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From broadband access to digital efficacy

My mom got her first computer a few weeks ago. She sent her first e-mail a couple days ago. Yes, at 68 she is now a pedestrian in cyberspace.

I descend from a line of merchants, with my very first memory having been in my great aunt’s store in the Irishtown section of Basseterre, St. Kitts. My mother worked in that store as well. From time to time the old merchant in her will spring an idea as to how best to put her capital to work. I have no doubt that she will eventually go through the same thought process as she learns how to use her lap top.

My nine-year old son is following his ancestors’ footsteps. The word “career” flows out of his mouth easily and probably more often than most teenage and twenty-something knuckleheads I see running around these days. With a “low on minutes” cell phone to their ear and pants low on their waists, young people today appear to be carrying on the same silly, consumer centric behavior of their parents and grandparents, only this time in digital form.

When I think about the level of unemployment we minorities face in this country and the poor performance of our gross domestic product, all I can conclude is that we have to pursue a different mindset. We are, in the words of my sister, addicted to a narrative that we just can’t seem to shake.

Writing for the MMTC’s Broadband and Social Justice blog, Ava Parker posted a piece that highlights the fork in the road consumers of digital technology now face. Do we continue with a mindset focused primarily on consuming communications and entertainment, or do we start turning our mobile information access terminals into productive capital and use this capital to create another source of equity; equity that allows us to weather the next financial or economic crisis.