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World White Web is out to make the internet a bit less white

Stockholm design student Johanna Burai wants to make Google Image Search a little more diverse

Ever searched for ‘hand’ on Google? Design student Johanna Burai did just that one day, and discovered to her shock that all 800 hands that came up were white. Not exactly the most diverse online depiction of humanity. In response, she's created an activism project called World White Web to end the overwhelming whiteness of the internet. 

“I was disgusted,” Burai told Dazed. “I was looking for an image of a black hand, and I expected to find one simply by searching for ‘hand’.” The Stockholm-based student found the same result when searching for words like ‘nose’, ‘woman’, ‘man’ and ‘legs’.

“Because I was searching for a photo of a black hand, I of course googled ‘black hand’ and even then the black hands didn’t appear,” she said. “It was mostly black vector hands, pictograms and black hand prints. When I Googled ‘middle eastern hand’, ‘Asian hand’, ‘Latin American hand’, ‘brown hand’, I didn’t get that many search result of photos of hands at all.”

In the end, Burai found that the only way to find a black hand was to search for ‘African hand’. As her final project at Beckmans College of Design in Sweden, she created the website for World White Web, where she uploaded six photos of non-white hands that can be downloaded and shared on social media. By asking people to share the stock images, she is hoping to boost their Google rankings and change the “norm of whiteness” on the web. 

“The pictures are a direct reflection on the general perception people have,” Burai added. “That is to say that a hand is a white hand, a man is a white man. It’s the whiteness of the norm – the white body doesn’t need to be explained, it just is.”

If you want to join Burai’s movement, start sharing her pictures and get everyone you know to do it as well!

Find more information about World White Web here, or take a look at Burai's six photos in the gallery below.