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Friday
Sep102010

Babble's Whitelist of Twitter Moms: Where's the Diversity?

I didn't plan for this week to be a series of anti-Babble rants, but it is turning out that way. First Babble tried to deceive nursing moms experiencing difficulties by telling them to call Similac's feeding hotline. Then I found out that they have been violating the trademark of Ann Douglas, one of my favourite parenting authors, which reminded me of the time Babble stole photos off of flickr from Sweet Juniper blogger (which is apparently not the only time that happened). I also learned from Danielle Friedland (@that_danielle) that they helped themselves to content from the Celebrity Baby Blog that they did not have the rights to.

And then...

Babble's 50 Best Twitter Moms


My name appeared on a list. Babble's list of the Top 50 moms of twitter. Initially I was honoured to be recognized and included (and also a bit surprised given my anti-Babble rant last week). There are a lot of fabulous women on the list and there were also a lot of fabulous women missing. That is always the case. Not everyone can be included on a list. But this wasn't just an issue of Babble having forgotten to list some of my best friends. Instead, Babble left out major segments of the population in favour of an almost exclusively white list. As Renee from Womanist Musings said in her post on the issue, this is not uncommon behaviour:
When these lists come out, they usually have one thing in common, they privielge dominant bodies. In this case, this list of great twitter moms amounts to a White woman's convention.  There is a decided lack of mothers of colour.  Of course, they probably didn't mean to be racist, but then White women never do when they are busy promoting themselves.  I find it interesting that whenever men put together a list of the fifty best ___ White women are immediately on the bull horn to yell about their exclusion but somehow, when they are in the seat of power they have no problem using racism to uplift themselves.

There are two black women on Babble's list and, while I don't have a copy of each person on the Babble list's Census form in my hands, I would venture a guess that a maximum of five of them (or 10% of the list) would identify as women of colour. In the United States, around 75% of the population identifies as white alone, meaning that 25% of the population is made up of other ethnicities.

Maybe it is because I'm Canadian, maybe it is because I live in a government town, but whatever the reason I have learned over the years to consider diversity and to ensure that I make choices that are inclusive - not just because it is good politics, but also because being inclusive is the right thing to do. No one wants to be left out, everyone deserves to see people like them reflected in society, and a diverse society is richer than a homogeneous one. I am not perfect all of the time, but if someone does call me out on a lack of diversity in something I've worked on, I would at least acknowledge the mistake (instead of being defensive and trying to deny it by pointing some token diversity) and I would either fix it, or if it was too late to fix, I would apologize and ensure it didn't happen again.  

My List of Amazing Moms of Colour


So, while I can't fix Babble's mistake for them or apologize on their behalf, and since they certainly aren't doing that, I thought I would use the space on this blog to celebrate some of the great moms of colour on twitter.

I decided to focus on moms with more than 2,000 followers, since that seemed to be at least part of the criteria for the Babble list (#50 on their list has around 2,400 followers).  This doesn't mean that they are "better" than other moms out there on twitter (there are lots of amazing people with small followings), but it does mean that they are ones Babble should have been looking at for this list. Most of the moms of this list I have been following for a while and a few of them I added yesterday as I started pulling together this list. I'm sure there are many many others out there, but I was focusing primarily on those that I'm already familiar with. It really isn't hard to find amazing moms of colour on twitter, unless you're keeping your eyes closed.

So, here they are...listed in order of number of followers:

  1. @mombloggersclub - 17,923

  2. @blogdiva - 10,670

  3. @bizziemommy - 10,462

  4. @ReneeJRoss - 9,620

  5. @nycitymama - 7,328

  6. @BabyMakingMama - 6,952

  7. @mominthecity - 6,949

  8. @ModernMami - 6,841

  9. @sheenatatum - 6,311

  10. @momconfessional - 5,809

  11. @mommyniri - 5,632

  12. @MicheleDortch - 5,395

  13. @thinkmaya - 5,352

  14. @chookooloonks - 5,093

  15. @bostonmamas - 4,829

  16. @yayayarndiva - 4,279

  17. @DarleneMacAuley - 3,926

  18. @ADramaticMommy - 3,747

  19. @AskWifey - 3,438

  20. @womanistmusings - 3,300

  21. @lexirodrigo - 3,270

  22. @momnoir - 2,809

  23. @veronicaeye - 2,760

  24. @TheChattyMama - 2,636

  25. @MyBrownBaby - 2,601

  26. @PPDiva - 2,444

  27. @blacktating - 2,377

  28. @MommyReporter - 2,349

  29. @cyn3matic - 2,221

  30. @playactivities - 2,168

  31. @mamasonbedrest - 2,118

  32. @cosmicgirlie - 2,093

  33. @mariestroughter - 2,033


And that is just a start. In addition to being more ethnically representative, the Babble list could also have sought to be more diverse in other ways including sexual orientation (e.g. lesbian moms such as @debontherocks, @lesbiandad) and moms with disabilities (e.g. @deafmom).

Even if Babble doesn't recognize these moms, I certainly do and I hope you will too. If there are other amazing moms of colour that you follow on twitter (or if you are one yourself), please list them in the comments. I'd love to follow them too.
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Reader Comments (85)

I wish that there were more lists like this for child-free bloggers. Seems like everything is about mommy bloggers. :(

I'm glad you pointed this out. I'm going to go back to the list now.

I thought the list was interesting. In many ways, the same old group. How many of those folks actually interact with their followers? I've been on Twitter since 2007. My blog suffered because of it for a long time, but I loved it because of the immediate conversations and because it allowed me to develop relationships with all sorts of people from all over the world--because I got diverse viewpoints.

Love many of the women you listed. Going to get to know the ones I don't.

September 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmie aka MammaLoves

Lisa:

Babble is a website for parents, so I think it makes sense for them to focus on moms and dads (where is the dads list?). But it would be great if others would create lists too.

September 10, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

[...] even pausing to take a breath first (PhD in Parenting, also on Babble’s list, came up with nearly 30 in less than 24 hours). And I? Don’t even follow Big Names. I don’t know [...]

I honestly wouldn't now who to put on a list, or how one would develop a list. I don't like sorting it by number of followers.

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

It's obvious that many people are missing from the list - ethnicity, cultural identification, AND just because they're plain awesome and should be on it.

But I'm guessing there are probably a few more folks than you have listed, like myself, that might consider themselves to be bi-racial and/or women of color; I'm of Asian descent. There's a whole other issue - not being "diverse" enough.

Speaking of which, there are a myriad issues about multiculturalism, twitter, and the blogosphere, so it's difficult to encompass them in one comment, but I do agree that it (and its many facets) should continue to be addressed, questioned, and examined.

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMotherhood Uncensored

I also noticed that lack of ethnic diversity on that list. Thanks for putting together this list. I also recommend @nycitymama and @mominthecity.

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkim/hormone-colored days

Interesting...just looked at the list again and it looks like there are three Asian moms: you, Anissa and Asha from Parent Hacks. I didn't notice any Latina moms, which is very strange. Latinos make up about 13% of the US population, Asians about 5% and African-Americans about another 13%. I can think of a LOT of Latina moms who should've been on that list. I know these things are always very arbitrary but I think they left a lot of major players out who aren't white. And as Rene said, if there were a list of Top 50 Bloggers on Twitter and there were only 5 women on that list, I think many of us would have had a huge problem with that.

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElita @ Blacktating

Just went to Ann's site and realize they are STILL using "The mother of all blogs" as their tagline a year later. WTF?!

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElita @ Blacktating

Thank you for the suggestions Kim. I'll check them out later and add them on twitter.

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Thanks for including me and my mug!

As for Asian moms, I always count them as women of color. But even with them, still a lack of diversity on the Babble list.

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVeronica

I do appreciate you starting a conversation about having more diversity on such lists. Thanks for including me on your list too.

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie (ModernMami)

I think you are being a bit harsh with this Babble criticism. By your standards, you should never have posted your nummies video this past Wednesday - after all, it only has 1 black mom and is definitely not statistically representative of diversity. You can see racism in just about anything if you try hard enough.

Otherwise - I love your blog. Back to lurking now.

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFate

A, I have been following your Babble posts with interest and admiration (sorry, I've been a bad commenter lately and am trying to get better about that!) and I commend you for thinking here with a constructively critical eye in a situation where it would be easy enough to simply enjoy the honor of inclusion. The constructive thinking is what the community appreciates in you and the inclusion is well deserved by the way.

I think this list is really wonderful (and I'd be saying that even if I weren't on it) and I look forward to learning more about all of these women. At BlogHer in Chicago I felt so energized and happy to connect with the community of women bloggers of color -- it's part of my identity that is obvious but I haven't always felt comfortable in my skin (due to growing up in a 99.9% Caucasian super judgmental and affluent suburb of Boston).

Anyway, thanks for not only drawing light to the issue, but for putting together the list. And I second Kim's mentions of @nycitymama and @mominthecity -- both are passionate community connectors and Kim (of Mom in the City) is one of the smartest and thoughtful bloggers on the planet.

-Christine

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBoston Mamas

A great post. It's funny how I always never notice such things. I'm of Chinese decent and am honored to be a part of the new nominations, although I feel strongly that I don't belong to part of such a great list of people. I did notice at BlogHer the lack of Asian bloggers that I was so excited to meet @BostonMamas at an event.

I also second or third actually @nycitymama and @mominthecity. I love Carol and Kim. They are wonderfully engaging without losing their identity. Another miss was @MommyNiri, she's a sweetheart!

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter@MomConfessional

Thank you for writing about this.

As soon as the list was released, I tweeted that it was a good thing I was not looking for diversity. *insert punch on the good old sarcasm button.* In fact, no one responded; Babble or other followers. Then, I wrote about it on my blog. According to initial census figures, 35% of people in the U.S. are minorities. Babble, by their list, is at a striking 8%.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of women ON the list did not take Babble to task, which, to me, is acquiescence of the oversight and gross exclusion. But let's be honest, this isn't something new. It's just more of the same and until white women stop congratulating themselves and start looking out for EVERYONE, it will continue.

Here's my post about it: http://sixyearitch.com/2010/09/10/diversified-babble/

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSix Year Itch

I am completely embarrassed to have forgotten @mommyniri. I have now added her, as well as @nycitymama and @mominthecity (two new people to me) to my list.

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Fate:

I think it is always better to err on the side of more inclusion rather than less. However, I do think the Nummies video was more representative than the Babble list. Nummies is a Canadian company and the video was produced in Canada. I remember Alison recruiting volunteers for it, so I'm pretty sure she wasn't handpicking people she thought would be "best". I just watched the video again and I count about 20 women in it, of which:

1 is Black
2 are Asian
14 are most likely white-only
3 could be white only, but might not be

That is not bad, considering that in Canada only 16% of the population are (what we call) visible minorities. Of those, most are Asian (around 10% of Canadians) and only a small percentage are black (2.5% of Canadians).

As I said, more diversity is always better in my books and there probably was room for more of it in the Nummies video, but I think it did a better job of at least matching the population than the Babble list did.

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I want to commend you for highlighting that huge oversight on Babble's part and for giving this issue the attention it deserves. Many of us in the blogging world know that this happens far too often. Also, I'm so glad you made a list of deserving nominees since I found quite a few new amazing mamas to follow on Twitter!

-Aimee

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAimee @ Ain't Yo Mama's Blog

@MomConfessional:

Of course I have added you now too. :)

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

As someone who has a parenting blog and two fashion blogs, I know that there are lists like this for most any niche out there. Not everything is about Mommy bloggers. Gosh right now with New York Fashion Week and various cities hosting Fashion's Night Out, it feels as though everything is about fashion bloggers. And then sometimes it's all about cooking bloggers or decor bloggers or travel bloggers. You just need to network with the niche that fits your blog. :)

Though I must say when larger companies or Web sites make a list of the top blah blah bloggers, the list is usually full of white bloggers, and often based upon followers and not content....

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAllie

Also want to commend you for actually linking to the Twitter accounts of these great bloggers so we can visit them and decide to follow. Babble just linked back to their site which was frustrating and didn't help promote those on the list.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAllie

Look, I think the list is great. I was pleased that there were some list "newbies" on there who totally deserved it. Now was the list incomplete? Absolutely. Part of the issue may be that 50 is never enough to check every box. While I was also shocked not to see Renee on there, or @chookooloonks, I was equally surprised not to see @designmom or @queenofspain listed. Let alone @dooce.

Here are a few I would add:

I second (or third? fourth?) Christine's suggestions above, with Christine of course at the very top of my list.

I'd also add Liza Sabater (@blogdiva -10685 followers) who doesn't quite run with the mommy blog crowd, but is the influential publisher of CultureKitchen, and genius on twitter.

Glennia (@glennia - 4555 followers) is the co-founder of Momocrats and I love following her. Same with Stefania Butler (@citymama - 5358 followers) who is also co-founder of Clever Girls Collective. Okay, so I admit I'm partial to all the Momocrats.

Jennifer James is a huge oversight (@mombloggersclub - 17,955 followers).

And do they all have to be bloggers? Because Holly Robinson Peete (@hollyrpeete -55,130 followers) is super active, and an outspoken autism advocate.

One side thought - if we're getting into fair population representation as some people suggest, we should looking at the population on Twitter, not in the continent. For example, Mormons make up about 2% of the US but happen to have very prominent voices on twitter and are strongly represented in this list.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMom101

I can't for the life of me figure out how I ended up on their list. I never tweet while at work (my severe spanking several years ago has not healed yet) and I barely have time when I'm home. I agree that there are many others who are far more entertaining and interesting. I echo your debontherocks, and many others on your list. Now, pass me a cookie.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentervodkamom

as the token member of the original babble top 50 mombloggers with a penis, I have to chime in.

I live in the poorest and blackest major city in North America. I also happen to be one of few blogging voices coming out of this city. I have wrestled with this more than anyone knows.

I think the an even bigger issue is that blogging and the tools we use to do it make it a medium for the privileged; laptops, dslrs, smartphones, and leisure.

When I was in law school, my university was involved in affirmative action lawsuits that went to the Supreme Court, and this topic was always on everyone's mind: should people be given special attention simply because of their race? I think the question posed in this post is equally useful: should Babble have paid attention to moms on twitter to make their list more representative of demographics, simply to make the list more representative? Or should we talk about WHY there aren't more "women of color" (particularly poor, working-class "women of color") participating in these online conversations.

But that leads us to the ugly discussion of whether the blogging and twitter universes are representative of real world racial AND CLASS demographics in the first place. One could argue that blogging and twitter just aren't on the radar of poor people who only have access to computers in public libraries, who have to take several buses to poor-paying jobs w/o health care benefits. And that's not Babble's fault.

I can't believe I just sort of defended Babble.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjdg

jdg:

The points you raise are all good ones and important ones. I agree that if there are not a lot of poor, working-class women of colour on twitter, then that isn't Babble's fault. However, there are certainly a lot of prominent, strong women of colour on twitter who were overlooked in favour of an almost completely white list. Two issues, related perhaps, one of which is Babble's business and another of which it COULD make part of its business if it wanted to.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Mom101:

I'm not sure if your additions were intended as additions to my list or to Babble's list. All great suggestions in any case and in terms of my list, @mombloggersclub and @blogdiva were certainly two that came to mind immediately and that were included on my list. Liza (@blogdiva) was one of the first people I followed on twitter and is still one of my faves.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

If we are looking at the population of Twitter, then the list is even more glaringly inaccurate. Black people make up 25% of Twitter users. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/twitter-disproportionately-popular-black-users/story?id=10561451

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElita @ Blacktating

Actually, if we are talking specifically about Twitter, the digital divide really doesn't apply. As I linked above, black folks are actually overrepresented on Twitter. Even though many poor folks can't afford a computer and monthly fees for access to the internet, the wide availability (and relatively low cost) of smart phones is making it much easier for poor people and people of color to get online, particularly to a microblogging site like Twitter. There is a service in the US that provides free cell phones to low income folks and companies like Metro PCS offer cheap cell phone plans that do not require a line of credit because once your minutes are up for the month, the phone no longer works. There was actually a whole piece on this on NPR within the last few months, explaining how and why Twitter is so popular amongst minorities and those with low incomes.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElita @ Blacktating

I didn't realize that nummies was canadian. It does make more sense from a canadian viewpoint - 1 black is inadequate for American statistics.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFate

Thanks Elita, I remember seeing that article and it was really impressive.

So now I'd like to ask, what is the percentage of black moms on Twitter? And then do we consider the percentage of Black moms who discuss more than just Black mom issues? I would ask the same question about homeschoolers, Mormons, Jews, evangelical Christians, or geo-local boggers, by the way. If you self-identify as a niche blogger, does that change anything? And are we simply looking for diversity, or are we looking for diversity that still appeals to a general mom audience or specifically to Babble's own audience?

Then we can start going to the questions like why aren't there more black moms on Twitter that have followers in the 10-50,000 range in the first place? As Kristen (Motherhood Uncensored) said above, boy, there are a lot of issues here.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMom101

I'm adding @chookooloonks to my list. I thought of her as I was writing my list, but wasn't sure if she was a mom or not until I was reminded that she is on Momversation.

With regards to @dooce, I agree she belongs on any list of Top Bloggers, but I wouldn't put her on a list of top people on twitter, since her tweets are pretty much one-way communications. I think to be tops on twitter, you need to be engaging with people there. Just my opinion though.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Me: http://twitter.com/cyn3matic

I'm in that very small Venn diagram overlap of WOC/Political mom bloggers.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCynematic

I read, but didn't have much to add at first. My only thought was that latina bloggers seemed also very under represented. Which led me to brainstorm lists of Latina "power" Twitter moms. And, I didn't get very far so felt like I didn't have much to add. Honestly, the list seemed so short sighted. I think one person, at most one writer and editor came up with the whole thing so it was just Twitter as that writer saw it.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristine

Thanks for the new list!

It's so easy to forget how wide the web is, and that at any given time you are only seeing the little snippet that you've decided to open up. Sometimes I realize that something is lacking in my virtual social circle, only to realize that it's lacking because I neglected to include it.

I'll be checking out your list, and following some new mommies (I'd love to see some daddies, too!)

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwendy @ ABCs and Garden Peas

Thanks for posting this! Love it when people point out stuff like this. Most white people don't even notice. I do wonder why people aren't commenting. Is it because they aren't sure what to say or do they disagree with you but don't want to be called racist? I don't see this as "racist" in the purest sense of the word but it's sure ignorant and discriminating---that said I don't get to decide that as a White woman, and there is more than one definition of the word. @blacktating also posted a while ago that I think in Better Homes and Gardens or one of those women's mags that they had bloggers with no one of color in that article too. there are some great Black women bloggers and I agree that they should be included for sure.

Thanks again. Let's keep this stuff in the open. Call it as you see it. Good job.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGreta

know who else is missing? Aboriginals..... Are there any mommy bloggers of Aboriginal heritage?

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeannie

I don't read Babble, I've never liked it. One of the reasons is that I do feel it's very white/upper middle class-centric, so I'm not the least surprised by this list. I don't demand that their list - or their articles, for that matter be exactly representative of the population, but to completely ignore part of the population, especially when that population is well-represented on Twitter, seems really closed minded to me.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJerseygirl89

Yes, there are.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

I'm always looking for other mothers of color to follow on Twitter. I usually go to my friends list and follow people from there.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDarcel @ The Mahogany Way

Thanks for raising this issue and using your voice in such a clear manner. Congrats for being on the list and choosing to speak out as well. Bravo.

It's an interesting discussion that touches all types of lists of Top 10 or Top 100s etc; there's often a celebration/concentration of just the top. I like to know the new and notetable or up and coming people too. It's my favourite part of iTunes :) that section.

The lack of diversity probably reflects the fact that Babble doesn't mix in a diverse enough network itself to have missed so many awesome ladies. How big an oversight is Jennifer James and Rene?

There are so many amazing women of colour on Twitter doing their thing without recognition from Top of the X lists. Congratulations to those that made it this time around and those that will in the future.

Thanks for including me in your list.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelitsa

So let me get this straight....one person ( @mamaista ) was asked to pick the 50 top twitter Moms by babble.com. Top meaning what? Her personal opinion of them? Whether they have a blog or not? Whether they have interacted with her? How long they have been on twitter? How active they are? Why does what @mamaista think mean anything to ME? Maybe the list should be renamed to "Who I like on twitter".

I don't understand what I am missing about #woc on twitter. Is there an icon or twibbon I am not seeing that identifies them? I can honestly say I have never followed (or not followed) anyone on twitter due to their ethnicity. How would I even know that for every person? Sure, some are obvious by name or picture, but not always. Why does that matter? If I relate to other Moms that use cloth diapers, why would I care about their ethnic background?

What about minorities such as Greek or American Indian? How can you determine that by a person's twitter avatar? It is some weird requirement that I missed to disclose your ethnicity when signing up for twitter?

I guess my problem with this line of thinking is that each person has their own definition of who they like to interact with, whether IRL friends, or on twitter. Their choice is most likely based on common interests and similarities; whether it be parenting style, physical location, political views, or sense of humor. I don't think that is limited to one ethnicity.

I could care less what @mamista thinks when I decide who to interact with on twitter anymore than knowing whether a person is a Mom or not plays into that decision. I don't play into the sheep mentality.

BTW: Can I have a definition for #woc? Does this just mean everyone except White (not Hispanic/Latino)?

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Thanks for adding me to your list, Annie!

When I saw the list l really wasn't surprised that many WOC weren't on it because I'm not so sure WOC are a huge part of their readership. I don't read Babble, but I can understand where their list suggestions came from. They recommended moms who (I guess) their readers would most resonate with. I can respect that.

I followed a couple of your tweets last week and when I read their justification about number of followers, I knew that was bogus. Hello @Dooce and even @Twittermoms if that were the case.

Great post!

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer James

Anna:

Could you suggest a few? I would love to follow/read them.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Kristine:

That is certainly part of the challenge - i.e. the fact that it is one writer. However, I sometimes do work that requires me to identify the "best" of something. When I do, I sit down with my clients, and a group of other stakeholders, and identify the criteria that is going to be used for that assessment. I also have other people check my work to ensure that I haven't missed anything.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

discussing race is SO complicated and energy-consuming that I didn't have it in me yesterday. But yes, all this (^Laura's comment). I understand and recognize that we need to do more to diversify the images that we're exposed to, that our children are exposed to, as far as who is successful in our world. That's the only way to fight back against the ever-present fear of "The Other" that threatens to take over our society on a fairly regular basis. This morning I saw that New York Magazine cover that had slurs scrawled all over Obama's face (9/28/09), and I cried. We owe our children better. Here's the thing tho: as Laura pointed out, you can't always tell someone's ethnicity by looking at them -- Magda from Ask Moxie is Hispanic (on her mother's side, IIRC), for example. If you look at pictures of me, either alone or with my husband and youngest child, you would assume that I'm just another "white woman in a position of privilege". But I'm actually a very fair-skinned Puerto Rican, and have encountered prejudice not only among white people but also "my" people, which hurts me even more. And therein lies the rub. I've had people who look at my skin color and, not knowing my history, dismiss my thoughts and opinions on matters of race, I'm completely shut out and invalidated. It's frustrating and, honestly?, I'd rather spend more of my energy promoting breastfeeding, birthing education & empowerment, babywearing, comprehensive family leave & health care policies that benefit all families, so that in the end it doesn't matter what ethnic background you come from because what I'm advocating is/should be race-neutral.

How well does Babble represent the interests of minorities in general anyway? They certainly hold no interest for me -- I checked them out when they started up and quickly realized it I was not in their demo.

So yes, let's tell Babble that there are plenty of non-white twitterers that are awesome, show them your list and then? Let's please move on to other, greater issues that are affecting women, mothers of ALL colors.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMicaela

Laura:

I also interact with people on twitter based on common interests, not race. However, if my twitter following list (by chance or design) was exclusively (or almost exclusively) demographically identical to me, then I would be missing out on the experiences and wisdom of other segments of the population. When I talk about cloth diapers, I need to understand that people who are living paycheck to paycheck in rental housing and that have to walk several blocks to a laundromat face different barriers than I do. I need to understand that people without access to the Canadian healthcare system may not have the same choices with regards to where and how to give birth that I have. I need to understand that women of colour face different barriers to breastfeeding than I do as a white woman. I am less likely to understand those things if I am only following middle-class, Canadian, white moms than if I am following moms with different experiences than mine.

All that said, yes, I follow people based on common interest. But I also follow people to learn and to stretch my understanding of the world. If I do not broaden my circle to include people who are not just like me, then I may inadvertently be propping up and further ingraining my privilege over others rather than working to break down barriers.

With regards to a definition of women of colour (#woc), here is one on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_of_color. Perhaps others have better/different definitions to point to. In Canada the term more commonly used is "visible minority", which is similar to the definition of people of colour except that it conceptually seems to exclude those who pass as exclusively white (even if they are not exclusively white).

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Micaela:

I agree that we need to focus on issues that affect women, mothers of all colours, with an understanding that they do not always affect all mothers of all colours in the same way or equally.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I don't follow lists because most are well, elitist. The same group of people and normally their friends and cliques. I can barely fathom how they choose the "influencer" etc but feel no surprise or disappointment that I won't make any list. Thanks Suzanne (@momconfessional) for mentioning me and thank you for including me, though I would have remained a fan of yours even had I been omitted.

Coming from South Africa race is a sensitive subject with me and I really appreciate you standing up for shedding light on this topic. The fact that you were brave enough to mention this in your well-read blog is another reason I have to respect you (more).

Thanks
Niri

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterniri

This is an interesting discussion that I have been having offline with some local (NYC) blogger friends. As soon as the list came out, people started asking questions/making accusations - only 2 Blacks, no Latinas, etc.. Really, I think the fault is the way that Babble frames these "lists". Instead of being a definitive "Top 50 Twitter Moms" list, it was in reality a "Top 50 Moms That @Mamaista Likes on Twitter". (But then again, that framing wouldn't have prompted as many page views and discussions, right?)

I don't necessarily think that Mamaista is inherently racist, homophobic, etc. (I don't know her to say one way or the other.) I think that she simply highlighted her friends and the people that she enjoys following on twitter. Given the same assignment, each of us would have a totally different list. (I know that mines would be weighted more heavily towards NYC area bloggers and bloggers of color. It wouldn't be because I have a bias AGAINST other twitter folks. It would just be because I don't know them in order to recommend them.)

Besides the framing, the other thing that made me shake my head was Babble's dishonesty. I was reading the Womanist Musing post that you mentioned and one of Babble's community managers made the most disingenuous comments. "It couldn't be racist because it was based on numbers of follower." That's obviously not true because many of the people that you listed on this post have more followers than those that were on the list. Then, she followed with "It couldn't be racist because there were 2 Black women on it." Really? Did she notice that the two Black women both had the word "mocha" in their twitter handles. (Maybe it was me, but I found that hilarious. Nothing against the two that were included...I'm happy whenever any mom gets props!) I just left thinking, "The lady doth protest too much, me thinks"

Anyway, congrats to all who made the Babble list/ your list/ any (good) list. Hopefully, the next time "the list" will include more women of color who are actually active on twitter. Your list is a good starting point!

P.S. Thanks Kim M., Christine & Liz for the mentions. I'm so glad to know all of you!

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly/Mom in the City

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