Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportionately, White Gathering?

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I watched the promotional video from last year, and I saw six Black people among 1,500 participants.

Cross-posted at Culture Kitchen and the Francis L. Holland Blog.

Today, I came across a link to a publicity video for YearlyKos and I watched the entire video to confirm a suspicion:  That YearlyKos is an overwhelmingly white gathering -disproportionately white considering the number of Blacks in the Democratic Party.  http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid= -1234580617661540850&q=Mark+Bowllan Watch the film for yourselves and tell me if my perceptions are in error.

Here's what I saw:  Watching a thirty-nine minute video of "1,500""progressive" Democratic Party bloggers at a hotel in Las Vegas, in all of the shots where the camera panned the crowds, the hallways, the hotel rooms, and speakers diases, I saw two Black women and four Black men among 1,500 people.  If accurate, this would mean that YearlyKos was about .03% Black in a Democratic Party that has 20% elected and appointed Black delegates at the Democratic National Convention.  What is it about DailyKos and Yearly Kos that makes it so white in a Party with so much Black participation?

 

Markos says in the video, "Look at this conference!  It's the epitome of people power!" To me, a yearly meeting of 1,500 people that includes only 6 Black people is the epitome of white people power, and that's why I think it's so important to bring this to everyone's attention.  

In a thirty-nine minute video, Darrell Jackson of Young Turks was the one and only Black person to speak about the conference and his role.  No Black politicians were featured in the video.  One Black speaker was shown on stage, but just for a moment less than would have been necessary to hear anything he said.  In crowd shots, one lone Black man was shown two or three times.

Someone else said in the video, "Locked in convention hall with 1,500 bloggers,""I think DailyKos is going to have an influence  . . .for years and years to come.  It's where everybody comes . . .!" "We broke a record of squeezing more people into one room".  If all of this is so, then YearlyKos is setting a dangerous precedent for color-based exclusiveness within the Democratic Party that may portend a new realignment of voting patterns among Blacks and Latinos in the future.  I predict that if virtually all-white groups likes YearlyKos gain more prominence in the Party then Black people will vote less at the polls or vote against the candidates and issues supported by all-white groups.

Because, a Black person watching the YearlyKos publicity video would conclude, and I think rightly so, that this conference was for white people who were designing a new direction in which Black people and other minorities are undesireable, irrelevant and/or superfluous.  It's hardly necessary to post a "Whites Only" sign, when the publicity video makes the complexion of the group as clear as a sign would.  If a "picture is worth a thousand words", then a 39 minute video with only six Black people must be worth a whole hard drive of words - words saying "DailyKos is overwhelmingly a white conference for white people".  http://francislholland.blogspot.com/2007 /02/httpfield-negro.htmlhttp://francislholland.blogspot.com/2007 /02/new-reparations-blog-no-whites-allow ed.html   http://francislholland.blogspot.com/2007 /02/blogger-color-blindness-does-not-exi st.html

It should be obvious that any political organizing among bloggers and any political movement that results from the meeting will not include Black people.  How could it, how should it, if virtually none of us have participated in the white people's call to action?

If you simply don't like Black people, you will never find a more comfortable atmosphere in America than the Yearly DailyKos conference.  The percentage of Black people at YearlyKos is less than the percentage of Black people in any state of the United States.  

But then I wasn't at the conference and I'm only reporting what I saw on a 39 minute video.  My intention here is to explore the truth - not to propagate fallacies. If what I am reporting is incorrect, I invite anyone who has better information to provide it.  

At the end of the Conference video, one speaker asked,

"One more question!  Do you want to do this next year?"

With respect to the near-total absence of Black people, I think that's a question that urgently demands to be answered.  "Do you want to do this next year?"http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid= -1234580617661540850&q=Mark+Bowllan

Cross-posted at Culture Kitchen and the Francis L. Holland Blog.

francislholland@yahoo.com

Tags: 2008, bigotry, black, Democrats, racism, WHITE, whitosphere (all tags)

Comments

77 Comments

Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona

Get off of it. To imply that YearlyKos is 'whites only' is complete and utter bullshit. And saying that yKos is a place where people who don't like blacks would be comfortable - this is disgusting.

You have this deranged idea that the blogosphere is out to marginalize minorities. Could it be more diverse? Sure. Do we want it to be more diverse? Absolutely. But what would you want us to do? What is your solution?

Stop spewing your crap here.

by PsiFighter37 2007-02-23 05:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona

We need francislholland's 'crap'. This is a real issue. We ignore it at our peril.

by blues 2007-02-23 05:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona

Do we believe that there should be greater minority participation in the progressive blogosphere? Absolutely.

Do we believe, as francis does, that minorities are specifically barred from participating in the progressive blogosphere because of their ethnicity? Fuck no. I'm sick of seeing him spew this crap without offering one lick of evidence.

by clarkent 2007-02-23 06:04AM | 0 recs
Evidence

Having video evidence of 0.15% participation of a class versus its presence in the superclass is "no evidence"? I think that you're conflating "evidence" with "proof". I think that this is strongly suggestive that this particular body likely has some barriers to African-American inclusion. While those barriers may not be deliberate, one should consider removing at least some of them.

by Zimbel 2007-02-23 06:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Evidence

I think that this is strongly suggestive that this particular body likely has some barriers to African-American inclusion. While those barriers may not be deliberate, one should consider removing at least some of them.

No. He presents no evidence that minorities are specifically barred because of their ethnicity. That's what the regime of apartheid was about. Believe me, I hear what you're saying about higher minority participation, but c'mon - the guy has been saying there is a whites only sign above progressive blogs! You make an accusation like that, you need hard evidence.

by clarkent 2007-02-23 06:32AM | 0 recs
Apartheid

Yes, I disagree with Francis on the assertion that there is any form of apartheid in most (all?) progressive blogs that are under-represented by a minority (as a note, this is from an earlier diary entry, not the present one). His inflammatory rhetoric on this and other points, (such as his Edwards-bashing) does not distract me from his central argument on the matter - there is under-representation, and while (as I presume) those barriers may be entirely unintentional, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be located, examined, and probably removed.

by Zimbel 2007-02-23 06:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Apartheid

Coulnd't have said it better myself...

by nathanhj 2007-02-23 09:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Apartheid

And I agree with nathanhj. We ordinary commenters don't know the color, gender, age, etc., of the other commenters, but I'd have been appalled if I'd gone to Las Vegas (is that the right location?) and seen so few people of color. (All white is so boring.)

by joyful alternative 2007-02-23 02:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona

But the problem is the tone of Francis diairies is that this is something that DailyKos (or MYDD) created by alienating blacks when it truth it could be that not enough attention is given to topics that could attract more African Americans.

Instead of whining, he should spend more time bringing up his own topics. He should use wording like make the blogs more interesting to minorities too by addressing their issues and he should be bringing up those issues to give the white bloggers some help. White bloggers are human too. Like it or not, we live in a sort of segregated cultural society, and if African American bloggers feel that their needs are being ignored, bring them up. Do not paint it as the white bloggers shutting out black voices when any conflicts could arise out of personality differences. Francis keeps whining about being persecuted when in reality he has gotten attacked more for defending a white establishment person(Hillary) than for making statements about how the Black Panthers should rise again to beat down racist cops(Disclaimer: he actually did not say the latter. But he may actually get my support on the latter if he did say it, believe it or not).

by Pravin 2007-02-23 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona

Also, can we talk about the fact that the front-page writers list at Kos has been pretty diverse, if I'm not mistaken, in terms of age, gender and race/ethnicity?  Can anyone provide a breakdown of that?

by Mike Connery 2007-02-24 04:53AM | 0 recs
These are YOUR groups! What's YOUR solution?

One solution would be to stop telling Blacks to shut up when we mention that your groups are overwhelmingly white.  

When you say, "Stop spewing your crap here", do you mean that I should leave and leave this blog even LESS Black than its current 1.5% Black participation?

One thing about most Black people.  We won't stay anywhere where we are not permitted to speak our minds.  We would prefer that you come right out and tell us to leave, rather than stay amongst you pretending to be like you so that you won't reject us at the first hint of Black-oriented thoughts and feelings.

I, however, am a Black contrarian.  If you don't want my Black ideas here then you can just come right out and SAY so, per se.  But if you visit the Blackosphere for a moment, you'll find that most Blacks feel as I do, and that's why there are so few Blacks among us.  We're tired of having a sock stuffed in our mouths.

by francislholland 2007-02-23 06:54AM | 0 recs
Re: These are YOUR groups! What's YOUR solution?

What I mean is that you should leave because you make intellectually dishonest arguments that are insulting to anyone who has half a brain.

I can't believe you can't comprehend the absurdity of your own arguments.

by PsiFighter37 2007-02-23 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: These are YOUR groups! What's YOUR solution?

What is absurd about comparing the complexion of DailyKos to the complexion of the Democratic Party overall?

What is absurd about the observation that an all-white annual meeting will have diffiulty driving broadbased and inclusive policy advocacy?

Isn't it true that whatever advice you give to YearlyKos participants will not reach the Blackosphere and the Blackroots, if these groups are not included?

So, where is the absurdity in these two arguments?  

In any case, people who are not white do not find my arguments to be "absurd".  Instead may people in the Blackosphere find my arguments to be quite compelling, and that's why you see them independently posting the same graphics on their sites that you find so offensive when I post them here.

"Whitosphere" at Google:

http://www.google.com.br/search?hl=pt-BR &q=whitosphere&btnG=Pesquisar&am p;meta=

http://skepticalbrotha.wordpress.com/200 7/02/21/obama-vs-hillary/

http://www.myleftwing.com/showDiary.do?d iaryId=14787
(House Rules:  Why Field Negros Should Break Them)

by francislholland 2007-02-23 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: These are YOUR groups! What's YOUR solution?

I think the issue here for a lot of commenters is that your blog implies that this de facto segregation is a conscious decision.  

You also place the burden solely on "the whitosphere" to correct this imbalance, despite the fact that these sites are open to all and there are no physical barriers to participation in place to prevent a more diverse, unified progressive blogosphere.

Building bridges requires work from both sides, and there is little in your post that speaks to reaching out from your side of the divide.

by Mike Connery 2007-02-23 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: These are YOUR groups! What's YOUR solution?

I'm Latino and I find your race-based/nationalistic arguments beyond absurd.  Frankly, I think that your frequent race-bating arguments are poisonous (even if at the margins and after wading through so much muck a point worth discussing is unearthed).

By the way, how long have you lived in Brazil?  I'm curious as to your recent experience and how it informs and/or gives you some authority to speak to the current state of ethnic relations in the US Progressive movement -- given that you're watching things from quite a distance.

by bedobe 2007-02-23 01:41PM | 0 recs
Re: These are YOUR groups! What's YOUR solution?

So who appointed you the speaker for blacks, Holland? Or is this just one vast ego-trip, spread across any blog that will tolerate your BS?

by MBNYC 2007-02-23 12:17PM | 0 recs
This guy is a race baiter!

This racist needs to be ignored.

If you respond to him, he will keep up his disruptive, manic, rants.

He comes out of the Lyndon LaRouche camp.

Ignore him!!!

by jack reed 2007-02-23 05:50AM | 0 recs
This guy is hardly a race baiter

If you really think that he's trolling, I'd recommend that you stop commenting on his pieces.

My perception is that this piece is doing little other than pointing out evidence of racism in a particular institution. He even links to his evidence. Now, it is true that Francis has an anti-Daily Kos bias, but he's been very clear about that, and why he has such a bias.

by Zimbel 2007-02-23 06:12AM | 0 recs
Re: This guy is hardly a race baiter

Excellent point. I'll follow your advice from now on.

by clarkent 2007-02-23 06:34AM | 0 recs
Re: This guy is hardly a race baiter

I disagree with you.  After reading some of Holland's maniac rants it's clear that he frequently falls back on race-bating tactics to frame his arguments.

by bedobe 2007-02-23 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: This guy is hardly a race baiter

Unintentional cultural ignorance is not the same as racism. There should be a different approach when the people you are attacking are not intentionally doing any harm.

by Pravin 2007-02-23 01:59PM | 0 recs
Technical note

The URL links into your blog are close together, and their subjects aren't clear to people that can't read URLs easily. I'd suggest either manually putting in the URL <a href ="Link">Textual description of the link</a> (where Link is the actual URL, and Textual description of the link is the text you want displayed, or separating your URLS with text.

by Zimbel 2007-02-23 06:21AM | 0 recs
Thanks, I'm going to do that!

by francislholland 2007-02-23 06:55AM | 0 recs
Reaching Out

I agree Francis can be inflammatory sometimes, but he has a point:  there is a color gap in the progressive blogosphere. I don't know that anyone is doing much about it. I do, however, remember a post (by Matt, I believe) in which he discussed front paging women and minorities, and I'm grateful for it.

Regardless, I think Francis asked the wrong question at the end of this post. Instead of do we want to do this again, we should ask "is YearlyKos reaching out to progressive black (or hispanic or Asian) blogs?"

by domma 2007-02-23 07:09AM | 0 recs
You're right, that's a positive question?

IS YearlyKos reaching out to progressive Black or Hispanic or Asian blogs?  If so, I's sure like to see one scrap of evidence that this is occuring.

When I read blogs in the Blackosphere, what I see is resentment at the virtually all-white blogs combined with a conviction that "their issues are not our issues".  And can you blame them?  The mere fact that groups are virtually all white is strong circumstantial evidence that they are not very concerned with inclusion, which is a fundamental issue for Black people in America.

Many of us don't want inclusion in white social clubs, because we don't want to be where we know we're not wanted.  At the same time, though, we realize that our ability to get job, go to college, and send our kids to good schools depends on a willingness of white society to include us.  For that reason, even when Blacks don't particularly want to join all-white groups, we are concerned about increasing trends toward exclusion of Blacks.

We fought like hell for the right to be included in the Democratic Party.  It's maddening to see new offshoots of that Party that are almost as segregated as the Democratic delegate planks that we integrated back in the 1960's.

It reminds me of a line by the Rap group Public Enemy:  "Self-destruction, ya headed for self-destruction!"

Is it "racist" to point out that Democratic groups are almost exclusively white?  Well, would it have been racist to visit the plantations of South Carolina in the 1850's and point out that the slaves were exclusively Black?  Slavery was "racist", not the abolitionists who pointed out that all of the slaves were Black!

by francislholland 2007-02-23 07:25AM | 0 recs
Re: You're right, that's a positive question?

If I understand correctly, YearlyKos is organized by amateurs who have no background in event coordination. They just took this huge task on themselves, unasked, and did all the work on a volunteer basis, because they wanted to make a conference happen.

I'm fairly sure that if you email them and offer your help, they'd be open to hearing how they might increase black participation in YKos. Given that one or two Kossacks almost single-handedly made YKos happen, I wonder if you single-handely couldn't make it more racially proportionate. It'd be a wonderful contribution.

by BingoL 2007-02-23 09:59AM | 0 recs
Well said. Volunteer and spread understanding

Does Francis realize how these people have their hands full? Why doesn't he volunteer at these conventions? These people have their hands so full that they do not have time to think of excluding African Americans even if they tried.

As an Indian American, are my concerns heard enough? I got to put up with kooks like Dinesh D Souza and Ramesh Ponnuru or moderates who were former conservatives like Farheed(the newsweek guy) being the face of the community in the political media. I don't ask lefty blogs why there aren't as many visible Indian American bloggers on the liberal side. We just got to do with. There is room for everyone on the internet. Make constructive suggestions to people on your side.

by Pravin 2007-02-23 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Well said. Volunteer and spread understanding

Ah, yes, but you all have the glory, too. An Indian American handed the Senate to the Democrats!

by joyful alternative 2007-02-23 02:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Well said. Volunteer and spread understanding

Sadly there's nothing new here. Francis is just the latest example of the whiner who won't put out the effort to change anything. That trancends age, race, otr any other division you'd care to name.

Yes, he could volunteer to help organize YK, and make actual change. But that involves work. Its so much easier to demand others do all the work, and threaten to call them racists if they don't.

by ElitistJohn 2007-02-23 04:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Reaching Out

Good question.  Is there something that YearlyKos can do to actively invite progressive minority blogs to participate?  The issues for progressive blogs such as MyDD and DailyKos isn't that they don't welcome minority participation, but that in some way it is not inviting and the separation continues.  I think the contribution that francis makes is to raise legitimate questions and dialogue.  In truth, I am impressed how persistent he can be in the face of the negative reactions.  

This is not a comfortable subject nor are answers easy.  I believe progressive blogs do not intentionally bar minorities from participating, but the question as to why they don't is a valid one to explore.  Francis' observation about the racial mix in pictures is accurate.  My question to francis is what would, from your perspective, be a healthy or helpful way to invite minority participation?

by pioneer111 2007-02-23 07:26AM | 0 recs
One Easy Way to Address Valid Black Criticisms

It's simple.  Just put a list of Blackosphere blogs on a page and put a link on the MyDD "Blogroll".
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

It would be a simple matter to prepare a list of Blackosphere blog links, a page that would open when MyDD readers hit the link on the MyDD Blogroll that says "Blackosphere".  Then, a page of links would appear.  Initially, the following sentence could appear:

"To have your Blackosphere Blog listed here, please send your home page link and a contact name to the following e-mail address:  JillTubman@MyDD.COM.

Since there would be no limit to the space on the linked page, all blogs that requested to be listed could be listed there, on a "requests accepted" basis.  

As Jill Tubman suggested in a recent weekly diversity oriented blog here at MyDD, it would only be fair to also include links to "Asianosphere Blogs" and "Latinosphere Blogs".

This would be inexpensive and immediate way to address a major concern of Black bloggers, Latino and Asian bloggers, and would demonstrate to the groups that make up the Democratic Party that you desire their participation.

by francislholland 2007-02-23 09:53AM | 0 recs
Re: One Easy Way to Address Valid Black Criticism

"Asianosphere"... "Blackosphere"... "Latinosphere"... "Whiteosphere"...[!!!]

What nonsense! Wow!?  As a Latino that has a blog, why would I willingly march into a ghetto... "Latinosphere"?  Please, how insulting and ridiculous.  Holland, you may not buy into nor know how to navigate the "people powered" waters of the wide blogsphere, where ALL are welcome to participate in open groups -- organizing around a common goal.  This is the very heart of the "open source" movement.  As some have pointed out already, if this particular issue is of such importance to you, by all means, please organize a shop (with guest speakers and panel discussions) during the next YearlyKos to begin to alleviate some of your concerns.

by bedobe 2007-02-23 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Reaching Out

Exactly. I've seen good posts and comments from francis before, and this could be a great post. Instead, you get crap like a "Whites Only" sign and "Because, a Black person watching the YearlyKos publicity video would conclude, and I think rightly so, that this conference was for white people who were designing a new direction in which Black people and other minorities are undesireable".

by clarkent 2007-02-23 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona

Francis,

I think you've got a lot of really good ideas here, but a big, hugely helpful leap would be to offer ideas on how to improve black participation in the white blogosphere (and vice versa).  Complaining about the lily white faces of YearlyKos is one thing and getting more non-white faces in there is another entirely.

How would you suggest sites like MyDD and events like YearlyKos attract more of a black audience?

A suggestion off the top of my head would be trying to get the organizers to invite more big-name black, progressive voices.  Maxine Waters would, I'm sure, be a huge hit there.  What about Tavis Smiley?  You've mentioned him before, but he seems to be dodging partisan lines to some extent.  There's a Public Enemy line in your post, how about Chuck D?  This seems right up his alley, as well, and if nothing else it'd be a chance for people to hassle him about running for Congress.

What do you think would be the best way to draw more attention and engagement to YearlyKos from the black community?

by L Boom 2007-02-23 07:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona

Black bloggers are angry at the whitosphere because the perceive that they have been excluded.  If you google the word "whitosphere" (invented by me two weeks ago) you will find that Blacks are discussing exclusion avidly and angrily in the Blackosphere.  I you think that my posts here have been "inflammatory", you're REALLY not going to like what you see in the Blackosphere about exclusion from the whitosphere.

One of the issues that I have seen mentioned is that whitosphere blogs do not link to Blackosphere blogs, which says that whites don't believe that anything Blacks are saying is important or interesting.  I suggested last week (in response to an article here by Jill Tubman) that MyDD should put up a page within the site entitled "Blackosphere" blogs.  On that page should be a list of all of the Black blogs who have expressed an interest in being listed, as well as a statement that any Black blog that wishes to be listed will be listed.  Then, if Black blogs don't request listing you can at least say, "It's not our fault that they are not listed; they didn't ASK for a listing."

The good part about having an entire page for Black Blog links, with ONE link to that page on the prime link list, is that it would permit MyDD to inform readers about dozens of Black blogs without competing for space with what already is on the link list.  It would also be less important to choose "the best" black blogs if you include a lot of Black blogs and let readers decide which is best.

The same strategy could be used to bring in Latinos and Asian, Native Americans, Immigrants, Spanish-Speakers, etc.  Put in ONE link each to a page that includes all interested blogs in that category.

Of course this would not relieve MyDD of the responsibility to eventually include some of the most popular of those links on the main links list.

Again, if one just searches for the words "whitosphere", "blackosphere" and "blog apartheid" at Google, one finds the following entries after only two weeks:

http://jackandjillpolitics.blogspot.com/ 2007/02/trouble-with-francis-whitosphere -vs.html

http://field-negro.blogspot.com/2007/02/ whitosphere-vs-blackosphere.html

http://opportunityagenda.typepad.com/the _state_of_opportunity/2007/02/blackosphe re_vs.html

http://www.voxmia.com/344/blackosphere-w hitosphere.html    
(about Latino exclusion)

http://feeds.feedburner.com/typepad/Oppo rtunityAgenda/the_state_of_opportunity

by francislholland 2007-02-23 08:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona

Holland,

You should've read the post on my blog (voxmia.com) before wrongly concluding that it supports your position. I may not have been clear, but I was refuting your ridiculous fixation on framing issues in terms of European-Americans and African-Americans; and how this duo-poly in many circles of American political discourse misses the point that the duo-poly is no longer sustainable... you know what... why don't I quote what I wrote in my post:

Man, where to begin on this conversation!? (Holland's original post on MYDD.com re: his favorite subject, white- black- blogging spheres).

It seems like we, liberals and the Democratic Party (and the country, for that matter), have been engaged in this conversation since the Civil Rights movement — and even before then, I’m sure. Frankly, everything that needs to be said has been said, the points are now old and stale and, to many, seem to lack relevancy. Please, don’t get me wrong: I’m a firm believer that conservation is always good, and that if family members (as we all belong to the American family) have grievances that they need to get off their chest, then a family meeting must be called and held till what needs to be said has been said. Of course, a resolution may not be arrived at at that time, and if more meetings are necessary then, shit, hold more family meetings. What for me is missing from the conversation that European-Americans and African-Americans have been having with each other over the past 50+ years is that there are a lot more settings at the table nowadays; consequently, these two parties must recognize that the dynamic of the conversation has changed.

Sure, the odious history of slavery in America binds European-Americans and African-Americans more closely to each other, perhaps, than how they’re bound to other hyphanated-Americans. However, while these two aggrieved family members continue their two-way conversation at one end of the table, Latinos have become the second largest group at the family gathering; Arab- and Muslim-Americans have garnered some unwanted attention of recent, and their contributions to the dialogue may be more important than ever to the global discourse; and, just as importantly, globalization is affecting everyone at the table from the bottom up.

And this is what gets me about the two-way conversation that some continue to advocate: Of course, my description above doesn’t even begin to capture the complexity of the conversation that we ought to be having; but one thing is for sure, two way conversations — specially in an age of economic and cultural globalization — are simply insufficient [when there are a lot more guests at the table].

by bedobe 2007-02-23 02:11PM | 0 recs
Ditto

Ditto.

I run the Opportunity Agenda blog.  I linked to your post because I thought there was some interesting discussion about race in the blogosphere, not because I supported your position.

It was the conversation that was interesting and important, not necessarily your conclusions.  I let my readers make up their own mind.

by Mike Connery 2007-02-24 04:58AM | 0 recs
Maybe that is why they picked Chicago this year

Francis...
I posted comments last year about this..

The one thing I did notice was the lack of a large Latino or African-American presence. Hopefully, more minorities will be able to attend in Chicago.

I think by selecting Chicago for the 07 event more people of all races, ethnicities, etc. will be able to attend.

by sndeak 2007-02-23 08:29AM | 0 recs
Hold a Forum at YearlyKos

What about talking to the folks that set up the even about having a Minority Blogging Forum?

by sndeak 2007-02-23 08:32AM | 0 recs
Hurm...

I wonder if what's being said and what's being heard are two different things.  Here's my take:

White readers are hearing "I accuse you of being actively racist, actively excluding blacks from the progressive blogosphere on the basis of their race.  My proof is (this video/the poll demographics/this comment)."

Reading back over this post, it occured to me that what Francis might be saying (and please correct me if I'm wrong) can be summed up like this: "Regardless of intent, the progressive blogosphere is, by definition, guilty of institutional racism due to the fact that blacks are so underrepresented here."

I'm sure you could find someone that's guilty of the former, but it doesn't seem prevalent to me.  The latter is obviously true, at least to some extent.

The question in my mind is this: what percentage of users would be acceptable?  Would it be 13.4% -- more or less the percentage of Americans that are black?  Or would it be closer to the 14.2% of 13.4% of blacks that live in broadband homes?  Because that's more like 1.8% overall.  

I'd agree that there's institutional racism in the discrepency between 13.4% and 1.8%.  But that's institutional racism in the internet, not in the progressive blogosphere, per se.

Curious what y'all think...

by hoose 2007-02-23 08:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Hurm...

"I'd agree that there's institutional racism in the discrepency between 13.4% and 1.8%.  But that's institutional racism in the internet, not in the progressive blogosphere, per se."

All the more reason why the progressive blogosphere should be taking active steps on this issue and not reacting defensively and pointing accusing fingures at teh people who bring the problem up.

IMHO, of course.

by nathanhj 2007-02-23 09:45AM | 0 recs
Your statistics are three years old!

I've posted statistics here at MyDD about Black access to broadband, showing that Black access to broadband is basically doubling each year.  Your cited statistics are from 2003, so there are VERY old in an a field where things are rapidly changing.

Moreover, Black children in schools and Blacks at college have a much higher broadband access rate than even the increased rates of Blacks at home.

You'll find links to much newer statistics on this in my earlier diary:

Nor can the "digital divide" be an explanation or excuse for the segregation of the blogosphere.  58% of Blacks and 69% of English-speaking Hispanics use the Internet, with 49% of those with incomes less than $30,000 per year also using the Internet.  http://www.pewinternet.org/trends/User_D emo_1.11.07.htm  In 2006, 31% of Blacks and 42% of Hispanics (compared to 42% of whites) had a broadband connection at home.  http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Broa dband_trends2006.pdf  So, lack of access to the Internet cannot explain the absence of Blacks in the whitosphere. "36% of all African-American adults, about 7.5 Million people, now have internet access," compared to 23% in 1998.  http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Afri can_Americans_Report.pdf

So, what are the solution?  The most obvious way to increase Black activists' participation in the whitosphere would be by exchanging links with the blogs that already have the attention of politically active Black people.  Recently, Kos of DailyKos expressed an intention to decrease the number of links offered on his site, with the links offered being to those sites that he frequents for political news.  "I'm going to link to sites I'm spending time at", he said.  http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/2 /3/192341/1181  Unless Kos frequents Black sites, this policy combined with his own reading habits will exacerbate the problem of blog segregation.  

http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/2/9/12568 /75943#readmore

by francislholland 2007-02-23 10:06AM | 0 recs
OK, then...

would you say the target is more like 13.4% or 4.15%?

I have a partially-formed notion... 45,000 of the 15,000,000 members of blackplanet.com are online right now.  dKos has, what -- 30,000 active-ish members?  A cleverly played membership drive could raise the percentage of black members at dKos to anywhere from 4% to 14% to 99%...

by hoose 2007-02-23 10:38AM | 0 recs
How many Blacks does it take?

How many Black bloggers would have to participate at MyDD for your calls to action (demonstrations, letter writing, marches) to reach the Black community?

If prominent Black people regularly blogged at MyDD, then Black people would come to MyDD to read what they had said.  Barack Obama would be a real coup, as well as Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Al Sharpton, Representative Jesse Jackson, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Bill Cosby, Chuck D, Congressman Charles Rangel . . . The number of Black and other minority elected officials is increasing all the time.  It would not be difficult to cross-post here some of the things that they are posting elsewhere, or request that they create entirely new content.

It would also be helpful if a picture of them appeared with their post, so that Black people would know that these people are accepted here even though you are aware that they are Black people.

Now, if you invite guest Black posters, they will almost inevitably say things that white people would not have said and address issues that white people would not have addressed.  (This will be useful to you, since Black people are going to determine the outcome of a number of presidential primaries in 2008.)  If you call all different opinions expressed by Black people and Latinos "stupid" and "disingenuous" "crap", then those posters and commenters are not likely to return here.  Instead, they will conclude that you really never wanted their participation here in the first place.

by francislholland 2007-02-23 10:31AM | 0 recs
Why don't you start providing content

Guess what. you are a black poster. You can post items in Breaking Blue. You can post diaries referencing other African American bloggers. If you prefer to spend more time to stump for a white establishment presidential candidate than actually do some of the work you want white bloggers to do, maybe we will ahve more of a black presence on MYDD. Matt Stoller has put multiple diaries seeking suggestions. So it's not like they are blind to the deficiencies over here. But if you are unwilling to actually provide content, and these people who are not highly paid are strapped for time to make the extra effort, what is your suggestion? Why don't you start today??

Start putting up a diaries that are more African American centric instead of talking about the lack of black diaries. Get back to us after a few months and let us know how you were treated.

by Pravin 2007-02-23 02:26PM | 0 recs
Its all about who shows up

If black people want to go to Yearly Kos, I don't see any barriers to attendance. Pay the fee, go to the city, and show up at the event. Participate. That's it. If there were a Republican equivalent of this type of event, then I'm sure you'd have a real problem on your hands.

I don't know if its your desire to be heard, a desire to really make a difference, or a desire to spout off about every perceived slight in the hopes of I don't know what, but I really kind of feel sorry for you on this one. Confused and angry at the world is no way to get where you want to go.

by mihan 2007-02-23 09:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Its all about who shows up

Let me ask you one question and I ask this in all seriousness and without any desire to enter into an arguement or flame war.

The question is:
How many events have you been to where there were 1500 black folks and 6 whites?

I'm going to assume none, but please correct me if I'm wrong on this.

If it is none, why didn't you go? Was it because you saw explicit barriers to access? Or for some other reason (gathering didn't address topics of interest, etc.)?

I think what I'm trying to get at here is the point that just because an event is "open" doesn't actually mean that the event is "comfortable" or "welcoming", even if the potential attendee has a keen interest in the issues addressed. And that, further, it's not the responsibility of the person who feels uncomfortable or unwelcome to force the event to be those things.

And while I'm not sure Francis always uses language that builds him allies, I'm almost certain that pointing out problems of race does not make him "confused and angry".

Again, I'm not trying to be polemical or personal in this comment.

by nathanhj 2007-02-23 09:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Its all about who shows up

Does a Busta Rhymes concert in Detroit's Fox Theater sound black enough for you? Believe me, not a lot of white people there. I do get what Francis is saying about the disparity, but my only answer is this: you can either be a part of the problem, or a part of the solution. If there are black people who don't want to go to events like Yearly Kos, then that's their choice. If they want to collectively start a Kos Black Caucus or something, then they could do that. If they want to bitch and complain about something that I personally can't do anything about, then I don't know what to say. You can either embrace who you are and succeed in spite of it(as you may percieve, or you can let it be your roadblock to inclusion. Nobody I know at that community is in the way of that.

by mihan 2007-02-23 10:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Its all about who shows up

Living in the city of Milwaukee and being white, I have all to often felt uncomfortable in situations where I am the sole white man. I have had many expirences where I have been the minorty and it is very unpleasant. Race problems are rampant in this city. I have taken many bus rides where I have been scared and recieved glaring stares. The new prespective has allowed me to see the problem in clear light. And the problem is big. I do not have an answer but the problem is defintely real.

by Forward with Feingold 2007-02-23 11:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Its all about who shows up

All the time, at CBC events and local Demo Party events in DC. No one had to extend me a pathetic special invite, or beg me to show up to help other whities show up.

Our local party exec leadership is entirely African-American. One of the exec complained to me about the lack of diversity. I could give a damn. All I care about is competence, and almost everyone is. The treasurer is an unqualified idiot, but if he was replaced by one of many of the qualified African American members that would be great. And I'd still give a rats ass that it wasn't diverse.

But what Francis appears to be doing is conflating respecting him and his views with respecting an entire racial group's views, which is a pretty whopping amount of ego.

by ElitistJohn 2007-02-23 11:13AM | 0 recs
I'm citing statistics and a VIDEO

And the video and the statistics tell me that the whitosphere has a pronounced of inclusion.

Will there be any Black speakers at DailyKos in   2007?  Will any Black or Latino or Asian organizations or blogs be invited as co-sponsors?  

Will there be any Black or Asian or Latino-American public officials speaking?  Were there any last year?  

If the Democratic National Convention gets 20% African-American delegates than it certainly ought to be possible to have more that six African-American activists among the 1,500 participants at DailyKos.

If half of the Democratic primary voters in South Carolina are African-American than 1.5% Blacks at DailyKos says that SOMETHING is terribly wrong - either with outreach or with content (or lack thereof) or with some other aspect of the lack of an ongoing relationship between the Blackosphere and the whitosphere.  I have made some quicly and easily implemented concrete suggestions upthread:  e.g. include a link to "Blackosphere Blogs" among the MyDD Blogroll.  

Let's see if that suggestion, which could be implemented with a few keystrokes, ever gets implemented here or at DailyKos.  

If the same outreach were made to "Latinosphere Links" and "Asianosphere Links" than a useful dialogue could be started.  Requiring or requiring reciprocal links from Blackosphere, Latinosphere and Asianosphere blogs would be a concrete way of asking inviting members of these groups to participate, contacting them where they are and asking them to join the conversation here.    

by francislholland 2007-02-23 12:02PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm citing statistics and a VIDEO

Will you be volunteering to help organize this? It is a volunteer organization group of amateurs, you know.

Or, as I suspect, will you simply evade doing the hard work on this and stick to demanding other do it?

by ElitistJohn 2007-02-23 04:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Its all about who shows up

FIrst of all the reverse analogy of 1600 blacks and few  whites is incorrect. Like it or not, I am a minority here. Francis is a minority here though he has a lot more of his race compared to mine. There is no barrier of entry to blogs. This is not like expensive media outlets where it is tough to get through if you are not part of the old boys network. THere is a valid concern to raising minority presence and I have talked about it in my other comments.

If Francis has a track record of putting interesting diaries and gets dissed, then I will be the first to ask MYDD why they are ignoring black concerns.

by Pravin 2007-02-23 04:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Its all about who shows up

If I went to a conference thinking that is was progressive, only to find that there were only 6 Black people among 1,500 participants, that WOULD make me "Confused and angry"!  It's called cognitive dissonance.  How can a group that calls itself "progressive" have so few Black members?  If the Civil Rights Movement and integration are among the principal ways that the United States progressed in the 20th Century, that kind of "progressive" movement seems to have completely passed the whitosphere by.  

I'm not the only Black person who is angry about this, and that's why Blacks all over the blogosphere are talking angrily about the "whitosphere".  Just look at the following post:

http://field-negro.blogspot.com/2007/02/ whitosphere-vs-blackosphere.html

One reason that Black people are not nocking on the door is that many Black people have already given up on white progressives.  They're very  angry at having been excluded for so long (from the blogroll, for instance).  And so when they read that I'm trying to enlighten you about this, they think I'm wasting my time.   Right or wrong, they think that your blogs are virtually all-white because you WANT it that way.  And so they think you're damned near hopeless and any attempts to interact with you would be a fruitless waste of time.

http://field-negro.blogspot.com/2007/02/ whitosphere-vs-blackosphere.html

by francislholland 2007-02-23 10:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Its all about who shows up

What's funny though, Francis is that I've read "field". And it appears that when an African-American blogger gets links, field grabs out the "Tom" label and declares they aren't "black enough".

So again, we have a case of conflating one person or subgroups views for an entire racial group. Pretty funny, and ironic.

by ElitistJohn 2007-02-23 11:16AM | 0 recs
Blackosphere Blogs Link Policy

Neither Field nor anyone else can stop you from linking to Black blogs.  If you don't do so, it's simply because you don't want to do so.

Sometimes, whitosphere blogs select the most "acceptable" black blogs to link to, i.e. blogs where Blacks will not discuss the kinds of issues I have discussed here.  That causes the impression among Blacks that any blog that is linked must be a Black "sell-out" blog.  

I have suggested above that many blogs be included on a MyDD list of Blackosphere Blogs, on an "as requested basis".  If invited, I promise to participate in MyDD "Blackosphere Blogs" link, regardless of what anybody says about me as a result.  I'm sure a lot of other blogs would as well, as long as they know that they Blackosphere Blogs link is open to ALL Blackosphere Blogs - not just the ones whose opinions and voice are pre-approved by the whitosphere.    

by francislholland 2007-02-23 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Blackosphere Blogs Link Policy

Ah, I see. So people are now not allowed to decide who they want to link to, but special exemption must be allowed for anyone in special groups (as defined by you) regardless of content.

So say I, who opposes family dynasties were to have a blog, I would be required to link to you if you wanted to, even though you hide Hillary shilling behind a veneer of racial double speak. The reverse would of course not be true.

How very special.

by ElitistJohn 2007-02-23 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona

Okay, a blog is free for anyone to particapte in. There is no sign that says "white only" and really no way of determing race in a blog. If you are so upset about black particpation in liberal blogs, then why don't you call on your black brethen to join liberal blogs with you. To do so would be easy. So, you better start walking because your talk is getting you nowhere.

by Forward with Feingold 2007-02-23 10:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona

This is a rather offensive blog.  It implies that many on this blog and other progressive blogs are racist.

I get your point, but I feel like it is severely weakened by your implications of racism.

As a blogger in Baltimore City, a majority Black city, I do my best to search out black political voices on the net.  There are several in Maryland that I read regularly, Oliver Willis, P. Kenneth Burns, and the folks at B-more news, and I am sure there are many more. I hope I can somewhat understand where you are coming from, and the frustration you feel.

However, I think your tone and your approach to this issue are all wrong.  You insult the very people you are looking to convince.  

I hope that you are not simply trying to be antagonistic, and that you really want to improve minority participation in the progressive blogosphere. We need all the help we can get. Sadly, the tone of your blog suggests otherwise.

by andy k 2007-02-23 11:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona

Furthermore, I think a very positive step on this front would be to engage Tavis Smiley and the CWBA, and try to increase their online presence.  A scoop blog on the CWBA page would be amazing.

by andy k 2007-02-23 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona

Are you more offended by the way that I said what I have here or by the fact that the most "progressive" (?) part of America remains largely segregated in fact?  

by francislholland 2007-02-23 12:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona

I think sometimes these posts come across more like rants because they tend to go on and on and they have kind of an accusatory tone.  Let me try to be constructive.

Obviously there's a problem being identified here.  Of course anyone can have an account at Daily Kos.  Of course anyone is free to attend Yearly Kos.  If you think that means there's no issue, you're kidding yourself.  If black people disproportionately choose not to participate, you'd be silly not to wonder why.    Maybe if black people all voluntarily chose not to show up at the polls next year, it might occur to you to wonder why!

So what's the deal?  I would have thought it was more issue-based, but let me see if I understand Francis' perspective.  He seems to be saying that black people (and obviously, we're generalizing here) don't like to walk into the room and see that they're the only black person there.  If that happens, and if they don't see more black people start to show up, they start to feel uncomfortable and that maybe there's a reason for it.  And they're likely to leave, which perpetuates the problem.  Am I being at all fair here?

Let me try to explain a difference in perspective.  When Francis suggests that there should be a spot on the blogroll specifically designated "blackosphere blogs," I take him to be saying that if black people saw something like that, they'd take it as a positive sign that black perspectives are valued around here, and they'd be more likely to participate.  Whereas for myself, being a good white liberal, I have an instinctive nauseous reaction to the idea, as if we were sending the message "okay, over here are the regular blogs, and over here are the BLACK blogs."  There was a commercial when I was growing up that warned me I was prejudiced if I referred to someone as "my BLACK friend," as opposed to just my friend.  (I'm not the only one who remembers this, right?)  I'm not making a normative judgment here - maybe I'm way off and Francis is exactly right about what to do - I'm just explaining the difference in perspectives.

I have no idea if Francis' views are representative or if he's on his own on this one.  Maybe I don't read enough black blogs - for example, I read Steve Gilliard, who certainly writes from a black perspective, but I've never seen him write something like this.  But I wonder if there's a solution, something subtler that would make it clear that black visitors are just as welcome at Yearly Kos (for example) without stigmatizing them with a big "HEY, look over here, these are the BLACK PEOPLE who are coming!"  I dunno, but it's food for thought.

by Steve M 2007-02-23 12:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona

I agree and i share the concern of the need for more minority voices. But you can't hold overstrapped bloggers to the same standards as a powerful media outlet. The admins here and even at the more popular Dkos have their hands full just coordinating among themselves let alone making any kind of special outreach unilaterally. What they do is not limit entry to those who want to participate. It will be nice if white bloggers can show more interest in any diary with black concerns. But I think a black person should not get discouraged just because one or two diaries were ignored(which we know isn't Holland's problem) and they stop posting. I have had some diaries that were ignored and I chalk it up to a combination of bad timing on my part(posted late in the weekend or day) and less than stellar writing(which I am guilty of). I couldn't even have a diary addressing public school education get as many responses as I would like. So it's not personal if a black diary even with legit issues gets ignored in the future. I think people should keep posting and if they notice a trend of being ignored, they have every right to feel alienated.

I personally ws aghast at the lack of enough outrage I saw from many white liberals in the NY area to Guiliani's police tactics(I actually used to like Guiliani at one time). And I wasn't following political blogs at the time(did we have blogs at the time?) to even know if white readers here were paying enough attention to police atrocities towards minorities. If Francis can show evidence of that, it will be easier to show some support. But all he does is bitch without offering any diaries addresing black concerns that he accuses white bloggers of not addressing. A lot of bloggers are struggling with day to day life. As long as they offer an open seat with a smile, it is up to the other person to join in on the conversation. If the white bloggers eyes glaze over when the non white bloggers makes his points lucidly about his POV, then I would support the non white blogger. But Francis saying alienation over white bloggers is a black concern is a valid point but only a starting point. He needs to add something more concrete to that for us to show him some respect.  And I am not even white.

by Pravin 2007-02-23 04:22PM | 0 recs
Niche blogs not a bad thing

Also while I have been advocating a need for more minority participaation in mainstream blogs, I do not see the presence of African American blogs as an indictment of MYDD type blogs. At some point, concerns of a minority group will get lost in the numbers game on big blogs. We should be happy that we have the freedom to create that niche blog where we can freely talk about it. Francis could take matters into his own hands and provide a few links in his signature to some promising African American blogs. I have found many movie related websites or geek websites the same way. Word of mouth baby.

This is where I think MYDD can provide reciprocity easily by linking to a couple of  African American blogs and even more when they get to organize the interface of this blog better - have different categories(though using a word like Blackosphere will generate black critics no matter what Francis thinks). Hell, you can't even search well on old comments and diaries on MYDD.

by Pravin 2007-02-23 04:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly,

You're just a bomb thrower.

Hilariously so.

But, a bomb thrower never-the-less.

I have to laugh at your description of the gathering.

I bet they congratulated themselves on the 6 that they had...LOL

Francis, keep on writing these. They're always interesting to read.

by rikyrah 2007-02-23 12:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly,

Thank you for saying so!

Some posters here are saying that they think I've already posted about this too much, while you are saying that I should keep posting.  I guess it's a matter of opinion.  It's a shame that in an environment where some people are banned for annoying others, one's right to post what one thinks is important - one's free speech - depends on when another person thinks that something has already been said often enough.  

It's not like this is a hardcopy newspaper where space must be strictly rationed.  Basically, some people here argue, for some reason, that when they get really tired of reading someone's posts then that person should be "banned" from ever posting again.  That was the policy under the apartheid government in South Africa but banning is a complete stranger to American jurisprudence.  And there's a good reason for that.  When people came to the New World for freedom, they were anxious to leave Old World tyranny behind them.

by francislholland 2007-02-23 03:49PM | 0 recs
Class and race
You could just as lucidly have made this argument about class as about race (check out the latest poll of MYDD users' education and wealth). And having some rep from the black community or the unions show up to write something from the black or "blue collar" perspective isn't the same thing as individuals participating in the comments and diaries.
A better indication of racism (to my mind) would be if people ignored you. I don't see that happening, at least not with this diary.
The relationship of racism/elitism to race/class resentment is more difficult and complex to resolve than just tacking some more blogs in the blogroll, but you have to start somewhere.
OTOH, wouldn't a "blackosphere blogs" hotlink in the blogroll to a separate page in Internet outer space be equivalent to an electronic ghetto--an offramp to someplace out of site and out of mind? What you are proposing isn't exactly integration, but I'm not sure you are interested in integration.
by johnalive 2007-02-23 01:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Class and race

By your standard (if people ignored me) the lunch counters could have remained segregated in the south as long as whites open-mindedly entertained our complaints about that segregation.

The statistics are saying that the wall between the whitosphere and the Blackosphere already exists.  Links are an imperfect and incomplete solution, but they don't create segregation; they just acknowledge the segregation that already exists and attempt to rectify it.

The issue is complex, but there are still simple steps that can be taken to address it.  The reasons for "whites only" lunch counters in the South were complex, but the solution was simple once the political will existed:  open the lunch counters.

I would be willing to bet that most users of MyDD aren't even aware that Blackosphere blogs exist and would be unable to name two Blackosphere blogs.  Putting links to the blackosphere would address this and make it more likely that the walls of segregation would be reduced.

You use the analogy of offramps from a highway into the ghetto.  Well, imagine if you completely removed all of the offramps to the ghetto.  Then you'd have a situation analogous to what exists on line, where there are so few links to the Blackosphere that most whites have no idea how to get there at all.  You can't begin to integrate neighborhoods if you don't even have highways that go from one to the next.

by francislholland 2007-02-23 03:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona
This is 100% pure bullshit. Registration for YKC is open to anyone that has the means to attend (and this conference isn't nearly as expensive as comparable conferences). The real question you should be asking is whether or not people of color are adequately represented in the blogosphere. Or if that even matters since people don't know whether you are white, black, purple, male, female, straight, or gay unless you actually tell people. They listen to your ideas.
by Raven Brooks 2007-02-23 02:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona

The question I posed in the title is, "Is YearlyKos an overwhelmingly, disproportionately white gathering"?  You seem to agree that it is, but you are arguing over where the fault lies.

The fact is that if YearlyKos is attempting to reach out to Blacks, then the statistics say that YearlyKos has failed abysmally in these efforts.  If  YearlyKos is NOT trying to reach out to Blacks then I think we need to know why.

As long as YearlyKos and DailyKos do not attempt to influence the direction of the Democratic Party, it is a much less serious problem that they are terribly unrepresentative of the Party as a whole. But, as soon as a group so unrepresentative of the Party starts trying to flex its muscle and hold itself out as "the future" (Kos' words) then it becomes VERY important that such a group either find a way to broaden its constituency or humbly limit its attempts to direct and control the direction of a diverse national Party.

by francislholland 2007-02-23 03:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportiona

Why is it the job of YearlyKos, DailyKos or any blog to "reach out to" blacks or any other group?

What is the barrier to entry for those groups to get involved?  Until you've proven there is some sort of barrier that needs to be addressed then you really don't have a case.

I can say there really isn't--it takes an internet connection and that's it. Unless you identify who you are on the internet no one really knows.  Your ideas speak for you and people really could care less about what you look like, unlike in the real world.

If you personally care about trying to get groups like the african american community involved in online politics then more power to you.  But that's something you care about it doesn't have to be the goal of big blogs.

Personally I could care less about what color a person's skin is, I care about their ideas and the internet is great for bringing great ideas together.

by Raven Brooks 2007-02-23 04:28PM | 0 recs
The fact that you are still posting freely....

is proof enough for me no one is keeping you down on MYDD. Your posts have not made many happy, yet we take part in your diaries to give us our point of view. We even offered suggestions.

This is not to mean being inclusionary is the same as laying off the criticism. When you put ou a diary, and we feel like it's offbase, we will call you on it whether we are right or not, but as long as we really believe it. You are free to voice your dissenting view. But that will not be evidence of your being excluded from the whitosphere. It will be upto you to weather the storm and keep posting. THe day you get banned, feel free to send me an email, and I will take up your case personally and demand justice from the MYDD admins as long as the ban is not for the same point made again and again and not being responsive to other arguments and you just respond with a personal insult. THat much, I can promise you. And I wouldn't be surprised if others will extend you the same solidarity when it comes to free speech. But do not expect to be  unchallenged on your viewpoints. This is not a lovey dovey atmosphere.

by Pravin 2007-02-23 02:41PM | 0 recs
Re: The same points over and over again

Pravin, how many times did the abolitionists have to make the same points over and over again before slavery came to an end in the United States.  Would it have been fair in the year 1850 to demand that, having said his peace, Frederick Douglass stop demanding abolition "over and over again"?

How many times did Blacks demand to eat at white lunch counters before that demand was acceded to?  Would it have been fair in 1960 to demand that Blacks stop making the same request "over and over again"?  Doesn't the repetition only become unreasonable if it continues after the problem has been remedied and resolved?

A lot of liberals believe that once they have become "aware" of a problem, that is enough.  It's not enough.  We are aware of the war in Iraq, and yet we continue posting about it day after day, incessantly, because the war itself goes on incessantly.  Would you demand that people stop posting "over and over" about the war in Iraq?

As for banning, the time to object to banning is not after it happens.  Rather, the policy of banning people for expression of their opinions is an institutional problem that deserves immediate attention.

You read my diaries regularly.  Would it be fair to ban me without first giving you and others an opportunity to know the specific reasons for which my banning was being contemplated, and an opportunity to weigh in on whether such a banning was appropriate?  Is Due Process so easily dispensable?

One of the reasons that Blacks are reluctant to participate at white blogs is that we know that as soon as you tire of our opinions you may well withdraw our posting privileges.  Since we can only advocate for ourselves for only so long as it pleases others, we are obliged to create blogs of our own where we cannot be banned, like my Francis L. Holland Blog.

Unfortunately, it will be more difficult for progressives to combine and coordinate our efforts if our advocacy takes place in separate and, in fact, segregated blogospheres.

The First Amendment requires you to hear opinions, on occasion, that you REALLY don't like, but it also permits YOU to express opinions that others really do not like.  Is it SO difficult to hear others opinions that freedom of speech should be dispensed with in the whitosphere?  Can "progressives" conscionably argue for free speech in Iraq while denying it to Blacks here at their own blogs in the United States?

by francislholland 2007-02-23 03:13PM | 0 recs
Re: The same points over and over again

I hear you on the banning issue. But you have not made the case any banning has been done on racial grounds. I have a higher tolerance for discord and dissent than your typical blogger. We can have a separate diary on free speech and I will probably agree with you. Like I said, I have seen white readers censured for less in the past. I have been warned for taking a light hearted dig at Harold Ford when he lost. ANd I even mentioned that I was censured for it and I got not backlash.  I wasn't censured because I was an Indian American. It's just that I have less control over my words than admins of some blogs are comfortable with. It is a more of a human difference.

I just think you are doing your viewpoints a disservice by conflating the two issues. If you have been allowed to freely post diaries on blackospheres and such, what makes you think you won't be welcome to post regularly on African American oriented issues? ANd I ask you again, why don't you start this week?

by Pravin 2007-02-23 03:52PM | 0 recs
Re: The fact that you are still posting freely....

Anyway, I've met Black lawyers and other highly-educated Black progressionals in the last couple of weeks who posted my "whitosphere/blackosphere" graphics on their sites because they, too, are concerned with segregation in the blogosphere.  

These are highly literate and progressive Black men and women with their own independent blogs who are not prevented by class issues from participating in MyDD or DailyKos.  They have broadband connections independent blogs, computers and political concerns.  But they believe that the whitosphere is hostile to Blacks and Black concerns.

by francislholland 2007-02-23 03:34PM | 0 recs
Re: The fact that you are still posting freely....

I wouldn't want to bring education into it because outlook about blogs has nothing to do with being highly educated or not.

What you are pointing to is more analogous to more white people going to watch rock acts and more black people going to watch certain R&B acts. I think the discourse style has something to do with it (and I am not comfortable with voluntary cultural segregation either and it is important that we have crossover between the two cultures, but it is not as anywhere as malicious as lunch counter apartheid as you alluded to in another comment). I think the reason you are encountering resistance is your tone implies there is some kind of resistance or malice from white blogosphere to black readers. Trust me, if you were white, you would be getting no less shit from us. The proof is the reactions you were getting on the Hillary thread compared to other strong Hillary supporters.

by Pravin 2007-02-23 04:00PM | 0 recs
I didn't even know he was black

I just know that the diaries I've read by him lately are laughable. In theory, I'd like to end the white male monopoly on the presidency, but that's not a sufficient reason for me to vote for any woman or black man. All other things being equal, I probably would vote for a woman over a man in a primary. But when the woman is Hillary Clinton, no thanks.

Pravin is right--Francis Holland is getting no more shit than he would be if he were white.

by desmoinesdem 2007-02-23 07:34PM | 0 recs

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