HP, Racism and Failing to Face the Music

HP's social media strategist, Tony "Frosty" Welch, aka @frostola on Twitter, has been getting mostly high marks for his handling of a YouTube video that dramatizes how HP’s facial recognition software tracks white faces a whole lot better than black faces. We’re not so sure, however, how well Frosty is really doing. The vid that sparked the controversy is all over the web by now. (It's also here, of course, below.) It was made by two people—an African-American man named Desi and a white woman named Wanda—who appear to be co-workers in a computer store. It’s hilarious and avoids any mean-spirited charges about HP’s intentions, but Desi concludes the show by asserting that “HP computers are racist.” He has a right to complain. He bought one for Christmas and then discovered it wouldn't recognize its owner's face.