Sunday, December 14, 2008

Browser Racism?

Blackbird is a web browser for the African American community, developed by a group of African American entrepreneurs, under the direction of Ed Young, CEO of Blackbird. At face value, it is a regular browser, however, intrinsic to its creation, just two or three clicks away, the user can access expanded content that is targeted toward the black community, not easily found elsewhere.

Rather than segregating black content, this browser pulls out black focused information, into the web, bringing it to the forefront. This information could be found in a GOOGLE search, however, it may show up as result number 17,100,000. In other words, this browser sorts the information differently than Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari.

White Bird was created in response to the Blackbird project. Of course, by default, all popular downloaded browsers are "whitebirds", making the creation of White Bird nothing more than a spoof.

White Bird was developed on the simple proposition that we, as the White American community, can make the Internet experience better for ourselves and, in doing so, make it better for everyone. Primarily we believe that the White Bird application can make it easier to find White American related content on the Internet and to interact with other members of the White American community online by sharing stories, news, comments and videos via White Bird.
So, is the Blackbird browser racist? Is the White Bird browser racist?

First, we should define racism. If we define racism as hatred or intolerance of another race or the prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races...Blackbird does not qualify. Nor does it segregate, as it only rearranges does not take away information. The user is also given the choice (radio button) to use it as a "regular" browser.

Second, Blackbird affords a certain part of our population the opportunity to obtain information the same way the majority does - leveling the playing field, in a sense - therefore, if anything, Blackbird counters an intrinsic "racism", that is almost impossible to eliminate because it is generated by demographics, and is not the result of malicious intent.

The White Bird browser, on the other hand, might be a tad "racist". That is, if it does not allow the user to include results other than "whitebird", especially considering "whitebird" browsers are a dime a dozen. Other than providing a little amusement, White Bird serves no purpose, as - like I said before - all browsers are "whitebird".

In conclusion, the Blackbird browser is not racist at all and despite what I said before, I believe White Bird is not racist either...just useless or funny, depending on your perspective.

Jay Smooth, host of NY's WBAI's Underground Railroad, and founder of one of the first hip-hop websites, does a very good job clarifying racism, including how best to respond to it.

"I don't care what you are; I care what you did." - Jay Smooth


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