Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Race Relations on the Blogosphere

Welcome, Dr. Helen readers! Take a look around. Lots of thoughts on the secularization of America here and some thoughts on Stem Cell Research and Politics here. Please bookmark me and come back. Thanks for the visit.

Thank you, too, Anchoress who is suffering so, right now, for the link as well. You are one of my blog heroes! I'm honored by you gracing my blog. (If that sounds like groveling, dear readers, it is. She is perhaps the finest writer on the web. If you don't read her every single day, you're missing out. This week she has been blogging like there is no tomorrow. When life is pelting you with lemons, living today with zest becomes a priority.


Like many Americans, I've been fascinated by the rise of Barak Obama from Chicago, IL. He seems to be a smart, young liberal. Taking into consideration America's past, the presence of successful blacks heartens me. I would love to vote for a Black or Woman or Asian or Hispanic President--when the right one comes along. By "right" I mean a person who represents positions I value.

He is not the reason I went over to read LaShawn Barber today. The reason I went over was, "I haven't read LaShawn in a while, I wonder what she's saying?"

Well, today, LaShawn Barber posts about Obama. She also makes a personal note:

Just my assessment, folks, based in part on life in general and personal experience. For instance, I’ve been called articulate, a word seldom used to describe white bloggers. And as loathe as I am to admit this, my blog’s success is owed in part to my race. I believe and write things most people wouldn’t expect me to believe and write.

If you didn’t know me and saw me walking down the street, you’d guess that I was a typical, Democrat-voting D.C. resident. But when I open my mouth, all previously conceived notions and expectations are thrown out the proverbial window. Being outspoken and atypical is a novelty that draws people in. Being a decent writer who expresses ideas in a way that defies stereotype keeps ‘em coming back.

I'm not sure I agree with her self-assessment. First, I have her on my blog roll, not because she's black, not because she's female, but because she's smart and incisive. I'm always interested to read her takes on racial issues, just like I'm interested in psych bloggers takes on psychological issues or certain women's takes on women issues. But the ties that bind these takes together isn't that they are a certain color, certain sex or a certain profession: These people represent my views philosophically, usually, and often stretching me in different directions a bit, too. They may or may not have a more-informed take because of their life experience.

For example, Helen Smith PhD is a psych blogger who has also experienced a life-threatening heart condition. I might give her ideas on heart patient views more weight. She's been there. Ditto, her views on murderer motivation. It's her job. Even still, I've disagreed with her plenty of times.

Another example, MaxedOutMama is an economist focusing on risk-assessment. I read her because she's smart and knows things I don't in these areas. Again, I've disagreed with her on particulars, but I do feel we share a similar philosophy.

Another example, The Anchoress is a Catholic writer and editor. She is funny, smart and her prose delights. Reading her is like drinking a well-made fruit smoothy--it tastes so good and is satisfying, but is also very good for you. I'm guessing there are other Catholic bloggers out there. My interest in her blog isn't her Catholicness. (word?) It's her takes.

Another example, Jeff Goldstein, if he ever gets his sad carcass out of his burnt lawn patch and back behind the computer, writes with such style and intelligence that I feel grateful not to have to pay to read him. He's Jewish. He's agnostic? So what? Do I weigh his opinion more when I look at mid-east relations? No. It's just that his takes are smarter than a lot of others. Religion? Definitely not--he helps me define what I don't believe in that case. He makes me smarter.

What about the blogging lawyers? Reynolds, Cobb, Althouse, Volokh. I might ad that I completely disagree about some social issues with these people.

I could go on and on. There are so many brilliant, funny, and engaged people writing on the web, sometimes I pinch myself. How lucky am I? In the 50s, I might have been a frustrated June Cleaver. No more. I can indulge in part-time work that I love and stay intellectually challenged while keeping my priorities straight: putting my family first.

So no, Ms. Barber, I don't link you because of your skin color. There are other brilliant black conservatives that I don't read as much as I read you. Why? Time might be an issue, but I think it's really about style. You write with emotion and clarity. You are self-effacing and share many of my values. You've been through additction. You've seen tough times. You're human. Plus, I want you to find that good Christian man and get married and procreate. I feel like I know you. I feel like I'd like you.

As far as Obama goes, I think the Media like anyone who they believe will be the dagger in the heart of the Republicans. J.C. Watts didn't receive the love that Obama is getting. Look at Steele and Condoleeza Rice, and any other black politician who doesn't fit their belief mold. That he's half black is a big bonus. The Democrats and Media knnow that the black vote is slipping as more blacks come into the middle and upper classes and see their hard earned dollars float to never, never land.

As an aside, it irritates the heck out of me when a mixed race person is referred to as "black". I've always respected Tiger Woods because he refuses to be pigeon-holed racially. In America these days, a lot of mixing goes on. Are half-white, half-hispanic people Mexican? It's insulting. It's meant to divide.


Tim said...

". My interest in her blog isn't her Catholicness. (word?)"

Melissa, the term is Catholicity.

Dr. Melissa said...


Thank you. So noted.

I'm trying to think of the concomitant word for my religious practice: non-denominality?


Baron Waste said...

At the risk of leaving the original point aside, I'm appalled. The word is Catholicism, just like solipsism or hypnotism or any other Greek word. Look it up.

So much for Federal "education".

Jacob said...

They always taught me it was "Popishness"