Another Look At Legitimate Dissent Versus Sabotage

UNLIKE THEIR OPPONENTS, MANY AFRICAN-AMERICAN ONLINE ACTIVISTS ARE DANGEROUSLY NAIVE ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DISSENT VERSUS SABOTAGE

The topic of online activism, and the difference between dissenters and saboteurs came up during a recent conversation. I believe that far too many African-American bloggers are dangerously naive about the difference between these two categories. I believe this is because most of them have never had the opportunity to participate in an actual, sustained movement (as opposed to agitating about a single individual or incident).

I get the feeling that many of these naive, new-school African-American bloggers would let Klan members and neo-Nazis write guest posts for their blogs if they asked to do so. Because they somehow feel obligated to give equal time to people who hate them and would like to see them dead. Because they don’t want to be accused of “censoring” anybody, including the Klan or neo-Nazis. That’s insane.

Meanwhile, the Klan, neo-Nazis, and semi-veiled racists like Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and their ilk don’t allow progressives to use their shows as platforms to market progressive ideas. Unlike confused African-Americans and progressives, these people have no qualms about maintaining control over how the platforms they built are used. They don’t allow other people to freely hijack their platforms. If they bring on an actual progressive (as opposed to a lukewarm, Demo-publican masquerading as a legitimate proponent of progressive values), they make sure the deck is heavily stacked against that person while they’re on their show. They edit whatever they say if the show is taped, cut them off when they’re speaking live, set them up with false and misleading questions, tell lies about the guest, and so on.

A similar setup happens on ignorant, status-quo-supporting African-American radio talk shows. This happens on those very rare occasions whenever someone who supports abundant life and relationship freedom for African-American women is allowed onto the show. The status-quo-supporting Black hosts follow the same pattern as the right-wing conservatives, and only bring such guests onto their shows when they have an ambush prepared for them.

Supporters of the unjust status quo never freely hand their microphone over to their opponents—this is why they’re the ones in power and entrenched! On those rare occasions when they let opponents talk on their platforms, they make sure the situation is structured in a way to discredit whatever the opponent is saying. Even if they have to heavily edit and twist the guest’s words, and tell lies about the guest to do this. Supporters of the unjust status quo win (and remain entrenched) because they get to use their platforms and yours to market their ideology!

Finally, if somebody is fundamentally opposed to your program as an activist, then what legitimate, productive purpose could they possibly have for coming to your meetings, or interjecting themselves into your online conversations with like-minded people? Answer: None. What reason do they have to be there, except to try to sabotage your work? And why would you be silly enough to let them do this?

I made the following comment during a recent conversation,

When I dissent from something, I state my reasons for disagreement, and then I’m through with that particular conversation. I’m not trying to block people from taking whatever actions they feel are in their best interests. Misguided though I might believe they are. I’m certain that the better idea will ultimately win out—the better idea doesn’t need to sabotage other ideas in order to win. This belief is one of several reasons why I’m not willing to invest (waste) time debating with people who are fundamentally opposed to what I believe are “better ideas.” To them, their way—and to me, mine.

I don’t haunt the blogs (or other gathering places) of people I feel are misguided. I don’t try to disrupt their conversations with like-minded persons. I don’t obsess over what I perceive as their errors in judgment. I leave them be, and focus on pursuing and promoting what I believe are better ideas.

That’s the difference between legitimate dissent and attempted sabotage. Saboteurs and other trolls (such as “concern trolls”) are hell-bent on trying to BLOCK other people from discussing and taking the actions they feel are in their best interests. This came up during a post at the previous blog.

I suppose this might not matter to you if you’re doing an entertainment or gossip blog. But if you believe your online work is serious, then you should probably treat it seriously. And refuse to cooperate with people who want to sabotage, or play games with, your online work.

I believe another part of the problem is that the last few decades of screaming, arguing heads on cable television has blurred the lines between what should be considered life-and-death issues and entertainment for many people. Too many modern African-Americans think of activism as if it’s the equivalent of some screaming heads, cable tv talk show. This is part of what creates their expectation that everybody who shows up at an online activist’s blog is somehow entitled to scream and disrupt the conversation and the work that’s being done.

No. Speaking for myself, the social activism I’m doing here is not tv. It’s not intended to serve as entertainment. It’s not intended to be a plaything for trolls and other saboteurs. This is about enhancing African-American women’s quality of life. One woman and one life at a time.

Sometimes it’s easier to see what’s wrong with a certain type of online interaction when you envision the interaction happening in person. So, picture if you will, the following:

A Hypothetical Conversation Between a Movement Organizer and a Heckler

A Meeting of the Area’s Local Anti-Apartheid Organization. May, 1986.

The setting: A raucous, spirited meeting of the area’s local anti-apartheid organization. Flyers had invited persons who were interested in working to end apartheid in South Africa to attend the meeting. The group is a mixture of old and new faces. Some of the conversation participants, like the meeting’s organizer (from now on known as “O”), have previously participated in numerous demonstrations at the South African consulate. For other participants, this is the first time they’ve ever participated in any sort of organized “movement” activity about any issue. The meeting has been a spirited discussion of the pros and cons of various possible strategies for future demonstrations. Suddenly, a heckler (from now on known as “H”) yells out:

H: All of you are exaggerating. Apartheid isn’t that bad, and its a small price to pay for the benefits that South African Blacks get from living in that country. Blacks in South Africa are freer than Blacks in the rest of Africa.

{shouts and uproar from the other people present at the meeting}

O: {said to the room in general} Everybody, please settle down.

{said to the heckler} Excuse me, do you understand that this meeting was for people who are opposed to apartheid, and want to work in support of ending it? If you support apartheid, then you really have no reason for being here.

H: You won’t allow any dissent!

O: This isn’t about dissent. It’s about the fact that this meeting was called for the purpose of strategizing on how to help end apartheid. This is the purpose and program that people were invited here to participate in. If you’re opposed to this agenda, then why did you come here? What legitimate, productive reason could you have for coming here when you’re opposed to the purpose of the meeting?

H: You won’t let anybody disagree!

O: We can explore people’s disagreements about what might be the quickest way to end apartheid. We can argue about the best means of ending apartheid as soon as possible; but we’re not going to argue about the validity of that goal. We’re not going to spend time arguing with people who are opposed to the goal of ending apartheid as soon as possible. This meeting invited people who: (1) are opposed to apartheid, and (2) want to work in support of ending it. If you don’t fit into these categories, then why did you come here?

H: You should allow a full debate of the issues about apartheid.

O: But this meeting wasn’t called to have “a full debate of the issues about apartheid.” We didn’t call this meeting in order to debate with apartheid supporters. Or with anybody else who, for whatever reason, is opposed to our stated goal of working to end apartheid as soon as possible. We came here to work on advancing our goal: the end of apartheid.

The flyers we put out didn’t invite just anybody and everybody to this meeting. We specifically invited people who: (1) are opposed to apartheid, and (2) want to work in support of ending it. The meeting was called for those people who are opposed to apartheid to discuss strategies for how to end it. You don’t fit into this description, so I think you should leave.

H: I support Black liberation.

O: Whatever. This meeting was called for the purpose of strategizing on how to help end apartheid. That’s what we came here to discuss. Not to debate the issues surrounding apartheid. Not to discuss whether or not you support Black liberation. Not to discuss any other issue beyond strategizing about how to help end apartheid.

H: This is censorship!

O: You still don’t get it. We’re not the government, and we don’t have the same duties to you as the government. We’re private citizens. We don’t have any obligation to talk to you, listen to you, or interact with you in any way, shape, or form. We also don’t have any obligation to let you interrupt and sabotage our work. We’re an interest group of private citizens who have come together to pursue our shared interest. In this case, we’re people who: (1) are opposed to apartheid, and (2) want to work in support of ending it. The meeting was called for those people who are opposed to apartheid to discuss strategies for how to end it.

It’s time for you to leave. You’re disrupting our meeting. We’ve already wasted too much time talking to you. The time we spend arguing with you at this meeting is time that we’re not spending on the purpose of this meeting: discussing strategies for working to end apartheid. It’s time to get back to talking about strategies for ending apartheid. Not to mention that nobody’s stopping you from starting your own organization and having your own meetings in support of apartheid. I suggest you do that, instead of trying to disrupt our meeting. Goodbye.

{the heckler is escorted to the door, and a productive discussion resumes}

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24 Responses to “Another Look At Legitimate Dissent Versus Sabotage”

  1. vonnie says:

    brilliant, I really think that the example of a real life meeting to show how the trolling idiocy would be shut down was a great idea. this post was so spot on, I don’t get the passive bloggers who let any and everyone disrupt their comments and then the topic gets turned into something totally different with everyone trying to change the mind of one troll instead of focusing on the merits of whatever was being discussed to begin with. most hardcore groups that GET THINGS DONE aren’t sitting around arguing with fools, they are getting their words out there strongly and like you said, if they do allow “other” voices around, it’s on their terms and usually twisted. spot on!

    • T says:

      If bloggers used the moderation tool more often, they would not have to deal with rampant trollery. Unfortunately, when that happens, you’re left with comments that refer back to the troll that offer no context, which creates more confusion. So, what to do? Ignore them…maybe they’ll stop.

  2. T says:

    *big round of applause*

    AA’s do a poor job of protecting their own interests; worse yet, they do a poor job of identifying them. They are so used to the larger society setting the agenda for discourse, that any attempt to do for self is met with resistance-even from the same community of people.

  3. T says:

    When I think of dissent and sabotage, I think of certain black websites that make us believe that they have a point of view, but they don’t. Dissension requires a point of view in order for connection to be made, and the headlines that these websites publish rarely indicate the stance the site has taken; only to highlight black news wherever they can find it regardless of content or context. That’s where the sabotage comes in. The lack of responsible reporting creates that problem.

  4. Shermayne says:

    Brilliant!!! I don’t often comment, but just so you know, your work here has greatly improved my thought process and quality of life! Count me as one person who has truely benefited from this and your previous blog. Thank you!!!

  5. lormarie says:

    I’ve noticed the same on various blogs and for the life of me I can’t understand why some bloggers continue to allow trolls to disrupt otherwise productive conversations. This is all because they are afraid of being called haters, afraid of opinions that differ, etc.

    • T says:

      Protecting one’s self-interest is not hate-to me anyway. Personally, I don’t blame blog hosts for protecting the integrity of their content. If their opinions are worth anything to them, they can resist the “hater” comments and the fear of being different.

  6. Vonnie,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.

    You said, “most hardcore groups that GET THINGS DONE aren’t sitting around arguing with fools, they are getting their words out there strongly and like you said, if they do allow “other” voices around, it’s on their terms and usually twisted.”

    There are 2 basic categories of interest groups that are getting things done: (1) dishonest, right-wing supporters of the unjust status quo, and (2) organized groups that are serious about their programs, such as the Nation of Islam. Both categories maintain strict control over how their platforms are used. Neither group allows opponents to hijack their platforms. The only difference is that cultural “insurgents” like the NOI tend to be much more honest in their handling of opponents. The NOI won’t let opponents preach from their pulpits, but unlike the right-wing, the NOI doesn’t tell lies about its opponents.

    The bottom line is that there’s a connection between refusing to let trolls disrupt your work or meetings, AND actually getting things done!
    ________________________________________________________

    T,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.

    You said,“AA’s do a poor job of protecting their own interests; worse yet, they do a poor job of identifying them. They are so used to the larger society setting the agenda for discourse, that any attempt to do for self is met with resistance-even from the same community of people.”

    Indeed. It’s all very peculiar. I think much of this confusion is due to the prolonged absence of any organized, mass movements among AAs for the past 35+ years. At the time when it happened, I didn’t realize how precious my college experiences of participating in the anti-apartheid struggle were. I also didn’t appreciate how much I learned about “how to do” simply from attending NOI lectures as a non-member. [I was never a member of the NOI; although though I considered joining when I was in law school.]

    My college anti-apartheid group benefited from the experience of then-middle-aged, veteran AA and Black South African activists. The meetings were spirited but also extremely organized—and therefore productive. The veteran organizers did NOT let what we now call “concern trolls” or wannabe hecklers waste people’s time during meetings. And I never saw anybody come into a NOI lecture and then try to heckle the speakers. People knew better than to even “go there” with serious organizations. I never had the impression that anybody believed they would be physically attacked if they heckled at either sort of meeting. However, folks did know that they would most likely be escorted quickly out the door if they heckled or were otherwise disruptive.
    _______________________________________________________

    Shermayne,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.
    _____________________________________________________

    Lormarie,

    You said, “I’ve noticed the same on various blogs and for the life of me I can’t understand why some bloggers continue to allow trolls to disrupt otherwise productive conversations. This is all because they are afraid of being called haters, afraid of opinions that differ, etc.”

    I believe that a certain level of naivete about the nature of the opposition is partially responsible for this. (In addition to lack of movement experiences, and confusing activism with the sort of exchanges that one sees on screaming head, cable tv talk shows). I suspect that a number of the permissive bloggers mistakenly think that it’s possible to reason with trolls. They don’t understand that the trolls are IMPLACABLE in their opposition!

    Expect Success!

  7. Faith says:

    I’m glad you bumped this comment to its own separate post. I for one take my blog platform very seriously and am acutely aware of the precarious state of AA women as a collective. I’ve lived through recognizing the indoctrination and moving on from it. I’m trying to reinvent myself and make sound choices that will allow for my life to be optimized to the max. I still have a lot of work to do but I’m not shying away from it. A cold, hard assessment is non-negotiable.

    I’ve also noticed how antagonistic many are – esp black women who have done some work toward empowering other BW but haven’t gone ALL the way. There are nuances and subtleties at play here. Of course we’re not going to agree on everything (I for one cringe at the discussions about weight because it’s a trigger issue for me on many levels but I know the discussion is necessary for the collective and must be accompanied by action even if I make a different choice as an individual) but there’s a difference between variances in outreach and those who’d place limitations on others or who are still more black male-protectionist than black women supporters. Or those that care more about saving face than being honest (like the idea of raising children w/no adequate male role models). Or those who do not want us to honor our specific ethnicity and the contributions of AAs.

    While I’m firm in my persepctive I’m not emotionally invested in beating someone over the head with any of it. Ultimately each woman has to decide what works best for her. I do believe in being very clear about where we stand and being accountable but beyond that we shouldn’t overextend ourselves.

    I think there are very few AA BW who are hard-core draw a line in the sand fully supporting BW making ALL choices available to us – only those that they may personally comfortable with. That’s why each woman must take a look in the mirror and be clear about her own life. Some of us have offline support systems and comforts so these online discussions are a bit removed from immediate urgency. Some of us do not or have taken the message of reevaluating all relationships for reciprocity seriously and made hard choices.

    That’s why the assessments and reevaluations are so important.

  8. Bronzey says:

    Very interesting. I post (mainly lurk) on a forum that is predominately black female, and there are a handful of men who join for some reason and 75% of the things they post are disrespectful, demeaning or put down black women. It could be an empowering and uplifting thread and then one of the characters will come in and make some inflammatory statement, and then everything gets off track because the women will be busy responding to his idiocy instead of brushing it off and going on about their conversation. I always wondered what the motive of people like that was. Like, you hate black women but you are on a message board dominated by them???

  9. Faith,

    You said, “I’m glad you bumped this comment to its own separate post.”

    After recently looking around the Black blogosphere, there seemed to be a need to do another exploration of this issue. For one example, while doing my tour, I saw that the Field Negro bloghost only recently realized that just maybe, perhaps he should moderate the comments on his blog. This is after a longterm practice of allowing racists and assorted other lunatics to have free reign to spew endless lies, venom and bile (which is why I almost never read the comments section on those ocassions when I visit that blog). He just figured this out after the normal, sane demographic of commenters have been pleading with him to start moderating the comments.

    He seems to be worried about engaging in “censorship.” It hasn’t occurred to him that he’s been passively allowing the lunatics to “censor” the rest of the audience by driving away large numbers of other, sane audience members from the comments section with their venomous screaming and long-running, hate-filled personal attacks on other readers. All of which he has allowed.

    What’s interesting is that it might not matter in the case of his particular blog. From what I’ve read on and off, he doesn’t seem to make “calls to action” for his readers—he’s not trying to get them to do anything in response to his posts. His blog appears to be about entertainment and venting, as opposed to activism.

    Incidentally, this is how I distinguish between activist and non-activist blogs. Is the bloghost making a call to some sort of ACTION from readers? Is the bloghost calling people to do something other than what they’ve always been doing up to this point? It doesn’t always have to be a call toward external actions. A call for readers to engage in the type of introspection that will ultimately lead to different behaviors counts as a call to action. This type of introspection (that leads to different external actions) was the point of the consciousness-raising groups in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

    The kind of introspection that leads to different actions has the largest, and longest-lasting affect on people and the societies they live in. This is how religious activists in the Muslim world have gradually changed the overall atmosphere of their societies over the past 30+ years. By changing the views, values—and therefore actions—of one person at a time.

    You said, “I for one take my blog platform very seriously and am acutely aware of the precarious state of AA women as a collective.”

    The same with me.

    You said, “I’ve lived through recognizing the indoctrination and moving on from it.”

    The same with me. I find that BWE blogging satisfies the same “do-gooder” urges that had motivated me to participate in various Black political struggles, and devote large chunks of my professional life to serving the AA poor. I’ve just shifted my focus from helping “alla my people” to helping those AA women and girls who are receptive to lifestyle optimization. For me, this is part of an overall transition away from directly servicing people (by practicing law) toward indirectly helping people help themselves (by information marketing).

    You said, “While I’m firm in my persepctive I’m not emotionally invested in beating someone over the head with any of it. Ultimately each woman has to decide what works best for her.”

    I agree. There’s an entire (short) chapter of the Quran that talks about the proper attitude toward non-believers:

    Surah 109. Al-Kafirun (The Disbelievers, Atheists)

    In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

    1. Say : O ye that reject Faith!

    2. I worship not that which ye worship,

    3. Nor will ye worship that which I worship.

    4. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship,

    5. Nor will ye worship that which I worship.

    6. To you be your Way, and to me mine.

    You said, “I do believe in being very clear about where we stand and being accountable but beyond that we shouldn’t overextend ourselves.”

    I agree. I give the information about the things I feel are beneficial; and then I’m through with it. I respond to those people who reach out for some follow-up conversations about the information. And I leave alone the people who aren’t interested in the information I share. I feel that my only ethnical duty is to share the information. What people do with the information is up to them.

    Expect Success!

    • ZooPath says:

      The Field negro blgo popped into my mind as I was reading this post. I don’t even go there anymore, much less read the comments because it’s such a circus. People have been asking him to moderate but he was very reluctant to despite being asked repeatedly. So I just decided not to give him any traffic until he decided to do something about all the foolishness in the comment section.

      • ZooPath,

        I suspect that lots of folks have joined you in walking away from The Field Negro blog. The non-stop venom and lies that he lets nuts spew in his comment section is enough to induce nausea in a normal person. So, lots of normal people stay away from that blog.

        Expect Success!

    • ZooPath says:

      I respond to those people who reach out for some follow-up conversations about the information. And I leave alone the people who aren’t interested in the information I share.

      ITA with that. If someone isn’t receptive to whatever advice or wisdom I can share with them then I don’t try to convice them to listen. It makes no sense to cast pearls before swine.

    • Faith says:

      There’s a few black-run blogs that are now finally realizing they need to moderate comments and establish some type of order. I have a soft spot in my heart for Wayne as he was one of the first to encourage me to start a blog based on my comments at his site but I knew that I had no interest in the foul language and derailing tactics that has been allowed at other people’s forums. I’ve seen a sharp and steady decline in civility and basic common sense for that matter and have reduced by time at black-run blogs to maybe 3 at the most aside from the empowerment bloggers. Despite the chaos those are the blogs that get all the accolades and press.

  10. Bronzey,

    We had a detailed conversation at the previous blog about the specific disruptive tactics that trolls like to use to disrupt conversations. http://muslimbushido.blogspot.com/2009/03/table-talk-for-activists-part-4.html

    RECOGNIZING COMMON IIT TACTICS

    The first step to handling this type of online aggression is to recognize it for what it is: an attack. Too many Black women bloggers misread this behavior as legitimate dissent and discussion. That’s not what the behavior is about at all. It’s about derailing, and shutting down, any discussion that might raise Black women’s consciousness. I’ll focus on the IITs’ favorite attack techniques, but please take the time to read the entire linked article called “25 Tactics for Truth Suppression:” http://www.benfrank.net/disinfo This article covers the full range of disruptive tactics.

    Play Indignant

    Avoid discussing any of the points that are raised, and instead talk about how offended you are by the very premise of the discussion. Naive opponents will discuss and debate the merits of your decision to take offense at the discussion.

    Hit and Run

    Leave a short, sarcastic comment and then run off before anyone can respond. An alternative is to return to leave other comments while ignoring other participants’ responses to your original comment. Naive opponents will continue to respond to you, instead of moving the discussion forward without you.

    Straw Man

    Misrepresent your opponent’s argument into something that’s weaker and easier for you to rebut. Spend all of your comments responding to this fake, straw man argument, and NOT to anything your opponent actually said.

    Deny Reality

    Act and speak as if the very real, very negative circumstances facing African-American women don’t exist. Act and speak as if the African-American collective is a paradise filled with stable, loving, married households. Act and speak as if the masses of Black men are protecting and providing for Black women and children. In short, deny reality. Imitate the posture of 1950s Southern racists who just knew that their “darkies” had every reason to be happy living under segregation; and would be happy if it wasn’t for “outside Communist agitators.”

    Naive opponents will start discussing and debating the existence of your alternate reality, instead of the original issue at hand.

    Invoke [Invented, Skewed] Statistics to Deny Reality

    This is a variation of the above technique. Naive opponents will start discussing and debating the merits of your fake statistics, instead of the original issue at hand.

    Start a Flame War

    Say something insulting or condescending to goad opponents into emotional responses. This way you can shift the conversation away from the issue at hand, and onto other people’s emotionalism. For extra credit points, leave a link in your insulting comment to an IIT blog in order to lure opponents there to be insulted some more.

    Change the Subject

    This tactic is usually used in combination with at least one of the other tactics listed. It’s also the ultimate goal of all of the earlier tactics.

    STAY ON POINT: STOP HOLDING TOWN HALL MEETINGS FOR INTERNET IKE TURNERS

    The first error that many Black women bloggers make is not recognizing these disruptive tactics for what they are: attacks. The second error many women bloggers make is by entertaining this nonsense.

    If you are an activist blog host, please understand that it is totally inappropriate to allow oppressors to use your blog to advance their agenda! You don’t owe your oppressor “equal time.” Would you allow the Klan to use your blog forum to spread their message? Well, the Internet Ike Turners are the same as the Klan. I think that sometimes we forget this.

    As a blog host, unless you have the skills to successfully use the IITs’ comments as “teachable moments,” you probably should NOT publish their comments. By arguing with IITs, you are allowing them to re-direct the discussion away from the original point, and away from your discussion goals.

    For audience members, the most productive response is usually to ignore the Internet Ike Turners’ provocations, and stay focused on moving the discussion forward.

    When I do my periodic tours around the Black blogosphere, I see that some bloghosts and audience members have become hip to these troll tactics. Sadly, a larger number of people are still unware of these tactics and continue to feed the trolls, thereby allowing their conversations to get hijacked by trolls.

    Expect Success!

  11. Truth P. says:

    Excellent post Khadija!I have been thinking on alot of things lately like who are my real friends and who are my enemies so I thank you for what you wrote about the concern trolls and the link you posted to your old site where you talked about those that will lessen the abuse that some black women face.Seeing that defitnetly put some things into perspective for me, Thank You:)As of now I am not in any abusive relationships but as I go forward I plan on forming alliances,making new friends,and forming new families and communities with likeminded people.It will be necessary for me to know in the beginning who’ll have my back and who won’t.

    Khadija, as I have been thinking on this it saddened me when I started to think about many seemingly healthy and successful people that I would absolutely not be able to either have friendships with or do business with.I think the saddest part was when I realized that I could never be friends with Oprah.I really have loved me some Oprah,Khadija.Although I may never even meet Oprah I am hurt by some of the decisions she’s made such as befriending colorist rappers among other things.It’s crazy to me that a woman who was the victim of someones color hatred could party it up with anti black woman colorist rappers but as I said I probably will never meet her anyway but she used to be a friend of mine, in my head lol’s, and now it’s like we aren’t anymore,(deep sigh and smh).

  12. TruthP.,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.

    You said, “Although I may never even meet Oprah I am hurt by some of the decisions she’s made such as befriending colorist rappers among other things.It’s crazy to me that a woman who was the victim of someones color hatred could party it up with anti black woman colorist rappers but as I said I probably will never meet her anyway but she used to be a friend of mine, in my head lol’s, and now it’s like we aren’t anymore,(deep sigh and smh).”

    I understand. A raised consciousness pushes us to see old friends and old pleasures with new eyes. Sometimes what we see when we take a second look isn’t pleasing, and no longer fits into our lives.

    I remember the moment during college when I realized that I would never watch another Woody Allen movie—not even for free on tv (this was many years before he was revealed to be a sexual predator). This moment of awareness came when I realized that even though his movies are generally set in New York City, there’s NEVER any Black people in the background of any street scenes. Which is pretty amazing when you think about the demographics of NYC.

    Expect Success!

  13. Yes, glad you moved this out of comments!

    This is true about a couple of blogs I visit (though not so frequently anymore). I realized a while ago that the comments section was completely out of control and slogging through all the muck in the comments section to find the occasional pearl simply wasn’t worth the effort. Recently I looked at the comments sections of media blogs and was blown away by the casual hatred and frightful ignorance displayed by people there (Georgia is a state in the US and a country in Eastern Europe–but I digress!). I stopped.

    I am used to comments being moderated. I rather like it when the blog host moderates their comments because the focus stays of the topic at hand rather than foolishness. Of course, there will always be tangents, but in the main the comments respond to the posted topic.

    Personally, I don’t enjoy chaos and random ignorance when I want to learn something or be informed. I enjoyed spirited conversation! I have no expectation everyone will have the same perspective or opinion on how to approach problem ‘X’, but I do expect everyone on the blog to understand ‘X’ is a problem.

    Peace

  14. Faith,

    You said, “There’s a few black-run blogs that are now finally realizing they need to moderate comments and establish some type of order.

    . . . I’ve seen a sharp and steady decline in civility and basic common sense for that matter and have reduced by time at black-run blogs to maybe 3 at the most aside from the empowerment bloggers. Despite the chaos those are the blogs that get all the accolades and press.”

    Which is just fine with me, because that sort of thing is not one of my goals. In addition to helping more AA women optimize their lives, what I hope to see happen is a handful of this blog’s readers forming their own online businesses. Ultimately, I’d like to do what many non-AA business owners do—put together an informal “mastermind group” of like-minded AA online entrepreneurs. A smaller, non-dues paying (free in terms of money, the only cost to be paid is in contributing valuable ideas), AA version of the Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle.
    __________________________________________________

    SouthlandDiva,

    You said, “Recently I looked at the comments sections of media blogs and was blown away by the casual hatred and frightful ignorance displayed by people there…”

    Guurl, that’s why I never read the comments to the Yahoo! news stories.

    You said, “Personally, I don’t enjoy chaos and random ignorance when I want to learn something or be informed.”

    Me either. The level of free-floating rage and pure hatred that’s on display at many blogs and forums is stomach-churning. I don’t like being exposed to that kind of mental poison.

    You said, “I enjoyed spirited conversation! I have no expectation everyone will have the same perspective or opinion on how to approach problem ‘X’, but I do expect everyone on the blog to understand ‘X’ is a problem.”

    I feel the same way. I consider online forums to be the same as meetings that are held for specific interest groups and specific purposes. It’s totally non-productive for people to go places where they’re opposed to the point of the meeting. And this cuts both ways. It’s trolling and heckling when Internet Ike Turners and Ikettes try to gatecrash BWE blogs. It’s also trolling and heckling when purportedly self-respecting BW go to Internet Ike Turner sites to argue with the misogynists over there. I don’t like that sort of behavior from anybody.

    [This objection is above and beyond the fact that these BW hecklers are unwittingly supporting the Ike Turner sites simply by participating in them. These women are feeding the Ikes blog hits. They’re also increasing the foot traffic to those blogs with their comments—a lot of extra people like to tune in to a site when they see that there’s an argument in progress.]

    Expect Success!

  15. lafemmenoir says:

    I remember recently reading this in Sojourner’s Passport (Khadija’s book)and so when I visit various blogs now, I like to look at the comments that they allow on their blogs. I didn’t do this in the past because I never understood the real effect that intentional sabatoge could have on a blog, but now it is something that I do. I agree with you, some people are really naieve when it comes to responses to their posts. I would like to chalk it up to naivete’, but isn’t it is it? It really is what you say, they want to remain fair and balanced. But how can you be in a world that is not fair and balanced? Everyone has an angle, everyone, and if you are not careful, their angle could derail all of your hard work.

    I often see guest posts that are authored by people who on the surface seem like they are with the blog host(directionally speaking), but they have a sentence or two in the guest post essay that goes in the opposite direction of where the blog host is going with their blog, yet the blog host allowed them to post it. In-freakin-credible! It’s almost like the blog host didn’t read it before they allowed it to be posted.

    Also, it is frustrating trying to get a point across in the discussion and there is a person who doesn’t believe in the spirit of what they blog is about posting silliness.For example:

    if the blog is about Vegatarianism and how to stick to a vegatarian diet and then a person comes and comments that we need to give meat a chance and starts with the spiel about the imagined benefits of meat and how we have turned our back on meat, and how vegatables could never measure up to meat, so forth.

    Or someone who is a vegatarian sayng that vegatarianism isn’t for everyone and some people get fat or sick on vegatarian diet, and then goes on to say that perhaps you should reconsider meat.

    These are really general, but I KNOW you get the point.

    What is the benefit to the blog to allow those kinds of comments to come through the filter? How does it benefit the blog host or the message that they want to get across? When you allow these posts and comments people start to question your abilities and intentions as a blog host.

    There are far too many blogs out here that offer similar subjects or positions for one to be dallying with this type of silliness, especially if they want to keep their readership, be taken seriously, and be successful blog hosts…

  16. Felicia says:

    Working link (I hope) below…

    http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local-beat/Suffer-These-Crimes-in-
    Oakland-Dont-Call-the-Cops-98266509.html

    Ladies in the listening audience, it’s truly time to flee these dangerous areas if you live in one because you’re truly on your own there.

    Help will not be coming.

  17. **Audience Note**

    I periodically take mini-sabbaticals away from the gadgets. I’m about to begin one such sabbatical around 10 minutes from now (at around midnight). While I’m away from the computer, the comments to the recent posts will be temporarily turned off.

    I plan to return to the computer (and blog) on Monday, August 30, 2010—I will enable the comments when I return.

    Expect Success!

  18. […] The Sojourner’s Passport Another Look At Legitimate Dissent Versus Sabotage by Khadija Nassif on August 12th, 2010 […]