discussion on real world issues would be hilarious if it wasn’t indicative of the mindset of a frightening number of contemporary faculty.

  • J

    Jake | Sep 11, 2023 at 8:54 am

    AI is all woke. We should be aware of the radical Left agenda. *sarcasm*