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Germany Olympics team walk off after alleged racist abuse

Germany’s men’s Olympics football team left the pitch five minutes before the end of a warm-up match against Honduras after one of their players was allegedly racially abused.

The team faced Honduras in preparation for the 2020 Olympics, which begin next week.

The teams were tied at 1-1, with Germany equalising thanks to a goal from Felix Uduokhai.

The players walked off the field with five minutes left to play, with the team’s Twitter account claiming that the players decided to leave because defender Jordan Torunarigha had been racially insulted.

More to follow…

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This post originally posted here SkySports | News

Prince Charles praises English soccer star Marcus Rashford amid Euro 2020 loss, racist abuse

Prince Charles is praising Team England soccer player Marcus Rashford.

On Wednesday, the Prince of Wales spoke to U.K.’s Radio 4 about sustainable farming and highlight the celebrated athlete’s work off the field.

“From field to fork, extraordinary work is being done to try and build a better food system for everyone, be it Jamie Oliver promoting education and a balanced diet, Henry Dimbleby’s ambitions for safe, healthy and affordable food, or Marcus Rashford whose mission off the football field is to tackle child hunger,” said the 73-year-old.

Rashford, 23, has strongly advocated for the British government to provide free school meals, especially during school holidays, to combat hunger for children in underserved families, People magazine reported.


Prince Charles spoke to U.K.'s Radio 4 on Wednesday and highlighted Marcus Rashford's mission to tackle child hunger off the field.

Prince Charles spoke to U.K.’s Radio 4 on Wednesday and highlighted Marcus Rashford’s mission to tackle child hunger off the field.
(Getty Images)

And the cause hits close to home. The Manchester United forward was a recipient of free school meals when he was a child.

The outlet noted that this is the second time Charles has publicly supported Rashford. The first came on Monday when the royal shared an excerpt from his speech on Windrush Day 2020 in the U.K. The prince noted how “the rich diversity of cultures which make this country so special – and in many ways unique – lies at the heart of what we can be as a nation.”

Many saw the quote as Charles’s response to the racist abuse Rashford, along with England teammates Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho, endured racism after they missed penalty kicks in overtime, leading to Italy’s win in the Euro 2020 final.

That Clarence House post came shortly after Charles’s eldest son Prince William addressed the racism directly on Monday.


Marcus Rashford of England looks on during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium on July 11, 2021 in London, England.

Marcus Rashford of England looks on during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium on July 11, 2021 in London, England.
(Photo by Paul Ellis – Pool/Getty Images)

“I am sickened by the racist abuse aimed at England players after last night’s match,” said the 39-year-old in a post on Twitter. “It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behavior. It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable.”

Many Twitter users called William a hypocrite for supporting Sancho, Rashford and Saka while never publicly coming to the defense of his sister-in-law, Meghan Markle, who is biracial and faced racism in the U.K. while working as a senior member of the British royal family.

Markle, a former American actress, became the Duchess of Sussex when she married William’s younger brother, Prince Harry, in May 2018 at Windsor Castle. The couple welcomed a son named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor in 2019.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departures from royal duties began in 2020 over what they described as the British media’s intrusions and racist attitudes towards the former “Suits” star, 39. The family now resides in the coastal city of Montecito, Calif.


Many Twitter users labeled Prince William (left) a hypocrite for not defending his sister-in-law Meghan Markle (center) against racism.

Many Twitter users labeled Prince William (left) a hypocrite for not defending his sister-in-law Meghan Markle (center) against racism.
(Photo by Eddie Mulholland – WPA Pool/Getty Images     )

In the wake of quitting royal duties, they gave an explosive TV interview to Oprah Winfrey in March, in which the couple described painful comments about how dark Archie’s skin might be before his birth. The duchess talked about the intense isolation she felt inside the royal family that led her to contemplate suicide.

Buckingham Palace said the allegations of racism made by the couple were “concerning” and would be addressed privately. William also assured reporters directly at an event that “we are very much not a racist family.”

On June 4, the couple welcomed their second child, a daughter named Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. The child is eighth in line to the British throne.

The name pays tribute to both Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, whose family nickname is Lilibet, and his late mother, Princess Diana.

Fox News’ Jessica Napoli and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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This post originally posted here United Kingdom News

‘I don’t think all Brits are racist’ Alison Hammond clarifies post after sparking reaction

Following the Euro 2020 final, black England players were subjected to racial abuse which prompted many to defend them online. Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock shared a viral picture of players Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who had also been targeted by trolls.

She wrote: “You can live here but be quiet. You can work here but not all of you. You can speak at the table but not too loud.

“You can play for us but you can’t lose. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Black British Experience. We stand with you Kings.”

Alison Hammond shared the singer’s post writing: “My heart breaks!! The UK will never prosper when it’s core is Rotten!”

In response to her tweet, one Twitter user said she disagreed with Alison and highlighted that most British people were against racism.

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They wrote: ”I adore you Alison, but I have to disagree.

“England is not rotten at its core, a vast majority of Brits despise racists and are disgusted by there actions.(sic)

“Please do not think all white people are the same. We should be united against racism not divided x.”

Clarifying the meaning behind her message, the This Morning presenter said: “And that’s exactly what I interpreted my tweet to be.

The presenter replied: “He who feels it knows it!”

Rashford, Sancho and Saka were targeted by trolls after they bravely stepped up to take a penalty in the Euro 2020 final, but failed to score.

Following this, England lost to Italy in what was the former’s first final since the World Cup in 1966.

Speaking out after the game, manager Gareth Southgate condemned the racial abuse and clarified that he made the decisions about the penalty takers.

He said: “For some of [the players] to be abused is unforgivable. It’s just not what we stand for.

“The national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue.”

Marcus has since spoken out about his penalty, telling fans he felt as though he had let them down, as part of a lengthy post.

Despite his feelings, many flocked to his post to assure him that the nation was proud of him and his team mates’ efforts.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Celebrity News

Jadon Sancho fires back against online racist abuse and says ‘hate will never win’

In an Instagram post to his 6.4 million followers, the Borussia Dortmund winger said: “I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t see the racial abuse that me and my brothers Marcus and Bukayo received after the game, but sadly it’s nothing new”. The 21-year-old added: “As a society, we need to do better, and hold these people accountable.

“Hate will never win.”

Sancho, who will join Manchester United this summer in a £73million move, praised the achievements of Gareth Southgate’s side.

He said: “I am proud of this England team and how we have united the whole nation in what has been a difficult 18 months for so many people.

“It’s been an honour as always representing England and wearing the Three Lions shirt, and I have no doubt we’ll be back even stronger.”

The post was warmly received by Sancho’s followers.

One Instagram user replied: “Keep your chin up, made the whole country proud”.

Marcus Rashford said in response to social media abuse: “I will never apologise for who I am.”

He said he has been “overwhelmed” messages of support left at a vandalised mural of the Manchester United forward.

READ MORE: PMQs LIVE: Boris faces backlash after Tory MPs shame footballers

The Leader of the Opposition accused Johnson of giving racism the “green light” and stoking a “culture war” over the decision taken by Southgate’s squad to take the knee before their Euro 2020 matches.

The Prime Minister met with representatives from large social media companies, including Instagram and Twitter, on Tuesday to discuss how to tackle abuse on their platforms.

Johnson said he “made it absolutely clear to them that we will legislate to address this problem in the Online Harms Bill” and suggested they could face fines of up to 10 percent of their global revenues if they fail to get hate and racism off of their platforms.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: UK Feed

Jadon Sancho posts emotional statement on England penalty miss and addresses racist abuse

Jadon Sancho has written a lengthy and emotional statement addressing his penalty miss in England’s defeat by Italy in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final and the racist abuse that sadly followed.

Sancho was brought on by Gareth Southgate in the final moments of extra-time to take a penalty in the shoot-out at Wembley.

But alongside Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka, the 21-year-old winger could not find the back of the net.

Despite two saves from Jordan Pickford, England were beaten 3-2 on penalties after the 1-1 draw to finish as the tournament’s runners-up.

In the aftermath of the defeat, England’s three young penalty-takers were targeted by cowardly racists online.

Their treatment by a minority of the public has triggered an outpouring of support from the wider footballing community and sparked a debate over how to deal with racism on social media.

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“My first thought before going into any football match is always “How can I help my team?, how am I going to assist ? how am I going to score ? how am I going to create chances ? And that’s exactly what I wanted to do with that penalty, help the team.

“I was ready and confident to take it, these are the moment’s you dream of as a kid, it is why I play football. These are the pressured situations you want to be under as a footballer. I’ve scored penalties before at club level, I’ve practiced them countless times for both club and country so I picked my corner but it just wasn’t meant to be this time.

“We all had the same ambitions and objectives. We wanted to bring the trophy home.

This has been one of the most enjoyable camps I’ve been part of in my career so far, the togetherness of the team has been unmatched, a real family on and off the pitch.

“I’m not going pretend that I didn’t see the racial abuse that me and my brothers Marcus and Bukayo received after the game, but sadly it’s nothing new. As a society we need to do better, and hold these people accountable.

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“Hate will never win. To all the young people who have received similar abuse, hold your heads up high and keep chasing the dream.

“I am proud of this England team and how we have united the whole nation in what has been a difficult 18 months for so many people.

“Much as we wanted to win the tournament, we will build and learn from this experience going forward. I want to say a massive thank you for all the positive messages and love and support that far outweighed the negative.

“It’s been an honour as always representing England and wearing the Three Lions shirt, and I have no doubt we’ll be back even stronger! Stay safe & see you soon.”

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Sport

Britain is ‘systematically racist’ says think tank – which calls Boris Johnson ‘a brat’

Coordinated by The Runnymede Trust, over 100 civil society organisations and NGOs warned the Government’s plans to tackle racism risk breaking international human rights laws. The report was paid for by the taxpayer-funded Equality and Human Rights Commission and attacked the findings from the UK’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, published by Tony Sewell in April. In April, Dr Sewell claimed Britain was no longer rigged against ethnic minorities.

However, the trust dismissed its finding and claimed it had been a script “written for 10 Downing street” while chief executive Dr Halima Begum previously labelled the Prime Minister a “brat”, The Times reported.

In its attack against Britain, the trust claimed the Government was in a breach of an international treaty known as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Amid the racist comments made towards England’s footballers following the Euro 2020 final loss to Italy, the trust claimed the current approach to tackling racism will worsen the situation across the country.

The Runnymede Trust pointed to the Electoral Integrity Bill which it claims will marginalise minorities in its pursuit to introduce voter identification.

They also claimed the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has profound implications for ethnic minorities as they are “more likely to be sentenced for knife or weapon offences”.

In his report earlier this year, Dr Sewell wrote: “Put simply we no longer see a Britain where the system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities.

“The impediments and disparities do exist, they are varied, and ironically very few of them are directly to do with racism.

“Too often ‘racism’ is the catch-all explanation, and can be simply implicitly accepted rather than explicitly examined.”

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Ms Begum took over the trust last September and had applied to stand as a candidate for Labour in Poplar & Limehouse in the 2019 general election.

She did not make the selection shortlist but campaigned for Labour.

A Government spokesperson said: “The Runnymede Trust’s shadow report contains many errors and is too simplistic in saying that structural or systemic racism is driving all the disparities outlined in their report.

“We would urge them to work with the Government and carefully consider the recommendations in the Sewell report.

“The Government will be providing a response to these recommendations which will act as our action plan for tackling inequality.”

The comments from the trust come after Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were racially abused following the penalty shootout loss on Sunday.

The Government has insisted it will work to tackle online abuse across social media.

On Tuesday, Boris Johnson met with representatives from social media firms to urge them to take tougher action against those from the “dark space of the Internet”.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: UK Feed

Katie Price’s petition surges past 650,000 signatures after Three Lions racist abuse

The former glamour model, who first campaigned to tackle online abuse when she launched a petition to criminalise internet bullying in 2017, told her Twitter followers that the “vile racist abuse” directed towards England players “proves” her “petition is more important than ever”. Price, 43, has called on the Government to introduce new rules that would ensure social media accounts are linked to verified forms of identification. Proponents believe this will help “prevent anonymised harmful activity”, including abuse directed against Price’s teenage son Harvey.

Last month, Price took a 52-year-old man to court after he had shared a blackface video mocking Harvey, who suffers from Prader-Willi syndrome and autism, on his Twitter account.

The “track a troll” petition, launched in March 2021, has already received a response from the Government after it obtained ten thousand signatures.

The Government said: “User ID verification for social media could disproportionately impact vulnerable users and interfere with freedom of expression”.

“Anonymity”, the response continued”, “underpins people’s fundamental right to express themselves and access information online in a liberal democracy”.

However, following England’s heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat against Italy in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley, support for Price’s petition has increased to more than 650,000, the most of any open e-petition on the UK Government and Parliament website.

Marcus Rashford, 23, Jadon Sancho, 21, and Bukayo Saka, 19, all missed their spot kicks after England manager, Gareth Southgate, nominated them to take on the Italian goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma, in the penalty shoot-out on Sunday.

Research by Channel 4 News found that almost two thousand discriminatory and abusive comments were posted against the England trio and their teammate Raheem Sterling on Twitter, with an additional 167 posts considered to constitute “high risk” abuse.

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And Price has already been liaising with politicians about how Britain can tackle online abuse in the future.

Yesterday, she met with Conservative MPs Siobhan Baillie and Andrew Griffith to discuss ways to prevent online trolling.

“We all agree”, Price told her 1.8 million Twitter followers, “that anonymous abuse on social media has been left unchecked for far too long”.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: UK Feed

England boss Gareth Southgate condemns racist abuse of Saka, Rashford and Sancho

Gareth Southgate describes the racist abuse suffered by England’s attacking trio Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho as “unforgivable” following their missed penalties in the Euro 2020 final last night. The three forwards were brave enough to step up and take a spot-kick but failed to score as Italy were crowned champions.

The Manchester United duo were summoned from the bench for the penalty shootout but failed to dispatch with the stakes high.

Rashford saw his penalty hit the post before Gianluigi Donnarumma denied Sancho after diving to his left.

Arsenal youngster Saka also saw his penalty saved after Jordan Pickford saved Jorginho’s tame effort to hand England a lifeline.

All three players were sent monkey emojis on social media following the penalty shootout with nobody being held accountable, once again.

Now Southgate has defended his players and highlighted how proud he is of their efforts.

“I’m not totally across everything but my first thoughts this morning are with the boys that have done so well for us. The players have had such a great togetherness and spirit and brought our country together,” he said.

“For some of them to be abused is unforgivable. Some of it has come from abroad, we have been told this, but some of it is from this country. We have been a beacon of light to bring people together and the national team stands for everybody.

“We felt the energy and positivity from the fans and i’m incredibly proud of that.”

Proving Racist Intent: Democrats Face High New Bar in Opposing Voting Laws

Democrats and voting rights groups say they can no longer count on the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, to serve as a backstop for preventing racially discriminatory voting restrictions.

The 6-to-3 decision by the Supreme Court on Thursday that upheld voting restrictions in Arizona has effectively left voting rights advocates with a higher bar for bringing federal cases under the Voting Rights Act: proving discriminatory intent.

That burden is prompting civil rights and voting groups to recalibrate their approach to challenging in court the raft of new restrictions that Republican-controlled legislatures have passed this year in the aftermath of Donald J. Trump’s election loss in November. No longer, they say, can they count on the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, to serve as a backstop for preventing racially discriminatory voting restrictions.

“We have to remember that the Supreme Court is not going to save us — it’s not going to protect our democracy in these moments when it is most necessary that it does so,” Sam Spital, the director of litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said Friday.

The high court gutted the central protection of the Voting Rights Act in a 2013 decision, and on Thursday the court further limited the act’s reach in combating discriminatory laws, establishing strict new guidelines for proving the laws’ effects on voters of color and thus requiring litigants to clear the much higher bar of proving purposeful intent to discriminate.

Mr. Spital said his group would have to carefully assess its next moves and “think very carefully” before bringing new cases that, if defeated, could set damaging new precedents. The Arizona case, filed in 2016 by the Democratic National Committee, was considered a weak vehicle for challenging new voting laws; even the Biden administration acknowledged that the Arizona law was not discriminatory under the Voting Rights Act. Choosing the wrong cases, in the wrong jurisdictions, could lead to further setbacks, Mr. Spital and other voting rights advocates said.

At the same time, Mr. Spital said, it is imperative that voting restrictions enacted by Republicans not go unchallenged.

“It will force us to work even harder in the cases that we do bring,” he said. “Once the rules of the game are set, even if they are tilted against us, we have the resources — we have extraordinary lawyers, extraordinary clients, and we have the facts on our side.”

Thursday’s ruling also laid bare an uncomfortable new reality for Democrats and voting activists: that under existing law, they can expect little help from the federal courts on election laws that are passed on a partisan basis by the party that controls a state government. Republican lawmakers in Georgia, Florida and Iowa have moved aggressively to push through voting laws, brushing aside protests from Democrats, voting rights groups and even major corporations.

Arizona Republicans were candid about the partisan nature of their efforts when the Supreme Court heard the case in March. A lawyer for the Arizona Republican Party told the justices that the restrictions were needed because without them, Republicans in the state would be “at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats.”

“It’s much harder to prove these things — it takes a lot more evidence,” said Travis Crum, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis who specializes in voting rights and redistricting cases. “Courts are often reluctant to label legislators racist. That’s why the effects standard was added in 1982.”

The high court’s decision also raises the stakes for 2022 contests for governor in the key swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Democratic governors are poised to block measures proposed by Republican-controlled legislatures. If a Republican won the governor’s seat in any of those states, the legislature would have a clear path to pushing through new voting laws.

Republicans on Friday lauded the Supreme Court ruling, calling it a validation of the need to combat voter fraud — though no evidence of widespread fraud emerged in President Biden’s victory.

Justin Riemer, the chief counsel at the Republican National Committee, argued that the new “guideposts” set by Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion, were welcome and would force a recognition of the broader options for voting available in a state.

“It reaffirms, for example, that states have an incredibly important interest in protecting against voter fraud and promoting voter confidence,” Mr. Riemer said. “When the court looked at Arizona’s laws, it noted how generous the voting provisions were.”

Mr. Riemer noted that Democrats would also have a harder time in meeting new standards for showing that laws impose unreasonable burdens on voters.

“I don’t want to say completely shuts them out of Section 2, but it’s going to make it very difficult for them to strike down laws that are really minimally, if at all, burdensome,” Mr. Riemer said, referring to the section of the Voting Rights Act that addresses racially discriminatory practices.

Major Supreme Court decisions affirming a new restriction on voting have historically been followed by waves of new state-level legislation. In 2011, 34 states introduced some form of new voter identification legislation after the court upheld Indiana’s voter identification law in 2008.

The first immediate test of a newly emboldened legislature will come next week in Texas, where lawmakers are scheduled to reconvene for a special session, in a second attempt by Republicans to pass an election overhaul bill. The first attempt failed after Democrats in the State Legislature staged a contentious late-night walkout, temporarily halting proposals that were among the most restrictive in the country.

Those proposals included bans on new methods of voting, a reduction in Sunday voting hours and provisions that would make it easier to overturn elections and would greatly empower partisan poll watchers.

The uncertain legal fights will play out in a federal judiciary remade during Mr. Trump’s administration, and Democrats in Congress have failed to enact federal voter protections.

The legal defense fund that Mr. Spital represents sued Georgia in May over its new voting laws, arguing that the laws would have a discriminatory effect. Other lawsuits, including one the Department of Justice filed last week, argue that Georgia acted with intent to discriminate against voters of color.

But some Democrats, while lamenting the decision by the Supreme Court, noted that they still had plenty of constitutional tools to challenge repressive voting laws.

“Obviously, it is now going to be more difficult to litigate,” said Aneesa McMillan, a deputy executive director at the super PAC Priorities USA, who oversees the organization’s voting rights efforts. “But most of our cases that we challenge, we challenge based on the First, the 14th and the 15th amendments of the Constitution.”

Among the guideposts Justice Alito articulated is an assessment of “the standard practice” of voting in 1982, when Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act was amended.

“It is relevant that in 1982 States typically required nearly all voters to cast their ballots in person on election day and allowed only narrow and tightly defined categories of voters to cast absentee ballots,” Justice Alito wrote.

Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling established a series of guideposts for determining whether merely the effect of a voting law is discriminatory, rather than the intent.
Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

The court did not address the purpose clause of Section 2. But those cases often rely on racist statements by lawmakers or irregularities in the legislative process — trickier elements of a legal case to prove than the effects.

“You’re not going to get that smoking gun kind of evidence,” said Sophia Lakin, the deputy director of the A.C.L.U.’s Voting Rights Project. “It’s pulling together a lot of circumstantial pieces to show the purpose is to take away the rights of voters of color.”

Mikala Compton/Reuters

In Texas, some Democrats in the Legislature had been hoping that they could work toward a more moderate version of the bill in the special session that starts next week; it remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court decision will induce Republicans to favor an even more restrictive bill.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and State Representative Briscoe Cain, both Republicans, did not respond to requests for comment. Speaker Dan Phelan and State Senator Bryan Hughes, both Republicans, declined to comment.

But whether the Supreme Court decision will open the floodgates for more restrictive voting legislation in other states remains an open question; more than 30 state legislatures have adjourned for the year, and others have already passed their voting laws.

“It’s hard to imagine what a spike in voting restrictions would look like now, because we are already seeing such a dramatic surge, more than at any time since Reconstruction,” said Wendy Weiser, the director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a research institute. “But passing new waves of legislation has certainly been the response in recent years.”

Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin is one of the Democratic governors who are holding off voting measures passed by Republican-led legislatures. On Wednesday, he vetoed the first of several pieces of Republican legislation on the electoral process.

In an interview, he said Republicans’ monthslong effort to relitigate the 2020 election had had the effect of placing voting rights on the level of health care and education among the top priorities of Wisconsin voters.

“It’s rising up as far as people’s recognizing that it’s an important issue,” Mr. Evers said. “They brought it on themselves, frankly, the Republicans have. I don’t think the people of Wisconsin thought the election was stolen. They understand that it was a fair election. And so the Republicans’ inability to accept Donald Trump’s loss is making it more of a bread-and-butter issue here.”

Author: Reid J. Epstein and Nick Corasaniti
Read more here >>> NYT > Top Stories

The Efforts to Make Text-Based AI Less Racist and Terrible

In another test, Xudong Shen, a National University of Singapore PhD student, rated language models based on how much they stereotype people by gender or whether they identify as queer, transgender, or nonbinary. He found that larger AI programs tended to engage in more stereotyping. Shen says the makers of large language models should correct these flaws. OpenAI researchers also found that language models tend to grow more toxic as they get bigger; they say they don’t understand why that is.

Text generated by large language models is coming ever closer to language that looks or sounds like it came from a human, yet it still fails to understand things requiring reasoning that almost all people understand. In other words, as some researchers put it, this AI is a fantastic bullshitter, capable of convincing both AI researchers and other people that the machine understands the words it generates.

UC Berkeley psychology professor Alison Gopnik studies how toddlers and young people learn to apply that understanding to computing. Children, she said, are the best learners, and the way kids learn language stems largely from their knowledge of and interaction with the world around them. Conversely, large language models have no connection to the world, making their output less grounded in reality.

“The definition of bullshitting is you talk a lot and it kind of sounds plausible, but there’s no common sense behind it,” Gopnik says.

Yejin Choi, an associate professor at the University of Washington and leader of a group studying common sense at the Allen Institute for AI, has put GPT-3 through dozens of tests and experiments to document how it can make mistakes. Sometimes it repeats itself. Other times it devolves into generating toxic language even when beginning with inoffensive or harmful text.

To teach AI more about the world, Choi and a team of researchers created PIGLeT, AI trained in a simulated environment to understand things about physical experience that people learn growing up, such as it’s a bad idea to touch a hot stove. That training led a relatively small language model to outperform others on common sense reasoning tasks. Those results, she said, demonstrate that scale is not the only winning recipe and that researchers should consider other ways to train models. Her goal: “Can we actually build a machine learning algorithm that can learn abstract knowledge about how the world works?”

Choi is also working on ways to reduce the toxicity of language models. Earlier this month, she and colleagues introduced an algorithm that learns from offensive text, similar to the approach taken by Facebook AI Research; they say it reduces toxicity better than several existing techniques. Large language models can be toxic because of humans, she says. “That’s the language that’s out there.”

Perversely, some researchers have found that attempts to fine-tune and remove bias from models can end up hurting marginalized people. In a paper published in April, researchers from UC Berkeley and the University of Washington found that Black people, Muslims, and people who identify as LGBT are particularly disadvantaged.

The authors say the problem stems, in part, from the humans who label data misjudging whether language is toxic or not. That leads to bias against people who use language differently than white people. Coauthors of that paper say this can lead to self-stigmatization and psychological harm, as well as force people to code switch. OpenAI researchers did not address this issue in their recent paper.

Jesse Dodge, a research scientist at the Allen Institute for AI, reached a similar conclusion. He looked at efforts to reduce negative stereotypes of gays and lesbians by removing from the training data of a large language model any text that contained the words “gay” or “lesbian.” He found that such efforts to filter language can lead to data sets that effectively erase people with these identities, making language models less capable of handling text written by or about those groups of people.

Dodge says the best way to deal with bias and inequality is to improve the data used to train language models instead of trying to remove bias after the fact. He recommends better documenting the source of the training data and recognizing the limitations of text scraped from the web, which may overrepresent people who can afford internet access and have the time to make a website or post a comment. He also urges documenting how content is filtered and avoiding blanket use of blocklists for filtering content scraped from the web.

Author: Khari Johnson
This post originally appeared on Business Latest