A Hundred Racist Designs

Pierce Otlhogile-Gordon, Ph.D.
25 min readAug 3, 2020

To build an antiracist future, we have to take a hard look at today’s creations.

This moment feels different.

It seems overnight, the world is overcome with injecting anti-racism into every endeavor. Some colleagues, for the first time, are coping with the weight of the oppressive system. Others, fortunately, have collected countless resources posed to help design a more equitable future.

Unfortunately, racism proves to be larger, more abstract, and more elusive than the objects traditional designers are used to constructing. To some extent, it’s not their fault: racism’s been designed into our society for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, designers still fail to recognize the countless ways — tangible, yet invisible — that racism has been injected into our technologies.

It’s time to do more.

A couple of months ago, I logged onto ‘Design Twitter’ to see how the community was coping at large with the political climate. I happened upon a tweet thread, started by @LabSpecEth, which asks the design world this question above.