White Women at Blogging Conferences for Women of Color?
Wow…if you haven’t heard the latest, there was a disagreement between a few bloggers about who should be able to attend blogging conferences, specifically, the question was posed about whether white bloggers should attend conferences created for bloggers of color.
In a letter to Niche Mommy conference organizers, a blogger wrote in to question whether or not she would be welcomed at the upcoming conference in New Orleans.
Read the full post here: Dear Niche Mommy…Did you say only minorities can attend your conference?
I think that Niche Mommy‘s response was on point. This blogger is diverse, and more specifically, she doesn’t fit into mainstream, so where should she be? As the Niche Mommy team points out, her uniqueness and specific niche are something that they are happy to embrace, regardless of skill color. I agree.
Now we get into the tricky part of the dilemma. I’m assuming, and I can only assume, since I’m not an insider on this convo, that the blogger who wrote in, is the same one who later updated her blog with a post about the situation and her feelings of exclusion.
Read her post here: It’s Because I’m White, Isn’t It?
And a related post here: What is YOUR Definition of Diversity?
I honestly think that the point of white bloggers, who don’t fit into mainstream, attending diverse, niche-themed conferences is an important one. I’m one of those bloggers and trust me, I really appreciate the inclusion. But, this post hits on some things that just don’t resonate with me. I don’t think that having organizations and events for specific groups of bloggers of color is a bad thing…and it certainly doesn’t constitute reverse racism (as mentioned in the comments of the above post). We don’t need a “white bloggers group” and that implication was really off-putting and offensive.
Racism is not about one exclusion…it’s about a systemic exclusion. It’s a system that has forced bloggers of color not being accepted by mainstream to branch out and fuel their own success, apart from mainstream. Women of color need and deserve these groups to uplift and empower each other. So why is this even being debated?
Now, I’m not saying that exclusion of white folks is the answer, I obviously don’t subscribe to that mentality, especially when it comes to white women who are separated from mainstream culture. But these groups and conferences should be respected for what they are: tools of empowerment for women of color, by women of color.
I have attended my first few conferences this year, and I can tell you…none of them were mainstream. They have all been diverse, niche-themed events, because that’s where I feel I am most acknowledged and understood. I definitely don’t want to give up that wonderful feeling, the unity and acknowledgement of who I am as an individual, but it’s also a delicate balance. Just where does the line lay and how can I be sure that I don’t cross it and overstep my bounds, because ultimately I am a white woman and my experience IS different. So where does that leave us awkward white women who don’t quite fit on either side? In my opinion, multicultural conferences like Niche Mommy are a part of the answer.
If you’d like to hear a little more, I also recorded a quick 10 minute podcast with some additional thoughts. Listen in below:
[audio:http://www.biculturalmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/white-women-diversity-conferences.mp3|titles=White Women at Blogging Conferences for Women of Color]
What do you think? Please add your thoughts to the comments.