There have been some fascinating debates going on in the Blogosphere about race as it relates to blogging over the last few weeks. In fact, Julie's Hump Day Hmmm to all of us this week is to discuss whether race matters on the Internet, or whether it should matter.
I have many thoughts on this subject and no time to write them all down. However, Julie asked us to put our comments from her post into a post of our own if the topic as a whole was overwhelming.
A little background first: If asked a few months ago if race mattered on the Internet, I would have said yes and no. Sometimes people write from a racial and cultural perspective that I find interesting. Although my blog roll over there is pretty white bread, I do enjoy variety and I have over 200 blogs in my Bloglines. Some are parents, some are not. Some are white, some are not. But overall I would have argued that the Internet is a place that is colorblind.
Aside from the economical aspect of Internet access (that's a post for another time), if you don't want your race known on the Internet, it won't be. If we're honest, I think that on the Internet, even if your race is advertised and discussed, there aren't the same stumbling blocks or awkwardness to a discussion that there might be face to face.
Julie, in her post, discussed why race sometimes should matter, in medical diagnosis and on the Internet. She points out that our genetic background may be the key to an ailment that our skin color does not reveal. Then Julie wonderfully describes why our race and cultural backgrounds may be and sometimes should be important. I agree with her point that different cultures and different perspectives, whether seen through the veil of color or not, can be an amazing addition to our online conversations. How boring this blogging world would be if we all agreed about everything and we all had the same background.
Part of my comment to Julie on this post was:
Sometimes I think its easy for those of us who are white (or at least appear to be) to say that race doesn't or shouldn't matter. But you point out quite aptly, that sometimes it should. I tend to think that we should embrace our similarities and our differences because *that* is what will make this world interesting, whether in the "real" world or the blogosphere.Her Bad Mother raised some interesting questions in her comment to the discussion:
Do bloggers have an obligation to write their racial/ethnic/cultural (not to mention sexual, etc.) identities into their texts? Do *readers* have an obligation to seek that information out? How do we navigate this issue in a community that allows - even encourages - certain degrees of invisibility?I can't pretend to have all the answers. In fact, I don't want to have all of the answers. I just want to participate in the discussion.
So tell me what you think, in the comments or on your blog. Does race matter in the Blogosphere? Add your voice to the discussion.
I apologize for writing a half-assed post and not including all of the necessary linky love, but I have a lot going on right now. If you read Julie's post, I promise you'll find all the background you need on this weighty topic.