Who’s “One laptop per child” really for?


I am at such a crossroads on this subject. If you haven’t been in the know on this, for a year or more now it’s really been a big thing to create an affordable laptop for use by children in Africa or impoverished Asian country. The laptop is supposed to be $100 (that’s why you may also hear of it as the $100 laptop). Here’s my dilemma. I’m of African decent so I’m treading very carefully there. Also, my wife is a special education teacher and I started out teaching children computers.

Here’s the beef. Who are these laptops for… Really? The reason being this world isn’t that generous. I can guarantee you that the second these pan out that you’ll see quite a few of them at Starbucks. That’s the only reason for everybody is so concerned with it. Of course there are going to be pictures of a couple of kids in Africa that have no power or lights at home but will be smiling and using the laptop.

What’s the point in that? Why are we trying to fool ourselves? A computer is a tool. Please, don’t see it more than this. If you gave me a tractor today it would be utterly useless to me. If they started the one tractor per man project I’d think, “Wow, that’s great, but I could have just used a lawn mower for my lawn.” It’s the same here. I don’t want to deprive their growth but why not just have learning centers where they have desktops? The reason is we are not as altruistic as we want to seem. I can guarantee that fifty times more of these laptops will end up in modern suburban homes of people that could afford to pay more but are saving money. We don’t like to pay for anything. I know I don’t.

So if for one second you believe that we’re trying to help out all those kids (especially BOYS that can’t get into the Oprah Winfrey Girls learning center that is totally sexist), you’ve been deceived. The laptops that aren’t funneled into the corrupt local governments of these countries will be in the cities.

The good thing is, the laptops run Linux. You don’t really need to hack them that much to make them totally usable with everything. Just a little bit of know how.

Sorry for the rant it’s just been in the news and bugging me. How could we possibly believe that a group of people that don’t have much food, water, or power could be thinking or want the chic factor of a laptop.

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