Hyper-Media / Hyper-Communication / Hyper-Democracy

From the standpoint of improving the education and live well being of minorities, the democratizing of the writing (Authoring) and reading process is highly beneficial.  This is particularly the case since the voices, images, contributions, and visions, of minorities has been traditionally muted in academia.  In addition, there is a cost of this suppression of minority discourse, assessed not only to minority communities, but to the wider American society.  It is an old truism that the more you get to know the perspective of others, the more you are able to empathize with the other, even if you don’t agree with the other perspective.  There will be less contempt, and a greater possibility for brother and sisterhood, or at least nodes of cooperation and collaboration when there is more communication on an equal footing.  Just as e-Harmony sets up dates based on 29 dimensions of compatibility, so to hypermedia discourse can conveniently reveal to us that we have more in common than we have different.  The differences are what makes up the spice of life. and should not preclude symbiotic engagement.  Electronic hypermedia is a support of better face to face engagement, not a substitute or excuse to maintain distance, even if we can hologram a person considered the other into our living room.  A teleconference of a soldier in Iraq with his family over a laptop eases the pain of separation somewhat, but is no substitute for holding a love one.  A romantic relationship that stays only in e-harmony will eventually fade into bits of 1’s and 0’s. 

For an African American student to be able to author presentations (scholarly or layperson) that embed a rich variety of hyper-media objects (including links to other hyper-media objects) that are universally accessible to all for critical analysis via a world wide network significantly changes the dynamic of multi-ethnic and multi-racial interchange.  Think about what President elect-Obama was able to do to bolster his campaign prospects by using multi-media electronic communications over the Internet.  This is a paradigm lesson for minority groups to get their message, or perspectives out.  This is also a way of bypassing the gatekeepers who have traditionally barred minority voices from reaching a mass audience.  That message will sometimes be ill conceived, half baked, radical, misguiding, misleading, hard to comprehend or relate to.  Other times it will be sublime, insightful,elevating, constructive and progressive.  That is the nature of any human interaction in general.  It is always subject to interpretation by the many minds the message passes through.  The point is to have those messages sent from a variety of racial/ethnic transmitters, and to be received by many interpreters.  This is a democratizing effect.  It will be the choice of the receiver of the multi-dimensional, multi-faceted communication, to receive, believe, and/or act on the message or not.  I believe the free flow/exchange of ideas, values, and perspectives can only enhance our lives and promote a true democratic nation.  The easy facility to dynamically author, modify, access and transmit information via the world Wide Network is a vital component of enhancing our lives and promoting a true democratic nation.  It is certainly a principle means for  minorities to bypass racist barriers, promote their well being, and by extension contribute to the collective well being of humanity.

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One Response to “Hyper-Media / Hyper-Communication / Hyper-Democracy”

  1. Mitch Says:

    Roland: I’d like to amplify one part of your post. I think it falls in to the hyper-democratic section.

    It is worth noting that it often is not the message, but the interpretation (often born out of ignorance of the other) by the gatekeepers that characterizes the minority voices as “ill conceived, half baked, radical, misguiding, misleading, hard to comprehend or relate to” and regardless of the truth, causes them to be ignored or denigrated even when they are “sublime, insightful,elevating, constructive and progressive.”

    One great hope that arises with the upcoming Obama presidency, is that there will be a person (and a family) in the public consciousness that, loved or hated, cannot be dismissed very easily. Obama’s ideas and the words he chooses to express them, his actions and the manner in which he carries them out (shaped by a personal and cultural history that has often been met with little respect in our country) will be an undeniable presence in our lives for 4, 8 or more years and all in a package that traditionally has not occupied such a central, powerful position in our society. However this presidency plays out, a voice has been elevated to a position from which it can not be ignored.

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