Wednesday, May 21, 2008

AfroSphere in the AJC

In today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Afrosphere/AfroSpear is the subject of an article in the Political Insider section. The article touches on complaints that Black bloggers are excluded from representing states at the upcoming Democratic National Convention. It contains quotes from two Black bloggers and the Comments section has contributions from other Black bloggers (and a number of white ones, as well).

Read the entire AJC article on the lack of Black bloggers invited to the DNC here.

Read the article from the Afrosphere Action Coalition concerning a resolution to this issue here.

plez sez: i'm not that crazy about using the race card or calling anyone a racist (as many of the commenters have chosen to do in the AJC article). this appears to be more of an oversight and an insensitivity issue with respect to the wide collection of voters who have a vested interest in the democratic national convention in denver.

the presumptive democratic nominee is Barack Obama... a Black guy. the state of Georgia where more than half of the democratic voters are Black, has a couple of white bloggers going to denver for the democratic national convention. after scanning all invited bloggers, it doesn't appear that any of them are Black! the blogosphere is littered with political commentary about the democratic race by Black bloggers, yet none were worthy of credentials to the dnc?

plezWorld doesn't advocate the removal of credentials for existing bloggers, it would be senseless to punish those who benefitted from the jacked up system. there is an easy fix, open up additional credentials for minority bloggers (not just Black ones), ensure there is a representative assembly of bloggers present for the convention.


Francis L. Holland Blog said...

Thanks for talking about this here, Plez. You said,

"i'm not that crazy about using the race card or calling the dnc a racist organization. "

No one is calling the DNC a "racist" organization. No one has used that word. We have only pointed out the statistical fact that, of 55 blogs selected for the floor of the convention, we cannot assure that even one of them is a Black blog. That's an embarrassment to the Party that will only increase if it is publicized for a week in August on national television.

The criteria developed by the DNC foreseeably resulted in an all-white floor blog corp because the criteria stated that ONE blog would be selected from each state and that blog would be selected based on the size of its audience. Since Blacks are a minority in most states, and whites constantly say that Blacks are not using blogs as much as whites, therefore they had to know that these criteria would result in an all-white floor blog pool.

In fact, many Black bloggers chose not to apply from the floor when they learned that only ONE blog would be chosen and it would be a blog that targeted the majority population (otherwise how could it have the highest blog Technorati rankings?)

When whites developed this system, they could have considered the fact that 20% of the Democratic Party is Black and that 20% of delegates to the 2004 Convention were Black. They could have considered that Black constituents would have an interest in reading at our blogs about what our delegates are doing in Denver. Instead, the DNC ignored us and excluded us.

As you know, I don't use the word "racism". I just report the facts and let the facts tell the story.

You said,

"don't advocate the removal of credentials for existing bloggers, it would be senseless to punish those who benefited from the jacked up system. there is an easy fix, open up additional credentials for minority bloggers (not just Black ones), ensure there is a representative assembly of bloggers present for the convention."

I agree with you. ONE blogger from each state was always an arbitrary and overly restrictive number, particularly since, as we have seen, it results in a virtually all-white group of blogs selected to blog from Denver.

No one should be un-invited. Rather, the DNC should be a hundred more chairs on the floor for Latino and Black delegates from every state where our failure to vote would cause a failure to win that state's electoral votes.

Sitting with our delegates is about outreach to Black communities with information about the workings of the democratic process. How can you exclude people from that and still expect them to participate at high levels?

Thanks for writing about this and let's keep tabs on the issue as it develops in the media, until the DNC announces how it is going to invite Black bloggers to take news to Black constituents from the floor of the Democratic National Convention.

Yobachi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yobachi said...

Plez, I would ask that you consider not giving credence to that racially dismissive term, . That term was devised and is used by the defenders of the racism status quo in order to diminish and dismiss any claim of racism no matter it’s veracity.

Who asked for blogger credentials to be taken from anyone? I know I surely did not. In my letter to the convention bosses I advocate for no such thing; as that would be unfair to those individuals. Nonetheless, being racially inequitable is not acceptable either. You can read the real issue of

Further, if it’s just an oversight, then they should simply correct the oversight. Don’t make excuses and tell us about how there is more credentialing to come in the general bloggers pool, because the general pool does not have the same privilege as the State Pool full of white bloggers. Therefore, that leaves black bloggers without equitable representation on the floor of the convention.

An offer for a resolution, which does NOT include taking away anyone’s credentials or redoing the State Corps pool; has been extended, as I note in the link above

Yobachi said...

*sig* I give up. When I look at that comment in preview, it does not have all that text highlighted. I deleted it, looked at the code again, it was fine. Did a preview again; it still only had a few words highlighted like I wanted; but then when I publish I get this.

The first paragraph that's linked leads to an article about the use of the term race card. The other paragraphs link to my explination to the public about this situation and our position.

plez... said...

francis & yobachi,

having lived in the state of georgia for over 25 years, i'm afraid that i am unable to stop using the term "racist" because in many cases it is appropriate! i did not accuse you of calling the DNC racist and called the act of not including any Black bloggers racially insensitive.

to the contrary, most of the white people who have commented on the AJC have accused the Black bloggers who have protested racists, in an attempt to deflect attention away from their discriminatory ways!

i do hope a reasonable resolution to this issue is reached. it would be a pity to have this particular convention suffer as a result of the dnc's insensitivity toward its most fervent supporters.

on a side note: i don't think you can highlight hyperlinked HTML code, yobachi.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

Plez, I saw some of the AJC comments you're referring to, and I frankly can't imagine living among people who would discuss so much blatant bile toward Black people. So, I know you're a very strong Black man if you can deal with those people each day, even if it's by reading their comments in the newspaper.

The level of bile and venom and raw hate that I saw in the AJC comments just made me never want to return to their comments section again. Thank goodness the article itself was published.

I'm not going to be defensive about our right to demand that Black people be given the time of day by the party that receives our votes in November. That's not the "race card"; it's simply demanding not to be ignored and excluded because of our skin color.

Now, when rules are written in a way that excludes all Blacks from anything, that's a color issue, not a "race card."

Anyway, I'm just glad you're addressing this issue at your blog, and you don't have to feel guilty for standing up and saying that Blacks want and require a piece of the action. Don't blithely exclude us in May and August and then come begging for our votes in November.

Shawn Williams said...

Thanks for the love Plez. I trust the DNC will do the right thing.

plez... said...

yo shawn, thanks for dropping by. it would behoove the DNC to make this right... or as near right as possible.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

Blogger Francis L. Holland Blog said...


"Racist" is a word I NEVER use. I've said that the DNC instituted floor blogger rules and criteria which foreseeably and predictably excluded virtually all Black blogs from the floor blogger pool. Chief among these rules and criteria were the decisions that (1) there would only be ONE floor blogger per state and (2) that blogger would be chosen based on the size of his audience. It was virtually impossible that a minority would have the largest audience, and so virtually all floor blogs would be white, which is what happened.

Now, the DNC is not a monolythic organization. It has experts on blog outreach, and the whole idea of having blogs there at all has been proposed by virtually all-white whitosphere blogs like DailyKos and MyDD.

Because they were at the table to develop this policy, they sculpted it in a way that would make their blogs eligible and other blogs not eligible, both so that they could include their blogs and so that they could monopolize this opportunity and use it to reinforce their political strength and their economic opportunities.

Now, what was Jim Crow? It was the constant invention and application of rules by white people whose effect was to totally exclude Black people. Sometimes the rules were explicity based on skin color, and sometimes (like poll taxes and literacy tests), they were craftily sculpted to not mention color, but still give white officials a way to exclude everyone who is Black.

I see this situation as as perfect example of that. I have NOT called anyone "racist", but I am not afraid to say that Blacks were intentionally excluded.

It's a pattern. Look at the blogs that Markos Moulitsas Zúñiga thinks should be on the floor in Denver and you will discover that virtually none of them is Black or Latino and all of the are on his "state blogs" bloglist.

It is not a coincidence that the blogs that have been chief proponents of the 50-state strategy of which the "state blogs" system are a part are also blogs that don't have any Black blogs on their blog lists, and that have 2-4% Black participation. They LIKE it that way, and an administrator at MyDD has said so in writing.

It was:

A Quick Note On Diversity In the Blogosphere

by Chris Bowers, Sun May 06, 2007 at 03:59:16 PM EST

Chris Bowers was an official and administrator at MyDD at the time of his announcement of this MyDD policy, and the policy has not been rescinded.

Bowers explicitly said he doesn't think that everyone needs to participate in blogging and he doesn't think that blogs need to have diverse participants or readerships.

But, whitosphere leaders DO think that 55 white blogs should be the ONLY blogs authorized to have their bloggers sit among delegates at the conference floor. That's Jim Crow discrimination.

I've been warning for a long time that all-white blogs Democratic Party blogs would lead to Blacks' exclusion from Democratic Party activities in other ways. The all-white 50-state blogs corps is proof of what I have been saying. (A couple of these white blogs might or might not have a Black blogger whom they might or might not permit to blog in Denver; Under the system the DNC is trying to implement, Black bloggers are allowed to sit among Convention delegates IF white blogs invite us there, which is JIM Crow if I ever saw it!) And so, Black bloggers could express Black opinions about the Convention IF their white sponsor blogs approve of those opinions.

Now, please don't say I'm accusing someone of "racism" because I point out these facts. "Racism" doesn't exist, because "race" doesn't exist. But, color-aroused discrimination DOES exist, and this is an example of it.

I don't accuse people of "racism". I state what they have done and I explain how it excludes Black people. Policies that exclude Black people are WRONG and I do not feel the need to prove that, in addition to excluding Black people and being WRONG, they are also "racist".

"Racist" is an entirely different and higher burden of proof that is irrelevant to this discussion, as far as I'm concerned. And since "race" itself does not exist, attempts to prove "racism" are bound to founder on the shoals of Alice in Wonderland.

Let's try and discuss this without using the words "race" and "racist" at all. Since I don't have a race, I know that whites are not discriminating against me on the basis of "race". They are discrminating against us because they are color-aroused.

So, with all do respect and in the deepest of brotherhood, please don't put words in my mouth by saying that I have accused someone of "racism" or of being "racist". I have never used those words in this discussion and I never will.

If you insist that I have, even though you can't find those actual words anywhere in anything that I have said, then you run the risk of confusing people about a doctrine that is fundamentally important to our struggle: We are NOT from a different "race" from white people and therefore they cannot discriminate against us on the basis of a "race" that doesn't exist in the first place. They are discriminating against us on the basis of our skin color and ethnicity, because they are color-aroused and are trying to preserve a system that distributes privileges and disabilities based on SKIN COLOR, which has NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH "RACE."

plez... said...

come on, francis, you're as bad as hillary clinton... parsing words and saying the same thing using a different phrase.

you wrote: "DNC instituted floor blogger rules and criteria which foreseeably and predictably excluded virtually all Black blogs from the floor blogger pool."

you then stated that these were jim crow rules and explicitly tied them to rules that would "predictably exclude" Black bloggers... if that ain't racist, then i don't know what is!!!

you are quite a wordsmith and you know better than me, that you don't have to call someone a "racist" to call them a racist! *smile*

remember, "a rose by any other name...."

Yobachi said...

Plez, I was not refering to not using the word "racist". Actually in my text I hpyer linked the phrase "race card" but the html messed up and its not even showing that phrase in the sentence.

I find that "playing the race card" to have been devised to dismiss racial complaints no matter the validity.

I never play a race card, because this is not a game; and ain't nobody playing, including the defenders of the white privelege status quo who came up with the term.

Think about it, anyway.