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SXSW: Blogging While Black
Emily Gertz, 14 Mar 05

We've written a little about bridge blogs, storytelling blogs that the writers gear to explaining their cultures to outsiders. The focus has been on international bridgebloggers, spanning divides between north and south, developed and developing nations, but I think a case can be made for including domestic cross-cultural blogs under the bridge rubric.

The guests on today's SXSW Blogging While Black panel seemed to embrace roles as "identity bloggers," their words online informed by being black in America, filtered through each of their own unique interests and perceptions. Asked "what does it mean to be a black blogger," Tiffany B. Brown replied, "It means to write who you are. Letting who you are inform what you write and how you write." Tony Pierce said that he feels a responsibility to educate, and let his old aunts and uncles speak through him, bringing their common sense values to bear on contemporary issues which are often reported with more surface than substance.

Jason Toney spoke of the dearth of alternative voices. "We're out here, we're talking to each other, and we want to be heard."

Referencing a conversation blogger Jeneane Sessum recently sparked on her blog simply by asking, how white is your blogroll, the group--which also also included bloggers Lynne d. Johnson, Monique Judge, and George Kelly-- agreed that they want to encourage people to seek out new voices, beyond those most familiar to what they see in the mirror. They suggest that wearing their cultures on their sleeves--blogging while black--empowers them to define their own lives and values, a technology-enabled counterbalance to the preconceptions, stereotypes and banalities of how mainstream news and culture portray being black in America.

Be sure to check out their blogs for their own takes on this panel, a first for SXSW.

(And, check out my friend Nancy White's near verbatim transcription of much of the panel.)

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Thanks so much for attending Emily!

Posted by: Jason on 15 Mar 05

Ditto what Jason said. Glad you were there.

Posted by: tiffany on 16 Mar 05

No problem! There was great energy and conversation in that room. Looking forward to seeing who answers your call for next year's SXSW, Jason.

Posted by: Emily Gertz on 16 Mar 05



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