Race and the Digital: Racial Formation and 21st Century Technologies

Conclusion: "How can you have racism if you cannot see race?"

The twenty first century may be a time where human equality (socially, racially and economically) will be a reality in years to come. But just as the Internet and computers existed in the mid-twentieth century, but did not make their entrance into the world until twenty to thirty years ago, this post-racial society that supposedly exist today will take a while for it to actually be available to the people. With this situation arises the question of availability, which also transcends over to the digital world of ICTs like computers, mobile devices and the Internet. Access and availability, like in the offline world, depends on racial and socioeconomic markers. This paper investigated and highlighted the social media website and mobile application Klout, which encourages social media users to be active on their social media accounts. However, even though there are no specific data sets providing statistics about the demographics of the usage of this platform, Klout is partnered with other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Data sets from the Pew Research Center and the U.S. Census Bureau allow the public to see that there is less participation from Latinos/as and African Americans, and an absence of information from other ethnic groups that also live in the United States, like Native Americans. It offers the reality that the relationship between race and ICTs is a strained one, due to the simple fact that their identity and socioeconomic status in the country limits how much they can do and what they have access to. It also sheds light that the goal is not to get all of these individuals on the internet and use platforms like Klout, Facebook and Twitter. This paper strived to emphasize that access it not granted in the first place, and it may be because of race. We can anticipate that the future will bring many more technology resources. With the current situation of having some people literally disconnected and unable to use ICTs when they want, does that mean that new medias will continue to reflect a culture of stigma and neglect to specific groups of individuals? The initial goal of the creators of computers  and algorithms of having a color-blind society was not able to exist. Surely one question that was posed by developers of consoles was "How can you have racism if you cannot see race?" It may not have thought at the time that most at the other end of the screen may not have been people of color, continuing the same Euro-American dominance that is already lived offline. Once race is not even a factor considered, and when all citizens reach a stable and bountiful socioeconomic status, only then can the digital divide subside, closing chances of inaccessibility and multiplying the voices and perspectives of people living side by side in Earth.

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