With only three months to go until the Democratic National Convention, black bloggers are voicing concerns about the lack of racial diversity among bloggers authorized to report from the floor. The convention committee is selecting two blogger pools: a State Corps (closer floor access for blogs reporting on local and state issues), and a General Pool (rotating floor access for blogs reporting on national politics and niche issues). According to Jose Antonio Vargas, writing for the Washington Post today, the State Corps list was announced two weeks ago and the General list is expected this week. The so-called Afrosphere (itself a loaded term) is crying foul:
“…to the frustration of black bloggers, the list appears to be mostly white — during a primary race in which black voters turned out in droves in Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi. And, they add, this pool is for coverage of a convention that might very well see the first African American presidential nominee.
In other words, this constitutes convention drama and…accountability is being demanded. Francis L. Holland, one of the vocal black bloggers, sent e-mails to DNC officials asking that 15 black-operated blogs be added to the State Corps. “There is nothing ‘Democratic’ about an all-white Democratic National Convention floor blogging corps,” he wrote in an e-mail. Holland is also asking for the inclusion of 15 Latino-operated blogs.
L.N. Rock…of the African American Political Pundit blog, likens this “black shut-out” in the State Corps to an “I’m sick-and-tired-of-being-sick-and-tired” Fannie Lou Hamer moment. The civil rights activist and Mississippian challenged her state’s all-white delegation at the 1964 Democratic convention.
“This is all very puzzling to me — and to a lot of black bloggers… The Democratic National Committee says it wants to be inclusive. It wants to have a big tent. And then this? What were they thinking?”
The DNC committee insists that race is not a factor and blog selection is based on readership, ratings, and focus. To me, this sounds like people who say there is no racism in their all-white neighborhoods or gated communities. Is the current blogosphere simply overrun by white men?