When one searches a stock photo website like Shutterstock for “three black teenagers,” photos like the one above of three cute black teenagers by a photographer dubbed “Logo Boom” show up. Perhaps Google Images should take notes from the stock image website’s results for “three black teenagers.” That’s because the results that people get when searching Google Images for “three black teenagers” versus “three white teenagers” are causing consternation in some circles, reports Heavy.
As of this writing, searching Google Images for “three black teenagers” turns up disturbing results. The first two results are questionable sources containing questionable statistics about black teens and crime. The results in Google Images for “three white teenagers” shows plenty of smiling white teens in stock photos, interspersed with news photos and a mugshot or two.
Three WHITE teenagers vs three BLACK teenagers pic.twitter.com/9SfDFfeif7— MAY (@MAY_SOULS) June 8, 2016
But to those who have been publishing online for years and tend to know the way Google ranks certain images know that the “three black teenagers” drama is all about search-engine optimization, or SEO. Google tends to favor large, clear images, and ones that include keywords, captions and file names attributable to the topic at hand, which is “three black teenagers.”
So here’s hoping with the new focus on the results in Google Images when searching for “three black teenagers” that more images of black teens like the above stock photo show up. Instead of photos of “three black teenagers” displaying black teens involved in crimes or black teenagers who were the victims of crimes, perhaps better SEO’d articles will replace the ones that exist now in Google Images.
The YouTube star known as Antoine Speaks highlighted the issue in the following YouTube video, wherein Antoine encourages people to share and publish more positive articles about blacks in order to organically change the results to more becoming images when one searches for “three black teenagers.” Instead of dubious blog posts with fear-mongering and weird stats about three black teens committing some unverifiable crime against a white person, more positive and verifiable articles about three black teenagers performing good deeds could take their places.
For example, as reported by Business Insider, three black teenagers created an app to battle police brutality. Or, as reported by the Kansas City Star, three black teens were part of an advisory board to help foster an understanding between police and black teenagers in the wake of the situation in Ferguson, Missouri.
Then there is the thought-provoking article on Take Part about colorism, as revealed by three black teenagers who discussed their experiences with being light-skinned or dark-skinned. Those types of results are the ones being bandied about on social media as the ones that would be more productive during a Google Images search for “three black teenagers.”
It was the following Twitter video that shows a live Google search for “three black teenagers” versus a Google search for “three white teenagers” that set the ball rolling and went viral. That video has been liked and retweeted nearly 60,000 times on Twitter since being tweeted on June 6. By displaying images that look more akin to mugshots for the “three black teenagers” search — as opposed to the “three white teenagers” search showing images of soccer players and such — the “three black teenagers” search disparity is evident.
Warning: The below Twitter video displaying search results for “three black teenagers” versus “three white teenagers” contains language that might be offensive to some viewers.
A search for “black teenagers” in Google Images (leaving off the “three”) doesn’t seem to bring as many bad results. Instead, more stock images of smiling black teenagers appear, along with images of black teens in literacy programs, as reported by PBS.
[Image via Shutterstock]