Friday, October 4, 2013

Why the "Black" in Black Data Processing Associates?

BDPA founder Earl Pace shared this message with National BDPA Board of Directors back in November 1992. His message resonates today in 2013 as much as it did 21 years ago.

"You have asked me to submit a written statement as to why BDPA has 'Black' has part of its name. Does the United Jewish Appeal have to explain 'Jewish'? Do the Polish American Clubs explain 'Polish'? Does the National Association of Women Business Owners explain 'Women'? The name explains who we were organized to serve and where our objectives are directed.

Perhaps the response to those who question our use of the word 'Black' should simply be, 'That's our name. That is how you will know it is us. Do *YOU* have a problem with the word 'Black'? What does it mean to *YOU*?'

The stated objectives of BDPA are to:
  1. strengthen the expertise of people of color in the computer field
  2. offer this expertise to people of color considering computer-related careers
  3. broaden the knowledge of technological advances in our community
  4. participate in community activities directly related to the computer field
It should be noted that membership in BDPA is open to all persons regardless of race, creed, sex or national origin.

However, since it's inception BDPA's orientation and programs have been directed towards African Americans. Why? Because as was the case in 1975, African Americans still experience a disproportionate share of unemployment job discrimination and career blockage.

If our objectives and programs are sound and fair, that is what you are supporting. Not a name. I hope this concludes this exercise and discussion that has taken up much, too much of our time and energy. Either we are 'Black' or we are not!"

I appreciate Earl for taking time to share his perspective on the 'name' issue. I've heard many argue about our organization's name for much of the past 35 years. My personal solution has been simple -- I refer to our organization almost exclusively by it's acronym, BDPA. I figure that BDPA can consider changing its name once AT&T decides to remove 'telegraph' or NAACP decides to remove 'colored people'. BDPA is a wonderful organization of Black professionals in the information technology industry who are doing good works all over the nation. Let BDPA be known by its deeds!

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