Black experts add diversity to the hi-tech world
The evidence is that African Americans have matured in their Internet priorities as well as the ways they access and use the Internet. They know that overcoming the perils of information poverty is one of the essential tasks for future success. This fact is evidenced by the increasing growth of Black web sites shown in Prof Abdul Akalimat’s book The African-American Experiences in Cyberspace: A resource Guide to the Best Web Sites on Black Culture and History (Pluto, London 2004).
Furthermore, there is a welcome surge of interest in the hitherto unrecognised contributions of Black Internet innovators, computing scientists, media executives, and professors. “Black kids might embrace technology with more enthusiasm if they knew someone like Dr. Mark Dean was already leading the way,” says Tyrone D Taborn of the Careers Communications Group, Baltimore, Maryland.
Dean is a trailblazer, says Taborn in US Black Engineer & IT magazine, “Hi-Tech’s Invisible Man,” Jan 17, 2004. He is a Ph.D. from Stanford University. He is in the National Hall of Inventors. He has more than 30 patents pending. He is a vice president with IBM.”
Enthusiastically, he continues: “Oh, yeah. And he is also the architect of the modern-day personal computer. Dr. Dean holds three of the original nine patents on the computer that all PCs are based upon. And, Dr. Mark Dean is an African American”.
Further investigation reveals that Taborn’s comments are not an overstatement. “Blacks have played a pioneering role in the hi-tech world,” says the popular Black magazine, Ebony, “Black Pioneers in the High-Tech World,” 2 June 2000, Chicago, Il. Moreover, in 2002, researchers from the University of California-Santa Barbara, MIT and the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center explored “race in digital space” and celebrated the work of Black activists, journalists, entrepreneurs, engineers and scholars using digital technologies (See http://web.mit.edu/cms/Events/race/press.html).
Ø Info Point Leading Black personalities in US hi-tech also include:
· John H Thompson, the first Black chief executive officer of a major Silicon Valley firm
· 28-year-old Darien Dash, who runs Digital Mafia Entertainment, the first Black-owned publicly traded Internet company
· US Air Force veteran Earl Stafford, founder of Unitech Inc, a multimillion-dollar military technology firm
· Yvette Moyo, president of www.mobe.com, a forum promoting the use of information technology in the Afro-American market. See “Black Pioneers in the high-tech world,” Ebony Magazine June 2000; also Tyrone D Taborn, “50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology List” in Black Engineer www.blackengineer.com/events/50_ top_African_Americans_in_Technology.shtml
On the horizon
Soon, without doubt, more Black people will be attracted to using the Internet as income and educational levels rise, and as prices of computers and network access fall. Community activists will promote the survival and development of Black neighbourhoods, churches, schools, families and small businesses.
The tendencies towards change are apparent. The state of the information revolution in Black America is advancing in strength and purpose. Key factors in this advance were identified by Michael Marriott, in his New York Times article Blacks Turn to the Internet Highway, and Digital Divide Starts to Close” March 31, 2006. They are:
· Rising Black aspirations to get “wired up” for work, education, politics, leisure and social interaction, associated with
· More computer and Internet accessibility in schools and libraries, and
· Greater use of cell phones and hand-held devices that connect to the Internet
But the transformation to full access and use of the Internet by Black communities will not be easy. And, the signs are that the struggle for African Americans to get onto the 21st century information superhighway will not cease until their terrestrial rights are fully attained.
A decade before Barack Obama’s “net generation” ignited his journey to the White House, Black communities in the USA, Britain and sub-Saharan Africa went online for equality and social justice. Discover the facts, and their common visions and priorities in —
THE AUDACITY OF CYBERSPACE: The Struggle for Internet Power by Thomas L Blair firstname.lastname@example.org