I don’t know how many BooTrib members are black. I suspect the number is very low. That impression holds for all the various left-wing blogs I normally visit. Christopher Rabb is an African-American blogger. I can’t be certain, but I believe he coined the term: ‘blogging while black’. He has some interesting things to say about racism, and the segregation of the blogosphere.
And speaking of colors, the term “racism” seems to have taken a back seat in the U.S. in recent years to “bias”, “discrimination” and “racial bigotry”. At the Institute on Politics, Democracy and the Internet conference in DC a few weeks ago — on a masochistic binge — I indulged the pendantry of the head (whose name I’ve not chosen to remember) of the Right’s MoveOn.org, better known as RightMarch.com.
After trying unsuccessfully to win me over to his anti-choice ideology by making an analogy between human fetuses and enslaved African-American adults of Antebellum Era America, he casually referred to “reverse-racism”. When I replied that I was not familiar with “reverse-racism”, he bristled a bit. I added, “I’m sorry. Are you referring to a time when a Black person acted in bigoted fashion?” Yes, he said semi-surprised/confused. I added again, “I didn’t know that’s what ‘reverse-racism’ was; I just thought that was being an asshole.”
He laughed, but saw in my look that there was more to my quip than I chose to verbalize.
That being said, I will not spare you the subtext of that exchange.
Interestingly, there is far more consensus on race between whites and people of color on the Right, then there is on the Left. Ironically, the white elite of the Right and Left seem to want the same thing: for people of color on their side of the political spectrum to talk about issues of race and diversity only through their eyes. Black, Brown and Yellow conservatives seem to be on message with very few exceptions; however many of us colored folk on the Left choose to be stakeholders in defining and distributing the message in its underlying values and assumptions.
We have built some amazing virtual silos so far, but virtually no navigable bridges to connect them. And until these silos are created within and by the communities in which they are built, are given the exposure and support they deserve from an array of people, organizations/institutions and media (within and without) AND commit to building secure and bridges link them to others, the Internet — and especially the blogosphere — will be vastly more segregated than the society we live in now.
The good news is that we are the authors of whatever collective destiny we choose to set for ourselves. And if this prospect emboldens you, then it is incumbent upon all of us to lead by example and now cower from constructive criticism, awkwardness and informed dissent.
This is not only the challenge for the “A-List bloggers’; this is the opportunity for 21st century America to shrug off the malaise of a half-century of desegration and commit itself to a level of inclusion and integration this country has never really known.
The most glaring fault of the new left-wing blogging revolution is it’s overwheming whiteness. This is probably a simple socio-economic phenomenon. But, that makes it all the more incumbent that we reach out and find minority activists, and invite them to the party. We need to support their blogs. We need to link to their blogs and discuss the issues they think are important. We need to push for more internet access in schools, and community centers.
We cannot be an honest leftist community that represents the full spectrum of the American left, if we fail to do so.