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White Male and Accepting It

Posted on May 9, 2005 in Blogging Crosstalk Folly Watch Gender

square091.gifI think I am glad to have missed most of the discussion around blogrolls as the agent of “white male domination” of the net. I feel sympathetic to Burningbird when she moans about how an innocuous comment about holding a conference about women in weblogging was derailed by a carnival of white males. Things disintegrated rapidly, I dare say, with talk about how blogrolling only reinforced the power elitism of white male poli bloggers. Some such as Lauren took down their blogrolls. Bitch Ph.d found herself defending keeping hers. And Rana pretty much summed up my position on the whole issue:

Stop trying to limit, define, or package blogging into a neat little parcel. Let it be messy and incomplete and individualistic and personal. Let blogging be shaped by the entire diverse world people who blog, one blog at a time, not by fiat, whether that definition is imposed by the mainstream media, “A-list” bloggers, or individuals who seek to speak for all bloggers.

Now to set a fire of my own, I’d like to propose the organization of a white male blogging conference. If I were to set up such a conference, I would scrupulously avoid any white male blogger who has spoken at a blogging convention for the last five years. Howard Rheingold would be explicitly prohibited. Academic male bloggers and thinly disguised media pundits would be forced to sit in the audience and have to pay $25 for each question they asked. Journalists could write about us but not talk. There would be no technical talk.

The bloggers I would feature would be poets, photographers, and others who write about the world from their doorstep. I would encourage them to join me in redefining what it means to be “white male”. You see, I am sick of seeing what I am supposed to be defined by those who are angry with the Dave Weiners of this world and by the Dave Weiners themselves. I want a say in my identity and I will thank you if you would kindly look beyond my surface features and your individual prejudices.

This individual — who happens to have white skin and a penis — knows what he is. Before you assume, ask and listen carefully.

What prompted this posting were remarks by two individuals running amok because of things I said today. “That is so white male of you” they chanted. I am sure that my photograph and my name both helped them make this identification. What followed in both cases were rather limp attacks on my views. Apparently, my greatest fault is that I am thoughtful and reasonable, a damning trait of white males. (If so, I know many so-called white male bloggers who must be dying their skin and many female bloggers who must be concealing a penis.) Those who have been reading this blog for sometime know me better. I trust that they will hardly follow those flags emblazoned with hatred.

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