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YearlyKos 2007

(Part 2/3) YearlyKos - Bruce Dixon - "Hatin on Mexicans"

(cross-posted to Jack & Jill Politics under "Jack Turner") This is part two of three of our video interview with Bruce Dixon (of Black Agenda Report) at Yearly Kos in Chicago. Bruce talks about the sometimes-hyped tension between black americans and latinos over illegal/immigration and economic opportunity, getting into US trade policy via NAFTA and more. Our own rikyrah has written passionately on the impacts of illegal immigration for the black community. I tried to get Bruce's take on the issue as well.

WaPo Article on YearlyKos and Inclusion

(cross-posted at Jack & Jill Politics under "Jack Turner") Jose Antonio Vargas at the Washington Post filed a story about "diversity" at the YearlyKos convention titled "A Diversity of Opinion, if Not Opinionators." I wish there were more time for the story to get into some of the deeper stuff, but it's a good start. Jose met with several of us at the convention, and we got into a wide-ranging discussion about how uncomfortable the subject of YearlyKos's "whiteness" is to many of its white attendees, the mob popularity inherent in linking (top of the long tail, if you will) which prioritizes more "mainstream" issues over those of concern to people of color and the ways in which the "blackroots" may not have been widely represented at the conference but has grown tremendously in the past year online. Vargas writes:
Everyone agrees it's a problem, yet no one is sure how to address it. Historically, the progressive movement has included a myriad of special-interest and single-issue groups, and the challenge has always been to find common ground. The same is true on the Internet, but with an added twist. The Internet, after all, is not a "push" medium like television, where information flows out, but a "pull" medium, where people are drawn in.
This is not quite true. "Everyone" didn't agree it was a problem. Jane Hamsher, who was among those of us interviewed, pointedly remarked that she didn't see a large problem. I'd characterize her position as "if you write it, they will come." Her point seemed to be that all will be included in the discussion if they write, write, write. In fact, her interview in a recent Mother Jones article makes her viewpoint quite clear:
MJ: Do you think that women are adequately represented in the blogosphere? JH: On the whole, it is men who read blogs. But I think it's a meritocracy. My blog has a much higher percentage of women readers than any other major blog, and I've never found this to be a problem for myself. If your writing is good, they will come. You have to put in the time to figure out how the blogosphere works. If you're willing to do that, I don't think being female is any barrier. In fact, I think it's an advantage at this point. The A-list bloggers are hungry and looking to give exposure to women who write really well. Most of those criticisms of male A-list bloggers shutting out women-I really don't have any other word to call it except just "bullshit."
The most interesting quote in Vargas's article to me is the last one, by Matt Stoller, about the pioneering role folks of color have played in alternative media. "It's important to remember that African American and Latinos already had their alternative media before white progressive bloggers like me organized on the Web," says Stoller late Saturday morning. "It's also important to remember that this movement is still young. It's still not that advanced, it's still building coalitions, it's still maturing." Black and brown folks may not play by exactly the same rules as those established by the mainstream netroots. Liza Sabater, for example, continually raises the point that we access the web differently (primarily via mobile phones). Stoller's point is on point as well. Publications like The Afro-American, Ebony, Essence, Jet, etc. were revolutionary, and it seems to me that we're building in the same spirit online from our Afro-Netizens to our Crunk and Disorderlies. Definitely check out the rest of the story, and comment back!

YearlyKos "Diversity is a Ho" - Interview with Black Agenda Report's Bruce Dixon (Video)

cross-posted to Jack & Jill Politics under "Jack Turner" Continuing with the series of YearlyKos video interviews, we've got Bruce Dixon, managing editor of Black Agenda Report. Bruce sat on a panel titled, "The Changing Dynamics of Diversity in Progressive Politics" which was moderated by Cheryl Contee and Tanya Tarr, and included Eric Byler and Adam Luna. During the panel, Bruce made the comment that "diversity is a ho" explaining that anyone who wants to put a black face in a rare place can do so in the name of diversity without necessarily supporting the represented communities (e.g. Colin Powell or Condi Rice). In this first part of a three-part interview, Bruce expands on his statement and challenges the netroots focus on getting candidates elected because, as he put it, "Electing candidates does not necessarily advance the agenda of black communities... [for example] since the candidates won't talk about the incarceration rate, it's hard to think that electing candidates is going to make a difference." Here's the interview segment (2 minutes) What do you think of the netroots focus on fundraising and other election-focused activities and its potential impact on the "black agenda?" Should our next steps be an "Act Black" version of "Act Blue" to get the right folks elected? Could we be more creative and raise funds for grassroots organizations like the Ella Baker Center in Oakland, Calif (which deals with youth imprisonment) or a legal defense fund for the Jena Six (an idea proposed in the YearlyKos black caucus meeting) or New Orleans activism? Discuss! Note: there are two additional parts to this interview including a discussion of immigration dynamics between black and brown folks and more about Black Agenda Report, CBC Monitor and the upcoming CBC Week.

Baratunde Quoted in the New York Times

I've been at YearlyKos, a liberal political blogger convention, here in Chicago for the past few days and had a chance to perform (opening for Howard Dean) and attend a number of panels and sessions including a breakout session with Sen. Barack Obama. I asked him a question about his unfortunate support of coal (more on that in another post) and afterward was interviewed by Fox News Chicago (who I dissed hard) and a New York Times reporter. The NYT reporter asked me about many things, including what I thought of the dispute between John Edwards/Barack Obama vs. Hillary Clinton the roll of lobbyist money in campaigns. He chose to use a quote related to my thoughts on why the candidates bothered to show up, and did I consider the YearlyKos a necessary campaign stop for any would-be president. Here's the quote
"What you have here is a bunch of micro-media outlets that connect to thousands upon thousands of people — influential people," said Baratunde Thurston, who writes a political blog in Boston. "The candidates would be foolish to miss out on an opportunity like this."
And here's a link to the full article: Democratic Candidates Spar at 'Netroots' Forum

From YearlyKos: Preview of Bill O'Reilly Pervert Smackdown

For the next few days I'll be kickin it in Chicago with fellow bloggers, activists, geeks and political junkies at YearlyKos, the convention for the blog. Fellow Laughing Liberally comics are here with me to entertain the troops. Bill O'Reilly recently referred to as a bunch of Nazis and KKK members. I feel like Tyrone Biggums Clayton Bigsby (hattip MS in the comments. this is what happens when you blog on no sleep). Check out this video interview I did with a man who has a response to Senor O'Reilly which is perfect. [youtube][/youtube]