25163, The Digital Experiment|
Posted by Nettrice, Wed Jan-24-01 05:23 PM
I wish I had peeped this thread earlier because I love to talk about the illusion of the "digital divide". First, my life has been distinguished by the fact that my mother was a poor Black young woman in the 60's South when she decided to become a computer programmer/analyst. Her family was very poor and she was the first college graduate. Her philosophy degree didn't get her a job so, without formal training, she applied and got a computer programming job in the early 70's.
When I was a child I was exposed to computers every day but we never used them at home. We did not use computers at home because we had no need for them. There was no Internet so we spent hours in the library, in dance class or art class. I did not really use a computer until I was 17 and I used it to make art. I made a digital art portfolio that earned me a four-year art college scholarship.
Now, I am opening a multimedia center in Roxbury, Massachusetts in two weeks. I have been setting up and managing computer and digital art programs in urban cities in Chicago, NYC, and the Boston area for several years (throughout my twenties). This new center is a new concept: put high-end computers, high-speed Internet, multimedia software AND quality training programs in areas where low and moderate income people live and the will come.
Show a poor person or a "minority" how to master technology tools, then show the same person how to make a living or enhance his/her daily life and this person will come back again and again. He/she will have a reason to save money, buy a decent computer and high-speed Internet access. He/she will know that there is a practical purpose for the technology and a opportunity for empowerment.
This multimedia center is just an experiment but I am confident in it's success. The center is in a shopping mall, in a community populated by mostly Black people. Without having even seen a computer in the center people signed up to become members. We'll teach web site development, multimedia job training, digital video/audio production, nonlinear editing, and streaming media and they will come...and they will soon be the creators & engineers of digital products, not just passive consumers.
Don't believe the hype about the so-called digital divide.
"Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you or forsake you". So we may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
-- Hebrews 13:5,6
"There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path"
--Morpheus in "The Matrix"
"It's our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities"- Dumbledore to Harry Potter "Chamber of Secrets"