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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Racism in the blogosphere?

A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.
Mohandas Gandhi

Here is my posting on mjh's blog ( - the man has some powerful words and I admire his calibre of thought. Mark was commenting on whether the blogosphere is racist or not. His reason for adddressing the issue is because of SWOP Activist Karlos Schmieder's contention of the same.


I try to be careful about using terms like 'racist' or any other '-ist' term for that matter because, more often than not, overuse of any '-ist' descriptive invariably leads to dilution of its effect. Moreover, one risks being labeled an apologist for not invoking its use often enough or, worse yet, s/he faces the risk of being labeled a reactionary for bringing it up at all. I believe using a fly-swatter to rid oneself of a pesky insect is more opportune to use than say, unlieshing a nuclear bomb! That being said, I am not opposed to whipping out such appellations when necessary because, if it walks like a racist and it talks like a racist, then its a racist. It its best to just call a 'spade' a 'spade' after all.

No doubt, the blogosphere is inundated with representatives of the dominant culture as far as I can tell. Nevertheless, I see this venue as a great blessing and envision it as a great equalizer in the future. I have witnessed its power to effect outcomes in the short time I have been exposed to it. Because of blogs, my outlook has been influenced in both directions; not only to affirm what core beliefs I have but, more importantly it has helped me to understand how those who do not share my world-view think. In my estimation, that is a good thing - fore-warned is fore-armed.

As a Latino, I have long since given up on the notion that my people are the only oppressed Beings on the planet. That was a hard-learned lesson delivered to me by one of my mentors, Dr. Tobias Duran, in a Chicano Studies class he taught at The University of New Mexico nearly two decades ago. I am eternally indebted to Professor Duran for that lesson - as an aside, if you ever have the opportunity, look up his dissertation and check it out at UNM. It is called, "We come as friends," taking its name from the famous phrase US General Stephen Watts Kearney declared from a rooftop in Taos in 1848 as he informed the native population that their land was now part of the United States. I am intimately familiar with 'our' struggle because I have experienced the oppressive effects of the 'glass ceiling.' I have seen people treated quite differently on the basis of their ethnicity, poverty, gender, gender-orientation, political perspectives (or, more accurately, their lack of any political perspectives at all). My experience is that exposure seems to work best at extinguishing '-ist' agendas thus, I see blogging as a powerful tool because it provides a medium through which ideas are exchanged and news is shared.

I do agree with you Mark that the warts are going to be revealed and I particularly appreciate that because it means nothing can be swept under the proverbial rug anymore and we, as a people can no longer claim ignorance.

I too am from Los Duranes like Senor Schmieder but I never have had the pleasure of knowing who he is - that is until my introduction to the blogosphere. I have not yet read Karlos' writing reference this particular topic but I suspect he has some salient and, quite likely, sobering points to make so; I look forward to reading it.


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