Lynne d Johnson



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07.29.06 03:33 PM

Live Blogging: Identity and Obligations

Do you feel obligated to represent for your gender, race, culture? Featuring: Maria Niles, Karen Walrond, Dawn Rouse, Marisa Trevino and Carmen Van Kerckhove

Dawn: Writes 3 blogs - I'm Doing the Best I can (primary) Gimlet Blog and True Life Confessions. I am the wife of a black man with a PhD from Detroit. I'm starting mine in the fall at McGill so we just moved to Canada. I blog about just about everything in my family. I talk about racial issues, gender issues, my depression, and finding my way as a a mother. I don't represent black America. My role is to be a white ally and essentially testify to the things I've seen as the wife of a man of color in the US. Recently I wrote a post Try to Catch Him Riding Dirty. I took photos as it was happening. It's not that I'm saying be outraged white America. I need to prepare my daughter for this.

Karen: chookooloonks started writing it about two years ago when me and my husband where matched with the woman who was going to become my daughter's birth mother. it found it's own voice and became this big adoption blog. since my daughter came home it's been less of an adoption blog and more of a mommy blog. when my daughter turned one my husband got an opportunity in my homeland Trinidad and Tobago. so I quit my corporate job and we moved there. my blog is text heavy but i do take some photos. we do have contact with the birth mother but we don't talk about her life. I'm in an interracial family, I'm Trini, my husband is white english and my daughter is american. i don't talk about my marriage. it's a strong healthy happy marriage but i don't put it out there.

Maria: I'm here to represent the people who feel they don't have any obligation to represent. i blog at about personal finance. i have two personal blogs one is business and i use my real name. people can probably guess that I'm a woman but i have no picture of myself. my obligation is to the readers to talk about marketing to consumers. my other blog i use a pseudonym the name is wag, it's about one of my dogs you get funny stories about Chihuahuas. i sometimes talk about race. i don't want to set preconceptions. people think I'm white so feel the need to share their perspective about black people with me. that's me that my identity that's my obligation.

Carmen: I do it all with my friend and partner started out as watchdog organization. started in april 2004. it's kind of lost the watchdog part. things have gotten much better. today it's about the intersection of race and pop culture. we talk about how barbara Walters keeps pulling black woman's hair on the view to angelina jolie's baby collecting. the podcast is about everything to do with race. we had an interview with octavia butler. jen and i are both asian and white. we're anti-racist activists. we don't talk about our personal lives much. we used to have a section on the podcast called racial spy - focused on things people say when they don't realize you're a member of the race they're talking about.

Marisa: I'm a racial spy. I'm Latina. I'm also a freelance journalist. The Latina voice is still very underrepresented in the mainstream press. so when blogs where born i started latinalista to get the latina voice out. as the immigration debate has heated up my boundaries had to be broadened. i totally represent. I'm more of a journalist on my site. so I'm infusing my opinion on current events. there are a lot of crazy people out there. they found out what i look like now on blogher. I'm not finding it to be too much of a problem. i do talk about race all the time. i do talk about my gender.

Maria: When we had the post on BlogHer Lisa Stone said she felt uncomfortable talking about her life as a single mom. Calls out Tiffany Brown who formally ran People project their own beliefs of who I am and what I should be onto what I write.

Karen: It's been interesting to me to meet a lot of people I know through their blogs who I don't know at all. I'm not particularly and open blogger. What you see in front of you is what you get. I don't have a different voice. I do realize how different the people who I met from their writing. There is one person really out there on her blog and in your face. But in person she's reserved. What you chose to represent and what you chose not to represent. How you use the blog to represent what's not really how you are in real life.

Audience member: Out about my politics. What makes me uncomfortable is my age. I'm very honest about my age. I put it out there clearly. I'm 64. My blog is body and politic. How personal you are on your blog has been very interesting for me.

Maria: Do you have an obligation?

Audience member: I'm in college. And I started blogging while in college. My mom doesn't call me she just reads my blog. She'll call my dad and tell him and he'll call me. there's no real grey area with them. I get really irritated by feeling I have to censor myself for my family. And also as a Christian to lead an authentic life and stay accountable.

Marisa: In my case it's about representing for my race. Sometimes to incite dialogue I have to challenge notions.

Carmen: To assume that mixed race people are these walking answers to racism is horrendous. If the child grows up and wants to be that - fine. It's amazing how the race of your partner becomes a political discussion.

Audience Member: I got into painful stuff around the time of the presidential election at daily kos and other boy blogs - talking about marriage equality like it's some kind of irrelevant issue. a lot of people do not understand how painful it is for someone to tell you you need to accept second class citizenship because it's not the right time. I also edit a music blog, and when they hired me they said we don't write about dance music.

Dawn: I write a lot about invisibility. I wanted other white people to know it was not ok to be sneaky racists with me. When I was not with him, I looked like everyone else in New Hampshire. Meanwhile he's getting pulled over.

Marisa: I noticed that by putting in Latina in the title of my blog I've attracted a lot of sympathizers. It's amazing the readers, because the people I want to give a voice to are not reading my blog.

Carmen: For the podcast Addicted To Race, we did a post of photos introducing the interns to the audience. One of our interns talked about being conflicted being of mixed race. A Rutgers professor came across this and contacted us and said maybe he'd like to take his African-American lit course.

Karen: When Elisa wrote up the write up on blogher she said I don't feel the need to represent. Just because I don't write about race or about the interracial marriage on my blog doesn't mean I don't represent. I don't write about race on purpose. A junior leaguer from New York contacted me to say she felt an affinity. I feel if I were like Viva La Caribbean that may not have happened.

Audience Member: I had to stop writing about personal life because it's not professional. I find the best community to be the people who read the personal blog.

Audience Member: Progressive Christian blogger. I felt that as a Christian I needed to be an action and help reclaim the faith. As a Latina, as a woman, and as a Christian.

Audience opens up to various discussions (questions and comments) on their blogs and perceptions on representing.

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