A Society Beyond Blind Inclusion
Digital Fusion—An Overview
Vice President Al Gore brought the term digital divide to the fore in the latter part of the 20th century. His platform to bridge the gap between people who had access to computers and those who did not spanned the tenure of the Clinton/Gore Administration. Discourse among digital divide gatekeepers at the time proffered that the primary purpose behind programs designed to bridge the gap was to create a better way of life for disadvantaged households through employment, education, childcare, and community networking possibilities (Horrigan & Rainie, 2002; Kellogg, 2001; Seedco, 2002). We must move away from marginalizing terms that first divide, then inscribe, a way of inclusion to fit the dominant culture. I am contesting the notion that access equals equality in an ever-increasing digital network society. Digital Fusion is the result of years of ethnographic participatory research that involved co-creating—through instruction—a digital space, one that speaks to the specific cultural, linguistic, and social needs of two very different underrepresented communities.
This study reveals a discursive disconnect between policymakers and community leaders and the underrepresented population they represent. The ← xxiii | xxiv → chapters that follow illuminate why—despite the intentions of several presidential administrations—digital divides remain, a bridge of inclusion does not exist, and, despite federal programs for underrepresented populations to become empowered through new and emerging technologies, that empowerment has not yet been fully realized.
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