January 23, 2005

How homogeneous Can One Room Be?

About like this.

The frightening thing is, they have no idea how ridiculous they look to the rest of the world. For some of them, the world is what they report on--their oyster. Little brown bodies floating in the sea and such. They are tolerant in their own country. They will send money to others.

For others of them, not all of them of course, the world looks much like Boston, a white-friendly little jewel in the tolerant blue state area of the U.S.A. They don't like W. They might even vote for Barack Obama. But they don't think anything's odd about a room full of so many people just like them discussing ethics and standards for an online world they assume as much privilege over as their offline neighborhoods.

Hey, ho, girl, you're outta line.

And you?

I wouldn't care if they were getting together to share recipes or tips on selecting the right tie for navy blue pants. I'd even be glad if they got together to work on how to be better writers.

But I do care that they were discussing "credibility," "ethics," and "standards" about a space that is as much mine, ours, as it is theirs. A space that they can help ruin because of shared "trust" among an alarmingly homogeneous group.

What's not to trust--they don't look like criminals, they're educated, they're sitting around a table at Harvard for the love of God. Certainly they are who they say they are.

Thing is, they are assuming they know themselves. No no no. You don't know who you are. You don't know who your wives are, your husbands are--you have no idea what kind of ticking time bombs are tucked inside your hearts.

But it's easier, isn't it, to fix this space, to examine it, to quantify, verify, validate, and ejaculate it into a neat and tidy transcript. Baby, it don't work that way.

How many bloggers of color did you invite? How many reporters/journalists of color? I'm making assumptions here--I better be careful--like I'm always so careful. It wouldn't be ethical to be careless. Yes, so, I just want to know.

"It's about business models," one of them said. It's about a "shared vocabulary." It's about "a shift from analog to digital." It's about changing "the mainstream press' ideas about journalism."

No it's about your raw ass. How's that. It's about ebonics if I want it to be. It's about strawberry jam and toe jam. It's about whatever it's about.

I am glad that it had a happy ending though:

We're certainly a long way from a shared set of principles, or a code of ethics, or even an understanding of how they could come about.

Well thank the Blue Eyed Jesus for that.