Wednesday, May 21, 2008

DNC - A Little Thought Goes A Long Way

Sometimes it pays to really think a process through, a lesson the DNC, despite it's successes of the past few years (2006 elections, 50 state party, fundraising) is finding out in relation to the issue of blogger floor credentials for the Democratic Convention coming up in Denver. The problem? The vast majority of the 55 State blogs, which have floor privileges at the convention are White-run, while no Black blogs were selected. This in a party where 20% of the membership is Black.

Predictably, this has caused quite a stir in the AfroSpear, and the mainstream media is starting to take notice. From today's Dallas Morning News:

Last week, the national Democratic Party announced that 55 online writers had been chosen for the “State Blogger Corps,” to cover the convention in Denver in September.

But some members of the self-titled “afrosphere” — blogs written or published by African Americans — are angry that the “State Blogger Corps” appears to be mostly white, particularly since the party appears poise to nominate a black candidate, Barack Obama, for president.

“OK, folks, black bloggers to the back of the bus,” read the headline on the African American Political Pundit blog.

Party leaders said the factors in determining state bloggers were readership, Internet ratings and focus on local and state politics, not race. The Texas representative, the Burnt Orange Report, has several writers, including at least one Hispanic contributor.

The issue is one of diversity, but there are so many angles to consider here its mind boggling. Here are just a few for your reading pleasure.

There are plenty more as the topic is rapidly approaching firestorm level.

So what's my opinion? Well, I think the DNC screwed up by not thinking this process through and not really considering its Black base. Especially during such a race sensitive campaign.
I'm a member of the AfroSpear and support whatever action is necessary to ensure that Black folks are represented on the convention floor. However I hope the issue can be resolved through the general blogger selection process, maybe by upgrading their level of access to include floor credentials. I also hope that other groups will be included on the floor as well, including Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans.

If it's not resolved, then I feel sorry for the DNC, because they will have to deal with a lot of pissed off members of the AfroSpear. In an election year like this, you really don't want to alienate such an important part of your base because every vote will definitely count in the general election.

At some point the Democratic Party really needs to stop taking the Black vote for granted and court the constituency as they do with every one else. Hindsight is of course 20/20, but this should not have even happened.

Just my thoughts on the matter.


Wax Poetic said...

Nice Take! I think it's poor planning more than anything but the results are still the same.

Unknown said...

where's my post DP grrrrr you know about the cumin?

Anonymous said...

I think it might be more taking for granted than poor planning.If something or somebody is important toyou,you include them.

Francis Holland said...

Great article! It was foreseeable that their criteria would result in an all white floor blog pool for Denver.

Big Tex said...

At first I would have guessed that they picked the blogs that were the most active and/or had the most traffic, and those blogs just happened to be predominantly white. But them I read over at Dallas South about Cotton Mouth being left off the list for a less prominent blogger who posts less frequently. Whatever the case, it's obvious that whatever criteria they used were flawed, and they need to re-evaluate the process that they use to select the bloggers who receive credentials.

CelticDiva said...

The lack of diversity among the blogs was only in part due to thoughtlessness by the DNC.

Some of the AfroSpear blogs making the biggest fuss are purely national with no connection to(even no mention of) the state they live in.

When I heard about the State Blogger Pool, I made a concerted effort to increase my audience and to put more focus on state and local politics in order to qualify. Had I not done that, I never would have been selected.

I believe that this year, if there were POC state-focused blogs that were passed-over, the State Blogger Pool should be corrected. However, I don't feel that blogs with no state focus should be thrust into the State Blogger Pool just to fill someone's idea of a quota. The proper place for the national blogs and where the inequity should be handled is within the ranks of the General Blogger Pool.

For the future, multi-contributor state blogs should make a concerted effort to attract POC blogger contributors; POCs who have been toying with the idea of starting a blog should be encouraged to do so and already established POC blogs should consider switching to more of a state and local focus rather than a national one. (I've discovered that my impact is much greater in my local area that it ever would be in a National arena.) I can't even imagine what kind of awesome impact a new army of state-focused blogs-of-color would have on the Congressional and local races across this country!

Linda (Celtic Diva)

DP said...

Shawn - thanks for the comment and keep pushing. I agree that the planning was poor, but on our side too. Doesn't excuse the fact that no Black blogs from around the country were included, but hey, we all need to step up our game.

That Girl Boo - Patience dear lady, patience. Edit is a hard job, especially when life intrudes. You KNOW what I mean.

Texas Liberal - I agree, but it seems like its always a teaching process with the Dems. Seemingly the same lesson must be taught every election cycle, in one way or another.

Francis - good to see you in here Mr. Instigator! I say that with all due respect because some things need instigating. You know I would've preferred a different methodology, but will continue to support the cause for inclusion.

Big Tex - I think we all can agree that the methodology left something to be desired. We (Black bloggers) have to shoulder our share of the blame, but when a wrong than can be righted is discovered, then it should be. In my opinion of course. It would be a shame if none of the State blogs turn out to be Black.

DP said...

Celtic Diva - Thank you for visiting and I hope you come back again soon.

Your points are well taken and my position is that there were mistakes in methodology by the DNC, and in approach by AfroSpear bloggers, generally speaking. A lot of us are all over the place, but there are many that are very much local and state specific. Though we didn't apply, this blog post out of Houston and quite a bit of our content is city and state specific. The same goes for Dallas South, Dallas Progress, to name two from Texas who are city specific AND applied.

Nothing against the Burnt Orange Report, they have a great blog that gets a ton of traffic, and I'm sure they'll represent Texas well. But sometimes perception is reality, and the fact that no Black, state specific blogs were identified for inclusion in the State pool reinforces the perception of widely held view, not just among Black bloggers, that there is a digital divide among bloggers of different ethnicities.

I very much appreciate your comments in regard to state vs. national blogging, and I think your points regarding the DNC process are valid. The impact of POC blogs on local and state elections is also an untapped resource so far. It is a coming attraction though.

Finally, I'm in no way advocating for any form of quota system, however I do feel there's a need for inclusion of all the constituent groups of the Democratic Party to be included in the state blogger pool.


Anonymous said...

If the same thing need to be tuaght again and again than maybe the real deal is you're being taken for a ride.

Anonymous said...

Bad grammar and spelling in that last comment, but the idea is clear.

DP said...

Texas Liberal - Maybe, but for many folks, voting Democrat is the only choice because the Republican platform in most years is noxious.

I think this election cycle is going to ultimately lead to quite a few Black folks leaving the Democratic party and going Independent, regardless of the results of the election. This is in part due to the negativity of the primary campaign and blatant race baiting that was allowed to go basically unchallenged by both the party leadership and the electorate, with widespread media assent. The hypersensitivity around the DNCC issue is a direct result of that.

We aren't stupid, nor blind, so taken for ride doesn't exactly apply. Voting in your best interests, because you realize there's nothing of value on the other side is a more apt description.

And the stakes are so high this year that many folks will be voting Democratic just for change sake, since we have no other viable choice. In that case, we may as well fight for the issues we feel should be included on the platform, and for inclusion in all other aspects, including blogging at the convention.

Anonymous said...

I read about this on your site and then followed your links and read some more and got good and mad so I began composing.

I started making things go blue for the addition of links... (make things go blue is 'puter idiot speak for umm copy to notepad?)...came back here to grab title of the post and the address thingie and the post had vanished.


I swear I had not been drinking.

I only found the post again just now by clicking on it from the lefty blogs list of posts. Very strange. If you are editing your post, will that make it disappear from the site for a time?

Anyway…focus, Mick…focus…right.

I don't think the exclusion of POC bloggers was intentional. I doubt when making up the list that anyone had exclusion as a goal. Sadly, it seems to be a mindset that doesn't have as FIRST choice the ideal of the Democratic Party as being representative of ALL of We the People. Honestly, I think at times, they are clueless that their actions come off as carpetbaggers who gain advantage (the minority vote) while arranging to have POC under-represented or as in this case not represented at all.

I have no patience. Never have had much but…. people…people…people…racism in whatever form has to go. I am tired-to-the-bones of the stench of it, even the clueless kind that happens when political people have a blonde moment (which in this case is literal and figurative).


DP said...

Mick - That was my point, the DNC simply didn't think the thing through and came across as clueless after the fact. The issue has been addressed to a degree with the announcement of the general blogging core, but there are a few folks out there who are still pretty hot about it.

I think the Democrats really need to live up to their big tent ideals and have enough diversity around the planning tables so these types of issues don't happen anymore.

I couldn't agree with you more, Racism has to go. This country will never live up to its full potential if all members of the society aren't taking part to the full extent of their capabilities.