Post-Racial Promised Land: Reflections from BlogHer 09
These past few days I've had the opportunity to circulate amongst some of the most powerful female bloggers in the nation. It has been a truly eye-opening experience for many reasons. Most of which have to do with my growth as a writer/blogger, and how I can become more focused and improve upon what I'm doing now, and others, dealt with just plain ol' life issues.
It's been almost a week since Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested outside of his home near Boston for disorderly conduct. Since then the media has been focusing on how, in "post-racial" America (gag), people are still dealing with the uncomfortable issues that surround race. President Obama added his two cents to the debate, acknowledging that Black & Latino men are racially profiled at higher rates by the police, and for that, he was accused of race bating by Conservative pundits. Normally, I would ignore their faulty analysis, but I'm starting to realize that SO many people have SO many opinions about race, that we might as well just put it all out in the open and talk about it.
The charade has ended. Let's not pretend that Americans are post racial. And to be honest, we will probably never get to the point where one's color, one's visible difference does not matter. Oh, we'd like to pretend we are THAT deep, that self-actualized, that progressive, but when it comes down to it, many of us still harbor some of the divisive stereotypes from the past.
Saturday, I attended a BlogHer session on Marketing to Women of Color. The room was ethnically diverse and packed. I was psyched because I was amazed that so many non-colored girls were interested in US. Although sometimes I feel like black bloggers are marginalized to ONLY having a Black audience, I thought perhaps, this would open my eyes to something different. Then the conversations and questions became reruns of past conversations. The jist being: We want to be included too! Many women of color (WOC) bloggers shared that they sometimes felt disrespected by companies approaching them because they wanted to target a certain "urban" (read: black) audience in a certain way. While on the PR side, many lamented the difficulty of being an all-white firm, pitching to black/brown consumers. Although the conversation seemed honest and authentic, one thought kept running through my mind:
Learn what makes me tick. Read me. Study me. But not in an "oh, you're so exotic" kind of way. Learn my customs, my culture, how I live. Because, honestly, as a WOC that longs to be successful, I have no choice but to study you. So why not return the favor? If you're a company and your whole staff is white, you should probably investigate why you're whole staff is white, and not focus on how you'll be perceived as a white person pitching to a diverse crowd. Not that you have to go out and hire a token black/brown person, but in 2009, your company should already look like the world.
After the session, my suspicions that we weren't really past race were confirmed...with a tweet, no less.
It seems as though a blog that focuses on Moms of Color intimidates people. Why? I'm not sure. It's not that we, moms of color, don't deal with the same issues as all moms, because we do. I can only infer it's because of race, being that all other things--parenting issues, the products we buy for our kids, our children's development--remain equal.
It's sad that we've found new ways (and mediums) to segregate ourselves. The Henry Louis Gates issue has only pealed back the bandaid we've used to cover our race wounds. I would hope that, at some point, and through serious, honest conversations we will get past our differences and enjoy learning about each other. Maybe then we might reach the mystical, magical lands of post-racial America.
**Listen to Denene Millner, founder of MyBrownBaby discusses race, the web, and blogging while brown HERE
Do you think the web is segregated?
How can we TRULY become a Post-Racial America? (or do we even want to?)
What do you wish others could truly learn about YOU (or your culture?)?