26 Sep STRENGTHENING THE FUTURE OF BLACK YOUTH: BLACK BOYS CODE
There’s no doubt that technology has infiltrated our everyday lives. From our cars to refrigerators to the latest tv’s, phones, apps and so much more. It’s hard to think of a personal or household device that doesn’t require technology to function.
But it’s society’s dependence on technology that has created a race divide in our technological world. According to a USA Today report (2014) less than 5% of tech employees in the USA are from a visible minority. Five percent. And yet in North America, Afro Americans and Afro Canadians are among the most active groups online and in the mobile world. This under representation of blacks in technology has nothing to do with a lack of education or skill (most black applicants have a bachelor’s degree or higher) but it does have a lot to do with systemic bias that keeps people of color out of technology jobs.
So how do we begin to reverse the marginalization of qualified (and often times over qualified) people of color who are tech experts? It starts with our youth. Teaching them to embrace and love technology, to understand the value of technology in society and how to build their own technology-based economic resources.
Parents, here are a few things you can do TODAY to make sure your child(ren) aren’t left behind in the technology race:
1. Encourage your child(ren) to spend time learning about the technology they use. Are they really into sites like facebook? do they use unique apps on their phone? Ask them to explain how these technologies work, and how they might improve them.
2. Keep your ear to the ground with regards to your child’s experiences at school. Is your child being unfairly treated? Are their life experiences equally valued as other students? Does your child feel singled out or feel like their learning experiences at school are effected by their cultural background? These may be some of the signs that your child is being marginalized at school.
3. Get your child involved in groups, activities, camps, clubs that teach them not only about how to harness technology, but how to create tech-based businesses, or business services they can economically empower them (it’s great to learn about technology, but also learn how to create a demand for your services and talents, not just work for someone else).
Black Boys Code (BBC) is a great opportunity for youth to challenge their minds, stay a step ahead of the technology game and open avenues to a bright future. it’s a fun and rewarding way to stem the flow of systemic racism we see in tech culture today. After all, their future may depend on it.