Manifesting Equitable Futures: Building an Anti-Racist Technoculture at Eyebeam

In June, 2019 Eyebeam invited Afrotectopia into their space for their final Welcome Wednesday. Eyebeam is an art and technology center in New York City.

During this Welcome Wednesday, founder and producer of Afrotectopia, Ari Melenciano, invited guests to first briefly learn about her research at the intersections of race, technology and public policy, and then to collectively design and draft an Anti-Racist Techno-culture manifesto.


Here is the video from the talk:


Pictures from the workshop session as attendees divided into smaller groups, and collaborated on their manifestos:

And finally, here is our collective first-draft manifesto:

( This was created by including the highest voted statements in each group’s manifesto and combining them into one cohesive draft)

Afrotectopia’s AntiRacist Technoloculture Manifesto

by: Phillip, Molly, Maimuna Touray, Miatta, Imani Cooper, ?aolo Peters, Thomas Petluck, Michael, Jordan Muthra, Iris Jaffe, Steph Rounthee, Alex Moon, Zainab Allyu, Glenn Cantave, Shannon Finnegan

Top 10:

  1. Creating a social justice/equity section to certification tests for professionals to receive official credentials in STEM fields (9)*

  2. Every tech company is legally accountable to an ethical regulatory board. (9)

  3. For tech companies: offer money to Black educational initiatives, hire Black technologists - but more so invest in spaces where Black people design, operate, own our own technologies; abandon the model of diversity and inclusion systems that steals our brilliant thinkers and visionaries for your own corporate gain!; offer free trainings in low-income and POC communities; abolish surveillance technology - by centering those who will be affected by policing and targeting (8)

  4. For government: Develop policies that prevent gentrification by mandating the training, funding and hiring of local communities (8)

  5. Culture of Consent - Everything is opt-in by default (7)

  6. The ability to OPT-OUT of biometric data collection and other forms of surveillance (5)

  7. We are organic beings and we want our technology to mirror, respect that (5)

  8. Ban individual political contributions from private companies and instead, funds go to a pool that gets evenly distributed (4)

  9. @ Black people: Remember you are not just customers and consumers. You are designers, thinkers, artists, visionaries, engineers, and educators for technofuture. (4)

  10. Involve indigenous people at all levels of policy making (4)

* number of votes

All ideated statements:

  • Community Owned/Controlled, builds capacity for self-governance. Build a shared technology commons where EVERYONE is stake-holder (1)*

  • Culture of Consent - Everything is opt-in by default (7)

  • Uncouple property and possession from political power. Everyone’s identity belongs to them. The data created by them should be transparent (1)

  • Decentralized systems and networks, autonomous zones are points of connection, not isolation (2)

  • All histories are transparent, exposed and connected

  • Dismantling systems of inequity start w/ acceptance of those at the highest reaches of social stratification (1)

  • Conflict resolution as an alternative to punishment

  • Collaboration over competition (1)

  • Language reform: one that, in particular, transcends all aspects of intersectionality in our system (1)

  • Rewriting the narrative from “My Egocentric Narrative” to “Our Beneficial Narrative” (3)

  • Using education to de-hierarchize economies and create intellectual understandings through unwriting practices of oppression

  • Society will move away from White Technocapitalist demands and ideas towards Black self-determined technotopia (1)

  • For tech companies: offer money to Black educational initiatives, hire Black technologists - but more so invest in spaces where Black people design, operate, own our own technologies; abandon the model of diversity and inclusion systems that steals our brilliant thinkers and visionaries for your own corporate gain!; offer free trainings in low-income and POC communities; abolish surveillance technology - by centering those who will be affected by policing and targeting (8)

  • For government: Develop policies that prevent gentrification by mandating the training, funding and hiring of local communities (8)

  • For the people:

    • @ White people: If you work in tech know that everything you do is political. Everything you do has an impact. 1. Share secrets (become a whistle blower) with people without access, 2. Don’t gentrify: live far from your job - pay more cause you can, DO NOT CALL THE POLICE, seek

    • @ Educated people (coders, grad higher ed): Share your knowledge, set up a time at a coffee shop where people can come and ask questions, don’t be a gate keeper/hoarder of opportunities

    • @ Black people: Remember you are not just customers and consumers. You are designers, thinkers, artists, visionaries, engineers, and educators for technofuture. (4)

  • Putting a cap on the profits of publicly traded companies and incentivizing equitable investments past that cap (1)

  • Shorter, more clear, transparent and concise terms and conditioning for technological products (3)

  • The ability to OPT-OUT of biometric data collection and other forms of surveillance (5)

  • Ban individual political contributions from private companies and instead, funds go to a pool that gets evenly distributed (4)

  • Utilizing more equitable metrics for when companies are being evaluated for funding (1)

  • Creating a social justice/equity section to certification tests for professionals to receive official credentials in STEM fields (9)

  • We are organic beings and we want our technology to mirror, respect that (5)

  • Disclose the language between a radical new and old technology

  • Biodegradable technology (1)

  • Quarterly meta-data report accessible across literacy levels (1)

  • Every tech company is legally accountable to an ethical regulatory board. (9)

  • Recpect and incorporate the natural world

  • Every 5-10 years, datasets will be scrubbed, and given to individuals who have been profiled.

  • Involving Black and Indigenous persons to engage in an interactive/participating policy making around/in tech (2)

  • Tech companies are accountable to both their local and global communities

  • Blockchain for hardware companies (i.e. Apple and Samsung) to ensure sustainable practices throughout the supply chain. This will be enforced through the Green New Deal (1)

  • Involve indigenous people at all levels of policy making (4)

  • Create equitable financing models for new technology start ups

  • Allow seamless access to collected data from technology to promote data autonomy (1)

  • Increase transparency between the people, lobbyists, investors, companies, government officials (2)

  • Data footprints related to income, race, socioeconomic status, gender, identity, and such should not be used to determine social welfare access.

* number of votes

Ari Melenciano