Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Articles On Black Blogs Being Discriminated Against on the Democrat Convention Floor

This post will maintain a running list of articles about this living, evolving piece of history in the making:

Racial make-up of Democratic convention bloggers criticized

Bloggers of the ‘afrosphere’ think they’ve been shut out of the Democratic National Convention

Tech President:

Last week we reported that the DNCC had chosen its “State Blogger Corps” for the Democratic National Convention. Now some are taking issue with the lack of minority representation in that list. Francis L. Holland writes that he’s “concerned that virtually all of the state blogs selected by the Democratic National Committee to cover Denver are white.”
How should DNC blogger corps credentialing reflect diversity of blogosphere?

Bloggers at the Democratic National Convention – Is it an accurate representation?

DNCC Announces Blogger Credentialing Process (11/13/2007)

Democratic National Commitee Leaves Black Bloggers Off The Invited ...
Houston Chronicle, United States -

Saturday Night Blog Update (or Why Specialize?)

Friday, February 29, 2008

"Afrosphere" or "Blackroots"? Two Synonymous Names for the Same Movement.

Dear Kinfolk:


With the advent of the term "blackroots", there has been some confusion as to what difference, if any, exist between the terms "blackroots" and the "afrosphere," both of which terms describe a portion of the Blacks who participate in blogging. In fact, the terms are synonymous, as is explained and documented in this article.

As I observed at my blog back on June 13, 2007, in a comprehensive article entitled, "An Essay on AfroSpear Nomenclature: What We Call Ourselves and Why":
(2) The "AfroSphere" on the other hand, is the term that we have developed over the last few months to mean "Blacks on the internet, at Black blogs and websites, working for Black cultural, political and social self-determination, renewal and advancement and sharing generally similar goals, even if they do NOT know one another and and have NOT become part of an organization to pursue these goals in unity and collaboration. Being part of the Afrosphere reflects a choice to pursue the goals of Black self-deterimination, but without necessarily hav[ing] joined any particular group to do so as part of a collaborative. "An Essay on AfroSpear Nomenclature: What We Call Ourselves and Why," June 13, 2007.
Now, compare that definition to the discussion and definition of the term "blackroots" that is offered by BlackProf.Com's "professor and [Black] blogger Spencer Overton, as discussed and quoted in YahooNews on February 14, 2008:
Spencer Overton analyzed the rise of the Blackroots in a prescient post last May: While the "grassroots" are romanticized, in the past couple of decades Black politics has been hierarchical and limited by orthodoxy that constrains debate. An MLK/Malcolm model has defined the leadership styles and political philosophy of Black elected officials, non-elected figures like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, organizations like the NAACP, and neo-Black Nationalist commentators and figures. Those not with the program essentially had the option of becoming Black Republicans. Older Black folks often complain about complacent black youth who don't vote, march, or otherwise live up to their model. Black blogs offer not only an opportunity to break from old orthodoxy, but to do so in a way that is flatter, and allows for more engagement through comments from readers (which are often more provocative than the posts)....

He cited the successful Fox News campaign as a "significant development" that fit into a larger effort to advance wired collaboration and force "transparency [to] hold Black elected officials more accountable." During the Fox fight in April, Afro-Netizen blogger Chris Rabb questioned how the CBC could cut deals and take contributions from Fox while neglecting its own constituency:
Do these [CBC] folks know what the "netroots" is? Do they think it's just made up of by young, white college-educated geeks far removed from their own congressional districts? Do they know that the vast majority of Black voters who elected them are accounted for in the much larger population of African Americans who regularly access the Internet, approximately 20 million strong? Will they come to understand that the Black netroots community is presently a slumbering giant who, it seems, only the likes of a Fox News Channel can begin to awaken? Yahoo.Com
When you look at the definition of "Blackroots" offered by Professor Overton, as well as the groups, activities and political perspectives that he says comprise the "Blackroots", it is seems clear to me that "blackroots" and "afrosphere" are synonymous. In fact, Professor Overton says at the blackroots' BlackProf blog, in an article entitled, "A Significant Development for the Blackroots":
The past couple of months have produced a significant development among Black blogs. Many are working together to challenge conventional Black leadership. ( . . . )
Afro-Netizen and Jack & Jill Politics, for example, separately criticized Jesse Jackson for speaking out against the Fox/CBC debate, and then deferring to the CBC the next week. Jack & Jill Politics disclosed to its audience that from 2003 to 2005, Fox News gave the CBC Foundation between $47,000 and $99,000, with 2006 numbers unavailable.

( . . . )

3) The Power of Collaboration: Despite the interactive and collaborative nature of the Internet, many Black blogs have remained relatively autonomous. We've provided links to occassional posts on other sites and included other black blog sites on our blogrolls, but our interaction has been limited, at least with regard to action. And autonomy is important--the wisdom of crowds comes not through parroting, but through autonomous decisionmaking. And we all have different interests. But the CBC/Fox Issue is an important step in the evolution of network effects--the power of a broad, flat, and well-connected blackosphere. Professor Spencer Overton, "A Significant Development for the Blackroots", BlackProf, May 1 2007.
By looking at who comprises the "blackroots" and the "afrosphere," -- what our perspectives are and what we are doing -- it becomes apparent that these are but two synonymous terms for the very same "loosely organized" but "well-connected" "network" or "sphere" of people, perspective and activities. The term "afrosphere" derives from the term "blogosphere" (the "afro" part of the blogosphere) and gains its meaning in juxtaposition to the term "whitosphere". Meanwhile, the term "blackroots" is derived from the term "netroots", and its meaning is best understood in juxtaposition to the term "whiteroots", a term whose first published usage may have been by John Stodder at Althouse, on September 27, 2007.

Based on my first-hand knowledge of the history and usage of the term "afrosphere", and after having quickly reviewed the usage and definition of the term "blackroots", it is evident to me that"Blackroots" and "afrosphere" are two different names for the same loosely and informally organized sphere of online Black people, perspectives and activities.

Going forward, blackroots/afrosphere members may choose to agree to select one of the two of these terms to signify this concept, if only to facilitate the understanding of the news media, the public and government officials, as well as our own members. In the earliest days of the AfroSpear, we agreed to use the term "afrosphere" for this concept rather than "blackosphere" because many members believed that a term such as "blackosphere", derived from the term "Black" defined us only by our skin color. In comparison, the believed that, by adopting the term "afrosphere", we define ourselves in terms of our commitment to African-descendent-oriented people, politics, culture and history. In that sense, the terms "blackroots" and "afrosphere" differ in the same ethereal way that the terms "Black" and "African-American" differ.

For my part, Field Negro, Exodus Mentality and Asabagna convinced me that the term "afrosphere" and AfroSpear were preferable for our self-definition based on the argument above, and based on the need to select one term that all of us would use uniformly. Once having agreed with them on this point, I have always been happy with the term "afrosphere" and have never looked back. I am a member of the "loosely-organized" afrosphere as well as of the political blogger member group, governed and managed daily by consensus of the members, that is called the AfroSpear.

(3) The "AfroSpear" is our international, consciously and purposefully organized collaborative of Black bloggers and websites who develop online and offline organizations, forums, newspapers, messaging groups, chat rooms and other media to organize and mobilize the international Black Diaspora to pursue goals that will enhance and further our well-being, in all of the cities, towns, countries and continents where we live, throughout the world.

Being part of the "AfroSpear" requires that one have both adopted the goal of Black self-determination AND have decided to participate actively in this particular group to pursue these goals. Becuase the term AfroSpear has a very precise meaning, it necessarily includes substantive criteria for membership and its definition also requires that some people can only be non-members, because their views, advocacy and/or societal and cultural position simply have nothing to do with or are clearly adverse and contrary to the goals of Black poltiical, cultural and economic self-determination. An Essay on AfroSpear Nomenclature: What We Call Ourselves and Why, Francis L. Holland Blog, June 13, 2007.

To help distinguish between the term "afrosphere" and the group called the "The AfroSpear," and because "AfroSpear" is the name of a formal organization while "afrosphere" is not, therefore AfroSpear members have decided NOT to capitalize the word "afrosphere."

For those Black self-determination bloggers who have been blogging for at least three months and who wish to participate in a tightly-knit Afro-descendant Black bloggers' group, with over 130 duly admitted members from half a dozen countries and four continents, with daily e-mailing, press releases, a unified and automatically updating AfroSpear blog-list, and group organs such as AfroSpear in the News and AfroSpear Freedom Technology Christmas, I encourage you to consider applying for membership in the AfroSpear:


Francis L. Holland, Esq.
The Truth About John McCain Blog
"One Love, One Nation Under an AfroSpear"

Friday, November 02, 2007

The History of the AfroSpear

The genesis of the AfroSpear/AfroSphere movement can be attributed to many Black bloggers, Black blogs and websites within the African Diaspora. Bloggers like AfroNetizen, African American Political Pundit, Jack and Jill Politics, Black Commentator, Booker Rising, Prometheus 6, Mirror on America and Francis Holland had for many months expressed the need for inclusion of black bloggers into the majority blogosphere discussion on all issues impacting Americans. They contended that white bloggers, particularly the "big [white] boys of blogging" refused to link to Black blogs on their blogs lists as well as within articles, and generally pretended that Black bloggers did not exist.

In spite of the demands by Blacks for inclusion in the white blogosphere, in 2006 white bloggers met in the middle of the an historic black community of Harlem, N.Y. with former President Bill Clinton, to discuss politics but did not include the participation of a single Black blogger. Many black bloggers considered this an insult to black bloggers and to black communities.

The resulting photograph of an all-white group of bloggers in Harlem with Bill Clinton infuriated Black bloggers, who represent a critical base of the Democratic Party. From the conservative La Shawn Barber , the moderate The Republic of T and the liberal Steve Gillard and The Culture Kitchen created early discussions for a chain of Black change in the blogosphere.

In 1996, Black Internet social and political activist Francis L. Holland, Esq. began criticizing the lack of diversity at DailyKos, but he was banned from participation there. He subsequently published a groundbreaking study at MyDD, on Feb 15, 2007, that included a startling graphic which showed a square entitled "Blogosphere" divided in half, into two segregated triangles, the "whitosphere" and the "Blackosphere," with an accompanying essay entitled "entitled Blackosphere & Whitosphere: Silence is Never Golden . This graphic acknowledgment of the de-facto segregation of the blogosphere provided an additional crucial catalyst for bloggers of African descent to coalesce to discuss issues of importance to the African diaspora in a collective manner.

A subsequent article entitled "White-News" vs. the Blackosphere became to topic of conversation in the black blogger community, and the term "whitosphere" made popular by Francis L. Holland became essential to Blacks and whites conceptual understanding, continuing to be used even today.

Bloggers like The Field Negro , Jack and Jill Politics, African American Political Pundit, Asabagna, Aulelia, P6, Skeptical Brotha, Republic of T, BygBaby, Culture Kitchen, Angie, The Free Slave, and many other bloggers continued the discussions at the Republic of T's blog after his blog post " The Republic of T. Blogging While Brown, Part III" on March 30, 2007 with Black bloggers, Rikyrah, ecthompson, Electronic Viillage, Mark Bey, Dr. Lester Spence, Bronze Trinity and many other bloggers contributing to the discussion. Through further discussions on other black blogger platforms such as The Free Slave the AfroSpear name was agreed upon.

The " AfroSpear" core group originated from a discussion group of black bloggers from around the world who had an interest in developing a community of African/Black progressive-minded bloggers. Although the concept of an organized "Blackosphere" was compelling to many bloggers, they wanted a name that conveyed not merely skin-color but also a shared cultural vision. The core group wanted a name that would not limit their engagement to the United States, but would connect Afro-descendant bloggers from throughout the African Diaspora.

The name "AfroSpear" was proposed by Asabagna, who also developed the AfroSpear logo that continues to be the graphic cue that creates visual continuity and a sense of community across the community of Black blogs.

To create community and to address the lack of links from white blogs, Francis L. Holland proposed that all Black blogs that joined the AfroSpear be included on one common AfroSpear bloglist that would be posted at all AfroSpear blogs. Adopted almost universally, this policy created a sense of community, common destiny and continuity across the AfroSpear Black blogger community, visible for all the world to see. The PlezWorld blog subsequently created a unique Google code that automated the updating of the AfroSpear bloglist, which now includes over six-dozen Black blogs from across the United States, five countries and four continents.

Meanwhile, the AfroSpear developed internal messaging tools that make its communication model conceptually like an interactive Associated Press; articles, information and orientation are freely shared for publication among and across blogs in real time.

Within the AfroSpear community, the AfroSpear blog serves as a central meeting and reference point. The six Black bloggers who started the AfroSpear blog had developed an existing relationship by exchanging ideas and having discussions and respectful debates on each others blogs. They came from 4 different countries on 3 continents, sharing in common their love for their community writ large and their commitment to the progress of those of African descent, both near and far. They brought a variety of experiences, perspectives, ideas, beliefs and values in an effort to foster understanding, wisdom, knowledge and strength.

They created the name and concepts for a baseline model of the AfroSpear which has developed into a think tank with Diaspora-wide influence, comprised of six bloggers: three women and three men. The vision was that it would focus on the discussing issues, exchanging ideas and creating strategies, with the objective of developing concrete and viable solutions to tackle the concerns relating to those of African descent worldwide.

The AfroSpear community now includes over six dozen blogs, each demonstrably furthering the goals and objectives of the AfroSpear in ways both common and unique.

Original moderators and Contributors of the AfroSpear blog included, Adrianne, Asabagna, Aulelia, BelizeBound, Field Negro and Kizzie.

Today the Afrospear and the Afrosphere of bloggers have successfully led drives to liberate Shaquanda Cotton from prison, lead an international bloggers' effort to free the The Jena 6, and and have helped spread word about the Jena 6, h have created impetus for Congressional hearings into abusive Rap music, and have spun off yet another international bloggers association, the African American Bloggers Association (ABA) and it's Solutions Blog.

Conceptually, the the largest bloggers' group is the blogosphere, which includes all bloggers. Within the blogosphere, there is the "whitosphere" which is a predominantly white community of bloggers and there is the Blackosphere, which includes independent Black bloggers, regardless of their political orientation or goals.

Within the Blackosphere there is the afrosphere, which includes all Black self-determination bloggers, although they may not know one another and may have no formal or informal connections to one another beyond their dedication to Black political, economic and cultural self-determination. And within the afrosphere there is the organized AfroSpear, an international membership group of progressive Black bloggers determined to that their blogs, united into a powerful communicative force, should serve as a catalyst and for Black self-determination throughout the Diaspora.