Why I Am Leaving the Race Blogosphere

anti-racism
Those of you who were familiar with me prior to start of this blog probably know me from various blogs (which shall not be named) dealing with the subject of race, primarily, or as one of their regular subjects. Well, my days on such blogs are over — I am leaving the race blogs for good. Why am I waving goodbye to the blogs which I’ve participated on a regular basis for the past couple of years? The decision has been a long time coming, but here are some of the major factors in reaching this conclusion:

1. Race blogs provide a skewed view of the importance of race in life

Before my “racial awakening” a few years ago, the concept of race had very little conscious impact on my life. My upbringing could best be described as “raceless” as my parents and immediate environment placed no significance on identifying with a particular race or understanding the world through a racialized lens. I was encouraged to find and be myself, as unique individual. And while I am thankful for certain circumstances bringing the racial dynamics of American society to the foreground of my mind, too much of a good thing is never good. The overemphasis on race in an often negative way gives a person a lopsided viewpoint regarding what they should concern themselves with in life and exactly how important the idea of race is in how they are viewed by others.

2. Most anti-racist blogs fail to address intraracial discrimination

crayon-discriminationAs with all groups, the people who own and frequent anti-racist blogs have their boundaries and ways of dealing with those who cross those boundaries. One such boundary is intraracial discrimination. While this topic is addressed occasionally, by and large, commenters are expected to address white racism and attribute all problems between non-whites to white racism. My mind rejects this attitude because I’ve seen that racism is not just a white-on-others issue — racism can never be eliminated unless and until intraracial issues are discussed in the open and as often as white racism, without a person risking being shunned if they mention it.

3. The race blogs are becoming increasingly pessimistic and losing perspective.

As various blogs have merged in readership, their content has become more unconstructive and narrow in scope. A glance through such blogs will leave one with a feeling that American society is hopelessly and unchangeably racist, and unless a person is of the “chosen” race(s) (and often, gender), their ultimate lot in life is restricted by the overarching sentiments held of their group by society. Again, my mind rejects these sorts of thoughts – I believe that, even if obstacles present themselves, the individual is the final judge of their fate. Despite my supposed misfortune of being born black and female, I’ve never been deprived of my needs or desires in life. I believe my assuming that I was not limited in life helped tremendously, and ironically, in not limiting me in life.

Finally, I am at another turning point in my life where I feel that it is time to move on to other issues. While I may address racism on this blog, my main focus will be in other areas.

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13 thoughts on “Why I Am Leaving the Race Blogosphere

  1. Let the church say amen! I agree with you on each point:

    1. I don’t think I would’ve ever found any race blogs if I wasn’t at the university I’m at, which is made up of a certain “type” of person (this applies to all races, but it’s most noticeable with Whites, since they’re the majority). Even after 3.5 years of this unique experience I still don’t have my hackles up when I go home/leave campus. I may be a little jaded by the attitudes of some people here (Black and White), but I’m not jaded about Black/White people in general.

    2. It’s puzzling to me that intraracial issues aren’t addressed on these blogs more often, since arguably, many of the writers are prime targets for charges of “acting White” and such. And since Blacks are more likely to be surrounded by other Black people, it seems like intraracial problems would be more salient.

    3. I think the pessimism is a defense mechanism of sorts. It’s too scary to consider the idea that there may be something about you personally that turns people off, so it’s easier to just put your whole group under the “crappy life circumstances” umbrella. The problem arises when people in your group disagree.

    Funny, I just told my boyfriend last night that I’m tired of the idea that Black women who are happy with themselves/their lives are deluding themselves or outright lying. I know lots of people with personalities/attitudes that leave something to be desired. Some of those people are Black–why is that such a controversial thing to accept?

  2. Jasmin,

    On your number three — I agree. It’s amazing how some people never want to look at themselves when thinking about how their life has played out. Blaming racism has become a crutch for some people, and that is a huge problem in my opinion.

    “Funny, I just told my boyfriend last night that I’m tired of the idea that Black women who are happy with themselves/their lives are deluding themselves or outright lying.”

    Me too! It’s like “Come on, you know you can’t be that happy — you’re a black woman!” It’s also pretty annoying when people try to make you seem like an outlier if your life experiences don’t mesh with the general idea of “reality of a black woman”. They (including some black women) seem to relish the idea that we’re supposed to be miserable.

  3. Good points. I think any one-topic blog/forum will have a skewed view of its importance in life.

    I still think the overall effect of anti-racist/multiracial blogs is positive though. There needs to be a counter-weight to all the Stormfront-y and conservative material out there.

    Number 3 is true. That reminds me of the Pygmalion effect, people internalize negative social expectation so easily. It can happen to any type of population or race and is hard to break, but individuals can.

  4. I can understand your decision. While certain race blogs still have a lot to offer to me, I can understand your decision. At one point, it all goes down to repeating the same things over and over and over again.

    The main problem with race blogs is that they acknowledge the problem- but they don’t offer any solution. They often don’t even create a climate in which possible solutions can be discussed.

    As for intraracial discrimination, it is true that it’s rarely discussed. On the other hand, I always understood “race blogs” as blogs about white racism, so intraracial problems are not quite on topic there. Which is fine. Many important issues (say, child molestation) are not on topic there.

    However, that doesn’t mean these things don’t exist. As longs as those who participate in discussions understand those things exist- but are not on topic in a particular discussion- everything is fine. But, like you said, race blogs can provide a skewed view, and might make some people forget about the other malicious behavior that might not have anything to do with race, or are products of intraracial discrimination.

    Also, what most of the race blogs fail to notice is the difference between individual and collective level. At least many (most?) of the commenters don’t seem to understand this concept. This often makes discussions impossible.

    All in all, race blogs are a good thing, I think, and like AJ said, they might be a necessary counter-weight to all the “Stormfront” sites and the like. If nothing else, some white people do read them and get a new understanding of things for the first time. Still, I completely understand why somebody would like to leave race blogosphere.

  5. AJ, I agree that they are overall positive. They are most helpful when viewed occasionally, in my opinion, so one can keep perspective. At this point I just think I’ve learned all that I need to.

    Mira,

    “The main problem with race blogs is that they acknowledge the problem- but they don’t offer any solution. They often don’t even create a climate in which possible solutions can be discussed.”

    Bingo.

    “I always understood “race blogs” as blogs about white racism, so intraracial problems are not quite on topic there.”

    I always thought they were just about race, as a general topic. Necessarily, white racism will heavily factor into the equation, but I thought other issues would be discussed eventually (I was mostly wrong).

    “what most of the race blogs fail to notice is the difference between individual and collective level. At least many (most?) of the commenters don’t seem to understand this concept.”

    Can you expound upon this?

    I sometimes apply my personal situation to topics because I have experience with it (such as black women/white men relationships). Often times, they will be discussing a general phenomenon, and while it is helpful to get an overall feeling, I think it’s also good to know how individuals’ experiences vary. That way people don’t get too lost in the abstraction of it all — it’s easy to lose touch of the fact that you’re discussing real people and their lives and not just statistics or events.

  6. Can you expound upon this?
    I meant on the fact issues such as race (or sexism, or whatever) can’t be blindly transferred from global to personal level. For example, the fact that many blacks are discriminated against by whites doesn’t automatically says anything about one’s personal life. Not to mention the fact many white men raped black women during slavery says nothing about individual black women dating white men today. There are people who don’t understand these things are not the same.

    (It can work for any important social issues, not just racial ones).

  7. Alee,

    I would say most people do the opposite: they only look at statistics and the abstract and dismiss any deviations from the pattern as outliers. Ironic, given that the non-random sample of people who tend to participate in blogs is skewed in terms of income and education.

  8. Mira, oh, I see. I agree. Let’s not get started on the slavery rape discussion! That is just so irrelevant. And odd.

    Jasmin, true. And then the fact that some are so adamant about the deviations being “outliers” is even more annoying.

  9. Sorry. I just thought it was a perfect example of what I was talking about. There are other good examples, though (the way black women (should) feel about themselves, for example). But there are many other, that are not in any way related to black women or race.

    Whenever you try to take a historical fact or a myth and apply it to another individual’s experience- it’s a fail. (Especially if said individual insists that, no, it doesn’t work that way for them). But for these people, to admit there are individuals whose lives are different than what they assume is to admit they’re wrong. The truth is, many of their general theories/opinions work good when it comes to sticking to general level.

  10. Mira,

    “Sorry. I just thought it was a perfect example of what I was talking about.

    That wasn’t really directed towards you, but just a general comment.

    “There are other good examples, though (the way black women (should) feel about themselves, for example).”

    Now tell me about that one! I’m sure we all saw that recent post over at the… forest. 😉

  11. I knew this post was coming! Haha, and honestly I’m feeling burned-out about it too. The blogosphere takes it outta ya.

    I too have to co-sign the annoyance with being called an “outlier”. Every time some kind of evidence (no matter how official, how substantial, or how persuasive) it’ll still be an “outlier”. People who do that have cognitive dissonance like KFC has fake chicken.

    Even more interesting is how race-blogs run by individuals tend to reflect more on their attitudes about race than about race in reality. Also interestingly, the commenters on these blogs say more about the author than their own posts! (I can think of numerous examples of this.)

    Other annoying things about race-blogs — that might be common to blogging in general — is that people always want to make these discussion impersonal even when they’re about you! They like to think this stuff happens in some vacuum where Sim-people exist, but frankly their lack of attachment to reality shows why the internet is a bad place to form opinions about race.

    Also, just because you know a few logical fallacies, does not mean dropping them into your comments makes you look smart. In fact, since most of the time they’re not even properly ascribed, they just make you look cowardly.

    And finally, the biggest problem I have with race-blogs is that nobody can admit that their view of the world *might* (just might!) be wrong. Everybody *has* to be right, and everyone else *has* to be wrong. Gawd forbid people should have different life experiences that don’t mesh with yours or your beliefs.

    However, that said, I wouldn’t want to see blogs like R___ or A___ disappear. But I would like to see them more on point and less hostile, especially the latter.

  12. Zek,

    “I knew this post was coming!”

    You did? How? 🙂

    “Even more interesting is how race-blogs run by individuals tend to reflect more on their attitudes about race than about race in reality.”

    This is so very true, and a good point. What we’re basically getting is the view of race/racism in society reflected through the eyes of one person. Needless to say, that can provide a very slanted view. Yet people take these words as the set in stone truth.

    “Other annoying things about race-blogs — that might be common to blogging in general — is that people always want to make these discussion impersonal even when they’re about you! They like to think this stuff happens in some vacuum where Sim-people exist”

    Yes, yes! I don’t know why they so much wish to do this. Maybe it’s because then they can always say “Well, this is what happens in general…”, without ever having to be shown wrong.

    And frankly, this happens way too often when it comes to the discussion of black women/white men relationships. Probably because so few people actually know any of these couples and for some reason, many people (of all races and genders) seem to be against these unions forming at all.

  13. i’ve been reading six or seven blogs that i enjoy–including yours, since we’re still in the ‘get to know you’ cuddly phase : ) i’ve only been reading though, because i am sooo burned out on all the frakkin race/interracial relationships talk.

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