Race Blogger Carmen Van Kerckhove Steps Away: Why We Need to Keep Going
Carmen Van Kerckhove announced last week that she was discontinuing her race & ethnicity blogging for Racialicious, Love Isn't Enough and Addicted to Race. For those like me who were compelled to get off the couch and take our activism seriously because of Van Kerckhove, the founder and co-founder of all three popular sites, this was extremely disappointing news -- if not a complete surprise.
Carmen had been absent online for a number of months, is a new mother, and -- as she mentioned in her farewell post -- owns and runs Urban Martial Arts, a Brooklyn-based martial arts school, with her husband. Because she has always had other passions besides those she is so well known for, it was time to move on. She writes:
Why have I decided to change course? Well, it took me a long time to admit this to myself, but the truth is that I'm just not as passionate and driven about race work as I used to be.
Before, when I heard about something race-related, I'd get fired up and couldn't wait to blog/speak/evangelize about it. But over the last year, blogging has felt like more of an obligation than a passion. And it's just not fair to you if I keep phoning it in.
Carmen is now blogging about health and nutrition on the Urban Martial Arts blog.
I know Carmen personally, and admire her work, her bravery and her talent. For a brief time, she was a also a contributing editor for BlogHer. I have linked to Racialicious and Love Isn't Enough several times for this site, and -- because Carmen has passed the torch on to some incredibly talented writers (Latoya Peterson of Racialicious and Tami Winfrey Harris of Love Isn't Enough, a parenting site) -- I will continue to do so.
Perhaps it is because it seems like blogging is slowing down and there are a number of race and ethnicity bloggers who seemed to have disappeared, I am wondering if Carmen's departure is a sign of the times. People seem to prefer tweeting to blogging, and -- let's face it -- writing about race is a thankless and sometimes arduous task in a society in which people are reluctant to really discuss the underlying issues that let overt and (the most insidious forms of racism) covert racism continue. Race bloggers get hate mail and suffer from lots of traffic but very few comments ... some of which, depending on where we write, have to be deleted. We sometimes get blowback from our family and friends about what we write, and outside of the handful of people who are interested in the topic (and seem to all comment on the same sites), I sometimes wonder if anyone really cares.
Because of the continuing current issues that we face, writing about race and racism is more important than ever. We need to create a dialogue about what is happening in Arizona, and we need to discuss what is happening in Texas with the revisionist historical and social content that will now be included in state school textbooks. Since Obama's presidency, the resistance to a black president has raised some of the most hateful speech against African-Americans in decades.
The G8 and G20 Summit is happening in Toronto, where I live, and we are getting ready for a plethora of demonstrators from various social, political, religious and cultural groups. While online chatter might not solve any of these issues, dialogue and the education that one might get from online chatter might help.
I completely understand why people suffer from online racial writing fatigue. I feel it too, even though I also write about extreme music. Interestingly enough, there are intersections between the two worlds -- more than I originally thought, even though the simple pleasure of listening and enjoying the music you prefer shouldn't have to be fraught with racial tension.
Here are some of the bloggers who continue to raise important issues, raise awareness and continue to fight the good fight:
Black Women Blow the Trumpet: Not only is Lisa blogging, she is a voracious Tweeter and has built up a reputation as a reliable resource on the web.
Farai Chideya: Farai has run Pop and Politics for years, has written three nonfiction books and one novel and was a former host at NPR Radio.
Have you checked out the new Change.org site? They have an amazing page, Race in America, that has guest posts from Tami Winfrey Harris, Nadra Kareem and The Cruel Secretary's Andrea Plaid (actually, the Cruel Secretary might be one of those blogs that has disappeared).
Renee from Womanist Musings, a fellow Canuck is holding it down from Niagra Falls.
While Macon is a dude, he includes many guest posts from women of color over at Stuff White People Do.
Jen, who runs Reappropriate, is an Asian-American feminist whom I've been reading for years and who is still going strong.
Jessica Yee runs the Native Sexual Health Network in Toronto and blogs on issues surrounding sex and sexuality, native and women's issues. She has guest blogged on a number of sites but writes regularly at Rabble. Ca.
I'm sure I'm missing a whole bunch, so if you know of race and ethnicity blogs that deserve a shout-out, please leave your lists in the comments.
Contributing Editor - Race, Ethnicity & Culture
Blog: Writing is Fighting: www.lainad.typepad.com
Writer: Hellbound: www.hellbound.ca