CITP Lunch Seminar: Sareeta Amrute - Tech Sense and Tech Sensibility: Asian Programmers, Multiple Exclusions, and Illegible Excess in an Age of “Hate Incidents”
From CI Center for Information Technology Policy on January 27th, 2020
Seattle and its environs are home to more than eighty tech companies, which have added 780,000 new jobs in the last five years. Along with these jobs comes increased diversity in its population, with some of Seattle’s Eastside cities now ranking as the most diverse in the nation, even while the Pacific Northwest bears a legacy of white supremacist agitation.
This talk explores the relationship between the Eastside’s tech industry, migration, and what the Washington State’s attorney general’s office calls “hate incidents”—verbal attacks and harassment against minorities that do not rise to the level of hate crimes. In this talk, it is shown how forms of evidence circulate in Asian immigrant communities. Victims of these hate incidences track evidence of racial bias simultaneously through material evidence, such as dog poop left on front lawns, and through organizing sense impressions to recognize a shouted slur as racially motivated. These kinds of sensory evidence fall below a particular distribution of the sensible. These are called lost impressions “the sensate” to capture how the theory of the senses developed by Jacques Rancière and others moves too quickly from distribution to dissensus. Instead, the idea of the sensate helps track the ways in which immigrants align, distance themselves from, and register the larger technical and economic scenes in which their lives unfold.