Is YearlyKos an Overwhelmingly, Disproportionately Virtually All-White Annual Bloggers' Conference?

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I watched the promotional video from last year, and I saw six Black people among 1,500 participants.

Cross posted at the Francis L. Holland Blog, MyDD, and Culture Kitchen.

Today, I came across a link to a publicity video for YearlyKos, an annual confernece of Democratic Party leftist anti-war bloggers, and I watched the entire video to confirm a suspicion:  That YearlyKos is an overwhelmingly white gathering - disproportionately white considering the number of Blacks in the Democratic Party.  http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=

-1234580617661540850&q=Mark+Bowllan  Watch the film for yourselves and tell me if my perceptions are in error.

Here's what I saw watching the film of the YearlyKos annual blogges conference:  Watching a thirty-nine minute video of "1,500" "progressive" Democratic Party bloggers at a hotel in Las Vegas, in all of the shots where the camera panned the crowds, the hallways, the hotel rooms, and speakers diases, I saw two Black women and four Black men among 1,500 people.  If accurate, this would mean that YearlyKos was about .03% Black in a Democratic Party that has 20% elected and appointed Black delegates at the Democratic National Convention.  What is it about DailyKos and Yearly Kos that makes it so white in a Party with so much Black participation?

 

Markos Moulitsas, the owner of the DailyKos leftist anti-war website says in the video, "Look at this conference!  It's the epitome of people power!"  To me, a yearly meeting of 1,500 people that includes only 6 Black people is the epitome of white people power, and that's why I think it's so important to bring this to everyone's attention. I was not surprised by the almost utter lack of diversity at the annual meeting, since I have read internal polls from DailyKos indicating that the group is only 2.5% Black in a Democratic Party where 20% of the delegates to the National Convention are Black, and there are more Latinos and Asians who remain unrepresented at DailyKos.
(DailyKos Internal Poll)
 

In a thirty-nine minute video, Darrell Jackson of Young Turks was the one and only Black person to speak about the conference and his role.  No Black politicians were featured in the video.  One Black speaker was shown on stage, but just for a moment less than would have been necessary to hear anything he said.  In crowd shots, one lone Black man was shown two or three times.

Someone else said in the video, "Locked in convention hall with 1,500 bloggers," "I think DailyKos is going to have an influence  . . .for years and years to come.  It's where everybody comes . . .!"  "We broke a record of squeezing more people into one room".  If all of this is so, then YearlyKos is setting a dangerous precedent for color-based exclusiveness within the Democratic Party that may portend a new realignment of voting patterns among Blacks and Latinos in the future.  I predict that if virtually all-white groups likes YearlyKos gain more prominence in the Party then Black people will vote less at the polls or vote against the candidates and issues supported by all-white groups.

Because, a Black person watching the YearlyKos publicity video would conclude, and I think rightly so, that this conference was for white people who were designing a new direction in which Black people and other minorities are undesireable, irrelevant and/or superfluous.  It's hardly necessary to post a "Whites Only" sign, when the publicity video makes the complexion of the group as clear as a sign would.  If a "picture is worth a thousand words", then a 39 minute video with only six Black people must be worth a whole hard drive of words - words saying "DailyKos is overwhelmingly a white conference for white people".  http://francislholland.blogspot.com/2007

/02/httpfield-negro.html http://francislholland.blogspot.com/2007

/02/new-reparations-blog-no-whites-allow

ed.html    http://francislholland.blogspot.com/2007

/02/blogger-color-blindness-does-not-exi

st.html

It should be obvious that any political organizing among all-white bloggers and any political movement that results from the meeting will not include Black people.  How could it, how should it, if virtually none of us have participated in the white bloggers' planning and calls to action?

If you simply don't like Black people, you will never find a more comfortable atmosphere in America than the Yearly DailyKos conference.  The percentage of Black people at YearlyKos is less than the percentage of Black people in any state of the United States.  

But then I wasn't at the conference and I'm only reporting what I saw on a 39 minute video.  My intention here is to explore the truth - not to propagate fallacies. If what I am reporting is incorrect, I invite anyone who has better information to provide it.  

At the end of the Conference video, one speaker asked,

"One more question!  Do you want to do this next year?"

With respect to the near-total absence of Black people, I think that's a question that urgently demands to be answered.  "Do you want to do this next year?" http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=

-1234580617661540850&q=Mark+Bowllan

Cross posted at the Francis L. Holland Blog, MyDD, and Culture Kitchen.

francislholland@yahoo.com

Comments

If yearly Kos were invitation only

You might have a point. However, it is open to everyone.

The blogosphere as a whole is seriously lacking in minority participation - especially among political bloggers. Instead of griping about yearly Kos, you could do some outreach in the African American community or among women to try to attract them to the blogosphere.

That's one of our projects here at BlueNC. My problem with what you've written is that you don't even pretend to address the lack of participation among women and African Americans in the overall world of online political activism, nor do you address any solutions. It's just a long complaint about YearlyKos.

I would encourage you to contact the Black Political Caucus (or similar organization) in your area and see if they are interested in learning about what is happening on the internet among the political blogs/web sites. You can also visit neighborhood associations and churches that are predominantly African American to help introduce members to all that is available online.

Complaining about YearlyKos on yet another predominantly white blog isn't going to increase the participation among African Americans or women in the wide world of poltical blogs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

There are plenty of Blacks online, but not at white blogs.

According to the Pew Center, Blacks online are doubling each year and reaching the level of whites online. And there are plenty of Black bloggers in the blogosphere. But, they tell me, they have found that blogs like DailyKos are hostile to them, refuse to trade links with Black blogs, ridicule and ban Black bloggers. The result is an almost all-white blog within a Democratic party that is increasinly diverse.

From what I have read in Black blogs about my efforts to start a diverse conversation at DailyKos, many Black bloggers think I am wasting my time because the blog is so hostile to Blacks that no amount of effort will make it an atmosphere where Blacks will be free and comfortable to share and collaborate.

The problem with this is that some "progressive" blogs like DailyKos are trying to have an outsized roll in the candidate selection processes relative to their representativeness of the party as a whole.

Until these issues are resolved, the question is this: How much influence in the Democratic Party should "progressive" blogs have when those blogs are 96% white in a Party that is 20% Black? Blogs that have not conquered the problem of diversity internally should not try to conquer a diverse political party.

i would love

to see evidence about kos being hostile to blacks.

Its a place that overwhelmingly supports Obama (or are you part of the "he isnt black" crowd?) Its a place where Maxine Waters would probably have higher approval numbers than 98% of congress. Taking a quick glance at the list, the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus who I have ever seen something bad about is Wynn.

Blogs are anonymous. On dailykos, the only way I know someone's race or gender or age is if they tell me. How can a place be racist when its open to anyone to join and there is no way for people to distinguish if they are black or green or yellow or 80 or 20 unless they VOLUNTEER said information.

As for the assertion that their influence should be limited, I am not sure how you plan on doing that. I thought this was a free country.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

PS

If you do point out some people I would be more than happy to troll rate them into oblivion. I dont get to use my 5 per day enough.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

I find it hard to believe

especially with the anonymity that most bloggers enjoy at sites like DailyKos.

I didn't say African Americans didn't use the internet. I said they didn't participate in online political activism or political blogs and that has been proven.

Kos doesn't trade links with anyone and neither does MyDD. Their blogroll is what it is. Kos just dumped quite a bit of his to concentrate on state blogs.

If you will hang around here, you will get to see a whole new program blossoming as we challenge our readers to reach out to grassroots women's and minority groups to bring them into the online political discussion.

If you look at my userid here you have no idea if I'm a man, woman, black or white. That's the nature of the internet. I'm rarely hostile to anyone unless they are hostile to me. I've been a reader at Kos for almost two years and I've read it fairly extensively on a daily basis. I dont' recall every seeing someone identify themselves as African American in a conversation where they were rebuked, chastised, ridiculed, etc. I don't ever recall an exchange. I'm not saying it hasn't happened, but it can't have happened as frequently as you say.

Any pushback you get from me has nothing to do with the color of your skin. Actually, before you posted in comments, I thought you were white. I also thought you were probably in your twenties or early thirties. Oh well, so much for my writing interpretation skills. I see from your picture, I was wrong on both counts. I at least had you pegged as a man.

Welcome to BlueNC. I hope you will post again. We don't mind being challenged, but expect us to challenge you too.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I wondered how long it would take for you to show up here.

I don't recall seeing any indication at Kos, or at any progressive blog, indicating that anyone of any race creed, or color would be unwelcome at any progressive blog site, meeting, social gathering, or any other event of any kind...on-line or in person.

I find your implications offensive and your conclusions racist.

You want to talk about the possible root causes of the numbers you quoted...you'll likely find me in agreement...and supportive of the changes in our educational and economic systems that might change the mix in the future.

In the meantime...attacking those who support change seems stupid and counter-productive to me. Then again, having read several of your diaries at KOS, I'm not surprised.

Stan Bozarth

So let me get this straight

Markos, who isnt white, is excluding all those who arent white from joining him?

DailyKos has over 100,000 registered user names. Given the lack of actual bans over there, that represents 50,000 to 75,000 people. Of that only 1500 people went to a conference. Said conference involved the most involved members of a blog that is free to sign up for and open to everyone who registers. If only 2.5% of dailykos is black, then any random group of 1500 bloggers from dailykos would most likely find about 38 blacks.

However, the 1500 at yearlykos are NOT a random sample. They choose to go. You ask for more information, but your post contains all the info you need to see how absurd this is.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

OK, so YearlyKos is not representative of the Democratic Party

As long as YearlyKos and DailyKos do not attempt to influence the direction of the Democratic Party, it is a much less serious problem that they are terribly unrepresentative of the Party as a whole. But, as soon as a group so unrepresentative of the Party starts trying to flex its muscle and hold itself out as "the future of the Party" it becomes VERY important that such a group either find a way to broaden its constituency or humbly limit its attempts to direct and control the direction of a diverse national Party.

So let me get this straight

Should the Congressional Black Caucus disband?
What about the Blue Dogs? What about the North Carolina Democratic Party.

I mean, the NCDP isnt representative of the Democratic Party as a whole. It only lets people in who are from North Carolina. Should our state party remove itself from politics?

What about the NAACP? What about unions? What about woman's groups?

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

The CBC is a Black group within a white group

Blacks in the US House are about 5 times greater as a proportion of the Congress than Blacks at DailyKos (2%).

Someone mentioned that Kos is Latino. You've never have imagined it, judging by the number of Latinos participating at DailyKos (less than 2%).

At least the US Congress HAS a Black caucus. With 2.5% Black members, you've got to work really hard to get up a Black caucus at DailyKos.

ok

still didnt address the central question

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

How do you know the

How do you know the ethnicity of everyone participating in DailyKos? I participate there (occasionally). I've never announced my gender, race, sexual preferences, religion, favorite color, or what kind of tree I would be if I could. I don't recall there being a sign up sheet including those things.

So how do you know?

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

the only way to know

is "demographic tuesdays" which are just a normal diary where you get to pick whether you want to answer or not.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

NAACP allows members of any race.

It's mission is:

The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.

They don't ask for racial information when you join, and at least in our chapter, are glad to have members from any racial or ethnic background.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

I know

Im a member.

The point of all this is that the NAACP doesnt seem racist to me, but they also arent representative of the country as a whole. But, they serve an important purpose in helping to bring about change for the better.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Well......Here's my problem with this

The Black Political Caucus in Charlotte, NC can pretty much assure a person election to certain county commission and city council seats simply with their endorsement. They hold a tremendous amount of influence over elections for such a small - and it is a small - organization. They refuse to allow whites to join.

Should I call for this group to disband? Is it fair for a group that excludes another race as a rule in their membership to have so much influence over elections in Charlotte/Mecklenburg?



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Read this Holland person's posts at KOS

He's got his snout so deeply buried looking for a truffle of racism that he keeps banging into other people...making accusations...and when challenged/questioned diligently, he changes subjects. He is a loose cannon...and unfailingly off target.

Stan Bozarth

Actually, I think he's (almost) got a point.

I'm sleepy, so my comment is in outline form:

- YKos is not invitation-only
- Minorities and women are underrepresented in The Blogosphere
- Minorites and women are overrepresented in the categories of "jobs that don't pay well" and "jobs that don't offer sweet vacation bennies" or unemployed entirely
- Traveling to another state is difficult for people in the 2 categories above
- Therefore YKos is inherently going to be not proportional to the demographic makeup of those it claims to represent.

Point 2 is addressed by outreach; points 3 and 4 are vastly more difficult to address. Even with sponsorships or somesuch, if you can't take 3 days off work, you can't go.

C.Dianne

all of that is true.

So, YearlyKos discriminates heavily against stay at home moms who can't afford to travel with their children, don't have ready childcare available that allows them to travel, don't earn an income in order to pay for a trip like this and, and, and......

It descriminates against elderly who are not able to travel or who lived on fixed incomes and can't afford to travel.

It descriminates against college students who can barely afford to attend college, let alone travel to another state.

I actually agree with you. I really do. I'm just throwing out some extreme examples of other groups who aren't able to attend YearlyKos based on cost/travel/time issues.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Staying at home...

is a prime example of a job done primarily by women that doesn't pay well and doesn't offer much in the way of vacation time. ;)

I don't know whether I'd call it discrimination per se, but there are definite advantages some groups have and disadvantages other groups have that impact heavily whether they can go to a big old group gathering.

That's right...you heard me whining :)

...but I think you know what I mean. I used the word "discriminate" for a reason. (and yes, I usually know how to spell it. )



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Of course not.

How long has it been since blacks have had any political power in the US? 40 years?

I know you were asking a rhetorical question.

I have no problem with smaller caucuses or groups within a larger "big tent". I think that's the only way we can all get a good picture of exactly what everyone in the big tent needs. We just have to make sure our tent is big enough and that when the table is set up and the chairs are arrayed around it, there are enough seats for everyone. Otherwise, we might as well take the (D) away from the back of our names, and replace it with, you know. (R).

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

I know you understand what I'm asking

But Holland's argument is that since DailyKos wants to have a role in selecting candidates and winning elections it isn't fair that it is predominantly white.

I'm simply saying that there are other groups that wield power that are predominantly and/or exclusively African American. He can't and shouldn't point fingers unless he points one in the direction of these groups as well.

Holland simply wants to complain about DailyKos. He doesn't appear to want to be a true agent of change.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Hi, Francis

Nice to meet you. My name's Unique. Glad you could join us.

Have you invited any friends? I have. Whether they show up or not is another story but I still invited them.

I hope you don't feel slighted here because the place is big enough for all of us. (Hey - they let me hang here)

Oh, dKos? Don't know. I wish I could go to the annual to-do but I just can't afford it.

I don't know much about Kos

It seems like it's such a gigantic site that anyone can feel excluded very easily. But I'll say here what I'm trying to say when any minority feels excluded for any reason: Let's keep the dialogue open and on-going and we can't go wrong . . .

So, welcome, Francis. What can BlueNC do to make blacks (or any other minority) feel more welcome? What constructive ideas do you suggest to political blogs to help them (or us!) be more color-blind or color-friendly?
 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

Hi, Drama Queen!

I'm new to BlueNC. I'm pleased to have posted my first blog entry here and that so many kind people such as yourself have taken time to read and comment.

I think it would be helpful if Democrats all over America began to ask Markos Moulitsas why his blog and his yearly conference are so unrepresentative of the Democratic Party. Maybe if he hears it from enough people, he'll begin to look inward and see what he can do to invite more diverse speakers to the conference, invite minorities to put together some break-outs addressing issues of particular concern to Blacks and Latinos, provide some links at the DailyKos blog to blogs that are published by minorities.

The blogs like DailyKos that don't provide links to any of the diverse voters in the Democratic Party is missing out on a lot.

Please visit my blog: http://francislholland.blogspot.com
francislholland@yahoo.com

If I may make a suggestion . .

Do all you can to encourage blacks to cross post from their blogs to Kos or here or wherever they feel excluded. Do all you can to encourage everyone you know to think outside the box. Do all you can in a positive way. I love to bitch and moan. Everyone here knows that! But I also do all I can to get more people involved.

Screwy says down further in these comments that he doesn't have a black at his house, does that make him racist? Well, I've invited blacks to my house and they don't want to come because my neighborhood (and region) is so white, they don't feel welcome! I won't stop inviting people, though.

I can only do what I can do. Those in power can't always be reaching out. Those feeling excluded have to butt their noses in. That's what I try to do. Yes, I get angry (sometimes inappropriately) and I get fed up, feel sorry for myself, and sometimes I quit. But, if I complain and/or quit without moving forward, then I'm no longer a person who has been discriminated against; I'm a complainer and a quitter!

So, keep up your energy, but I suggest you direct it as productively as you can. I enjoy a good "shitstorm," as Screwy puts it, but I don't want to smell the stink when it's over.
 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

With all due respect...

Just because something is open, doesn't mean it's open.

"The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country." - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Well -

That's true.

Even at an open bar you're not supposed to drink it all yourself. You're supposed to share.

No group includes everyone

That's human nature. We're screwed up.
 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

That's True, Too

But I like to look for the things people have in common rather than their differences.

Hence my user name.

Just because I like someone doesn't mean I have to agree with them. Hell, my family's Republican - if I didn't love 'em anyway we probably wouldn't speak. :)

Do you know what I would do...

If I were an African-American and I felt that I was shut out of Yearly Kos, do you know what I would do, I'd go.

If I were a progressive white male who felt we needed to fight for Universal health Care, do you know what I would do, I'd fight for it, and I have.

If I were a progressive white male that wanted to get involved in local politics, do you know what I would do, I'd join a local board or commission, and I have.

If I were a progressive Democrat that wanted to change the party from within, do you know what I would do, I'd be a precinct deletegate, county delegate, district delegate, state delegate, and fight like hell to be a national delegate, and I have.

Don't talk, act.

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

White blogs? Black blogs?

I'm only interested in BLUE blogs.

Blogs are anonymous. There is no admission to pay here - or at kos. No secret handshake. No funny hats. No references required.

The only barrier is someone's willingness to participate. And access to the Internet, which can be a barrier to the poor of all races.

Know what...

if it were up to me I'd yank this diary. The tags you chose to add to this diary were: Asian | bigotry | Black | blackosphere | Bloggers | Discrimination | Latino | White | whitosphere

Whitosphere? That's bullshit. People such as yourself help drive our country apart.

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

There are no black people in my house

I guess I'd better get to work inviting some over, or else I'll be a racist.

I don't buy what you're selling Holland, but I'll support your right to say it, stir up a miniature shitstorm and change nothing.

You go.

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us

-Twitchy-

I'm gonna let ya'll in on a little secret. This is my alma mater

Now I won't claim that makes me an expert on anything but I know what I saw and I know what I was told by my classmates.

And the truth is there are still some black people out there who have never met a nice white person. It probably sounds weird in this day and age but I believe it because a girl in my class whom I admired very much told me that exact thing.

It took a while for me to become that girl's friend because she had no use - none - for people who looked like me. But I was determined that she know that all white people aren't a**holes.

My point? I don't have a point. I just wanted ya'll to know that.

So...

Clearly, the tags are counterproductive to an open discussion, but anyone who uses the poster's inflammatory language to disavow the fact that Progressives (and particularly the blogosphere) have a diversity problem, is just being naive.

Pam's addressed this same topic, in a more robust way, at Pam's House Blend (and also here). They are worth a read, if you're interested in getting to the heart of the issue.

The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

It isn't just the blogosphere

or progressives. I think a lot of lip service goes into diversity at all levels in politics and business but still the power is in the hands of a lot of old white men.

I just keep hoping that if we keep talking about it, it's GOT to get better than if we're not talking about it.

Maybe I'm naive. We live in country where 80 percent of blacks thought the problems with Katrina were to do with racism. And 80 percent of whites said it was poverty. That right there is worth talking about it but we don't. Things can't get better when most whites I talk to wants to "go there."

The blogosphere is reflecting the reality of politics. So many of the women and blacks in politics are window dressing. But that's another conversation, I guess.
 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

And the reality with Katrina, at least

is that it was both a "black" thing, I think, and a "poverty" thing, plus a collosal lack of planning and preparation on the part of the government to respond to what should have been a predictable emergency. Even more predictable than 9/11.

Lay the blame for that where it goes. The government knew it was going to be a problem, and guess what? Bush and his administration didn't respond fast enough. And still haven't responded fast enough. Whether it's because the majority of the displaced people (refugees! in our own country!)are black, or whether it's because the majority of them are/were living in poverty is beside the point. This time he wasn't reading "My Pet Goat", he was playing a guitar and singing songs.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Well, I wasn't talking about the reality of Katrina

I was talking about the differences in perception between blacks and whites who basically saw the same coverage.

That's where something is really sad. That we could see the same story told by the same people and be so disparate in our conclusions. Yet, we have never come to any understanding that whites don't respect blacks' opinions about Katrina and blacks (for whatever reason, self esteem, not worth the effort or aggravation, fill in the blank) don't feel like arguing with whites about it.
 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

Hey Francis,

You sure got some discussion going! Welcome to BlueNC.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

As he lopes off into the sunset...

to return again another day when he has more outrageous anecdotal factoids to sling.

Stan Bozarth

Thank you! n/t

Thank you! n/t

You're welcome..

Come again...perhaps gently like the breeze carrying an intriguing scent to follow and to discover the source...rather than as you did...a storm blowing accusations indiscriminately and everywhere.

Stan Bozarth

Solutions?

I take for granted dKos (the website) doesn't go out of its way to make blacks feel uncomfortable, so what do you do to get more blacks involved? (I also take for granted that more diversity in the community will eventually be reflected at the conference.)