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Should White Women Attend Blogging Conferences for Women of Color?

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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.

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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.

 

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  • Elizabeth Towns
    June 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    It's important that answers come from the one's equipped to provide them and opinions are given as just that – opinions. Everyone is entitled to those, and whether they are fact or emotion based.

    Let's keep in mind the starting point of the debate – whether the organizer of the conference intended diversity to constitute minority exclusivity. The organizer has since clarified that this was never the intention or desire of the organization, and diversity is in fact in reference to all races, creeds, sexual orientations and classes.

    I am African American and have been to many events that were ethnic themed where people of color and white people spent the event learning, sharing and networking together.

    I have also attended events when I was the only non white person in attendance and felt like the token equal opportunity act fulfillment scholarship kid, even though I paid full price. Black, a woman, and degreed. I'm like a three leaf clover for the statistic keepers.

    In any event,it was my choice to attend every conference – and I think it all boils down to that simple factor. The choice should be individual and no one person should be able to make a whole group of people feel excluded based on skin color.

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Chantilly Pati&ntild
      June 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts Elizabeth. I think these are all good points that need to be taken into consideration.

      Diverse conferences, like Niche Mommy, are wonderful because we can all learn and grow together as you mentioned. It's also beneficial to many bloggers of color who do feel like the odd one out at mainstream conferences, so I'm glad that there is a growing number of them sprouting up out there. ♥

  • Sadie
    June 7, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I am confused. Why is it okay to have events and organizations specifically for non-white bloggers, but jokingly mentioning to friends in a blogging group that I wanted to join a "white bloggers group", in the same sentence as saying I wanted to join a "lesbian bloggers group", is off-putting and offensive?

    "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."

    When I am being told by a blogger (who is speaking as if she has some type of authority) that – in so many words – there is no point in attending the Niche Mommy Conference because I'm white, yeah I am going to have a problem with that. But obviously the person who said brands were looking for diversity – and that diversity only applied to ethnicity – was talking out of her ass and Niche Mommy quickly corrected the situation.

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Chantilly Pati&ntild
      June 7, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      Sadie, thanks for stopping by to clarify. In your post, the part about a group for lesbian bloggers was omitted, so I wasn't aware of that comment. Gender is certainly a consideration not taken into account by most mainstream outlets or conferences and I agree with you that it's a community that needs support. The generic group "White bloggers" is an entirely different animal.

      I don't agree with what was said to you at all, and in my book you are absolutely a diverse, bicultural woman (if not multicultural), because you are navigating more than one space…mainstream and that of your own lesbian community, who's concerns and interests may not align with or be represented by mainstream.

      I don't think that groups for women of color are the problem though, as I have been accepted into many, more readily than by mainstream…but the issue is with this one blogger (and perhaps a few others) who obviously hold some prejudice.

      You have every right to feel excluded and I know the feeling because I have been there many times too. But it's not an indication of the group, it's an indication of that person's perspectives and opinions only.

      As I commented on your post, I do appreciate you bringing the discussion to light, but some of the comments and assumptions were offensive in my opinion.

      • Sadie
        June 7, 2012 at 6:05 pm

        Thankfully, we are all entitled to our own opinions. I'm surprised that you were happy I stopped by, with me being white and all. I know, from reading your posts, that you prefer non-white friends.

        ^^ Statements like THOSE are offensive, much more so than me joking about joining a white bloggers group. But of course, that's just my opinion. :)

        • Chantilly Patiño
          Chantilly Pati&ntild
          June 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm

          Wow…well, I'm glad we're keeping it respectable here. My preference is not "non-white", but individuals who UNDERSTAND an experience and dynamic other than white mainstream. There is a difference, although to some, it may be subtle.

          I do prefer people who understand MY personal experience and I'm not ashamed at all to admit that readily.

          • Sadie
            June 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm

            So when you said

            "because I prefer non-white friends"

            (in this post: http://www.biculturalmom.com/2012/01/31/well-mean

            Was that a typo?

          • Chantilly Patiño
            Chantilly Pati&ntild
            June 7, 2012 at 7:19 pm

            Thanks for sharing…I think you missed the point that I was being ironical and a bit sarcastic. But regardless, I also mentioned interracial couples in there.

            I'm glad you brought this up though, because I am actually working on a post about the difference between "white people" and "white culture" or "white supremacy", which explains what I mean much more clearly.

            I am white, my family is white, many of my friends are white, but some are more privileged and indoctrinated into "white supremacy" than others. It's the "white is right" attitude that I'm talking about. The "I'm normal and you're the 'other'" mentality. If you go through my "white privilege" posts, you can probably get some idea of this concept.

        • Melody
          June 7, 2012 at 6:13 pm

          I would have to agree. For someone who was so offended by Sadie's email, I'm pretty offended by your entire series on White people. I'm supposed to be okay with the fact that you used the same exact line that people who are racist against black and gay folks ("I have lots of white friends")… and the entire fact that you think that white people are horrible people. Aren't you white? Why are white people the bad people all the sudden? Are YOU bad? If not, then why are the rest of us bad because of the color of OUR skin? I might remind you that we all look the same underneath our skin. There's a heart, blood vessels, kidneys, lungs, and so on.
          Your entire blog is sort of offensive, so I guess I'm not really surprised that I'm offended, because apparently that's this blog's job, to offend as many people as possible just for ratings…. Or maybe I'm just tired. But, I'm still offended.

          • Chantilly Patiño
            Chantilly Pati&ntild
            June 7, 2012 at 8:08 pm

            The topic is "white privilege", not "white people". And yes, white Americans do experience a difference in lifestyle and privilege due to their skin color. I myself, have benefited. It doesn't mean that "white is bad", what it means is that "white culture" or "white supremacy" is. It is bad because it tells a story of white people as the standard, the norm and the successful, while it demonstrates that people of color are the "other", the "lesser" than. Have you ever heard of the "3/5 law"?? That is the history we live with in this country. This is white supremacy. This is what makes being white different and something that I want to talk about.

            It's important to understand that white culture and supremacy has evolved over time…from slave owners to business owners and law makers who label Black a negative and White a positive. To me, there is a difference and white people in this country are facing a very unique dynamic, given the messages that we have been fed. We need to break the cycle.

          • Melody
            June 8, 2012 at 3:38 am

            I guess I missed the memo that I'm supposed to be "successful." I'm definitely the opposite of that…. I think it's just a case of race hating, but that's my opinion.

          • Sadie
            June 8, 2012 at 1:59 am

            So in the land of Chantilly, it's okay to be sarcastic about not wanting white friends, but being sarcastic about joining a white blog group is offensive.

            Confused. Still.

  • Melissa
    June 7, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Wow If They Want You There They Will Invite You! Your Not Going To Ever Be Included Acting Childish. I am Sure These Lovely Blogging Ladies Except and Include All Women once They Get to Know them (example My Awsome Tilly I Love You!) Butting your way in and then whining will get you no where….I hope that You All Have A Great Trip!

    • Melody
      June 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      Wow, butting your way in to a conference that is about diversity? Diversity is NOT limited to race, which has been established if you read the blog by Niche Mommy. Seriously, I cannot believe people tonight! *smh* That there are people this closed minded in this world makes me sad for my children!

    • Sadie
      June 7, 2012 at 6:24 pm

      I was invited, by a friend, to this conference. Then another blogger came in and said the brands at this conference were interested in working with non-white bloggers. Seeing as I'm white, I wanted clarification.

      That was the email posted on the Niche Mommy's site. I posted on my own blog about it, because I decided I'd rather be transparent about the issue instead of hiding and acting like it wasn't me that posted.

      Then, Chantilly posted about me.

      That's the chain of events here. I'm not sure where your rude comment fits in, but it's silly.

  • Sadie
    June 7, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    I am just glad that we all agree diversity doesn't just apply to race. I hope the woman who said it sees it and realizes how wrong she was.

  • Summer Davis
    June 7, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    I guess I'm confused by the whole "minority" thing. I live in a city where it is 54% African-American, 12% Latino, 32% Caucasian, and 2% everything else. I'm part of the minority, right? But I'm not treated like one. And that's what I really don't understand. We're all AMERICANS, right? I mean, we're like citizens and stuff, right? AMERICAN citizens, no? What does our cultural background, color of our skin (I'm much more pale than my mother but nobody ever says anything about the color of our skin), texture of our hair, or accent on our tongue have anything to do with LIFE. I [personally] get so tired of the race/culture card. We're Americans. We're women. We're writers. Let's all get together with the premise of becoming better bloggers no matter what other things people think "divide" us. The notion of a certain group of people not being heard because of their culture or race is asinine. Sure there are still people who think that way but that school of thought is only propagated by people like yourself who constantly call attention to it. I am not my great grandparents. I am a white woman who can appreciate the color of someone's skin (white, black, latino…WHATEVER…we're all different SHADES), and the culture that someone identifies with, without making an immediate judgment on CHARACTER.

    As long as people constantly continue to make generalizations about what white people think about "minorities" (which is a JOKE considering the fact that Caucasians are quickly becoming the mathematical "minority"), there will always be a false sense of insecurity in these same "minorities". If there was a White Bloggers Conference do you think it would have the same positive support? I bet it would be shut down. But how is it any different? And how, in the name of all things Holy, are you, as a Caucasian blogger, able to be affiliated with Latino conferences and support networks? I'm married to a restaurant manager. It doesn't make me qualified to place his weekly order. Being married to someone "different" from you just isn't a big deal anymore. This is 2012, not 1956 Jackson, Mississippi. You just don't see biracial couples anymore and think anything of it. At least I don't. Then again, my sister is married to a Kenyan man so it's just something that I'm used to.

    Whatever. My whole point in all of this is to say that we are all the same. My skin is tanner than my sisters, lighter than my mother's, and more freckly than my husband's. My skin is also more pale than my brother in law's (who is, in the literal sense of the word, BLACK) but once you remove our skin, we're the same.

    This whole race thing has GOT to stop, but it's not going to ever stop until the "minorities" stop screaming "VICTIM!"

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Chantilly Pati&ntild
      June 7, 2012 at 7:41 pm

      Wow…now that's offensive. I'm sorry, but I don't have any ink left to stamp your "I'm above race" card. I've used it all up for the year. I don't know how many times I've heard this played out excuse, but I'm tired of it. Beyond tired.

      You grew up in a diverse city? So did I. About the same demographics to be exact. And from what I remember, correct me if I'm wrong, the Black and Latino families lived in separate neighborhoods from many of the white folks…with much lower paying jobs. But maybe your city doesn't have a set of train tracks??

      And I know you have a Black family member (is that worth bonus points??), but I am MARRIED to a man of color…and I see his struggles and I see the discrimination he's incurred for a skin color that apparently people like you are so far "above". Interracial couples are still seen as the oddity…they are still controversial…YES, in 2012! So please, do not come preaching to me about "color blindness" and people of color playing the race card, when you don't even have a full deck.

      This is my life. This is my reality, and your bullying, egotistical comment isn't going to change that. PERIOD.

      FYI: Here's a useful link… http://www.biculturalmom.com/2011/09/09/addressin

      • Sadie
        June 8, 2012 at 1:31 am

        You think because you're married to a hispanic man that somehow gives YOU brownie points?

        I live in a diverse city and on my street there are blacks, hispanics, and whites – all on the same side of the road, all in the same types of houses. There is no "set of tracks" to divide us. We don't use the race card like you are so quick to use. Do you think it makes you look better to talk bad about white people, when you are one? You look silly!

        • Chantilly Patiño
          Chantilly Pati&ntild
          June 8, 2012 at 10:39 am

          For the record, my husband is Latino, Tejano or Mexican American. We don't use the word "Hispanic". It's more a government term for people like my husband.

          Just want to point out to, that saying we are playing the "race card" is basically the same as saying that we are making up racism. Do you think racism isn't real??

          Because I think white people like to play the "race card" a lot by telling people of color that they shouldn't make race an issue, because it isn't one. Really?? Race isn't an issue in this country???

          Just sayin'…and my comment isn't directed specifically at you, but more anyone who comes to read this post. When you say "stop playing the race card", you're telling people like my husband that his story doesn't matter and that racism is a myth. If that's not what you mean, please stop using this term…it's extremely offensive, since racism is, in fact, REAL.

          • Sadie
            June 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm

            Racism is real. I live in downtown St. Louis, and I'm a white girl. I experience it on a regular basis, but I don't let it upset me. It upsets me more when people are rude because of my sexual orientation, but I think everyone has the right to their own opinions… and everyone has their OWN experiences, ya know?

          • Chantilly Patiño
            Chantilly Pati&ntild
            June 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm

            White folks do not experience "racism" in the U.S. That would be "discrimination", which is bad, but different and doesn't include all the generational disparities and social ills that are associated with "racism".

            Racism is built on a caste system that is honored throughout the U.S. Not quite the same as being discriminated against by an individual or solitary business.

  • Melody
    June 7, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Wow, so because you’re not satisfied not knowing who could possibly have asked a reasonable question and remained anonymous, you just ASSUME you know who it is? Is it really even important to know who it was? In my opinion, it’s not. Someone got the definition of diversity wrong, and the emailer was trying to find out if that was what NicheMommy was looking for so that she didn’t show up there and be the only person who wasn’t of color or Latina, or whatever. Everyone has a right to ask questions, no? And those people also have the right to remain anonymous.
    Remember that the next time YOU would like to ask an anonymous question, and tell us how you would feel…. ALSO, you don’t even know if you’re right. *smh*

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Chantilly Pati&ntild
      June 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      Thanks for your comment Melody. The point wasn't to add who said what, but to more share this article with my audience and open a dialog. My focus isn't on the blogger, but on this conversation and since it is publicly displayed on the blog, I don't mind sharing the link for discussion. I actually do agree with this blogger on some points, but not on others.

  • Melissa
    June 7, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    My First Comment was Directed Toward The title Post Sorry!

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Chantilly Pati&ntild
      June 7, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      Melissa, you have nothing to be sorry for. This is your space too and feel free to voice your opinions. These women are being bullies and if it continues, I'll just stop the comments.

  • Sadie
    June 8, 2012 at 2:16 am

    I just listened to your podcast. IDK if you just added that or if I somehow missed it last night.

    Groups for blacks/latinos/etc don't bother me. It does bother me that you think it's okay to have those groups but it's offensive to even joke about a white group (yet you can joke about not wanting white friends).

    Also, I was not involved in the "reverse-racism" talk. You say the majority of the US is white only. According to a blog that you cited, 85% of mom bloggers are non-white, which means whites are in the minority.

    I think we both agree on the MAIN point of my post and your post, though, which is nice. What the latina blogger said, about brands wanting to work with non-whites, was NOT OKAY. And these conferences are actually GOOD for white people to attend because DIVERSITY does not just apply to race. So, I apologize if I offended you with my "white/lesbian/tall bloggers group" statement (and I apologize if I offended any short/straight people too ;)), and I think we can agree to disagree on the other points.

    Have a great day (I really mean that too!). :)

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Chantilly Pati&ntild
      June 8, 2012 at 10:31 am

      Fair enough. We'll have to agree to disagree. Also, when I was speaking about the "white only" I was meaning that white Americans have control over most of the private and government sectors in America. When you walk into a business, like a bank or a grocery story, for example, nearly all are run by whites. The majority of judges and senators and CEOs are white. This puts people of color in a subservient position and whites haven't solved the problem yet on their own…after nearly 400 years. They haven't eliminated the prejudices and systems that keep people of color at the bottom. It's clear that people of color can't wait on white folks for justice or equality. That's why these groups led by people of color are so very important. They are bringing people up and creating an economic and social power that can end the high % of poverty in their communities and the high % of joblessness. It's about empowerment and economic independence…and I'm not just talking about conferences, but groups that unify by race in general. It's necessary for success.

      I hope you understand where I'm coming from and why it was so offensive to me, but I agree…let's just agree to disagree on all the rest.

      Also, thank you for pointing out that the podcast wasn't noticeable. I changed the colors to make it more visible.

  • Let's Be Frank
    June 8, 2012 at 7:37 am

    I am really amazed about how white women in this discussion can claim that "we" minorities need to get over the race issue and look beyond race and focus on being the same. We are not the same for many reasons including the different experiences we have had in this country not just decades ago but in current times. If only everyone in America viewed everyone equally, then maybe their arguments would be reasonable. However, in a day where we still have overt and covert racism, where children of mixed parents are made fun of at school, where biracial couples are attacked, and homosexuals victims of hate crimes, then maybe, just maybe, can a white person ever attempt to call for an end of distinguishing races. The day any white woman walks in the shoes of a non-white woman, or someone that speaks with a strong foreign accent, or with really dark skin, or even light skin "for a black person," then maybe she will have some standing to claim that she is tired of other races pulling the race card.

    To Summer Davis, whose "skin is tanner than my sisters, lighter than my mother’s, and more freckly than my husband’s," you live in false sense of understanding real race relations of today regardless of the city in which you live and who your brother in law is. Summer is obviously an advocate of diversity so perhaps she has never been in a room of white people sharing their hatred of minorities in front of her. Summer also has never been discriminated against because of her tan/pale skin.

    In 2012, we still have people call our President the "N" word, I had a tenant move out of my rental property the same day they moved in. The tenants told the realtor, a white woman, they did not realize the home owners were black. This was on May 1, 2012. The list goes on. I am an affluent black woman with an education, a nice car, and professional career, and regardless of the number of degrees or awards I have on my wall, there is a percentage of Americans that hate me just because of my skin.

    I appreciate Summer wanting us all to be the same, but not everyone feels that way.

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Chantilly Pati&ntild
      June 8, 2012 at 10:22 am

      "Let's Be Frank", thanks so much for chiming in. Yours is a story that so many people aren't aware of and it's unfortunate, because the fact that so many Americans are unaware is another indication of just how segregated this country still is.

      What you've laid out here is more of in tune with the treatment I have witnessed and the idea of "colorblindness" is in reality, a myth that unfortunately has spread across this country.

      I'm tired of people saying their "above" race or that we're "post-racial" because we have a Black president, because that's only reality for one half of the country. For those of us on the other side of the colorline, it's pretty clear that the country has become MORE hostile when it comes to color…since 9/11, since the economic slump, since electing a Black president.

      Thanks for speaking up. ♥

    • Sadie
      June 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      Children are made fun of at school, period. Not just mixed kids are made fun of. My white kids are made fun of, too.

      And I get what you're saying, but homosexuality isn't a skin color… the discrimination is different. You can't hide that you're black. If I wanted/needed to, I could hide the fact that I am a lesbian. So while it sucks to have people hate me because of my sexual orientation, I can CHOOSE whether to disclose it or not. I hate that there are still racist (and homophobic) people in this world, but the reason this post was started is because a Latina woman was being racist towards a white woman… so let's not pretend it's just women (people) of color that deal with it.

      • Chantilly Patiño
        Chantilly Pati&ntild
        June 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm

        Just want to point out…prejudice against white folks is not "racism", it's "prejudice" or "discrimination". Racism is something else entirely…it's a system that acts against people of color in this country (established through slavery and colonization)…so their is a difference.

  • BellaVidaLetty
    June 8, 2012 at 10:25 am

    It is excellent and important to have Conferences for and about bloggers of color. It’s a space where we can feel comfortable, have an exchange and learn.

    Now I am completely against excluding anyone, that is pure ignorance. We are talking about attending a blogging conference. By excluding anyone would be a major #FAIL, a missed opportunity to further the conversation and learn from one another.

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Chantilly Pati&ntild
      June 8, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Letty. ♥ At least that's one thing we all agree on here, exclusion isn't a positive…it only separates and drives toward a negative.

      Speaking of conferences, I hope to see you at another one soon. I barely got to chat with you ladies!! Definitely looking forward to a sequel! ;)

  • Glenn Robinson
    June 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Chantilly, you are a woman of color in a way, a woman of less color.
    Interesting debate though.

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Chantilly Pati&ntild
      June 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Thanks for your comment Glenn. It's a convo I wanted to bring up, since it's been mentioned several times online and it pertains to me personally. :)

  • Meagan P - Sunshine
    June 12, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Here is what bothers me… Either we are all alike, regardless of skin color, and we should ignore the color of our skin, and look at our personalities, interests, lifestyles, etc – and use those to find common ground and build events and networks around.

    Or, we say that women of different nationalities are so very different that we need to separate into our own racial groups. That all Asian bloggers are the same, due to skin color. All Latina bloggers are the same due to skin color, and should have their own networks excluding other races. But I think this is silly?

    And – YES. People who are white can feel racism. Racism is when you discriminate against someone based on their race, just as sexism is descriminating against someone due to their gender. In my town, white Americans are the minority. There are so many jobs that require me to be fluent in Spanish to apply – but it is not allowed to state that a job requires you to know English. We do not have "train tracks", and our low income neighborhoods are a mix of cultures – including a huge percentage of poor white people too. There is a grocery store that won't help me because I don't speak in Spanish. I had customers at the last retail store that I managed who wouldn't let me help them because I was the only white girl who worked there. I cannot even count the amount of "white girl" jokes and rude comments that were made to me there. So it is something that people deal with, even if you haven't seen it in your community.

    I feel like it makes sense to have blogging groups for people who blog about sports, or recipes, or crafts. But to have groups or events that bring people together ONLY based on their skin color seems divisive? I mean, it's that racist in a way too – to say that all people of a certain color are the same due to that skin color, and that they're very different than other people of other skin colors?

    And… The biggest question for me, the thing that I understand the least, is … What in the heck IS a mainstream blogger? I know Latina bloggers who work on all of the same campaigns that I do. There is nothing about their blog that would let you know what color their skin is? There's that whole saying, "Everyone is 'normal' until you get to know them…" Lol. I feel like that applies here, too. Am I mainstream because I'm white? I don't blog about being white, and eating apple pie, and waving my flag for 'Merica. And that Sadie is "acceptable" for this conference, because yes, she's white – but being a lesbian makes her diverse enough. What do I need to do to be diverse enough to attend?

    I had thought after reading Niche Mommy's explanation of the event, and that everyone was invited, that I would be welcome there. But now after reading your post, and realizing that in addition to the blogger who originally said this conference was not for whites, that you also agree with that – {unless I'm a lesbian} – then it's clear that if I attended, I'd be unwelcome.

    Would I be mocked as too "mainstream?" I feel like I'm an incredibly unique person, and my skin color has nothing to do with it…

    This whole issue, and all of these discussions about whether race should matter or not, is just a big bummer to me…

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Chantilly Pati&ntild
      June 12, 2012 at 8:30 am

      Lord, I have been so good about letting all these comments through, even though some of them are basically repeating the same questions and assumptions again and again…but again I'll say…

      People of color are NOT the ones separating themselves…the communities we live in today…in 2012…are SEGREGATED. Whether or not people want to see it and believe it, that is the reality we live in, so in order to succeed, you need to find individuals who are like minded and supportive. Yes, many times race is a qualifier, since the color of your skin often dictates how you're treated in this country…but it is not ONLY about race. Obviously, I (and other women who may not be Latina) are a part of the Latina bloggers community. It is because we have overlap in our understandings of what it means to "be Latina" in this country.

      Niche Mommy doesn't separate by race, and again, you're making an assumption about what I am actually saying. Everyone should come to Niche Mommy, but they should also respect that it is a place where women of color can be valued and empowered…RESPECT IT…that is all I'm am saying…not NO WHITES ALLOWED. Stop making this into a "nobody likes white people" story. lol

      Seriously, we whites have a lot of power in this country…why are WE so SENSITIVE??? Even when we become a "minority" it won't matter, because our skin is still white…we have "the prize" already. We are at the top of the caste system and it will likely take hundreds of years before a change of power even happens, IF it does. So please, everyone stop acting like people of color are out to get you. It's ridiculous!!

      Oh, and to follow up on your racism against white people analogy. Thank you for providing sexism as an example. PERFECT CHOICE. Ok, so men are the ones who benefit from sexism, correct? They are the ones at the top of the gender game, with the good jobs, high wages, etc. So doesn't that mean that men have a certain POWER over this country?? Over women in general, because men are the ones at the top who make the laws (whether they fit women's needs or not), who determine what is right or wrong, who do most of the hiring, who create unfair and unequal methods that further sexism???

      This is so similar to racism that it's almost ridiculous. Put white Americans in the place of men in this picture and you can begin to see the answer. Imagine what it's like for people of color when there are so few people representing them at the top. It's only natural for white people to make decisions in their favor, but doing so for generations in such a diverse country is beyond harmful…and yes…RACIST.

  • Chantilly Patiño
    Chantilly Pati&ntild
    June 12, 2012 at 11:25 am

    They're disagreeing here on my blog too, but that doesn't change reality. I'm educated on this topic, so you're not going to change my mind on this one. ;)

    I'll be creating a resource list here soon…maybe that will help some with the discussion. It's been on my "to do" list for a while…so thanks for the reminder.

    • Sadie
      June 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      You are correct, but with so many disagreeing, you think you'd realize that your reality is a little jaded.

      • Chantilly Patiño
        Chantilly Pati&ntild
        June 12, 2012 at 6:20 pm

        Right, because that is how we determine what is right or wrong…by listening to what the majority tells us to think. ;)

  • Jen
    June 16, 2012 at 5:42 am

    My high school had a Latin club for students who were studying Latin. The club was open to anyone, but it would seem pretty silly for someone who isn't studying Latin to go to a Latin club meeting. Imagine if someone who didn't have any experience in Latin went to the meeting and didn't even really attempt to speak or understand Latin! It could have been really disruptive, even disrespectful, to the students who were sharing a common interest on their own time. There were probably a hundred clubs at my high school. It would make sense for someone who didn't study Latin to find a club that more truly matched their interests and background.

    I would imagine that there are hundreds of blogging conferences held across the country each year, and the vast majority of them probably feature mostly white bloggers. Why is it so difficult to allow a few conferences for people who share a common interest or a common background?

    I personally am a part of the mixed experience because I am married to a black man. But I would not attend a conference designed for women of color unless I was specifically invited. No matter what my experience is with my husband and my family, I can never know what it is like to be Black in America. I do not have that background. I can empathize with the Black experience; I can share stories of things that happen in my mixed race family that echo the experiences of Black families in the U.S.; but I will never ever know what it is really like to live in Black skin. I have been told by many Black women bloggers that they resent the white women who intrude on their communities. Are they racist? I don't think so. I think they are protective of their space and don't want it to be disrespected–Just the same as the Latin Club that might not want someone who doesn't study Latin to attend a their meeting uninvited. Their time would no longer be spent sharing common language and experiences; instead it would be spent explaining their language and experiences to someone who isn't familiar with them. If a group of bloggers want to share a space for people who have common experiences without worrying about accommodating or teaching other people about those common experiences, I think it is their right. The exclusion may sting, but really…such clubs, groups, and conferences are started because the people who attend them already feel very excluded from the rest of the world. Our hundreds of TV stations, our newspapers, our media in general focus on largely white, heterosexual Americans. If a group of people who don't fit that demographic finally find others to share their experiences with, who are we to take that away? What gives anyone the right to intrude? The only reason I see for such an intrusion is a false sense of entitlement, a feeling of privilege. "You can't exclude me because…" I'm white, I'm straight, I'm American, I'm middle class, I'm physically able, I'm….whatever. And honestly, that privilege just shouldn't apply everywhere. Everyone should be able to find a group of people with shared experiences.

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Chantilly Pati&ntild
      June 16, 2012 at 10:26 am

      Wow…thank you Jen. I really appreciate you sharing your perspective…and such a great explanation.

      "If a group of bloggers want to share a space for people who have common experiences without worrying about accommodating or teaching other people about those common experiences, I think it is their right."

      Thank you for summing it up so well. ♥

      It's an interesting comparison with the Latin club too. I was just thinking…we have conferences specifically geared at empowering women because they have historically been left out of much of the online space…and now women are thriving in this space…because we have empowered each other through such events.

      Imagine if men felt entitled and believed that they should be there. If they came uninvited and took away that safe space where we can talk about sexism online and navigating this space based on our specific needs as women and mothers? How would we feel?

      Yes, some men do attend those conferences, because they are invited, because they support the issues and concerns of women. But what would it be like to have a number of men in attendance who would object to our needs and concerns? That wouldn't be right…you know?

    • Cassie
      August 13, 2012 at 10:02 am

      Thank you for this Jen! You said it all so wonderfully!

  • Rose
    July 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Hey Chantilly, What a wonderful topic for discussion. It is so interesting to hear all the different viewpoints and to be honest I think you have been amazing in moderating some pretty strong views – keeping the topic where it needed to be.
    I’m from Australia and we too have a very deeply rooted form of unacknowledged racism. It’s always incredible to see the righteous indignation with which many white people rain down on people of other cultures/colour when they feel like some kind of ‘special case’ or pro-active initiative is being made.
    It’s kind of like the people who feel like Oscar Pistorious (the double amputee runner who will be competing in the Olympics) has some kind of unfair advantage.

  • Cassie
    August 13, 2012 at 5:00 am

    I think it's great that a white person finally has to think if they will "fit in" at a conference when women of color have felt that for generations. Also thank you for recognizing your white privilege and being an ally, I am on my own racial justice journey and can only learn for others.
    Thanks

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Chantilly Patiño
      January 9, 2013 at 7:57 am

      Cassie, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I congratulation you on your racial justice journey…it’s not an easy one. I’m so grateful to have your support and please keep in touch. :)

  • White Mom
    January 8, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Chantilly, I just started reading your blog. I started a blog http://www.whitemomblog.com that discusses white privilege and race– a lot of what you are talking about here. I think the work you are doing here is important and you've really shown a lot of grace and composure in this argument. I look forward to reading more of your blog and continuing these conversations!

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Chantilly Pati&ntild
      January 9, 2013 at 1:54 am

      Thanks so much for your comment. I really appreciate your kind words and will definitely stop over and read your blog. Thank you so much for sharing the link here and please keep me updated. :)

  • Chantilly Patiño
    Chantilly Pati&ntild
    January 9, 2013 at 2:00 am

    Rose, my apologies for the late reply. Thank you so much for the support and understanding. I totally agree with you, and that's the indignation that I'm speaking out against when I address white privilege. I want readers to understand, this isn't about white people…it's about white privilege. This is something I want us all to be aware of because we cannot move beyond it without first acknowledging it. Thank so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it. :)