the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Blogosphere is Like Orange County, 1969


I had been reading Sarcastic Fringehead for a few weeks. We even emailed each other with funny stories, but something was “off” about my visualization of her. There were details that didn’t fit. Finally, I asked her, “Are you a black woman?”

Yes, she was. She is. Was I wrong to ask her that?

One of the pleasures of blogging is that we can be invisible to each other and just focus on each others’ words and thoughts. We judge someone more on a clever line than how one looks or what “group” someone belongs to. Even we do include photos of ourselves, we don’t reveal many of the cultural or regional quirks that might separate us from each other.

While this lack of context can unite us, it can also make the blogosphere bland. I have no idea of the ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation of most of my fellow bloggers. Should it matter? Not really, but sometimes I wonder if my online life is LESS diverse than my real life. I thought of doing a demographic study, just for fun, but I was worried that someone would be upset. Even the hip New York city bloggers seem to live less in the real New York City, than in an all-white Orange County, circa 1969. I hope the blogosphere isn’t turning out to be like my high school cafeteria was, with everyone hanging out by ethnic and racial group.

I was actually excited to learn that Sarcastic Fringehead was black. Can someone please introduce me to a black mommyblogger?! I know it may not be fashionable to say so, but I like differences between people. I though it was funny when Rhea wrote in a comment that she would share my bed, even though she was a lesbian. I had no idea! How cool. Rather than separating us, I feel “closer” to her now, knowing this intimate fact (don’t worry, Rhea — I won’t get too close and ruin your lesbian credentials).

I love accents. I love Sophia’s accent. I love to hear the Southern accent of Laurie from Crazy Aunt Purl when she makes a video. After all, we all can’t speak proper Amercian English like we do in New Yawk.

Although I don’t consider myself a “Jewish blogger,” I haven’t been shy about babbling about Jewish stuff. In fact I do it so often, that Leesa from Montana is now fluent in Yiddish.

I think I’m even changing my mind about this year’s Survivor Maybe the race gimmick is a clever idea. By acknowledging our “differences,” maybe we can better see that at the core, there aren’t MAJOR differences — everyone who plays Survivor is as dumb and selfish as the next guy.

Last Friday, there was a special 20/20 on racial stereotypes. What struck me as the most interesting part of the program wasn’t that racism still exists, but how far we go to make believe there aren’t ANY differences at all.

In my post about colleges, I noticed that a few women are still upset about ex-Harvard Dean Lawrence Summers and his speech about women and science. Although he was quoted as saying “women thinkers were inferior to men thinkers,” he never actually said that. From Wikipedia:

In January 2005, Summers suggested at an economic conference that one reason there are fewer women than men in science and engineering professorships might be innate sex differences in the distribution of intelligence. The suggestion was that variation in intelligence (in particular with regard to science and math ability) is higher in males, resulting in a higher number of highly intelligent males, resulting in more men at the very high levels of “intrinsic aptitude” that scholarly jobs required. An attendee made his remarks public, and a firestorm followed in the national news media and on Harvard’s campus, which incorrectly implied that Summers argued that men are somewhat more intelligent than women on average.

20/20 brought up this issue, as well as the controversial subject of black athleticism. It was amusing to see coaches coming up with complicated reasons for why blacks predominate in sports — none of them having to do with genetics. Is it really racist to suggest that African bodies may be built differently? Or is it wrong to suggest that men might have a stronger instinct for spacial learning? How can anyone live with a woman for one day and say there aren’t fundamental differences?

Of course we are all individuals. I cry at movies more than Sophia, blowing that myth. I just think a total color blind attitude towards life — and the blogosphere — doesn’t really create the diverse society we are hoping for. Why shouldn’t there be differences among groups? Ignoring it doesn’t promote tolerance. If there are no cultural differences between us, than there is really nothing to tolerate. I’m all for making my part of the Blogosphere like Queens, NY rather than Newport Beach, CA.

So, yes, I will share a lesbian’s bed. As long as she doesn’t snore.

Update:  Interesting case study about a website’s diversity.  (via Petrona and Cognitive Daily) 


A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Anonymous Sources


  1. Stefanie

    But you know lesbians sleep with OTHER CHICKS right? Like they aren’t going to fool around with you. They are just going to sleep. But, hey, if that’s what you want to do, you have my permission.

  2. Neil

    They can change. They can change.

  3. Sweet

    Well said, and now of course I’m curious to find out the demographics of your readership. Asking for photos of beds was just the beginning!

  4. sandra

    I grew up in the whitest area imaginable — and am with you. I love — crave, even — diversity.

  5. Alexandra

    I”m actually half black on my right side from head to toe, and white straight down the left side. Did you pick that up or no?

  6. Rabbit

    I’m white, heterosexual, and don’t have an interesting accent.

    That’s pretty boring.

    Um . . . I was a Catholic schoolgirl. Little plaid jumpers and everything.

  7. schmutzie

    Mennonite down the line on both sides of my family, which is our only ethnic claim; gender dysphoric; feminist; Canadian; no kids, two cats, no car; married; of the female sex.

    I just thought I’d jump in.

  8. Hilly

    Hi, Snackie here…reppin’ The OC in this little post heaaa; it is funny because people still think that Orange County is mainly white bread rich people and a lot of it is, I am not going to lie to you. It is a rarity that I see someone of African American persuasion and that seems odd to me, growing up in a divese culture in Northern California then living in Flushing. However, we do have a heavily populated Asian community.

    With regard to Survivor, I found myself rooting for the Asian team because I liked them better…but then my best friend here, who is Korean actually asked me, “are you sure it’s not because almost half of your friends are Asian?” and she was kidding but I had to think about that, honestly.

    I recently too was having the great Survivor debate with a fellow blogger, and she busts out with, “I don’t know if you know this but I am African American” and hells bells, I had no idea…how CAN we tell over the net and it is non PC to ask? I mean, not that it matters but I like to know what people look like at least….so hey, a pic would suffice.

    You know from living in Queens though, that even white people (yes, I a total Cali White Girl) don’t let it stop at that…they break it down to “no what ARE you?” and you say, “oh half Italian and half Irish”…well that is what I say anyway.

    Sorry for the long winded reply, Neil!

  9. Neil

    Hilly — So you know what I’m talking about when I bring up Queens. No one is just something. I don’t think I ever met anyone who called themselves “white.” They’d be Polish, or Greek, etc..  And you’re right about the OC.  In fact, if you go to Anaheim today, no one speaks English.  Everyone from OC, 1969 now lives in Arizona.

    Rabbit — You being Catholic alone is enough to g et you in trouble.

    Schnutzie – I have to admit that the Mennonite background is even MORE interesting to me than that of a lesbian. Lesbians I see ALL the time…

  10. james manning

    I have no idea why anyone would want to live in a color-blind society.

  11. Viscountess of Funk

    Our daugher is going to school in Seattle, in the City, where there is more ethnic diversity than in the burbs. We like it that way.

  12. Neil

    Viscountess — I don’t want to be one of those guys who put down the suburbs. That seems to be the place to go, especially when you have kids. Only the rich and poor seem to be living in the city at a certain point. I think everyone wants to live in a safe nice place. You’re not going to see me taking a trip over to Compton at night so I can enjoy some “diversity.” But online, there is really no excuse. There’s no gang violence online. Spam, maybe.

  13. Non-Highlighted Heather

    You know too much already.

  14. Hilly

    Neil – Oh yeah totally…whenever guys would pick up on us, or we would meet new people, that was the first question. It was more about digging deep into the ethnic crap.

  15. Dagny

    Well, I’m going to step up as Hilly’s debate partner over the past week or so. I grew up in the Bay in an ethnically diverse neighborhood. School was a different tale. My high school was predominantly African American — something like 60%. I took honors classes in which I was one of the few African Americans. The folks in my classes were mostly White. A few of them had strong ethnic identities. My two closest friends were (1) WASP — her definition, and (2) half WASP, half Filipino. We liked to introduce ourselves to folks as sisters — same mom, different dads. All these years later, they are still like family to me.

    As for the term “African American” (By the way my mom hates that term. She says that first she was “Colored” and then she was “Black.” She’s sticking to “Black.”) means a lot. I know my family tree well enough to know that it is made up of a lot of different things. For example, my mother has enough Native American blood to qualify her for tribal membership; same goes for me. One of my cousins was first married to a man of German descent. Her current husband is Peruvian. She has children from both marriages. What do they call themselves? As time goes on, I think that it will be harder to put a single label on a person.

  16. ms. sizzle

    one of the things i love most about my new city is that seattle actually HAS diversity. in santa cruz, everyone talked about it but there were about two racial groups- latino and white and then the majority of the citizens being gay. i am with you, bring on the diversity. that’s like life without any spice.

  17. Celina

    Oh, Dagny’s comment was great. And, I agree. I’m from the deep south, where people are “black,” “white,” or hispanic. And for your demographical survey, I classify myself as a 25 y/o hispanic woman, straight, and Christian. My mother’s whole family is “Hispanic-American” (whatever that means: Rivera surname from Spain, with some Native American, and probably some Mexican), and such that I associated them as my “whole” family until I was 18, I consider myself Hispanic. But, to look at me (and hear my southern accent) you’d probably assume I was “just” white, and probably “redneck white” at that. 🙂

  18. fringes

    “…details that didn’t fit…”

    Are you referring to the John Denver thing? Black people love John Denver.

  19. deezee

    I wish I could get more diversity in my life. Working in Hollywood – very segregated. Living in LA – very segregated (even in mixed up Venice.) It’s not enough to live amongst diversity; you’ve got to find a way to get it into your life, into your friendships, etc., and I just haven’t found that easy to do. And even when we do manage to, it’s like we’re not supposed to notice our ethnic differences and ever refer to them. How do you break THAT barrier?

    My son’s public middle school is very diverse, and while he’s got friends of every color, he says kids mostly break down into their own racial groups when they hang out.

    And I don’t think the problem lies in acknowledging our differences. The danger comes with what we do afterwards (like maybe not allowing the girl with a proclivity for science to pursue that arena…or making racial assumptions about each other that limit our choices…ah, the complexity of it all!)

  20. Tara

    Dagny, Does your high school name start with an M? If it does, my ex-boyfriend went there.

    My parents grew up a block away from each other in an Irish Catholic neighborhood on the Southside of Chicago. I grew up being one of the only white people in government housing in my town in Arizona. My girls are 1/2 Irish and close to half Mexican (their great grandmother was a German Jew who moved to Mexico to escape religious persecution in her home country). We live in Iowa but a lot of kids in their grade school came from married student housing for our University which means that their classmates are from all over the world. I love it that they have had exposure to so many cultures and religions.

    I think everyone has something about them that makes them unique.

  21. Dagny

    Ahhh. The high school name does not begin with an “M.” Now I’m desperately flipping through high school names to see if I can figure that one out. No, it begins with a “K” and I’m still mad that they changed the name of our mascot in “Coach Carter.” Owls? Puh-leeze.

  22. kristen

    so true, how everyone pretends that there isn’t racial issues in our world today. People don’t move to my town because it’s too ‘diverse’ which translates, your county includes an area that’s pretty rough and we’re more comfortable with our own.

  23. Hilly

    I have to say that Dagny is a great debate partner (now that she outed herself) because she and I have been debating with intelligence, not anger or drama and that is what makes things in the world better instead of worse…listening and talking freely.

    Peace, Love and Gtease!

  24. wendy

    Ok…I’ll throw my two cents in…How bout this…And I cringe as I say this…I am a white 40ish Catholic female…all of probably knew..But how bout this??… I am an attractive?? (cringe) woman with Cerebal Palsy..(mild). Some people have problems with this particular classification…Disabled..probably its self..or attractive,and yes, flirtatious…not by itself.. but the combo..and that rattles some cages.. Just like Disabled and Athletic..or Female and mathmatically inclined..or Asian and a sports stud.. or black and wicked smart… or Jewish and geneously extravagent… or gay and studdly mannish..or lesbian and bombshell. Most time the “sterotypes” don’t seem to fit. The blogs just speak to who we are…really..without prejudgement.
    Nice post Neil!

  25. Tara

    I’ll make it easier for you – it’s in SF itself. I think their colors are black and gold…Damn this internet and the way things can get googled.

  26. paperback writer

    This deserves a post all it’s on.

    You’ve been warned, Neil. 😉

  27. Dagny

    LOL Tara. When you said the first letter, I immediately thought of schools in SF. They like to name schools there with that starting letter.

  28. Lord Chimmy

    What struck me as the most interesting part of the program wasn’t that racism still exists, but how far we go to make believe there aren’t ANY differences at all.

    People do that ALL the time…try to make-believe that we’re all the same. As if we point out differences then we’re racist, sexist, elitist, etc. There are those people who feel like they have to go out of their way to prove that they’re not racist (e.g., Hey, I have a lot of [insert your favorite “group” here] friends.) I don’t know…it seems a little silly to me. There are people who are downright racist. Then there are people who just lack experience and just don’t know what falls into the racist category. We don’t need to pretend we know everything about “the other side.”

    I think a bland blogosphere is a good thing. If you read someone long enough eventually the details will come out. By not knowing those details right off the bat you’re less apt to make snap judgments (in my opinion, but I may be wrong). Besides, it is kind of fun imagining what someone is like. If, by chance, you ever meet that person then you can compare your imagination with reality (and hopefully be pleasantly surprised).

  29. Jody

    I respond to an individual’s post because I am intrigued by the discussion generated. Do I care if the person is black, white, hispanic, asian, gay, jewish, catholic, quaker, disabled, went to an Ivy league school?

    My experiences through blogging is people allow themselves to put down their prejudices and communicate with one another. I don’t believe we ever “get rid” of all of our prejudices but we can learn to be more open minded to different opinions and thought processes and expand our knowledge about the world beyond our own 4 walls and beyond those that we hang out with on a daily basis.

    The one thing I have in common with all of my friends is that we have open discussions about prejudices and generalizations. Those I call my friends include about 7 different religions, straights and gays, 4 ethnic groups, and 3 nationalities.

  30. Dagny

    Thank you for saying that, Jody. I always say that everyone is prejudiced in some way. It’s just a part of human nature. More important is what you do about those prejudices. Do you let them rule your life or do you strive to learn more?

  31. Deborah

    Great article, Neil! Diversity is the dynamic element in humanity. Well done.

  32. Leesa

    Someone who doesn’t snore? I’ll take that.  And I was married to a jewish boy… I know Yiddish 😉

  33. mckay

    bravo. you’ve voiced many thoughts i’ve had. people are different. why try to white wash everyone to be a bland gruel instead of the spicy variations that are natural to our world?

    and hey, have you been to newport lately? it’s not as white as it once was. now there are lots of ethnic richy riches, too, habib.

    but still, i get your point. as a newport kid in the 60’s, the only black buddies i had were the neighbor’s maid and the tennis club’s janitor. he was the coolest dude i knew. really. just thinking about him i can hear his laugh. awesome memory.

  34. tamarika

    I am going to have to print this whole thing out for my next three presentations this fall.

    And that’s all I have to say about that (and, in my antique British-Rhodesian/Zimbabwean accent).

  35. idighootchandcootch

    very nice.

    I think there plenty of physical differences between people from different places. However, for the most part, I think we all share the same feelings and emotional needs.

  36. justrun

    Great post, Neil. I agree with you, there’s no excuse to not embrace diversity, especially here. It’s a theme that keeps popping up everywhere lately: it won’t be our leaders that bring the world together, it will be the internet.
    Good job with this, seriously. It’s this kind of post that really does make you Citizen of the Month. 🙂


    Not acknowlaging diversity, I think it’s a WASP thing.

  38. sarah

    With regards to your ” What struck me as the most interesting part of the program wasn’t that racism still exists, but how far we go to make believe there aren’t ANY differences at all. : comment:

    I grew up during Reagans ‘bus-ing” era, so I bused to an inner city school. Therefore I was the minority, but i didnt notice it. I was young.

    I therefore tend to not notice the difference, its just a shade of skin. It wasnt until years later that my african american friend told me the discrimination she faced. I was shocked.

    So while there are racial differences, I wouldnt say I go out of my way to pretend there are not differences, i just tend to not see them.

  39. EEK

    My Father always said that his side of the family was German. About two years ago, he found out that they’re actually Swiss and had immigrated to the US on a ship that embarked from France. In my opinion, his response to the news was a little irrational.

    He called me and said, “Well. Apparently we’re neutral now … whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.”

    He still claims that we have some Native American blood on his side, but I’m starting to think he just makes this stuff up …

  40. Lux Lisbon

    tell it! what a fan-fucking-tastic post. so true. the differences in people and groups is what makes them interesting while at the same time everyone has that human-ness to connect then. i seek out friends of all different back rounds for this very reason and i’m proud to say i have GOOD friends who are from all over the world (Italy,Sweden,Lebanon,Pakistan,Latvia,Albania,Scotland and South Africa)

  41. Rhea

    I think you’re brave to bring this stuff up. I love the anonymity of the blogosphere, but I also love what you spoke about today: knowing what the heck everyone is!?! I must say I have found remarkable openness all over the blogosphere. Of course, I avoid the really conservative blogs…

  42. kapgar

    You’re Jewish?!?! In the immortal words of Frank Barone, “Holy crap.”

    JK. I agree with you on the diversity bit. I like having a bit of it in my life and I think that, only to some degree, the blogosphere has helped me in that regard. In that it has introduced me to a wide variety of people. However, it does seem as though these little differences melt away entirely after a while leaving the blogosphere with nothing but a bunch of people who all seem the same.

    Now that I think about it, maybe it’s better this way. We wind up with a true “one people” sort of situation. Perhaps the blogosphere is helping us to become one with our neighbors and sort out our differences by eliminating our focus on external features and personal history totally. You don’t want to lose it entirely, obviously, as it defines who you are as a person, but it helps eliminate barriers that people might subconsciously build based on preconceived notions that a person has about a person based simply on appearance.

  43. Cover Your Mouth

    I absolutely agree that cultural differences should be acknowledged and celebrated and I think, for the most part, they are. I live in Chicago and there are over 30 separate ethnic/cultural festivals every summer. Greek, Mexican, African Caribbean, Chinese, Irish, German, Puerto Rican, etc. etc. etc. Cultural differences enrich and expand our society. But I have to agree with Deezee that when you’re talking about perceived genetic differences, we have to be careful that they’re not limiting, as in Larry Summers’ comments that, according to a study reported in Monday’s NY Times have turned out to be false.

  44. *lynne*

    You want some funky demographics? Here’s someone who is half-Malaysian half-Swiss, has some sort of accent that immediately makes me “different” but noone would be able to say “Hey, you’re from Malaysia!”; and currently settling down in Chicago. 🙂 And let’s just say all three “religions of the book” are representated.

  45. Jody

    I like people because they are all different from myself. I also live by the Tennyson line – I am apart of all that I have met. Don’t change to be like me because I like you for what you bring into our relationship. I still might have prejudices but so will you. It is what we do with our knowledge that makes a difference in whether we associate with one another.

  46. Jody

    Neil – great great great post!

  47. treespotter

    Neil, really, i should coopt you for the Indonesian blog rings. they’ve been speculating for months whether i’m Indonesian (therefore backward, moslem, american hating, anti-semit, and generally crappy) or an expat (therefore liberal and smart and will be allowed to mouth off on absolutely anything at all). Some were even suggesting that i’m female and congratulate me on my pregnancy.

    i’m finding it very amusing that whatever it is i say will obviously mean (tilted) differently, if i am white/black/brown/green/yellow.

    weird shit.

    not that i mind, it’s always fun.

  48. Neil

    Dagny — I still laugh at how my father, a person without a racist bone in his body, could never stop saying Negro and Oriental!

    Fringes — I just heard a rumor that the NAACP is thinking of revoking your “blackness” card because of your bizarre attraction to John Denver.

    Deezee/Cover Your Mouth — Good point about the racial assumptions. It would be sad if women didn’t become scientists because they thought they weren’t good at it. In that 20/20 segment there was some study showing that just telling a certain group that they weren’t good at something, like math, actually made them BAD at it. There must be a way to be both honest about differences, and not use them to limit people.

    Wendy — It didn’t even occur to me that there are all sorts of peoiple with disabilities online — and it must be great not having people bring it up all the time — or feel uncomfortable. I remember when Sophia had her bout with breast cancer, some of her real friends disappeared in fear of illness. I doubt it would be like that online.

    Kapgar — I only wish this “one people” melting together was true. I’m all for it. I guess I was noticing that a lot of the blogosphere just becomes the same as the real world — forming into niche groups by interest, ethnicity, and class. Or becoming as bland as a sitcom on CBS, ripe for advertisers to sell things on our blogs. Having worked a little bit as a writer in “Hollywood” it always bugged me how fearful everyone was of being too specifically ethnic. There are tons of Jewish characters on TV, but you’d rarely see a Jew married to another one. Remember the big deal when you saw two lesbians kiss on Ellen? I love that the blogosphere is such a unifying place. We’re all the same at heart and enjoy the same jokes and stupid memes. I just wonder if some bloggers are afraid of writing about specific things close to their heart — like their black church or their crazy Cuban mother because they might be afraid of being “too ethnic.”

  49. Roberta

    I didn’t think I had anything to say about this. Then, separately, I was formulating a blog in my head, and it alluded to pagan festivals. And I thought about this blog… no, I do not prefer to qualify myself in any way. You read my stuff, you find out a lot about me. I’m pagan, I’m a theatre chick, a bit of a fag-hag, I’m Jewish, I am lonely and confused, I had weight loss surgery.
    But none of those are my hook. I’m hookless, and I think I like that better.
    Oh, and I’m a proud black woman.

  50. Neil

    Roberta, you are a perfect example of what I am talking about. When I first read of your interest in pagan festivals, my first instinct was “Oh my god, this woman is dangerous!” Gradually, I realized that you were rather brave for bringing this up, knowing that you would get some odd glances about it. I still might think it is a little weird, but hey — as long as you write about it in an interesting way.

    Tiff — In some circles, like in Flushing, NY — absolutely yes.

  51. tiff

    Does WASP count as an ethnic group?



  52. fringes

    “Can someone please introduce me to a black mommyblogger?!”

    Since we all seem to be coming out on your blog, have you found one, yet?

  53. tiff

    how about “I had a rare genetic disease a small child and have one nearsighted eye and freckles?”

    I LOVE finding out about people online, and having my brain thumped when I find out they’re NOT what I thought they were. It’s excellent beyond most things to have horizons open up, even if it means having to cast off long-held notions (whether conscious or no).

  54. chantel

    I live in Portland, it is not very diverse except for the large population of gays and lesbians. I was born in the South with a lot of diversity but also a lot of tension. I miss the racial diversity but my closest friends span the range of racial diversity so I have it in some form or another.
    For the record: White, Irish, Single Woman. No religious affiliation. Neil knew that already.


  55. better safe than sorry

    if you want to meet a black mommy blogger, i say do the thursday thirteen, with hundreds of participants, there’s bound to be one. i’m assuming you’ve got time to visit each and every one who plays.
    i never read anyones personal details on their page, i prefer to find a style i like and get to know about them as i read. i actually read someone’s blog for many months before i realized he was a man.

  56. Shevvi

    Black mommybloggers

    I know of more. I’ll add them later

  57. Dustin

    Great post. I went from the uber white neighborhoods of suburban PacNW to New York and your exactly right, trying to ignore differences makes you look stupid. People need to learn that recognizing is not the same as disrespecting.

    Although the racial make-up of Columbia made me laugh.

  58. Heather B.
    black mommy blogger, which seriously, I had known of none until BlogHer.

    I still have to remind my readers that I am in fact, black, they often forget. Especially my crazy, jewish male readers who think I’m asian. wtf?

  59. Caitlinator

    I don’t have the time to read through all the other comments, but I agree with you. I don’t understand why being different seems to constitute being worse or less than something else. It’s almost to the point where acknowledging difference is the equivalent to acknowledging inferiority. I don’t personally agree with that, and I don’t think many people would agree with it either, and yet… that seems to be the general perception, doesn’t it?

  60. Kris

    I’m surprised you’ve never seen/read Chookooloonks before. Best black mommy blogger ever!

  61. Neil

    Wow, thanks for opening up my horizons! Now I need to meet some bi-lingual Spanish speakers so I can practice my high school Spanish.

    And as added proof that we are all the same — it is a fact that Asian mommybloggers do get the flu from their kids like everyone else.  Feel better, Leese!


  62. Think Frustrated


    White (25%German 25%Dutch 25%Polish 25%Lithuanian)
    1 Kid
    Live 30 miles So. of Chicago, but it’s not technically considered a suburb, as we are so completely far away. More of a “farm community.”

    I’m totally boring.

  63. Jader

    Californian WASP here.

    My three most serious boyfriends have been (in order) Chinese, Indian, and Puerto Rican, the last two with names to match. My mom always asks me when I’m going to find a nice white boy and settle down. Why can’t I date a John, or a Robert?

  64. Neil

    Jader — Well, isn’t it obvious what you find sexy?

  65. Roberta

    Thanks for the (pretty much) compliment :- )
    Yeah, I figure, why broadcast the weird in my title or description? No need to give that stuff away… let it slide out, bit by bit. And truly, I’m with you on this. I am so easy to categorize, but how? Mouthy Jewish girl? Wild hippie pagan?
    Be surprised by me…

  66. mmariem3

    hmmm.. the weirdest part of moving to Boston was the segregation. Being from Atlanta, I am used to integration. Funny in the liberal north, I find a more stereotypical Southern environment. One of the only aspects of Atlanta I miss is the integration.

  67. chelle

    This was an awesome post and honestly, I have never thought about the cultural (or other) diversity of my blogging friends or anyhone in blogland for that matter. I guess because I live in such a diverse area, culturally and other, I just assume that everyone is “diverse” in some way. Does that make any sense??? ANyway….I did enjoy this post. I think you made a lot of people think. BTW…I’m just an average Canadian (now living in Michigan)…..that is about my only diverse feature. 🙂

  68. laurie

    mmariem3 — I felt the same way moving to the city! My little tiny southern town was way more integrated in so many ways than this big liberal city.

  69. Neil

    Mmariem3 — And Boston, home of so many universities, has an especially long history of being segregated. It’s funny how the South still has this reputation of being “racist,” when there is probably more interaction between the races there (both good and bad) than in the North.

    Danny — I’m a Jewish-style blogger. A real Jewish blogger names his blog “Jew Eat Yet?”

  70. Danny

    I think that is one of the best gifts of the blogosphere—the opportunity to communicate with people who are so different from the folks in all of our self-imposed ghettos. I really love that diversity and have so enjoyed interacting with all sorts of people through blogging—even Republicans! (Sorry, Sophia, I’m just baiting you to get your attention, like with my previous comment about how smart Clinton is…)

    Neil, you reallly don’t consider yourself a Jewish blogger? I see your Jewish perspective permeating every single post but then again, I’m hardly unbiased on the subject. And I understand why you don’t want to define yourself by labels.

  71. ElizaF

    So by my accent do you reckon I have freckles or not?

  72. ElizaF

    There should have been a smile after that last remark, so here it is, one remark late “:)”

  73. rach

    great post neilochka. I want to be contoversial in my comments. It doesn’t matter if our conversants are any particular race, religion or creed. We do not judge their background or culture but just like their words, thoughts and writing. For example, would it matter if they were interacting with us from a state pen for serial crimes, or were all of a sudden, racist, sexist in their comments. Would we judge them for that and what would we do about it? Do we really take all people as equal, or is it until someone pisses us off, says something we dont like, then we would have to dis-blog them. Not my views just wanted to express a different opinion!

  74. Neil

    Rach — Someone’s background is completely different from someone’s actions — where I might want to dis-blog them. But it does bring up the problem of “judging” people solely on their writing. What if this convicted murderer actually writes some excellent blog posts? Would we still want to read them? That’s why it is dangerous to get crushes on actors or writers. Hasn’t anyone ever seen Amadeus? The most talented are often the biggest jerks.

  75. Neil

    By the way — this is the hip media’s attempt to be diverse: October’s Interview Magazine, with the title being “The Times They Are A-Changin’. Of course diversity means two sexy, light-skinned women (Catalina Moreno and Alicia Keys) surrounded with white actors — with no men of color at all.  The Times are a-Changin’ — to what?!

  76. Bama Girl

    Good post! A lot to think about. I find myself trying to be so politically correct whenever I talk about race/gender/cultural issues. Sometimes I think it’s all a huge minefield!

  77. Hilly

    Rach brings up a good point. I think it would take a lot for me to dis-blog someone; they would have to directly offend me or hurt me in a bad way. I guess people all have secrets, pasts, things they are not proud of and are imperfect but if they write well, treat others with respect and are real with it….then I am there. I generally hate it when I find out that someone is not who they said they were….but I have to tell you, I met my husband online and some of my best friends through blogging; just like anything else, it takes time and trust.

  78. pia

    Amazing post, Neil.

    Queens is the most ethnically diverse county in the country, but if I knew it from TV, I would think that it’s a borough of fat men married to pretty women.

    What I love about the blogosphere, though, is the friends I have made who never knew a Jew before, let alone a New York Jewish woman who will say anything.

    But I feel like a fraud, because I come from a family of cultural Jews, and trying to explain how Judiasm is not just a religion but a culture is sometimes impossible–it gets very confusing

  79. Roberta

    Neil, re Rach,
    It’s trickier with great writers than with almost any other art form (except maybe acting). The fact is, if people were the same in person as they are on paper, people would go on exactly one, count ’em, ONE, date. Then they’d get married.
    Every once in a while I get an online crush, whether it be a real live potential date, or just an amazing Jewish blogger, and then I have to remind myself of some of the very annoying people I know, (in real life), and how great they would seem if I only knew them by their writing.
    We can all think of at least one of those. It is quite sobering.

  80. Violet

    It isn’t necessarily going to make someone more interesting, knowing his or her ethnic background. But having a strange FAMILY background, weird behavioural tics or an unusual world view probably will.

  81. Fitena

    Mon Dieu do I love this post!
    A men who thinks like me! Wow! We can be so alike in our differences, can’t we!
    I once read a specal edition of my favourite magazine where blind people were asked to give their definitions of beauty. I found their defiitions so beauty full that i decided to type some of them and email them to a friend. Am sad to say that they didn’t find them beautiful at all. Why? Because a white french men who’s job is to massage people said that he loves to massage black people because their skin is taut and their muscles are se well defined. He’s a racist was what my friend thought. We’re different I told him. That’s the beauty of it. He did not like the sound of that and I lost a friend.
    Why do people have so much trouble coming to terms with the fact that we are different?!
    We’re different and complementary regardless of our skin colors, religions, and cultures. That’s how this black ivoiro-sudanese bilingual from birth muslim woman that I am likes to think of us.
    I’d have loved to share my bed but had to return the digicam, would you settle for a poorly drawn version of it instead?

  82. D-Nice

    Well, I am “white”, but my mother was Ecuadorian & my father was Canadian (Irish/Welsh descent)but I was born in Madagascar. I am now a naturalized US citizen (although I have lived in the States my whole life). I could say that I was an African-American & would totally be referring to geographical identity – not skin color.

    As for skin color – I can tan really good in the summer, but it always fades in the winter.

    Let’s see, what else….I live in the South, but don’t really have a Southern accent. I have two daughters that I don’t get to see because their dad is a moronic idiot, who uses his religion (Jehovah’s Witness) as his shield for all actions he takes. I have hypothyroidism, so I have to take Synthroid for the rest of my life. Ummm….that’s all I can think of right now….I’m giving myself a headache!

  83. autumn

    I have never thought of myself as “white”. I’m native american, and a mix of European countries. I’m married, I’m pretty (and trust me, that’s enough for people to bias against you). I’m chronically ill – which makes me disabled, but I’m “healthy” right now. I’m 25, but half my friends online are over 35 and we never remember that they’re 10-20 years old, and I’m younger until someone mentions something I don’t remember.

    I grew up in a religiously diverse area – conservative america with Amish, Mennonite and all the other fun conservative Christians, raise by my mother who was Wiccan since some time in the 70’s….

    For me, the cultural diversity has always been more interesting then someone’s skin color, but I find that often, it’s people of other racial ethnicities that have the most to share because they have that whole other culture.

    Of course, there are more things about me and my life I can’t reveal online, but I can promise – people would be surprised, and not surprised at the same time.

  84. deannie

    I love to eat – how can you not love diversity when it comes to the cuisines of various cultures??? The joy of different food is just the beginning of the joys of knowing someone not like you. I like diversity in blog writers too.

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