My experience growing up in Friendswood, Texas, a somewhat small town with one of the highest median incomes per household in the state, was far different than what one would have assumed. If it were not for the love and assistance of my dear grandparents, we would not have had the basic necessities, including internet access should you so consider it to be in that category. Growing up, I did not feel as if I was in a different class from my peers despite the large wealth disparity. I did not think it was so bad that I would have to go to my grandparents’ or friends’ houses to access the internet. 95% of my school assignments were to be submitted in person on paper, so that remaining 5% was not a huge deal 🤷. My family finally gained access when I was about 10 years old, back in 2007, after being a minority in the community in terms of internet access for so many years. I saw no divide even though I was the one without access.
However, 2007 in technological terms was millennia ago. My experience would have been drastically different if I did not have internet access today. The exponential dissolve of paper and transition to a mostly online information system has altered the experience of the civilian. The earlier breakdown of a 95% to 5% ratio of paper to online assignments has become the opposite of what it once was. However, the ability to access the internet is now so much more than online submission 💻. Nearly all the information necessary to complete said assignments is found on the internet. As technology exponentially progresses and paper advancingly becomes an aging artifact, the divide widens. I, disadvantaged in the 2000s, did not suffer in the slightest compared to those who live without internet access today in late 2018. In America, a place hailed for its “equality of opportunity,” despite race, religion, or economic status, is still a place where access to the internet is not considered a necessity, at least to politicians who have the power to close the divide. To maintain this false ideal that America provides equal opportunity to all when everyone does not have access to the same information is ignorant and naive. Those who have that view are privileged, and their foolish dialogue🗨 demeans those who yearn for that equal footing.
I am privileged because I am a straight white male with internet access. I was still privileged as a young kid with no internet access in the past. I have not witnessed the divide because I was in the infamous “Friendswood bubble,” where diversity in appearance, politics, status, and creed rarely existed. My experience would have differed had I grown up with no access today. I am fortunate to not have experienced that, but just because I have not suffered from a digital divide that creates disparities in our society today does not mean that I can not recognize it. It would be a disservice to myself if I were so arrogant and selfish as to say that I suffered too. As to what I can do to help bridge the digital divide as a 21-year-old American citizen with a minute amount of disposable money, I truly do not know. However, that does not excuse me from stopping my exploration of the divide and my standing within it.