Rashida Tlaib clearly can’t help herself.
The Detroit-area congresswoman has been drawing heated attention for anti-Semitic statements, is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, and has been proven time and again to be blinded by her own prejudices when it comes to current events.
So what did she do on a recent PR tour of the Detroit police department’s section on using facial recognition software to identify criminal suspects?
According to The Detroit Daily News, she told the police chief that he should only hire African-Americans to use the technology to analyze faces of suspects and potential suspects.
“Analysts need to be African-Americans, not people that are not,” Tlaib said. “I think non-African-Americans think African-Americans all look the same.”
Police Chief James Craig — who is black — disagreed, and offered the perfect response.
“I trust people who are trained, regardless of race, regardless of gender,” he told Tlaib. “It’s about the training.”
Check out the video below. Tlaib’s remarks about the analysts and Craig’s response comes about the 3:50 mark.
Facial recognition is still a developing technology, and how it is used by the government — particularly as it applies to criminal investigations — is still being debated.
But regardless of how anyone feels about the technology, Tlaib’s comments were outright offensive.
After the tour was finished, Craig told the Daily News that the lawmaker’s obvious bias was like a “slap in the face.”
“It’s insulting,” he said. “We have a diverse group of crime analysts, and what she said — that non-whites should not work in that capacity because they think all black people look alike — is a slap in the face to all the men and women in the crime center.
“That’s something we train for, and it’s valuable training, but to say people should be barred from working somewhere because of their skin color?
Viewers who saw the video on Twitter agreed.
That’s a racist statement, literally by definition
— Ryan Cochren (@crcracin) October 2, 2019
Here we have James Craig being poised and showing class while dealing with a complete racist.
— Joe (@blarneyfishy) October 2, 2019
Ignorant, racist, and thinks she knows everything. So, should mostly white communities only hire whites? Me guesses she doesn’t think that. Racist.
— toka (@awajitoka) October 2, 2019
How is this ok? Basically, she’s saying that you must be a certain race to qualify for this job.
How is this ok?
Imagine if someone went on record saying you have to be white for a job.
— Eric O (@EricOls34015010) October 2, 2019
As to the argument that skin color warps the technology’s application, the Detroit News spoke to Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw, who explained a popular misperception about that.
“The software doesn’t work on gender or race, it works on facial measurements,” he said.
“If you have a good photo, the photo array will come back with people with the same facial makeup, whether they’re male, female, black, white or whatever. It’s all about things like the spacing between the eyes, or where the ears are on the side of your head.
“That’s where the human element comes in. If you know you’re looking for a white male, and the system kicks out a white female, or a black male, or whatever, then a technician will flag that. Nobody uses the software on its own.”
Shaw told the newspaper that his force trains against unconscious bias — and appeared to drop in a jab at the congresswoman in the process.
“There’s implicit bias in everything we do,” he said. “You just heard it in [Tlaib’s] comments.”
Anyone who watched the video heard it — loud and clear.
Just as clearly, Rashida Tlaib just can’t help herself.
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