As we’ve gone through the pandemic, I’ve been thinking about how much of our lives happen on screens and through software. We use software to connect with our friends, to play games, to move markets, and to catch criminals. Software isn’t eating the world; it’s eaten it. Today on Decoder, I’m talking to Charlton McIlwain, a professor of media, culture, and communications at NYU and the author of Black Software: The Internet & Racial Justice, from the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter. The book takes a hard look at the long relationship between the Black community in America and software — including the early pioneers who built online communities in the dial-up era; the relationship between software, the civil rights movement, and policing; and today’s social platforms, which amplify and distribute everything from TikTok dances to the Black Lives Matter movement. I spend a lot of time thinking about software and culture, so I was excited to talk to McIlwain about how he sees the feedback loop between Black communities using software and what software gets made — and how it gets made. And I have always been curious about why it seems like Black culture is so quickly amplified… Read full this story
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