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Summary of "Technology Versus African-Americans"

This author opens the article by sharing a story about his friend. His friend owns a computer firm that designs and constructs websites. He often has employs people over the internet to do programming when he doesn't have enough time, himself, to do it. The people chosen to do this work However, he soon began shipping out his work to India because it was fast and cheap. After hearing this story, the author then wondered why African-Americans weren't involved in this field.
The author then talks about technology in the world today. Many young people today build their own computers, however; black kids were not included in this group. Many companies such as Apple, HP, and Oracle were started by people fooling around. The rise of computers is sometimes referred to as "the last gold rush in American history."
Over the past 400 year, African-Americans have faced a constant "struggle against oppression and indifference on the part of the American mainstream." African-Americans are often believed to be technologically illiterate. Technological literacy often reflects class, wealth, and race. African-Americans are different from other immigrants due to the reason they initially came to our country: the slave trade. Slaves were technologically illiterate and this trend has continued to present day African-Americans. This problem of technological illiteracy could determine survival for blacks in the future.
At this point in the story, the author then shows several examples of how black have been at a disadvantage due to their technological illiteracy. The first example of this dated back to the invention of the caravel, which was ship that could sail against strong winds and currents. Europeans and Americans benefited from this because it sparked the slave trade. The author then refers to the invention of guns. When guns were invented, Africans were easily defeated by the Europeans because they lacked the technology. He then talked about the cotton gin. The invention of the cotton gin resulted in a large increase in slavery. Many white people in the states became rich off of this invention; however, the African-Americans were at a disadvantage because they were forced to be slaves and didn't financially benefit like the white people.
After slavery was abolished, many blacks continued to work at cotton plantations until the invention of the mechanical cotton picker. The mechanical cotton picker only required the a few men to do the work of hundreds or thousands. After this invention, many blacks moved north to work in mass production factories. This continued until technology in communication dramatically improved. With new technology in communication, factories began to close and suburbs began to emerge. This left many black people stuck in urban areas.
Another reason that this problem has occurred is due to poor education in many urban public schools. These schools don't stress the importance of education and technological literacy. Due to this, African-Americans have been viewed as mainly consumers. The author uses a good example when he talks about Michael Jordan. Many black kids see his shoe commercials and believe they can "be like mike" if they have his shoes. These kids don't dream of starting there own computer companies; therefore, they don't value technological literacy.
Technological literacy is almost always necessity for success in our present society. The author refers to technology as a cash engine. Most blacks aren't aware of the opportunities that technology can give them. Technology will also become more and more important in the future.
Alex Christianson

Comments

It is rather terrible that each time we progress as a society we seem to leave someone behind. I think that as I look upon it from a different point of view we need to re-examine our revolutions. Were they really for the better?