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We work with industry leaders in media and technology to understand the complexity of bias transmission, design and test intervention strategies, and leverage the power of content and social networks to support social change.

Media + Tech

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Combating Bias and Increasing Inclusion in Online Communities

Given the prevalence of social media in everyday life, online interactions can propagate harmful racial bias and inequality but can also be used to promote productive racial discourse. Together with Nextdoor and other platforms, and in collaboration with the Natural Language Processing Lab, SPARQ is investigating how race talk shows up in online interactions, how it can be productive and unproductive, and what can be done to fight bias and foster inclusion. This work receives support from Stanford HAI.

(Re)Examining Racial Representation on TV

television and remote

While there has been increased attention to diversity and representation in the media, racial disparities still exist in representation on TV. Television and media have tremendous power to reflect, reproduce, and reinforce societal inequality. Partnering with BET and Paramount, and the Natural Language Processing Lab, SPARQ is studying how the presence, positivity, and positionality of racialized characters in television shows can impact viewers' racial attitudes and social behaviors.

Building Empathy Through Film

Just Mercy movie poster

It can be difficult to empathize with people who are different from us, do not share our identities, or live in different circumstances. Film is a wide-reaching and important tool for exposing people to stories and experiences outside of their own and can have powerful emotional effects. Together with the Stanford Social Neuroscience Lab and One Community, SPARQ is exploring whether narrative, through the film Just Mercy or people’s personal stories, can help build empathy for people who have been incarcerated.

Standing Up for Change

Paint on road reads: "End Racism Now"

The killing of George Floyd forced the country to grapple with the realities of racial violence and inequality in the United States. Organizations and institutions responded with a range of solidarity statements and commitments to support racial justice. The way we talk about incidents of racial violence can shape the way we understand them and the solutions we create. With TED and other organizations, SPARQ is exploring the impact of organizational actions, content, and communications about race, inequality, and social change.

Image Credits

Árpád Czapp / Unsplash | Pinho. / Unsplash | Just Mercy film poster | Kelly / Pexels