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Comments by YACCS
Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Us coloreds don't be bloggin;'

They don't blog

Here we go again. Loaded mouth pointed this out

This post by Chicago Dyke at CorrenteWire got my attention, basically because it sounds so familiar: "The Mostly Bearable Whiteness of Blogging":

Jet lag sucks, and I’ve got it bad. So my serious posts about the West Coast Blogger Gathering will have to wait a bit. But I had a conversation with a black friend tonight, and I have to point this out, however painful it may be to hear: the Blogosphere is pretty white. Out of perhaps 100 people I saw this weekend who were connected or constructive in the Blogosphere, 90% seemed white to me. I couldn’t talk to everyone and there was plenty of candlelight and wine, so my estimate could be off, but that was my impression. There are so many important moments of analysis in this observation, I’ll let you all run with them. But it’s important to remember as we discuss issues and policies that have an impact on a much more diverse population.

Do what you can to invite a person of color to the lefty blogosphere today. Our lack of diversity is one of a very few real flaws in our community, but it’s not that hard to change.

And, unfortuantely, the first comment in the thread was, in my opinion, pretty racist:
Blacks seem very apathetic about it all. I’ve noticed that for a number of years, now.
Why is it that people who comprise the groups which work for many progressive causes are whiter than Casper the Friendly Ghost?

Maybe a better question for a white progressive to ask is if you can go upto a random black person on the street, explain to them that you're helping them, and then see if you get laughed at, get a dirty look, receive a positive reponse, or if you just receive silence.

I remember back when I was an active member of the RI Green Party, and at our 2001 state convention, Elizabeth Horton Sheff gave the key note speech. She is a black woman, Green Party member, and elected the the Hartford (CT) City Council. Besides Sheff and those who accompanied her, the rest of the room was filled with a bunch of white faces. For a political party who made battling racism one of the key tenets of its platform, why were the Greens so white?

Basically, Sheff told us, it's a lack of communication. The Greens were a bunch of college educated progressives who simply talk amongst themselves in the language that hardcore political junkies understood -- but nobody else could understand.

The Green Party was hardcore for the hardcore. It was where political junkies -- who lived and breathed politics -- went because they weren't satisfied with their other options. The Democrats sold out too much, so the Greens fled and started their own party because they just couldn't stand talking to anybody else.

There are many similarities to the problem of the Greens and the problem that the blogosphere faces. Let's face it, political blogs are for political junkies; it's hardcore for the hardcore.

You try telling a friend of yours who isn't as much of a political junkie as you are -- black, white, asian, hispanic, polkadotted, it doesn't matter -- try telling them to read your blog. They'll probably be like.. Yeah, sure, uh huh. Right. They might hit up your blog, or other popular blogs, a time or two, but that's it. Blogs don't speak to people who aren't political junkies.

Saying that blacks are "apathetic" is a racist cop out that shouldn't be tolerated. If bloggers expect our little universe to become more diverse, we're going to have to learn how to talk to people other than ourselves. Otherwise, "netroots" and the Green Party will share a common fate.

It is absolutely condescending to assume black people don't read or write blogs. When you want to see liberal racism in action, it is this kind of low expectation bullshit you constantly have to face.

Blogs are a tool. The same kind of people who read Harpers are going to gravitate to blogs. The same people who read Cargo and Maxim are going to gravitate to blogs.

They just won't be the same kinds of blogs. I bet some people read sites and don't even realize that they are blogs.

Black people are apathetic?

How the fuck do you answer that?

This is how: if I don't leave the house before 1 PM on a Sunday, I can't get newspaper. When I rode the train daily, it was the blacks and latinos reading the Daily News or Post. Did the person who posted that actually deign to talk to a negro?

The problem is that the same people who think the Nation is a bastion of progressive thought with a pausity of non-white staff, tend to have the loudest voices.

The fact that women-run blogs have been expanding, that we have no idea who blogs or how many of those people happen to be black also never seems to come up.

Black people will use blogs like everyone else. We don't need to be escorted in by patronizing white people.

I mean, how many times do you go to any social function and 90 percent of the people are white? Happens to me a lot.

Stop talking to and about black people like they are children. That would be a first start.

posted by Steve @ 8:12:00 AM

8:12:00 AM

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