Why the Internet is the New Civil Rights Frontier for Black and Hispanic Communities

The internet has become an essential part of our lives, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We
rely on it for education, health, work, entertainment, and social connection. But not everyone has equal
access to the internet or the opportunities it offers. According to the Pew Research Center, only 66% of
Black households and 61% of Hispanic households have broadband internet at home, compared to 79%
of White households. This digital divide has serious consequences for the economic, social, and political
empowerment of Black and Hispanic communities.
The internet is not only a tool, but also a right. The United Nations has declared that the right to internet
access is a human right, as it enables people to exercise their rights to freedom of expression,
information, education, and participation1. The internet is also a platform for civil rights activism, as we
have seen with movements like Black Lives Matter and Me Too, which have used social media to raise
awareness, mobilize, and demand justice. The internet is also a space for cultural expression, identity
formation, and community building, especially for marginalized groups who face discrimination and
exclusion in the offline world.
However, the internet is not a neutral or fair space. It is shaped by the interests and biases of those who
control it, such as governments, corporations, and dominant groups. The internet can also be used to
violate human rights, such as privacy, dignity, and equality. For example, online surveillance, censorship,
harassment, hate speech, and misinformation can threaten the safety and well-being of Black and
Hispanic users. Moreover, the internet can also reproduce and reinforce the existing inequalities and
injustices that Black and Hispanic communities face in the offline world, such as discrimination, poverty,
and violence.
Therefore, Black, and Hispanic communities need to fight for their internet rights, as they have done for
their civil rights throughout history. They need to demand that the internet is accessible, affordable,
reliable, and secure for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, or location. They need to
advocate for policies and regulations that protect their online privacy, freedom, and dignity, and hold
accountable those who violate them. They need to challenge the biases and stereotypes that are
embedded in the design and content of the internet and promote more diversity and inclusion in the
tech industry and the online media. They need to use the internet as a tool for education,
empowerment, and engagement, and create their own online spaces and platforms that reflect their
voices, values, and visions.
The internet is the new civil rights frontier for Black and Hispanic communities, and they have the power
and the potential to shape it for the better. By claiming their internet rights, they can also advance their
civil rights, and contribute to a more just and democratic society for all.
If you have any thoughts about this article or ideas on using digital solutions for your business or
organization, feel free to email me at sauld.cmg@gmail.com.
Saul Davis Cascade Media Group


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