Blackosphere & Whitosphere: Silence is Never Golden

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Also discussed at:

Cross-posted at

Matt Stoller of MyDD opened a compelling dialogue a few days ago by asking whether it was necessary for Blacks and whites (and I would add women and other sociological minorities) to frequent the same blogs in order for the Democratic Party to maximize Party chances for electoral success.  

Matt said,

Now first I'm going to address this community about our culture.  Most MyDD readers are comfortable within what I call 'Jewish political culture', which is a very individualistic, progressive style of argumentative discourse . . .  There are lots of other cultures out there, and lots of other ways of thinking about the world.  These represent themselves online, but they don't necessarily represent themselves here.  Does it matter that they don't?  Maybe.  Maybe not. 12/293#commenttop

Because the phrase "divide and conquer" is such a fundamental part of our political parlance,  it ought not be necessary to argue, as I do, that a political party whose communication is divided by a color line will necessarily be less successful than a party that communicates across lines of color. So, the short to Matt's question is, "Yes, blog apartheid within the Democratic Party does reduce Democrats' chances for electoral success.

If in 2008 Black people and Latinos fail to vote in sufficient numbers for the Democratic presidential candidate to win Florida and Ohio, then whites will hypothesize endlessly about the "cultural" reasons for Blacks failure to vote.  Whites may not ever consider that they simply exercised their majority power within the Party to nominate a candidate whom Blacks and Latinos really did not like very much.  Although Black people always vote reliably and overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party, our turnout and, therefore, the election results often depend upon the degree of Blacks enthusiasm for the candidate chosen by the Party.  If the Party chooses a candidate whom we do not like, Black activists within the Party find it all the more difficult to mobilize Black voters.  So, when you hear Black voters say that a proposed candidate is "just another white [man]", this ought, logically, to give you pause.

If Blacks cannot express our opinions to whites about the proposed Democratic candidates by participating at Democratic blogs, then where can we express to white Democrats what we think and feel about the proposed candidates?  It's true that we can clam up and wait to express ourselves in the voting booths during primary elections, but if - out of simple ignorance of our wishes, the white majority of Democrats nominates a candidate for whom Blacks simply have no enthusiasm, then the next best way to express ourselves is by letting your candidate die in the fires of white Democrats' electoral hubris when the final election arises.

This is why, when Blacks and whites and Latinos support is needed to elect Democrats, an "I'll see you in court" approach to selecting candidates does not benefit the Democratic Party.  "I'll see you in court!" is something people say AFTER making an attempt to communicate with each other in an open and civil fashion.  To the extent that this attitude dominates the Democratic Party, the Republican Party will be the chief beneficiary.

Whites increasingly communicates amongst each other about candidates at whitosphere blogs, just as we Blacks do at our Blackosphere blogs.  If our blogs are not the place for for us also to communicate across color lines, aware of and determined to bridge our differences for the sake of the common good, then where, by God, in segregated America, will this communication occur?  If whites choose or permit themselves to communicate at blogs that are segregated, it can only be because they do not really value Black and Latino political participation in all it most obvious potential forms.  If so, then such whites do not deserve our participation and they can go to . . . to the polls doubting whether Blacks and Latinos will participate in the necessary numbers.

I am not the only Black who feels this way as a result of the de facto blogger apartheid practiced at prominent "progressive" whitosphere blogs.

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With some trepidation, because I have not cleared it with him, I am going to quote something that I read at the Field Negro website.  The Black blogger comments on my use at MyDD of the terms "whitosphere" and "blogger apartheid", and on original graphic I prepared to capture the objective demographic truth of Blacks' experience at white "progressive blogs", that DailyKos is 2.5% Black while MyDD is 1.5% black according to internal polls at these blogs. /12568/75943 The Black blogger somewhat angrily disagrees with my assertion that more Black and white interaction in the blogosphere is necessary and desirable:

Mr. Holland seems to be screaming for more black inclusion in the Whitosphere, and more black links to sites like Daily Kos and My DD etc. This is where my man and I tend to part company. I personally could give a f**k whether My DD or Daily Kos, or any of the other so called white progressive blogs link me or even include me in their discussion. Honestly, their issues aren't my issues. I know they have very strong political beliefs and are tied to the democratic party and it's leaders, but not me, and this is going to surprise some people. But I would just as soon vote for a republican over a democrat if I thought he had my people's best interest at heart. So I really don't give a f--k which party a particular politician belongs to. The reason I happen to despise most republicans is that they just happen to be the most f - - - d up when it comes to matters of race. But don't get it twisted, some democrats are f -- - d up too. And I will never walk lock step with any one party. NEVER! This is what separates me from the Daily Kos My DD crowd, and what I think ultimately might separate me from people who are crying for inclusion.

Call me a separatist, but I am more proud to be linked to sites like Skeptical Brotha, Freeslave, and Mirror On America than to the more popular progressive white sites like Kos, My DD, and their ilk. And for the record, I have links to white sites on my blog as well. -My man konagod and the aforementioned My DD comes to mind- so I guess I am not such a separatist after all.
I am glad Mr. Holland raised this subject, it needed to be addressed. My position on this is pretty clear, but I understand the opposite school of thought: We should try to learn about each other, and from a political standpoint, it benefits the democratic party to get a feed back from it's most reliable constituents. But you can't force inclusion on people, I don't care how progressive they claim to be. We have given up on the republicans, because we realize that they have given up on us. Maybe we should take that position with the democrats as well. 

If nothing else is clear from that quote, it ought to be clear that blogger apartheid is making Black bloggers angry at white progressives.  They have all of the tools to blog, and they do so independently, but they have been marginalized in the whitosphere.

Blogger apartheid divides the Democratic blogosphere, and those who willfully engage in behavior that divides their own Party ought not be surprised when they find their Party conquered at the polls.  Blacks are angry at white unwillingness to engage in open communication on a level playing field within the whitosphere.

For example, a blog that does not have 20% links to the Blackosphere does not represent a Party where delegates to the Democratic National Convention are 20% black.  A blog with less than 20%-30% Black and Latino links insults a necessary player and is engaging in <strong<negative</strong> communication and foreclosure of intraparty communication.  This can and will have consequences at the polls.  It ought to be clear that lack of communication does not pose merely a "threat" of negative consequences.  It is in itself a negative that cannot help but manifest itself in everything the Democratic Party says and does.

When whitosphere blogs ignore the First Amendment to the US Constitution and implement blog rules in which white members decide what Blacks will be permitted to say, then whites eviscerate the Constitutional protections for free speech on which minority/majority communication depends.  Just as between whites, if Blacks cannot say things that whites don't like in the context of a political discussion, then there's no point in us communicating with whites at all.  

Yet the whitosphere lacks the fundamental Constitutional guarantees that make open discussion possible in a pluralistic society.  As in Apartheid South Africa, Blacks (and others) can be permanently banned from expressing themselves in the whitosphere if we say things that whites really don't like.  As you can see from the above quote from the Field Negro site, most of what Blacks most need to say is things that whites least want to hear.  While some at MyDD chide me for using the term "whitosphere", other Blacks immediately adopt the term and my graphic because it expresses their own experience with white "progressives" management of the principal progressive whitosphere blogs.

Yet, literally ignoring Black opinion can only have negative consequences.  Consider for example the case of white progressive's love for John Edwards and Al Gore.  The 2000 election should have taught us that every vote will be needed in 2008, since Al Gore was cheated out of electoral victory in Florida by less than 700 votes.  In 2008, can the Democratic Party afford to nominate a white male candidate whom (unlike Bill Clinton) Blacks simply don't like, while passing over highly qualified candidates for whom Blacks and Latinos are genuinely enthusiastic?  Of course, Blacks supported Gore overwhelmingly but, to the degree that additional Black votes would have helped, more of an effort was needed to give them a reason to vote.  More coordination was needed to assure that Blacks could vote and that our votes would be counted.

Without discussing the issue at all with Blacks, Latinos and women, it would be easy for white men in isolation to believe that John Edwards' "two America's" dichotomy captures our sense of disenfranchisement and will play well with Black and Latinos.  Yet the opposite is true and the polls are telling us that.  If there were more Blacks and Latinos in the whitosphere, whites would realize that the John Edwards "two Americas" appeal, far from appealing, leaves us cold and resentful.

Most of white America  mistakenly believes that Blacks are the principal beneficiaries of programs designed to end poverty, which is why Ronald Reagan was able to mobilize white anger against welfare programs in the 1980's.  A Democratic candidate who founds his electoral appeal on his desire to help the poor necessarily will alienate some of those voters who fled the Democratic Party to support Ronald Reagan.  So, if forces in the Democratic Party want to make a poverty-based appeal now, they had better make sure that at least the poor within the Democratic Party are in support of those anti-poverty ideas.  Some whitosphere progressives insist that John Edwards can help to alleviate the "two Americas" division of America, but I steadfastly insist that supporting John Edwards perpetuates the status quo.  And this is one example of where white "progressives" really need to listen to what Black people are saying.

Supporting John Edwards Perpetuates the Status Quo
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You can't end the monarchy by supporting the king, and you can't end the political, economic and social disenfranchisement of women and Blacks ("the poor") by electing another wealthy white male as President of the United States.

If you think about it, the most fundamental aspect of the status quo throughout American history has been the literal and figurative disenfranchisement of Black voters and women. They could not hold electoral office and they never have held the highest office in the land because white men ALWAYS have arrogated that office unto themselves, sometimes with the complicity of white women.

If you define the status quo as "the continuing disenfranchisement of those who historically were denied the right to vote and hold elective office", it becomes clear that the election of John Edwards to the Presidency - another white male in a string of 43 consecutive white males - would constitute the clearest possible reaffirmation of the status quo. Once again, women and Black candidates would be passed over with the effect of perpetuating the 43-term exclusively white male monopoly of the US Presidency. Perpetuating the status quo and perpetuating the social, economic and political disenfranchisement of Blacks and women.  Much more so than the majority white male blogosphere, women, Blacks and Latinos agree that ending the white male monopoly of the presidency is a fundamental goals in 2008.

So, electing Edwards to challenge the status quo is like supporting a king to challenge the monarchy or integrating an all-white male club by adding more all-white male club members.

It is possible that electing yet another white man to the Presidency will end the poverty of the historically disenfranchised, with John Edwards serving as a "pass through" for those who have historically been disincluded legally and by custom. But this is a very convoluted way of achieving what could be achieved much more directly by electing Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Of course, ending disenfranchisement is not the only goal of the Presidency, but it is John Edwards' raison d' être, which is why electing Hillary and Barack is the best way to achieve the goal that John Edwards espouses. /02/supporting-edwards-perpetuates-statu s.html

Whites who insist on supporting John Edwards ought not imagine that Edwards' anti-poverty appeals will bring out the votes of Blacks, Latinos or disenfranchised women.  We do not want or need John Edwards to act as a pass through for our participation in the democratic system.  We want to participate directly, ourselves, for the first time in American history, on the Democratic ticket itself.  And that is why the "two Americas" appeals falls flat when coming from wealthy white male John Edwards.

It's no secret that Blacks and Latinos overwhelmingly favor Hillary Clinton and, to a lesser degree right now, Barack Obama.  Women, too, are the majority of the Democratic Party and polls show that they favor the liberal Democratic woman in the presidential race by a significant margin.

As Ebony Magazine reported in May 1993,

IT'S the hottest story to come out of Washington since Bill Clinton broke the 12-year Republican lock on the White House. For the first time in history, four African-Americans--Ron Brown, Mike Espy, Jesse Brown and Hazel O'Leary--will hold seats in the president's cabinet. That's the largest number of Black cabinet officials ever.

Just how significant are these appointments? Never before has a president appointed so many Blacks to the highest ranks of the executive branch. In fact, with the exception of Jimmy Carter, since Lyndon Johnson became the first president to appoint an African-American to his cabinet in 1966, the number of Black cabinet officials in any administration has never exceeded one. One.

But it isn't just the unparalleled increase in number that makes Clinton's selections so historic. Never before has a Black American headed any of these departments: not Commerce, not Agriculture, not Energy, not Veterans Affairs.

What's more, with the appointment of Clifton Wharton Jr. as the No. 2 man at the State Department, Black America has achieved yet another historic first.

In the cozy cacoon of the primarily male and overwhelmingly white blogosphere, it is possible to imagine that only white males' opinions will count, because they will decide through progressive machinations whom the Democratic presidential candidate will be, overwhelm our objections in the primaries, and then the rest of us will accept their hegemonic judgment in November 2008.  This is not going to happen.

I appeal to the whitosphere to listen now and commit yourselves to sharing every instrument of the Party, facilitation communication, coordination and unity by openly inviting and accepting all members of the party into every organ of the whitosphere, regardless of gender, skin, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin and sexual orientation.  I appeal to you to look to the founding documents of our nation - including the US the Constitution and the Bill of Rights - for guidance in terms of how to maintain the integrity of a assemblage that has to meet the needs of diverse people, fundamentally by providing everyone an inalienable right to speak their peace.  

The "banning" of people for legitimate but disfavored political speech has come to an end in South Africa. "Banning" - a political tool used for so long to silence the disenfranchised Black majority under the South Africa apartheid system - should never have been revived at American "progressive" whitosphere blogs; Among people who depend upon each others' active and engaged participation, "silence is never golden".

The Iraq War and the impending Iran war represent victories of a white man determined not to speak with those brown people with whom he disagrees even though the alternative is to resolve through open war the disagreements which he refuses to resolve through open discussion.  It is ironic, but not surprising, that the same white male "progressives" who oppose Bush's war in Iraq should prefer his communication style in the blogosphere of America.

It will not be easy for whites and Blacks to overcome resentments and resistances to collaborate with one another through blogs.  No one can force white "progressives" to assume the challenges of diversity within the whitosphere, just as no one can force Blacks, Latinos and women to enthusiastically support white male progressives' candidates at the polls.

Cross-posted at

Tags: 2008, Apartheid, blackosphere, blacks, Blogosphere, blogs, Latinos, racism, sexism, Whites, whitosphere (all tags)



Hi Francis.

would you like to take me up on the bet that Obama will not be Hillary's VP?

MyDD lifetime banishment?

what do you think?

by TarHeel 2007-02-15 02:00PM | 0 recs
I also must be the only

one who sees Hillary being disenfranchised because her husband served 2 terms as president and maybe she won't as silly

by TarHeel 2007-02-15 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere v. Whitosphere: Silence is Never

Local Lefty blogs offer part of the answer for an integrated blogosphere. All the VA Dem bloggers have the lefty blog wire crawling up their sidebars. Unfortunately we only have two black bloggers right now. So if you are black and live in VA, please start blogging!

by Alice Marshall 2007-02-15 02:58PM | 0 recs
Thanks, Alice! Links to those blogs, please?

I would very much like to look at the blogs you mentioned.  Can you share the links?

I have read recently that there is a push to provide funding for state, regional and local blogs, and I have often wondered whether that effort will be an opportunity to promote communication with and within minority communities.  It would be terrible thing to start a brand new movement in the 21st Century and bring to it the virtual segregation of centuries past.

by francislholland 2007-02-15 03:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere v. Whitosphere: Silence is Never

IF I were you, read in his blog why he got banned at DailyKos.

by jasmine 2007-02-15 03:33PM | 0 recs
Without the 1st Amendment, I be banned everywhere

But it's precisely because we Americans often have things to express that others don't want to hear that the First Amendment was added to our Constitution.  It's there to force us to at least speak to each other about contentious issues before we begin shooting each other over contentious issues.

Like the civil court system, free speech is an essential safety valve that discourages violent self help by giving us a non-violent alternative.  When you begin to "ban" (bind and gag) people, as was done is South Africa, then you oblige those people to engage in violent struggle, as Nelson Mandela and the South African National Congress did.

It is terribly ironic and, indeed painful, that it is the "progressives" of America that have institued a South African banning system wherein the threat of banning is intended to discourage people from expressing disfavored speech.  

It does not surprise me that many of Da Vinci's painting are considered "obscene" and artistically worthless by Republicans.  But it DOES surprise me that urgent argument for intra-party inclusion could be considered obsence at progressive blogs.  In my opinion, a threshold for speech that precludes addressing the exclusion of minorities from white Democratic Party blogs is a threshold that has been set far too low - far lower than the "fire in a crowded theatre" standard of the US Constitution.

by francislholland 2007-02-15 03:44PM | 0 recs
Bush &amp; Iraqi Radio Stations

I'm sure that George W. Bush believes he is justified in shutting down all of the Iraqi radio stations that strongly disagree with him and his policies.  

But, how can we be in favor of free speech for Iraqis while actively shutting down free speech for Blacks in our own blogs?

When you judge my opinions and you think, "Boy, I'd like to force this guy to shut up!", you're having the same thoughts that Bush has when he desperately wants to shut down the dissident radio stations in Iraq.  What makes of fellow Democrats in the blogosphere different from Bush bombing dissident radio stations in Iraq?  It all starts from an unwillingness to hear and consider opinions with which one disagrees.

by francislholland 2007-02-15 03:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere v. Whitosphere: Silence is Never

Please, don't get him started on that again.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-15 04:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere v. Whitosphere: Silence is Never

Francis, I have been thinking of your unequivocal support for Hillary as I read your diary and it leaves me with a question for you.  Excepting her gender, which admittedly has informed her experience, what is there about her that you feel separates her from the white 'male' supremacy paradigm that you so meaningfully oppose?  She seems to be going to a great deal of trouble to let us know she is taking masculine, if I dare say, postions, at least, in foreign policy.  Frankly I feel she is overcompensating.

I get it that she, or at least her husband, has historically had the support of the black constituency.  But she seems, nevertheless, to be representing the centrist, traditional, exclusive, elitist power structure more than any other leading Democratic presidential candidate and I wonder what has led you to believe that she really intends to do something to change things once she has used this machinery to achieve her ambitions.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-15 02:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere v. Whitosphere: Silence is Never

Many Blacks are centrists.  To the degree that we are not, there is not any party in America, including progressives, that represents the ways that we diverge to the left.  

The Clintons have always welcomed Blacks and other minorities into their campaigns and into governance.   That is because the Clintons are liberals and liberals traditionally believe, at least to a greater degree than others, in the value of diversity.

Modern progressives really don't believe in the value of diversity, if the diversity of the blogosphere is any indication.  And so we Blacks continue to trust in the people who DO value diversity:  Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Here is a partial list of the reasons that we know the Clintons value diversity:

Ronald H. Brown, First Black Chairman of the Democratic Party

Ronald H. Brown, First Black Secretary of Commerce

Dr. Jocelyn Elders, First Black Surgeon General

Dr. David Satchel, Second Black Surgeon General

Governor Bill Richardson, First Latino US Ambassador to the United Nations

Governor Bill Richardson, First Latino US Secretary of Energy

Governor Deval Patrick, Assistant US Attorney for Civil Rights in the Clinton Administration

The list goes on and on and on.

Any candidate suggested to me by a blog that has only 1.5% Black membership is unlikely to value diversity as much as the Clintons have proven to value diversity.  And that means that when that candidate who DOESN'T value diversity is elected to office, my opportunities are going to be limitted just as they always were before the Civil Rights Movement.  I don't want to go backward, so I can't risk trusting in "progressives" who haven't expressed and shown a clear commitment to diversity.

The Clinton's commitment to diversity has paid off handsomely for the Democratic Party, with minority Clinton appointees taking over Republican statehouses in Massachusetts and New Mexico.  Still, some progressives can't see the value of diversity, and that blindness to the contributions of others - past, present and future - is terribly, terribly sad and angering.

by francislholland 2007-02-15 03:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere v. Whitosphere: Silence is Never

Sure, I understand the historical record, as I said, but aren't you really looking back over your shoulder at the past rather than forward to the possibilities of the future?  Isn't that a notionally conservative trait, I mean behaviourally, not ideologically?

Also, given Hillary's record in the Senate and her campaign performance, what makes you think that a Hillary presidency is going to be so remarkably like her husband's?

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-15 04:22PM | 0 recs
Trust means a lot to us.

History is very important to Black people, good and bad.  We've suffered much in history, so when a good time comes along we don't forget it easily.  The Clinton years were a relatively good time for Black America - better than any that had came before or since.  

We want to rely on people who have proven themselves trustworthy.  Black people are hardly in such a flush position in America that we can afford to take great risks.

Anyway, as I said above, for us electing the first woman president is not at all conservative.  It is revolutionary and it's a revolution of which we want to be on the cutting edge.  Any step forward for equal rights and responsibilities is a step forward for Black people, because we cannot flourish unless society looks beyond our skin color and is willing to consider our talents and skills.  That's why electing Hillary Clinton is a tremendous step forward for us.

Others who are relatively unknown to us may court our votes, but most of us feel that we cannot and will not risk a very good chance to put Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office.  After such a long voyage when we are nearing our destination, we won't change horses in the middle of the stream.

by francislholland 2007-02-15 06:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Trust means a lot to us.

I understand your position much better on this, Francis, and I thank you for taking the time to explain it.  I must admit I didn't see it clearly from your point of view or why you are so loyal in your support for her, and fair enough too.  And I take your point about the risks.

It still seems to me that looking back over your shoulder to reclaim the 'good times' you just might be missing out on the better time which is around the corner.  Hard to say, isn't it?  Anyhow, I respect your position and I will leave it at that.  If Hillary does get elected I hope you get what you are hoping for.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-15 07:16PM | 0 recs
Thanks, Shaun!

by francislholland 2007-02-16 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere v. Whitosphere: Silence is Never

Very, very interesting.  Thanks for that -- I've been wondering what it was that made blacks support Hillary.

by Nonpartisan 2007-02-15 06:16PM | 0 recs
90 members in my Hillary Facebook Group

A couple of weeks ago, I started an "African-Americans for Hillary Rodham Clinton" group  at Facebook.Com.  Now there are 90 members in the group, with very little promotion on my part.

by francislholland 2007-02-16 05:46PM | 0 recs
Votes Will Divide Up...With Obama Getting Most

Francis...eventually the primaries and caucuses will test your theory that Hillary Clinton is the most attractive candidate to the largest perecentage of African American Democrats.  I bet Barack Obama will receive the most votes from African American Democrats, NOT Hillary Clinton. I am well aware that this is something that Hillary Clinton, and supporters of her, such as yourself, desparately want to avoid, but it is going to happen.  Obama will take the most votes here.  

In fact, Hillary Clinton may end up receiving even less support among these voters than Edwards, because unlike Hillary Clinton, Edwards actually promises in all his speeches to be a President who does something about poverty, the division between the haves and the have nots, taxing the rich, providing health care to all, and ending predatory loan practices.  

By contrast, Hillary barely mentions these issues in her stump speeches (she will never mention taxing anyone), and if she does, she mentions them only in passing. What a candidate actually EMPHASIZES and REPEATS REGULARLY in a campaign will matter to a substantial number of African American Democrats.  

Bottom line:  African American voters are not some artificial singular voting block that commentators, bloggers and the press get to assign to somebody en masse. Considering the present field, logic, reason and history suggest that these votes will divide up between the candidates.  We simply get to argue about the percentages.  Not as sexy, not as "all or nothing," but true.

by Demo37 2007-02-16 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere v. Whitosphere: Silence is Never

Bush had a bunch of minority appointments too despite minorities being a much tinier portion of his party.

by Pravin 2007-02-16 10:03AM | 0 recs
1.5 % membership issue

The difference is Clinton has control over that membership. It is obvious that the admins want more minority participation judging by some of the front page articles. Do you know  of any single African American or minority who has been made to feel unwelcome here just because of their race or even ideas advanced from a minority perspective?  That is not the same as being left unchallenged. If you noticed, you have had jewish members argue passionately among themselves and with others regarding Israeli issues. Yet, I doubt one can say one faction has been muzzled versus the other. A blog involves a lot of conversation. If you feel left out, you have to do something to communication your feelings to make others hear.

I have had diaries in the past arguing against white liberal CW and I did not feel discouraged when very few would agree with me on those issues. I have taken unpopular positions on public schools, Katrina. I even attributed the white liberal comfort to the lack of having to go through what blacks went through.

The blogosphere is what you make of it. Like I said, if you were the admin, what exactly would you do over the next few weeks to make African Americans feel welcome other than trying to invite more over through reciprocity of links(which did not seem to be enthusiastically greeted by the blog you cited). Once you get past thatn point of being registered at MYDD, I can't think of anything else to suggest that would not amount to pandering because once you get in here , it is up to you to make your points here. I would actually worry about your diaries(assuming they are not longwinded like this reply) not getting a response than getting some disagreements. Because not getting response would imply indifference of white liberals to black causes.

by Pravin 2007-02-17 12:00AM | 0 recs
Thanks for asking, Shaun

by francislholland 2007-02-15 03:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere v. Whitosphere: Silence is Never

The 1993 article is about a 1993 Joint Center for Political Studies (Black political organization) celebration of the Clinton Administratoin's appointment of a record number of Black officials.

Joint Center lauds black Clinton appointees in D.C.; Elders, Powell standouts - Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies' reception for African Americans in the Clinton Administration; Joycelyn Elders, Colin Powell
Jet,  August 23, 1993 les/mi_m1355/is_n17_v84/ai_14301294

After a 12-year Republican monopol on the White House, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies' reception for Black appointees of President Clinton in Washington's Hotel Willard ballroom served as a premier VIP get-to-gether and the year's first major social function.

Not since the inauguration had such a high number of Black administration officials congregated in the nation's capital, yet there was little celebration.

The expensively-dressed guests, many in designer or tailored suits, were more concerned about mobilizing support for passage of the President's budget measures on Capitol Hill, in order to bring relief to the disadvantaged.

These are difficult times for our people," a guest told Jet. "The suffering in the inner cities and the rural sections sober up any Black middle-class member. The last thing we need is an image that all we do in Washington, is party."

The article goes on to say,

Host for the quadrennial event, first started in 1976 by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, was president Eddie Williams who mingled among the 1,000 guests introducing some of the record number of appointees never before showcased.


Quietly staying in the background was the Black man who as Democractic Party chairman had engineered the Clinton election victory - secretary of Commerce Ron Brown.

The election of the first Democratic president in more than a decade had already resulted in an infusion of millions of dollars in salaries to the VIPs but now the focus was on implementing "the quality of life" for millions of low income Americans. les/mi_m1355/is_n17_v84/ai_14301294

by francislholland 2007-02-15 04:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere v. Whitosphere: Silence is Never

I read the FieldNegro's comments but he keeps saying the web is not color blind which is just stupid. It is literally color blind.  It's accent blind.  Over time in conversations, a persons background may come up but usually it does not.

So the rage against the machine bit is self created.  If you want to talk about Iraq, or oil, or campaign finance reform, or deficit/debt...there's none of that on FieldNegro.

Is there a "black" perspective on Iraq?  On oil?

by BrionLutz 2007-02-15 03:01PM | 0 recs
Black speech often considered &quot;stupid&quot;

If I can't say at a blog that my neighborhood, a black neighborhood, gets a disproportionate amount of the polution that society creates (environmental racism) then how can I participate meaningfully in an online discussion of environmentalism?

I I cannot say that I don't want a new stadium because it would extinguish yet another Black urban neighborhood, then how can I meaningfully participate in a "not in my backyard" discussion?

If I cannot report to my fellow progressives that, on lobbying day, the a white representative refused to listen to me because I am Black, then how can we possibly work together to resolve the barriers to the accomplishment of our mission.

It is not possible for Black and white progressives to overcome issues of race by ignoring them.  A significant part of progressives goals MUST be to overcome barriers to the participation of minorities and women in society.  When you disavow this goals, you unknowingly convince minorities and women that you are not interested in our issues, and that's why it is so hard for progressives to recruit us for to help to achieve your goals.

Will the Blacks at DailyKos avoid YearlyKos, where  their anonymity as Black people would be lost?  Should the focus of YearlyKos be discussions that begin with, "Damn, I didn't know you were white/Black!  This certainly changes things for me!  Now that I know, I'm going to delink you blog from mine!"?

Online fantasy is fine for games, but progressive politics is not a game.

by francislholland 2007-02-15 03:13PM | 0 recs
Even in a &quot;black&quot; blog

Even if Dailykos was majority "black",  I think you will still get same treatment like you had in DailyKos.

Dont forget Markos is hispanic.

It is not race or color.

by jasmine 2007-02-15 03:35PM | 0 recs
If you banned all non-whites who agree with me .

you'd end up with a 98% white blog.

Let's also remember that Kos is a white Hispanic.  Unlike me, if Kos doesn't tell you that he is Hispanic no one will ever know.  I imagine that's why it is necessary to remind others that Kos is Hispanic.  

by francislholland 2007-02-15 03:50PM | 0 recs
Re: If you banned all non-

Actually, I thought he was Greek. Does Bill Richardson come across as Hispanic to you?

by Pravin 2007-02-17 12:03AM | 0 recs
White Perspective on Oil

Without knowing it, whites assume that their perspective is "universal", while Blacks and other minority's perspectives are "parochial"

The politically dominant white perspective on oil seems to be that wherever oil is found, there is some amount of force that ought reasonably be applied to control that oil and to access it at low prices.  This is the is the perspective that animates our war with Iraq and the impending war with Iran.

There IS a different perspective, but it is not limited to Blacks.  People throughout the world believe that what lies within their national boundaries is theirs and ought not be taken by others by force.  This is also a fundamental tenet of international law and the United Nations.  So, yes, there is a dominant white position on oil and a non-white position on oil.  White progressives who do not agree with the dominant white position should say so clearly and make common cause with others who disagree with the dominant white position on oil.

by francislholland 2007-02-15 03:19PM | 0 recs
Re: White Perspective on Oil

"White progressives who do not agree with the dominant white position should say so clearly and make common cause with others who disagree"

...or else you will assume that they are immoral, or bad, or something?  Is that what "the silence is golden" in the title is about?

Fine, then.  As a poor white man, I am in common-cause with people of any color, creed, gender (or gender-identity), or sexuality, or anyhting else, when they want equal rights, when they want recognition of wrongs done, when they want opportunity, when they want a leg-up.
If you want to talk about environmental racism, and the horrible plague of asthma in the cities, I will stand with you.  If you want to talk about our crappy legal system, I will stand with you.  Bad schools?  Poverty?  Extending the franchise back to hte millions of blacks and others who have had it stripped?  I will be there.
I don't think you understand.  There are plenty of liberals who care about "diversity", but will do nothing for black people.  I don't particularly care about "diversity".  When I see people disenfranchised, though, when I see them in poverty, or wronged in some other way, I am angered.  So no, I don't care about "diversity".  I don't care for tokens.  I want to actually help black people.  And poor people.  And women.  And hispanics and everyone else.  And thats why I don't support liberals like the Clintons.  I am a populist, and I want to help people.

by jallen 2007-02-15 07:19PM | 0 recs
Welcome Lyndon LaRouche

Don't you people recognize LaRouche's agents.

This guy is low grade LaRouche.

Why is this agent always requesting links to Black Blogs????

I've been knuckling with these agents for years.

They have a peculiar smell.

by jack reed 2007-02-15 05:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Welcome Lyndon LaRouche

Sounds like something out of Bladerunner, which isn't very nice.  I just spent a confusing half hour reading the Lyndon La Rouche entry in Wikipedia and am none the wiser.  What exactly are you saying, if anything?

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-15 07:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere &amp; Whitosphere

I'm shocked that this guy made the rec list here. Unbelievable, considering what a low-class troll he has been.

by PsiFighter37 2007-02-15 06:43PM | 0 recs
That's why we resist prior restraint

No matter how wrong you think somebody is, s/he may still say something important if you keep an open mind and an open heart.

Concerning restraints on free speech, the US Supreme Court has said,

The special vice of a prior restraint [on free speech] is that communication will be suppressed, either directly or by inducing excessive caution in the speaker, before an adequate determination that it is unprotected by the First Amendment . . . 413&invol=376&pageno=390

("[P]rior restraints on speech and publication are the most serious and the least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights"); Pittsburgh Press Co. v. Pittsburgh Comm'n on Human Relations, 413 U. S. 376, 390 (1973) (a prior restraint should not "swee[p]" any "more broadly than necessary"). As such, the Constitution forbids it. See Carroll v. President and Comm'rs of Princess Anne, 393 U. S. 175, 183-184 (1968) (An "order" issued in "the area of First Amendment rights" must be "precis[e]" and narrowly "tailored" to achieve the "pin-pointed objective" of the "needs of the case"); see also Board of Airport Comm'rs of Los Angeles v. Jews for Jesus, Inc., 482 U. S. 569, 575, 577 (1987) (regulation prohibiting "all 'First Amendment activities' " substantially overbroad). ase/us/544/734.html

The US Supreme Court has gotten more and more conservative over the years, and yet it has never really questioned the fundamental right for all people - even progressives and liberals and Democrats - to freely express our ideas without threat of banning.  When we find ourselves limiting civil liberties in a manner that the Roberts US Supreme Court would never even entertain, then we really most "check ourselves" to determine whether our methods remain consistent with our progressive values and goals.

by francislholland 2007-02-15 08:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere &amp;amp; Whitosphere

His writing has improved a lot in a very short time.

by Zimbel 2007-02-16 05:10AM | 0 recs
Francis, my brother, I was with you

until you started bashing Edwards and went into full shill mode for Hillary and Obama.  I can tell you right now that no matter how many sellout preachers Hillary pays off, she does not have my support.  She is a corporatist who is trying to buy the presidency. There is nothing in her biography to suggest that anybody would follow her anywhere.  She does not inspire and is devoid of vision.  If she is the nominee, republicans will take the White House.  Believe that.  

I'll see what Obama shows me in the next few months, but I don't believe he can win a general election either.  He pissed me off when he apologized the other day.  If he does it again, I'm done with him.  A leader is bold and says what he/she has to say and lets the chips fall where they may.  Boldness worked very well for that idiot Bush and those other brain-dead republicans for quite some time.  People may not have agreed with them, but "by God they said what they meant and they meant what they said."

You raise valid points about the divide between blacks and whites in the blogosphere, which brings to mind the ugly dust-up between Liza Sabater of Culture Kitchen and Jane Hamsher & Co. at Firedog.  A cyber altercation that arose as the result of a picture of Bill Clinton surrounded by white bloggers in Harlem without a black blogger in sight, and none of the white blogs -- MyDD included -- saw fit to mention the obvious, thereby adding insult to injury.  I haven't been back to Firedog since that bullshit went down, and I tried to have a civil exchange with Jane wherein she and her minions kept calling me a troll.

As I said above you did raise some good points, but any credibility your argument may have had in the beginning was destroyed when you let your Hillary-Obama agenda overcome your good judgment.

by Sonya 2007-02-15 08:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Francis, my brother, I was with you

until you started bashing Edwards and went into full shill mode for Hillary and Obama.

As least you were with me part of the time.  But if I can't expend my little earned capital to support the candidates of my choice, then what's the point in having any capital?  

As I think you gleaned, I'm arguing for people's right to express themselves, knowing full well that many people will disagree with me about my choice of candidates while hopefully supporting me about the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Seriously, I know a lot of people think it's apostasy to be committed to Hillary Clinton, but she is an elected Senator of the Democratic Party.  It's not like I'm urging write-in third party votes for the New Panther Party or anything.  No, I'm supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States.

Any reason to support free speech and party unity is a good reason!

Thanks for stopping by!

by francislholland 2007-02-15 08:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Francis, my brother, I was with you

I feel that Obama's apology over the 'wasted' lives remark was immediate, directed to the relatives only and sincere; it wasn't made in response to the Right-wing noise machine.  Please give him a chance, I think he deserves it.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-15 10:09PM | 0 recs
Obama was right!

I've read the definition of "wasted" in the dictionary and I have to conclude that there is no doubt but that Obama was 100% right.  Those lives were "wasted".  They were used "inefficiently" and they were "squandered".

Everything Obama has done is appropriate.  Saying that the lives were "wasted" was appropriate, and apologizing to those who may have misunderstood him was appropriate.

Now WE should insist that the lives were wasted, because the logical alternative is that they were NOT wasted.  If they were NOT wasted, then they were NOT used inefficiently.  If they were NOT used inefficiently, then there is no good reason not to use more lives in the same way.  Which is why logically we must insist that they lives were wasted, even it it pisses some people off.

by francislholland 2007-02-16 12:24AM | 0 recs
A quick google backs him up

"wasted lives" "war" gets a lot of hits. If people die in war for no good reason, the term "wasted life" is the normal one. The RW fake offense at the term is just trying to keep people from thinking honestly about the whole deal for obvious political reasons.

by curtadams 2007-02-16 10:26AM | 0 recs
You are SO right!

by francislholland 2007-02-16 05:48PM | 0 recs
can I get an amen to that.

I have no problem with Francis or anyone shilling for a candidate.

I do find it impossible to believe that Hillary if she wins by buying the election would have Obama as her VP.

I think that promoting Obama as Hillary's VP is a tactic to make certain people feel OK about supporting Hillary for Pres. instead of Obama...

by TarHeel 2007-02-16 03:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Francis, my brother, I was with you

Sonya, this is what I have been mentioning too. THe Clintons are supposed to be honorary blacks. Yet did Bill CLinton try to repay the favor by grooming a single black candidate to be President after Gore? Now that there is a promising black candidate(personally Obama isnt my top choice), Clintons are busy getting Black leaders to back Madame Hillary early in the process. Is it unethical? No. But then that is the same rationale by big companies(owned mostly by whites) that try to crush the competition in government contracts. Isnt the spirit of affirmative action being violated here ?

How mediocre has Clinton been? Can you name one African American who was speculated to succeed Clinton the way REpubs speculated about Rice succeeding Bush a couple of years ago?

Clintons are definitely friends of the minority  communities. But we should not be blindly loyal. We do not owe them ANYTHING.

by Pravin 2007-02-16 10:01AM | 0 recs
It's a terrible to burn a book or ban a person

Because when you ban a person you prevent your peers from reading things they might find useful and informative.

Image Hosted by

by francislholland 2007-02-15 09:26PM | 0 recs
Re: It's a terrible to burn a book or ban a person

Someone's got a big ego to feed.

by PsiFighter37 2007-02-16 06:01AM | 0 recs
Free Speech Protection is Essential for Blogs

Some day, a lawyer for blogs will argue to the US Supreme Court that free speech is a fundamental right in our democracy.  Then, a US Supreme Court Justice will demand of the blogs' lawyers, "But don't you "ban" much free speech at your own blogs?  Don't you practice prior restraint and permanently bar some people from speaking at all?"


The implication will be that those who do not value free speech for others have less moral claim to free speech for themselves.

And then the blogs' lawyers will have to concede that there ARE appopriate limits on free speech at blogs and that blogs apply free speech  restrictions that are MUCH more stringent than those Constitution now permits.  This will be an enormous coup for government lawyers, who will have proven that progressives, when they exercise control, do not really value free speech as much as they say they do.

The following article is illustrative of the free speech that the US Constitution requires, according to US Supreme Court precedents:

   Prior Restraint. Attempts to exercise prior restraints of speech or publication are almost always illegal, because such a restraint is an irreversible sanction on expression . . .

Content Regulation. Any regulation based on the content of expression is subject to strict scrutiny: the Court will permit the regulation of content of speech only so long as the regulation is narrowly tailored to further a compelling government interest, and there is no less restrictive alternative.

       Relevant case law:

       * Bartnicki v. Vopper. A radio host could not be punished for disclosing the contents of an illegally intercepted telephone conversation. The majority opinion by Justice Stevens states that the case presents "a conflict between interests of the highest order--on the one hand, the interest in the full and free dissemination of information concerning public issues, and, on the other hand, the interest in individual privacy."

       * Cohen v. California. Wearing a jacket with "Fuck the Draft" on the back is expressive conduct fully protected by the First Amendment. Because the statement is not obscenity, incitement, or fighting words, punishment of such conduct must be analyzed under strict scrutiny. Real Audio recording of the oral argument before the Court.

Compelled Speech. The government cannot compel an individual to speak a message. Under this doctrine, in Miami Herald Publishing Co v. Tornillo the Court prohibited "right of reply" laws in print media, because a statute compelling a newspaper to print a reply would chill speech as newspapers would be less likely to cover incendiary public affairs. The prohibition on compelling speech has been used to overturn laws requiring speakers to reveal their identity, and thus creates further protection for the right of anonymity.

Despite the absolutism of the clause, "Congress shall make no law" has never been interpreted by the Court as an absolute prohibition on government regulation of speech. The Court has often said that the primary purpose of the First Amendment is to protect speech that promotes a robust public debate . . .

When we ban all speech that we really don't like, it must eventually come back to haunt us when others apply the same low standard to ban our speech.

When we read another person's ideas thinking, "I wonder if these ideas should be banned", then we are moving toward a tyranny from which the First Amendment was meant to protect us, if we would only acknowledge how important the First Amendment protections for free speech really are.  In the marketplace of ideas, ideas compete and live or die based on their own merit - not because one party has exercised dictatorial control to prevent certain ideas from reaching the light of day.

Of course, blogs can argue that they are not "state actors" and so they need not observe the free speech protections gauranteed by the US Constitution.  But this has the moral persuasiveness of an argument that detainees can be tortured at Guantanamo Bay because Guantanamo Bay is not within the United States of America - an argument that the United States federal courts have already rejected.

When we bind and gag individuals as was done at Abu Ghraib prison, we defy those individuals and all of society to revolt againt such tyranny and then society becomes a constant armed struggle and armed repression between those who would speak their peace and those who are determined to prevent it.  It was precisely the necessity for armed struggle that the First Amendment was designed to avoid.  

Where there is any ban on the exchange of ideas maintained by force and the threat force (i.e. banning, censorship), then there is inevitably a corresponding need to overthrow such a repressive system by force of violence in order to be able to share one's ideas.  Bans on free speech inevitably result in civil strife when avenues to free expression are foreclosed.

We need to have foresight and ask ourselves where our authoritarian control of speech is taking us and whether it really serves our needs.

by francislholland 2007-02-16 01:27AM | 0 recs
blogger apartheid
In general, this is a good article. A couple comments and questions:
  1. Looking at (South African) apartheid and what is happening in the blogosphere, I think that the term "blogger apartheid" is a bit extreme. I think that "blogger segregation" or "blogger so-called 'separate-but-equal'" or something similar is more accurate.
  2. If you want me to support your candidate(s), stating why you like them is far more effective than stating why you dislike another candidate.
  3. Do you know anything about Hillary's record with African-Americans since she has been in the Senate?
  4. What do you think of Richardson (as a presidential candidate)?
by Zimbel 2007-02-16 05:25AM | 0 recs
Re: blogger apartheid

1.   We would need much more information to know whether the phrase "blogger apartheid" is more or less appropriate than the phrases "blogger segregation" and "blogger separate but equal".  

But, I think we can disallow "blogger separate but equal" out of hand, because (a) the basis of Brown v. Board of Education is that separate facilities are always unequal (worth a read); and (b) site traffic measures tell us that the blogs are not "equal" in size by the most conventional measures; it would be hard to imagine that budgets are equal, and finally, a blog that has no access to the Black (or white) communities cannot possibly be equal to a blog that does.

It's quite amazing that we find ourselvs discussing separate but equal at all among "progressives".  There is a risk that Republicans might read what we say here in support of separate but equal and quote or use it to support the roll-back of civil rights elsewhere.

(2)  I think that compare and contrast is an effective way to decide which candidate is better.     I asserted above that my candidate would help to end the disenfranchisement of the historically electorally disenfranchised while the election of the other candidate would, in fact, perpetuate that disenfranchisement.  This is a fair comparison, I believe, and it also points out what is for me a fundamental benefit of electing my chosen candidate.

3).  I understand that Hillary's actual voting record has been nearly 100% liberal in the Senate. Of course, with the Senate in Republican hands during most of her tenure, there has been precious little possibility of passing any legislation that would really help blacks and further progessive goals.  As President, she will appoint officials nationwide, set hiring policies, indirectly supervise regulatory frameworks and implementations important to Black people, and generally have much more power and authority to further liberal goals in the ways that they were furthered under the Clinton Administration.  That is why I believe that it is much more useful to look at what Clinton did as President to get a sense of what Hillary Clinton, his wife, would do as President.

Let me discuss your fourth paragraph first:  I think Bill Richardson would make an excellent President.  I would be happy to have him as President.  However, I would prefer to have Hillary Clinton as President and I believe all indications are that her election is much more likely than the election of Bill Richardson.  

I make this judgment based on Hillary's  well established national system of support, the quality, cohesiveness, discipline and loyalty of her staff, the quality and experience of her advisors (including Bill), the popularity of her surrogates and supporters(including Bill), her demonstrated ability to raise the requisite amount of money, the fact that she and Hillary would be drawing on an overlapping pool of supporters, many of whom Hillary has already retained, and perhaps most of all Hillary's proven experience through two successful presidencies of beating back the "vast rightwing conspiracy" Republican noise machine.

by francislholland 2007-02-16 06:36AM | 0 recs
Re: blogger apartheid

Look at my comment again; I didn't write
"blogger separate but equal"
I wrote:
"blogger so-called 'separate-but-equal'"

I apologize if the sarcasm that I intended in that phrase (i.e.: 'separate-but equal' never is equal but always is separate) didn't transdoxiate.

And yes, I've read, and studied Brown v. Board of Education and Brown II. I've never read Brown III, though (probably because it never made it to the U.S. Supreme Court).

by Zimbel 2007-02-16 06:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere &amp; Whitosphere

I'm not sure why Franics continues to blur de facto segregation and intentional discrimination.  There is clearly a discussion to be had over the devlopment of separate discourses in different blogs that can inhibit people from understanding another's point of view.  But he has NEVER been able to present a shred of evidence to support his claim that the following intentional discrimination is happening:

"When whitosphere blogs ignore the First Amendment to the US Constitution and IMPLEMENT BLOG RULES IN WHICH WHITE MEMBERS DECIDE WHAT BLACKS WILL BE PERMITTED TO SAY, then whites eviscerate the Constitutional protections for free speech on which minority/majority communication depends.    

As in Apartheid South Africa, Blacks (and others) can be permanently banned from expressing themselves in the whitosphere if we say things that whites really don't like."

I'm not sure that making an offensive, and completely unsubstantiated, charge of racism is any worse than racism itself.  

by justinh 2007-02-16 07:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere &amp;amp; Whitosphere

"I'm not sure why Francis continues to blur de facto segregation and intentional discrimination." (spelling corrected)
  -Both suck, particularly for the victims, and intent is difficult to prove. Frankly, to a victim, they're difficult to tell apart.

"I'm not sure that making an offensive, and completely unsubstantiated, charge of racism is any worse than racism itself."
  -Perhaps you've never been a victim of racism. If so, I'm happy for you. In any case, he has substantiated his claim, if weakly; see a number of his previous posts, both about being banned from one other major blog, and warned on this one.

by Zimbel 2007-02-16 07:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere &amp;amp;amp; Whitosphere

He's never proven that the reason he was being banned, and warned, was because of his race.  And to make the accusations without evidence doesn't advance the dialogue.

by justinh 2007-02-16 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere &amp;amp;amp;amp; Whitosphere

I'm confused; are you suggesting that Proof = Evidence? I'm probably mis-reading your statement, but from my standpoint, you appear to be using these two terms interchangeably.

by Zimbel 2007-02-16 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Whitosphere

francislholland made the following argument:

1)The owners of MyDD have threatened to ban me.
2)There aren't many black MyDD readers.
3)I am black.

4)Therefore, MyDD is trying to ban me because I am black.

It doesn't make any logical sense. There was no evidence provided, not even weak evidence, to back up this argument. I'll also reitirate that freedom of speech does not allow you to go into someone's home and interrupt conversations with rants, then claim a violation of your constitutional rights when the owners show you the door.

Now, that being said, the question of how and why the white, black, Latino, etc. sections of the blogosphere are separate is an interesting one, and definitely needs to be discussed. And I'm glad francislholland brought it up and continues to bring it up.

by clarkent 2007-02-16 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: proof

I think that this clarifies your position. I would submit that he has given evidence to points 1, 2, and 3, but that even granting 1, 2, and 3 as true does not prove 4.

So there's evidence supporting his claim, but no proof of his claim. On the other hand, proof of intent is very difficult.

However, I'd also submit that were I with some frequency discriminated against due to race, I would likely jump to conclusion #4 much as francislholland had. Furthermore, even if he is incorrect (as I believe) in this particular instance (I think that he was viewed as doing little other than attacking non-Hillary candidates), it does not mean that such events don't tend to occur (whether deliberately or not) as a class of instances within a class of blogs. (I.e. even assuming that he's incorrect in this case, that does not mean that there isn't a tendency to silence african-american voices on non-african-american blogs.)

by Zimbel 2007-02-16 09:32AM | 0 recs
It was politics, not race

Francis got banned because he supported Hillary - sometimes rather obnoxiously - on a blog owned by a Hillaryhater (tm). If you're going to oppose the local paradigm (as I often do on Hillary there) you've got to grovel a little. That's just how the alpha dog-beta dog social arrangements work out in any society.

Francis will probably protest that he was less obnoxious than many of the HillaryHaters, which is true but irrelevant.  The dKos community imposes a modicum of agreement by goading
"unacceptable" dissenters until they slip up and do something obnoxious (typically fall into a flamewar). Then the community draws up into a righteous huff and TR's the offender out. The whole process has nothing to do with race or with any specific political ideas - it's deployed fiercely against many (presumable) whites and quite a few Greens.

In Francis' case targeted goading was uneeded because snide and false insults on Hillary get posted every few minutes on average. He managed to keep the fights about Hillary and not much about him, which is to his credit, but the arguments were still nasty enough to provide the excuse for banning.

by curtadams 2007-02-16 10:42AM | 0 recs
Race informs politics

I will admit to knowing little about DailyKos; I typically only visit there when directed by another blog for a particular story I'm interested in. I would argue, however, that race (or, more accurately, your perception of your race and others' reactions to their perception of your race) tends to affect your politics.

Case in point, Clinton does better in all polls (where they perform breakdowns by race) I've seen among African-Americans than among the general population. I think that's largely for reasons outlined above; essentially that her husband was very good for african-american civil rights issues, and there's an belief (which may be well-founded - I'm just not aware of the foundation) that she would be as well.

by Zimbel 2007-02-16 11:34AM | 0 recs
But not that particular banning

The difference between black and white Democrats on Hillary isn't very large. For that reason the white-bias in dKos could have played at most a small role in the virulent disagreement that made them want to ban Francis. If anything, the causality would run in the other direction - maybe the unjustified spite for Hillary, plus the fondness for Edwards, drives away blacks who are less likely to feel both those emotions together.

by curtadams 2007-02-16 11:49AM | 0 recs
Dk for Hillary 6% / Blacks for Hillary 60%

DailyKos polls show Hillary with 6-10% of support while national polls show her with up to 43% and Black support is 60%+ for Hillary.  

As soon as a white majority can push others out of a group simply because they disagree with them, you have the makings of a segregated group.  

If you ask a white people to bring their friends to a place to have a party, you will usually end up with a mostly or entirely white party.  However, if you invite people generally to a party with a guarantee that they will be accepted and allowed to participate when they arrive, then Blacks will come and they will bring other Blacks.  Black know intuitively that any group where our participation depends on us personally being liked AND our opinions being liked by whites is a group where we will be at a distinct disadvantage.

If you change the rules, making membership requirement more simple, e.g. be a member of the Democratic Party and refrain from swearing at other members, then you will find that Black people are much more willing to participate at white blogs.

It's the fear of being banned for working for Hillary that keeps Blacks from joining white Blogs.  Everyday at DailyKos, I posted something positive about Hillary to counter the overwhelmingly negative response she got there, at that little group.  Many people told me that I was posting positive things about Hillary too often, that it annoyed them.  Well, that's why they call it a campaign.  Because each day you wake up and do the same things to promote your candidate and your views until the election arrives, even though the opposing camp would prefer that you take a week or two off.

by francislholland 2007-02-16 07:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Dk for Hillary 6% / Blacks for Hillary 60%

It's Dkos which is weird. As you point out, Dems are usually 43% for  Hillary.  60% isn't all that different, especially early in a primary. 6% is different. But it's not race that makes dkos different, it's something else. If it were a racial thing, Dkos would be 40% for Hillary, like your typical white Dem, and even blatant shilling for Hillary would be quite nonconntroversial.

by curtadams 2007-02-17 05:41AM | 0 recs
But you're right about chasing off

Hillary supporters chasing off a lot of blacks. Do you think that's a big reason for the divide?  There are still plenty of black bloggers that don't like her. As a test case, are there any Dem group blogs with a more reasonable attitude towards Hillary?

by curtadams 2007-02-17 06:16AM | 0 recs
Re: It was politics, not race

"you've got to grovel a little."

If you think about it for a moment, you'll realize that Blacks have spent enough time groveling in this country that we may be very sensitive about finding ourselves doing it again before a 96% white audience just to gain the right to express ourselves.  That's why we refuse to grovel.

I think we can agree that:

(1)  I was banned by a group that is 95% white;

(2)  I was banned while advocating the election of the only woman among a group of male candidates;

(3)  I was banned white advocating the "end of the 43-term exclusively white male monopoly of the Presidency;

(4)  I was banned after "writing while Black";

(5)  I was banned after expressing a candidate preference that, according to polls, is held by the majority of Blacks in the Democratic Party.

(6)  If the had tolerated my speech rather than banning me, we would not be having a discussion of why I was banned.  

That is the intention of the First Amendment to the Consitution of the United States of America:  To avoid endless litigation over people's right to express their minds.  If you accept as a given people's right to express their minds, then you can argue over substantive things rather than argue over whether "Joe" should have a sock stuffed in his mouth, and then be shot if the sock doesn't work.

That reminds me of something.  The (a) crowd mentality that (b) acts in utter anonymity to (c) silence political speech by (d) "uppity" Black voices, with (e) no charges and no appeals, to (f) permanently silence the voice of a minority.  That reminds me of the Klu Klux Klan.  If you want to why there are so few Blacks in the whitosphere, you might look at the suspension of constitutional rights in favor of mob rule.  That makes Black people very nervous and rightfully so.

by francislholland 2007-02-16 06:10PM | 0 recs
Re: It was politics, not race

I have seen white Hillary supporters get a lot more abuse than you do. Your point 4 is vague because you have not shown a trend(isolated instances don't count because white bloggers can say they have been censured writing while white) and points 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 have no foundation. THat would be like saying that if I attack Jean Schmidt supporters, theen I am being anti woman, anti white, anti Christian.

by Pravin 2007-02-17 12:12AM | 0 recs
Hey, I understand not wanting to grovel

and why you might find it particularly grating. Under the circumstances, your having to do so smells of some old, nasty stuff. Not the real thing, but, ick.

But, like Previn says, any strong Hillary supporter gets incredible heat on Dkos. DLuntz got flamed just for a factual comparison of Hillary's and Edwards' voting records, because Hillary was more liberal. If anything, identifying as black got you a little slack because quite a few posters there are nervous or reluctant about behavior that appears racist and so they were reluctant to start the really blatant baiting. I honestly can't think of any Hillary supporter that got it easier than you did.

by curtadams 2007-02-17 05:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere &amp; Whitosphere:

Yet you support Hillary so early in the process and have no problem with a black candidate in danger of getting shut out before the primary even takes place.

Why should white bloggers make extra effort to reach out to and encourage more African American bloggers when you got some African American leaders not willing to give Obama even a fair shake by making public pronouncements this early in the process. I dont know why  Hillary is more qualified than a Rangel to be President in any aspect. Yet Rangel is acting like it's Hillary's turn to dwell in the limelight.  Isn't kowtowing to an old power structure at the expense of new blood going to hurt minorities more than whites because minorities haven't traditionally been in areas of power to the same extent. Has Clinton groomed African American leaders to become candidates for the next President? And yet you expect more from MYDD?

I have seen your past posts and agreed the speech her and dkos is not as free as one would like.  But I have seen no evidence where its your blackness that causes it. I have seen quite a few whites who were censured for less.

You are still free to post. Comments to your diaries are un censored. What exactly do you want MYDD to do to get more African American bloggers?

by Pravin 2007-02-16 09:50AM | 0 recs
He doesn't

This is just the old game of couching shilling for a candidate inside a creamy nougat of a taboo topic. Now the tired knee jerk "if you don't support Hilly-Billy you're a sexist" can be augmented with the even more powerful "if you don't support Hilly-Billy you're a racist" shut down line.

Boring, trite, and predictable.

by ElitistJohn 2007-02-16 02:55PM | 0 recs
We are not fickle.

you support Hillary so early in the process

Yes, I decided to support Hillary for President back in 1993, when she made the largest single effort in US history to pass a program of universal health care.  That's when I decided to support Hillary for President and I have never seen any reason to doubt that decision.  As I noted above, she and Bill also appointed more Blacks in the Government that any other administration before or since.

Nobody is shutting Barack Obama out of the process at all.  His name will be on the ballot and everyone is free to vote for him if they choose to do so.  I hope he will receive the second largest number of votes and be offered the Vice Presidential nomination.

Why should white bloggers make extra effort to reach out to and encourage more African American bloggers when you got some African American leaders not willing to give Obama even a fair shake by making public pronouncements this early in the process.

White bloggers should make an effort to include Blacks because we make up 20% of the delegates to the DNC and are a majority of the Democratic primary electorate in some states.  It is not possible to win without our votes and no one should count on the votes of people with whom they are not even willing to communicate.  Simple self-interest would dictate that white bloggers would be interested in what Blacks have to say, in order to build a Party sufficient cohesive that it can achiece victories, rather than find itself conquered by its own division.

Why should a Ford salesman speak to potential clients?  Because he wants to sell cars.  If he doesn't like clients, he should get out of the car business.

Rangel hasn't run for President for the same reason that Hillary is the only Democratic woman running for President:  Historical notions of what women and minorities can do have conspired to lower the expectations of minorities and women.  Hillary is in a unique position to overcome those historical low expectations and resistances.

Rangel knows an opportunity when he sees one, both in terms of Hillary's election to the Senate and in terms of her election to the Presidency.  Hillary will open a door of closed expectations and others will pass through that door once it has been opened.  She is a trailblazer opening an historical path.  It will be much easier for a Black or Latino candidate to be elected President once Hillary has been elected President.

As for "new blood", If you were looking for a surgeon would you prefer a surgical team that had performed the operation a couple of times before, or would you prefer a "new blood" team that had never performed your particular operation and was planning to invent a new surgical technique in the operating room?  "New blood" is a marketing scheme, not a way to pick experienced and competent leaders.  

When you are choosing between "New Jiff" and "Old Jiff", the risks are very small, since you can make different choice when you next go to the supermarket.  When we choose a President, we need to be much more serious, just as we are when choosing a surgeon, because the consequences will follow us literally for decades.  This is a time for experience and proven competence, not "new blood" for its own sake.

Has Clinton groomed African American leaders to become candidates for the next President?

Clinton hired Deval Patrick and Bill Richardson.  Bill Richardson is already running for President and Deval Patrick is a potential candidate in future years, based on chances for leadership that they received during the Clinton Administration.

What exactly do you want MYDD to do to get more African American bloggers?

Everytime I post, at least one person speculates about whether this will be the post that gets me banned.  This speculation burdens my ability to express myself freely and it is a break on the free exchange of ideas.  I am here for my ideas to compete with the ideas of others, not to suck up to others so that they will resist the urge to withdraw my posting privileges.

The fundamental premise of speech within each and every tributary of the Democratic Party should be that we all have a fundamental and inalienable right to speak as long as we observe the Constitutional guidelines that would apply in other contexts and refrain from swearing at each other more than we would in other contexts.  Whenever you (anyone) wonder whether my Consitutional rights should be respected, you insult the Constitution of the United States of America and undermine the very foundations of civil society, inviting civil strife and anarchy to reign in the place of the commonly agreed principles that have made this country great.

by francislholland 2007-02-16 06:42PM | 0 recs

So we stand up for African-Americans by putting in a white chick who's primary qualification is she banged a white guy who was President, and give the impotent second bananna job to the African-American. How very impressively tokenish.

Sometimes the comedy writes itself, folks.

by ElitistJohn 2007-02-16 07:40PM | 0 recs
Re: We are not fickle.

Giving Obama a fair shake is not merely letting him run for President. That would be like a corporation letting a black person apply and ignoring affirmative action standards. Is Clinton racist for not letting a black candidate prosper? Hell no. I will be the first to admit that the Clintons are one of the friendlier prominent white politicians for the black community. But I fail to see enough of an effort by them where they deserves such a blank check of loyalty.

I have said it before. Minorities do not owe shit to Obama personally when it comes to their vote. However, as a fellow minority, we do owe it to make sure he has enough of an opportunity not to be crushed by the old boys network before he can get some traction. And I say this who will support Wes Clark against Obama. But I will keep my eyes and ears open to what Obama says. If I am in a position of high influence, I will not make things harder for him right off the bat and spread defeatist talk about unelectability. Right now the Clintonistas are trying to make a farce of this primary process with their big money and old contacts. Are they alone in this? No. But it doesn't make it any right.

If the Clintonistas(which means not only Bill and HIllary, but their supporters) preach affirmative action to companies and support the Rooney RUle in the NFL, then they owe it to themselves to nurture a promising black leader too. The ROoney rule doesnt mean a club is obligated to hire a black coach, but make sure serious consideration is given. Whatever support Obama is getting is not from the old establishment despite the fact he has been the good soldier and has not embraced the netroots. Imagine if Obama was actually an outspoken black man, he would end up out of this race by now even with that charisma and the Clintonistas would have trampled all over it.

The examples you gave of Clinton grooming the next generation leaders are flimsy. Bill Richardson is not even full latino and very few in the mainstream even views him as such. And I doubt it was because CLinton did anything special outreach. And who knows about Deval outside the blogs and MSM? Like I said, even  Bush has given Powell and Rice more prominence right off the bat regardless of how he has treated Powell later. For that matter, Clinton held Joyclen Elders out to dry while he stood by the incompetent Janet Reno.

As far as your claim that you frequently invite specualtion that each of your new postings will get you banned, seriously, would you care to exagerrate even more? Even if they did, maybe it's because of reasons that have nothing to do with race? I doubt you are any more outspoken than I have been with language or judgemental attitudes towards politics (though with fellow bloggers, I resist namecalling unless I am attacked first), and I still feel free to express myself. Blogging politics is not for the weak of heart. I have been indulging in debates on the internet since the late 80s on usenet groups, and discussions used to be a lot more personal and angrier.

Like I said, show me a trend where you have been censured because you were writing from an African American perspective instead of it being the case that MYDD or Dkos admins just not having a high tolerance for inflammatory speech in general.

I remember when Gary Boatwright expressed his views in a lot angrier tone that you are and he was never censured for his views. He never held back. It was only when he started attacking the intelligence of the fellow MYDDers, he started getting complaints from people like me.

If it is an consolation, put in a real provocative diary which does not include complaints how you expect it to be attacked, and  I will support your right to free speech if you get censured. Just dont adopt any tone of martyrdom because that is  a sure way of inviting scorn and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

by Pravin 2007-02-16 11:40PM | 0 recs

Excuse the typos and puzzling grammar mistakes(my typing doesnt keep up with my thought process sometimes ). I wish we had an edit function so i could reedit stuff.

by Pravin 2007-02-16 11:44PM | 0 recs

It bears mentioning that no one here has a "1st Amendment" right to anything.  The 1st Amendment restrains the government, not Bowers and Stoller.  This is their property, i.e. dictatorship, in the same way Francis Holland owns his site and is its dictator.

I fail to see how a low visitation rate to MyDD constituted apartheid.  

I don't know that it's fully fair to go deep into meta here about Daily Kos, but my experience is that unless you get really outrageous on Kos, you don't get banned except on one zero-tolerance topic:9/11 conspiracy theories.  Even Holocaust deniers don't get autobanned over there.  Mr. Holland, your diary does not quote what you wrote on Kos to get banned, so it's hard at least for me to see your core point.  Maybe I am being dense.

by Bruce Godfrey 2007-02-17 05:29AM | 0 recs

Re: Holocaust deniers, I should have said "do not always get autobanned."

by Bruce Godfrey 2007-02-17 05:30AM | 0 recs


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