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Google Apologizes For "Michelle Obama" Results

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the was-that-wrong? dept.

Google 783

theodp writes "CNN reports that for most of the past week, when someone did a Google image search for 'Michelle Obama,' one of the first images that came up was a picture of the First Lady altered to resemble a monkey. After being hit with a firestorm of criticism over the episode, Google first banned the site that posted the photo, saying it could spread malware. Then, when the image appeared on another site, Google displayed the photo in its search results, but displayed an apologetic Google ad above it. On Wednesday morning, the racially offensive image appeared to have been removed from any Google Image searches for 'Michelle Obama.' Google officials could not immediately be reached for comment." Update — 15:38 GMT by SS: A reader pointed out that this article from the Guardian says the image was de-listed simply because it was removed from the blog where it was hosted rather than by any "deliberate" action from Google.

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Good Job guys (5, Informative)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 4 years ago | (#30234948)

At the moment it suggests searching for "Michelle Obama monkey" when you search for "Michelle Obama"

Re:Good Job guys (3, Informative)

olivier69 (1176459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235122)

The first suggestion is "michelle obama monkey" even when I only type "miche" in the search field !

Re:Good Job guys (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235154)

At the moment it suggests searching for "Michelle Obama monkey" when you search for "Michelle Obama"

Personally, I think that's an astonishingly good suggestion. Well done Google!

Special Treatment for Kenyan in the White House (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235172)

The truth of the matter is that the media -- and media aggregators like Google -- has been giving preferential treatment to Barack Hussein Obama because he is the first Kenyan-American to be President.

In the past, numerous artists have drawn caricatures of numerous politicians, and no one apologized for the caricatures.

In much the same way, the media has ignored the racist voting pattern by African-Americans in favor of Barack Hussein Obama. Allow me to explain.

During the election, about 95% of African-Americans voted for Barack Hussein Obama due solely to the color of his skin. See the exit-polling data [cnn.com] by CNN.

Note the voting pattern of Hispanics, Asian-Americans, etc. These non-Black minorities serve as a measurement of African-American racism against Whites (and other non-Black folks). Neither Barack Hussein Obama nor John McCain is Hispanic or Asian. So, Hispanics and Asian-Americans used only non-racial criteria in selecting a candidate and, hence, serve as the reference by which we detect a racist voting pattern. Only about 65% of Hispanics and Asian-Americans supported Obama. In other words, a maximum of 65% support by any ethnic or racial group for either McCain or Obama is not racist and, hence, is acceptable. (A maximum of 65% for McCain is okay. So, European-American support at 55% for McCain is well below this threshold and, hence, is not racist.)

If African-Americans were not racist, then at most 65% of them would have supported Obama. At that level of support, McCain would have won the presidential race.

At this point, African-American supremacists (and apologists) claim that African-Americans voted for Obama because he (1) is a member of the Democratic party and (2) supports its ideals. That claim is an outright lie. Look at the exit-polling data [cnn.com] for the Democratic primaries. Consider the case of North Carolina. Again, about 95% of African-Americans voted for him and against Hillary Clinton. Both Clinton and Obama are Democrats, and their official political positions on the campaign trail were nearly identical. Yet, 95% of African-Americans voted for Obama and against Hillary Clinton. Why? African-Americans supported Obama due solely to the color of his skin.

Here is the bottom line. Barack Hussein Obama does not represent mainstream America. He won the election due to the racist voting pattern exhibited by African-Americans.

African-Americans have established that expressing "racial pride" by voting on the basis of skin color is 100% acceptable. Neither the "Wall Street Journal" nor the "New York Times" complained about this racist behavior. Therefore, in future elections, please feel free to express your racial pride by voting on the basis of skin color. Feel free to vote for the non-Black candidates and against the Black candidates if you are not African-American. You need not defend your actions in any way. Voting on the basis of skin color is quite acceptable by today's moral standard.

Understandable (4, Interesting)

anilg (961244) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235248)

Come on.. this is the just the Zeitgeist. There are more people searching for the picture in question rather than just her name. That would put the suggestion higher in the list (I'm guessing that's how the autocomplete algorithm works).

Google isn't really to blame.. and them removing this item can be seen as censorship.

First post (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30234950)

No one complained when Bush was made to look a monkey

Re:First post (5, Funny)

tacarat (696339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30234958)

I know a few monkeys that did.

Re:First post (5, Insightful)

tacarat (696339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235012)

Monkey jokes aside, why ban it? Why not just file the picture under the normal, changeable, filter? There's still freedom of speech and I can easily google the KKK website. Unpleasant for some, yes, but that's the flip side of avoiding censorship (as opposed to user enacted filtering).

Re:First post (5, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235134)

Monkey jokes aside, why ban it?

My thoughts exactly. I fully agree the image is in bad taste, but Google can't be held responsible for it, and they shouldn't feel responsible for it. Go blame the guy who put it on his website.

Re:First post (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235168)

Looks like they did. Searching with SafeSearch off, 'michelle obama' returns relatively normal stuff, 'michelle obama monkey' shows it as the second result, and with moderate SafeSearch, 'michelle obama ape', the query _linked from the cnn article_, shows it as the first result, so it's definitely still there on Google.

The original blogger took it down. The first mirror that shot it right back in to 1st place took it down, and then it left google's page rank caching for the 'Michelle Obama' query. Are we actually sure that Google did ANYTHING here? They might have marked the image offensive, which would [I assume, I know nothing of google's search results rankings] hide it from people with strict safesearch on, and severely downrank it on moderate and no safesearch results.

Re:First post (3, Informative)

tacarat (696339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235234)

Are we actually sure that Google did ANYTHING here? They might have marked the image offensive, which would [I assume, I know nothing of google's search results rankings] hide it from people with strict safesearch on, and severely downrank it on moderate and no safesearch results.

Good point. Deserves a point or two from anybody slinging them around, AC or not.

Re:First post (1, Insightful)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235204)

That's because he's an idiot who behaves like a monkey. It wasn't racist, which is very different. If you think that Michelle Obama is an idiot, fine, but find another way to express that can't be misinterpreted along racial grounds.

Re:First post (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235262)

Isn't it just as racist that some insults are ok towards whites and off-limits towards blacks? The whole PR/racist discussion (pro AND con) is racist. It doesn't matter which side you are on. If you see the need to take either side, you discriminate people by race.

Special Treatment for Kenyan in the White House (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235242)

The truth of the matter is that the media -- and media aggregators like Google -- has been giving preferential treatment to Barack Hussein Obama because he is the first Kenyan-American to be President.

In the past, numerous artists have drawn caricatures of numerous politicians, and no one apologized for the caricatures.

In much the same way, the media has ignored the racist voting pattern by African-Americans in favor of Barack Hussein Obama. Allow me to explain.

During the election, about 95% of African-Americans voted for Barack Hussein Obama due solely to the color of his skin. See the exit-polling data [cnn.com] by CNN.

Note the voting pattern of Hispanics, Asian-Americans, etc. These non-Black minorities serve as a measurement of African-American racism against Whites (and other non-Black folks). Neither Barack Hussein Obama nor John McCain is Hispanic or Asian. So, Hispanics and Asian-Americans used only non-racial criteria in selecting a candidate and, hence, serve as the reference by which we detect a racist voting pattern. Only about 65% of Hispanics and Asian-Americans supported Obama. In other words, a maximum of 65% support by any ethnic or racial group for either McCain or Obama is not racist and, hence, is acceptable. (A maximum of 65% for McCain is okay. So, European-American support at 55% for McCain is well below this threshold and, hence, is not racist.)

If African-Americans were not racist, then at most 65% of them would have supported Obama. At that level of support, McCain would have won the presidential race.

At this point, African-American supremacists (and apologists) claim that African-Americans voted for Obama because he (1) is a member of the Democratic party and (2) supports its ideals. That claim is an outright lie. Look at the exit-polling data [cnn.com] for the Democratic primaries. Consider the case of North Carolina. Again, about 95% of African-Americans voted for him and against Hillary Clinton. Both Clinton and Obama are Democrats, and their official political positions on the campaign trail were nearly identical. Yet, 95% of African-Americans voted for Obama and against Hillary Clinton. Why? African-Americans supported Obama due solely to the color of his skin.

Here is the bottom line. Barack Hussein Obama does not represent mainstream America. He won the election due to the racist voting pattern exhibited by African-Americans.

African-Americans have established that expressing "racial pride" by voting on the basis of skin color is 100% acceptable. Neither the "Wall Street Journal" nor the "New York Times" complained about this racist behavior. Therefore, in future elections, please feel free to express your racial pride by voting on the basis of skin color. Feel free to vote for the non-Black candidates and against the Black candidates if you are not African-American. You need not defend your actions in any way. Voting on the basis of skin color is quite acceptable by today's moral standard.

Well, something *has* changed (5, Insightful)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 4 years ago | (#30234954)

They never did that for the "Bush chimp" pictures.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30234974)

Of course, that comparison wasn't racially charged.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (0, Troll)

amilo100 (1345883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235004)

What makes you so sure that this comparison is racially charged? Why is all criticism (whatever the form) of Obama branded as racism?

Can't we even disrespect our president without being branded as racists?

Re:Well, something *has* changed (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235048)

This thing called "common sense" makes everyone sure who has it.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (2, Informative)

Lundse (1036754) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235072)

What makes you so sure that this comparison is racially charged?

Because likening black people to monkeys is a tried and true tactic of racist morons?

Re:Well, something *has* changed (0, Troll)

amilo100 (1345883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235150)

Really? When I searched for "Michelle Obama Monkey" on google image search, the pictures I got was of George Bush.

http://i295.photobucket.com/albums/mm157/cin2008_album/bush_monkey3.jpg [photobucket.com]

http://www.globalpov.com/images/bush-monkey.jpg [globalpov.com]

And a monkey that got to first base:

http://klog.imjustsaying.org:81/files/images/monkey.preview.jpg [imjustsaying.org]

Another was of Palin being compared as an Ape

http://i.somethingawful.com/u/garbageday/apepalin.jpg [somethingawful.com]

The only Michelle Obama photo was from a site called celebrity apes (a site which now seems defunct http://www.celebrityape.com/ [celebrityape.com] ).

This furor over the photos shows a double standard in the media when liberals are concerned.

Three of those do not come up (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235282)

When I run that exact search. The top Bush image comes up, but the rest of the results, are of either of the Obamas, with the 3rd pick on page 1, being the image this whole story was about.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (4, Insightful)

HybridJeff (717521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235202)

It irritates me that "racist morons" can claim an entirely valid form of social commentary as their own and forever prevent a normal person from using similar devices to ridicule anyone with a certain ethnicity. There are a lot of reasons to compare people to monkeys while ridiculing them without their skin colour being at all relaxant.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (1)

Lundse (1036754) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235292)

True. One can easily imagine a few genocidal dictators who could legitimately be compared to stupid alpha male gorillas. Sometimes, you can find another comparison that works as well, sometimes you can't.
But if your charicature, or whatever, gains strength from racist tropes or assumptions - maybe you'd want to rethink it...

I do, however, absolutely agree that sometimes an entire area of discourse becomes taboo, simply because of the morons who usually inhabit it. For instance, I'd hate to be a historian who found actual, reliable evidence that the number of Jews killed in the holocaust was less than previously assumed...

Re:Well, something *has* changed (5, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235100)

Well, if you know anything about this history of racism in America, it was quite common to refer to blacks as monkeys, apes, chimps, ect. in the past.

The whole racism thing is played WAY TO FUCKING MUCH now days, but you have to be completely ignorant of history in the US to not at least see how it could be viewed as a racial attack.

If you're not American I can understand, if you are American then you're either 12, have lived in a box for all your life, or have experienced so much censorship in your life that you've never heard of it before, which is equally as sad.

Never heard the phrase 'Porch Monkey' even?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6OselVRTsM [youtube.com]
Great scene ... but more on topic for the ignorant
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=Porch+Monkey&aq=f&oq=&aqi=g10 [google.com]

Re:Well, something *has* changed (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235228)

Wow. Thanks for sharing. I wouldn't have guessed in a million years that the phrase has anything to do with black people, and in a derogatory way. Chatting on a porch seems like a good thing to me.

I'm not American.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (1)

Ian Alexander (997430) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235138)

Because people with any taste and sensitivity to such issues whatsoever know that it's racially-charged to use the symbolism of a monkey to represent a black person. In the name of not looking like a racist pig most people would just choose a different way to caricaturize the President.

The funny thing is, people criticize Obama all the time without being called racists. It's when they pull in the racist imagery that it becomes racist.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235184)

I know, it's awful. You can't even call the president a watermelon-eating coon without some PC do-gooder calling you a racist.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235192)

Bush did stupid things to warrant name-calling.

Michelle Obama has not.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (0, Troll)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235250)

Why is all criticism (whatever the form) of Obama branded as racism?

Because the Obamas as Gods and ought be revered as such.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (5, Insightful)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235006)

Why would a racially charged comparisson fall into a different category? And for that matter, IF a racially charged comparisson does fall into a special category why do Michele Obama images get removed and not the images that compare Robert Mugabe with a chimp?

Are some people more equal than others?

That said, I think stooping to doing something like this, or the Bush chimp images are in bad taste. The idiots who make images like these are the ones who should apologize, google is a gateway to the internet and not responsible for how other people use the internet.

On that point, slippery slope time - will it be possible in future that "offensive" websites are removed from google search results on demand from groups such as governments in the future? I mean google does something similar for China wrt search results, how long before it spreads worldwide?

Re:Well, something *has* changed (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235152)

Why would a racially charged comparisson fall into a different category? And for that matter, IF a racially charged comparisson does fall into a special category why do Michele Obama images get removed and not the images that compare Robert Mugabe with a chimp?

That ones easy: Robert Mugabe is a bad guy, and Michelle Obama is not.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (2, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235170)

Because Robert Mugabe deserves it.

He turned Zimbabwe from a large exporter of food to the rest of southern africa to a net importer. When you make people eat grass so you can line your own pockets and the pockets of your friends and give farms through "land reform" to people who don't know how to farm (train them? hogwash!), you deserve every bit of criticism aimed your way.

In my heart of hearts, I believe Mugabe is guilty of crimes against humanity for what he's done to Zimbabwe.

Michelle Obama on the other hand, does not deserve the same treatment.

Yes, Google is *a* gateway (for some people). But they are also a private company. They can index what they wish. Don't like it? Use another index. You don't own their servers and they are not a branch of government. Use Bing if you want. Nobody's forcing you to type google.com into the address bar.

--
BMO

Re:Well, something *has* changed (2, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235238)

Michelle Obama on the other hand, does not deserve the same treatment.

That's your political determination, then, and if comparing Mugabe to a chimp is not inherently racist then comparing any of the Obamas to a chimp is not necessarily racist by the same line of logic.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235298)

Ah, so it's reasonable to call a black man a nigger as long as you agree with his politics. Gotcha.

Mugabe's argument is that anything's better in the long run than a state predominantly owned by ex-colonials. You may think servitude across generations is OK as long as everyone gets their bowl of gruel a day, but most revolutionaries tend to think not dinner party, barrel of gun, etc.

You may disagree, and Mugabe is clearly corrupt, but you're still just a dirty racist of no help to any involved party if you think caricaturing his colour is appropriate.

Google is a business (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235294)

If enough of their users click on the "Report Offensive Image" button, they're going to act on it sooner or later. That's why they put it there, and it's on the bottom of every Google image page.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235296)

Why would a racially charged comparisson fall into a different category?

If some guy gets beaten up in an argument between those two people, it's between them.
If some guy gets beat up over his race, it's also a warning/threat to all others of his race.

Racism is more like terrorism light, trying to dehumanize them, segregate them, make them fear walking the street because they're not safe for "their kind", vandalizing and destroying property to scare them way. We don't all like each other, but the world has many, many bad experiences creating classes of people, be it masters and slaves, believers and heretics, über- and untermenschen and so on. Intent is crucial in many crimes, and "because he's not an equal human being" has been singled out as a very bad intent, worse then "I was mad at him". I tend to agree.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235312)

I mean google does something similar for China wrt search results, how long before it spreads worldwide?

Minus several years? Google has been censoring worldwide for years. Nothing has to spread, it's already here.

In Germany Google filters a lot because the "Fro teh children!!!1" groups say so. For example, among the sites filtered are European video game vendors because they don't have the same strict rating system as Germany; and of course there are the usual suspects like popular porn sites or anything pro-Nazis.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235110)

What does "racially charged" mean?

Are you saying that BLACK PEOPLE LOOK LIKE MONKEYS?
If they don't, then where is the problem?
Is it a myth?

http://files.haiguinet.com/flashupload/UploadedFiles/1222676727_385Homo_erectus.jpg

She sure looks like a chimp in this picture:
http://nocompromisemedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/michellebombsoutimage4.jpg

Didn't human beings EVOLVE from apes? Didn't blacks evolve BEFORE whites? Didn't whites evolve FROM blacks?

Oh, so many things to cover up, for the insane liberal Left...

Re:Well, something *has* changed (2, Informative)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235196)

Didn't human beings EVOLVE from apes? Didn't blacks evolve BEFORE whites? Didn't whites evolve FROM blacks?

Yes and no. White people didn't evolve from blacks in the same way we didn't evolve from chimps, but the distant ancestors of white people lived in Africa and were almost certainly black. Just like the distant ancestors of modern black people.

Your implication that white skin is somehow more highly evolved than black skin is false, however. Neanderthals were very likely white, yet evolved before black Homo Sapiens did. It's just a matter of living in a different environment. Skin colour seems to be one of the easiest genetic traits to change through evolution.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235258)

What does "racially charged" mean?

Are you saying that BLACK PEOPLE LOOK LIKE MONKEYS?

Well, yes. [erectuswalksamongst.us]

Re:Well, something *has* changed (1)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30234986)

... or mohammed caricatures etc. ...

At least people can't complain now that Google isn't applying the same set of moral values to the US and China.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30234996)

Yeah, Its called freedom of speech, and it looks like someone in the administration got buddy buddy with google and had it removed, stepping all over the creators freedom of speech.

Sure it may be offensive, but its still the creators right (for now) to be able to have something like that online. for google to purposely alter their search results is just wrong.

Scares me even more about google, all the info they collect, and im sure they have no problem handing it over to the Govt if the right person in the govt asks, or the govt asks the right person within google who will bend the rules a bit.

This will even more so keep me away from google's "cloud computing" and other services. I still use their search, but will in no way EVER use their services for my day to day communication.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (3, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235088)

Yeah, Its called freedom of speech, and it looks like someone in the administration got buddy buddy with google and had it removed, stepping all over the creators freedom of speech.

Yeah, it's called freedom of speech. It's the reason Google is allowed to filter its own speech, or Fox News is allowed to filter its own speech, or Walmart is allowed to filter its own speech/product lines. Besides, it's not like you can't pick a different search engine if you don't like it. Obviously, if they filter too much, they're bound to lose a significant part of their marketshare. The internet is incredibly self-regulating that way.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (5, Interesting)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235162)

You're ridiculous.

The administration wouldn't have to lift a finger to get Google to remove this - market pressures would. Someone finds a race-baiting image of the First Lady is a top result on Google and sends word to everyone in their address book about it, and those people spread it, and so on. At some point you'd have tons of people contacting Google to demand that it be remedied, and Google would do it rather than suffer a pretty serious PR black eye.

Why would the Obama administration bother swinging at a pitch in the dirt like this? People have been shown at protests with signs that insult the man's *children* by calling them all kinds of racist names, and he doesn't bother responding to it, but you think that a stupid caricature of his wife is somehow going to get him to say "Hey, I think I'll take an action that, if found out, would completely ruin my credibility and won't have any impact because the image will still be out there. That's a winning move!"

It looks like you're a paranoid kook who doesn't have any clue how the real world actually works. The fact that some other mong modded you "insightful" should be frightening to people who actually have a functioning brain.

Or it could be the logical conclusion. (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235224)

Lots of people were offended that it was the top picture that came up when you looked up her name, and submitted it with Google's "Report Offensive Image" button on the bottom of every Google image search page.

It still comes up if you Google her name and monkey, but that narrows the result to only people wanting to find pictures of her photoshopped to look like one...

Re:Well, something *has* changed (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235040)

Maybe Bush never asked, and Obama did?

Re:Well, something *has* changed (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235194)

Why would they need to ask? Why would they even bother?

There have been signs of racial epithets directed at the man's children from those teabagger lynchmobs, and I don't recall anything from the administration in response. Why would he bother asking for a stupid caricature of his wife?

It absolutely makes sense to me that regular people would get offended enough by what they see as race baiting to contact google and ask them to do something about it, no intervention by the administration is needed. I'm sure people were offended by the google chimp pictures, too, but then it's really hard to argue that comparing a white guy to a chimp is racist and not satire.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235050)

They never did that for the "Bush chimp" pictures.

That's political satire - not racism.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (5, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235218)

They never did that for the "Bush chimp" pictures.

That's political satire - not racism.

Racism won't be truly a thing of the past until we can make fun of black and white politicians alike.

Yes, "alike" (4, Insightful)

xant (99438) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235276)

I think the Google apology link was a good idea, since it explained to the uninitiated how Google works, rather than making Google responsible for everything on the Internet.

Further, I agree with this statement: "Racism won't be truly a thing of the past until we can make fun of black and white politicians alike."

However, this is not "alike". We make fun of white politicians--and their wives, at times--without reference to their race. That's not the same as dehumanizing Michelle Obama for being black.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235080)

I draw the line at having a go at the families of the world leaders. By all means, show Obama, Bush and Mugabe as animals all you like, but leave their wives and children alone.

However, this does set a bad precedent that Google can and will filter search results. Surely this helps organisations like the Church of Scientology when they next want to hide some "objectionable" facts on the Internet. Google can hardly fall back on the argument that they just show what is out there on the net and that they are not responsible for search results.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235256)

They don't need to do that. They can just say, "Don't like it? Use a different search engine. I hear Bing's really good for Scientologists, and Bill Gates will call you personally to thank you for being one of their first 1000 users."

Google is not under any obligation to be consistent. Scientologists can bitch and moan all they like that their crazy is being exposed to the world, but until exposing that craziness violates the law, Google is well within their rights to index it. Google is also well within their rights to choose to delete it from their index. It really comes down to business decisions. People getting pissy because of race baiting photos is worth doing something about; crazy people who believe in Xenu getting pissed because now the whole world knows they are bugfuck insane probably is not.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (0, Offtopic)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235096)

Were you seriously to expect liberals to respond to insults towards someone who will not hurt them in revenge ? Why ? Sure it would be immoral to aim gratuitous insults at someone who will not respond to them, but you know, there's no such thing as moral or immoral. Besides you're such a depressing medieval white male to say such a thing, right ?

Now if Bush would have ordered the killing of a journalist or some such. Then, obviously, you would have seen them falling over their own feet censoring themselves, apologizing and groveling. But attacking Bush was cheap. Whatever else Bush was, he is a man of principles, and will never attack an American for any speech whatsoever. Even if it's personal slander he would not do so. So all shots at Bush are cheap shots, certain to go without retribution. Of course that sort of thinking means liberals think Obama's capable of attacking and destroying individuals. Of course they want him to do so. Too many people in America are defending obvious facts or truths, like that communism, and communist policies like national health care, don't work. Lower quality, more expenses, "government cutbacks" and so on are the obvious results, and in medicine such things lead to deaths for obvious reasons. Evident. Proven time and again in economics. Forbidden to say in any liberal paper.

Besides, liberals are right ... Obama, the president of America, does attack individuals [msn.com] and companies [nytimes.com] , and even the sort of departments he doesn't like (ever notice how liberals complain to no end about ignoring "inconvenient truths" and then their elected candidate does this). Singling them out and using the office of the president to attack political adversaries.

And of course, here's exactly how Obama won't raise taxes for his friends : all his friends are criminals, tax evaders to be precise [freerepublic.com] . Perhaps we should get his message.

It's not that I care all that much about these people or companies. I just worry who's next. I get the impression more and more people do so.

Google has not been attacked.. (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235180)

The image, and site that hosts it, are still in Google search, you just have to actively search for "Michelle Obama Monkey" for it to come up now, and not just a basic search of her name.

Don't let that stop playtime in fantasy land, though.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235236)

Now if Bush would have ordered the killing of a journalist or some such. Then, obviously, you would have seen them falling over their own feet censoring themselves, apologizing and groveling. But attacking Bush was cheap. Whatever else Bush was, he is a man of principles, and will never attack an American for any speech whatsoever.

I've seen little evidence of that. What about that CIA agent that got outed by a fall guy from his administration?

Re:Well, something *has* changed (1)

TikiTDO (759782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235264)

The difference with this picture is that the owner of the site took it down, because of the negative attention it was bringing to him. Google is just covering their own asses by apologizing. It costs them nothing, and prevents a lot of potential bad press.

Re:Well, something *has* changed (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235272)

It appears that the picture has been removed from the site it appears on, not manually removed from Google search results.

Who cares? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30234960)

Why does anyone give a shit? Some moron happened to put a stupid picture up and it turned up on google. WOWZERZ. Fuck whoever thought this was worth writing about and fuck whoever made google take the image down.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235044)

Yupe, your use of profane language definitely indicates you mean business... Everyone stand back and let this obvious leader speak!

Bad move Google... (2, Insightful)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30234980)

Though not terribly surprising, I suppose.

Google did not act when there were images of the prophet in its search results, or offensive images from shock sites, or when Bush was made to look like a chimp. Bowing to pressure like this only re-inforces the belief that "new" media, as well as "old" media, has a liberal bias.

Re:Bad move Google... (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235008)

Of course, Google *does* have a liberal bias.. being that conservatives are so anti-intellectual.

Re:Bad move Google... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235030)

so is advertising so...

Re:Bad move Google... (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235028)

Or at the very least that Google subscribes to the same nannyism that the Left does with their govt. I don't require protection from "dangerous thoughts" -- thanks but I'm a big boy and can effortlessly recognize and dismiss on my own something that is stupid such as the irrationality of racism.

Re:Bad move Google... (2, Insightful)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235106)

I totally agree. I'm sick of people on the Left trying to tell me that I need to be protected from people who want to burn flags. And it enrages me when those goddamn Lefties keep on pushing those constitutional amendments that ban gay marriage as if somehow I need to be protected from 2 adult men or 2 adult women expressing their commitment to each other! I also probably don't need to tell you about how it sickens me that people on the Left want to stop teaching sex education and safer sex practices that might help our kids not get pregnant or STIs! And you know, I actually hear that those goddamn Lefties want to keep out homosexuals from serving in the military because they think that somehow grown men and women - trained soldiers and people who've volunteered to put their country before themselves - can't handle it! Can you imagine?

Stupid Lefties, with their attempts to protect us from things that aren't remotely dangerous! No wonder they're always going into churches to shoot up people who don't agree with them, amiright?

Re:Bad move Google... (0, Troll)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235098)

Google did not act when there were images of the prophet in its search results

Sorry, who are you talking about here? Not everyone worships your religion.

Re:Bad move Google... (1)

jesterpilot (906386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235278)

I think you should take into account the fact this picture was almost certainly "google bombed". It's childish photoshopping, ugly, not funny and should have been drowned in the thousands of Michelle Obama pictures available on the internet on prominent sites like cnn, wikipedia etc. The fact it showed up on the first page of search results instead of page 43, makes it very likely the search engine was gamed. So Google should have corrected this anyway.

On a side note, Michelle Obama is an ape. Al humans are. For some reason people find this fact offensive. Strange. Probably they missed that interesting book some British dude wrote around 1859.

Garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30234982)

Many leaders and famous people are portrayed in a funny cartoon or distorted picture. Why should she be special? Just becuase her husband got a noble peace prize for NOTHING. That prize is worth nothing now....humm same as Obama.

Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235002)

I searched for "George Bush" and first result is George Bush eating a kitten.

In Soviet America, Google censors you. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235034)

"In Soviet America, Google censors you." If only it were a joke.

I'm not sure what bothers me more, that we're following China's lead or that one company gets final say on what is or is not acceptable for the world to see.

Re:In Soviet America, Google censors you. (2, Insightful)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235160)

No one forces you to use Google. If you don't like Google's exercising of free speech (of choosing what *not* do display) you may as well refrain from using its product.

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235038)

People post dumb shit on the internet. Other people complain. Welcome to the 21st century. How is this remotely news? To me it seems more like pandering to the slobbering teabaggers, it's basically saying "look, teh googles controls your free speach!!!"
Google pulls shit from search results all the time for a wide variety of reasons, in this case because it's fucking offensive. You wanna be a racist prick that's your business, you can still find the picture it's just not the top result for a search of "Michelle Obama". If you can't deal with that you can go use Bing like the dumbfuck you are.
 

RIDICULOUS... (5, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235068)

Google *should* just index what it finds, and thats what originally happened here...

There are thousands of sites out there hosting insulting pictures of george bush, some where he looks like a monkey or is compared to one and some where he's likened to adolf hitler... If you're going to do something that makes you famous, then you will attract a huge amount of attention and inevitably some of it will be bad. That is well known up front and you can't go crying about it when it happens. Noone forced obama to stand, and now that he's won there will be a lot of attention given to him and his family, if he doesn't like that he should have thought about it before.

Incidentally, when i woke up this morning i had no plans whatsoever to look for pictures of michelle obama on the internet, but having read this story i went looking for the picture in question and i'm sure a lot of other people will do the same. Had i stumbled across such pictures by accident without having read this story i probably wouldn't have thought anything of it because there are countless other derogatory pictures of famous people out there.

Re:RIDICULOUS... (2, Insightful)

ediblespread (1686944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235182)

There are thousands of sites out there hosting insulting pictures of george bush, some where he looks like a monkey or is compared to one and some where he's likened to adolf hitler...

...because there are countless other derogatory pictures of famous people out there.

And all of them are able to be taken down under Google's "offensive images" policy. Go to http://images.google.com/ [google.com] and search for anything. Now scroll down to the bottom - note the "Report Offensive Image" button? This allows people to report images which they consider offensive - such as pictures of Michelle Obama as a monkey, or George Bush as Adolph Hitler.

In all honesty, when I first saw this story I thought "What? How can they justify doing that - surely it's against free speech?". That was before I actually went to Google's site, saw their offensive images button and read the policy. Now I agree with their decision, but unfortunately it seems that this is one more issue that will be blown up beyond belief simply because it involves two famous 'people' - Michelle Obama, and Google.

I side with Google (4, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235078)

When Google said that it wouldn't remove the picture I was quite annoyed with them, but then it suddenly dawned on me that if they removed that picture, the very next thing that would happen is that some bright spark would speak up and say "Great, now take this one down too, because it's just as bad" and before you know it, the whole situation's lost control.

It wasn't particularly fair on Google and they had to make a tough decision and I think in this instance they made the right one.

mod\ doWn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235090)

maintained that too a8d as BSD sinqks

"racially offensive"? (5, Insightful)

AlgorithMan (937244) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235108)

why is that picture "racially offensive"?
because the portrayed person is black?
what if it was made by a black person?
do we know it wasn't made by a black person?
would it be racially offensive it it portrayed a white person and was made by a black person?

if we want to reach REAL equality between all races, this also means we mustn't go nuts about an insult to a person from one race while not caring about the same insult to a person from another race (remember the bush/chimpanzee pictures?)

Re:"racially offensive"? (1, Insightful)

Homburg (213427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235146)

if we want to reach REAL equality between all races, this also means we mustn't go nuts about an insult to a person from one race while not caring about the same insult to a person from another race (remember the bush/chimpanzee pictures?)

Quite right. I find this distinguishing between "apples" and "oranges" to be horrendously offensive.

Re:"racially offensive"? (2, Insightful)

julian67 (1022593) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235208)

a)Why is that picture racially offensive?
b)Would it be racially offensive it it portrayed a white person and was made by a black person?

a) because black people have often *racially* abused in terms comparing them to monkeys. Examples: in UK until *relatively* recently people at soccer matches would wave bananas and shout 'monkey' at black players. This still happens a lot in eastern and some parts of southern Europe. In India and Pakistan black cricketers (i.e African/African-Carribean, usually those from UK, West Indies, South Africa, Zimbabwe) are routinely subjected to shouts of 'bandar' from the crowd, bandar being the Hindi word for monkey. Historically people have misrepresented Darwin's theory and presented Africans as being less evolved and closer to the apes than white people and used this to justify racial discrimination.

b) No, it would just be offensive. There would not the *well known and widely understood* racial context.

These points are so obvious as to be almost self evident. To claim not to be aware of them or to understand them is perverse.

Re:"racially offensive"? (1)

naich (781425) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235216)

I suspect you know the answer and are just trying to avoid it, but let me explain. George Bush being photoshopped to look like a monkey is a personal insult implying he is as intelligent as a monkey. Michelle Obama being photoshopped to look like a monkey is a personal insult because it is implying her race makes her equal to a monkey. The former isn't racist, the latter is.

Re:"racially offensive"? (2, Insightful)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235306)

I know, right? It's really awful when just because there has been a history of comparing black people to monkeys in the US as a way of denying their intelligence and humanity that some oversensitive people leap to the absurd conclusion that a picture of a black person being portrayed as a monkey is somehow race-baiting.

I'm sure it was probably drawn because the artist felt that monkeys are cute, Michelle Obama is cute, and a Michelle Obama monkey is probably even cuter, right? Because it's just stupid to imagine that there would be any racial component to it. This is the 21st century! We don't do that stuff any more!

This is disgusting (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235112)

and frightening.

If you care about freedom of speech you have to be willing (and you should be proud) to let people say stuff you don't agree with.

That includes racist bullshit too. Even if it is directed at the world's favorite US president's wife.

Christ on a stick you guys are fail.

To be fair here (2, Informative)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235166)

They have not censored this image, or blocked it from their search. They just removed it from the top pick when you do an image search of her name. One of their suggested searches points you directly to the image. If you google Michelle Obama Monkey it comes up.

Re:This is disgusting (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235222)

The freedom of not displaying certain images is also a part of freedom of speech.

And as long as Google is making as much money as possible for its shareholders there's no "fail" on their part.

Not too fast... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235130)

I think they should allow the picture to be shown. It accurately catalogues one of the varied opinions that humans have of one another. It doesn't matter that it's offensive. That's a judgement call that one has to make for ones' self. Who's to judge what is correct or not. It kinda gets scary when someone or some entity becomes the sole arbiter of what is right and moral.

In this case, I really think it's uncalled for and, frankly, more damaging to the poster than to the one posted about but it's the poseter's choice to express his opinion no matter how much of a fool he might seem because of the opinion he has expressed.

Correction (1)

Peregr1n (904456) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235156)

The site showing the image has removed it. Google don't appear to have 'removed' it from their index, just promptly re-indexed the offending site.
However, I don't remember Google (/youtube) being this proactive when offensive Thai royalty videos appeared. Or the 'Bush chimp' images (although those were funny*)
*IRONY

Censorship (1)

Andtalath (1074376) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235198)

Oh god. How stupid of them. They just illustrated that they do take responsibility for the entire content of the web. Congratulations Google, you just lost a lot of credibility on the internet for me. Anyone know of a search engine which doesn't censor such things?

Streisand effect? (1)

severn2j (209810) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235214)

I wonder if the level of searches for Michelle Obama has increased since this story was released? Also, how many people have seen the image now, that wouldnt have before?

Google isn't a free speech outlet. (1)

SamSim (630795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235240)

In theory they can list or not list any results they like, whatever combination is most profitable.

Re:Google isn't a free speech outlet. (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235260)

Yes, but people expect free speech from Google. Google is already on a very thin line between "Neutral" and "Evil", and a misstep would make them more associated with Microsoft.

censoring the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30235268)

google staff these days are going downhill - they should have just made it less relevant showing up in page 100 or something

at least all these Michelle Obama monkey phrases showing up in the index will overcompensate.

why is anyone surprised? (1)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30235288)

Google is a business, and, in particular, an American business.

The only "morals" are to maximize shareholder profits.

If that means caving in to public outcry or government pressure, they will do that.

If it means subverting elections (Exxon, in Chile), bribing government officials (Boeing, in the tanker deal), or blowing up villages in India (Union Carbide, in Bhopal), they will do that, too. As long as it doesn't cost the shareholders more than it saves or gains, it is "the right thing to do".

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