Thursday, February 17, 2005

No racial discrimination here in blogland

After reading an article by William Wong about journalism and ethnic labeling, I started thinking, does it matter what kind of racial and ethnic background a writer has in the blogosphere? Given the tumultuous history of the United States and issues of race, today, people of divergent ethnicities have generally come to accept and respect each other.

Mr. Wong has suggested that a relevancy test should be employed in journalism. The question should be asked, "Is it relevant ...that we label someone by race, ethnicity, gender, religion? If it is, then get it right. Don't leave off some of a person's heritage." I would employ this same concept in the world of blogging.

When I visit blog sites, unless a blogger shares their ethnicity, I have no idea what their race or ethnic background is, nor am I looking for it. If they share, fine. If they don't, well, that's fine too. I perceive that bloggers enjoy a feeling of camaraderie across the blogging hemisphere which only strengthens its existence.

Whether race has any bearing on their political or personal make-up which manifests in their posts is pure conjecture and until someone does a scientific case study, I'll withhold my hypotheses. Besides, it doesn't seem important today and probably won't have any relevance later.

"Generalizations about racial or ethnic characteristics, as well as vague height and weight features, are virtually useless and can feed negative stereotypes of certain people," says Wong.

I like the fact that I can post articles and still remain anonymous, for it is not important that bloggers know what I look like or what race I claim, but rather, that my words are what validate my presence in blogland. It's part of the attraction I have with blogging. It's not because I want to create an atmosphere of mystery, this is just how I would prefer it. I especially like the fact that race is not an issue in blogland. Mutual tolerance and respect seem to be unspoken rules, which to some extent includes political blogs too.

Perhaps one day, someone other than myself will believe that the blogosphere transcends racial backgrounds and concentrates on the words of the individual. Racial discrimination has no place in the blogosphere. (Nor do celebrities, thank the universe, unless you're into American Idol or Survivor.)

William Wong is author of Yellow Journalist: Dispatches from Asian America (Temple University Press),
http://www.yellowjournalist.com. For more than 30 years, he was a reporter, columnist, and editor for, among others, The Wall Street Journal, The Oakland Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, and Asian Week. In the mid-1980s, he served as the ombudsman for The Oakland Tribune.

5 Comments:

Blogger Agate said...

I agree with you. I don't think of race at all, unless someone mentions it in their blog. I'm reading for people's opinions and stories. Their ethnic backgrounds and physical appearance don't really matter unless they contribute to the thoughts and experiences that they share. Blogging goes deeper than racial and cultural lines. It's personal, and when people get personal, race always becomes irrelevant, doesn't it?

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