In her recent scholarship, Nakamura examines the exploitation of indigenous women’s labor in the construction of digital devices. Far from saying people of color are not engaged in digital humanities, Nakamura’s work begs for a recentering of the conversation on the parts of the field that are ‘messy’.Moya Z. Bailey, All the Digital Humanists Are White, All the Nerds Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave
The quote found above is much more than a simple reminder that work goes into the products that we use on a regular day. It is a reminder that it takes the compounding hands of many in order to complete any task or job. For example, let’s look at this blog post. Of course, I thought up and typed the contents of this post, but I am subscribed to the services of WordPress. The creation and usability of WordPress took many developers, testers, users, and decades worth of web design research and technique.
We can also look at it from the hardware side of things. I used my personal laptop for the creation of this post. To call the device my own is a stretch as I couldn’t tell you exactly what parts went into its creation or what the circuitry looks like under my keyboard. And I damn sure couldn’t help you fix any of it! (Though I could begin to explain how the OS and hardware talk to each other as I’m a CS major) But the point of this post isn’t to highlight my knowledge(or my lack thereof…), it’s to remind us that the maker is not claiming your creation as your own and neglecting any assistance in its creation.
Being a maker is to be a striker of innovation, someone who is privy to an idea not yet acted upon and bringing in their final piece to the puzzle of creation. The proverb coming from my childhood and Africana roots, “It takes a village to raise a child,” stands out as a perfect phrase to describe what it takes for something to be made. Whether that is a child or a product, if only influenced by one, the result will be incomplete, faulty, and narrow in its purpose.
This realization pushes my interest in the vast umbrella of DH deeper as I’m very interested to see new and innovative ways to represent this space. I am most interested in the ways that different cultures impose themselves onto the discourse.