Rollout in New Orleans is met with criticism. Is The City Going Straight Law And Order? Is New Orleans Losing Its Progressive Edge?

Apparently, all black people look a like to computers too.  I know what you’re thinking. We just can’t catch a break. It’s bad enough that we have to deal with racism in the actual world from the police or random Karens on the street. But now we find out we’re being digitally discriminated in the cyber world too. At least that’s what some studies have told us. Is New Orleans losing its progressive edge?

This has come up because the mayor has proposed that the NOPD start using facial recognition software to identify suspects again. This software program is basically a big database of pictures on file. It could be filled with anything from driver’s licenses to mug shots. It works like this: Say somebody commits a crime that’s caught on one of the city’s crime cameras. The police will take that image and feed it into the facial recognition program. The program will then analyze it, match it, and produce a number of possible suspects for the police to consider.

Sounds simple.

Too many times though, the studies have shown that relying on facial recognition has resulted in the wrong black person being identified and arrested. Ironically, this isn’t a problem for white people. The program has no problem telling Biff from Bob. But with black people, apparently there aren’t enough pictures on file. This smaller sample size prevents the program from making the detailed distinctions it’s able to do with white people.  If you watch the news, you’d think the opposite would be true.

NOLA Crime Camera

Let the news tell it, black people are the only ones who commit crimes. So given the amount of black people with mug shots flowing through the criminal justice system you’d think that the software would be finely tuned to the slightest tinge of melanin. But nope. That is not the case. To the program, all blacks tend to have the same cracks. How do you fix that? Who knows. Maybe the program needs to be fed a course on Anti-racism or Critical Race Theory.

Is New Orleans Losing Its Progressive Edge?

Just think, a little over a year ago this type of big brother surveillance was being banned by the City Council. Smaller jails were being advocated. Marijuana was being decriminalized. And we were parting ways with a D.A. who would harass citizens with fake subpoenas. We were told that a new progressive approach to crime was on the horizon. Once we made it to the horizon though, the new D.A. started vowing to go hard on prosecutions. The police chief started promising to put more people in jail. And now the mayor is cracking down on second lines. Apparently, the progressive sun has set on law and order.

So now here we are. We still have a city-wide surveillance system that’ll send you a $80 ticket for going 4 miles over the speed limit. And we may be going back to one that could have you accidentally arrested because the program can’t tell Kanye West from Obama. Big Brother is back and sloppily expanding. For city leaders though, it’s like, what else are we supposed to do? Kids are running wild, committing crimes with abandon. These are the tools we have to fight. And this is the available technology. For some fed up citizens the solution may neither be expanded surveillance nor progressivism. Instead, it may lie in simply seeking the greener horizons of another city or parish.  

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