Automating Inequality

Automating Inequality

How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor

Virginia Eubanks

As backlash against welfare rights grew, news coverage of poverty became increasingly critical. “As news stories about the poor became less sympathetic,” writes political scientist Martin Gilens, “the images of poor blacks in the news swelled.” 17 Stories about welfare fraud and abuse were most likely to contain images of Black faces. African American poverty decreased dramatically during the 1960s and the African American share of AFDC caseloads declined. But the percentage of African Americans represented in news magazine stories about poverty jumped from 27 to 72 percent between 1964 and 1967.

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