Posted on March 22, 2010

Row Over ‘Ugly Blacks’ Question

Tom Wells, Sun (London), March 10, 2010

GOOGLE has been hit by a race row after its search engine asked: “Why are black people so ugly?”

Millions of outraged users across the world saw the sickening question after simply entering the word “why”.

The offensive phrase is thought to have popped up for several weeks.

Sun reader Warren Degallerie, 23, from Croydon, South London, said: “I was helping my nine-year-old niece with her homework. Before she knew it that line had appeared. We are both black and I couldn’t believe something like that could be allowed to happen. I had to try to explain to a young girl how Google could let it appear.”

The Sun alerted Google bosses on Thursday and they fixed the glitch, apologising for the blunder. A spokesman said it was caused by a feature which predicts what users are about to ask.

He said: “Google Suggest is an automated feature that aims to make searching easier by providing suggestions as you type, based on what other people have searched for previously.

“We have filters to eliminate inappropriate suggestions, but very occasionally an offensive suggestion may slip through. We encourage anyone who sees one to raise it through our help centre and forums.”

Google has been caught in race storms before. Last year it at first refused to remove a link to a sick cartoon showing US First Lady Michelle Obama as a chimpanzee, arguing “freedom of expression”.

And in 2007 it allowed stories about a black US business tycoon to be linked to pictures of monkeys.