Skip to main content

Netroots Nation is in California!  I'm at one of the largest gatherings of progressives in the country writing to you from a hotel in the wee hours of the morning of the third day of the Netroots convention after spending 2 days with upwards of 3,000 progressives. Yet, speaking as a black woman, it almost seems like I've entered a world where blacks just don't tread.

For social justice advocates – NN13 is the place to be. The halls are packed with the kinds of people who want to change the world, who want to make it a better place for everyone. Which brings me to the point of this piece – although Netroots touts itself as being an incubator for ideas that challenge the status quo – judging from the racial make-up of the NN13 attendees, lack of diversity is one status quo that didn't seem to be challenged enough.

Its important to acknowledge that Netroots Nation instituted a policy requiring all panels to be diverse. In full disclosure, I was a member of the panel selection committee. As we prepared to make our selections, we were instructed to dismiss any panel that was comprised entirely of white males. To their credit, the organizers were very clear that they intended to be inclusive. But you couldn't have guessed that by the looks of the crowd at the popular Netroots Nation Karaoke party on Thursday night or by perusing the halls of the San Jose Convention Center. For the past two days I've been one of a sprinkling of minorities floating in a sea of young white people.

Unlike NN12 which was hosted in Providence, Rhode Island, NN13 is hosted in a majority minority state. Blacks, Latinos and Asian Pacific Islanders make up more than 50% of California's population putting an even brighter spotlight on the overwhelming whiteness of this convention.

Wanting to get the opinion of a Netroots insider, I spoke to Jenifer Daniels, a long time Netroots supporter who has come to the convention for ten years. Daniels is a vocal advocate for racial inclusivity and is on the popular NN13 panel, “Ask a Sista”. After talking to her I was surprised to learn that she has decided to make this her last Netroots convention. Citing the lack of involvement by racial minorities Daniels told me, “I won't be back. I've had enough”. We chatted a while at the TWIB party discussing the reasons why minorities don't turn out. I mentioned that it seemed to me that the black people who were in attendance were not representative of the black people in my life. She didn't disagree.

So while I applaud NN13 for making a conscious effort to be inclusive, the outcome was disappointing and raises questions about the unintentional ways we exclude others. Although this is a topic that is uncomfortable, I think progressives must take a hard look at themselves when it comes to issues of race. We still seem to associate with people who look like us. Just take a glance at your Facebook friends.

I believe that until the progressive movement comes to terms with the racial divisions that exist within it, we will continue to experience defeat when confronting our powerful adversaries. In other words, the racial divide, affects every progressive.

NN14 will be held in Detroit. My hope is that there will be a more focused, more determined effort to make NN14 a conference that is attended by all progressives. At NN12 and at NN13, my husband could spot me seated in any of the sessions because I stood out.  When I show up at NN14 in Detroit, I'd like to be able to get lost in the crowd and I'm willing to work to help make that happen. Who will join me?

Originally posted to LA Progressive on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:33 AM PDT.

Also republished by RaceGender DiscrimiNATION and Invisible People.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you for writing this thoughtful diary. n/t (6+ / 0-)
  •  Who needs to look in the mirror though (5+ / 0-)

    You say that minorities aren't showing up.  Whose decision is that?  It isn't like white progressives can force anyone to attend.  There is plenty of soul searching to be done methinks

    Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

    by Mindful Nature on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:57:35 AM PDT

    •  ^^^^ (13+ / 0-)

      Exhibit A

      "Someone just turned the lights on in the bar and the sexiest state doesn't look so pretty anymore" CA Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Texas budget mess

      by CaliSista on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:01:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep (6+ / 0-)

        So, what is your advice?  Obviously outreach fails. Putting in panels fails.   Eliminating panels with too many white males fails.  What will work then?   If you want to actually fix the problem you have to ask the right question.

        Frankly, I've worked on these efforts before and the responses I've gotten were illuminating.  Mostly I tried to increase minority participation in environmental activism (I still do in fact) but I got told repeatedly by activists that there are simply more urgent matters to attend to for many minority activists.  Yes, there was an appetite to work on these issues, but other matters took priority.  I thought that was perfectly reasonable, but it strongly undercuts this idea that white activists are to blame for participation or not.  Time, money, and attention is limited and it goes where people see fit.  So the real answer here doesn't lie with white activists, ultimately it can only be answered by minority activists

        I am going to suggest there are some really good reasons for the pattern.

        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

        by Mindful Nature on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:11:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What are the "really good reasons"? (0+ / 0-)
          •  To take an example (14+ / 0-)

            There were two black men I was friends with in law school when I was working on environmental issues.  I tried pulling them in since both had interest in climate change and environmental justice issues. However, at the end of the day, they felt that issues of criminal law and politics were more pressing.  One did participate some but the other was heavily involved in criminal law issues.  He is now a public defender and last I heard the other had run for local office

            So, in that experience I found that the answer to the lack of minority participation in enviroental law had more to do with the nature of the problems in the risk they felt took priority than to any outreach we could do. Doesn't stop one from trying, but sometimes it wouldn't make sense to push the issue, since having super smart capable black lawyers trying to fix out broken criminal justice system is a vastly better use of his time than having him do climate change work.  

            So, that's what I mean by saying that the introspection and question asking isn't necessarily best asked of white activists.

            Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

            by Mindful Nature on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:43:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  the reason NN is so white is because our nation (0+ / 0-)

            is still segregated. Four hundreds of years we lived in an aparthied nation were racial segregation was mandated and enforced by the state -- today we self-segregate.  In 2013 public schools are more segregated than they were in 1954, the year Brown v. Board of Education was heard the the SCOTUS. When progressives truly live out their values this will change.

    •  Maybe NN isn't offering topics and perspectives... (11+ / 0-)

      ...that resonate with current or potential minority participants.  Maybe NN isn't communicating to minorities when it does address topics and perspectives that are theirs, too.

      There's a real issue here to be considered from all angles.  Please don't disparage someone who is doing so from an angle that is not yours.  Fact: minority progressives are not showing up as much as desired.  But that can have many factors influencing it, including how inviting the beckon was and how welcome they feel to be asked why they haven't turned up at the present party.

    •  So the blame is on minority progressives? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chinton

      They didn't announce at the latest meeting of minorities that people should be coming to this thing? This is something we hear a lot directed at minorities (it's their fault they're not equally represented amongst the executive ranks, it's their fault they don't get as much education, etc.). But not here.

      •  You misunderstand me (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrkvica, Laconic Lib

        The point is that you can rail against how horrible white progressives are all you want but that won't get anyone anywhere.   The people who have the answers to solve this aren't the people who aren't coming, it is that people who aren't.  White people can stare in the mirror all they want but it won't get improve the situation on jot

        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

        by Mindful Nature on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:22:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh. (0+ / 0-)

          So you are saying that if we wanted to make sure that minorities found the conference interesting, we'd want to add activities that are popular with minorities, but that white people know less about what makes them tick than they do themselves? That sorta makes sense.

          But minorities are not monolithic. I'm not sure that a black woman has any more insight into the psyche of a Latino male than a white person does. So I'm not sure I agree with your premise.

          •  That's a good point (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CaliSista, mwm341

            But the Latina activist would have a far better answer to what appeals to other latina activists than I would.  And I think understanding what truly motivates her decision not to spend the time and money to attend is going to happen better from her asking herself than from me trying to imagine it

            As I alluded to before, it takes a lot of people asking a lot of questions and listening to a lot of answers

            Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

            by Mindful Nature on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:34:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Then maybe, for example (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CaliSista, mrkvica

              ...I'm just thinking out loud here...

              Even though there is concern among POC's (and that's pretty much what we're talking about when talking of minorities) about climate change, perhaps we may want to make sure (and someone may need to do this study) as to how climate change affects POC communities?

              •  Ask Pacific islanders. Or Inuit. n/t (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Chitown Kev
                •  Well, yes... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dance you monster, skohayes

                  we're getting to a big part of the problem here.

                  Yes, Pacific Islanders or Inuit WOULD be very concerned about something like that, obviously.

                  I was thinking of big city environments (usually populated by blacks and many different types of Hispanics)...although I started to add something to my comment about POC's in rural environments

                  •  Argues for a NN in the Mississippi delta,... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Chitown Kev, skohayes

                    ...or maybe in the Dakotas, if you want to address fracking's impact.  Actually, both places would address a lot more than just environmental issues.  Connect to the activists who already are there barely holding on, and let them guide things.

                    •  That's actually a good idea (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Chitown Kev

                      People always have wanted a Netroots Nation held in New Orleans, but the NN board has certain standards that must be met, chief among them, union supporting businesses. NO has no union hotels or convention centers.
                      Next year is in Detroit, which I'm really looking forward to.

                      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

                      by skohayes on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:38:23 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Most environmental issues (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Chitown Kev

                Hit poor and underprivileged communities disproportionately regardless of the society and the issue.  Water quality, air quality, climate change, they'll all be like that.  There is a huge amount of research on environmental racism in the siting of air pollution sources for example. Two of the bigger climate change impacts are on health and food prices, both of which poorer communities are less able to deal with. Although raising POC incomes and political power can help, experience suggests tht isn't the whole story

                Now, how that observation translates into making NN14 more appealing I am not sure

                Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

                by Mindful Nature on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:13:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Well It's Netroots Not Just dKos, no? (4+ / 0-)

            Are there any minority blogs that could contribute some leadership ensuring speakers and topics that would make the event a better draw for minorities?

            We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

            by Gooserock on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:36:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Let me ask you: what would work? (0+ / 0-)

      In the spirit of my comment above, if you are a minority activist or feel like you have good insight as to why POC activists don't sign up, give us your insights.  What are the barriers?  How do we address those concerns.  How do we make it better?

      Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

      by Mindful Nature on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:15:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am a minority (0+ / 0-)

        I attended NN13 in Providence R.I. and loved it. But, as with NN14, I wanted to see more minority engagement. I appreciate that NN is taking steps to change this. I also know that it takes time. The quality of the convention and its mission makes it worth the investment of time. But its important to note that the lack of engagement by minorities mirrors the lack of interconnections. The organizers and their friends and their friends of friends are mostly white. If we, as progressives, were to truly live out our values there would be less self segregation.

    •  What an unhelpful response (0+ / 0-)

      I'm just another white girl and my take away from this diary is that we all need to work harder.

      No one can make minorities attend but we can try and learn why minorities don't attend. The best way to do that is to listen to actual minorities and try to figure out why. Playing the reverse racism card is not helpful.

      •  See my other comments (0+ / 0-)

        Since I think you misunderstands comment (most people did of course which says the issue is with my comment). Long story short, you aren't going to figure out to attract POC activists by asking white people what they think

        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

        by Mindful Nature on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:25:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  you make good points but I don't understand the (0+ / 0-)

        statement "reverse racism card". Who is playing that card. What is the reverse racism card?

  •  It might be that they are tired of being... (9+ / 0-)

    attacked whenever they make a positive statement about Obama.  Minorities consistently rate President Obama highly positive and most have been driven out of DKos by their so called Progressive allies.

    A person's character is measured by how they treat everyone. Not just your pet group.

    by Tempus Figits on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:02:28 PM PDT

    •  Not just minorities. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes, mwm341

      All sorts of people love Barack Obama. It pains me daily to see people here insult him in the most disgusting ways, and instead of being shunned these people see their comments topped by even more virulent anti-Obama insults. It is enough to make this (white) guy puke.

  •  costly (12+ / 0-)

    plane fare plus hotel and convention fee

    If they had picked something near the LA airport instead of where they chose could have dropped the cost by 25% I think, and be i an area lived in by more minorities.

    Do you think this is a factor?

    fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

    by mollyd on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:06:47 PM PDT

  •  I hope next year, (7+ / 0-)

    the local democratic party leaders push for local 1-day passes to hand out to their members. MI is a really happening place politically now, not always for the better but, with city mgrs replacing mayors and schools being closed, I would think it could be beneficial to hold some panels on local politcs and how becoming involved on a local level translates to national involvement. I think it would be worthwhile to invite local progressive churches in a panel as well. AA more than others get involved in activism thru their churches, do they not? It would be a shame to ignore this fundamental element of the progressive movement.

    SOS - Save Our Sigs!

    by blueoregon on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:18:34 PM PDT

  •  Well (7+ / 0-)

    There was The Great Banishment of a year or so ago when a fair number of non-white posters were banned for ... for not taking too kindly to some of the attitudes expressed on this site.

    And there's the majority demographics of the site.

    And a general attitude of privilege among some of the site's most prolific posters.

    It's sad, yes, it is, but it's my opinion people who don't fit the site's demographics are pretty much shut out, except for a few here and there. They make posters here too uncomfortable, or something.

    I dunno. I'm sorry to read this, but I'm also not surprised.

  •  The truth (10+ / 0-)

    Is that NN is really just an extravagance most people can't afford. And when speaking of being able to afford something there is one group that generally populates on the side of having money, old white people.    

    I for one would love to attend and am someone that SHOULD.  Financially though there is simply no way that would be possible.  

    NN mostly seems to me to be 33% navel gazing, 33% self congratulation, and 33% networking/social get together.

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

    by dankester on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:25:09 PM PDT

    •  The people who have the time and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Whatithink, mwm341

      money to fly around the country attending these things are likely the "1%" of this community. Nothing wrong with them per se, but they do represent the moneyed elite of this community. Tiffany is a sponsor for a reason.

    •  I was with you right up to the last part (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SoCaliana, Sychotic1, CaliSista

      There's definitely networking, that's part of the reason for NN, to get activists and other people together to get more and better Democrats elected.
      It's supposed to be fun- you get out of it what you put into it.  I spent almost the whole conference last year volunteering, and had a blast.  
      I skipped this year, because it simply was too expensive, especially after going the last two years, but I'm saving money to go next year. I have a feeling Detroit hotels will be more affordable than San Jose's (not a knock against California).

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:51:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There could be any number of reasons. (10+ / 0-)

    Here's why I don't go.....

    Not specifically DKOS related

    Conventions aren't my thing

    Political events are not my thing

    I value my privacy and don't wish to "go public"

    Specifically DKos related:

    Don't really feel as if I have much in common w/most on this site

    Still pissed about THE PURGE

    Don't like having to explain Black to the masses and wouldn't want to have to get ugly in person :)

    It's been a number of years since I actually considered going to NN. IIRC, I think it was before it was actually called NN. It's Kos' site and of course he can run it as he likes but his attitude bothers me a lot of the times. Years ago, I was much more invested in what I had seen as a community.  Now, I can take it or leave it and therefore have little inclination to want to spend valuable time and money associating with the group.

    "Someone just turned the lights on in the bar and the sexiest state doesn't look so pretty anymore" CA Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Texas budget mess

    by CaliSista on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:26:30 PM PDT

    •  I've bailed twice. (4+ / 0-)

      I turned in a ticket once.

      I had an ELCA parking spot near Pittsburgh.
      The future beckons.

      Markos

      That's my hat.

    •  it's not been an issue for me, as I get swamped (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoregon, CaliSista, grover, skohayes

      around this time of year, and can't travel anywhere, but yeah I feel ya.

      This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

      by mallyroyal on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:47:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Me too . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CaliSista
      Conventions aren't my thing

      Political events are not my thing

      I value my privacy and don't wish to "go public"

      The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

      by indycam on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:35:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wish you and the diarist would reconsider (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      claude, CaliSista, Sychotic1

      Netroots Nation has grown so far beyond the Yearly Kos conference, there are bloggers there from all over the country. And politicians and unions and lots of other people that have nothing to do with Daily Kos.
      How can we fairly address any issue without input from minorities that form the base of the party?
      We need you, we need your voices.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:59:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the encouragement. As someone (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        indubitably

        else wrote upthread, I don't see mention of NN anywhere but here so it still appears to be a rebranded YK (not that there's anything wrong with that). Since that's the case, there might not be so many takers by POC to provide input at NN when said input does not always feel so welcome here. Maybe Kossacks are better behaved in person but going to an event to fight with people is not my idea of a good time.

        "Someone just turned the lights on in the bar and the sexiest state doesn't look so pretty anymore" CA Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Texas budget mess

        by CaliSista on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 09:25:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I went this year for the first time, because it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CaliSista

          was local and I could afford it.  I was surprised at how much of the audience was non-Kossack.  I did meet a number of people from the site and that was fun, but I'd say most of the people I met were from other organizations or other blogs.

  •  How much progressive infrastructure is there (4+ / 0-)

    in minority communities?
    By that I mean media organizations (in particular) that would spread the idea of NN?
    Before coming to dKos, I heard very little about NN at other progressive sites, or I'd hear about it after the fact or too late to attend. P!ssed me off because I'm an hour from Providence and could/would have attended, had I known.
    While it may be the fault of NN planners and organizers that their outreach isn't far enough or whatever, where is the corresponding organization in the minority communities?

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:28:09 PM PDT

  •  I wish you would expand on: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrkvica, SoCaliana, JamieG from Md
    I mentioned that it seemed to me that the black people who were in attendance were not representative of the black people in my life. She didn't disagree.
    •  Sorry about that -- I knew I should have written (4+ / 0-)

      more. When I was talking to Jenifer, I mentioned that the black people I've met and chatted with at NN tend to speak and carry themselves in a manner that is atypical of the black communities from which they hail. I am black. I am in my 50s. I was born and raised in New York City (Bronx and Queens). I've lived most of my adult life in Los Angeles and have traveled all over this country. What I should have devoted more of an explanation to was what I think is an effort to consciously change their way of being in order to be accepted.

      •  Are you more progressive than (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SoCaliana

        mainstream Dems?

      •  I think it is fair to acknowledge that the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WheninRome

        Daily Kos base demographic is  the white liberal bourgeoisie. To that are added various doses of whomever else decides to try to partake.  The WLB gets an opportunity to engage with a wide range of folks,  from old hippies to persons of color to progressives and radicals of various stripe, environmentalists, labor activists and the GBLT tribe, to name but a few.  Most share interests with others, most see one issue or another as having greatest priority, the one that will make all the others more possible.

        Beliefs are passionately held and expressed.

        A certain level of decorum is required and enforced, the exact parameters of which are in flux.  Many of us become frustrated with what we perceive as obtuseness over one thing or another. Fights erupt,  tempers flare, fee-fees are hurt, some people leave. Some come back.

        It all muddles along, the sum of all the individual efforts we all put into being here and making it work somehow.  It is what it is,  and it only changes and grows with our inputs.  After ten years, I'm still here studying it and offering what I can.

        And the door into Daily Kos remains as open as it always has been.

        don't always believe what you think

        by claude on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:42:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree that the door is open (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          claude

          I will continue to come to NN and continue to post here. But I wanted to express what many feel but won't say. Instead, they'll just not show up. If progressives were to live out their values, I think there would be less self segregation in the progressive movement. I make this assertion with years of experience. It's not that hard to sit at the table with a group of people that look different from you. I am over 50 yrs old. In my experience, putting effort into dismantling segregation goes one-way. I believe that NN wants to fully be what it says it is. It's going to take more work. I'm willing to help with the work.

          •  you are certainly not the first (0+ / 0-)

            to raise the question, and many here share your concern.

            Nobody at DKos wants to keep anyone out,  but the very nature of the kind of venue it takes to put on a show like this (NN13) means one needs some spare cash to do it, and a lot of POCs  or working class people in general don't have it.  Nor do old white guys on SS, like me.

            That's prolly one element.  I literally don't know how to get more POCs to choose to come, either to this site,  or to NN gatherings.  DKos has always been about self-selecting to be here.  That's inherent in the medium. Can't just go dragoon people into joining an internet community.

            (there's more that could be said,  but I've run out of steam here. nice talking with you)

            don't always believe what you think

            by claude on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 10:16:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Have to disagree (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, claude, Sychotic1

    There is some kind of everybody here, all colors,sizes, genders, sexualities, shapes, ages-- except young kids.

    And yes, San Jose is not cheap, but then no place really is anymore. Fact is, inflation has consumed a good 10% (at least) since our first gathering in Las Vegas.

    First one I didn't have to fly to, though, and I rather guess it will be awhile before there is another.

    I must be dreaming...

    by murphy on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:38:59 PM PDT

    •  indeed. (0+ / 0-)

      access to which is denied nobody (Daily Kos)

      NN attendance is restricted to those with enough dough.  There should be even more scholarships dispensed, or the DKos base (white liberal bourgeoisie) is naturally over-represented. You've seen all the site demographic polls over the years same as me.

      don't always believe what you think

      by claude on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:54:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Local folks can attend without flying (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        claude

        And some of us  save our pennies, squirrel away airline miles/points and/or get cheap tickets. Some of us even pay for others to attend and/or pay for their transportation/housing.

        I have done all of the above at different times. And I'm not the only one.

        I must be dreaming...

        by murphy on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:18:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  you said you were a sprinkle in a sea of (7+ / 0-)

    YOUNG white people?  now that's suprising.

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:46:04 PM PDT

    •  NN is more than dkos. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes

      ;)

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:07:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I see a lot of middle-aged & older white folks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes

      They are worried about pensions, unions, health care, food insecurity and dozens of issues that impact us all, no matter color/age/any other denominator you choose.

      I must be dreaming...

      by murphy on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 02:19:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm 56 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, CaliSista

      And while there is a good representation of older folks there (at the last two I went to), the young people definitely outnumbered us.
      Maybe everyone looks younger than me these days. :)

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 04:03:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, it was a very young crowd (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skohayes

        Lots more young people every year.  The young progressives are very active and networking like crazy.

        I got to speak to a few who would actually talk to my wrinkled old ass.  Interesting group.

        "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

        by Sychotic1 on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:17:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  African-Americans are under-represented (5+ / 0-)

    at DKos, too.

    While AA comprise abt 22% of the Democratic Party, only about 11.8% of Kossacks are.

    Considering 87% of AA approve of the Prez, I don't think the ever increasing vitriol toward the Prez and Dems does anything to improve the image of DKos of being a hostile place for AA to participate.

    I know I no longer direct my AA husband to this site.  He'll wonder what the hell is wrong with me for coming here.

  •  I see the problem differently... (0+ / 0-)

    Though there are some racial divides in the progressive movement they are fairly minor and if there is a lack of minorities its because there is a lack of them being inspired.

    It is up those who are inspired to try and inspire more from their ethnic groups (most people are likely to be more attentive to those of their own group).

    I think many minorities are jaded to politics (and rightfully so), but maybe now the time has come to change that given minorities aren't so 'minor' anymore.

    Imagine if Afro- Americans and Hispanics and all other ethnic groups voted with the same turn out as Caucasians, the Repubs would be out of business.

    Someone needs to go into those communities and tell them its time to start becoming part of the solution instead of just being turned off by the problem

    Just my 2c...

    The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function [Albert A. Bartlett]

    by fToRrEeEsSt on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:16:04 PM PDT

    •  How minor said divides are (0+ / 0-)

      depends on how one has gained his perspective of them.

      From the perspective of the perennially excluded/ostracized/feared/loathed/"othered", they are a daily Wallenda act always over the abyss and one misstep away from disaster... and there are those who take sport in seeing who they can disrupt enough to make one of those missteps; there are others who use the precariousness of their position to tell them to sit down and shut up because they have nothing new or of any real value to contribute... and those things play into whether one is willing to attend meatspace events whether we are talking area meet and greets or NN conventions because too often the internet is digital alcohol and people are less inclined to be tactful or courteous like they would face to face... and it becomes hard to determine which persona is real and which is the mask; and folk are  not willing to spend money to find out...

      Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

      by awesumtenor on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 03:58:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think the difficulty of fixing this... (0+ / 0-)

    ...is because attending or not attending is an individual decision, not a group decision.

    What would Mothra do?

    by dov12348 on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:23:15 PM PDT

  •  I'll go when its a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCaliana

    massive online open course .

    The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

    by indycam on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:38:02 PM PDT

  •  when you say that the black people who (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JamieG from Md, Sychotic1

    were in attendance were not representative of black people in your life, what do you mean by that?

    In what respect are the Afro-Americans you have seen at NN13 different from those in your life?

    Please don't get offended by the question. I can't figure out solely by reading online, who the Afro-American voices you know of online comments (I don't even know who is black and who is not aside from may be four or five people on dailykos) and who of them were there at NN13 and in how far they differ from the Afro-Americans you meet in your life or live with them.

    It's awfully hard to understand sometimes for me to understand what's going on here. I am white, old and not an American. The snark and the vitriol in many comments (in other diaries) are confusing me completely. Makes me very tired.

    A suggestion for NN15 or NN16 is to bring it to Washington DC. I guess you have Afro-Americans of all walks of life here and other POC from all over the world. If they don't show up then may be, because they don't know about dailykos or they don't see what would be of interest to them to participate.

    •  It's going to be in Detroit in 2014 (0+ / 0-)

      I think they want to be somewhere other than DC, simply to get away from the bubble.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 04:06:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You want to talk minority at NN? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1

    Then ask how many people over 60 years old you see on panels - of any color !  I come to these things for the content, but few people even look me in the face. Maybe they think I'm someone's mother who just came for the vacation or something.

  •  this has been a problem since the first... (10+ / 0-)

    Conference, and I really doubt much will change it. It started out as a white conference and, despite the commendable efforts of Kid Oakland, etc, with the scholarships, and others, I think it will stay a majority white conference, due to a number of factors. Of course, that I believe this should not in any way discourage anyone from trying :)

    I'm on my phone, by the way, so I will likely be a lot more general than I'd like in what I am typing.

    A note: whoever is working on NN14 might want to get in touch with the organizers of the Allied Media conference amc.alliedmedia.org/about/how-we-organize-amc (which happens every yrear around this time, in Detroit) to see if any sort of cross communication/activism can be worked out.

    I'm not going to address anything about NN13, the panels and so on, mainly because I don't know anything about them. But I will just mention that one issue that I've noticed over the years (not always directly related to NN) is that a lot of white middle/upper class activism/concerns involve what I think of as "top of the tree" problems. Important, yeah, but not always speaking to the lives and issues directly affected by stuff closer to the bottom of the tree.

    So, a couple of examples of top of the tree issues that maybe those who are interested can work to make more relevant to others. And why I think that activism without economically and racially diverse voices is destined to be somewhat ineffective and always running to catch up.

    Just something to keep in mind: to get to you (primarily white, primarily middle class "you") they come through us (primarily non-white, primarily not economically secure "us") first.

    *Abortion. The constant pick picking at abortion rights is a powerful clarion call to women (and, yes, most of the more vocal activists here are white women) to get involved and to work to protect this right. The thing is, to protect this right it is--or was, anyway--vitally important to get involved way before this. Remember, to get to you, they come through us first, chipping away at the freedom and rights of mostly poor, mostly minority women first.

    The "crack baby" lies, jailing or otherwise criminalizing women suspected of drug use, forced births, forced c-sections, forced contraception, denigration of non white middle class motherhood, so on, so forth. Some of the laws underpinning not only abortion rights but 4th amendment and others have been weakened by these activities, as well as others that affect both mostly non-white women and men. But many don't notice until the effects reach the top of the tree... at which point it's often too late.

    *Climate change/environmental issues. Something that, yes, affects everyone, but not always in the same ways.

    Okay, well, I'm getting a headache from all this tiny typing, but I think I sort of made my point. Maybe :)

    True radicalism is finding reasons for hope, not grounds for despair. - Ray Williams

    by Nanette K on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 02:16:32 PM PDT

    •  Yes.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      indubitably, skohayes, mwm341

      I want to add this to your otherwise perfect comment...

      It's not that POC (just to use POC as an example here are not aware of or engaged in the -macro "big picture" or "top of the tree" issues and arguments regarding various sets of issues.

      But communities of color (which tend to be more tightly knit..which doesn't mean less "diverse") tend to be more engaged when they tend to see how the issue directly affects their community.

      More micro and less macro might do the trick.

      •  yes, and that they are not just... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        indubitably, Chitown Kev, skohayes

        ...thought of as some sort of filler.

        I use the tree imagery because I'm almost positive I remember cartoons from when I was young--when whoever would climb to the top of the tree and think they were safe. Until the person chasing them would start cutting down the tree beneath them, piece by piece, until the tree was short enough that they were easily reachable.

        Though many people, dkosites and others, understand in some ways that "we are all in this together" I have my doubts that many realize just how much that is true, lol.

        That NN14 is in Detroit offers a wonderful opportunity, though, I think, to make connections to vibrant, effective day-to-day activist communities that deal with both the macro and micro issues. The Allied Media conference I mentioned above is just one--but an important one, because they, too, went through a period when a lot of WOC/POC were rejecting them because they didn't address access, on-the-ground issues and more. They listened and worked on it, though.

        Thanks, too :)

        True radicalism is finding reasons for hope, not grounds for despair. - Ray Williams

        by Nanette K on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:28:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  In my experience, you nailed it: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      indubitably, Nannyberry, Chitown Kev
      a lot of white middle/upper class activism/concerns involve what I think of as "top of the tree" problems
      Not to piss in anyone's cheerios, but there is a reason the stereotype exists for 'educated elite liberals' who decide what is wrong with a community and assume they know how to fix things when they have never lived there or experienced those conditions. Oftentimes they are worried about problems that while important do not resonate with those lower on the socio-economic ladder.
      •  I wish they had livestreamed the panel (0+ / 0-)

        on Poverty and the one on turning California around.  Both were concerned with the issues that should be of significant interest to everyone, but tend to be seen as issues associated with communities of color.

        Maybe this old white woman doesn't know what anyone wants, but it is hard to see how anyone could have done better than to bring in Mrs. Mitchell.  She made my conference.

        "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

        by Sychotic1 on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:22:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Daily Kos MUST stop its exclusionary policies (0+ / 0-)

    Daily Kos MUST be made available to ANY who wish to join,  and NN gatherings MUST allow ALL to participate.

    This deliberate racism must cease.

    And let's stop discriminating against the Poor, while we are at it. Few of us can afford to miss work,  not to mention drop a grand or two on an extended party on the other side of the country.  NN gatherings are inherently middle class, despite a few scholarships.

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 02:26:50 PM PDT

  •  How ironic... (0+ / 0-)

    ...that I'm reading this post about the failure of the Netroots to engage with people of color...as. I'm just about to pack up my laptop and head to one of the most popular panels at NN every year, "Ask a Sista." There certainly isn't an "Ask a white guy" or "Ask a Latino."

    Perhaps you would have preferred engraved invitations?

    "If nobody loves you, your soul dies, and there are no pills for that." --MBNYC

    by PerfectStormer on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 02:32:50 PM PDT

  •  a nitpick (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, Sychotic1
    Wanting to get the opinion of a Netroots insider, I spoke to Jenifer Daniels, a long time Netroots supporter who has come to the convention for ten years.
    Quite an achievement, seeing as how YearlyKos/Netroots Nation has only been in existence since 2006. This is the 8th such event.

    The "13" refers to the calendar year, not the meeting count.

    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. -- K.Marx A.Lincoln

    by N in Seattle on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 02:50:53 PM PDT

  •  I guess everybody has their own perspective. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, Sychotic1

    This is my first NN maybe my last as it is very expensive to attend. If it was not 2 hrs from home I would not be here and even then, the hotel bill is a killer that is going on a visa card. But I didn't want to miss it. So that's my b'day, xmas for a year or two now.

    I was pretty happy to see as many POC as are here. Knowing the demographic of DKOS skews old and white (guilty as charged) I was really afraid there would not be many POC.

    Also, I was surprised to see SO MANY young people. Ok, yeah, young to me is 30 and under. Living in a rural agricultural community (read: darn near lily white) my perspective may well be different than someone else's. YMMV.

     I attended the Women on the Run session on Friday. Christine Pelosi chaired. There were three AA women, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Kimberley Lee (executive director of Emerge California) Monica Wilson (the first AA woman elected to the Antioch City Council) and Fiona Ma (The first Asian woman to ever serve as Speaker pro Tempore in the CA Legislature)

    Mostly women in the audience, many were POC. What I thought was funny was that the few males in attendance skewed older! And most of the questions from the audience came from young AA women.

    IMHO it was a fantastic panel discussion as each of the women told their stories.

    Could NN be more diverse, probably. A good building block would be to start seeing more women and women of color running for office. The more of that demographic get into office maybe regular folks will start paying attention to politics a little more.

    Seems like there are many, many valid factors at play here. But I think the major one is that unless you are a political junkie you don't even know it exists.

     And I think that idea of one day passes is also a great one. That way local people could show up, see the exhibitions and participate in the panels without taking a week off of work and breaking the bank.  

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:16:25 PM PDT

  •  I forgot to note (5+ / 0-)

    Netroots Nation 14 is in Detroit...MY Hometown and still the residence of most of my family

    It will be held July 17-20, 2014...maybe I ought to pay a visit...finally.

  •  I understand your disappointment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1

    but we can't change things by walking away. I think NN is making a concerted effort to include minorities (for example, one panel I listened to on the radio was a minority majority panel,  discussing ENDA and where to go from there), and I hope next year we get even more minority support, as we begin to organize for the 2014 elections.
    Please reconsider for Detroit in 2014.

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 04:18:19 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site