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The blatantly Hinduphobic definition of ‘co-religionist’ on Google – Who do we blame and how do we fix it

Often, the safest excuse provided by Google for any issue that arises on their search pages is to blame the algorithm. However, in the past, Google has indeed taken cognisance of search results and auto-suggestions that were insensitive and hurt the sentiments of large sections of people.

Eric Schmidt said that the Internet is the first thing that Humanity has created that Humanity doesn’t understand and that, it is the greatest experiment in Anarchy and one of the most important tools of Anarchy is free speech and sowing the seeds of distrust in everything that a country holds dear. Everything that forms the very foundation of the cultural foundation of a country. Since the time of the Islamic invaders, the one key method to divide and conquer India was the abject demonisation of Hindus and that trend seems to have continued today even with Google. Today, UpWord tweeted a screenshot with the Google definition of ‘co-religionist’ and the Hinduphobia that it reeked off.

The ‘Dictionary’ feature of Google throws up definitions of words that one wishes to understand and searches for. When one searches for the term ‘co-religionist’, while the definition says, “an adherent of the same religion as another person”, the sentence that accompanies the definition to put the word in reference to context is deeply problematic and Hinduphobic.

The sentence that is thrown up by Google to understand the term ‘co-religionist’ in reference to context reads, “Hindu fundamentalists are admired by many of their co-religionists as virtuous people”.

One doesn’t even need to go into the fallacy of the concept of “Hindu Fundamentalist”. While the Hindu “Fundamentalist” talks about radical Islam and wants to stick to his own value system without being forced to accept Islamic beliefs, which is actually his fundamental right, fundamental Islamism seeks to behead, rape and meme ‘kafirs’. Any equivalence between the two is motivated and driven by deep-seated Hinduphobia and a conditioned response to shield the Muslim community.

To understand why Google would be throwing up such a deeply Hinduphobic definition, it became necessary to understand where Google was drawing its definitions from.

When we clicked on the source, it was revealed that Google is drawing its definition from “Lexico”, which is powered by Oxford.

What is ‘Lexico’ dictionary powered by Oxford

Earlier Oxford offered an online solution called Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO), now simply called ‘Oxford Dictionaries’ which is a collection of online dictionaries produced by Oxford University Press (OUP), the publishing house of the University of Oxford, which also publishes a number of print dictionaries, among other works.

The collection includes dictionaries of English and Spanish provided free of charge on a website called Lexico, a collaboration between OUP and Dictionary.com, as well as Oxford Dictionaries Premium, a subscription service. Oxford Dictionaries’ definitions appear in Google definition search, the Dictionary application on macOS, etc., licensed through Oxford Dictionaries API.

Essentially, Lexicon is an offering by Oxford itself and the definitions it contains thereof are the responsibility of Oxford.

Lexicon is offered in collaboration with Dictionary.com, which according to various sources, is based on the latest version of Random House Unabridged Dictionary, with other content from the Collins English DictionaryAmerican Heritage Dictionary and others.

What does Merriam Webster say?

Interestingly, Merriam Webster also has a deep political stand when it defines ‘co-religionists’ in its online version. As a reference to context sentence, it says, “Although Assam and Tripura are majority Hindu states, their populations tend to be more concerned about safeguarding their unique ethnic makeup and linguistic heritage, rather than helping coreligionists from other countries”.

However, at least, Webster does put up a disclaimer saying that their definitions are taken from various portals to reflect the ‘current usage’ of the term. Even if they are off the mark here, it is probably based on an algorithm and there is a method for providing feedback.

Definition of Merriam Webster

Lexicon, however, has no such disclaimer on their website and leads one to believe that this is, in fact, a deliberate sentence that has been inserted to define the term ‘co-religionist’.

Can Google do something about it?

Often, the safest excuse provided by Google for any issue that arises on their search pages is to blame the algorithm. However, in the past, Google has indeed taken cognisance of search results and auto-suggestions that were insensitive and hurt the sentiments of large sections of people.

In 2016, Google had removed autocomplete suggestions from its search engine that suggested the word “evil” at the end of these two phrases: “Are Jews…” and “Are women…” It left in place, however, the suggestion of “bad” when users type in “Are Muslims…”

Earlier, Google had deleted autocomplete suggestions as well, including when a court ordered it to stop suggesting the word “torrent” after the names of popular recording artists. Google removes autocomplete suggestions that include hate speech or sexually explicit or abusive language or that run afoul of the law, according to its policies.

A Google representative had said that time that 15% of searches in a given day are brand new and that searches include a huge range of topics. “Because of this, terms that appear in Autocomplete may be unexpected or unpleasant,” the representative said. “We do our best to prevent offensive terms, like porn and hate speech, from appearing, but we acknowledge that autocomplete isn’t an exact science and we’re always working to improve our algorithms.”

What can we do?

Hinduphobia, as rampant as it is, can also be attributed to the attitude of Hindus to not take matters into their own hands. It is an established norm of the world that only those who demand their needs be met are actually catered to be the Corporates. Hindus, essentially, need to Unite, Organise and Protest. Hindus, who are the majority population in India form a large base of consumers and that power needs to be asserted when such blatant Hinduphobia is displayed by global giants like Google. In this case, Hindus would probably have to unite and rally not only with Google to take cognisance of this blatantly offensive sentence against Hindus but also with Oxford Dictionaries and demand an explanation as to why such a sentence has been added as their reference to context when they have not dared to offend Islam while defining co-religionist.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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