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Can Virtually All-White “State Blogs” Reach Diverse State Constituencies?

The discussion continues in the blogosphere (whitosphere and AfroSpear and afrosphere, all) about the selection of an apparently nearly all-white state blogger corps for the Democratic National Convention in Denver.   White blogs that were not chosen are arguing that they met the criteria established by the DNC better than did the one blog per state that was chosen, while Black blogs have been told that they will learn some time later whether any Black blogs will be on the Convention floor.  And while most white blogs perceive the obvious injustice of announcing white blog participation before that of Blacks, one white blog is defending the DNC.

This ought not be a pissing contest betweend white bloggers and Black, because the obvious solution is that there should be MORE state bloggers from each state, representative of the constituencies of each state.  However, defending the virtually all-white result, CelticDivasBlueOasis said in comments at the AfroSpear’s   African American Political Pundit blog (and I respond below in bold),

Celtic Diva:  I have no problem with you bringing this issue to the DNC…I encourage you to bring it…I think it’s great that you have!

 Francis L. Holland:  Thanks CelticDiva, for your support, as far as it goes.  Choosing ONE state blog each state based on “Technarati authority, page impressions and Progressive/Liberal political content” guaranteed that there would be few or no Black blogs represented, because a Black self-determination-focused blog is unlikely to have higher Technorati than the state’s biggest white blog.  So, the technorati criteria gauranteed that no Black-focused or Black-self-determination focused blogs would be part of the state blog pool, or Latinos or gays, and the state blog pool would be all-white.

CelticDiva:  At this time, however, if I were the DNC I’d say/do three things:

1) I’d run down each blog with you and have you correctly identify the ethnicity of each blog owner and blog contributor so that you could prove to me conclusively that Black America is not represented.

 Francis L. Holland:  Blacks are twenty percent of the Democratic Party.  Those responsible for devising this system carry the burden of demonstrating to US that it has resulted in diverse state blogger corps, since they are the ones who presumeably have gathered information about their chosen blogs, and they are therefore best able to provide this information.  And it’s THEIR responsiblity to demonstrate that they have gauranteed diversity, NOT our responsibility to gather the information to prove that they have failed.

CelticDiva:  2) I’d go over the State Blog criteria with you vs. the General Blog criteria and show you how your blog and Francis’ blogs, as examples, are national-oriented and issue-driven blogs that meet the General blog criteria, not State blog.

Francis L. Holland:  Drafting the “state blog” criteria in a way that would result in a virtually all-white state blogger corps was a major blunder, substantively and in terms of public relations.

 In order to win elections in November, we need for ALL of the Democratic Party’s constituencies to come out to vote in November.  Since white blogs do not reach Black and Latino constituencies, (as they acknowledge by their reader polls and their announced target populations), therefore, whatever a “state blog” is expected to accomplish, these criteria reflect a belief that Blacks and Latinos are not necessary participants in those efforts and those goals.  If state blogs are supposed to reach target populations each state, clearly Blacks and Latinos are not perceived as necessary target populations for whatever state blogs are supposed to offer.

CelticDiva:  3) I’d tell you that it would be more appropriate to see the list of General Blogs when they are announced before you make accusations of racial exclusion.

Francis L. Holland:  It is reasonable to assume that Blacks bloggers will need at least as much time to raise the travel and hotel money, reserve hotel rooms and buy airline tickets for Denver as will white bloggers.

Nonetheless, announcing the Black bloggers’ participation a month after white bloggers’ participation increases the likelihood that Black bloggers will pay more for hotel rooms (if we can find any), more for our airfare (if we can find any), and have less chance of obtaining vacation time during the conference.  And so, the decision to announce white bloggers’ participation before that of Blacks makes it less likely that Blacks will be able to attend.  This is a FACT of the procedure employed by the DNC’s blogging experts regardless of WHY they did it.

Moreover, announcing a virtually all-white list of “state bloggers” before announcing any diverse bloggers creates the public impression of a Jim Crow procedure at the DNC, which is an alienating impression that our party doesn’t need as we head into an election.

As for “accusations of racial exclusion”, the question is whether mistakes like this are made because of color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior, or whether they are made because Party officials are too blind and incompetent to carry out the functions of their jobs in a diverse environment and with diverse constituencies.  Either way, the Party is ill-served by the results that have come out of this misconceived structure and process.

It is NOT to soon to publicize these errors because Black bloggers are already being prejudiced by the delay in announcing their participation so that they can request vacation time, reserve hotel rooms at the best rates, and purchase airfare while airfare can still be had.

Meanwhile white bloggers who argue over the admission decisions that were made are failing to think critically and fundamentally about the entire concept of “state blogs”, whereby one blog can purportedly gather information about what happens in Denver and transmit that information to an entire state, including all of its constituencies, back home.  Whose idea was this system?  

I think we all know how this works:  When those who developed the criteria for blogs participating at Denver developed this particular set of criteria for “state blogs”, they had a clear idea of which blogs they wanted and they wrote the criteria accordingly, both to include some and EXCLUDE others.

If they had wanted diversity among the state blogs (as we have in the Democratic Party), they would have included multiple blogs from each state and these blogs would have been selected based on their ability to reach necessary constituencies in each state.  Instead, their definition of “best blog” is divorced from and oblivious to the question of the whether these individual blogs have any traction among ALL of each states’ target constituencies.  The simple fact that there is only one state blog per state proves that they DO NOT have traction among all of each state’s target sine qua non constituencies.If they had analyzed their needs this way, it would have been obvious that each state needs to have at least one white blog, a Black blog, a Latino blog, a women’s blog and a gay blog.  But, you won’t find that diversity to any significant degree on the DailyKos/MyDD bloglist and you also won’t find that diversity among the state blogs.

The entire “state blog” formula just validates the DailyKos/MyDD belief that something OTHER than diversity is most important when reaching out to Democratic Party constituencies.  And that’s why DailyKos has only 4-6% Blacks and Latinos combined participating there, and MyDD has only 2% Blacks.  This is no model upon which to build a Democratic Party outreach system.  It’s a strategy to make the Democratic Party a homogenous (all-white) replica of the Republican Party.

The DNC’s blog “experts” showed which category of blogs (and whose constituents) they thought were more important by announcing the “state blog” category participants first.  It sends a very clear message when state blogs (virtually all white) are invited before any others are.

They say some minorities will be invited later, but the damage has already been done and their implicit agenda has already been made embarrassingly clear.

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