Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Blogging minorities

A discussion started brewing over at Crooked Timber while I was on my hiatus, on gender and blogging. In the post, Kieran points out that bloggers may be more likely to link to people like themselves than to different people, an internet version of the old boy's club. Looking at my blogroll, I have 11 women and 28 men (and 7 group blogs). My percentage is rather higher than those mentioned in Kieran's post. I don't think this is due to my enlightened awareness of gender equity, but rather due to my field. In my first year at DePauw, I was at a new faculty workshop on teaching issues. We started discussing the issues of women as a minority in the classroom. But in music, women are usually the majority. I pointed this out, and said that the real issue in music classes was racial mixes. Black classical music students are very rare, despite significant efforts by universities, conservatories, and professional organizations. In my three years at DePauw, I've had only five black students out of about sixty different students in my classes. I never think about whether I'm treating female students differently from male students, but I have had qualms when correcting a black student in class or giving a black student a bad grade. I've never had a complaint, and I always base my grades and comments on objective criteria, but I still double-check myself sometimes.

I couldn't tell you what the racial makeup of my blogroll is, beyond a few bloggers who post their pictures. I had never even given it a thought until reading Kieran's post. However, I'm willing to bet that my blogroll is much more homogenous by race than by gender. The real question is, should I be more active in looking for differing perspectives on the world, whether they are female, black, hispanic, Republican, or Country-Western perspectives? How active are you in seeking the Other?

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