Blog Post #6

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Chapter 6
“Matrix Multiplication and the Digital Divide.”

After reading this week’s chapter I couldn’t help but relate the reading to Hairspray so I will be connecting the reading to a more political consumerism that is online. I know this seems kind of off topic but just like Byrne notes “BlackPlanet is black-targeted but not a black owned enterprise,”(135) in Hairspray the conversation was more surrounded television and not the internet and it was during a different time. If I am recalling the movie correctly there was a segment that was dedicated and targeted to the black community but it was clear that they did not have full control over the time they went on nor complete freedom. The relation I’m trying to make here is that just like Byrne notes that the civic engagement was limited I would even say low, in the movie the segment that the black people had was limited and never political. I have to say that the connection between both was that it was owned and filtered by someone else never allowing for true political action or freedom but always targeted at black people. The content they were/are receiving is coming from a monitored place.

Getting more into the nitty gritty of the question and discussion of cumulative disadvantage and Nakamura’s idea that African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics generally participate in activities coded as fun (139). It is true that most students of color more specifically college students know that online identity is important. They know that employers may look into your social media that the way you portray yourself online defines who you are in real life. However we are somewhat unconcerned and the “fun” activities we engage in online outshine the more activist engagements we may believe in in real life. This is then ties in to the idea of cumulative disadvantage because our online identity allows for marketers to target us with “fun” things and we receive less than the highest standard or quality of information targeted to us online. For example I could do a search on Egypt and I could have my politically invested white male friend do a search on Egypt and they will be completely different. Some of the reasons may include the types of cookies that we have and separate searches we make however I can argue that even that in itself is a form of cumulative disadvantage.

I think that this is a form of disadvantages because in my search of Egypt I can get information about their culture and maybe some funny memes because that is something I am interested an that is what my typical searches are. Then my imaginary friend in his search receives nice hotels to stay in and the current news. We become blind to the things that are marketed to us as people of color based on the online identity we have that we fall into conformity and at times fall into traps. If we cannot move out of the core issue which is social inequality we will never break the cycle. Social inequality is being produced today on the Web 2.0 and it is being maintained by the marketing strategies from social identities. Going back to my first comment about Hairspray we can see that this social inequality has continued to be transmitted from one generation to another because, the same idea of targeted television but not allowing the political aspect has moved to a limited form of activist on online sites that are targeted to people of color.

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