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Is Google Using Ingrained Racial Biases Against Africa In Their Doodles?

Nigeria's Doodle
Nigeria’s Doodle

The world’s largest and most popular search engine, Google, is seemingly exercising racial discrimination with negative bias towards African countries on the ongoing World Cup tournament.

The engine which is using different Google Doodles for different teams playing in the World Cup has used them to depict a dilapidated situation in the African football, while on the other side displaying an extreme opposite with happy manicured doodles for other  ‘developed’ countries.

For instance, in today’s doodles, Nigeria who will play against Argentina have been depicted as a team in tatters. In the doodle, the players have no soccer cleats and no uniform. They are playing on a dusty road with grass growing on the sides. The goalkeeper is wearing a khaki pair of trousers and an oversize T-shirt, most probably borrowed.

The onlookers – not really fans – look like they never planned for the match. Each of them is carrying something not related to soccer. In fact, one of the spectators is carrying a mug with a yellow liquid, most probably traditional (read outlawed) liqour. Others are carrying business merchandise. The background is of some houses, depicting a poorly planned and managed urban setting.

Nigeria’s Doodle

On the other hand, Argentina, their competitors in Group ‘D’, is depicted as a team in celebratory mood. Every fan is wearing a jersey or a cloth that shows support, and involved in an activity that will help the team. Seemingly, the players have got a penalty which will propel them to the next level (in soccer a penalty is in most times is a goal).

They are receiving coverage from all media outlets including radio, Tv and newspapers. Birds are singing their tune and animals are playing their game. Coffee is being prepared in a kettle while on the other hand ladies are brewing something to crown the celebration.

Argentina’s Doodle

Yesterday, Day 12, Egypt’s doodle showed a shoddy setting not suitable for a soccer match. The goalposts were wooden, and instead of a net wood was used instead.  The penalty taker in the doodle has a cap worn facing backwards while the goalkeeper is in a brown dirty T-shirt. Just like Nigeria, the onlookers are passive, with the active ones taking beer in a pub.

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However cartooned, their competitors Russia appeared a bit fancy with soccer cleats, good jerseys and in a modern environment. Below Is a video of yesterday’s doodles.

This has been the trend on Google’s home page since the World Cup tournament started mid this month. Whether it is maliciously intentional or crafted in a way to explain the origin of African soccer, the California headquartered firm is yet to explain the motive behind the harsh display.

Dr Scott Bellows, a Business Daily Columnist feels that the display by Google is far fetched and malicious.

Google Doodle is a special, temporary alteration of the logo on Google‘s homepages that commemorates holidays, events, achievements, and people. In the Worldcup, the doodles are used to represent teams playing in that day.

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Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email

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