Sunday, January 02, 2005

diversity in blogs pt. II

I think folks misunderstood my complaint/analysis... Is there genuine ethnic and socio-economic diversity within our online communities and blog world? Yes. Is it as diverse as it could/should be? No. Will that change in due time? Probably.. guess it depends on how you define "change" and "in due time"... My guess is in our lifetimes diversity within online communities will be a moot point as everyone with a pulse will probably have a url or access to one.

My problem is not with who speaks as much as it's with who gets heard. As it stands right now, the media and society at large is still pretty whitewashed and is still highly myopic in its acceptance of divergent views and perspectives. And as it relates to bloggers, just as it relates to the so-called "youth", people would still rather listen to/acknowledge whites/westerners/mainstream americans above all else as if they're qualified to speak for everyone else.

To a certain degree perception is still reality; and if the preceivers still have the power to dictate who gets heard and what gets said, then we don't have true diversity, not by a longshot. Consider, Tom Brokaw recent retirement.He's being replaced by MSNBC's Brian Williams and countless folks in the media are hailing this as a move towards a fresh perspective? Can someone explain how replacing an old white male corporate mouthpiece with a young white male corporate mouthpiece is anything remotely progressive? As I've noted in previous pieces on the lack of diversity in our foreign policy and media, the biggest proglem is expanding the conversation to include others not already at the table.

Regardless of what the actual figures and data may be, the fact is the only bloggers that get heard and that are being hailed as authorities on anything are run almost exclsuively by whites--young, old, educated, poor, rich, etc. My problem with that is precisely what everyone who's ripping me is saying--there are so many voices online, that it's idiotic to consistently focus on the same group as if they're the only ones with something to say.

Anyway, if everyone's okay with the status quo of random chocolate chips in the cookie dough, then so be it. I'll just be the lone nut on this one. But trust me, who gets to speak has a great deal to do with what is said. And who decides what gets heard has even more to do with what problems get fixed.


At 12:33 AM, Blogger Falsafah said...

This has definitely shed some new light on the issue. I agree that the media is indeed dominated by western values and anything that's not part of it is given less attention and or even ignored.

Do you think language plays a big part in media communication as well?

It seems like most people would only 'listen' to opinions that are expressed in English...

Would people go to extremes to know about another's opinions that has been posted in another language by using a translator programme?

I do that often. But I don't know how many people would actually do the same thing...

At 3:50 AM, Blogger Patrick Anderson said...


You're arguing with yourself again. Anytime a paragraph starts with "Regardless of what the actual figures and data may be ...", you can be sure circular logic is about to follow. Sorry if that sounds like I'm ripping you. I'm only taking issue with what you are laying on the screen.

You're complaining about the freest and most colorblind media on the face of the earth--the online community, because it is not diverse enough for you. There are millions of bloggers out there of all demographic descriptions who are being heard and listened to for the value of their messages. These two threads are a perfect example. We have a black American, a white American, a Brazilian, and an Asian all having a discussion about a topic of interest. Do you not see that you are complaining about not having something that you already have?

Why don't we cut to the issue you're really trying to discuss: racism. If the world is ever going to defeat racism, there is no way to do it except by completely ignoring color. Hollering "we need diversity" everytime the numbers don't stack up for a particular minority is just another form of racism. It adds nothing to the moral progress of humanity. It only perpetuates the immoral notion that a person's value to the "group" should be determined by his/her genetic makeup.

If you want to call yourself a random chocolate chip, that's your choice. I think people should be judged by their ideas, their character, and their accomplishments. I didn't know your race until you pointed it out.

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Hajpaj said...

To Nadia's question,

I think language has a little to do with it; obviously folks are less liable to acknowlege those they don't understand... You're starting to see that a bit in the states with people arguing over billingual education and multilingualism in public places and business arenas.

But i think it goes a little deeper than simply language; hopefully we can get at what that might be out here.

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