Last one to cross the Digital Divide is a rotten
Digital Mural by Los Cybrids
rené garcía-john jota leaños-mónica
Galería de la Raza 10' x 24' 2001
Divide’ sales pitch claims that access to computers
and the Internet precedes wealth, but the unfortunate
truth is that individuals do not become wealthy by
buying computers. One must already have access to
wealth. Whether people in communities of color aquire
more or less of these products reflects consumption
patterns much more than empowerment. Saying that the
‘Digital Divide’ is closing because minorities
have greater access to computers is like saying minorities
have a stake in the film industry because they go
to the movies. You are not Bill
Gates because you buy a personal computer.
We in communities of color must be
very wary of the promises that the high technology
industry is peddling. Rather than buying into this
techno-mythology, we must ask questions about the
real digital divide that is NOT being bridged. Why
aren’t people of color getting the high paying
high-end technology jobs instead of lower paying entry
level work? Why aren’t people of color the owners
of high technology companies, instead of employees?
Why don’t people of color find themselves reflected
on the Internet? Who is producing the content? Who
is creating it? Does the Internet reflect our world?
What are we being taught about technology in OUR schools
– how to type, or how to write programs?
We are led to play follow the
leader in this game of computing. Everyday we are
breathlessly told that the last one to have a computer
will be “left behind” and lose the possibility
of participating in the “new global e-conomy”.
Stand back and take a look at all the money being
transferred from our wallets to Bill Gates, watch
people of color filling low paying computer manufacturing
jobs all over the world, watch toxic computer waste
filling landfills in our communities. Who is getting
wealthy and who is the real rotten egg?