My write-up about this year’s SXSWi is on Popular Mechanics‘ website now, should you care to see what I was up to last weekend between parties. (Actually, it’s a testament to how much I enjoy SXSWi panels that I tend to turn in early, despite Austin’s inherent propensity for all-night ridiculousness.)
I’d like to take a moment to talk about one panel in particular, since I ended up getting more involved in it that I expected. Here was how I described it in my PopMech thing:
One of the last talks I attended asked, “Where Are the Black Tech Bloggers?” Some suggested that programming and design have become more economically favorable of late–and thus more and more attractive compared to, say, the doctors and lawyers of the world. And while no quorum was reached per se, the sharp panelists, including Newsweek’s brilliant games and technology writer N’Gai Croal, made it clear that despite whatever barriers may impede the black community from engaging in the world of technology, lack of ability is not one of them.
An additional point was removed in the edit process, in which I had pointed out that the first generation of black people who went to college probably had strong external pressure from their parents to go after traditionally lucrative careers instead of more creative, financially risky positions. Or at least that’s what the panelists guessed. Not a big omission, just an interesting aspect that is probably endemic to all cultural groups that are sending their best and brightest to college for the first time.
My self-quote above, while safely twee, more-or-less sums up how I feel about it: there are tons of overarching cultural issues that have come into play to prevent or retard the addition of black people to our relatively cloistered world of tech punditry, but the only thing those of us who are part of the white, male majority can do in the immediate space is to just make sure that the best work rises to the top regardless of the race or gender of its creator while not discounting discussion of “black” issues as being unnecessarily or uncomfortably niche—especially if they overlap with subjects that we’re all otherwise interested in, like games and gadgets.
Does that make sense? In short, I love working out my perceptions and opinions about race and our shared history, because sometimes I uncover some latent racism that I didn’t know I was dealing with and sometimes I discover I’ve been too timid about sharing my opinions out of fear of the label of racism. Discussion is part of the way forward.
So to answer the question here is a small sampling of some of the black tech bloggers out there, pulled from panel host Lynne D. Johnson’s page.
The panelists, :
Angela Benton – BlackWeb2.0
N’Gai Croal – Level Up
Darla Mack – Darla Mack: Days In The Life of a Mobile Diva
Ronald Lewis – 24/7 with Ronald Lewis
Lena West – Social Media 360 and TechForward
Craig Nulan – Subrealism: Liminal Perspectives on Consensus Reality
Another list of black tech bloggers from Lynne:
Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life
jeepbastard: Entertainment Technology
Media Mafia Think Tank
The Meshverse Journal
The Michael Hurdle Show
Nigga Know Technology [Okay, I perused this one because of the URL and I can safely report that the blogger thinks it's okay to call people "faggots" and asian girls "sleepyheads, them oriental, them horizontal pussy having Gochi Gochi Yagatochi bitches." The lesson? Anyone can be an asshole! Which, you know, duh. – Joel]
Terry White’s Tech Blog
tiffany b. brown
Beyond that, black tech bloggers, what should the rest of us do, if anything? That’s something we didn’t really get time to talk about at SXSWi.