Things That Matter

A Black Woman Says She Was Refused Service At A Baltimore Restaurant

Baltimore-based restaurant Ouzo Bay is being slammed for racism after a video of a Black woman and her 9-year-old son being denied service circulated online. The restaurant is being accused of denying service to a boy who had been dressed similarly to a white boy who was served despite the restaurant’s applied standard.

In a post to her Facebook page, Marcia Grant and her son were denied service in an incident that was hard to watch her son endure.

Posted by Marcia Grant on Monday, June 22, 2020

In a post to her Facebook page, Grant shared two videos and several still images of the incident to Facebook. “Ouzo Bay would not let Dallas eat at there restaurant sighting that athletic wear was not allowed!” Grant wrote in her post. “I pointed out to them that there was a white child that also had on athletic wear just getting up from dinning there, they still would not let my son eat there! I have faced racism time and time again, but it’s hard AF, when you have to see your child (9yo) upset because he knows he’s being treated different that a white child!!!”

The disturbance occurred at Ouzo Bay, a restaurant owned by the Atlas Restaurant Group, located in Maryland.

In the videos shared by Grant a white manager, who has yet to be identified, tells Grant that she and her son cannot be seated in the restaurant because of how her son is dressed. Grant’s son can be seen wearing sneakers, an Air Jordan T-shirt, and athletic shorts.

“Unfortunately, we do have a dress code,” the manager tells Grant in the video. In response, Grant points out a white boy at the restaurant who is dressed in athletic clothing. The white boy not only seems to be dressed almost exactly the same as Grant’s son but also leaving the restaurant with his family after he had been served.

In response to the incident, Atlas Restaurant Group apologized to Grant and her son in a statement.

“This should never have happened, the manager seen in the video has been placed on indefinite leave,” the statement says in part. “We are sickened by this incident. We sincerely apologize to Marcia Grant, her son and everyone impacted by this painful incident.”

The group said its dress codes are the “result of ongoing input from customers,” and “in no way are they intended to be discriminatory.”

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“Today, we learned of an incredibly disturbing incident that occurred at one of our restaurants in Baltimore, Ouzo Bay. We sincerely apologize to Marcia Grant, her son & everyone impacted by this painful incident. This situation does not represent who or what Atlas stands for,” the group said in a statement shared to Facebook

Atlas said it was immediately changing its policy so that children the age of 12 and under won’t be subjected to the dress code.

According to the comments section of the post and a report by The Associated Press, this is not the first time the chain has been slammed for its dress code. Last September, Atlas came under fire for their dress code when its restaurant Choptank in Fells Point banned “baggy clothing, sunglasses after dark and bandannas.” After complaints of discrimination from customers the restaurant modified the dress code.

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People Have Taken To The Streets Across The Country In Breonna Taylor Protests

Things That Matter

People Have Taken To The Streets Across The Country In Breonna Taylor Protests

@KRISTENCLARKEJD / TWITTER

Cities across the U.S. are seeing a new wave of unrest following the grand jury’s finding on the Breonna Taylor case. Emotions are high as people protest against the lack of charges against the officers who were involved in Taylor’s death.

Protesters are raising their voices after the decision not to charge all of the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s death.

Breonna Taylor was shot and killed on March 13 when police raided her apartment. The 26-year-old ER technician was sleeping when the police executed a “no-knock” warrant. However, police had the wrong address and Taylor’s boyfriend, believe their lives were in danger, fired at the police. Taylor was shot and killed in her apartment that night.

Major cities across the country saw major demonstrations spurred by the anger against the justice system.

A grand jury found one officer responsible for wanton endangerment after firing his weapon into neighboring apartments. There were no charges tied directly to Taylor’s death. The lack of charges has angered activists and advocates who are seeking significant police reform to prevent tragedies like this from happening again.

People have become hyper-aware of the issue and are paying attention to the outcomes.

Protest signs in different crowds show that the American people are paying attention. The Black Lives Matter movement became the cause at the forefront of American mentality since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death sparked national outrage and renewed energy into fighting to stop the disproportionate violence Black men, women, and children face at the hands of police.

Some motorists have turned violent against the protesters.

Video captured in both Denver and Los Angeles show vehicles driving through crowds of protesters. In Denver, the driver claims to have acted in self-defense after protesters surrounded his car. The driver claims that he did not intend to hurt anyone but reacted when protesters shattered his windshield.

In Louisville, police arrested the only Black woman in the Kentucky state legislature for protesting.

State Rep. Attica Scott was arrested for first-degree rioting, which is a class-D felony. The Louisville Metropolitan Police Department arrested 24 people Thursday night while protesting the decision not to charge the officers. Rep. Scott was arrested with other and charged with first-degree rioting and two misdemeanors for unlawful assembly and failure to disperse.

“Our call to action is to continue to make sure that the city of Louisville understands that we will not go away, that we will continue to demand the defunding of police and the dismantling of this police department because it’s corrupt from the inside out, from the bottom to the top,” Scott told NPR before the grand jury decision. “And it cannot continue to function in the way that it does.”

Taylor’s death has mobilized the nation with celebrities and politicians calling for justice.

The fight for racial justice and a systemic change to our justice and policing systems is ongoing. The people are tired of being scared and are taking a stand with their protests.

If you are out there protesting, send us your videos and photos so we can see your activism in action!

READ: Oprah Winfrey Honors Breonna Taylor With Historic O Magazine Cover

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Twitter’s AIs Prefer Ted Cruz With Boobs And White Skin Over Black

Things That Matter

Twitter’s AIs Prefer Ted Cruz With Boobs And White Skin Over Black

Ever notice how on some social platforms like Twitter or Instagram that you yourself are mysteriously unable to crop your display images on your own? That’s because Twitter prefers to let their algorithms make the decision. Over the weekend users on Twitter discovered the surprising dangers of letting algorithms crop your own images.

Education tech researcher Colin Madland drew attention to the issue while speaking out about how the video-calling program Zoom, often crops the head out of his black person coworker while on calls.

It didn’t take long for Madland and other users to discover that Twitter’s AIs use discriminatory equations to prioritize certain faces as well. In short, the social platform’s AIs prefer white faces over Black ones.

In response to the discoveries, a Twitter spokesperson acknowledged that the company was looking into the issue “Our team did test for bias before shipping the model and did not find evidence of racial or gender bias in our testing. But it’s clear from these examples that we’ve got more analysis to do. We’re looking into this and will continue to share what we learn and what actions we take,” they stated.

Of course, Madland’s discovery is nothing new. In 2019, test results from the National Institute of Standards and Technology revealed that some of the strongest algorithms online were much more likely to confuse the faces of Black women than those of white women, or Black or white men. “The NIST test challenged algorithms to verify that two photos showed the same face, similar to how a border agent would check passports,” Wired points out. “At sensitivity settings where Idemia’s algorithms falsely matched different white women’s faces at a rate of one in 10,000, it falsely matched black women’s faces about once in 1,000—10 times more frequently. A one in 10,000 false match rate is often used to evaluate facial recognition systems.”

Still, it didn’t take long for users on the platform to ask what other physical preferences Twitter has.

Turns out the AIs prefer Ted Cruz with large anime breasts over a normal-looking Ted Cruz.

(To better understand this Tweet, click the link above)

The user who tested the image of Cruz, found that Twitter’s algorithm on the back end selected what part of the picture it would showcase in the preview and ultimately chose both images of Cruz with a large anime chest.

It’s nothing new that Twitter has its massive problems.

For a platform that so controls and oversees so much of what we consume and how we now operate, it’s scary to know how Twitter chooses to display people with different skin tones. The round of jokes and Twitter experiments by users has only revived concerns on how “learning” computer algorithms fuel real-world biases like racism and sexism.

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