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August 12, 2004, 8:26 a.m.
Blogging Brothers (and Sisters)
Pioneers on the Net.

By Dan LeRoy

Avery Tooley describes himself simply as "a regular brother with some right-leaning political tendencies." In other words, he's the kind of black American that "” if you listen to the Left and our self-proclaimed "black leaders" "” doesn't really exist.

Yet not only is Tooley, a University of Maryland grad student, a real person, he's also sharing his conservatism with the world daily via a blog titled "Stereo Describes My Scenario." Taking its title from a lyric by hip-hop legends Public Enemy, it's a wide-ranging discussion of music and politics underlaid by a no-nonsense philosophy: "(T)he right's focus on the individual is the only practical way" to solve the problems of black America.

Tooley isn't alone in propagating this heresy in the blogosphere, either. He's one of several black bloggers who make up The Conservative Brotherhood "” a group of writers which also includes some women, like La Shawn Barber, a 37-year-old legal assistant and reformed liberal from Washington, D.C., whose own "Corner" features a Christian conservative's perspective on the issues of the day.

"I didn't really have a lot of ambitions for it. It started out as a semi-personal journal," says Barber. But after nine months of blogging and building her audience, "I almost feel like it's an obligation to stay out in the public eye."

Right-of-center black bloggers, in fact, seem to be entering that public eye almost daily. That shouldn't be a surprise, given statistics on growing Internet usage among black Americans, and the revelation that a quarter of young blacks consider themselves conservative (from an eye-opening study conducted by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and released last month at the Democratic National Convention.)

From the veteran's perspective of Baldilocks to the playful philosophizing of Ambra Nykol, the Internet is suddenly full of great black writers whose views aren't monolithic "” you'll find almost-daily disagreements about affirmative action, President Bush or the morality of gangsta rap "” but instead offer a vibrant, hip-hop generation alternative to the broken record of the civil-rights establishment.

One of the most recent additions is also one of the most comprehensive: Booker Rising, a daily news clearinghouse that targets black moderates and conservatives and "seeks to counteract negativity, victimology and defeatism" in the name of the much-maligned Booker T. Washington.

The site's founder, 33-year-old Chicagoan Shamara Riley, began the blog last May, in part after becoming "frustrated with attacks" on modern-day black moderates and conservatives. Riley keeps a running tally of statistics on nearly every aspect of black America, from economics to health, "so folks can argue against claims that there has been little or no progress since the 1960s, or that all blacks think alike."

"(E)ven many of our bad statistics are in decline, but the media isn't covering it," says Riley, via e-mail, "further reinforcing defeatism and a sense that we common folks can't make change in our communities."

Of course, a discussion of black conservative bloggers and the changes they're capable of effecting must include the following caveat, to keep commentators on the Left from getting their knickers any more twisted than usual: Blogging, while growing rapidly, still represents only a small part of the Internet experience. The number of blogs maintained by black Americans is, based on population figures, in all probability a small percentage of the overall total, and of that small percentage, it seems likely that the majority lean leftward. Most black conservative blogs number their visits per day in the hundreds, a far cry from the six-digit traffic generated by the best-known blogs, like Instapundit.

"We're a tiny voice in the Internet wilderness," admits Riley. And Tooley believes that his fellow bloggers won't begin to challenge black political orthodoxy until they gain entry to the mainstream media. (Barber, who's written for the Washington Post and has a biweekly column on several conservative websites, is already making strides in this direction.)

Even among their limited audiences, however, these bloggers are providing black conservatives with something crucial that they often lack: ready access to other black conservatives. One reason celebrated figures like Condoleezza Rice, Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, and Walter Williams can be derided as "tokens" and "sellouts" is because many people don't know the black conservatives in their own communities.

"They're out there, but I think there's an extent to which we've been told that if you disagree with the civil-rights industry that your blackness is somehow inauthentic," says Tooley, "and so we've been kind of isolated from each other." Blogging, he believes, is helping bridge those gaps.

It will likely be a long, unglamourous process, though, and these bloggers aren't queuing for any credit. "I'm not a pioneer," insists La Shawn Barber, describing herself instead as "a proud, patriotic American who's exercising her right to free speech."

Even if the daily wounds she and her fellow bloggers are inflicting on the civil-rights establishment aren't always visible, however, it's worth frequent visits to their online worlds "” to remind yourself that the battle for the soul of black America hasn't been conceded, not by a longshot.

"” Dan LeRoy is a freelance writer from Connecticut whose work has appeared in the New York Times and Vibe.


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Puleeze Faheem,

The policy stance that they take in terms of detrimental outcomes to black they affiliate themselves with the most politically racist sectors of the white race shows who they really negroes who will forgo the best interest of black people for self-gain and to live in deference to whites. Think about it, they cannot even logically explain how one who is black should support the stance on certain issues that they do..and anything that is not psychological in terms of thinking......don't waste your time Faheem....they are striving to maintain some weird azz contemporary master/slave relationship........and it is funny how these negroes historically benefited from the collective effort of black people.....but now want to go it alone as and both know that they are a waste of time...but it is interesting to watch them after you demonstrate to them from a factual premise why they are peculiar creatures..........
Originally posted by jazzdog:

OK, someone educate this brother on what a blog is. Is it somewhat like a personnel webpage where one can post their opinions or is it something different then that. What is the difference between posting on a blog and what we do here and how does one get started blogging.

I'm just learning about them as well. Think of a blog more as a book as opposed to a conversation.
Originally posted by MBM:
No - I'm going to create a blog for anyone here that wants one. Essentially, I'll create a forum that only the member can post to. In that way they get the features of a blog here, while also being able to interact on the forums when they want as well.

I've thought about blogging. Besides the technical side, I am reluctant to politicize identity.

That combined with a reluctance to preach to anyone about a critically personal decision has kept me from investigating the alternative further.

I am going to put some conversational exchange capability on my site (when I learn how). That may be the way to go.


Jim Chester

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