Home Depot Image Search Results In Pictures Of Mexicans; Is Google Images Racist?

Google Image search of "Home Depot"

When you do a quick Google search of "Home Depot" and then click images, you would expect to find only pictures of the hardware store. But The Daily Dot has found an odd glitch (or unfortunate accident), as one of the subcategories that pops up in Google for "Home Depot" is the term Mexicans, accompanied with images of workers outside the home improvement store. "The photos here simply depict brown-skinned people who may or may not be Mexicans, day laborers, or anywhere near a Home Depot parking lot," writes Miles Klee of The Daily Dot. "Hardly what someone looking for a picture of the big-box hardware chain would need, really."

Klee also appropriately points out that the offensiveness doesn't end there, as searching the term "Asians" results in subcategories such as "Smart" and "Math," a search for "black people" results with "Chicken," looking up "Russians" returns "Vodka." And that's just the beginning of many such odd subcategories that pop up with generalized Google searches. The reality of the matter is that Google Images is pulling up stereotypical subcategories for many phrases, but this is neither the fault of Google nor a glitch in their algorithm.

Google explains how their image search works on their website and essentially, the subcategories are words commonly associated with your original search. "To help you find the image you're looking for, we'll sometimes show you popular refinements so you can narrow down your search," explains Google. "For example, if you type San Francisco, you might see panels to refine your search by topics like maps, San Francisco Bay, and Golden Gate Bridge. These refinement searches are commonly associated with your original search. Refinements are especially useful when you're not sure exactly what you're searching for or when you're just looking to browse through images about a specific topic."


What do you think?
Join the Discussion