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Progressive Political Blogger Fallout

Woo, woo, woo

by j. brotherlove

It’s been almost a week since Terrance posted pics of the invitation-only lunch Bill Clinton held with political bloggers in Harlem, asking readers if they noticed anything. They certainly did; most pointed to the absence of any bloggers of color (I guess the gentrification efforts are really taking hold in Harlem).

I was disappointed by the lack of color but not at all surprised. I expect people to act like people. Others, namely Terrance and Liza, weren’t so forgiving or silent about the situation. So began a blogbeef in the progressive political, bloggers blogosphere.

And wow, it got ugly. Most of the hate was aimed at Liza; attacking her use of grammar and cautioning her against “assailing your betters” (which is really not something you say to strong women of color). It quickly degraded into muck; demonstrating how one can go from ally to asshole is a few posts, resulting in the ultimate blog-diss, de-linking

Now, as it turns out, a couple of non-white bloggers were invited but couldn’t attend so, the intention may not have been to exclude. But the appearance sings a different tune. And we all know how folks feel about appearances.

I had a similar experience when, after the video of the Blogging While Black Revisited panel at SXSW 2006 was circulated, some bloggers had harsh criticism about the content and panelists. Mind you, the criticisms were mostly personal (which always discounts intelligence in my opinion). But there were distinct feelings of exclusion. The difference between the Blogging While Black Revisited and the Clinton lunch is, SXSW is a public event (in fact, you can register now for next year’s conference).

It’s a tense time in the blogosphere. As bloggers are gaining more respect and attention, there’s a fight to come out on top. I suppose this is the natural order of things. But it sure is messy. And I’m not convinced it serves us well in the end for only a couple of people to hog the limelight. Especially when those people look less like the majority of the country every day.

Sometimes the best course of action is to agree to disagree or… shut the hell up and cut your losses. We’ve seem to have passed the “shut the hell up” point a long time ago. Now the apologies are beginning to surface. After all, it’s a new week and another chance to get it right.

pub: 09/18/2006 | previous entry | next entry | feedback x 3 | subscribe

This reminds me of an interview Touré had with Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson from The Roots, in which Ahmir asks “Are we gonna hate the house nigger because he gets air conditioning? He’s still a slave.”

It means exclusion happens to all of us, no matter how popular you are or how many you believe you reach, “they” will only use you when it suits them.

Some of the people that are crying foul over the lack of inclusion are the same people that wouldn’t think twice before excluding other black bloggers under a different set of circumstances. So while I’d love to ring the alarm and pump my fist, I’m thinking those are the breaks, homie.

Some of the people that are crying foul over the lack of inclusion are the same people that wouldn’t think twice before excluding other black bloggers under a different set of circumstances.

I have to second that. It’s tough when you want to belong to a group that doesn’t extend a hand (i’m speaking globally, not just about this incident). That’s when you have to press on and create your own spaces.

3. Donna

Actually nOva, that was my thought about the white folks who did attend. They cry the loudest about how they have been excluded and access granted to the wealthy, corporations, pundits, lobbyists, in other words the powerful; while Democratic politicians ignore the individual, grassroots, workers, consumers, etc.

Now that they have their piece of the pie they don’t want to share even a taste either. Now they are the big shots who deserve a seat at the table, but the little blogs, not so much. I’ve commented that these so called little blogs probably have more minority readership than any of the big blogs that concentrate on general issues, and therefore can get out the word to minorities better than Atrios, or FDL, but they ignore my posts or change the subject.

They didn’t like the old caste system, but they sure like this new one.

Slight after slight, overlooked and an afterthought. When are liberals and Democrats going to learn that they need minority votes to win elections? When are they going to learn to activate and energize this base?