Get to the Back of the Bus – Mac Segregation
I am having a very unusual computing experience here and now. I
loaned my old reliable Mac 8500 to my son to do an animation, and
then my trusty Mac 7100 went south on me late last week. Horrors!
I have not been without a Mac for a number of years.
This situation would be a great excuse to go out and buy that
iMac I want, but for now it is not to be. -So here I am sitting
(ahem…) at a borrowed Windoze PC to write on, and to check
my email. In the process I am finding out a few minor revelations
about being a Mac user.
I rarely use Microsoft products on my Mac. This is because MS is
the Windows software company. But a few MS products were once
necessary to me, and once used, there is no way to migrate now to
another software application. Therefore, on my Mac I use Internet
Explorer since Netscape Navigator and iCab have trouble staying
aloft when I go on line. I understand this is probably because I
use older Macintoshes. IE is not my first choice, but it is
stable enough, and used on a Mac is not bad for a browser.
(shhhh!) The same situation goes with my email. I use Outlook
Express. I would prefer another, but with my thousands of email
files that no other email client can open, I am stuck.
It is not a revelation to me that I am stuck right now, without
my Macintosh. The revelation is the realization that I am
continually being sent to the back of the bus by this whole
computer culture thing, and by Microsoft in particular.
You understand the concept of being sent to the back of the bus?
Second class people are required to sit there. People not good
enough to sit in the front. This of course comes from a group of
people who elected themselves first class citizens, and for whom
there are no laws written (or enforced) to keep them from
practicing their segregation.
Perhaps it is because as a country we now have (for the most
part) gotten rid of racial segregation and prejudice. People
around us still seem to need to practice these things somehow, so
they do it to all us Mac users, -and quite effectively too.
You want parts and service, or software for your old Mac? Get to
the back of the bus! You got to pay more for all that, provided
you can even find a service center that will touch a Mac.
You want a local dial up account for your Mac? Get to the back of
the bus! You will have to wait a longer time to get on line, have
more disconnects, and pay a premium to your local ISP because
they “don’t support Macs here.”
BTW, don’t bother asking for their tech support either. Get to
the back of the bus!
If you happen to work on a PC temporarily you will see more of
Try logging on to a Mac site, or a Mac email account from
Windows. Get to the back of the bus! All you will get for your
trouble is the message “Page cannot be displayed.” Apple, and Mac
sites, it seems, are for second class citizens. Therefore, don’t
go there on a PC.
You want more examples?
I used to work as an illustrator and animator. My resume, and my
portfolio was required to contain some work done on a PC if I
wanted to get work. What,s worse, many temp agencies and
employers are PC only houses, and they will not even consider a
potential employee who has the word “Mac” in his resume. Years
ago, I used to proudly put “I don’t do windows!” on my resume,
but I could not do that more recently. Instead I had to advertise
up front that I could work across multiple platforms.
Therefore, as an artist, using a Mac made me a second class
employee, if I were employed at some places. Get to the back of
Oh, there are a few great places to work where Macs are the Thing
to use. There are even a few wonderful companies who do not
practice this brainless segregation. To them, Macs are tools to
use for certain jobs, and PCs are for another. This is an oft
overlooked and even secret part of what makes these companies so
productive. PCs can’t do graphics very well, and they are not
cost effective or productive. So, PC only graphics companies
often lose contracts because of missed deadlines and/or poor
presentation performance. Companies that use Macs almost never
have these kinds of problems.
Want to find these great companies? Look at the more profitable
graphics companies and art houses. They are around. But for the
most of corporate America, you had better leave your Mac skills
off your resume. Get to the back of the bus!
You want more?
You go to college, and you want to use the computer lab so that
you can type and print some of your assignments. What? No Macs
here? All there are on campus are PCs? Get to the back of the
Try getting an online account at most any bank. Got to have a PC,
and only a PC. Get to the back of the bus!
Want to pay your utility bills online? Sorry, got to have a PC.
Get to the back of the bus!
Want to apply for a particular credit card online? Get a PC. Get
to the back of the bus!
You want to see that movie clip at a particular site? Got to have
Real Player or the MS Player version for PCs. No Quicktime here.
You are out of luck. Get to the back of the bus!
Music downloads? Cool MP3 players? Not all of them work on a Mac.
You just got downgraded, my friend. Get to the back of the bus!
How about games, both on line and for single players? You already
know the story. You use a Mac. Get to the back of the bus!
You want to take a friend to a computer store to help him see all
the cool Macs? He or she will probably wonder why you have to go
over to a dark corner somewhere in the store, and face a pitiful
display of equipment and software, poorly displayed and
neglected. How many of you have experienced this? Get to the back
of the bus, you second class Mac user, you! Your friend will
likely buy a PC and be in Windows hell forever.
(Thank you, Bill Gates!)
There are many other things like this, but you get the point,
I do not know about you, but I am very tired of being treated
like a second class computer user. Somehow even in America, where
such things should not exist, they do for Mac users, and no one
sees it. These things also exist for every Linux and Amiga user,
don’t they? (Thanks for the reminder, Eolake.)
What should you and I do?
I do not have all the answers, and no particular group seems to
have a real answer either. But those of us who evangelize the Mac
to everyone else are not going to shut up, and we are not going
away. Computer apartheid cannot last forever.
How big is this issue? Not very. I understand that it is not like
my basic freedoms given to me by this country are being
threatened here. I chose to use the Mac after all, so I am really
to blame for my own problems. I can accept that.
I also understand that it does not matter to anyone but another
Mac user that I use a superior Mac computer, with a more advanced
and stable operating system than any of those who use PCs.
Nor do most people care that my Mac is virus free, or that my
software and hardware is much more easily installed, or even that
my Mac computer crashes less often and less tragically than
for anyone who uses their PC.
My Mac IS more stable, and more USEFUL than any PC could ever be!
The Mac is also much more productive, and it even comes with an
innate sense of freedom that is unique in the computer world.
It doesn’t even matter to anyone that my colorful Mac computer is
more elegant and esthetically pleasing than some mindless gray
box PC could ever be.
We live in a WinTel world, like it or not.
None of these great things about the Mac matter to the legions of
– and therefore, all the self-important PC users do not matter to
So in some situations, when a PC user tells me to get to the back
of the bus, I just grin, and go my way.
I still have my Mac.
Nobody, telling me to get to the back of the bus, is going to
take my Macintosh’s most excellent and joyful computing
experience away from me!
So be proud of what you got!
-and be well,