McPherson points out that when considering the historic events of the late twentieth century, many people, including myself, forget that while there was change among racial and gender equality, simultaneously, there were changes in the technological world. She goes on to argue though these same people do not connect the two historically important improvements of society, there is, in fact, an indirect relationship that is intertwining, like the DNA in which we are coded ourselves. By making this connection, she implies that like a computer, coded with instructions o how to perform certain functions, humans are also “coded” for lack of a better term to act the way we do in terms of race, gender, etc.
Though there is little seen in The Bug about race, there is a lot to be noted about behavior. As we’ve discussed in class, Ethan is constantly acting in what he believes is best for him and his program, especially when it comes to fixing the bug. In McPherson’s work she states, “Certain modes of racial visibility and knowing coincide or dovetail with specific ways of organizing data: if digital computing underwrites today’s information economy and is the central technology of post-World War II America, these technologized ways of seeing/knowing took shape in a world also struggling with shifting knowledges about and representations of race.” So to simplify it, McPherson is saying that because society had already been documenting others based on race, that is why post-World War two, we continue to take that into consideration when organizing our data. This is similar to the scene where Ethan is on the plane on the way to Colorado and talks with Dan Wheatley. Before Ethan had met him, he categorized himself as a failure because he is not able to figure out how to fix his program. Then, Dan is meant to be Ethan’s World War two, it was meant to be a wake up call saying that, “it’s not about you. Who the hell really cares about you? The failure is in the system, and the fear should not be for your ego but for the people who’ll use the system” (pg 232). Yet like society, Ethan’s categorization of himself did not change more, instead he became frustrated with Wheatley because Ethan realized that his representation of himself towards Wheatley had shifted to apathetic.
All in all, at first I did not understand how I could find any connection between McPherson’s argument and The Bug, after reading both and analyzing thoroughly, it was easier to see that though race was the big picture in McPherson’s, what she focused on was the way human’s were coded that enabled us to act this way towards those of a different race, and that reminded me of the way Ethan behaves towards everyone who does not think the same was as him.