Diversity For Diversity’s Sake In The Blogosphere Is Pointless

Steven Levy’s latest column, “Since anyone can write a Weblog, why is the blogosphere dominated by white males?,” is like fingernails on the blackboard to me.

After noting that “anyone can write a Weblog” and saying that blogging is “supposed to be the ultimate grass-roots phenomenon,” Levy then goes on to quote a bunch of crybaby bloggers I’ve never heard of who say that the blogosphere isn’t diverse enough for their tastes:

“The comment was from Keith Jenkins, an African-American blogger who is also an editor at The Washington Post Magazine [a sister publication of NEWSWEEK]. “It has taken ‘mainstream media’ a very long time to get to [the] point of inclusion,” Jenkins wrote. “My fear is that the overwhelmingly white and male American blogosphere … will return us to a day where the dialogue about issues was a predominantly white-only one.”

…So why, when millions of blogs are written by all sorts of people, does the top rung look so homogeneous? It appears that some clubbiness is involved. Suitt puts it more bluntly: “It’s white people linking to other white people!” (A link from a popular blog is this medium’s equivalent to a Super Bowl ad.) Suitt attributes her own high status in the blogging world to her conscious decision to “promote myself among those on the A list.”

…MacKinnon is involved in a project called Global Voices, to highlight bloggers from around the world. And at the Harvard conference, Suitt challenged people to each find 10 bloggers who weren’t male, white or English-speaking—and link to them. “Don’t you think,” she says, “that out of 8 million blogs, there could be 50 new voices worth hearing?” Definitely. Now let’s see if the blogosphere can self-organize itself to find them.”

It would be one thing if Suitt were asking for links to talented bloggers who haven’t gotten as much attention as they deserve, but instead she’s calling for people to be linked based on their gender, skin color, and what language they speak. As far as I’m concerned, she can take that idea and shove it. Diversity for diversity’s sake is pointless. When you link to blogs, it should be because they’re good, not so you can dole out a “pity link” designed to fill a quota.

If you want to know why white males dominate the political blogosphere, it’s because they outnumber everybody else. There are more white males making blogs, which means there’s a bigger white male talent pool, which leads to more white males making the “A-list.” There’s not much more to it than that from what I’ve seen of the blogosphere.

More from Jeff Jarvis on this topic.

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