One Nation, Under Bill Gates, Divided

Over 146 years have passed since slavery was abolished in America, and racial issues continue to be a hot-button topic in today’s society.

I’m a huge supporter of equality of all types, but sadly some remnants still remain from American history which aren’t necessarily healing at rates which we thought they would decades ago. Jesse Washington writes about a few of these instances in racial separation online in this recent USA Today article, “For minorities, new ‘digital divide’ seen“. The issues this writer raises here aren’t centered on direct person-to-person segregation; rather issues where certain cultures of people are lagging behind in access to the internet as well as usage trends. What he’s highlighting seems slightly plausible, but I’m left to wonder how valid these statistics are.

I think that my disbelief stems from employment experience. I have worked for many different restaurants throughout college and one very common factor seems to be that the general age range of fellow employees seems to hover around 18-28. The reason I bring this up is because, no matter the race, color or sex of the people I work with, everyone seems to be doing the same types of things with their cell phones. Our generation seems alike in that we all check messages, Facebook, Twitter or share videos/pictures we find equally. I understand that this is in a work setting so, who can say that this would be the best sample of content that these people are accessing on a daily basis; but wouldn’t it be just as equal through the rest of their time?

I find it hard to believe that the instant my coworkers go home, that my white friends stop browsing Facebook and start searching Wikipedia, engaging in activities online which help further society, updating their resumes, etc. While my black friends and hispanic friends hop on Myspace, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. We ALL waste time with entertainment at work (without regard to our ethnicity), so why wouldn’t that trend continue at home? Since we’ve focused on critical examination of our sources in this class recently, questioning something such as this seems only right.

To close the lid on this topic, I feel compelled to share part of the Pew Research Center’s Frequently Asked Questions section. This seems to be the writer’s sole resource for ‘statistical’ data and most of his ‘opinionated’ data, so my questioning started there.

Why don’t your surveys ever reflect the opinions of people I know?

Chances are you don’t hang out with a group of friends that represents everyone in America. Your friends, coworkers and family are probably like you in many ways. If you were to have a group of friends that represents all of the country, you would have acquaintances who are black, white, Asian, rich, poor, Muslim, Catholic, from the South, Northeast, etc., or any combination of those attributes. Few of us are lucky to have such a diverse group of friends.

Maybe I’m special but, I have acquaintances AND friends who are black, white, Asian, rich, poor, Muslim, Catholic, from the South, and the Northeast… The people I associate with and work along side are extremely mixed, therefore I cannot help but focus on the writer’s validity in this case.

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One response to “One Nation, Under Bill Gates, Divided

  1. I’m really glad you addressed the way that you understand that your survey pool may be skewed! It shows a lot of critical thinking that justifies both points of view of the analysis.

    I also really liked the line, “I find it hard to believe that the instant my coworkers go home, that my white friends stop browsing Facebook and start searching Wikipedia, engaging in activities online which help further society, and updating their resumes while my black friends and hispanic friends hop on Myspace, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.” I only have one question… you still have friends on Myspace?! 🙂

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