Sunday, August 12, 2007

Can you start a revolution from a keypad?

"has it ever occurred to you that (2.40 / 5) it may not be racism, but structural forces at work? Chris Bowers and I talked about this for over an hour at YearlyKos: there are numerous reasons for the lack of blogosphere diversity, but by far the biggest is that blogging takes three things above all:1) the time to be able to read blogs and write even during the day–usually the province of flexible white-collar workers;2) the education necessary to write well; and3) the financial stability and independence to feel confident of keeping one’s job if one’s blogging identity/hobby is discovered–not to mention attend an expensive convention like YearlyKos.”

The above quote from a Kossack pin head was read by yours truly over at the Myleftwing web site. That quote is exactly why I am so convinced that the Afrospear and this movement we are trying to start is a great thing with incredible potential. It convinces me that so called liberal white people are completely clueless, and we are going to have to embark on this revolution by ourselves. "...the education necessary to write well.." ? WTF? But hey, this is what they think of us in elitist liberal land. Oh pleas Mista massa Kossack man, can't yu jus teachs me to write sa. I is really wants to learn cause i be knowing that dat there is impotent if i be wantin to communicate wit yu sa.

The blogger, I think he called himself “thereisnospoon”, or some such crap, was responding to a post by AA Pundit about the lack of diversity at Yearly Kos. As you can see, this kossack seemed to be suggesting that maybe blacks don’t necessarily have the proper…ahem ahem, writing skills to be able to participate with main stream blogs. And, we are just so woe is me and po, that we could not afford to attend a convention like Yearly Kos. Like what’s so speacial about that f….whoops, I almost cursed. (I promised Asa and the rest of the gang that I would try to keep the swearing down when I post on the Spear ) Point is, I don’t think Kos or any of those so called big blogs are so special. I think, for the most part, they are legends in their own minds.

But I think what what we have here is special. I love the fact that when I open my e-mails every day, I have about thirty or more messages from fellow AfroSpear/Sphere bloggers, debating and talking about issues that effect us. I love the fact that even though we are going through growing pains right now, we are signing up new people every day, and gaining in numbers and strength. I love the fact that Asa, for instance, is a Christian, and I am agnostic. Yet, we can come together and agree on things that we consider important to our people and our race.

I know some people disagree, but I honestly think that we can start a movement right from the comfort of our homes or wherever we happen to participate via the web. I look at the net roots and other political movements centered around the web, and I am encouraged by the potential that I see here. I am encouraged because I can see us doing the very same thing. And not only focusing on North American politics and social issues; but the entire African Diaspora, and all the issues facing us as a people around the world.

I would love nothing more than to see every blogger of color in the world coming together as one unified force. Pooling our knowledge, resources, and various skills to effectuate change for the better for our people, and to force people to take the issues we hold dear, more serious.
So to answer the question in the title; yes we can. It might be a quiet revolution, but it will be a revolution nevertheless. In fact, I think it has already started. I am encouraged when I go to technorati and see new blogs of color starting up every day. And when I see young and older people of color blogging about their feelings and about all the things that is going on out here, it makes me realize that they care too, and that this revolution can be a big one.

Let’s build on this foundation we have laid so far, and let’s keep this thing going. I can feel something bigger coming, and I am excited. This is the hardest part, rallying the troops to get the things that we want to do off the ground. But I honestly believe in that old saying which says that “the darkest part of the night is right before the dawn”. Let’s remember that as we do this blogging thing, and as we try to start this revolution from our keypads.

Some of this essay was cross posted on the Afrospear web site.


Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

08 12 07

Hey FN:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The revolution can certainly be created, but it also needs to be maintained and needs to translate into something TANGIBLE. Otherwise, you have a network of folk who are shooting off at the mouth with no unifying purpose.

Afrospear seems to be on the right path. Now, action is needed. I will keep you posted about the Simone lady:)

Anonymous said...

What FN said!

Every day I am encouraged because I find more negroes have established a podium on the www from which they can be heard.

I marvel at their talent, their topics and their drive.

I don't always agree, don't always comment when I do OR when I don't, but am always proud of you all.

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

Well, Field, I've gotten into it with ThereIsNoSpoon over at Kos' site, espeically when I accused him of slinging Cynthia McKinney under the bus when Kos said to.

You should have seen all the troll ratings I got for that one.

But, I personally know Chris Bowers and in all likelihood, Spoon didn't want to hear what Bowers had to say about progressive and diversity.

OT: Better up that Lawn Jockey Alert on Harold Ford. Markos handed him his ass on Meet the Press this morning, and Harold ended the debate sounding like Bill O'Reilly, espeically when he said Markos' site promoted anti-Semitism.

All I've seen on that site is them ripping Joe Lieberman a new one for voting consistently ReThug.

X. Dell said...

I see. The revolution won't be televised. It'll be podcast.

Actually, I see the web as a great opportunity for the sharing of information. During the 2000 election, for example, we had to wait a few days to read about black voter intimidation in Tennessee from sources such as The Amsterdam News or other black press, stories that didn't carry over to the mainstream news.

With respect to the comment, it seems that this Kos commenter had very little experience with (and knowledge of) the African-American community (other than a "few of his best friends" or whatever). The fact is tht everyone writes casually in the blogosphere. There's no rational reason to single out a particular group for this trait. So assessing his observation as a bias seems appropriate.

The left really hasn't addressed its own racism, over the years, and it's really coming to the point where there might be a schism in progressive circles. African Americans might want to assess whether or not they wish to continue to support the left, and if so how and to what degree.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. As a member of the white liberal left, I think ultimately you have a sense of detachment because most of these people live in places and travel in circles where there is not alot of interaction with black folks. This self-segregation carries over to the web, where you have Kossacks saying stupid shit like 'black people aren't articulate enough to write blogs' or whatever.

No doubt the left needs to address its casual racism. Lefties often go for the "feel good" factor; it feels good and it's easier to yell at tighty-righties for their blatant racism than to deal with the ambiguity and self-delusion attached to our own subtler racism.

But I disagree completely with y'all on two points. One, the poster above talking about re-assessing support for the left. If you're going to base your political stance on where you're going to feel welcome from clueless white people, good luck. You might as well drop out of the game. Frankly, you're better off with well-meaning dummies on the left than others, who shall remain nameless, who know exactly what they are doing.

Two, and this is to FN, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Not all white lefties are created equal, and there is strength in numbers. You have to stake out your position on the issues and draw in like-minded people, regardless of race, creed, color or orientation, especially when you're trying to build a base for bigger things. Like a movement.


field negro said...

mahndisa, I love what you are saying about the revolution being something tangible, and you are right. We can't be all talk and no action, or we will just be spinning our wheels. For now though, I will chalk up all the talking to growing pains, and I would be just happy if we could get the web thing off the ground in a solid unified way.

christian prog. I caught some of that "meet the Press" interview, and yeah, Harold pretty much embarrassed himself. It was almost sad to watch. (That's why he stays on my lawn)

I was almost impressed with Markos.But if he is a minority,I am a suburban white housewife.

Jimbo, I agree with you that we need like minded people (black and white)to really make this revolution effective. The problem is when we have self serving pretenders like the person I quoted above, who makes us suspicious of all white people, even the ones with good intentions, like you.

Unknown said...

I don't agree with Jimbo that we must automatically align ourselves with white so-called liberals simply because there is no other choice. There is another choice, and that is education. By publishing and publicizing our views, African-Americans are educating others, teaching them, socializing them, and ultimately liberating them from the shackles of ignorance, falsehood, and prejudice. The dialogue may not be comfortable or run a smooth course, but it must be held. Thank you, Field, for contributing immensely to the on-going dialogue. You are one hell of a brotha!

Furthermore, we must call out bs when and where we see it. It doesn't matter if it's Markos, thereisnospoon, Digby, Drum, Atrios, Arianna, or any other "big" blogger. What another sapient being puts in the blogosphere has as much validity as any of the above named.

The revolution will be disseminated in a variety of ways: radio, tv, internet, cable, and in the African-American community, the barbershop and beauty shop. A change is gonna come. Believe it.

Anonymous said...

Elizhill25, let me refine my argument a little. I'm not saying you have to make a choice to put up with the lesser of two offensive white groups. And I'm certainly not knocking education and self-sufficiency.

If you want to cultivate AfroSpear; black blogs for black issues, go right ahead. Frankly, that's the kind of thing the internet was created for. But don't dismiss all the whities as totally off the mark either. Some of us may not get it, but we're trying to.

I'm reminded of the time when the latest census came out saying that Hispanics had overtaken blacks as the largest US minority group, and there were some black people saying that Hispanics were the competition, or something to that effect. I couldn't help but feel at the time that, while human feelings like that are understandable, that taking that stance towards an entire group, with many of the same goals and interests as blacks, was counterproductive.

Let us in!


Anonymous said...

Dude, seriously, that would rock. Let's hope for it, definitely ...

Professor Zero said...

I've seen comments by that thereisnospoon person before. He's really conservative & silly, I'd ignore and just go on talking to the grownups.

Anonymous said...

It's always interesting to catch one of those "open-minded liberals" mouthing or writing such bigoted claptrap, isn't it?

When you call them on it, even in the most inquisitive and harmlessly curious fashion, you get their barrage of defensiveness, revealing the fact that in their innermost heart they know they're being bigoted assholes. But they can't seem to shake that ignoramus world view that tells them everything is as simple as yes or no, 0 or 1, white or black, "King's English" or vernacular.

And of course if it's not approved by the Democrat Leadership Council it's surely not fit for consumption or consideration by an "open-minded liberal" or a "thoughtful progressive."

By operating this blog with your thoughtful writing and insights, you will definitely help to counter the Uri Geller spoonbenders of the world. It may not happen right now, but it will happen. It's already happening incrementally, and faster than I'd have imagined. I don't know many folks who get their most reliable "news" from the mainstream infotainment media.

I wonder if "thereisnospoon" thinks he/she is clever for lifting that line from The Matrix.

Anonymous said...

PS -- thanks for the positive vibes and the listing in your blogroll.

Hathor said...

Why don't you just comment as Jimbo instead of anonymous. It is not required that you have a profile.

Anonymous said...

The comments only make it plain....They are missing a few...and you can find them everywhere...schools, corporate, politics, church, real estate, on and on...It's really sickening...It comes down to this need for superiority....We are talking about a Blog, but goodness, when they are in front of you, one could just vomit...

Silence is Betrayal said...

I'm not entirely sure that the point thereisnospoon was trying to make is without any merit.

It seems to me that he is making a reasonable argument based upon real world conditions. The black community (to pick one large minority group and the one which is primarily served by Afrospear) is under-represented in white-collar jobs. And the black community is poorer (financially) than the majority population, thus making his third point at least somewhat relevent. His second point is the only one I can see that may be (mostly) off the mark, but it isn't too hard to see how it could make sense. If you accept that blacks generally are under-represented in white-collar professions and that the poverty rate is too high in the community, then it doesn't seem like a huge stretch to think that perhaps the education system is also failing the black community. Thus leaving the door open to the distinct possiblity that maybe the a lack of education may be contributing to the lack of diversity in the blogosphere.

Are these reasons fully sufficient to explain the whole thing? Probably not, but come on, do we ever really expect someone to articulate *every* reason for something so complex?

And of course, the underlying social conditions need to be remidied. They are unjust, but reasoning from them isn't necessarily.

And I too love what Afrospear is growing to become. Keep up the good work!

Francis Holland said...

Man, there are so many Black lawyers among us AfroSpear who were good enough writers to graduate from law school but we're not good enough writers to post at DailyKos? I can write circles around most of those people, and that's part of why some of them dislike me so much.

I speak English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and I read Italian and I graduated from college magna cum laude, but I was STILL banned from DailyKos. How many white people at DailyKos speak five languages. They're not afraid that we're not as good as them. Those white male supremacists are afraid that we're MUCH better than them. Deep in their hearts they know that utterly excluding us is the only way to keep us from embarrassing them over and over again. That has ALWAYS been a fundamental purpose of segregation!

I love writing. I love posting my writing in the whitosphere. Writing is a riot! It's time we stopped burning down our own neighborhoods!

Yesterday, the "Truth About Kos Blog" got 130 hits and each one rings like a hammer, pounding nails into the coffin of Markos Alberto C. Moulitsas Zúñiga's political career? After all, how long can someone who spent six months training at the CIA be a leader of the progressive Left, now that the Truth About Kos has been revealed.

The masses of men lead lives of quiet desperation, said Henry David Thoreau. Well, let me tell you a secret: We might be desperate, but we don't have to be quiet about it.

The pen is mightier than the Kos!

Christopher Chambers said...

This dude is a pin head for sure. The structural impediments are "structured" from racism. At the same time, however, I suppose some of us could investing more in computers and blogging about public and cultural affairs rather than buying and spinning rims, and sitting on X-box for seven hours straight? Like buying or reading a classic novel, blogging is a "white" thing in too many minds. I know brothers who use their computers mainly to hunt down free mpegs on sites like "Black Facials" and to check the scores from whatever game they may have missed. Thus there's an element aming our own folks who make it easy for jerks like these Kossacks to make the comments they make, with confidence.

It's like the book biz. When you total up all the white folks and all the black folks, the proportions of those who read and support good stuff as opposed to those who buy ignorant crap or nothing is about the same. The trouble is, there are nine times fewer of us than them, and so the potential pool of folks who do see the need to support a higher calling of culture--or the need to blog--is tiny. That put a lot of pressure on those of us who do. I think the Kossacks and most other white liberals need to un-scrrw their heads from their asses and realize that one size don't fit all.

Anonymous said...

Great comments in this thread.

Francis Holland, I discovered Afro Spear and The Field Negro thanks to your entry at My Left Wing regarding Kos. I was tracking Kos because Mike Gravel was at Yearly Kos and I wanted to see how the Kossacks handled Gravel's honesty. As to myself, I was booted from Kos about 2.5 or 3 years ago for repeatedly asking the Kossacks why they went so easy on the Democrats when there was plenty to show that the Democrats weren't against Mr Bush's happy-time crime syndicate.

Christopher Chambers, as a white man who arguably spends too much of his money on cycling and alpine skiing gear and adventures, and plays too much XBOX, while still blogging my pasty white ass off, I have to say that it's not the rims and the XBOX that is in the way. It's the culture of oppression, the way most white folks think and tell black folks that they're 2d (or 3d or lower) class citizens -- in the very sort of way that was uttered by Uri Geller There is No Spoon and I Stole My Clever Handle from That Little Bald Psychic Kid in The Matrix.

I think it useful to discard any notion that places like Daily Kos or its emulators around the blogosphere (Eschaton, Smirking Chimp, Crooks & Liars, Hullabaloo, FireDogLake, ThinkProgress) have any semblance of liberal or progressive thought. They are not interested in liberty or any form of moral progress. They are interested in fascism, a Beautiful Wonder Bread America where White Businesses rake in the bucks via Federal Govt Contracts.

They support the same agenda as the Bush-Cheney Crime Syndicate.

They railroaded Cynthia McKinney out of her seat in the Congress, no quarrel, no discussion -- "just get lost Ms McKinney, you and your crazy hairdo." (As if her hair has any bearing whatever on her competence, wisdom, intellect, passion.)

The legacy of "Separate but Equal" is obnoxious and persistent.

But I would sugggest that where the "liberal" and "progressive" bloggers are concerned, black folks are wiser to remain separate, and transcend equality to demonstrate superiority.

You can find blogs run by white folks who are going to be empathetic to your cause, respectful of your arguments, yet challenging to your premises and interested in advancing your cause.

They're just not the big-name "liberal" or "progressive" ones.

For a start, I would suggest checking out --

Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque

Winter Patriot

Foofa said...

It's great to read socially conscious blogs. Although I am not part of the afrospear (because my blog isn't all that socially conscious except for a post here or there and I don't want to front) I am certainly supportive of the mission. White folks need to see bloggers of color out there speaking on issues that they would like to define for us.

Anonymous said...

Field Negro, way to pull an O'Reilly (or a Harold Ford). Take one comment from one blogger to put down an entire website and/or movement. Mighty big thinkin' of y'all. Of course there are more idiots like thereisnospoon, but if ye seek, ye will find. How about doing a search for people who aren't idiots. I bet you'll find them on Dailykos, too.

But what your post really made me think about was an earlier black movement, of MLK and the fight for civil rights. If he and other leaders had kept it an all black movement, would we have passed a Civil Rights Act in 1964? Or would Jim Crow have lingered, until who knows?

Unknown said...

Jimbo, neither myself or other African-Americans need your permission to create, cultivate, and propogate the Afrosphere. Just as our forefathers didn't need anyone's permission or "g0-ahead" to create jazz, "the dozens," or rap. Such condescension is entirely irrelevant, unnecessary, and immaterial, thank you just the same. And I am certainly not proclaiming the wonders of "self-sufficiency" which is a fallacy advanced by reactionaries so they can keep one hand in the cookie jar while pushing hard-working taxpayers, working-class folks, and people of color away from the cookie jar. In case you didn't care to read what I actually wrote (beyond "I don't agree with Jimbo"), what I'm saying is the African-American community should refrain from actively seeking inclusion until such time as we have adequately educated and socialized the putative liberal blogosphere, having awakened them to their blatant or, in an embarrassingly mighty few cases, vestigial racism. Until then, others are welcome to join us, but the onus will be on them to accept our concerns, our perspectives, and our goals.

No one has been dismissed. Rather, to borrow an analogy from the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I choose not to enter a house that's afire. The Democrats and their supporters have been complicit in the Republican shredding of the Constitution and systemic dismantling of civil rights, employment, and economic gains (and don't get me started with the housing market!). They don't have their act together, so I choose not to align myself with them at this time. In my mind, FISA, extraordinary rendition, Gitmo, and the warrantless wiretapping are merely the 21st Century version of the Mississippi sheriff storming into Emmitt Till's grandparent's home, kidnapping him, and brutally beating him to death. I'd have to be an ignorant fool to support that or anyone who does.

Finally, the influx of Mexicans into this country is not some coincidence or the "natural" result of NAFTA or the logical consequence of poor (i.e. African-American) people refusing to do such menial work. Who is naive enough to swallow such tripe? The corporate media promoted the idea that Latinas and African-Americans were in competition with each other for crumbs from the massa's table. Those who guzzle such swill need not worry about me wanting a sip. I refuse. But if they want a refreshing drink of the living waters of knowledge, then they are welcome to partake.

Anne Rettenberg LCSW said...

I stopped reading DailyKos, because although there were occasionally good posts, they would be followed by 300 inane comments, mostly consisting of people arguing with each other about nothing. There seemed to be no rules. People were also allowed to shill for their favorite candidate and smear other candidates.

Anonymous said...

Elizhill25, I'm sorry you took my comments so negatively. I apologize if I gave offense.

Though you are misinterpreting what I said blatantly: I never said or implied that anyone needs my permission, or permission of people like me, for anything.

And frankly, I just totally disagree with you. Your argument, as you say, that African Americans should refrain from "actively seeking inclusion until such time as we have adequately educated and socialized the putative liberal blogosphere, having awakened them to their blatant or, in an embarrassingly mighty few cases, vestigial racism" seems at odds with itself.

So you're going to educate casually racist white people... by shutting doors? How is that going to teach anyone anything? The only way you can educate people is by talking to them. That's it. It has nothing to do with creating a separate online identity for yourself. That's independent. As for the onus being on me and mine to accept your concerns if I want to be part of the discussion, that's expected and par for the course. But don't expect me to learn anything if you shut the door in my face.


Unknown said...

Jimbo, so you "never said or implied that anyone needs my permission, or permission of people like me, for anything," huh? Forgot this comment, did you?

"If you want to cultivate AfroSpear; black blogs for black issues, go right ahead."

Once again (now I understand all too well why the same subjects/topics/objectives must be taught in American classrooms from 3 - 8 grades!) the door hasn't been shut in your face. You're here, aren't you? And I'm none the worse for having abandoned the comment section at DKos, Atrios, et. al.

Unknown said...

It cannot be denied that educational access is skewed in favor of income, which skews against black Americans. Good educational access helps a lot of people become better writers - helped me, no doubt.

But a good formal education is not a prerequisite to excellent writing and may sometimes be a hindrance. Malcolm X "attended" prison and later lectured at Harvard, and his writings were incredibly powerful.

What good writing DOES require is a lot of practice and a lot of criticism from tough-minded readers. It's like boxing: no substitute exists for time with the gloves on at least hitting the big and small bags. Now what someone should do is to invent a medium where writers can write and get tough-minded criticism on their writings.

Oh wait. This is just one example that thereisnospoon may have heard of. There are many better ones.

thereisnospoon may have had a point in that white-collar workers can fake doing their work more easily on company time than can blue-collar professionals. I have blogged on company time - after asking my boss repeatedly for projects and him telling me we simply had some down time. If your job is to do maintenance on subway cars or to haul garbage, you are not on the net on company time. But I don't think that the netroots revolution is the result of, or dependent upon, people screwing off on company time.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, thereisnospoon got heavily criticized by folks on MLW for that comment and the other racist BS he wrote. A number of people called him out on his (seemingly willful) ignorance.

Intentional Fallacy said...

I like your concept of a "reveloution from a keyboard". I think it's entirely possible, for any group or individual.

At the least, it creates a sense of unity, which might be what all of us need to get past the usual rhetoric of us-against-them that is normally filled in our heads.

field negro said...

"At the least, it creates a sense of unity, which might be what all of us need to get past the usual rhetoric of us-against-them that is normally filled in our heads."

d.k., I co sign with that statement.

And anon. you are right, the people at MLW, for the most part did get on the ignoramous from Kos. So I will give that site credit for that. At the end of the day; they aren't bad folks over there. Although I still have issues with Mary Scott banning Francis.

Anonymous said...

There is a growing movement within the "Caucasphere" that is fed up with the "Liberals."

I can't stand the Daily Kos, and I think it's the height of irony those twits would dare to assume they know a damn thing about "Writing." Writers are born they are not created in Schools.

Many of us see the Elitism of the "Liberals," but unfortunately our blogs are small and for now they can ignore us, which they do.

The only "Big" blog I ever visit is "Crooks and Liars," and that's only because they hooked up one of my posts and in one day I got more visits than I did in my first month. But other than them I could care less about the "Big" blogs. Anyone can write that pseudo-intellectual, "I love you, you love me" crap.

The truth is the "Liberals" are not much different than the Wingnuts. Sure they say pretty things, but when it comes down to brass tacks it's nothing but words. I always thought Clinton was the most Republican president we've had since Reagan.

Anyway, I think what you're doing is cool, and the Internet may very well be the place the next Revolution is born.

It's not safe to gather in the streets anymore.

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