Friday, September 21, 2007


Pam Spaulding, quite properly, chastises white people in the lefty blogosphere for ignoring the Jena Six case.

I know I'm guilty -- no two ways around it.

Pam's two theories:

* "It's not my area of expertise". This is an old saw used to avoid discussing race -- it's uncomfortable for white folks and they want to avoid land mines....

* "It's not my issue" ...

Well, for me those weren't exactly the reasons. I think I've been looking for an unusual angle on the case, and so my desire to write a post on Jena that would make you think I'm really, really clever has meant that I've never gotten around to saying anything about Jena at all. I should have just sat down and done a post introducing readers to the bare facts of the case, because obviously a lot of white people didn't know those facts -- but what do you know, I never got around to doing that (or even linking coverage like the many posts on Jena from dnA at Too Sense, starting with this one). No excuse for that.

Bulworth has another theory:

... we white bloggers are mostly consumed with the Great Partisan Debate. This preoccupation lends itself to a focus on national issues, like war and the economy, and to national figures, like party officials and media elites. That is to say, if an issue, development or situation can be immediately and directly plugged into the Great Partisan Debate, than it is fodder for the blogger mill. But if the issue is perceived as parachial (i.e. local or limited in application) or ambigious, and most of all, if it is not easy to see its connection to the Great Partisan Debate, than that issue will whither on the vine.

Yeah, I'm certainly consumed with that, although not exclusively -- every so often I do a post like this one. But the tendency in the blogosphere is to fixate on the big-name pols and journalists, obviously. We're all trying to stay in a conversation led of elite bloggers, who essentially want to be the big-name pols and journalists, by overthrowing the current ones. That's their ego trip, just as being clever and slightly off the beaten path is mine.

Thus, the white silence on Jena became self-perpetuating. For the next Jena, we need to do better.

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