Alternet has a piece on the practical ignoring of columnist Bob Herbert by both mainstream media and the top blogs. Though I don't necessarily agree with everything that Mr. Herbert writes, I was pretty upset when his columns, which I followed, disappeared behind the NY Times pay-for firewall. But the issue here really isn't about Bob Herbert but really about the relative invisibility of black writers on the web. They are there but, as in the offline world, black writers and bloggers are simply ignored by the "larger" entities many of whom are larger by and large because they are white. Let me explain.
It is not that by being white one is guaranteed to be popular. No. It is that white folk no matter what they may say regarding racism, are uncomfortable with real black opinion. By real, I mean that which neither panders to white guilt nor to black apathy. Those who would call Thomas Jefferson a rapist with a straight face and mean it. People who have heros beyond Martin Luther King Jr. This is kind of the effect of External Authority which I posted on in which Noam Chomsky said:
He wrote anything he wanted -- which is absolutely true. But, if he wasn’t writing the things he did he wouldn’t have a column in the New York Times.
So when I read about these "great" columnists and bloggers who say they rarely if ever read Bob Herbert, I'm not surprised. They don't read black blogs either (with few exceptions) nor do they blogroll many black blogs if any. I also recently posted on a comment about the apparent lack of black faces at the Yearly Kos convention, which I said was a reflection of the racism in the white left with the example from a posting on the KOS site that stated:
Markos may live in Oakland, but it's not 1968, and he's not hanging out with Fred Hampton and Huey P. Newton and there will be no slow motion or still life of Markos Moulitsas Zúniga strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving for just the proper occasion. We're not a fringe group. We're the mainstream.
Yep, Lets insult the memory of shot to death while sleeping Black Panthers. Good idea. Oh and yes, Lets dump on the RBG while we're at it. Nope, won't be seeing me at the next KOS convention and I don't expect to be invited either. But I've got to assume that there are either no "clued" in blacks involved with KOS operations or there are no blacks there period. And to be honest a dumb black person in an organization might as well be not there.
So no, this article comes as no surprise at all. The more things change the more they stay the same.