As a writer, tech guy, photographer myself, I get so aggravated when I read White “progressive-types” take on the assumption that underprivileged somehow equates to ignorance and sheer stupidity when it comes to technology.
This country is full of people that would be considered “underprivileged” (White, Black, Hispanic, etc.). But the conversation to raise the unwashed masses into our lil’ virtual cloud space in the sky always seem to start with Black folks.
This summer we witnessed first hand how “underprivileged” kids both here and abroad (U.K.) used social networks like Twitter and Facebook to organize and meet at specific times and places–not for learning, but for the destruction of the communities around them. As one who has worked with these types of kids for years, I have seen first hand how they also can easily adapt to technology–WHEN THEY WANT TO. These kids demonstrated that they had the brains and the know-how to embrace technology for useless purposes. But when it comes to education, there are some in the echo chamber of cyberspace who feel that a virtual handicap ramp has to be constructed for those we deem as “underprivileged”. (…)
Many of my hard-core Liberal/Progressive friends (when I talk to them face to face) readily agree that minus some exceptions, many of our own Black kids simply do not take advantage of the opportunities around them. But that agreement in most cases is muted when they are online. Suddenly, the conversation turns into “Stop beating up Black kids”. These same people have the first hand experience of working hard, being creative with little, and not expecting the world to always be there to give them a hand out. But somehow, the plight of “those po’ Black kids” should be accompanied with a virtual wheelchair. You busted you behind to get where you are. Why do you expect success to come any easier for them? To them I say “stop using po’ Black kids to perpetuate White guilt.” We can all think of scenarios where our kids are faced against massive impossibilities in their education. But once all the hot air has left the room, I think we can all agree that unless these kids get a stable support system outside of the classroom, they are toast.