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Author Topic: Are black inventors really overlooked?  (Read 150 times)

Braden

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Are black inventors really overlooked?
« on: January 17, 2005, 04:40:08 PM »
All throughout high school I was taught time and time again that their was some systematic plan on behalf of white society to down play the role of blacks in every day inventions. It seemed that the entire month of February (I know it is Black History Month) turned every class into a 50 minute diatribe about how blacks invented this and that. But I always wondered, are these inventors over shadowed because they are black or because no one really cares about inventors.

Evidence no one cares about inventors: Philo T. Farnsworth (a white man) invented the non-mechanical television, but by the time of his death was forgotten by society.

See also: http://www33.brinkster.com/iiiii/inventions/
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WoeIsMe

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Re: Are black inventors really overlooked?
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2005, 04:56:56 PM »
I won't necessarily challenge the statement of black inventors being overlooked, but will question the role of invention and patents / property.

To begin, I'd probably say that patents are probably one of the most complex areas of law, and is not merely a 'reward for an invention', but a long and drawn out process for claiming property.  If there is a group of people who has less access to legal resources in general, it's pretty safe to say their access to understanding the patent system is orders of magnitude smaller.  Keep in mind, invention is not enough to get a patent, it's following the beaurocratic rigamarole to the T, and generally this is in the domain of wealthy, sophisticated corporations.  I'd venture to say 90% of whiteys would have a difficult time with the procedural hoops.  Hasn't the law always been a tool for the wealthy to beat up the guys with smaller sticks?  anyway, digressing.. the point is, it's certainly possible to imagine many independent inventors arriving at the same invention, where only 1 gets credit such as the westinghouse patents.  it's also possible to imagine someone developing 99% of an invention, and a more sophisticated client claiming his work is not fully enabling, adding the enabling feature and then take full credit.  You get the picture..  it's certainly understandable how someone (especially prior to civil rights movement) to substantially steal or take credit of another's work.  It's like whiteys moving to Indian land and claiming the property for their own.


WoeIsMe

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Re: Are black inventors really overlooked?
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2005, 05:08:39 PM »
i was looking at the site and noticed the dates of the alleged black inventors always postdated that of the cited original inventor.  just wanted to add, it would be impossible to know without the claims (legalese property) and knowledge of the apparatus of the black inventor.  The general categories cited are just too broad.

HBCU.EDU

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Re: Are black inventors really overlooked?
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2005, 05:12:53 PM »
And you said that with a modicum of sincerity. :-\

Braden

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Re: Are black inventors really overlooked?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2005, 05:15:11 PM »
That is an interesting point, I think the work on Charles Drew is most telling. He did amazing things, unfortunately he is remembered for things he never did.  

Also, this is another example of the problems with patent law. Where as it may be intended to protect inventors it has served mainly as a drain on their finances and works mainly to protect large well connected corporations.
3.6 (Mech Engr/Math/Econ (minor)), (167 and 179), Lots of ECs, and a guy with long blonde hair(that should make me an URM):
In:Michigan!, DUKE
Out:Yale, Harvard
Waitlist: Penn