Black Leadership Network Warns Color Chasm in Cyberspace is Real Threat to Black Progress

Two recent studies, by Vanderbilt University researchers and the Commerce Department, have found a major disparity between black and white Americans in the digital world.

The studies show that white families are more than twice as likely as black and Hispanic families to own home computers.

The Commerce Department report, “Falling through the Net II,” said about 76% of white families with salaries over $75,000 own home computers, compared with only 64% of black families at the same income level. Across all incomes, about 41% of white families own PCs but only about 19% of black and Hispanic families have home computers.

Vanderbilt University researchers say the divide is largest among high school and college students, where less than one-third of black students own a home computer as opposed to 73% of whites.

“With gaps wide already in so many areas, news that minorities are being left behind in the all-important information age due to a lack of computer ownership, skills, limited access and lack of knowledge gained through the Internet is truly chilling news,” says Project 21 Director Roderick Conrad. “If black America is going to be progressively knowledgable and competitve in the high-tech job market of the next millennium, blacks have to get busy — real busy — by cultivating an interest in computers and what they can do.”

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