March 09, 2005

Is That a Link In Your Pocket....

Shelley comes back with a winning post about the big-blog-boy circle jerk--it's funny, it's sad, it's scary, it made me glad.
Point of fact, if you follow the thread of this discussion, you would see something like Dave linking to Cory who then links to Scoble who links to Dave who links to Tim who links to Steve who then links to Dave who links to Doc who follows through with a link to Dan, and so on. If you throw in the fact that the Google Guys are, well, guys, then we start to see a pattern here: men have a real thing for the hypertext link.
Now you have to read the whole post to find out exactly WHY this penchant for boy-linking...something about a cigar and a corvette.

March 08, 2005

New Term for the Blogtionary

Double-Dooced: Getting Fired for emailing a sexist hate letter under your real name to Dooce, whom you found out about because you heard in a news story that she got fired for her blog.

What We See and What We Get

Tom Matrullo does an absolutely masterful job in this post of contrasting the beauty of flickr and the abomination of hatred--which I too often forget live side by side on this place we call the net.

Tom is always eloquent, but something about the way he masters the transition from the magical faces and places of flickr to the satanic evil of racist blogmills is incredible and all the more moving in its juxtaposition.

Read it.

Blogger bloggers are also rans.

Tony Pierce has a great post on the LA Times article that positions Blogger as sloppy seconds to Moveable Type.

In Tony's comments, I take exception with what Anil says about "free" services like Blogger. Anil, WTF?
Nearly all of the people on free services like Blogger and LiveJournal are writing for an audience of their family and friends. You can't lament that they don't get attention and then be unwilling to actually *read* the sites and understand what those bloggers are trying to do. You (and I) are driven by ego or a desire for lots of readers, but most people aren't. bloggers writing for family and friends? That's a rather narrow take on a big part of the blogosphere. I'm glad that most of my family doesn't know about this blog. But 60,000 Google hits related to it tells me that some folks online like reading it.

Anil, that was a dumbass statement. Maybe even irresponsible. I've been on blogger since 2001. I liked it at first because it was easy. Now, I like it because it's where I happen to live. Might I move someday? Yes, but it would only be out of frustration over how slow the interface has gotten.

Rageboy's on Blogger. His Chief Blogging Officer weblog is on blogger (and looks better than most MT blogs I've seen). Halley's on blogger. I'm on blogger. Lots of smart people writing for more than their kin are on blogger. Some are even hosted on blogspot.

You pulled that statement out of your ass. It belongs back inside.

Color or Content?

In a comment to the post below, Nichelle left a link to Color or Content, a gathering in NYC in April to discuss issues around race and blogging.

This is the kind of 'event' that interests me because it is NOT like every other stinking Northeast or west-coast conference about blogging featuring the GODS of BECAUSE WE SAY SO, who, without pause, have allowed U.S.-based conference after conference about media, journalism, CREDIBILITY, and blogging -- invitation only events -- take place WITHOUT inviting bloggers of color, especially black and brown American bloggers.

It's wrong. It's embarrassing. It has made me question what some of the people I thought I liked online are really about. Seriously. Are the white men of technology, business, and academia still that threatened? Because if not, it means they're just that stupid.

So, Good for Nichelle and others for raising the Color or Content question. If I can get up to NY, I will. It would have to be a family trip, but if George has business in NY in April, it could happen. I wish it were a bit further out--but, hopefully this will be a first, not a last, gathering like this.

Incidentally, I really like the post by Chris Raab that Nichelle references. It tackles these issues and presents them in the words of someone who has directly experienced the mainstream conference homogeony first hand:

They weren't ready to walk the talk. And that's okay, as long as they admit it (to themselves) their inconsistencies. The same holds true for the event's organizers, panel and audience. Walk the talk or STFU. Seriously though, in any enlightened group, most folks would have failed the "smell test".

When the older drunk white guy started to heckle the crowd for having only one Black person in the audience (his wife), someone retorted that there was a "Spanish guy back here". Indeed, there was one Latino in attendance. And yet, I still didn't feel all warm and gooey inside by this veritable parade of ethnicity.

If diversity and inclusiveness were truly important to the organizers of this event, the panel and audience would have averred this. Clearly, it did not.

If the whitefolk in the audience who I made uncomfortable truly believed in inclusiveness, they would commit to doing something -- anything -- to address the segregation which they in part help maintain by their complacency. In other words, they would have to take a leap into the unknown -- that is, real diversity, where the majority of people of color in their presence are of the same or higher social status.

And it is indeed a leap. Woody Allen and the cast of 'Friends' aren't the only New Yorkers who can experience a white Manhattan, if they wish to. The fact of the matter is that most white people live in a segregated world of their own making, and the only thing keeping them from jumping into the mix is the will to do so. Maybe before Google, I'd cut my white compatriots with no Black friends or acquaintances some slack. But, damn, just Google "blackfolk" and "Manhattan" and if you don't come up with something germane within 5 minutes, you're either an imbecile or full of shit.

So, my solicited suggestion to these two young white guys was: Leave your comfort zone. I did so by jumping on a freakin' train in arctic conditions to participate in a panel amidst a virtually all white audience to talk about something that assuredly would not have been meaningfully addressed had I not gotten off my ass and participated. In fact, I even joined a group of whitefolk afterward for dinner at a German restaurant. (I didn't even go to a German restaurant when I visited Berlin!) So, no one can say that I didn't practice what I preached.

Do I think that most whitefolk will heed my bitchy intonations? Nope. But if I just reach one privileged white person a year through 2008, I will have exceed my lifetime community service quota. Besides with the advent of the blogosphere, whitefolk who have not yet drummed up the will or courage to interact with their colored counterparts can at least eaves-drop on us by reading our blogs. That way you don't have to pay Amtrak $80 like I did to leave the comfort zone of your web browser's bookmarks.

Nichelle mentions others who are attending the Color or Content gathering:


Ron Taylor

EJ Flavors

Hip-Hop Blogs

All About George

March 07, 2005

Once You Go Black...

Apparently, in addition to being a recent topic here at allied, the blogging race/ethnicity issue has also risen to the top within more prominant blogs, like Rebecca's and Halley's.

I'm glad.

I'm also disclaiming my niche. While I happen to think, especially for Americans, it's important to be reading global voices--voices outside of the prattle we hear in our own heads and workplaces every day--it's AS important, or dare I say more important, to be paying attention to those too easily dismissed in our own country. I'm here to say this specifically: you white men should put some black men on your blogrolls. They're writing circles around you and you don't even know it.

If you're not American, it's hard to relate the long-standing and still emerging issues of race (both the said and the unsaid) in this country. Far be it from me to even attempt to educate global readers on the subtleties--I am ignorant of so much and will admit it. But I can write based on my own experience as partner and wife for nearly 20 years of an American Black Man, and the mother of a daughter of color in the making.

In America today, thanks to mainstream media, entertainment, conservatism, politics, psychology, religion, homegrown phobias, happenstance, and lots of other things, especially our shared culture as an economy built on the backs of slaves, and YES I said the "s" word, the black man is still marginalized, and he's marginalized in the blogworld too.

Over at Rebecca's, Brad Lena says this: "Here is my two cents worth regarding blog diversity. (First a disclaimer, I’m a white male.) This is a non-issue. As of now, there is damn little preventing anybody from starting a blog. The barriers, however that is defined, regarding cost, access to technology, gender,race, intellect, sexual orientation, physical impairments have plummeted."

Brad. Brad. Brad. How do I break it to you: not all black people are poor. Black does not equal ghetto or poverty. Too little green flows to our cities, where, especially in the segregated Northeast, there are lots of non-white folks. But, dig it, Brad, some black folks are ACTUALLY ONLINE, and as a start, say, you might think of, well, reading some of them. And if you like their writing, well, you might actually think about linking to them.

This is not affirmative action come blogging. But if you want to call it that, I say fine. Just do something about it. Because this is about human conversation and what it might help to accomplish that we've been so bad at accomplishing offline.

And also, it's just the right thing to do. So check your assumptions, check your blogroll, and then check your assumptions again.

And if the spirit moves you, dare to go black.

[[ED NOTE: So I read this to George. And he says you know what? It's not necessarily about color. It's about eliminating the competition. Whether it's age, color, ability: It's an instinct to eliminate any competition or threat of competition: He's not like me, so what he says doesn't apply. (He's too young. He's not white. He's not a liberal/conservative/whatever...) I can't deal with these people anymore. You go around the world, you'll find a LOT OF BROWN PEOPLE, African and non-African. Mexican, Spanish, South African, Turkish, Morraccan, Middle Eastern. And America does not listen to what it doesn't know. What America means to me is something LOUD: WE're Right and We're Mighty and We'll Step All Over You if You Disagree. And the Net is becoming just the same. If you say it loud enough, it must be true. Well, it's not. Not always.]]

Gee, I wish he'd blog more.