Excerpt from the Covenant with Black America
Within a span of six decades, there have been four revolutionary advancements in computer-based technology. Since World War II, computer technology has advanced from automation, to information technology, to the personal computer, and now to digital technologies. In each succeeding wave, companies were created, lifestyles changed, and fortunes made and lost. Ironically, when these windows of opportunity opened, African Americans could not exploit them. Blacks were shut out at the birth of digital technologies, when the most wealth was created. When they came in, they participated mainly as consumers.
In recent years, there has been much discussion surrounding black participation in digital technology. Studies and reports have exposed the gap between blacks and whites in computer ownership and Internet access. Both are important subjects, but narrow in their scope. More recently, the discussion has advanced to digital inclusion, as well as African American participation in areas such as business development and content creation.
Global forces in technology, research, science, and telecommunications make it clear that the future will not hold much promise for generations of blacks if the trends that limit African American participation in the global digital technology economy are not reversed. Young blacks entering an information-based, technology-driven marketplace without the necessary technological skill sets will not only be unemployable, they will be irrelevant.
-excerpt from Tyrone D. Taborn’s essay in the Covenant with Black America
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