Searching for "unprofessional hairstyles" and "professional hairstyles" on Google Images exposes a stark racial divide in what's assumed to be appropriate for business settings. Spotted by @bonkamona, the results differ somewhat by platform or query wording, but the ethnic issue remains: professionals are pale-skinned, unprofessionals dark-skinned.
I saw a tweet saying "Google unprofessional hairstyles for work". I did. Then I checked the 'professional' ones ??? pic.twitter.com/5KLg7FZ6Hq
— Rosalia (@BonKamona) April 5, 2016
Google's algorithm is a trade secret, so it's hard to tell where the bias sits between engineering, traditional SEO efforts, link-tracking, etc. The top "professional" headshots link to pinterest boards and inane listicles, whereas the "unprofessional" shots are mostly to serious, aware discussion of the issue of ethnicity, hair and professional environments.