In the technological age, racial profiling is taking on an entirely new form. In the ever-increasing usage of smart devices such as phones and tablets, there seems to be apps for everything. As a follow-up to last week’s story involving the Bay Area (CA)’s Nextdoor app, new apps have appeared that are being used to profile Black people as well.
In places like Washington, D.C. and New York City, apps such as SketchFactor (an app used to report “sketchy” people) and GhettoTracker.com are gaining traction with users. With these applications, Black people are being reported at an alarming rate. With GhettoTracker.com, users of the online platform are asked to rate neighborhoods based on whether they feel that the areas are “safe” or “ghetto”.
In Washington, a movement titled “Operation GroupMe” has become prevalent in the Georgetown area of D.C. It was created last February out of Georgetown Business Improvement District’s partnership with the local police to initiate “real-time mobile-based group-messaging app that connects Georgetown businesses, police officers and community members.” The app has nearly 400 users who racially profile countless innocent Black people.
The white supremacists of these online communities even communicate with each other in code, referring to Melanoid people as “aa”–an abbreviation for African-American. It has been reported that hundreds of photos of unsuspecting Black people have been shared in these groups. On one occasion, a Black female employee of retailer American Apparel (wearing orange) took a selfie with an unsuspecting shopper in the background with a caption that read: “Look out for these girls. Known thefts.” After another user commented on the employee’s selfie, stating that “Only known thieves would smile for the camera.” The actual manager of the store left a following comment that read, “Yea, not to be confused, girl in orange is our employee.”
One of the more alarming facts surrounding this issue is that these apps are being implemented in U.S. metropolitan areas (Bay Area, D.C., New York) that are being notoriously gentrified, with suspected white supremacists new to these areas reacting out of paranoia of contrived Black threats to their neighborhoods.
Article By: B. Clark