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Technology is at the core of how we live our lives, from how we commute through our city to how we communicate with our friends and family. Public transportation, water treatment facilities, electric power plants, internet networks, county schools and city hospitals: these are all technology-enabled systems that have a duty to serve everyone, regardless of race.

The reality, however, is that technologies and the systems they support often fail to meet this duty.

Today’s American society maintains systemic racism that operates at the scale of individuals, groups and organizations. Institutions implement racist ideas via policies, procedures, traditions and even technology designs. As a result, Black, Indigenous, Latinx and Asian people are often negatively affected by technology that reflects racist ideas embedded within these systems. This does not always mean that the technology was designed with racist intentions; it doesn't have to be. Sometimes, it simply means that technology designers don’t check to see whether long-term, established racist patterns might be worsened by the operation of a technology.

However, technology can also be used to positively shape the values and culture of a society. Those who design systems that foster equity for groups that experience racism can also use technology as a tool to enable their innovation.