Metroblogging Portland: A true reflection of our town(?)

So, tonight I made it to my first Metroblog Meetup. Not the first since I’ve been a Metroblogger. Oh, God no. I’ve been doing this for years now.

No, just the first that I actually fully committed to going to. I’ve half-committed to going before, but things came up here and there and I never made it. But well over a month ago, Metroblogger Banana Lee Fishbones realized that the then-current Meetup schedule was guaranteeing my non-involvement (as my wife is always working late on those nights) and told me to pick a night that I could guarantee to be there, and she’d set it that night.

How could I get out of that? I couldn’t. I mean, I almost backed out, due to a personal thing, but I realized that I’d never be able to look BLF in the face again (though, actually, I never had before…I guess the metaphorical face). So, I showed up, though for less time than I’d initially planned, and I got to meet my blogren (a mix of bloggers and brethren, although there were some sistren, if that’s even a word, there as well, but I digress…).

What I saw didn’t surprise me. Having been around here for awhile, I’m aware of my fellow Metrobloggers. They are young (if not in age, then at heart), smart, thoughtful, friendly, fun, generally liberal-ish, and polite with an edge on it. In short, they are very representative of the type of people you see around Portland.

At least, mostly…

On my way home, I had KXL on (the Mariners were on the sports station, and I can’t stand listening to them play) and John Gibson was on. I like him for sheer shock value, though I generally think he’s a moron. But, anyway, hearing him made me think of my favorite commenter, TKrueg, who mentioned last week how he occasionally listens to Gibson. And thinking of TKrueg made me think of race, because we often end up discussing it in my various Blazer’s opining. And thinking of race made me think back to the Meetup.

Everyone there was white.

It’s true. Go to the author pages using the links in the sidebar on the right. You’ll see that, as of today, every Metroblogger who volunteers a photo (and, I believe, even the ones who don’t) is vanilla.

Not that, in and of itself, there’s anything wrong with that. I mean, really, if you wanted to accurately represent Portland, isn’t an all-white blog the way to do it?

Face it. Portland, at least on the surface, is a honky town. When you think of diverse cities, Portland isn’t very high on the list. According to one website (I couldn’t find racial data in the demographics section of the city’s webpage), Portland is over 75% white and no single minority group accounts for even 7% of the remaining population.

So, as I looked at the 75% of us Metbloggers around the table, I was looking at a group very representative of our city. If the rest of us were there, it would be a little less so.

What to do? Well, I can tell you that we aren’t lacking diversity for lack of trying. We occasionally mention that we’re looking for new bloggers (which yields new people like Cami and Reid), and we only discriminate based on whether you’re a decent writer with something to say. I think of commenters like TKrueg, who always has something to say. Does he have a blog? Dunno. But I’d welcome his voice, or some other diverse voices, here on the Metblog. Then, perhaps, it would really be a truer reflection of all that Portland has to offer…

41 Comments so far

  1. cami (unregistered) on May 16th, 2007 @ 10:50 pm

    and Kai’s new too.

  2. Rusty (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 8:25 am

    Yes, welcome, Kai! Not an intentional snubbing by any means…

  3. dieselboi (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 8:54 am

    Where anywhere on this blog do we claim we are “representative” of Portland? This blog is about Portland and our collective experiences and life. If you want a blog that represents Portland’s diversity, you are correct, this may not be it. Could there even be one? Don’t throw stones implying we have made it that way intentionally.

  4. Rusty (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 9:04 am

    No, no, no, that’s not my intention at all. I’m sorry if that’s how this reads. I like the Metroblog and was not intending to suggest that we have any sort of evil agenda.

    My point is that:

    1) The Portland Metroblog has many writers, all very nice and good and interesting and all, but all also white.

    2) The City of Portland is well-represented in many aspects by the writers we have here, but there is a lack of cultural diversity.

    3) We’ve openly invited people to write for us and we don’t discriminate on the basis of color, only on the basis of being a good and interesting writer.

    4) It would be nice if some more diversity were represented.

    In terms of us not claiming to represent the city, I think that we definitely advertise ourselves as being a “by Portlanders, about Portland” site and we do bring strong opinions about issues within our cities, and we try to be fair and inclusive of a wide range of viewpoints and entertain and engage in discussion of the various aspects of what we write, to the point that our Metroblog attempts to, in my view, be a reflection of our city and its people.

    What is implied at the end, with my link to Betsy’s prior recruitment post, is that diverse people can, and should, apply, so that our blog can be even more representative of Portland.

    I note that our town is lily-white because that’s the truth. I think our town, in many ways, is intimidating or non-welcoming to diverse cultural backgrounds. I think our blog is open to them, and I think it would be a step in a positive direction if people with those diverse backgrounds stepped up and joined our ranks.

    No stones meant. If you got hit with one, blame my evil twin brother.

  5. Rusty (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 9:07 am

    To the extent my post was offensive, blame me being tired from a long day of work and the fact that my wife was watching one of the worst movies I’ve ever had to listen to, “Lyrics and Music,” in the background… Anybody in that atmosphere would end up perhaps missing their point a bit while trying to make it.

  6. Daaaaave (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 9:15 am

    This is a blog that seems primarily dedicated to complaining about things that are only mildly annoying. Sounds like middle-class, approaching middle-age white people to me. I’d say you’re hitting your target demographic square in the nose. Who else has time to journalize on such a regular basis?

    Older people are afraid of the technology. Younger people are busy trying to get laid or pirating music. Face it, 9/10ths of the blogosphere is dedicated to people doing their best impersonation of Andy Rooney.

  7. Aaron B. Hockley (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 9:27 am

    Totally anecdotal comment, don’t draw anything from it other than the facts: I invited “That Black Girl” (a black Portland blogger) to write a guest post here (specifically about Black History Month and what it means to her in Portland). My invitation was ignored.

  8. Daaaaave (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 9:31 am

    To be honest, I’d have to think any “person of diversity” coming here to blog right now would feel like they’re wearing a t-shirt with a giant “T” printed on it.

  9. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 9:43 am

    Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaave: you sure about that? Here are the posts on our front page right now (not including this post):

    »»Stop talking already and just pee!
    That’s a complainy one a little, I’ll give you.

    »»Gnome Plea
    Someone’s gnome is lost. That’s sad.

    »»MAX delays- 4:30pm
    Informational-the front edge of rush hour, this is a good thing to know.

    »»No More Cash Advance Loans
    Again, informational.

    »»Acme. Tonight. 5:30. You in?
    Fun information! Metblogs bought food, come hang with us. If you were there you didn’t say hi.

    ¬ª¬ªMaybe We’re Not So “Courteous”: WSJ’s “Numbers Guy” Debunks That Driver Survey
    More information, a follow up post.

    »»McScrewed in the Couve
    Not complaining, just a tidbit from around town.

    »»Senator Wu? (or: The Gordon Smith Cage Match!)
    I seriously wanted to know who people were interested in and talking about. No complaining here either.

    »»Most Courteous Drivers in Town?
    It was in the WSJ, that counts as newsy right?

    »»QOD РAre gas prices affecting you?
    No complaining, just a question posed to readers.

    »»Where Were You When The Volcano Blew?
    Reminiscing about Portland years ago.

    »»That Eyesore Old Burger King Site On Burnside Is FINALLY Sold
    No complaints here either. Rejoicing it sounds like!

    »»New YACHT video
    Neat and local.

    So there’s a little teeny bit of complaining going on but I think it’s balanced with interesting things about stuff going on around Portland. Don’t you? And if not why don’t you apply to be a Metblogger and share your views here too?

  10. dieselboi (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 9:43 am

    i have that t-shirt.

  11. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 9:52 am

    I’d like to throw this out there: If I think the Bus Mall project is stupid, does that have anything to do with being a boy or girl or black or white? No. What about Charter Reform or finding a great new place to eat or learning a favorite business is closing?

    And I would welcome with open arms any “person of diversity” who wanted to be a Metblogger. We accepted Aaron, and he’s a conservative from the Couve!

  12. Betsy (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 10:00 am

    Blogging by its very nature is an intensely personal operation, and it works best (IMHO, anyway) if the blogger’s personality, opinions, and voice shine through. The reality here is that every blogger we have here comes to us because they made a personal connection of some sort. And it’s not necessarily an offline/IRL connection. Whether they responded originally as a commenter to a post that rang a bell for them, joined because a friend was already here, or had issues they felt strongly about and wanted a platform – well, that initial ‘a-ha’ sparked it off and drew them in.

    Hell, anyone reading this comment is drawn in, even for a brief moment.

    *Because* it’s then a self-selecting audience, comprised of people who care about the things you do (or who hate the things you do and want to get their two cents in), it’s nearly impossible to recruit with a stated goal of getting a more diverse group of bloggers. It’s offensive if you don’t even have that personal relationship to begin with, and tricky even if you do – smacks of affirmative action (“I like what you write, and you get extra bonus points ’cause you’re [insert under-represented minority here], so you move to the top of the list of potential bloggers.”)

    And I did (and do) spend a lot of time browsing local blogs, looking for writers to join us when we have openings (we currently do not.) The challenge then (and now) is that I need to be able to develop a personal connection – a reason for them to want to be part of us – in order to lure them in. A simple ‘hey, I like your writing’ isn’t good enough. If I added ‘and you get extra bonus points because you’re black!’, well, that’d be demeaning and insulting.

    When I was one of two women at the MB & we had 10 other male authors, well – I did actively look for more women to join us. But if you look at the women we have now, none of them came from any active recruiting I did (and I did plenty.) Instead, they were already readers, commented from time to time, and got motivated to join us as authors.

    Finally – we have a collection of unique voices here already – we tried to get people from all areas of the city, we’ve got people of different socioeconomic backgrounds and political persuasions. So should we get dinged because we’re not also racially diverse? Um, hello – that *is* representative of Portland, where diversity is often encouraged, but not often realized.

  13. TKrueg (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 10:14 am

    Well, hey… thanks for the shout out. But man do I regret admitting I catch a few minutes of Gibson out of morbid curiosity. In my defense, I think a lot of people catch the latest Fox Channel lowlights on cable or YouTube for the same reasons. Ever see O’Reilly blow his top when backed into an ideological corner? Not pretty, but comedic gold nonetheless. My time on BoJack ended in a similar way, becoming one more ‘block’ in his wall.

    Perhaps I geek out on politics more than the average person in their 20’s or 30’s (not that other generations are getting smarter by relying more on fluff, er, network news to set the political tone). But I don’t know nearly enough to be qualified for public office, let alone host a show on cable news/radio to assail the public office. And yet I seem to know A LOT more about government, the constitution, current events, and the general state of our country than most people I see, meet, or know. It’s not a boast, I just think it’s a sad statement considering I don’t spend much time keeping up on things.

    My point? We have a problem with access in America. How can we expect democracy when no one can participate in it? Or that it’s left to only a handful of people, usually with some sort of vested financial interest? My hope is that the internet is the great equalizer capable of empowering people of all backgrounds and socioeconomic status. I expect more people in every age/income/race/faith bracket to continually make the internet a more accurate representation, though it will never be representative in this decade.

    So is this long-winded post my audition? For the record, I’m just another white guy…

  14. TKrueg (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 10:20 am

    Also… this gig come with a paycheck? Just wondering… ;)

  15. Daaaaave (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 10:27 am

    Complaining about gas prices, complaining about peeing, complaining about a car driving survey (3 times), and just prior to that a complaint about bicyclists. This over the last 12 or so posts.

    No need to get defensive about it. Blogs seem primarily designed for groups of like-minded people to get together and relate. And it’s always easier to complain about things than to talk about the things you’re passionate about, especially in Portland, capital city of the hipster “caring about things is not hip” vibe. Cool and detached irony is what sells.

    The real problem is that the things you care about in 99.7% of these topics are basically white people issues. Again, not a bad thing. It is what it is. Start a few topics on Mos Def’s disappointing last album or Jason “next Bill Cosby” Whitlock’s rants against modern black culture. It’s not about not “accepting” them, it’s about having conversations that hold as much interest to them as my grandmother reciting the list of diseases and ailments she and her friends currently suffer from.

    I don’t have much to blog about, but thank you for the invitation. My skills as an annoying, argumentative provocateur are useful as a poster, but less so as a blogger. Take this thread for example…rather than following Rusty’s lead and apologizing to dieselboi for purposely misunderstanding the point of the post and pretending it was a call to turn PortlandMetblogs into the Augusta Country Club, I’d have instead told him to pull the stick out of his ass and wise up. Rusty’s thread here was both well written and incidentally completely true. He had nothing to apologize for, but did so due to (I’m assuming) vast reserves of affability and pacifism that I do not possess.

    As for tkrueg (whom I keep reading as truekeg), I don’t get listening to Gibson on the radio. Surely that robs you of the primary satisfaction that is the vision of the cherubic personage.

  16. TKrueg (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 10:35 am

    Pronounced Tee-Kroog, but as a reader of TrueHoop and lover of beer, I may just change my moniker to TrueKeg.

  17. Betsy (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 11:39 am

    First – if you’re interested in writing for the site, email me: betsywhim at gmail dot com. I don’t *think* we have openings just yet, but can see.

    We don’t pay – yet. We do get occasional prize money from corporate for our enthusiastic participation; we choose to use that money right now to offer incentives for people to show up at our reader parties (read: free food.)

  18. jonashpdx (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 11:42 am

    to me, the “having conversations that hold as much interest…” is less about race than it is about class (mostly in the economic definition, but every once in a while in the “having some” arena), no? anybody who comments/writes/reads this blog is on a computer at some point and more than that, has both the the leisure time and inclination at work or other to gab about or otherwise join in, which, if i were working at mcdonald’s, would not be the case, ’cause i’d be busting my ass for 7 bucks an hour.

  19. dieselboi (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 11:56 am

    My post wasn’t complaining about gas prices. Re-read it. I am actually happy that diesel is less expensive. I feel like I made the right choice when buying my car. I was just asking others their opinion.

  20. Kevin (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 12:05 pm

    “I invited “That Black Girl” (a black Portland blogger) to write a guest post here (specifically about Black History Month and what it means to her in Portland). My invitation was ignored.”

    If I was invited to write a “guest post” about What Black History Month Means To Me, I would’ve ignored it too.

    I’m sure it wasn’t intended to be insulting, but…wow.

  21. Daaaaave (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 12:11 pm

    Haha…good point. I guess it was bound to happen when you let your token Republican do outreach to minorities.

  22. Kevin (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 12:38 pm

    “I guess it was bound to happen when you let your token Republican do outreach to minorities.”

    …well…hold it a minute. I think the original point was that the (largely liberal) meetup was about as diverse as Tuesday night’s GOP debate.

    I don’t know Aaron’s political bent, nor yours. But it’s weird that with all the talk about diversity, somebody comes up with a snark against Aaron for being a “token Republican.”

    Wouldn’t real diversity include all sorts of viewpoints?

  23. Daaaaave (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 1:07 pm

    Funnily enough, no. Unless what you mean by diversity is some afterschool special with the asian kid in glasses and the girl in a wheelchair in the background of every scene but never given any speaking lines.

    “Real” diversity doesn’t need to be recuited or engineered and isn’t measured on some checklist of ethnicities. Even if all these bloggers’ dreams come true and a Black person, an Hispanic and an Asian all signed up to blog on this forum, we still wouldn’t be diverse. We’d be a bunch of run-of-the-mill Portland liberal whiteys with a token Republican, a token Black, a token Hispanic and a token Asian.

    Here’s what that diversity would actually look like here.

    New Hispanic Blogger: “Hey…has anyone listened to the new Calle 13 album yet? It’s really good and I can’t believe he got Vicentico and Orishas to contribute to the album. I’d love to see Calle 13 and Julio Voltio come to Portland, but it’ll probably never happen.”

    *crickets chirping*

    random poster: “I’ve never heard of them. Are they like Coldplay?”

    NHB: “Thank you. You’ve been a lovely audience but I don’t see any point in posting here ever again.”

    And FYI, BLF outed Aaron above as being a conservative, which I took at face value. Not that it makes any difference.

  24. Lelo (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 1:15 pm

    Daaaaaaave, you rock. You totally need to have a blog. You’re ****so**** right on.

    There’s a wee bit of white privilige goin’ on here and it’s a fascinating read. (And of course with that statement I’ll brace myself for the backlash that always seems to come.)

  25. Aaron B. Hockley (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 1:21 pm

    So it’s insulting to ask a black person what they think of Black History Month? I didn’t tell her to post about how great it was, I didn’t tell her to post about it being a bunch of billshit, I just asked her if she’d like to post about it.

    Heck, if her post was about how insulted she was that I’d asked, that would’ve been fine too.

    I guess I better not insult any Christians by asking them about Easter, either. Or expect anyone who’s lived in Baghdad to have any opinion on the matter.

    And, this “token Republican” ran the idea by all of our authors before I contacted her. None of them objected, said it was a bad idea, etc.

  26. Rusty (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

    I’m also a token Republican. A privileged white one.

    Is this a call for affirmative action? No. Is this white guilt? Maybe.

    Ultimately, all I’m saying is that along with the geo-economical-political diversity we have, I’d like to see some cultural diversity as well. I think I can discuss race as much as anyone can, but I’ve certainly not experienced some things that a person with a different racial perspective has, and so when I discuss it I’m missing experience that I have to replace with theorizing and speculation, which may or may not be fair.

    There are many considerations, though. Who reads blogs? Who writes them? What are the demographics of our readers? Would those change if the demographics of our writers did?

    I have to say that I don’t buy that only middle-aged whites with free-time are blogging and only middle-aged whites with free-time are reading.

    If nothing else, I’m enjoying the different insights everyone’s bringing to the table. For the record, I think our team captains do a good job trying to make this blog as diverse as they can given the people that apply to write, and I think our writers do a good job providing their opinions while also realizing that there are other viewpoints out there.

  27. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 1:27 pm


    We don’t review albums, so the Calle 13 album post wouldn’t be a good idea anyway. But if they came to town and someone was at the show, that’d be totally fine to post.

    I’ve posted what others have told me were excellent posts that get ZERO comments. But then Rusty makes some offhand Timbers comment and half the city is in here talking about it. You never can tell.

    And as the other of the two girls on here for a LONG LONG time, I can tell you that as other authors have come and gone, I think we always have an interesting mix of views.

    Also I work in the tech industry, and I am totally used to being the only girl. Just because I am the only girl does NOT make me the token girl. If I waited until there was a second female so I wouldn’t be “the token” I would STILL be unemployed. What if everyone who ever pioneered waited so they wouldn’t have to go it alone? Sometimes someone has to be first. That’s how it is.

  28. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 1:28 pm

    I’d also like to add that since we have two Republicans you have to stop calling Aaron a token.

    Thank you.

  29. Aaron B. Hockley (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 1:35 pm

    Other random observation: our readers are really white. The closest thing I’ve ever seen to a minority at any of our reader gatherings that I can recall is when Matt Davis shows up and talks all British-like :)

  30. Daaaaave (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 1:46 pm

    That Calle 13 wouldn’t come to town because there isn’t the population to support the show makes your point, such as it is, moot. Not to mention the fact that it totally evades the point of the premise. So it’s “I went to see show X”…”Who are they?” type give and take. The essence is still the same.

    You and the rest of the bloggers can repeat “interesting views” until you’re blue in the face but it does not change the fact that you can only judge it *as interesting to you*.

    It’s interesting to see how much the simple word “token” has gotten under everyone’s skin.

    It’s also interesting that you “don’t review albums” here yet posts about talking while you pee is inbounds. I can see how people putatively wanting to post here about Black culture or Latino culture would find that stance very in touch with their personal interests. You may come to find that some of my Mexican friends are more interested in talking about Molotov and Daddy Yankee than they are about urinals and bicyclists. YMMV, obviously.

  31. Rusty (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 1:53 pm

    Actually, I don’t think we CAN’T review albums. Never seen that in the rulebook (is there a rulebook? If so I lost my copy). It’s that we haven’t, as far as I know. The main rule of our blog is that everything we write has to have a Portland element (although, admittedly, some posts have run afoul of that). If we had someone in our midst who was a big fan of the Portland music scene (and from last night’s Meetup, I think we may) then I think reviews of Portland artist’s albums or reviews of Portland concerts or venues would be entirely in bounds.

    Daaaaave, for the record, I find you to be at once entirely entertaining and at the same time entirely confrotational in a borderline-troll sort of way. Which is to say nothing more than your view is interesting, if only to me, for what its worth.

  32. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 2:02 pm

    We don’t claim to be Rated G (or even PG for that matter). We claim to be local. If Calle 13 was from here and not from Puerto Rico (I think that’s where they are from) and put out an album, that would be “in bounds”. So to use a real example:

    Pink Martini’s new album is great! not so much.
    Pink Martini’s show last night was great! perfect
    Pink Martini is from here and they’re #1 on Amazon yay local band! also totally fine.

    And for the record, a cool local band that I’ve never heard of would cause the same conversation. “What a great show!” “Who?” And in fact that has happened here before.

    As for “token” it’s because the connotation of it is that the person in that position didn’t get there because they earned it-they got that position for being black or female or Mexican or whatever. If you had a friend who wanted to put a viewpoint on the Metroblog who wrote well and maybe has been blogging on their own for awhile, we’d be happy to have them. If they happen to be Mexican or black or Japanese then that’s just bonus. Have them apply next time we’re looking.

  33. Daaaaave (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

    And again, while I understand your belief in keeping this site on-topic wrt Portland, considering the fact that Portland is so predominantly white, have you ever considered how limiting that will probably be for any minority who did want to contribute here? Puerto Ricans could get to talk about music once a year when Plena Libre comes to the Zoo. Not that music is important to a Puerto Rican or anything…I suppose food would only be on-topic if it was about a local ingredient or restaurant, so lots and lots of talk about Pambiche, our one Cuban joint in town.

    Let’s see… for hip-hop, we could follow the coverage of the Oregonian over the last decade and have a post once a year dedicated to Cool Nutz, Portland’s only rapper of any sort of notoriety.

    The picture that emerges, unfortunately, is again – diversity only for diversity’s sake, with no real enthusiasm or interest in the other cultures being represented. In fact, they’d be better off simply following the format already set by the preexisting bloggers.

    I personally define a troll as someone who drags conversations off-topic with loads of drivel. Since I’ve been on point in each and every one of my posts, I’d say I’ve been a valuable contributor thusfar. The problem is that too many people confuse discussion with an echo chamber and get a little whiny anytime someone disagrees with them. I am confrontational. The topics I choose to talk about on here are generally near and dear to my heart since I have little time for water cooler “Who’s going to win American Idol” bullshit. A little more passion and a willingness to be the bad guy if it gets some real debate going would do this blog (and this town) some good. It’s all a bit too easy to say “Diversity’s good.” “Yeah, I agree…diversity is good.” Diversity actually means something to the Mexicans and Guatemalans and African Americans and Cubans and Africans in this town and it’s demeaning to them to ask them to join simply to burnish your own appearance.

  34. divebarwife (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 3:45 pm

    I think all you people who think Portland is white should go to Des Moines some time.

  35. Rusty (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 3:54 pm

    I’m going back to the homeland (Minnesota) in August. Is that close enough?

  36. Aaron B. Hockley (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 3:54 pm

    I want to know how many replies are going to ignore my request to explain how it’s insulting to ask a black person to talk about what they think of Black History Month…

    Trolling? Yeah… calling me “Insulting” (or agreeing with someone who did) but not offering any explanation… yeah, I’d call that trolling.

  37. Rusty (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 3:59 pm

    I’m not black, so I don’t know how it’s insulting. I’m not sure if the person who called it insulting is black, either, so perhaps their assertion has no real merit. Since only white people read this blog, I guess you’ll never get an authoritative response.

  38. divebarwife (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 4:07 pm

    Rusty – it just might be…especially if you’re hitting up Owatonna or Bemidji or any of the other smaller towns outside Minneapolis :-)

  39. Rusty (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 4:16 pm

    Not sure. My aunt has a house on a lake a couple hours north of the Twin Cities, and from what I remember of the dive bar we went to last time I was there, I think the area qualifies…

  40. Laura (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 5:27 pm

    “I invited “That Black Girl” (a black Portland blogger) to write a guest post here (specifically about Black History Month and what it means to her in Portland). My invitation was ignored.”

    Wow. No wonder she ignored that. Don’t you think that comes off a as little patronizing? Minorities aren’t zoo animals.

  41. racheal (unregistered) on May 18th, 2007 @ 9:37 pm

    “I want to know how many replies are going to ignore my request to explain how it’s insulting to ask a black person to talk about what they think of Black History Month…”
    Hmmm…I can’t read minds, but I’ll say why I would be offended if I was in her position.

    By asking her to write a “guest post” it’s like saying she’s only welcome on the one month out of the year that happens to be during black history month. The other 11 months, well you don’t want to hear from her, you don’t want to read her blog, and you wouldn’t be talking to her otherwise.

    It’s like if you’re a popular kid sitting at the “cool” table all year long and then you flunk your math test. Then is when you notice the “mathletes” in the corner and go over and try to be their friend (not a good analogy but hope that makes sense).

    It’s not “wrong” to ask a black person what they think about black history month, it just takes more sensitivity. I don’t know how to explain it, but it just comes through interacting with people from many different cultures and not always zeroing in on those who look like yourself.

    It’s easy to walk into a room and gravitate towards the mirror like image because psychologically it could be that one is looking for the least likely person who would reject them (why would someone reject a person who looks like themselves?).

    So, maybe if you would have flattered her a bit and gotten to know her before asking the favor, that would have made a difference. Even something simple like “hey I like your blog and what you have to say. Mind writing for us sometime?”. Just like you’d ask anyone else you were interested in. Minorities are just people.

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