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Sunday, December 2, 2007

What's Google?

"What's Google?"
Regarding Daniel's point on child poverty and the promise the internet has for linking kids to a world that'd otherwise remain inaccessible, I want to tell a quick story. Grant, one of my closest friends, works with Amnesty International going into urban areas of Chicago and teaching the students about human rights. A recent lesson plan of his focused on Abu Ghraib and American attitudes towards torture. Towards the end of the lesson he noted that further pictures, documents and information could be found on Google. One student raised his hand and, not joking, said:
"What's a google?"
He wasn't the only one in the class not to know. We take it for granted that the information revolution sweeping through our lives has, to some degree or another, rippled into every crevice of America. It hasn't. And while modems aren't a silver bullet to poverty and despair, they do provide those hoping for a better life but sequestered in an impoverished one with the opportunity to tap into worlds beyond what they know. Using the net, you can look at colleges, e-mail admissions officers, read blogs, scan the news, meet new people, read new things, and on and on. Will everyone use the computer for that purpose? Of course not, most will hone in on the porn. But for those who do want to expand their horizons, giving them that opportunity is a moral imperative.


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