[OP-ED] Another Black Woman Makes a Sensible Vote: Net Neutrality

[OP-ED] Another Black Woman Makes a Sensible Vote: Net Neutrality

In the same week that African Americans, and black women especially, helped prevent an alleged child molester from obtaining a Senate seat, the first black woman to serve as an FCC commissioner, Mignon Clyburn, was one of two commissioners to vote against the repeal of net neutrality.

Net neutrality was repealed on Thursday by a vote of 3-2. The FCC commissioners voted based on political party lines—the Republican-appointed commissioners, including President Trump’s appointed FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, all voted for repeal. Clyburn, and the only other woman FCC commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel, voted against repealing the regulations.

It’s hard to fathom why net neutrality is even a political issue. The only argument Republicans really make in being against it is that net neutrality has somehow shackled internet innovation. For instance, Republican Rep. Steve Scalise posted this vague, vapid tweet celebrating the repeal of net neutrality:

Yet, those for repeal, have provided no evidence of net neutrality impeding internet access, competitive pricing, speeds, or innovation in any way. Anti-net neutrality arguments lack substance and are steeped in ideology, not facts.

However, there are very real concerns about what can happen with net neutrality regulations rolled back.

I interviewed Clyburn back in March and she provided very eye-opening insight into why protecting net neutrality was so important. She called net neutrality, “the best means of ensuring a free and open platform that has enabled millions in this country and billions around the world to take advantage of opportunity.”

“People have a tendency to focus on some of the big picture aspects when it comes to open internet. I call it open internet because, for me, that describes it so clearly. When we talk about freedom of expression, to flourish, I can’t think of any other platform that has been so empowering. There should be no tolls, no barriers. If you should not prefer my website over another [for example], I should be able to use any device of my choice if it’s not harmful. I shouldn’t be blocked or limited because I don’t have social, economic, or political ties to big business or the industry. It’s going to be difficult to talk people into moving away from the protections we have been allowed,” she also said.

Read the full interview with Commissioner Clyburn here.