Genius(ly) Mixed Racism

Folks, Apple is Racist.

Now, before I lose a few of you, let me explain how I came to this realization. It all starts with iTunes. iTunes has a feature for the iPod called “Genius Mix.”  This is like a DJ built into your iPod that will create you a playlist based on a single song choice. The idea is that you pick one song that you like, and “Genius Mix” creates a playlist with 24 other songs that are similar to your choice.

Now, I don’t know the algorithms that are involved, but it works really well…as long as you pick music by white people.

This is where the racism comes in…let’s say you pick a song like “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson. This song is kinda popish and could be in a playlist with Brittany Spears and Regina Spektor – both of which I have on iTunes!

But no, my iPod creates a playlist of 25 songs that only consists of African-American artists! I like James Brown as much as the next guy, but why does 6 of the 25 songs matched to “Human Nature” have to be his? The remainder of the list consisted of: Usher, the Black Eyed Peas (before they added Fergie), Janet Jackson, Macy Grey, Jay Z, Lil’ Wayne, the Inkspots, and it included the “I love you” song that Barney sings on his show.

I thought that this was a fluke, so I recreated the experiment over and over choosing a different African-American artist each time and each time it only paired them with other African-Americans. It didn’t care that these people were ALL different genres of music! It only mattered that they shared a similar complexion!

I picked Lil’ Wayne as a starting point and it skipped Eminem as an option and told me that the Supreme’s were a closer match!

That’s like saying the Pope and Tony Soprano could be bff’s just because they are both Italian.

But then I wondered, “does it work both ways?”

I could have recreated this experiment over and over, just as I had the first time, but I really didn’t want to. Instead, I tried this like three times and decided that would be enough. So, instead of real numbers, I will pull a completely fabricated statistic out of my ass and claim that iTunes is racist 90% of the time. That’s because it doesn’t care how similar a song is, it only cares how similar the singers are! It does a damn good job of creating playlists of similar songs when you start with a song by a white guy, it just won’t include any black people in that grouping! But, if the artist is black, it will just throw together a list of music that is performed by  African-Americans! It doesn’t care that the music choices don’t make sense! It just assumes that all black people sound the same!

I say we should boycott Apple until they end this segregation! Why can’t Macy Grey and Fiona Apple sing together as equals? Why must Janet Jackson be denied the joy of working with Paula Abdul again? Why the hell would it ever add James Brown to a playlist 6 times?

If iTunes works like this, then what is Apple TV like? If I asked it to suggest programming for me what would it say? Would it tell me that the Jeffersons is comparable to Martin? Sure they both had annoying characters, but nothing is comparable to Shanaynay!

Folks, racism is an American construct, and nothing is more American than Apple pie, but if the tech giant doesn’t want to end the Jim Crow Music laws, then I say that Apple is the dessert that we should all skip.



One comment on “Genius(ly) Mixed Racism

  1. THank you so much! This is not the only app or program that does this. Many people are blind to the fact that this is a problem in society today. They look for point blank in your face racism. And to think they say that racism is dead. No it’s not it’s just more undercover. Major corporations are run by who? Majority white american males with a stake in keeping their race on top. And to make it even worse,its not just their race but their income bracket. Once again thank you for bringing this issue to the light.

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