I'm not one to usually wade into online foolishness because 1. it is not my portion in life to correct the failings of a person I neither know nor care about and 2. my mouth has been described as sharp and I'm not looking to hurt a strangers feelings. However there was a hoo-ha on Twitter last night that struck a nerve.
A blogger whose name I shall not share questioned the need for blogging platforms for people of colour. She suggested that if she was to set up a platform that was exclusively for white bloggers, all hell would be break loose. Her comrade piped up and added that blogging should be 'all about unity and spreading love, not division caused by silly labels and exclusive 'victim' groups'.
I'm going to pause here and let you digest that.
You good? Cool.
As the founder of Black British Bloggers, you can imagine why I took offence. My initial reaction was one of frustration/rage/confusion. Why are these women undermining the efforts of people of colour to support one another? Why are they so mad? The more I thought about it, the more I realised this was a teachable moment. These women were rude and unnecessarily defensive but chances are there are probably white bloggers/blog readers who are genuinely curious. In that spirit, I'm going to do my best to answer the question:
'Why are there blogging platforms exclusively for POC?'
First things first, I'm going to assume you have a basic understanding of privilege. If not I shall point you in the direction of this fabulous guide from Everyday Feminism. If you find the concept unbelievable, I suggest you stop here and go find comfort with Piers Morgan. No judgement... OK some judgement.
With privilege in mind, it is safe to assume that Black bloggers may struggle to get the same opportunities that white bloggers do. As such my platform is designed to make the road a little easier. I seek out opportunities that I think would be of benefit to a Black British audience. I work with brands who see the value in Black voices. In some small way, I'm hoping to level the playing field.
On a practical level, it's really handy to have a directory of Black British Bloggers. You are probably wondering why. You've never felt a need to Google 'white bloggers'. Here's the thing you don't need to. You can google 'uk beauty bloggers' and 90% of those searches will be fantastic bloggers with great tips who look like you. You can imagine yourself following those beauty tips and hair tutorials. If I want to have that same experience, I have to find black bloggers. Groups like mine or Melanin Bloggers or Black Queens Collective make the process a whole lot easier.
A highly visible Black presence in the blogging community is a great thing. I've read so many great posts that reflect on the Black British experience. You really can't find that via mainstream media. Black British people especially women are so under represented, we have to champion our voices and create spaces to support one another. There may be a small part of you that's wondering why I'm focusing on our differences because we are all human but here's the thing our differences matter. My lived experiences aren't the same as yours and it makes me feel good to know I'm not alone.
Honestly if you find the concept of a group for Black bloggers uncomfortable, you need to do some soul searching and figure out why. If it's just about feeling excluded, then you probably need to think about why you feel so entitled. The most common argument seems to be 'we can't have all white things so you can't have all black things'. Black blogging groups are all about empowering minority voices, support and levelling the playing field. You don't need a separate group for that as society is already built with your needs in mind.
I really hope that has cleared things up for anyone who is curious about POC blogging groups. Race is a complicated thing and can be awkward to talk about, but I think frank judgement free discussions can go a long way.
I would love to hear your thoughts so please leave respectful comments below.