Archive for June 14, 2013

The White Geek’s burden

I thought that Julian Assange’s point in this piece in the NYTimes were fascinating, but I was particularly struck by his description of “the white geek’s burden.”  My colleague, Beki Grinter, has pointed to a similar rhetoric going on with MOOCs — that the United States is offering MOOCs for “the developing world” such as “Africa.” As she points out in her blog post, even that phrasing ignores the complexity of languages and cultures in the enormous continent of “Africa.”  Are MOOCs another example of the US gadget consumerism that Assange critiques in his essay?

In the book the authors happily take up the white geek’s burden. A liberal sprinkling of convenient, hypothetical dark-skinned worthies appear: Congolese fisherwomen, graphic designers in Botswana, anticorruption activists in San Salvador and illiterate Masai cattle herders in the Serengeti are all obediently summoned to demonstrate the progressive properties of Google phones jacked into the informational supply chain of the Western empire.

via The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’ by Julian Assange – NYTimes.com.

June 14, 2013 at 1:55 am 1 comment


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