Importance of Science & Technology in the African American Community.

In the present information, age economies are no longer based on industrial manufacturing, but on the creation and distribution of information. This shift in the economy is the reason why it is important for our community to study science and technology in order to become active participants in our growth as a people. Businesses, banking, marketing, communication are all shifting to the online platform and unless people are adept at these technologies they will likely left behind. Today science and technology have become a part of our daily lives, so it’s important that we empower ourselves with the information that will allow us to engineer our destiny. If our goal is truly African Black Power, we have shifted our perspectives and make science and technology an important part of our social process.  According to the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau ACS study 27% of all African-American men, women and children live below the poverty level compared to just 11% of all Americans. So if do not wake up to the importance of studying science and technology, the percentages will only increase. Over the past three decades, there has been a lot of interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering mathematics). When any economy becomes knowledge based, it becomes important to have equal representation at the table in order to influence the workforce of the future. If there are fewer African American students in STEM, there will likely be fewer opportunities in high-ranking positions, and we will continue to be underrepresented in these influential positions. According to a 2003 study, faculty in science and engineering has only 3.7% African Americans as compared to other Americans which stands at 79% of all science and engineering faculty. Also, a Pew Research Center report released in 2015 shows the significant gap in science-based knowledge among various ethnic groups in the United States. In the survey they asked science-based questions, the average number of whites that answered the questions correctly was 8.5, Hispanics 7.1 and African-Americans scored lower than both these groups at 5.9. According to the National Science Board fewer blacks are opting for science and engineering degrees. In 2011 students that were awarded a bachelor’s degree in these subjects was whites 63% Hispanics 11% and only 9% blacks. Another report, suggests that African-American were less likely than whites or Asians to take advanced science courses. If this gap persists, then the gap in employment and knowledge of these subjects will also continue to rise. We must dispel the notion that it is not in our destiny and the “white science” myth. It is unfair and unjust to teach our children that science is white and have them miss the opportunity to compete in a society where some of the highest paid salaries are in science and technology.  Knowledge of science is not only an intellectual process but also a social and political process. Excluding our children from access to science and technological means we are creating barriers to our progress. In order to be equal partners in a social and political progress, it is important to have equal opportunity in science and technology and become self-reliant in building our community, teaching our children, and creating future opportunities for our youth. There is no doubt that Our community face obstacles that hinder our economic aspirations however, we have to reconsider how science and technology could help us to overcome these barriers. In order to be agents of change, a fundamental change needs to take place on how we view science socially, economically, and culturally. We must prepare our children for the future and value the importance of science and technology as a tool to overcoming systematic racism.
Voices of Fire Nyah

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