Color Film Was Specifically Formulated To Make White People Look Good
When the government stepped in to break up Kodak's monopoly on film processing in the mid-1950s, it opened up a world of opportunity for independent photo labs. Kodak, forced to loosen its stranglehold on the industry, but not wanting to fully let it breathe, developed a line of printers to market to said independent photo labs. Of course, if the photos produced by Joe Random's Bumfuck Photo Hut were still to bear the Kodak name, Kodak had to make sure their quality stayed consistent. To do so, they provided calibration guides in the form of "Shirley cards."
"I am serious."
The cards were named after Shirley Page, Kodak studio model, human calibration tool, and possessor of skin whiter than fresh snow on an American Apparel store. As you might imagine, equipment tuned to make Shirley shine her brightest made those with darker skin appear "dulled and darkened," but no one much gave a shit up until the 1970s. That's when Kodak competitor Polaroid stepped in, not with a new type of printer, but with a new type of camera flash designed to better reflect black skin. We'd laud Polaroid's efforts ... if not for the fact that they only did it to better aid South Africa in enforcing apartheid.
In the end, it wasn't humanism, but consumerism that leveled the film development field. When producers of dark chocolate and dark-stained furniture complained that Kodak film made their products look shitty, Kodak finally took note. More modern Shirley cards feature not just a single, pearly white Shirley, but an entire mixed-race gaggle of them.
Facial Recognition Software Has All Sorts Of Problems With Non-White Faces
In 2009, Taiwanese-American Joz Wang bought a Nikon Coolpix digital camera as a gift for her mom. But first, she fired the camera up and loaded it with portraits of her and her brother, because she's an immeasurably better child than we could ever hope to be. That's when she discovered that the camera's software code had some built in personal issues: every time she or her brother smiled, the camera flashed a warning that someone had closed their eyes in the photo.