Equal or Seperate?
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Equal or Seperate?
Does race and socio-economic position impact our access to the Internet?
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Putting it all together regarding access being "Equal or Seperate?"

I imagine we've all heard the statement about the "Great Digital Divide" and how we must do something about it. So what does this really mean and who is it talking about? As I type away on my computer connected to a wireless-N router looking over at my iPhone to see if it's done downloading the most recent update I realize that I am one of the ones in the "has access" category. Right now if I want, I can update my resume, go online and submit it to various job opportunities. Let's not forget that you are reading this because I was able to put various articles together and push a button and provide everyone else "LIKE ME" the opportunity to enjoy the information. So what did I learn from looking to answer the original question of the impact race and socio-economic position has on access to the internet and computers. 

 

What became evident early on was the fact that access to the internet certainly had some issues when it came to Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans. But what was sort of news to me was that Asian communities on average had greater access to both the internet and computers than even Whites who are normally the ones compared to most often. One of the areas that has been pointed out is the fact that not only do certain ethnic groups have less access than others but also their income and earning potential is less. I understand this is sometimes a sensitive subject to cover and I don't want to simplify it by any means. When we note that Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans have less access and less overall income to me those two go hand in hand. If I take anyone of those groups and increase their income I would also expect to see the access to increase as well. I expect this response because I submit there is a direct correlation between them. So because we cannot necessarily make that happen directly with the income side I submit that the approach I see and support in many of the other articles focusing on increasing the access can have a positive impact on income. My example of this would be if I am looking to research job openings or training sites to further my learning or work experience if given the opportunity to have open access to the internet I can begin a process of positioning myself to move up the socio-economic ladder. I'm certainly not just saying that if I have a computer then my income will go up I am saying the reverse has very negative results.

 

One additional twist you will see is that the digital divide has taken an interesting turn in the midst of all that has been discussed in the form of cell phones. It is a fact that Blacks and Latinos access the internet by far more than Whites when it comes to mobile devices. I would expect this now because the price of web enabled phones has gone down to free in most cases. They don't however in most cases contract with the major carriers because the service costs with the majors is a bit higher. So we now have better access for some via mobile devices but as the article points out, have you ever tried to complete an application on a cell phone? So just having access is not the answer but rather functional access. So read on and experience with me the digital divide along with some of its issues as well as solutions. One large aspect of addressing the divide is the Federal Communications Commission delivered to Congress in 2010 called "Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan". This plan has a long term solution to providing equal, reasonable, and quality access to the digital world for all. I look forward to seeing parts of this plan become a reality as we forge ahead.

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The Digital Divide is Holding Blacks Back, and Brittny Saunders Knows Why

The Digital Divide is Holding Blacks Back, and Brittny Saunders Knows Why | Equal or Seperate? | Scoop.it

Just 56% of African Americans has broadband access (versus 67% of whites), and in some areas of the country, the percentage plummets precipitously. This article touches the very sinsitive subject of how this digital divide impacts not only the low-income ranks but also blacks at a higher rate. You will also discover some of the impacts this can have on this group and discussions of what to do about it.

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The Digital Divide and the Racial Wealth Gap: Why Supporting Minority Business Enterprise is an Answer for Both

The Digital Divide and the Racial Wealth Gap: Why Supporting Minority Business Enterprise is an Answer for Both | Equal or Seperate? | Scoop.it

We are currently facing the greatest threat to first class citizenship, competitiveness, economic growth, and moral fiber as a nation since segregation." Closing the gap on access to the internet, and increasing economic wealth, this article asserts that the two go hand in hand and are not seperate issues. Those who don't have the economic means to access the internet are sometimes hindered from being active in the areas that can put them in a place to better their economic position. By this I use the example of someone who needs to complete an online assessment in order to get an interview with a company. What about filling out the actual application? So I would certainly agree that we must look at access and economic growth as together rather than two seperate issues.

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Digital divide: World gets 4G iPad, India still struggling for broadband - Economic Times

Digital divide: World gets 4G iPad, India still struggling for broadband - Economic Times | Equal or Seperate? | Scoop.it

In a case where we would think the lack of adequate internet access would be a hindrance, in India it is actually going to position it to have better access in the future because of not having all the baggage that exists with legacy systems. Many times the
argument is made that the lack of access to technology is going to prevent progress in a given group there are instances where that lack is actually setting up a group for better access in the future.

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CeBIT 2012 Opening - Eric Schmidt, Executive chairman of Google (english)

Eric Schmidt covering the issue of the digital divide as he sees it going into the near and far future. He covers the haves versus the have not's and presents what the concerns for this are. Even though he is the Chairman of  Google he does mention the issue of not having access to technologies such as the iPad which was interesting to me. I see it as interesting because of his competing positions with their products. Yet in still he positions the divide as the true competitor needing to be dealt with.

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Google's Eric Schmidt: Technology May Create a New Digital Divide - eWeek

With all the new enhancements and new technology been and being released there are still those who have no access to the internet. As we consider the vast amount of information available to those connected to the internet and how so much is being is being added the divide between the haves and the have-nots becomes very significant.
Without access to the new technologies such as the iPad and other Smartphones the creation of an economic disadvantage most certainly exists. One of the examples in this article is regarding job openings that are advertised online only. So if those job seekers who don't have adequate or service at all are not even going to be in the running for those who are vying for a given position. Eric Schmidt refers to the privileged few as having solid access to the WWW which he states doesn’t live up to its name being that those who cannot afford to own or have access to will create an even greater divide.

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Race, Income & Access. Is there a difference?

In this article you will find a good mix of data that presents the differences between those who have access to not only computers but the internet also. What I did find
interesting was that although Whites are very high on the access scale, Asians are even higher while Black, Latinos, and Native Americans are in the 1 out of 8 range. A correlation is drawn as well when it comes to income levels when compared to computer and internet access between the different groups. While the income gap is not solely due to the lack of access the article states that there is a definite correlation.

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For minorities, new 'digital divide' seen

For minorities, new 'digital divide' seen | Equal or Seperate? | Scoop.it

"Today, as mobile technology puts computers in our pockets, Latinos and blacks are more likely than the general population to access the Web by cellular phones, and they use their phones more often to do more things". This is an interesting twist to the question of access to the internet. So the question now arises regarding is it the same or not? As you will see, access to the internet via a mobile phone is not necessarily the same as having access via a computer. One example of this would be the issue of completing an employment application and how difficult that is on a cell phone. It seems to me that as time has progressed it has become much easier to get a cell phone with web access today than it was 5-10 years ago. But even in this new divide as it is called in the article the race divide is still the same makeup as it is when we compare computer and internet access.

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TeachHUB Education Blog: Ed Tech: Closing the Digital Divide

TeachHUB Education Blog: Ed Tech: Closing the Digital Divide | Equal or Seperate? | Scoop.it

"Yet there exists a troubling technology disparity: a significant number of U.S.
students, especially those in low-income households, do not have access to a
computer or an Internet connection in their home." As this post states low-income households are one of the impacted groups and when you look further you will find that those who are in the lower income ranks are adversely impacted far more than those who are at higher income levels.

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With new computer lab, CHA residents will start to bridge digital divide - Medill Reports: Chicago

With new computer lab, CHA residents will start to bridge digital divide - Medill Reports: Chicago | Equal or Seperate? | Scoop.it

With 40% of the people not having access to computers a program being spearheaded by the Chicago Housing Athurity to help to bridge the digital divide. Although this program is not providing computer and internet access in these indivduals homes they have created a place for those who don't have access to come and get the needed access while we as a whole work toward closing the gap on a national level.

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Ok so what do we do now? Got a plan?

Ok so what do we do now? Got a plan? | Equal or Seperate? | Scoop.it

With all of the information we have covered regarding the divide we should now ask, so what now? On March 16, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission delivered
"Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan" to Congress. This plan outlines the multi-faceted approach to address the issue of access, cost, and quality. Fixing the digital divide is a national issue. Every American must have the ability to have equal access to this critical service which seems to have no end in sight for its growth and potential. This plan is very comprehensive and will take some time to pull off but as we move forward we must keep an eye on the progress of this plan to make sure we are continuing to make marked progress toward a new realm of access and potential.

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How Education is Affected

The lack of proper application or access in general has been found to leave ill trained and unprepared students entering or looking to enter the working world. This article presents the issue of lack of and poor application of technology in the educational environment. Yes not having access has been proven to have a negative impact but just throwing computers in rooms without a plan doesn’t work either. So a carefully planed approach with real life application along with the technology is the balanced answer. How many stories have we heard of computers sitting in storage rooms not having been used. In most every one of those cases it was in a school district who was in financial shortages. So just having it is not good enough. Planning is both key and critical to the development and success of students in our educational institutions.

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