Forty eight years ago,Dr. Martin Luther King Jr led approximately 250,000 men,women, and children to Washington DC for a March for Freedom and Jobs. In 1963 black unemployment was as high as 11%, while unemployments was only 6% for whites. A white family earned, on average about $6,500.00 a year while a black family earned $3,500.00 a year.
The historic March on Washington proved to be successful as the civil rights bill was signed only eleven months later. Today, our Museums are filled with archives of footage, and photos captured of this historic day, and are readily accessible to the public. We however are often reminded by the media about the the events that led up to the famous march, and public demonstrations recorded after the unforgettable I have a Dream Speech. Many of these events were filled with negative memories, horrific killings, and an increasing divide among blacks and whites. Fast forwarding nearly 50 years later to a recession mirroring that of 1929, a devastating oil spill in the gulf by one of the world’s leading corporations, the cost of a 10 year war that fueled the standing up of a new federal agency called Home land Security, the question we pose on Dr. King’s nationally celebrated holiday is: Would diversity in corporate America, the science laboratories, the banking industry, corporate boards rooms of theFortune 100 corporations, government agencies, and not for profits, have a greater chance of advancement and acceptance if YouTube was available during Dr King’s day and time?
One may ask, what is the value of even entertaining this question since YouTube in the sixties is not real, purely theoretical, and the question attempts to create a past that never was, and never will be. With the advancement of transparency in 201, the organized
promotion of a more Open Government, the question about YouTube’s imagined presence in the sixties may be worth pondering. We believe that as much as we know about and, use Youtube here at Open Government TV, gauging what history will say about how we are using our technology and social media tools today to solve the public’s worst and most severe problems creates a case for seriously considering your answer to this question. Where Would Diversity Be in America if YouTube Was Invented During Martin Luther King Jr’s Era?
During the day public agencies set a side time to commemorate Dr King’s legacy, what better time than now to also takeout the compass and see what direction we are really heading now that we do have YouTube and so many other mediums to receive and transmit data, that includes video. During pre-and post civil war, laws were created, budgetary appropriations, and monumental decisions coming from the the courts and highest branches of government created greater inequality. Now that we have You Tube, Face Book, Twitter and a sundry of other social media tools, for most of us, right in the palm of our hands. Are we advancing diversity and the acceptance of it? Or does the answer really lies truthfully in a dependence on the laws of yesterday versus today’s laws that our political leaders are bringing to the House and the Senate floor?
Would we have been better off to have YouTube in the sixties, or would leadership, public policy, and the direction of our public policy back then have legally supported ravaging more communities, filled up more of the jail cells with negroes who violated the laws of the sixties? Can we in evaluating this question, look at President Obama who declared on the first day of his Presidency that he wanted to Open Government, and create an Executive Order that gave permission to create laws for transparency with government information to the public, create collaborations between government agencies, and private sector business, so that more of those who had no access before could now participate?
With Whites only bathrooms, resturants, and water fountains, and Blacks being required to sit in the back of the bus, the laws of that era promoted much violence, and protests and conflicts among the races. Economically it reared challenges that face us today and are frankly could be some of the roots to the current debates as to why we need so much government to take care of the poor, under educated, the elderly, and the sick. Some of our most well known urban centers have the greatest concentration of poverty, school drop out rates, cases of Attention Deficit Disorder, asthma, cancer, diabetes, strokes, and liver disease. Could the advent of YouTube in the sixties help to reduce these conditions, or would the rule of law dictate that we deny freedom of access, or like the infamous wiki leaks, use video information, and leaks in closely held information to promote the justification for segregation?
Would YouTube have made a difference back then? The very idea of YouTube being a part of our history similar to like it is in our present gives us perhaps the chance to drill down more profoundly, one day before the annual State of the Net 2011 Conference here in Washington DC and evaluate the course of society as it relates to the internet. A historical reflection of the use of technology in the sixties gives us the opportunity to question what impact technology, social media, You Tube, Facebook, and Twitter has on some of the communities most damaged and abused by civil rights laws against Blacks that existed during the era of Dr. King Jr. Now, fast forward…are these media technologies like You Tube positively advancing common good? The very nature of this question should make us wonder about the power of You Tube. For me it really makes me think about the power we have who choose to become trained, educated, and empowered to use these current tools for the uplifting of our overall quality of life. There are many who would be justified in thinking that back in the sixties, the majority would have used You Tube to produce sufficient evidence to convict negro violators of the segregationist policies of the day. Others would hope that there were no laws denying access to YouTube because then activist for freedom could have used the technology to help advance the Freedom movement. others who are more practical would have said, you would have to have created the internet for You Tube to work back then. All three of these are correct.
So in closing, as some of you have had the time off from work, and school for the national holiday, I encourage you to rewind back into the sixties in MLK’s day for a moment, and then fast forward to our present day, and begin to think about YouTube and other social media tools. Are these tools being used today to advance diversity, reduce poverty, balance education among the classes and the races. And if so, to what extent? Fifty years from now, will history show that we used these tools to create solutions for these problems or have in the midst of technology advancements continued to widen the gap between the haves and the have not. Our current unemployment rates among whites in contrast to that of non whites, African American young people excelling in science, math and technology, small businesses versus large business, and their ability to grow their enterprise, and create jobs should make us stop, and look deeply into the prism of current innovation and wonder if our focus is setting us up for a repeat of a divide, and economic inequity by race.
Are the current federal laws on the books, and those that are about to be debated give us a sense of the power of our technology, or does it tells us that we have so far to go as a country to bring parity. How can YouTube help in 2011? Or, would we be better of if we had You Tube in 1960?
I will give you my thoughts to help possibly shape your own thinking about the answer to this increasingly profound question. If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr had YouTube in his day, I believe that he would have negotiated with the founders of YouTube, and sat with them to let them know that he would like to see how the technology advancements could get more black children to become engineers, and he would ask YouTube and all of the other declared social media engines of the future to commit to setting up foundations to support more African Americans to enter into media, banking, and wall street financial sectors. I believe that Dr King would ask corporate America starting with the banks to become authentically committed, and sign up to mentor, become Government’s partner in gratitude for what Government has done for them during the crisis that became our crisis.
Dr. King I believe, would call a meeting with all of the evangelists of technology and the internet, and ambassadors of “Net Neutrality” to ensure that GE, NBC, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T were not the only winners in this new age of technology, and that more long term winners were created that could not be excluded because of the color of their skin. I also believe that Dr King would take residence in Washington DC so that he could constantly convene with Congress and the Senate to help them create bi-partisan established programs and policies to decrease the gap between wealth creation and the African American, and woman owned small business community. Finally, I believe Dr. King would have lobbied for the creation of a Department of Collaboration managed by the White House to focus on integrating technology and Agencies mission one by one. This Agency would require each Agency to allocate a budget for innovation, and partnerships with Historically Black Colleges, partnerships between large business, small business, and Historically Black Colleges so that these institutions could join the 3% requirement ranks with SDVOB, and become part of the 23% goals set a side for small businesses. Dr King, I believe would ask Congress and the Senate to financially penalize a poor performing Agency who failed to meet their HBCU goals for contracting.
As we focus on the State of The Net 2011 Tuesday January 18th, Open Government TV invites you to join the Congress, Senate, their staffers, and corporations, academia, health care, not for profits and public institutions on a day that we help shape the future policy of the internet and what it will mean to the advancement of Diversity. In our opinion, there are only two options today as we see it, and that is we either advance equality, or we further divide.
Founder Open Government TV