WITHOUT TECHNOLOGY, LATINOS ARE GOING NOWHERE.
I am definitely not the smartest person I know, nor am I the most technologically savvy. And yet, oftentimes it strikes me that in the world of media and technology that is increasingly ruling our lives, Latinos are left on the sidelines. Increasingly technology is going to be a necessity, not simply a chosen field or profession.
For several decades, there have been initiatives and a general movement to help Latinos finish high school, enter undergraduate study, and graduate with bachelor’s degrees. Consequently, thousands and thousands of Latinos now have degrees and have permeated into the professional world. But as we all move forward into the future that will most certainly be ever dependent on technology, if Latinos do not keep up, we will have to see an entirely new movement to push them into technology.
And technology could encompass many different things. Everything from understanding programming languages to taking a chance in a startup to understanding how to leverage social networks to promote your business can count as “technology.” I feel very fortunate to have stumbled across a large network of Latinos active in any and all of these activities online, but they are certainly still in the minority.
It’s a testament to the fact that we need to work towards improving our numbers in technology that Latinos simultaneously over-index on social networks, yet are not readily visible when it comes to creating those types of technologies. What’s more, Latinos have a higher rate of adopting smart phones, tablets, and all types of technologies, but how many Latinos are producing this type of technology?
I rediscover this every time I find myself without Internet connection, we are increasingly useless when we are unplugged. But such is our world. And if Latinos want to create a viable place in this world, they need to engage the technology beyond the role of consumers, and become the creators and the wielders of technology.
But how to begin?
There is certainly more than one way to engage the technology. For some the computer science class in high school or college might be an entry point, for others (like myself) necessity might dictate an understanding of best practices for social media, and then there are those who are creative and might want to apply this creativity in a new and innovative way.
The point is that everyone can have an entrée into technology, we just have to think of it that way. We have to stop thinking about success has been defined by becoming doctors or lawyers, and think about ourselves as entrepreneurs or inventors. You can learn how to write code for free with online classes. You can create a campaign to fund your startup online. You can reach out and find like-minded people to help you work on a project.
There is more than one way, what I’m hoping we can all figure out is to find the will.
This blog was previously published on August 6, 2012.