Non-Diversity: Yearly Kos Convention Bears Shame of Being Overwhelmingly White, Male

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Aug 06, 2007 11:15 AM
The Washington Post kindly headlines it, "A Diversity of Opinion, if not Opinionators," but the message is clear. The racial bean-counters have gotten really good at criticizing other groups for a lack of diversity, but when it comes to their own gathering, the numbers are very bad:

"It's mostly white. More male than female," says the former high school math and science teacher turned activist. "It's not very diverse."...

While the Huffington Post and Fire Dog Lake, both founded by women, are two of the most widely read blogs, the rock stars are mostly men, and many women bloggers complain of sexism and harassment in the blogosphere...

...only a handful of the 1,500 conventioneers -- bloggers, policy experts, party activists -- are African American, Latino or Asian...

"How many of the women in the audience blog?" asked a panelist.

Nearly three-fourths of those present raised their hands.

"How many of you get harassed?"

The hands stayed up...

"There's an awful lot of work to do, and the thing to remember is, this progressive movement is at a place right now to bring more voices in, especially when you talk about issues -- abortion, voting rights, public education -- that directly affect women and communities of color," said Latifa Lyles...

"Yes, this is a problem. A big problem."...

"Why is the blogosphere, which is supposed to be more democratic, reinforcing the same white male power structure that exists?"...

Cooper is worried about generating more "inclusion," using the word no less than six times in 15 minutes...

"I hate using the word 'diversity.' I don't know what we use there. But what we definitely need are voices from different communities," she says. And the problem, she adds, stretches beyond ethnic and gender inclusion. There's a socioeconomic gap, too...

"I was completely surprised -- shocked even. The political blogosphere isn't as white as the people in this convention."...

Stoller half-jokingly says that the netroots community is full of "white liberal men," then quickly points out that Moulitsas is part Latino. (The other half is Greek.)

It must be galling to be a liberal woman or minority blogger who shows up at Daily Kos to find that the blogosphere doesn't practice what it preaches by quota-ing every panel and audience into perfect racial-socio-economic balance. I wonder if it's more galling to hear one of those white male leaders of the blogosphere "half-joking" to the Washington Post about what you deem to be a serious problem. Oh, the patriarchal condescension of it all!

Of course, these same folks have never been too concerned with blackface Photoshops and calling Condoleezza Rice "Brown Sugar" in the left blogosphere, but those were racist and sexist offenses against Republicans. Now, we're getting into real offenses.