UCSB Center for Black Studies Website

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IN RECENT YEARS, African Americans, especially, have been portrayed as poster children for the digital divide discourse. Though rarely represented today as full participants in the information technology revolution, black people are among the earliest adopters and comprise some of the most ardent and innovative users of IT (information technology). It is too often widespread ignorance of African Diasporic people’s long history of technology adoption that limits fair and fiscally sound IT investments, policies and opportunities for black communities locally and globally. Such racially aligned politics of investment create a self-fulfilling-prophesy or circular logic wherein the lack of equitable access to technology in black communities produces a corresponding lack of technology literacy and competencies.

Thus, necessary high-tech investments are not made in such underserved communities because many consider it fiscally irresponsible, which, in turn, perpetuates the vicious cycle. Despite such formidable odds, black people continue to break out of this cycle of socially constructed technological determinism. It is in this way that African Diasporic people’s many successes within new media and information technologies are too often overshadowed by the significant inequalities in technology access.

This conference takes up these and other important issues pertaining to black people’s actual engagements with IT outside the popular stereotype of black technological lag behind other population sectors. Among the topics addressed at this “AfroGEEKS” conference are: concerns with structural barriers to IT access; effective models of innovative IT use and adoption; the influence of traditional science education on black youths’ tech skills; black technophobes and Luddites; computer gaming; black IT leaders; IT commodity consumption versus production; black blogs and virtual communities; high-tech racial surveillance and profiling after 9-11; digital arts; the geek identity problematic, and more. . .