Bigmouths of the White-Male Variety

You can guess what’s coming here, can't you?

‘Since anyone can write a Weblog, why is the blogosphere dominated by white males?’ asks Steven Levy.

It is? Let’s see what Stevie and crew are on about, shall we?

Blogging Beyond the Men's Club

March 21 issue - At a recent Harvard conference on bloggers and the media, the most pungent statement came from cyberspace. Rebecca MacKinnon. . .got a response on the "comments" space of her blog from someone concerned that if the voices of bloggers overwhelm those of traditional media, "we will throw out some of the best ... journalism of the 21st century."
Stop laughing - keep reading. . .

The comment was from Keith Jenkins, an African-American blogger who is also an editor at The Washington Post Magazine. "It has taken 'mainstream media' a very long time to get to [the] point of inclusion," Jenkins wrote. "My fear is that the overwhelmingly white and male American blogosphere ... will return us to a day where the dialogue about issues was a predominantly white-only one."
I think someone’s not getting enough hits, hey? But under the circumstances – whose fault would that be, Keith? You’re on the web. So why don’t you tell me why more black men aren’t doing the same? But that’s not the real issue as far as you’re concerned, is it, Keith. We’ll get to Keith’s real beef (and his ‘solution’) in a moment.

After the comment was posted, a couple of the women at the conference—bloggers MacKinnon and Halley Suitt—looked around and saw that there weren't many other women in attendance. They were, however, representative of the top 100 blogs according to the Web site Technorati—a list dominated by bigmouths of the white-male variety.
Softened up yet? How about all our ‘bigmouth of the white-male variety’ readers out there? Are you feeling warmed by this spectacular display of diversity (and racial tolerance) at work? You know - I don’t think you are. Your punishment shall be more Stevie:

Does the blogosphere have a diversity problem?
Not if we’re counting the complete idiots, Steve, nope – no problem whatsoever.

Viewed one way, the issue seems a bit absurd.
No - viewed every way, Steve – every way imaginable.

These self-generated personal Web sites are supposed to be the ultimate grass-roots phenomenon. . .So why, when millions of blogs are written by all sorts of people, does the top rung look so homogeneous?
It seems the fact that there’s an awful lot of rubbish out there on the net hasn’t entered Steve’s mind. But worry not – Stevie gets to his real point:

It appears that some clubbiness is involved.
Woohoo – there ya’ go! Knew he was going to say it, didn’t we?

Suitt puts it more bluntly: "It's white people linking to other white people!"
And there ya’ go again (bluntly this time)! It’s all a big whitey club! Quick - where’s that KKK outfit!

Suitt attributes her own high status in the blogging world to her conscious decision to "promote myself among those on the A list."
Hang on - didn’t she just say it was all about colour? Nasty whites linking to other nasty whites (not that you’d necessarily know that High-Status-Halley was white, but let’s ignore that little detail)? Then she goes on to say her success had everything to do with – work. . . You know, I’d argue that’s not a ‘diversity’ issue – I’d argue it’s a ‘get off your backside issue’, but then, that’s just me.

Now let’s get back to Keith Jenkins, our African-American blogger with the little problem:

. . .Is there a way to promote diversity online, given the built-in decentralization of the blog world? Jenkins, whose comment started the discussion, says that any approach is fineexcept inaction. "You can't wait for it to just happen," he says.
Oh no, of course not. Quick, hand me that squad of freshly trained Waffen-SS. There must be some kind of compulsion we can establish that will, I don’t know, force us all to go read Keith Jenkins’ blog, for example?

Appropriately enough, the best ideas rely on individual choices.
But only if they produce the ‘right’ result, hey, Steve (and say all the 'right' things, of course)?

. . .at the Harvard conference, Suitt challenged people to each find 10 bloggers who weren't male, white or English-speaking—and link to them.
Funny that. The fact that we, you know, speak English, wouldn't be a slightly limiting factor straight away now, would it?

"Don't you think," she says, "that out of 8 million blogs, there could be 50 new voices worth hearing?"
‘Definitely,’ says Stevie. Oh really? ‘Maybe,’ says James. But absolutely only if I can read the language, sweet pea (and it’s worth reading)!

Now let's see if the blogosphere can self-organize itself to find them.
Because if it doesn’t, Suitt et. al. will be waiting to do it for them.

I won’t get into the inherent racism this entire line of thinking is absolutely wallowing in. I will say, however, that it flies in the face of reality and reason (and in many other ways I have not touched on here). And I think there’s a good reason why. It’s a smoke screen (conscious or otherwise). As a forum, blogging revels in anonymity (and a lack of barriers). Many bloggers use pseudonyms, and don’t often attach their (real) faces to their blogs. That begs the obvious question. How would anyone necessarily know what race or sex a blogger is? How would they know anything about them, other than what they glean from their writing?

For example, what race am I? Of course, you’ll be guessing if you reply. And that’s the whole point. Blogging is the ultimate masque dance. It’s the one medium that can and does remove the barriers of both race and sex – but not ideas.

Their inconsistency and hypocrisy aside, I think that’s what they’re really annoyed about. You see, I suspect all those highly popular ‘bigmouths of the white-male variety’ tend also to be conservatives. . .

Go and check Heather Mac Donald’s article for some further, excellent angles on this unbelievable stupidity: Diversity Mongers Target the Web

Hat tip to Keith – nice find, as always.

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