Tuesday, October 2

Got myself together (yeah!)

Following the time honored tradition (all 15 years of it) of academics in cyberspace looking for trouble and tenure, i'm going to do the ethnographic thing (like that technical talk, huh?) on a couple of high-profile Black websites.   

just completed an application for a publication workshop...i feel like my tenure clock is ticking madly.  Not to mention, i dunno how much longer Hurricane Katrina (the subject of my dissertation) is going to be of interest to the world.  

My RA delivered a nice looking spreadsheet that compiled a couple of webliographies of online identity resources, so now i get to go thru and fix the dead links (joy).

*sigh*  my life is exciting, i swear.

Thursday, September 27

Further thoughts

i don't know how any other recent PhD's feel, but having other people read my dissertation REALLY wracks my nerves.  It's not that it isn't good - it is VERY good, if i may say so myself - but as i go through it, i realize that i could have expressed myself better in places. 


anyhoo, my co-instructor really likes it, and has offered to mentor me through the process of turning it into a book.  how hot is that?

in other news, i have decided to take the stealth approach with regards to approaching major Black organizations about their use of technology to communicate.  more on this later....

Sunday, September 23

Research Scrapbook

i needed to find a place to backup my research idears and processes...then i realized that i already had a place where i used to do that.

So i'm back.

Current research idears:

  • Black blogs and environmental justice - is anyone out there?
  • revising the dissertation for publication
  • anybody studied BET.com or BlackPlanet.com?
  • looking for a Black organization using technology in significant ways to keep its employees/membership together

Current research processes:
  • a comprehensive list of black and black-oriented blogs
  •  - this is going to be problematic for a number of reasons...need to revisit
  • updated webliography for online identity research
  • continue developing a framework for examining online cultural content
Dunno if anyone still reads this joint (no-one's posted in over a year), but anyone with advice on being new, Black, tenure-track faculty at a research one university holla atcha boy.

More content later...


Sunday, November 14

Better Late than Never

I recently replied to some commentary on the Popcorn Privilege demonstration that i ran on campus a couple of weeks ago. Someone forwarded me a link to American Renaissance, a website dedicated to solving the problems of race (their words, not mine). Their problem with race is that the interests of other races seem to have been elevated higher than the interests of white people. this is borne(sp) out by the comments written by their readers on the various articles the website posts.

in any case, they picked up the article from the Daily Illini on our protest (read it here) and their readers immediately had a hissy-fit. some of the comments follow:

Notice how they attack white MEN and drive a wedge between white women and white men? Yep, clever. Make white women HATE white men and then encourage them to date and mate with black men to show they are liberated, advanced and "with it". Thus ensure the extinction of the white race.

While negroes and other non-whites complain, it needs to be pointed out that White Males, are the smartest, most talented, most inventive, most cultural and most law-abiding people in the world. So why shouldn’t we have privileges?

i could go on and on - they do - but i'll just reprint my reply in full. i can do that cuz this is my blog:

i'm one of the people who came up with the concept of the Popcorn Privilege demonstration a couple of weeks ago. what we attempted to do was take concepts from Peggy McIntosh's article "white males white privilege" and put them into a concrete form that people could see (or in this instance, taste). the strength of the McIntosh article is that she also lists benefits, immunities, and privileges that accrue to whites simply because they're white. Our demonstration showed that by handing full bags of popcorn to white men while giving everyone else partially-full bags.

it always amazes me when whites (and upper-class non-whites) cling stubbornly to the belief that their privileges were earned through individual effort, rather than through the mores, values, and norms that reward conformity with an ideology of white supremacy and capitalism. if blacks are not as educated as whites, then we are trained to look not at the failure of underfunded educational institutions or teachers but to consider blacks to be stupid "by nature". same goes for environmental discrimination; how easy is it to accrue wealth when you are forced to over-qualify for a mortgage, pay higher interest on that mortgage, and then watch your property value shrink because you bought the property? Many whites never have to face that dilemma and indeed, continue to benefit from government-sponsored programs that rewarded their grandparents’ membership in the “white” race.

The GPSC was formed because of the absence of support mechanisms for students of color in academia. In a world constructed around white privilege, people of color have to build and maintain safe spaces where they are not assailed with racism, prejudice, and hate. However, we often reach out to mainstream groups simply because we find good people everywhere, not just in our own communities. W.E.B. DuBois, a pragmatist, noted that segregation is not the way to promote a truly multicultural society – but that until whites make a real effort to support integration, we need a space to nurture our own.

"any more questions, go ask yo' mama" - Positive K

Thursday, November 11

Crackers for Blacks

So I'm at a local fast food spot, waiting on my chili order and the Black Sister who brings it to me asks me if I want crackers. I say "no" to which she replies, "What? No crackers? Are you Black?"

There it is again - The Blackness question. I guess that it says something about my Blackness that I didn't even know that eating crackers with chili was a stereotype of Black folks. I didn't even have the option of pretending that I wanted crackers with my chili to validate my Blackness. That is what integration has done to me-deprived me of important cultural information like: Blackfolx like crackers with chili.

Anyway, I thought the shit was funny.

So then, seriously, the question becomes: What should we as Black folk be preserving about our culture and what do we not need anymore and should these questions be left up to chance? Should we just be ourselves regardless of the consequences? Or should our cultural development and preservation be a political project, a project with clear orientations?

Monday, November 8

The Quick Hit

did you know that Michael Moore had people filming in Ohio during Election Day? Did you know that they posted a quick hit of their footage? You can check it out here.

**Found while while roaming the Boing Boing website.

i'll be back later with comments on this footage...it's so rich (Jesse actually says something powerful!)

Friday, November 5

Inching back from despair...

Why despair? because i came across this piece of shit today which perfectly summed up why i feared a Bush election (i refuse to call it a re-election):

The Democrats are now talking about how this is a signal that Bush should “bring the country together”. Translated into American, this means “now that you’ve won, you should surrender to us.” The hell with that. We’ve won. Winning means not having to say you’re sorry. Bush already brought a majority of Americans together: they voted for him. He doesn’t need to reach out to them: they need to reach out to him.

Let’s face a hard truth: this was the bitterest Presidential campaign in living memory. The Democrats and their allies staked everything on the defeat of this President. All of the resources they had accumulated over a generation of struggle were thrown into this battle: and they have failed. Despite all of their tricks, despite all of their lies, the people have rejected them. They mean nothing. They are worth nothing. There’s no point in trying to reach out to them because they won’t be reached out to. We’ve got their teeth clutching the sidewalk and out boot above their head. Now’s the time to curb-stomp the bastards.

But, whatever, we won: to hell with the rest of them. Those who didn’t support Bush can go and perform a certain anatomically impossible act. They lost, now they can sit in the back of the bus.

Some people would like to say that this guy is a nut, and most people Republicans/conservaties don't think like this, much less put it in writing. to which i say, "read the title of the blog". i titled it like that because me and my co-authors are all hyper-aware of the way rhetoric tied to racial tropes is used to inflame and frighten mainstream america.

so, why do i not despair as much? i'll give you the best examples: one from Orcinus and another from somebody i respect.

it's eerily symbolic that last week i ran a protest against White Privilege (read about it here). some suburban kid ran up on the table and told us that we were "stigmatizing" white people by informing them that they possessed privilege. at the time, i laughed him off (after he left, of course - i'm only a jerk 17% of the time). but now that i look at the election, i realize that white people really do feel "stigmatized". enough so, that they voted for white privilege over economics, job security, and foreign affairs mishandling.

last word belongs to Ian over at Different Kitchen.

Republicans and Political correctness

Generalization: I get the impression that Republicans have beef with the notion of political correctness. Many find it oppressive to free speech. That being said, here is an example of how the current administration proves that resistance to political correctness is in bad faith:
How you gonna have a Department of Homeland Security and a Department of Defense at the same time? Don't they mean the same thing? Now I know for the most part what the different missions of each department are, but then isn't defense a misnomer? Why not call it the department of war, just as it used to be called? Simple answer: "Defense" is more rhetorically pleasing to the listener than "war." This is a perfect example of "political correctness." The problem with this particular form of political correctness is that "defense" is an euphemism for "war" and so it is a way to use rhetoric to mislead or lie about what is the true purpose of the department of defense.