Sunday, March 9, 2014

Pew Research Center Says...African Americans and Technology Doing Just Fine!

In report after report and paper after paper that talks about the of digital divide, one thing seems to be abundantly clear: the minorities in this country are falling woefully behind. But I can’t accept this because I am one of those “minorities”; I am African American and I don’t feel I am falling through the cracks of a widening digital divide. My frustrations extends from the fact that everyone wants to talk about the 27% of African Americans deemed “low-income”, or living below the federal poverty line[1], and therefore at risk or unable to keep pace with the advancing tidal wave of digital media.

But what do the studies say about the remaining 72% of us; how are we doing? Well, according to the Pew Research Internet Project on African Americans and Technology Use, not as bad as we’ve been lead to believe. In fact, Pew Research Center, one of the leading institutions on issues and trends shaping America, is happy to report that among young (e.g. 18-29 yrs. of age), college-educated, and higher-income African Americans, internet use and home broadband access are comparable with their white counterparts.[2]
My frustration is not a indictment against anyone, or even a charge that all the research done to-date is wrong. This is my digital outlook, pure and simple. And, I believe the information provided by in this Pew Research Report is important for today’s librarians to realize because despite being intelligent, rational human beings who understand everybody is unique, sometimes it can get hard to see the individual among the crowd, especially in terms of the types of services and assistance today's libraries offer.

[1] Bureau of Census. "People Below Poverty Level By Selected Characteristics: 2012 [By Race, Sex, Age, Education, Region, And Citizenship Status]." ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the U.S. 2014 Online Edition. Ed. ProQuest, 2014. Web: ProQuest Statistical Abstract 03/14 < (accessed on March 9, 2014).
[2] Aaron Smith. “African Americans and Technology Use: a Demographic Portrait.” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (January 6, 2014). (accessed on March 9, 2014).

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