I’m a tech enthusiast. It’s something that I can’t help – I was just born that way. Growing up, I couldn’t help the fact that my family had the resources to always have a new computer in our home, and I couldn’t help the fact that the education I was provided included classes on software development and future industries. I couldn’t help the fact that I came from money and means and that I was encouraged to go into app development – it’s who I am. It’s basically my race.
I don’t work in tech now, but I do identify with fellow technology enthusiasts. I identify with developers, and I pay close attention to the increasingly hostile attitudes towards my people in San Francisco.
While creating memes yesterday, I was looking at old photographs from WW2. Pictures from the camps. Pictures from the Polish ghettos in which Jews were required to wear gold stars, creating a sense of otherness and adding to the necessary fear that Hitler needed to create to justify the Holocaust. While these images were nothing new to me, something about them felt different. Something about them felt incredibly current.
“What if those little gold stars had cameras on them?” I thought to myself. “What if they could help you find restaurants or check your stock portfolio while you were on the go?”
As I jotted down my brilliant idea for a new piece of wearable tech, I realized that there’s not much of a difference between what those Jewish families faced in Poland, and what modern tech workers are facing in San Francisco. It’s just plain old racism, and it’s even worse now because people aren’t being attacked because of their faith or cultural background – they’re being attacked because they have lots of money and great ideas for gadgets.
When I read about rocks being hurled at the Google buses – the commuter system that ferries tech dynamos from “the ghetto” (recently gentrified neighborhoods where they have displaced longtime residents) to their “synagogue” (the Google headquarters where they make inordinate amounts of money to come up with things like Glasses that you can talk to) – I couldn’t help but think of the Freedom Riders in the south. I couldn’t help but think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A man, who like many in tech, had a dream. A dream that one day young white girls and young black girls would play together – hopefully assisted by some kind of app that matches interracial friends based on location and skin tone.
I thought about those Freedom Riders, and how they had to stand up to local police departments that were predominantly staffed by KKK members. I realized that those Freedom Riders are just like today’s tech workers. Except they didn’t have WiFi on their buses.
“Hey Glass,” I said to my 1500 dollar glasses that record strangers without their permission. “Look up pictures of black people from the 60’s.”
They used to dress so nice back then. Kind of like how tech workers dress now. I felt like I was going to cry. Luckily I am physically incapable of weeping, as I had my tear ducts removed last year as to not accidentally damage my expensive nerd goggles that are only available to an exclusive group of people.
It’s funny, according to everything I hear outside of the snotty lamentations of my fellow tech enthusiasts, white people like myself are considered universal oppressors. Especially rich white people that are displacing those without means. But, if you think about it, and look at it through the Lens Of Innovation, it’s actually the affluent tech workers who are oppressed. The Google employees are basically the Freedom Riders and the Jews in Poland.
The poor people are Nazis, and the poor people are the ones we should be throwing rocks at. Not the tech people – not the people that the rocks hurt more. We bleed just like the poor, but our clothes are more expensive and so is our wearable tech. You’re causing more damage by hurting us.
It’ll be interesting to see how history views this debate. It’ll be good to know that I was right. In 40 years, people will look back and recognize the struggle of the brave tech workers against the oppressive lower income families that sought to destroy and oppress the only people that actually cared about making the world a better place.