African American Political Pundit writes:
“The discussion on healthcare in America is a critical one. The proposed official AfroSpear/AfroSphere position statement on national universal health care is equally important.
I respect the hard work of Francis Holland and other AfroSpear/AfroSphere members regarding the drafting of the proposed official AfroSpear position statement. I’m however concerned that the AfroSphere is under 100 members and we should wait to build the membership up and run it through the expanded membership for consensus. I’ve always been concerned for national groups and organizations that don’t have significant constituencies speaking for larger groups of people. We should not place ourselves in a position of saying we represent a blogging constituency base, when at this point we are growing. Taking positions is great, but we should take postions once we have a larger constituency. Then our position will have more meaning, more backbone, more authority. My thought is a position statement can be drafted however, a national conference would be the best way for our position on major issues to be approved by the larger group and communicated to the public. At some point we should have a national conference.
My inital thought to AAPP statement and question is to ask: “Who/what is the AfroSphere/AfroSpear?” As far as I envisioned it, the short answer would be any Black/African blogger. I would therefore guess-timate that we are looking at, if not millions of bloggers of African descent, then at least hundred of thousands. If that is the case, then how could anyone claim to speak for, or represent the position of this AfroSphere, on any issue! We are international. We are comprised from different cultures, countries and societies. We have a variety of political, religious, philosophical and social beliefs/values/opinions. We have our own personal, as well as communal motivations, interests, agendas, visions and ambitions. Even if we break the AfroSphere down to “our” minute community of AfroSphere/AfroSpear, which is less than 100, all this would still hold true. AND as we grow, as more bloggers of African descent decide to join us, then it will be less likely that we will have consensus and/or agreement on most, if not all issues.
But isn’t that the point? It’s about listening to different voices and perspectives so we can learn. I go back to a section of “our” Mission Statement for this page, so eloquently crafted by Sylvia:
“This space is an area to gather our thoughts — thoughts that we do not or should not expect to mesh into a single river of black unity. Thoughts that we do not write to bolster our Afro-credibility. Thoughts that may seem contradictory at times. We come together to share what we think works best for us as people who have had our fates forcibly woven together. As human beings, however, this weaving can read as a blessing or a curse. These writings, presented by a variety of different perspectives of those cut from the African cloth, intend to explore the mountains and the valleys of the landscape of being a person of African descent.”
There have been a number of different perspectives taken on topics of discussion on this page. Issues that I even felt where there would be absolute consensus, like Darfur, I have found there to be differing opinions. One is even that it is primarily an American/Western created crisis. Now I may not agree but I respect and value the commentators position and critical analysis.
Like AAPP, I also “respect the hard work of Francis Holland and other AfroSpear and AfroSphere members” on their various efforts. However, working to draft positions papers which claim to represent the “AfroSphere/AfroSpear” although noble, I believe is counterproductive. I am in Canada. I am a part of the AfroSphere/AfroSpear. Now although I do follow American politics, I don’t and would never endorse any U.S. presidential candidate. Although I support adequate and affordable health for everyone, I am not in a position to endorse any specific national health care plan for African-Americans. There are other bloggers in the AfroSphere/AfroSpear in the U.S., who may consider themselves conservative and/or republicans, who I am sure support another field of candidates for president and who have their own opinions on national health care plans for AAs. Therefore, announcing this ultimatum in regards to the so-called: “The Proposed Official AfroSpear Position Statement on Universal National Health Care”, that:
“Those who do not express a view will be presumed to be in support of this Position Statement in the absence of a statement to the contrary and, once adopted, the Position Statement will be deemed formally adopted unanimously by the member blogs of the AfroSpear, subject to change only by a process similar to the one which resulted in this statement or another formal process subsequently accepted by our AfroSpear group.” …. well…. is not a position I support. I would suggest that in drafting any plan or statement, the membership of our AfroSphere/AfroSpear can be utilized to garner their “individual” support to these initiatives. This support could be recorded via a petition process, and then presented to “whomever” as the position of the signatures and not of the AfroSphere/AfroSpear per se. This is more acceptable (to me at least).
I finally want to make a comment on this exchange:
”And so what happens if we just build up a huge body of non-motivated people? That’s all she wrote?”
mark bey: Pretty much. Freedom comes with a price and responsiblity. The responsibility is the fact that all who are concious are obligated to work towards change, the price is the sweat and inconvience of working, writing researching when no one else appears to be showing the same committment. Freedom and better lives will not come on thier own.
Not everyone within the AfroSphere/Afrospear have the same motivation(s). We all may be personally motivated by political, social, religious, cultural, artistic, economic issues or any combination of these issues. There are those who may be “non-motivated” beyond just blogging for the fun of it. All are a part of the AfroSphere. All are welcome to the AfroSpear. All are valuable to me.
These are my thoughts.