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African-Americans Overcoming the Divide



Generel Organizations & Foundations



With the turn of the 21st century it is important that African-Americans begin to learn and apply the uses of technology for their professional endeavors. For quite some time African-Americans have been the ethnic group that suffers the most from digital divide. The situation of digital divide is a serious problem among the African-American culture that needs to be solved in order to have economic and social success.
Digital divide is the statistical difference in access to computer technology between various demographic groups. The concept of digital divide can be broken down into several categories including men and women, race, economic dimensions, and among our public and private schooling systems. With every category there are annual reports that are published and printed in news reports, technology books, on the Internet and other sources that deal with computer mediated information and statistics. In the 1980’s and early 1990’s digital divide became a topic of discussion in America when communication scholars began concentrating on the difference in access to technology among men and women which later expanded into the other categories of interest. Over the years the situation of digital divide among races and economic dimensions has substantially grown which has caused some questions about the acceptance of the Internet among certain groups in America. With recent research digital divide has been suggested to be a problem among geographic areas rather than race or even income. However research has also proven that the African-American race has the least percent of people with web access.
Every since the early stages in the discovery of the digital divide African-Americans have been at the bottom of the percentiles for races that have web access. This is a serious problem that is affecting the success of African-Americans in the corporate world. After the initial creation of computers America has become a technological society. According to the Digital Divide Network “few technologies have spread as quickly, or become so widely used, as the Internet. This form of information technology is becoming a common fixture of modern social and economic life, opening opportunities and new avenues for many Americans”( The importance of being computer literate in this country is one of the most important aspects of being able to earn a good salary in America. While in office ex-president Bill Clinton addressed the country on the importance of bridging the gap in digital divide. President Clinton said, “with increase in the ability to access computers and the Internet and the ability to effectively use this technology are becoming increasingly important for a full participation in America’s economic, political and social life. Also the ability to use technology is becoming increasingly important in the workplace, and jobs in the rapidly growing information technology sector pay almost 80 percent more than the average private sector wage”( In order for African-Americans to benefit from these wage increases computer literacy must be obtained. With years and years of research studies have shown that rural areas are less likely to be connected than urban areas, which in turn proves a difference in income when discussing digital divide. In the past years the digital divide between low and high incomes has grown more than 29% in the years of 1998 and 1999. It is proven that households with incomes of $75,000 or higher are more likely to have Internet access than low-income households. Reasoning for why the African-American race is always among the lowest in Internet access is because it is proven that Whites are more likely to be connected than African-Americans or Hispanics. The division between African-Americans and other racial groups is persistently growing. African-American households are approximately two-fifths less likely to have Internet access than white households. All of these studies lead back to the general idea that Americans with better education are more likely to be connected and successful in corporate America. Within the years of 1997-1998 an increase in digital divide among the different education levels increased by an astounding 25%. Individuals with college degrees are proven to be eight times more likely to have connection to the Internet. Bridging the gap of digital divide among African-Americans needs to be an important issue among society for the simple reason that corporate America is becoming computer based. In the 21st century the Internet is not only used to find information but for finding services. Distance learning is also a benefit of the Internet in today’s society. According to The Finance Project an Internet resource that deals with the problem of digital divide among minorities, says “a barrier that hinders African-Americans for obtaining positions in well paying corporations in America is the inability to have home access to the Internet”( In order to pursue these types of positions individuals are required to have certain Internet skills and training. In a report that the Pew Internet Project wrote “previous studies on the “digital divide” have highlighted the fact that those without Internet access are less well off financially and are more likely to be minorities”( In order for African-Americans to make their presence known in the corporate world, which leads to economic success Internet literacy, knowledge and skills need to be implemented.
However over the past few years a change in trend has occurred among African-Americans and their Internet usage. In a recent survey that was posted on Nua Internet Surveys report that “the number of home Internet users in the US increased by 33 percent in 2000, with African-Americans leading the online growth. According to a report from Nielsen/NetRatings, the African-American online population increased by 44 percent to 8.1 million between December 1999 and December 2000. NetRatings attribute the change in growth to the lowering cost of PC’s and cheaper Internet access”( Because of the change in prices for computers and Internet software it is now even more possible for African-Americans to access the web for the content that is comprehensible or culturally relative in the pursuit of careers and opportunities that require internet skills, knowledge and training. PBS considers the Internet a useful tool for diversity. “The web opens up the walls of each classroom to show students diversity on a global scale”( The use and knowledge of the Internet is important to African-Americans because computers and Internet software become tools of learning. With all of the information that is on the Internet at this day in time it can be considered a place for African-Americans to learn skills that will help in the workplace and areas to be productive and well-rounded citizens. With the change in web use among African-Americans this is a milestone that needs to be apart of the African-American community in order to gain the tools necessary for success in America. Much improvement has been proven in recent studies showing that African-American students are beginning to own home computers and access the Internet.

With the growth in technology in America the use and knowledge in computers and the Internet is important in the corporate world. African-Americans after being the race with the least percentile of web users are begging to change the statistics. It is critical for African-Americans to gain the tools for success that are obtained on the Internet.



History of Digital Divide.






Why Digital Divide is a Problem?





















Change in Recent Studies.











The White House-Bridging the Digital Divide
Digital Divide Network
The Finance Project
Pew Internet & American Life
Wood, Andrew, and Matthew J. Smith.Online Communication Linking Technology,Identitiy,and Culture.New Jersey:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates,2001.