Do not enter, snowy heron, in the valley where the crows are quarreling.Wow. Vicki Carter’s (1998) article on computer-assisted racism was very moving and extremely personal. A computer geek by trade, I have been using the Internet and related technologies far before they were considered “cool” by mainstream opinion. As a result, I can identify with many users’ thoughts of intrusion by the recent surge of technological newbies:
Such angry crows are envious of your whiteness,
And I fear that they will soil the body you have washed in the pure stream.- Korean poem
In fact, many veteran users of the Internet and technology are already bemoaning the fact that great masses of the networking ‘unwashed’ – both White and non-white – are invading their pure stream… the Internet elite are now having ‘to contend with the flood of newbies onto their previously comfy Internet’, resulting in ‘an exodus of the more knowledgeable folks to other areas’, different, quieter, undefiled, and more pristine spaces to build anew. (p. 273)Nevertheless, as a self-proclaimed “educational technology” evangelist, I have learned to love the neophytes (if not tolerate them) as I feel it my duty to bring new teachers and students on-board in learning new ways to use technology and the Internet to teach and to learn.
A second idea presented by Carter (1998) that I find intriguing, especially in light of the kind of cultural community that has been created by EduBloggers around the world relates to what she terms as “cyber-whiteness” (p. 275).
Computers and networks in a postmodern world cross boarders that traditional technologies, disciplines, and practices do not… [They] become doorways to cyberspace and to cyber-whiteness as well. They are the metaphorical thresholds to cyberspace’s elite white territories, places of privilege, and “New Age weekend getaways for higher consciousness” (Hess, 1995, 116). Cyberspace is a comfortable place to be White because of its normative cultural practices. (p. 275)I mean, consider for a moment the number of non-white bloggers that you know. Finished counting? That’s what I thought - in spite of the fact that there are more blogs written in Japanese than in English. Using my list of educational technology “leaders o’ the blogosphere”, I needed only one hand to count the number of non-white bloggers whose writings I frequent.
I always knew that the community we call the “EduBlogosphere” felt cozy. Now I better understand why. I also better understand why so many accuse the blogosphere of sounding like an echo chamber – it has been probably due (in part) to our community’s homogeneity.
Carter’s (1998) conclusion is perfect:
Educators and cultural workers must become “critical friends” willing to contest and erase the boundaries imposed by disciplines and special interests so that the valleys, landscapes, and pure streams in the terrain of cyberspace do not remain unexamined domains, reproducing injustices of race, class, and gender inscribed by the purity of whiteness. (p. 282)Image Source - 1
Carter, V. K. (1998). Computer-assisted racism. In J. Kinchelow, S. Steinberg, N. Rodriguez & R. Chennault, White Reign -- Deploying Whiteness in America, 270-283. New York: St. Martin's Press.
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