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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Women get dissed on the blog

I started blogging in June 2006. I would have started earlier, but I kept asking around for help to get started. I was dismissed or told I don't know. So, I realized I needde to commit to putting in the time to build a blog. I knew I wanted to be anonymous. I was aware of the sick people in cyberspace. Leeches seeking out ways to get into your private space. One of the cases I studied back in in early 2000 had to do with sex predators online making friendly with children. This would be a dangerous place for the naivete.

I entered chat rooms and found adults wanting to hook up. This was not my objective. I was seeking expertise in different areas that were not available in my hometown atmosphere. I started out with Black Planet. It was pretty interaction, but young children were interacting in grown folks conversation. So, I left Black planet and headed toward blogging. I selected a name for myself, a generic name, Independent. Independent was my political stance. I quietly made my debut.

Nothing happened. No traffic. I went to other spots and made my comments and safely returned to my blog, to wait for them to come see about me. My blog I could write whatever.. that is until one day, my blog would take on a new direction. I was told to read a posting on another local blog. I did and added my two cents. Big mistake.

My two cents was not wanted and it upset the tranquility of the local blogosphere. For me, an African-American there would be hell to be paid in offering up that two cents. It quickly became a local group blog to discover who is this credo. To discredit my blog and my writing, it was essential that personal information be quickly gathered it did not matter if it was truth, just the semblance of truth was all that matter.

But, unbeknownst to the culprits, I was collecting the attacks as they began to turn personal and racial. It became apparent that at least one thing was certain, I was not one of them. I was not worthy to be counted among the local blogger community.

I thought about starting anew. But instead, I made it crystal clear, who I was, an African-American and a woman, in the change to the title of my blog. No more wondering, local bloggers, yes I was indeed African-American and a woman to top it off. I took the risk of entering a male dominated raced white community of bloggers and integrated it. My rule: attack my thoughts but no racial attacks would be allowed on my blog.

I had read other African-American bloggers demanding the same. And it made sense, especially after one African-American female shut down her site, after being attacked by raced white women. Simply because she was voicing her opinion. I would have to be stronger and sing a little dittie called, and I am telling you...

The issue of blogging while something other than raced white would return upon a visit to African-American Political Pundit post listing bloggers who addressed the issues of blogging while black or brown. And now it appears that raced white women have been dissed in the blogosphere. Misogyny gone wild.

I found this out by doing a click over to Michelle Malkin website. Malkin had a post titled Liberal female bloggers discover Web misogyny... Now that was not my purpose for visting Malkin, this was, The John Doe Manifesto. Web misogyny, nevertheless caught my attention and took me to Huffington Post, where I found Misogyny in the blogsphere:The Debate Continues. The debate continues because it appears that not unlike our sista, Kortney Ryan Ziegler as reported on ColorLines, another female blogger stopped posting.

Melissa Lafsky posted on Huff and Stuff about an anonymous death threat aimed at the female blogger, Kathy Sierra. Sierra maintained the site until her address was posted after the death threat on the site, and that was enough to stop her from blogging on creating passionate users. It appears a typed and posted death threat is not protected speech. but the threat was enough to cause economic damage, Sierre, a techie decided to cancel a ETech presentation at a conference after the death threat.

But some of the bloggers in the community believe it does not matter the issue of gender based blogging. Bloggers of all type must have thick skin. Joan Walsh of entered the discussion, and weighed on the issue of Women Web ABuse@ or WWA on whether or not female bloggers need to just cowboy up.

...Is Sierra another woman silenced by vicious online sexism, or just a wuss? Were the threats of violence real? Or is she the real bully, organizing a "lynch mob" to win her blogosphere battle?

I avoided writing about the mess for a day or two because I had mixed feelings about it. Ever since Salon automated its letters, it's been hard to ignore that the criticisms of women writers are much more brutal and vicious than those about men -- sometimes nakedly sexist, sometimes less obviously so; sometimes sexually and/or personally degrading. But I've never admitted the toll our letters can sometimes take on women writers at Salon, myself included, because admitting it would be giving misogynist losers -- and these are the posters I'm talking about -- power. Still, I've come to think that denying it gives them another kind of power, and I'm trying to sort that out by thinking about the Kathy Sierra mess in all its complexity.

Power. Does power allows for certain abuse in the blogosphere?
Was it that need for power when some of these same women tolerated the blackface of Joe Lieberman as okay on the blog? Silence.

However, the newspaper picked up the story of the death threat of Sierra. The media is outraged when women are denigrated on the blogosphere but ignore the same type of experience by African-Americans on the blogosphere? How come?

Both should be handled with swiftness, as the backlash came and prompted the blackface to be taken down from Huff and Stuff. But does the netosphere really provide an equal opportunity for all users regardless of their background? Or is it an exclusive marketing tool for the rich and the famous?

Or does the blogosphere mirror our america? Is the message to African-American you are consumers and are not a part of the global marketing occurring in the blogosphere?

AAPP inquires whether or not campaign dollars will be spent on African-Americans blogspots? Does African-Americans blogs matter? Jeanette Ponder was profiled in the print media, but her blog was not mentioned. When African-American bloggers united in an online campaigning, Howard Witt,of the Chicago Tribute gave a generic mention to bloggers! But not a nayer African American blogger link was mentioned. African-American links matters!

Just ask Francis L. Holland. Holland was censored from Daily Kos. The censorship occurred when African-Americans do not participate in the group think and challenge the one sided conversations. And when attempting to participate beyond the African-American audience, African-American bloggers are censored. That appeared to be what happened to me, as my website was taken over and redirected by a raced white blogger. But who gave him the authority simply because he was unable to deal with opinions from an African-American woman.

Why is this acceptable behavior in the blogosphere? But more importantly why are we women and African-American bloggers not banning together to capture the dollars from those who do not want us on the Afro/Blackosphere/netizens, villager/African-Americans blogworld. Where is the marketing strategy on the net for us?

This post can be found on African American Political Pundit.


  1. Wow, I didn't know about any of this. Thanks for posting it. It makes me think a little bit about where I post comments and who I post them to. Its a lot to think about. I think of course that no death threat is excusable, online or elsewhere. But it does bring to the surface the fact that racism does still exist (some people actually think it rarely happens) and we have the proof online. You should see some of the racist comments on African American YouTube videos. You would not believe the ignorance and overt racism.

  2. I had began to notice the misogyny when I started to make comments on male political blogs. I guess I wasn't too surprised because the arguments were in "male" logic, which I expected from the geeks and the women that they liked agreed with their ideas. I didn't realized that there some guys were actually psychotic until I read about the death treats to Kathy Sierra.
    What I did find surprising was comments I made about race; brought out the bigots, the civil war reconstructionists and the new history of slavery accordingly to the gospel of Ann Coulter. For some reason I have been fortunate for them not follow me to my blog. My blog is mostly a personal journal with a sprinkling of political opinion. I speak about race, when someone has pist me off. My son had let me know how bad racist videos and remarks were on youtube.

  3. bronzetrinity =

    Thanks for your comment. When attacked on the blogosphere, I think its important to take note and report immediately.

    Hathor =

    I think a lot of abusive comments are blamed on geeks. When in fact, many are business men or community leaders.

    If you go to creating passionate users site you will see images that are pornographic in nature in attacking Kathy Sierra. And she names name.

    The internet only provides a certain degree of safety. Sierra home address and social security was placed on the net. This placed her at risk of identity thief, robbery and host of other potential threaten activity.

    She did not voluntarily give up this information. This suggest information was provided to encourage others who may have wanted to do harm to Sierra.

    If someone takes the time to type a death threat or provide your personal information without being publicly disclosed, such as social security I believe punishment should follow.

  4. Woah. I knew about Kathy Sierra (Salon also did an excellent piece about her), but I didn't know about your troubles. I'm so sorry that happened to you.

    I did get kinda pissy over the fact that my blog was left out of the original AP article...even though I mentioned it several times during the interview. Sigh. However, it seems that fate took over in the form of Der Spiegel, and they added a link on their own. Strange how Germany got it right and the States didn't. Then again, I'm finding that the rest of world seems to have the plot on race more than we, anyhow.

    The best possible thing that we can do as Black women is to keep on writing. End of story.

  5. You are so right,,so keep writing.

  6. In the week before I was banned at DailyKos, I, too, was subtly threatened. Users began researching me on the Internet and they published my entire Bar Association status data as well as one of my old addresses that they found through

    I naively believed at the time that they were curious about me and wanted to learn more about me. I didn't realize that they were threatening me by attempting to find out exactly who and where I was.

    They also called me "monkey" at DailyKos and after that I was banned from participation there. You can find the links to all of the DailyKos diaries and comments in which this occurred by going to a blog I publish under the title, "The Truth About DailyKos," which gets about three hits a day, even though it is just a list of links of all of my diaries that expose DailyKos as a bastion of white male supremacy.

    My arguments at DailyKos were often so heated that my right hand trembled as I hit the "post diary" key. I KNEW with absolute certainly that they would not like my diaries in which I deconstructed and denounced the "white male supremacy paradigm." But I kept writing because I was confident that eventually people beyond that white male supremacist community would see what I was writing and join the chorus.

    With up to 500 comments on some of my diaries, I knew there had to be some Black people and women who were benefiting from what I was saying, even if they knew that they could not be seen to support me in the context of that atmosphere. They could see the lynch mob behind me and were not eager to join me, hanging from the white male blogger tree. But in the Afrosphere, where Blacks could talk freely, the conversation has already begun, I later learned.

    Now, I'm really concerned because I'm not sure if I understood something above that I read in your diary. You mentioned, "those who do not want us on the Afro/Blackosphere/netizens, villager/African-Americans blogworld." Are you saying that you feel unwanted in the AfroSpear movement? If so, that's something that I want to learn more about. I know that you have participated in discussions at my blog, I have linked to your blog and, working with Bronze Trinity, we've developed a mechanism to link all AfroSpear blogs of Black men AND women together.

    I don't know if I understood what you wrote correctly, but if you or other African-American women feel unwanted in the AfroSpear most of us Black men would consider that to be an emergency that needed to be dealt with and resolved immediately in favor of your participation. I know that Bronze Trinity has become an essential organizer in the AfroSpear and we all depend upon her leadership and her unique combination of organizing and online technical skills. Even if I didn't understand what you wrote above, I think it's worth writing and posting this affirmation of the value of an integrated and profoundly interdependent AfroSpear.

    If you would like to publish a diary at my blog to keep this conversation going and broaden the conversation, then I would welcome and feel really good about that.

  7. Francis:

    "You mentioned, "those who do not want us on the Afro/Blackosphere/netizens, villager/African-Americans blogworld." Are you saying that you feel unwanted in the AfroSpear movement? If so, that's something that I want to learn more about."

    credo: what I actually typed was this:

    "Why is this acceptable behavior in the blogosphere? But more importantly why are we women and African-American bloggers not banning together to capture the dollars from those who do not want us on the Afro/Blackosphere/netizens, villager/African-Americans blogworld. Where is the marketing strategy on the net for us?"

    My question was why those who were or are being abused by raced white bloggers banning together to create a power force?

    I cited raced white women and African-Americans being dissed on the blog. I know that raced white women have banned together and created blogher.

    So, if raced white women can create blogher and receive support, my biggest question is why is this same type of support missing for Bronze Trinity's forum and newspaper?

    I believe I know the answer, but in my heart I am hoping that I am wrong.

  8. If you think "states' right" Markos Moulitsas taking over Democratic Party is dangerous for Black people, you should definitely read the new research about him: The Secret "Family Business" of Markos Moulitsas Zúñiga is Uncovered.

    If you never knew that Markos' family received millions from the US Government and is connected to international environmental polluters, then you might want to post a diary about this at your blog.

  9. Thought you might be interested to see this level of verbal abuse from left on my blog during the past week.