Jamaica’s obsession with iPhones doesn’t mean technology is fully accessible in our country

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Everybody has an iPhone – except me – and I’ll be honest… I get it. The build quality is great, the OS is top tier, and yes, the camera. I definitely believe in iPhone camera supremacy. 

But just because you and all your friends have iPhones and MacBooks, and our population is obsessed with pretending to be wealthy, doesn’t mean that Jamaica’s technology accessibility problem is solved.

It’s staggering just how little Kingstonians and those from ‘Upper St. Andrew’ know about the ‘country’ outside of their little haven. This level of urban privilege isn’t afforded to those in unheard of places in our country.

Everyday, the lack of accessibility, and uneven plane of opportunity, stares our fellow Jamaicans in their faces, while our friends and I argue about when Instagram Reels will finally come to Jamaica, so that we can join the rest of the world in boasting about our lives and achievements. 

When we get annoyed that the latest iOS updates are taking too long to roll out, others can’t access cell service. While we argue that the Apple M1 chip that we spent upwards of USD$1,200 to purchase in the iPad Pro isn’t worth the money, since Apple refused to enable it’s full capability, many Jamaicans can’t afford to access the internet so their children can attend classes.

Let’s remove our rose colored glasses for a moment.

What is accessibility? 

Accessibility is defined as “the quality of being easy to obtain or use.” 

We love to pretend that Jamaica is only made up of Kingston & St. Andrew – and this extends beyond just matters of technology. It reaches into the arenas of general infrastructure, health care, access to jobs and education, and just about everything else. 

The measure of accessibility is the ease of obtaining, not by those who have the means, but by those who don’t. Getting what you want is easy when you can pay your way, or when you have the leverage to get into the circles that can get you through the closed doors and into the high chambers. It’s not accessible to you, it’s just that you can afford it.

Life is different when you’re born in a small community that even JPS doesn’t like. 

Technology can’t be considered truly accessible until our most vulnerable people can access these things. That is how we ought to look at it.

Can our poor children get access to the phones, tablets, computers, and internet connections to access their basic right to education? Can our elderly access mobile banking via phone or internet that our economic climate is forcing us all into? Can our young adults gain access to computers so they can do something as simple as create resumes to apply for jobs?

No? Then what does that say about accessibility? Jamaica is a country hyper focused on neglecting our vulnerable, and consumed with maintaining our own image.

That iPhone you’ve got…I bet it takes some good pics right? The first rule of good photography is composition. You think you’re shining on the ‘gram but you’ve got struggling people in the background of the country you’re broadcasting so proudly. You should join the cause for fixing that background. 

Defending each other makes for a better composition than blind privilege.

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