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The Unbearable Whiteness of Blogging

[For that title, I must give props to Scott McLeod (who references Milan Kundera, the author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being).  More on Scott in a bit…]

I was reading the Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere (2008) report and didn’t get very far before I noticed a glaring omission.  In the first of the five parts of the report, the authors go to great lengths to describe the population of bloggers and to tout the diversity of the blogosphere (“We are highlighting bloggers…so you can see how diverse the blogosphere really is”).  Yet, they also tell us that “[a]s a group, they [bloggers] are educated, affluent, and influential.”  They report the variation in age, income, employment, etc.  Curiously, though, NOWHERE do we get any information about the racial composition of the bloggers in their sample (certainly not of the U.S. sample).

In his report of his survey of the “edublogosphere,” Scott McLeod states that 6% (of the 419 respondents to his survey) identify themselves as “non-Caucasian.”  94% of edubloggers are white!!!

I don’t know if the Technorati folks collected data on the racial identification of the bloggers they surveyed.  If not, shame on them.  If so, shame on them for not reporting those data.

Why do I say “shame on them?”  Simple.  While individual motivations for blogging vary, I would venture to guess that a large majority of bloggers care about the “influence” of their blog.  Furthermore, in the second part of the Technorati report, the two most frequently reported reasons for blogging are: “to speak my mind…” and “to share my expertise and experience…” If that’s the case, then, we MUST consider which voices are being heard (or minds spoken) and just how representative the experiences that are being shared actually are.

Additionally, I know that those of us who publish blogs (myself included) are quick to claim the credibility, validity, legitimacy, etc. of the blogosphere.  I believe that if we are not willing to fess up to our overwhelming whiteness and to critically discuss the impact of that phenomenon, we will lose credibility, legitimacy, etc.  This is particularly a challenge for the edublogosphere, IMHO.

So, discuss away…