Nakamura’s idea of “relative access to technologies of global media” (15) has been the most inspiring and engaging comment throughout what I have read so far. While the idea of race or lack of race as portrayed through the so-called white male gaze, has brought up many questions and even less answers for me, I find myself connecting most with this idea of access.

At this point, Nakamura has little to say about what cultures have access to the Internet. Though she does, as Elizabeth quotes, mention the idea of a “continuum of Internet access”. To this I say, yes, yes, yes! A thousand, million times yes! Even more important (or at the very least JUST AS important) as this idea of race interacting with our subject/object selves is that of access for those who do not have it. To make sweeping generalization (as it would seem that Nakamura does, while working out her definition of digitization and race) with little methodology to back it up is one thing entirely. But, to really consider who is ‘allowed’ to be on the Internet (based on financial reasons, religious, time, etc) is vitally important. I am thinking specifically of people with disabilities. Okay, I suppose if I am going to go ahead and be specific, I should just say it: my passion is working with college students with disabilities. Are physically, emotionally, and mentally handicapped college students given the same access to the Internet as those students who are ‘normal’? While accessibility standards would mandate such access, a lot of these access rules are still be considered. And, in fact, many colleges are still working under the idea of ‘accommodation’ (helping those with disabilities to reach their goals) vs accessibility (helping everyone to better reach their goals, including those with disabilities: i.e. the automatic doors).

I am not advocating a stubbornness towards those with disabilities, meaning that we only work on those issues of reconciliation. Rather, I am saying that working with people with disabilities and how they gain access to the Internet (whether they even have access to it at all) is just as important as working along side the ‘real life’ and visual/textual community to discuss and deconstruct they idea of racial identity.

Some questions which might speak to this idea: Are those with disabilities given fair access to the Internet? Is the access that is given to those with disabilities really accommodation or can it, in the long run, help everyone improve their Internet interactions? How can we continue to encourage the discussion of access for users with disabilities? How do we not assume that people with disabilities have everything they need? How can working with people with disabilities also help to synthesize racial reconciliation online? Are these questions to big? Are these questions to small? If I had a disability what questions would I be asking? Which answers would I need? If I was not Caucasian, which questions would I be asking? Which answers would I need? As a white, non-disabled person which questions do I need to be asking? What answers to I need? And the list goes on…

To end, I would like to leave with a quote from Kristi which I felt was beautifully stated and with which I am now trying to engage to the best of my abilities, “Refusing to even acknowledge how differences influences our lives is a violent act of erasure that ignores both people’s multiple and various ways of constructing their identities and roots of social injustice.”–Well said, Kristi!

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