BlueNC Women on Wednesdays

As many of you have heard or read via Pam's House Blend, cskendrick, Anglico, Matt Stoller, Screwy Hoolie and Matt Hill Comer, in January there was a gathering in Raleigh at the Democratic Party Headquarters of a small group of North Carolina Bloggers. We met with NCDP Chair, Jerry Meek, Schorr Johnson(NCDP Communications Director), Matt Stoller(, Tim Cullen (Dodd for President), NC Senator Jim Harrell, III and Congressman Brad Miller to discuss the role of blogs in politics, how we do or might influence news in the corporate media and how we can help further the cause of progressive politics in North Carolina.

At one point during the meeting, Matt Stoller asked why there are so few minorities using blogs to reach their audiences. He posed the question to the group, but directed it particularly to Pam Spaulding, the only minority in the room and one of only three women. Pam responded that he was asking the wrong person. Pam is a professional. Her African American peers have computers and use the internet. The conversation hovered around the men at the front of the room and I don't believe the question was ever fully answered, if answered at all.

Seeking a solution to what many see as a problem is not as simple as you might think. There is no band-aid fix as people like Francis Holland would have you believe. Simply adding a link to your blogroll or a face to your front page isn't going to provide long-term solutions.

Find out more below the fold....

It's true that the number of African Americans using the internet is growing, however, there is still a large part of the community that does not use the internet for political activism. I realize not all African American writers direct their message to other African Americans, however, traditional political activists probably consider the minority community a large part of their target group. If their purpose is political outreach and they aren't going to reach their audience by blogging, they aren't going to blog.

Within most political blog communities women are also underrepresented. BlueNC's own Leslie H had this to say about a large contingency of women(moms) and their ability to find time for online activism:

I can blog the little I do only because my children are grown, 20 and 17. They are and always will be my heart and my first priority, but they are so amazingly incredibly mature, intelligent and good that now I have time for reading and thinking and writing. Up until a few years ago, the reading of political matters was a challenge, the thinking about purely political matters couldn't be done in stretches and the writing about political matters was out of the question.

Mothers, single or not, know the drill all too well; Raising the next generation is the most honorable of work. Indeed, there is none more important. But raising good people does not translate into anything immediately tangible to the outside world, like pay or publishing or recognition. We must either be wealthy enough to hire help or wait for our children to gradually grow into caring for themselves before our attention can be turned to other matters, like blogging.

The above is probably true for all caregivers, male or female. Women, though, continue to fill the role of caregiver far more often than men. This is only one reason women make up a smaller portion of the communities at the different political blogs, but it's a big one.

I've heard over the past year that communities at political blogs, especially at MyDD, are around 80 - 85% white and 65 - 70% males. DailyKos might have a different ratio, but most other big national blogs that I frequent seem to follow that ratio - especially among commenters. I wanted to find a way to start changing this ratio and to start from the roots up. Our front page and the front pages at sites like Scrutiny Hooligans, MyDD and Swing State Project reflect the face of political blogging. It is what it is. You don't change that by sticking more women and minorities on the front page and calling it a day. The problem goes much deeper than that and it takes more effort than that to bring about a solution. If you aren't willing to really put in the effort, then no amount of changes to front page ratios is going to change the face of the blogosphere.

The owners, front page writers and the women at BlueNC have been working together to come up with a plan that will hopefully take a baby step in changing the face of our blogging audience.

Knowing that we weren't going to add a writer to our front page group at BlueNC any time in the near future, I wanted to find a way to give women here a little bigger soapbox. I never once felt that women were ignored, belittled or undervalued in any way at BlueNC. That wasn't my motivation. I simply felt that shining a brighter spotlight every now and then might encourage other women to come out of lurk mode and speak up. This includes women of all skin colors.

This coming Wednesday, BlueNC will host our first, "BlueNC Women on Wednesdays". It will be a day off for our regular front page writers as we highlight our women on the front page during most of the day. Men are certainly welcome to post and comment, however we ask that the front page remain reserved for our women between 10am and 4pm.

In discussing BlueNC Women on Wednesdays, the three site owners and I agreed that the entire approach and feel of the day should be different. Not just posts on women's issues, but a woman's perspective. Not just women writing posts that typically show up on BlueNC. No need to bump the regulars from posting for that. It needed to have a different feel and tone. The post topics are up to the writer, but we will try to vary them. I will not write for the front page, but will facilitate the moving of posts to the front page and will help moderate. The posts will also be timed and planned as opposed to the unstructured feel we currently enjoy.

As I said, the purpose is to highlight our women as a means to bring more women out of lurk mode and attract more women to the conversation. Lance said it better than I ever could:

Affirmative action -- The program as I understand it would tend, over time, to improve and increase the overall participation of those who are a part of it. By focusing this toward women, the program may shift the overall balance of participation towards a more even male/female balance.


Lab research -- My hope is that Women on Wednesdays will give us a glimpse into what a BlueNC with more ovaries than we have had on any given day would look like. Women draw conclusions about the world differently than men, and communicate differently, too. Is there something about BlueNC that makes it more inviting to men, resulting in sexism by selection? Is there something that we can learn about the site (which was designed and deployed by men in a disproportionately male context) by having the guys sit it out for a day a week? I suspect that there is, and I'm thrilled at the opportunity to find out.

How does this attract minorities? BlueNC WoW does not, in and of itself, bring minorities into the community. That will take more active outreach. Starting tomorrow I will highlight blogs written by African Americans, hopefully blogs in North Carolina, and will challenge each of you to reach out to minorities in your community to invite them to BlueNC. Let them know we're trying to change the face of online activism and to enrich our conversations. I will do the same thing for blogs written by women.

This isn't about who is writing on the front page at BlueNC or other political blogs. It's about changing the ratio of the community in the blogosphere and that doesn't happen by simply inviting people here once. The outreach is much more energy and time intensive. Pointing fingers and placing blame isn't going to solve any problems, but that seems to be all some people do. I plan to take a more active role and I challenge each of you to do the same.

Some of you will think this is a bad idea - that it won't accomplish anything. Some will thing it's patronizing. It may very well turn out to be a bad idea and it may very well be patronizing. All I'm asking is that you give it a chance. I'm also asking that if you choose to criticize, you back up your criticism with a better solution.

It is my sincere hope that we will wind up attracting so many women and minorities to BlueNC that we won't need a special day for anybody. Everyone will feel welcome. Everyone will feel encouraged. Everyone will feel that their voice is important.


And hopefully

everyone will see things with new eyes.

As always great post SD, will you crosspost?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Very great news!

I can hardly wait till Wednesday.


PS Thank you all so much for getting this organized. It's going to be great.

I'm also inviting guest bloggers

I have an acquaintance who is with Working Families Win and she has indicated an interest in writing a post for us.

Please let me know if you are aware of any women who might be interested in chatting with us here - even if it is only on a limited basis.

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

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

Good job SD!

You make us all proud... and we are here to help you help all of us.

Even women such as myself, who are not particularly good writers, will contribute, and provide that special women's perspecitve.

Thanks for all you do.

Thank you, Nan

I'm really excited to hear you will join us. I think Lovex7 is going to write too. She said she would.

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

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

Guess what!!

Starting my third week in court this morning. Will it ever end? Actually, I think it will end this week. See you when we are done.


SD, This is a bad idea - It


This is a bad idea - It won't accomplish anything. It's patronizing.

Aw come on, who's gonna think that? Maybe the same crowd who ask, "When do we get White History Month?!?"

You're on the right track, and, speaking for the entirety of white maledom, we're tired of hearing ourselves talk all the time...

Scrutiny Hooligans -

Well....that sentiment has been expressed

which is why I took the defensive tone, I guess.

I'm not tired of hearing you talk, but thanks for the encouragement.

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

Minority blogging in the local democrat world

"When do we get White History Month?!?"

You're on the right track, and, speaking for the entirety of white maledom, we're tired of hearing ourselves talk all the time...*SH

My good friend Gene Banks former Duke and NBA great has just enter the world of Blogging last week. Since he lives in Greensboro. I thought you would find this of interest since most bloggers are white in the blogging world. I know you have a policy about the 08 Presidental primary and comments on it here, but for the sake about minorities moving into the blogging world, I suggest a invite to Gene with a post or so as a understanding of the culture.

Friday, February 23, 2007
We...Our Own Worst Enemy...

I was flipping thru the newspaper (Greensboro News & Record and USA Today) the other day and came across an article on a new but old system of our demise. In this article it stated that the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson (I guess we can call them Reverands) made some interesting comments about Barrack Obama that showed me that we still....are our own worst enemies. Rev. Al mentioned that he didn't really know Obama and the Rev. Jackson, that the jury is still out., these two, that I have/had great respect for, throw another wrench in the pot when it comes to the "crab in the basket" syndrome. Because Obama didn't seek or was groomed by them and that people cannot say that he is a student of their tutiledge, they are not supporting or praising Obama. He has the mast majority of people in America impressed with his manner, dignity and grace. Because he didn't come up in the "civil rights movement" so to speak, he seems, as they are saying, a distance "Black Man". Obama is a refreshing breath of air and even American Whites, Hispanics, others, are not threatened by his rhetoric. He has not shyed away from his blackness in fact, he has embraced it as much as going back to Africa and tracing his roots, which many of us have not, could not or will not do. When was the last time Jesse or Al took a trip to trace theirs? Oh..I see Rev. Al on Saturday Night Live, MSNBC, Late Night, etc. Also see Jesse at major sporting events, controversies (Duke Lacrosse) and other situations. But I haven't seen them getting to the stoppage on Homelessness, Health Care for the poor, Inner-city gang violence, etc. They talk a good game but haven't really made any dents. But they have statements to make on the fact that Obama hasn't really be groomed or in "their" circle or teachings. Wow, Rev. Al with his closet full of skeletons (Tawana Brawley) and Rev. Jesse (or should we say, out-of-wedlock-Daddy Jesse)

This is the very same reason why we, as blacks, cannot further our strengths in today's market of politics, economics, etc. Because Obama hasn't gone to them to "kiss their rings" (like in Godfather fashion) they seem to feel slighted or feel as though he isn't "allowed" to be the answer to the black plight in Amercia or have the inner fortitude to run this America. He has the tools that many see as qualified and his qualification is far above any that George W. had when he was in the political arena. George W. as we know, was "silver spooned" into the white house, had corruption support (Florida vote) to make it official and we only got only a slight mudder from the two Revs and then they backed off.

So here we are again, with a divided house and a divided foundation to the future of our "Black Community Leaders" as well as the Democratic Party. I am sure that Rev. Al and Rev. Jackson are trying to make the right decision on who to support in this upcoming election being that Hillary is the counter party runner for the seat of the Democrats. Thanks roughly to "Intern Bill" Clinton (whom I still like) Hillary has support and questions, from the black community for her election chances. But the chances are great now due to George W. idiotic and incompatant manner of running this country. But hey, he is "our" president and thats what we have. Even I am in a 50/50 mood with casting my vote for either Hillary or Obama due to the fact that I wish to listen to more of his factual goals, visions and missions, for this America. I am impressed thus far and I am sure that I will be more impressed. What I am not, is the manner of the two Reverands attitudes and comments, due to Obama not "kissing their rings" so to speak.

African-Amerians can be (and are) so powerful in many arenas, but we still have ways to go into knowing that a house divided, will not stand...which has been the case, over centuries. Don't just vote for the man because he is Black! Vote for him cause he's qualified, dignified and has a plan for ALL people America.

Posted by Gene Lavone

Very glad you brought this over

Thanks, Max.

By the way, we don't have a policy on presidential primaries. I've said that I personally am staying out of the fray, but lots of others have posted lots of entries and comments about lots of candidates. In other words, whatever floats the boats is cool.

In other words, whatever

In other words, whatever floats the boats is cool.*A
I am sure that means not the Swift boats from Republican Bush chaos

Below is another story about Gene from the Greensboro's Rhino Times by the editor of that paper. I am sure Gene will drop by and comment as a good democrat. I was having a senior moment on the presidential primaries policy A and couldn't remember what was said.. Is George Bush still president or did he get impeach last week?

February 08, 2007
Saturday I couldn't help but think about what an amazing city Greensboro is and how lucky I am to have been raised here.

Saturday morning I went to the Morehead Men's Breakfast, which is in its ninth year. It is always fun to see all of those men sitting in little-bitty chairs surrounded by small children. The contrast is constantly entertaining.

At this breakfast the keynote speaker was former Duke, Chicago Bulls, European and Israeli basketball star Gene Banks. Gene and I lived together in the same dorm at Duke at different times. In fact, I think technically we are fraternity brothers.

Banks is one of those people who always manages to be impressive. He was incredibly impressive on the basketball court and, although his playing days are long gone, he is no less impressive today. Gene Banks could live anywhere in the world. In fact, he could make a lot more money in a number of cities in the world, because he has been offered coaching positions by NBA teams on several occasions. But as you might have noticed, here in Greensboro we don't have an NBA team. A couple of years ago, Banks turned down an offer to coach the Toronto Raptors and instead helped coach a local girl's high school team. I can tell you without a doubt that NBA teams pay coaches a lot more than Guilford County high schools, but Gene Banks has chosen to live here.

He explained to the crowd of about 400 at Morehead that his wife died in 1997, and one of his promises to her was that he would stay in Greensboro and raise their two daughters. Today he has one daughter at UNCG and one at Western Guilford High School. He has stayed here because it is a good place to raise a family and he promised his wife that he would put their family first.

Banks has some great plans for a summer basketball league in Greensboro, and if he can get clearance from the powers that be to do it, this program has the potential to make a real difference.

My day began at breakfast with Gene Banks, and it ended with dinner with Kristine Card and her husband, Orson Scott. The Cards could live anywhere in the world. Fiction writers don't have to live any particular place. Scott wrote about how, because he is involved in movies right now, it would make a lot more sense for him to live in Los Angeles. A careful reader of his column might have noticed that he carries an LA cell phone because that is where he is doing most of his business these days.

Scott also teaches at Southern Virginia University in Buena Vista, Virginia, and gave serious consideration to moving up there since he is making the drive a couple of times a week. But he and Kristine have decided to stay in Greensboro. They are still in the child-rearing business and believe that living here is the best thing for their family.

If I was in charge of promoting Greensboro, I would run ads with comments by Gene Banks, Orson Scott Card and other famous people who choose to live here.

Gene Banks and Orson Scott Card just happen to be two world-famous people, incredibly successful in their chosen professions, who I spent time with on Saturday, because I am lucky enough to live in Greensboro.

Reader Feedback
February 13, 2007 | 06:35 PM

Right on.

I am a Tar Heel supporter who often cheered against Gene Banks back in the day. And I sometimes (though not always) disagree with OSC's political writings.

Doesn't matter. They are among the many neat individuals who make the Greensboro community what it is. I always look forward to reading OSC's take on any subject, and I have on past occasions pointed Gene Banks out to my young daughter as one of the ACC's great ones.

Two of many who make this community what it is. Like John, I am glad I live in Greensboro.

Phil Stevenson

Thanks, Max

We certainly need to reach out to him.

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

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

"White History Month"

LMAO! Exactly.

SD: I'm all for Affirmative Action and appreciate all of the work you are putting into this. I'll contribute when I can, starting this Wed!

You know there probably IS quite a bit

of really interesting white history (like Bush Nazi and Saudi ties) that's being kept from us. I'll have to start a series on those tantalizing tidbits for white Wednesdays (which will be every other one opposite the wombed Wednesdays.)

“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

The History They Don't Want You to See -

Like this one page monograph in Time this week.

I found this paragraph particularly interesting:

"Last November an adviser to the Saudi government warned that if the U.S. withdrew its troops, the monarchy would arm Sunni insurgents."


I'm having an awesome time

interviewing the women for my story. There are more stories there. Too many for me to cover, but it's got me thinkin'. One woman asked me, "Why hasn't a man ever asked me these questions?" Another women sent me an article on her in a local paper (no archive so no link), the MAN writing the article had obviously asked her exactly the same questions!

I'm having a blast. Thanks, SD for getting the ball rolling.

As to patronizing. I say let's be careful not patronize each other. That should do it. I'm asking women to blog for my new site (which is NOT women-only) and sometimes I can't believe the words coming out of my mouth . . .
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

Just make it an ongoing series.

You don't have to post them all on WoW. I loved the vlog interviews of the women promoting JRE. More of that would be terrific. Do a weekly series if you have enough. Interview everyone who says yes.

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

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

Interviews are by telephone

so no videos. I'm going to get photos, tho, so I could video them a little.

There's the issue of hair here. Many women seem to have reluctance for photos and videos without adequate "preparation".

And if I'm being sexist *sigh* . . . reality can be very uncomfortable.
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

Oh, and I'm not worried about

squeezing all this info into one post or holding it for the Wednesdays . . . if it's newsworthy, it shouldn't wait.

And the idea is to get us off our butts, right? So, I see WoW as the beginning of what will be a branching out and/or some encouragement and not just the only place women's issues are welcome.

Thanks, SD, for all your interest. I certainly wouldn't have been so assertive with other women OR with these story ideas if you hadn't come up with the whole WoW concept..
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

I think you're right about a series

It's just too much work to try to sum it all up in the length of post suitable for a blog. Although they have a lot to say that is similar, each county chair has a different story: different obstacles, and different solutions, and slightly different results.

I can start it off Wednesday and then post subsequent interviews as I do them. I was having to cut out a lot of good stuff to fit my original idea . . .

Plus, I'm meeting three of them tomorrow for photos so I can videotape them instead and be on my way . . .

Thanks for the idea. I've been sitting here struggling with all this material and realizing I'm making it way too complicated!
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

I hear you. I tend to go through the same process.

This is going to be an excellent series. I'm really excited about it.

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

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

A good start

This is a really great idea and I'm especially glad to see BlueNC making an effort to "walk the walk." Too many progressives challenge the world around them without ever looking in the mirror.

Since I only have time to visit about once a week (I try to keep up with the feed, too), I will try to make it on Wednesdays.

See y'all then!

Ruby, we would love to have you post

or xpost something from your place. I know time doesn't permit most of us to call too many blogs home, but please know you are welcome to post any time. We look forward to seeing you on Wednesdays.

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

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

Ditto, ditto, ditto

Always room for one of the Grand Blog Mistresses of North Carolina.

Please recommend

I have a revised version of this up at MyDD.

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

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

Rec'd and Rec'd

doing my part for BlueNC! (and of course SD ;) )

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

You're so sweet.

Sorry I haven't responded to your email. I've sent one all day.....cable out until 9ish, so way behind.

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

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