April 18, 2005

Do Black Folks Search? I'm just asking...

Nice to see some women at this year's MSN Search Camp. I'm glad the folks involved took Liz Lawley's advice from last year and broadened their diversity portfolio.

One thing though. The pictures I've seen so far look pretty, um, melanin-challenged.

Maybe black Americans don't search much. I mean, those people still use pagers for their drug deals, right? So they wouldn't have anything to add to a conversation on the nuances of search. Just wait until Instant Messaging catches on though! Whoa!

Sorry. I'm probably just mistaken. Someone, call me to task. I'll wait.

And in the mean time, I'll tell you about a trend I've noticed on the part of some white Americans trying to diversify their blogs--and kudos to those who have acknowledged that they'd gotten stuck in their initial blog circles and might do well with pushing some walls out of the way... I count myself in that bunch. And that is, if you will, "all good."

However, it seems to me that a great number of white Americans have an easier time or are inclined to diversify by going OUTSIDE of America to cultures they perceive as more exotic for new voices. In other words, they leap at the chance to add a Japanese blogger, a Kenyan blogger, a Nigerian blogger. But what is NOT second nature is to add black Americans with that same vigor.

Especially, and I will say it, black American men.

You can tell me I'm wrong. You can tell me all day long. But my eyes and ears are tuned to this, from the inside of my own family outward. It's not something I consciously go looking for (as some bloggers I've called to task might think); no, it's something I notice as second nature. It's that typical kind of bullshit that strikes in a flash, raising my arm hairs.

And it isn't that those bloggers grasping outside their own borders to add diverse voices are wrong. ON THE CONTRARY! Pushing the conversation ever outward is a good thing--huge.

It's what keeps blogging from becoming inbred.

But you also might want to look down the street from where you live too, say around the block, down the road. Instead of tuning in culturally to what you see on CNN or FOX NEWS. Because it's really neat the way mainstream media tackles those intriguing stories overseas. And how COPS tackles those terrific drug-deals-gone-bad here at "home." And it's really neat the way darker-skinned people from overseas seem so very authentic, and how lots of them need America; yet darker skinned people in America -- they cause trouble.

And it's really fascinating how black men doing something technical, smart, savvy, geeky -- just like you even! -- just doesn't register.