Race and Technology

A blog about the intersection of race and technology.

Clyde W. Ford is an award-winning author of twelve works of fiction and non-fiction. He’s also a chiropractor, psychotherapist, mythologist, and sought-after public speaker. Clyde’s the recipient of the 2006 Zora Neale Hurston-Richard Wright Award in African American Literature. He’s been a featured guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show, National Public Radio, and numerous television and radio programs. His latest book, THINK BLACK, is a memoir about his father, the first Black software engineer in America, published by Amistad/HarperCollins. Clyde lives in Bellingham, Washington.

FEELING LUCKY? WIN A BOOK AND A DESK SIGN

  I'm giving away two copies of THINK BLACK on Amazon.com: On Tuesday, September 17th, at 9 am Eastern, go to the Amazon.com website for the book . Scroll down to reach the sweepstakes giveaway notification Click on that link and fill-out the sweepstakes entry form. That's it!. You'll be notified if you're the winner. If you win, take a s...
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Backstory: How Does a Book Really Happen?

Many people believe that a lot of forethought goes into writing a book. Not so with THINK BLACK. This book has much more humble, mundane, even surprising origins. With THINK BLACK about to be published next week, I got to thinking about how this book really begin; about the backstory to THINK BLACK . For months, Susan, a writer friend and me, had b...
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Author Debuts New Technology for Latest Book

When Amistad/HarperCollins publishes Clyde W. Ford's latest book, THINK BLACK , on September 17, 2019, Ford will roll out new software for readers at the book's companion website. THINK BLACK is a memoir about the Ford's father, John Stanley Ford, a hidden figure in computers and the first Black software engineer in America, hired by IBM in 1946. G...
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Servants or slaves? How Africans first came to America matters

This month, we celebrate the quadricentennial of the arrival of the first Africans to America. Many chose to mark this occasion as the beginning of slavery in America. Earlier this year, when embattled Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam appeared on CBS This Morning , he said, "We are now at the 400-year anniversary—just 90 miles from here in 1619. The fir...
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The First Black Software Engineer in America

It was the late 1940s, post–World War II America. Anything was possible! Duke Ellington swung jazz. Jackie Robinson swung a big-league bat. Brown v. Board of Education swung through the courts. Nowhere were new possibilities and promises felt more deeply than in Harlem, which was then Black America's gravitational center. In a City College classroo...
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Rounding the Cape: Race and the allure of technological progress

Progress in technology is given. Progress in race relations is not. The last half-century, witness to an explosive rise in technology, has seen no such progress in race relations. From economic inequality to educational inequality to incarceration inequality to policing inequality to outright segregation, by nearly every yardstick applied, The Eise...
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Upcoming Seattle Area Events for Think Black

SEPTEMBER 18 at 12 NOON KUOW is one of Seattle's premier public radio stations. I'll be on host Bill Radke's noontime show, "The Record." Bill leads in-depth conversations about what matters today in Seattle and beyond, so I'm looking forward to our discussion about THINK BLACK . Even if you don't live in Seattle, tune-in to “The Record”&...
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A Literary Lion

On August 16, 2019, author Clyde W. Ford was named a "Literary Lion," by the Seattle-area King County Library System (KCLS) for 2019/2020. Each year KCLS chooses Northwest authors of merit, as "Literary Lions." This year, twenty authors were selected. Ford was named for Think Black , a memoir about his father, John Stanley Ford, the first Black sof...
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Life on the Rails: Finding My Grandfather

John Baptist Ford, my paternal grandfather, passed away five years before my birth. For many years, I knew only two facts about him: he'd been a Pullman porter and one of the first Black men to speak at Dartmouth College at the beginning of the 20 th century. In college, I dug into his history, finding one reference to the talk he'd given at Dartmo...
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Three Days of the Lion: Escaping the Grasp of the CIA

Spring 1968 drew out violence like a poultice drawing out poison from a snakebite. Two months after King's assassination in Memphis, Robert Kennedy was killed in Los Angeles. And only a few weeks after King's death, Columbia University erupted in student protest. At the time of the Columbia University uprising, I was a senior at Stuyvesant High Sch...
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Do You Really Want Me As A Houseguest?

In writing about her recent novel , Rules for Visiting , author Jessica Francis Kane asks, "Is it a good idea to invite someone into your home whose occupation it is to observe everything?" As a writer, and a trained psychotherapist, I need only ponder my time spent as a houseguest to apprehend the full meaning of Kane's insights. For my hosts, I j...
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Digital Literacy, Social Justice, and Race -- Part II

This is the conclusion of my blog on Digital Literacy, Social Justice and Race. When Microsoft released Tay, an artificial intelligence social media chatbot built to interact and learn from Twitter users, within a span of twenty-four hours the bot went from benign to anti-Semitic, racist, and misogynistic. When asked, "Did the Holocaust happen?" Ta...
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Digital Literacy, Social Justice and Race -- Part I.

Navigate to Microsoft's Bing search page ( www.bing.com ), and type in the phrase "black on white crime" (be sure to include the quotes to keep the words together in that order). When I did this on August 6, 2018, I received results very similar to those received by Dylann Roof, when he typed these same key words into the search engine on his brows...
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Let’s Talk About Race – Part II

This is part II of a two-part blog entitled, "Let's Talk About Race." If you missed part I, you can read it here . When people are willing to engage in a difficult conversation but do not know how, there are three tools I believe are essential: (1) Definitions; (2) Active Listening; and, (3) Engaging from the heart not the head. In my presentations...
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Virginia, it’s not about blackface in your past; it’s about redemption today

As an African American with deep roots in Virginia but now living in the Northwest, the turmoil roiling the commonwealth angers me. First, I find the bigotry and insensitivity it has unearthed reprehensible. Second, the solutions being suggested do not address the underlying issues or offer real change to those most aggrieved. I fear that should ev...
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America’s zeitgeist: accepting intolerance, racism with a shrug

I prepared for this day thinking that my friend would arrive at the cafe dressed in a burqa as she had the last time I saw her. I fretted that someone might feel free to let loose their hatred and fear upon her; accost her verbally or physically, especially in light of a recent ban on immigration. I practiced what I would do. From bystander interve...
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Let's Talk About Race - Part I.

Reparations for slavery are in the news, thanks, in large part, to Democrats running for President and the Democratic majority in Congress. Even conservatives have joined in the discourse. Long-time conservative commentator, and New York Times columnist, David Brooks, has come out in favor of reparations . Conservative leader of the Republican Part...
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Race, Identity, and Writing

Excerpted from a talk given at the American Library Association Annual Convertion Sunday June 23, 2019, Washington, D.C.​ In 1949, Walter Winchell asked famed sportswriter Red Smith if he found it difficult to churn out a daily column. "Why, no," Smith dead-panned . "You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed." Most writers, ...
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I'm Rejoining Social Media Prior to the 2020 Elections

I'm not a fan of FB or Twitter. To many who know me, this comes as no surprise. Although I joined FB earlier than most, in some cases, I've taken years to respond to FB messages. In other cases, I simply never have. I'm not a Luddite nor a technophobe. Quite the opposite. My father was the first Black software engineer in America, hired by IBM in 1...
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