Google Equates Black Girls With Sex; Why?

The search engine's profit motive doesn't always work in the best interests of women of color.

Generic image (Monkey Business/Thinkstock)
Generic image (Monkey Business/Thinkstock)

(The Root) — Ever do a search in Google and get back some crazy result you weren’t expecting?

A few years ago, I did a Google search on the term “black girls” to assist my nieces and stepdaughter in some stuff for school. What was the first search result? www.hotblackp–

I was horrified. But I was also curious about why this kind of material was most representative of black girls. As a researcher and educator, I knew there had to be more to this phenomenon. I kept collecting searches. That was in 2010.

By 2011, I was conducting a study about Google search to figure out how and why it is that women are hypersexualized in search engines. At that time, when I did a search on the term “black girls,” the No. 1 hit was www.sugaryblackp–, followed by more porn sites and a rock band of white guys from the United Kingdom using the name “Black Girls.” After the page jump below (click on the number 2) is a not safe for work partial screenshot from Sept. 18, 2011: