Law Professor Explores Digital Divide, Race in New Book
Despite the increasing availability and affordability of information technology, minorities are likely to remain confined to being technology “have nots” in an American society which is becoming increasingly separated between technology “haves” and “have nots,” according to a Creighton University law professor in her recently published book.
In The Digital Divide: Standing in the Intersection of Race and Technology, Raneta Lawson Mack, professor of law at Creighton University School of Law in Omaha, Neb., examines the racial component of the digital divide and discusses historical reasons why minority communities might fail to embrace computer technology even as it becomes easier to acquire. The book, published by Carolina Academic Press in Durham, N.C., also explores how the legacy of slavery, which advanced the social, economic and educational separation of the races, represents a major contributing factor to the current technology gap.
“The digital divide is one area where understanding the role that history plays in our current situation is the key to shaping workable solutions,” Mack says.
Despite the growing technology gap, the book advances the idea that the divide is not a hopeless condition and it offers several promising examples of community and corporate efforts aimed at narrowing the divide.
Mack focuses on corporate and community-based solutions so that special attention is paid to the individual needs of specific communities. Mack contends that resolving the digital divide doesn’t merely depend on placing high-speed computers in homes. Instead, she says, it means educating those who are not aware of technology’s benefits, designing content that is relevant to those communities, and increasing access. “As the saying goes, it’s the difference between giving a person a fish and teaching him to fish,” Mack notes. Mack teaches the course Computer Technology and the Law at Creighton’s law school. She is the author of several articles discussing issues related to technology and the law, as well as scholarly articles on the impact of racism in education and the criminal justice system in the United States.
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