Jan 21 2011

Bridging the Digital Divide in South LA

Message MediaA poll by the Pew Research Center this past Summer documented a new development in the digital divide between racial groups. The Center found that Blacks and Latinos use mobile phones to access the internet at a higher rate than whites. People of color have lagged behind whites in personal computer ownership, but this is changing as lap-top ownership is equalizing. Still, a lower percentage of Blacks and Latinos have broadband internet service at home compared to whites. The higher reliance on cell phones for internet access is keeping pace with new technologies that make phones multi-functional. However research shows that people with a PC engage in a wider variety of online activities than phone users. A Pew Center researcher told the AP that, for example, it’s a lot harder to update a resume through a phone than it is on a computer. The poll’s findings suggest that mobile phone users are more likely to limit internet activity to personal communications and entertainment. In South Los Angeles a community group called Message Media Ed is working to bridge the divide and increase digital media literacy among communities of color. Message Media Ed has workshops and trainings such as, “Digital Elder” and “Diversity Leaders”, focusing on empowerment through skills training and community building. Message Media Ed focuses on the African American community and experience. Its model of leadership building and empowerment is rooted in the complex experiences of blacks in the US, and the media’s relationship to, and depictions of, communities of color.

GUEST: Shani Byard-Ngunjiri, founder of Message Media Ed, Brother J from X Clan

The deadline for the Digital Lyricist competition is February 4th. Find out more about Message Media and the contest at www.messagemediaed.org or call 323-708-2526.

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