YouTube has its faults, but it’s also one of the few brands that stepped up swiftly with a tangible response to widespread protests against police brutality.
On Friday, the company tweeted a pledge to donate $1 million “in support of efforts to address social injustice.” It was a vague promise at the time, motivated by what the company described as a desire to “stand in solidarity against racism and violence.”
We stand in solidarity against racism and violence. When members of our community hurt, we all hurt. We’re pledging $1M in support of efforts to address social injustice.
— YouTube (@YouTube) May 30, 2020
More clarity came on Sunday in the form of a brief YouTube post, bearing the title “Stand Against Racial Injustice.” The video is basically the same as a Nike ad that ran in response to the protests – just white text on a black background, set to soft piano music – but it reveals the beneficiary of YouTube’s donation pledge as the Center for Policing Equity.
It’s a non-profit research center that embraces the idea of using “data science for justice.” The website describes the Center’s staff as “research scientists, race and equity experts, data virtuosos, and community trainers” who use “data as tools to build more fair and just systems.”
It looks like much of the work they do takes the form of consulting with police departments and using their data science wizardry to improve local policing efforts, with a particular eye toward reform and eliminating racial biases. The idea of using data science to improve police effectiveness isn’t new (and has faced criticism in the past), but this non-profit seems to have the right philosophical approach, at least.
And hey. Look. It’s something. There’s been a lot of empty, nothing statements around the protests from brands that were seemingly looking for an easy PR win. Whether or not you think YouTube is partnering with the right organization, this is at least a tangible action aimed at improving the world.
That’s the kind of behavior we should be applauding, and trying to emulate. There are plenty of ways we can all do our part to help during this difficult moment.