Is technology dummying down Black America???

Greetings BDPA Family,

It's your friendly neighborhood Digital Drummer

I did not write the story below, but anyone that follows my posts knows that I agree whole heartily with the writer.

So, the question for today is.....Is tech dummying down Black America???

We watch more TV, send more Texts, most active users of mobile web, and yet...have the lowest Reading Proficiency

I look forward to reading your

Remember, we must Share The Knowledge...To Share The Dollars!

Peace and Gods Blessings,

Jim Neusom

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African Americans Watch Too Much TV, Low Reading Proficiency
By Torrance Stephens
Monday, April 4, 2011

A while back, I wrote a piece describing the manner in which many African Americans do not take full advantage of social media. In addition, I am frequently bringing attention to the fact that reading is slowly falling off among members in our community.

Each time, I obtain vehement ridicule and slander for my assertions, especially when I assert that African Americans watch more television than they read or that they use cell phones more than any other ethnic or race population in the U.S.

Now, a new report has just been released confirming that blacks spend entirely too much time watching television. Nielsen's latest State of the Media: U.S. TV Trends by Ethnicity documents that the amount of television viewing in the U.S. remains high, suggesting that the average person watched more than 143 hours of television per month. African Americans indicated the highest rate of total TV usage, according to the study released on March 30, 2011.

Based on data collected in November 2010, African Americans used their TVs an average of 7 hours, 12 minutes each day - above the U.S. average of 5 hours, 11 minutes. In addition, African Americans reported using their DVD players and video game consoles more than average. In contrast, Asians watched TV the least, at just 3 hours, 14 minutes a day on average.

This, in concert with African Americans being among the most active users of the mobile web and other electronic devices on average more than 1,300 hours a month, may eventually become a problem behavior. Many health problems - including obesity, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure, which African Americans report more than any other ethnic racial group - are the direct result of a lack of regular physical activity.

Reading is definitely a major concern. A recent study in Wisconsin noted that 91 percent of its black students are not reading proficiently by 4th grade. These were comparable to findings across the nation. Reading, as well as regular physical activity, is essential for the development of a healthy mind, body and spirit. Let us move away from the televisions, go outside and move around and pick up a book ... before it is too late.

-torrance stephens, ph.d.

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Replies to this Topic

Powerful commentary ... with some factoids and statistics added for good measure.

My hope is that BDPA (local and national) redoubles our efforts to provide skills and encouragement to its members to become CREATORS of technology ... not simply USERS of that technology.

I want to see BDPA members creating mobile applications!  ...not just shooting at angry birds. 

Powerful commentary -- I wonder how BDPA can impact on those statistics in our programs and services?

When I was teaching my grandson to use the computer, I stressed and had to over and over how important it was to 'READ' the pc screen before acting. As I have observed may very young children pick up a cell phone, begin pressing buttons and activating the apps they know are there, I am concerned that reading is getting the short shift. Exposure to reading starting from in the womb and forever promotes reading and helps cement reading as a life long habit. It worked for me (my mother stayed in the library as she carried me) and my daughter is an avid reader.

Sadly, this is very true in many cases. I have a personal website (  that I created to help others avoid many of the mistakes I made in my life but when I send the link to many of my friends I get such comments as, "You have too much stuff to read ..." or "I don't have time to read all of that ..." or "Do you have an audio file?" Most of my friends around my age haven't read a novel or any lenthy reading material since college, and will even boastfully tell you, "I'm not really into reading ..." as if it's something to be proud of. The expression, "If you want to keep something away from blacks, put it in a book." is continuing to ring true well into the 21st century - and this is tragic! When I take public transportation, I am faced with the glaring reality that the majority of blacks are without any reading material, while the majority of whites/asians tend to lose themselves in their reading material.

Hardly is this fact lost on whites/asians, and I even make it a point to have something to read just so I can help shore up our image. Usually I am reading technical material and I get some of the most curious looks from whites/asians, as well as blacks, when I do as though I am doing something totally our of the character of our people. As portrayed in the movie, "Shakka Zulu", we peer into the looking-glass of high-technology and are enchanted by these technological "trinkets" that continue to razzle and dazzle us as though to even validate us. This is indeed "strange fruit".

The BDPA organzation might want to include advocating and promoting reading skills, in addition to IT skills because we techies know that if you don't like reading, you won't get very far in this industry. I think we can all do our part simply by forcing our kids/friends to engage us in chat or email sessions so they can become more acquainted with reading and writing. If they have a phone, don't call them on it. When I did this with my son, it pusuaded him to improve his writing skills because I would tease him about his bad grammar. He writes a lot better now, and even reads more, now that he knows that I do take notice of these things. His typing skills also improved. That's a triple whammy!


I'm enjoying this online discussion.   I figure that there are many more who are ~lurking~ ... and I encourage you to join in the dialogue.

One way to combine a love of reading ... and technology ... is via a website,    I've seen some BDPA members on this social network for people that read books ... and perhaps this thread is reason for more of us to check it out.

Good Morning BDPA Family,

Like Wayne, I'm impressed by the input and comments in this

Here is a link to Free software for educators that BDPA members and especially HSCC leaders might find useful... Seven Ways To Build Your Own Educational Games

Peace and Gods Blessings,

Jim Neusom (
Executive Director/Publisher
InterServe Networks/City Lights Software, Inc.

"I'm not really into reading ..." What??   Comments such as these are strange considering all actions taken are a result of reading and following the instructions (sign up for a class, online banking, enroll in e-learning teleconferences, white papers and so on). Do we need a new word for reading?

Despite modern technology, I still read two books per month.  Technology does not replace the fundamental means for obtaining knowledge and wisdom.  I don't even own one of those electronic reading devices - because I like to write notes and highlight certain pages when I read.  I am not against the devices - they certainly make travel easier for readers.  I use text when necessary.  I am concerned about the use of texting by the youth and the possible impact it may have on their communication and spelling skills.  A friend of mine in Michigan removed the text functionality from her teenage daughter's cell phone.  She said that was the only way to maintain communication.  I think that parents must instill an appreciation for knowledge through reading in their children at an early age.  I read because my parents read.  I also read because my great grandparents (and so many others) could not.  I was taught that it is an honor to be able to read.  Technology is not the cause of our problems.  It is only a tool.  If we are getting dumber, it is our fault.

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