Why blog?

Back when I first started blogging, there was this long interblog thread about What does it mean to be a black blogger? This was my answer (as opposed to my reactions to other people's answers).

People just do thing, events just happen, and meaning is extracted from our memories of the events. If we do stuff in order to project a meaning, that will just be another element that goes into the memory bank, another part of the pattern from which meaning will actually be extracted.

I'm not sure Black folks who blog are doing anything different than any other bloggers. Some of us do politics, some have personal blogs, whatever whatever. But writing this makes me think about exactly what is a "Black blogger." Because it's not just a Black person who has a blog. A number of Black folks what blog don't have what you'd call "Black content" (which I'm using as shorthand for "content derived from and/or targeted to participants in African American culture and their activities"). It's hard to tell some folks are Black just from the content.

So do you include a Steve Gilliard or a Jesse Taylor as Black bloggers? I don't know…I include them as Black guys, but they don't focus on Black content like any number of us do. They're not in denial or anything either, it's more like it makes no sense to say, "I'm Black and Bush sucks." I've seen both of them be very clear that they are Black when it was appropriate to the subject they were writing on. But I don't know if I'd call them "Black bloggers."

I think I have to switch up a bit and refer to "Black blogs" instead of "Black bloggers" for clarity's sake. I can skip the extra quotes that way.

So. What does it mean to run a Black blog? I think it's either an attempt to make a statement or a connection. In my case, it's the statement (though to be honest, the connections I've made incidental to the statements I've made have been rather cool. Not deep, but that may be me).

You remember that old cartoon:

Of course, nowadays we know better. We know it's more like this:


The real response to the first cartoon, though, is "What's wrong with being a dog?"

Why should someone be satisfied by acceptance that comes at the price of anonymity? Is that acceptance anyway?

All Black people view themselves from the outside as well as from the inside to a degree that mainstream folks do not understand. This is what DuBois meant by his dual soul formulation, to this day the best description of the core problem of being Black in the USofA I've ever read. And while traveling in the mainstream, Black folks tend to give primacy to the external view for practical reasons.

The connections made online, through blogs, mailing lists, discussion boards and the like, provide opportunities to express and develop that internal view in ways that are socially unprecedented. That Black topics don't have the same weight in everyone's internal view is fine. In fact, it helps shatter the stereotypes and scatter the pieces.

And we're STILL not doing anything any other blogger isn't doing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

P6: What a great piece to kick off with. "Why blog?" is such a good question. I didn't have a clear plan when I started my blog - I just wanted to write. But now finding my voice and my place in the huge blogosphere has become more important to me.

I look forward to reading more of your work and to being a team member with you here.

February 5, 2007 at 6:51 PM  
Blogger Cavalor Epthith said...

The best way I can define what I do at the Daily Pitchfork is in essence painting a self portrait daily from scratch using the issues of the day as paint, the Internet as canvas and starting from within myself and finishing wihout.

February 12, 2007 at 5:19 AM  

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