[Noisebridge-discuss] [lol-hackers] medium article on tech and barriers to entry

rachel lyra hospodar rachelyra at gmail.com
Sat Feb 14 17:48:35 UTC 2015


I'm pretty late on replying to this rant because I stopped reading this
mailing list too often ... Because toxicity, and constant harassing
responses to my posts. So I will preface this with a reminder that I will
forward messages I receive privately back to the list if I don't like them.
It is my intention here to engage in public dialogue.

Isn't it too bad that I need that disclaimer? But I digress.

I am reminded of an experience I had at Noisebridge a few years ago. EFF
was hosting a bunch of African journalists for a conference. They had come
by nb with Danny to visit and were talking with a few young random folks as
well as one older white silicon valley type engineer. The journalists'
response to hearing about how mesh networking functions was basically,
sounds great, where can we get some. And the sili valley engineer talked
about signal latency and how the technology isn't there yet.

These guys are dodging governments to publish text newspapers on basement
printing presses, blogging in secret, straining to get words down the
pipeline. They need a distributed version of usenet. They're still looking
for usenet. The engineer is talking about how users won't like their video
to lag. There is a disconnect. Its not that the technology isn't there yet.
This isn't a new technology. Its that development happens along lines of
capital, and centralized networking is easier to gatekeep.  The needs of
users are simply opportunities to exploit.

I don't think Noisebridge should worry about saving Africa, or anybody in
particular. I think that first world technologists have blind spots due to
the environment that creates us. Praveen is right that there are people
caught in access gaps in our inner cities, in our rural communities.
Focusing on the needs of various user groups is imperative to developing
technology to serve diverse groups. *Understanding users that have
fundamentally different needs is crucial but not central to most technology
projects.*

Bringing it home, I'd like to just focus on how easy it is to forget where
the walls of one's bubble are. Folks still don't really have internet
access, or think the internet is read-only. We can move forward as much as
we like, in any direction. Speed of progress, though, matters less to me
than inclusivity. Than bringing my whole community with me.

I don't care about getting apps to get rides or meals. I already know ways
to get those things. I care about the whole damn world getting Usenet. My
neighbors in Oakland don't have it. My potential friends a world away don't
have it.

Fuck the tech boom. Long live technology for the people.
On Jan 26, 2015 4:14 PM, "Praveen Sinha" <dmhomee at gmail.com> wrote:

>
> http://open-oakland.cartodb.com/viz/1d8f9768-d7b9-11e3-b620-0e73339ffa50/public_map?title=true&description=true&search=false&shareable=true&cartodb_logo=true&layer_selector=false&legends=true&scrollwheel=true&fullscreen=true&sublayer_options=1&sql=&sw_lat=37.655014078010716&sw_lon=-122.55455017089844&ne_lat=37.91224232115994&ne_lon=-121.67564392089844
>
> Look at this map that same person just sent me of broadband penetration in
> the east bay!  It's shameful!
>
> You know what's in the those areas?  xfinity wifi.  Fuck those people.
> You want to talk about white supremacy and wholesale wealth transfer start
> there - they got clearance to run detroit and sf and oakland.    Their data
> rates is literally like what it is to make a phone call to jail/prison.
> I'm not even kidding.  This reminds me of where I came from in New Mexico
> where the corporations would cut corrupt contracts and vendor lock the
> whole goddamn population into eternal poverty.
>
> Listen, I've been in around all the hackerspaces for the past 5 years and
> interviewed folks at noisebridge, at sudo, lol, and I've worked with kiddos
> from the schools.  Forget about some kids in bushwick -- *this story is
> *our* story*.  It's the elderly grandma hackers living on fixed income
> and marginalized and has to spend 2 hours on the bus to get to noisebridge,
> it's the transitional hacker who is learning tech skills but is bouncing
> from place to place but is hustling and is making it through the omni and
> learning to code off of stolen laptops, it's the young brother and sister
> who has undocumented parents and no internet at home but is a brilliant at
> 3d crafting and has to sneak play time at libraries.   I'm not making this
> shit up, you all know these folks up close and personally, I just removed
> their names.  The saviorism comes in when the article portrays that kid
> trying to learn how to code as an exceptional person -- I know from
> experience that the kid not an exception, he is the rule.
>
> Shit is not going to change on the federal level or state level.  We need
> a uprising in oakland.  And we have to bring it.  I watched these muni wifi
> deals collapse and eventually devolve into cronyism.  Libby Schaff is going
> to take our money and spend it on surveillance and busted ass savior
> programs and condos for folks who run companies like xfinity.  We can have
> municipal wifi that works for everyone -- wouldn't it be nice to have data
> that our old folks could access???
>
> I don't have all the answers, but collective we do, and we have to find
> ways to warehouse and make memes and lift awareness and boycott do this for
> the public interest in a radical way.   We have to make sure the CIO and
> CTO under Ed Lee and Libby are either doing the people's work or driven the
> fuck out of office.
>
> The same shit goes for vendor lock with libraries -- I've been talking to
> all of you all. We have a lot of work to do!!!
>
> Fuck incarceral poverty.  All of us are colonized, even those of us with
> shiny startup jobs.    Let's make 2015 the year of go big or go home.
>
> .......
>
> I know this is a bit of a rant, but I need to get it out there and the
> coffee is going through my veins today.
>
>
> On Mon, Jan 26, 2015 at 3:22 PM, Adria Richards <
> adria.richards at butyoureagirl.com> wrote:
>
>> Agree that the "White Savior Complex" and paternalistic allyism can be
>> harmful in not building skills, a sense of empowerment and to trust your
>> gut.
>>
>>
>> On Monday, January 26, 2015, Praveen Sinha <dmhomee at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>> Also, I just wanted to say specifically that I do find saviorism
>>> problematic.  That said, I've noticed that network access is critical for
>>> all sorts of folks that come in to our hackerspaces for a lot of reasons.
>>> I sincerely believe that connectivity is a human right as fundamental as
>>> water, and we have companies like xfinity that have captured what should be
>>> a public good D-:  I'd really like a broader conversation in our grassroots
>>> communities to shape bay area policy.
>>>
>>> Additionally, someone sent me this link to groups like this in Detroit
>>> http://detroitdjc.org/?page_id=9  We are deluged with tech here in the
>>> bay area, but our visions for access have yet to be defined often times...
>>>
>>> On Sun, Jan 25, 2015 at 8:19 PM, Praveen Sinha <dmhomee at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>>
>>>> https://medium.com/@GRardB/techs-high-barrier-to-entry-for-the-underprivileged-da254356547d
>>>>
>>>> There's some problematic stuff with the article, but I think it does a
>>>> good job in highlighting broadband/wireless disparities and the critical
>>>> role that open wifi and projects like mesh could do to pick up the slack
>>>> where the municipal governments are totally failing...
>>>>
>>>
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>>
>>
>> --
>> Thanks,
>> Adria
>>
>
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