Sunday, November 23, 2008

Let's Stop All The Madness About Tavis Smiley's State of The Black Union Black Bloggers "Golden Ticket" Contest

Apparently Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Union "be that special one" blogger contest has stirred up a little ruckus in the black blogosphere. There was a full-blown war about it over at What About Our Daughters and serious questions being raised at Jack & Jill Politics and at Black America Web 2.0. Once again, black folks are worrying about something that really doesn't matter one bit in the larger picture of things.

I got Mr. Smiley's e-mail about the contest and stopped reading at the first mention of "submit an essay." I take my blog seriously, it's not a game or a sweepstakes. Considering it's the 10 year anniversary of the State of the Black Union, you would think that Smiley would be inviting black bloggers to be on his program panels and to cover the event, not trying to clown us with a simplistic and condescending golden ticket popularity contest to pick one black blogger for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Further, considering Smiley's poor track record with the African American women who have appeared on these SOBU panels, I couldn't get excited about the idea that a black female blogger would have a real chance to get picked. With that said, Smiley's contest is just too corny and ludicrous to take seriously in the first damn place, much less getting all lathered up about. Quite frankly, as already addressed on this blog, I question the purpose and value of the State of the Black Union event, period.

In my opinion, black bloggers have other things to be concerned about, like the future of blogging while black. After a whirlwind couple of years for black bloggers, some serious issues and problems have arisen for black bloggers. I think we should be spending our time debating and discussing, reflecting and reviewing, plotting and planning the current and future state of the black blogosphere.


Kit (Keep It Trill) November 23, 2008 at 7:10 PM  

I read that Cornell West will be part of the judging. As much as I'd like to meet him, I'd enter just for a chance at that.

TD1016 November 23, 2008 at 7:49 PM  

I agree about just letting the subject go. IMO, if you don't like it, don't do it.

La ~ Incognita November 23, 2008 at 8:41 PM  

"black folks are worrying about something that really doesn't matter one bit in the larger picture of things.

Thank you. It's too draining. Frankly I think certain blog/s are working it to Ad nauseam for an ulterior agenda of their own.

g-e-m2001 November 23, 2008 at 9:53 PM  

Let me be clear so that no one misunderstands me. There is no "war" related to this contest. No War. None intended. None Currently. None foreseen in the future.

When I started my second post about this blogging contest with "my blogging virtue has been besmirched" I thought it was pretty clear that this would be one of "those posts", one of many that I have written that have been mocking/parody/satirical. Type in "Bishop Weeks" or "Kwame Kilpatrick" into my blog and you will see equally sarcastic posts.

There was no agenda initially other than pointing out as professor tracey has noted that the initial rules treated blogging as if it was some kind of competition or star search. The original post was merely a "Things that make you go hmmm" post.

Bloggers comment all the time on things that they find to be odd or out of place or nonsensical. That's it. In fact if you go in the original comment thread. I actually say very little and the thread had basically died and I had moved on as most bloggers do. Then the individual who I now know was responsible for the contest returned to the thread a week later to chide me for not emailing him. I wondered Why he didn't just place that in a email and concluded that this was an attempt at damage control. Damage from what? Read the original post, the majority of the post are the actual rules of the contest.

I thought that it was odd that he would send his message publicly since we had been corresponding privately clearing up the fact that they had made a mistake with the contest rules that were posted. Something I did not post on the blog because I didn't want to embarrass anyone about the mistake.

I did not know at the time of the original post that this was their "baby" and in retrospect can empathize with their desire to protect their project at work. But again, I doubt anybody at work read about the initial blog post.

The second post and hopefully last post about the contest, was my public response to their public criticism. The intended point of the post was MOVE ON.The contest or my criticism of it weren't worth overshadowing or in anyway taking away from the work that many people are doing to pull of the SOBU.

We might think it is meaningless or irrelevant, but somebody is probably losing a lot of sleep on far more important things than one blog commented on the fact that they thought the rules of the contest were silly.

You're right. It isn't a big deal. Wasn't intended as one.

It actually takes very little energy to write a sarcastic post. It required no research and I probably cranked it out in minutes and moved on.

Should I have commented on the contest at all? Maybe. Maybe not. Every blog post can't be a dissertation or chronicle mayhem and misery. Are there much more important things to be talking about? Absolutely.

But, there is no feud. Never was any feud intended. No ulterior motive with the first post other than putting up some new content my readers might have been interested in. Its not a stretch for a blogger to comment on something related to blogging.

Will I be more careful with my sarcasm. Clearly I have to because now people have me protesting outside the civic center on the day of the SOBU and planning a boycott.

One of the things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving is that with people being with their families, they will find something else to talk about. Normally I don't comment on blogs that comment about mine, but I do want to be clear that there is no war. No War. No war.

TD1016 November 23, 2008 at 10:55 PM  

@ La ~ Incognita
about the ulterior agenda... I was thinking the same thing as a read certain ones.

Professor Tracey November 24, 2008 at 12:08 AM  

@Gina -

When you have to defend, you have already offended. Sarcasm is in the eye of the reader and clearly several people did not read your words in the manner you intended. You can only control what you post, you can't control how people interpret what you post.

I only posted on this situation after receiving several e-mails from my readers. I no longer regularly read your blog, but after reading both posts and all the comments, I saw no big deal in the first post, but the second one was not sarcastic, but quite personal.

There is no need to clarify, the dust-up has already occurred and if it's finished, it's finished. What I wrote on my blog has nothing to do with you, it my personal view of the situation. My right on my blog.

And other than the link, this post was not about your blog at all. There are multiple blogs, comments, and e-mails questioning this contest now. My opinion on this subject has not changed, it's still a dumb contest. I really have no more to say on the subject.

Just like you I'm reporting something I want to inform, discuss, and debate with my readers on my blog. Your comments will only add to this on-going discussion. I'm sure that some of my readers will take issue with some of your remarks.

In fact, I find a few of your comments quite troubling, but that's the nature of blogging. People are free to express themselves. You are a great blogger, an original voice, but you don't always realize how your words are perceived. You will always have my support, but I will blog how I please on what I please.

Professor Tracey November 24, 2008 at 12:13 AM  

@KIT -

Dr. West is worth meeting! Give it a shot girl, it's not for me.

@TD1016 and La Incognita -

I realize that your comments could be interpreted multiple ways, so no worries here. If fact I agree, this dust-up would not have occurred if one blogger had been upfront about their relationship with the contest.

Ananda November 30, 2008 at 2:57 PM  

I am not interested in the SOBU because I wonder what actions reallt get taken after the event. As far as the blogging contest, I am not interested in that one either. I am more interested in connecting with other bloggers at Blogging While Brown to see how we can work together offline.

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