CPL, here, and attempting to deliver as promised.  Reading some of the comments, a few of you stated a wish for some video, and since I need to learn tech skills to deliver, I’m hoping a link to some video highlights of the conference will suffice.  As soon as the keynotes are downloaded, I’ll post them.

After that fabulous talk by Dr. Harris-Lacewell, a few of us media covering the event had a sit-down with her, for a few minutes.  I introduced myself as a blogger for JJP, and, well, we began to chat like old friends, as opposed to actually interviewing her, LOL.  But, I’ll recap from my notes:

CPL:  Hi, I’m Leutisha Stills from JJP

MHL:  Hey, I’m a big fan, especially of your posts! (shameless plug for me, LOL)

CPL: Okay, as much as I wish we could yak all day, I know you have a schedule to keep, so I’ll get to the point.  The Democrats are running scared, and NOW, they’re reaching out to Black Bloggers to spread the word about their accomplishments, like they JUST discovered we’re out here.  What’s up with that?

MHL: In a midterm year that’s especially a Census year, incumbents tend to run scared because the party in power is certain to redraw districts more favorable to them – think what happened back in 2005, and because New Orleans lost half of its population, the district was redrawn to create racial compositions that hadn’t been there.  Mid term elections in Census years are very important because of the re-drawing of districts.

Also, incumbents just tend to run scared because they can’t take for granted they’ll get re-elected, no matter what their accomplishments have been.  The GOP is good as messaging, aided by corporate-owned media. What the Democrats need to do is turn around the perception created by the media that they’re going to have massive losses at the midterms.  They need to do old-fashioned, on-the-ground campaigning, because the media characterizations are creating something quite different.  It’s creating the condoning of racial violence; lynchings, attacks – there is no focus on structural racism, like mass incarcerations, voter disenfranchisement, economic impacts on communities of color – you’re not going to see corporate-owned media focus on these issues, or encouragement of racial dialogue because they have a fear of it.

Additionally, the “progressive” media appears to have problems setting its own agenda.  When the President was running for office, there was a historic energy that was tapped into, which produced the turnout at the polls.  There is a failure to continue tapping into that energy to ensure high turnout for the midterms, and the progressive media cannot set its own agenda.  The more independent media created their own agenda, and this is an influence that the bloggers have as well – CREATE YOUR OWN AGENDA.

The Democrats also need to craft a strategy similar to the “Contract ON -” I mean, “Contract With America” like the GOP did back in 1994, but create a smarter one that builds upon what they have done, and the need to have two more years to accomplish more.

CPL:  I think that’s why bloggers like myself; we’re starting to be contacted by orgs like the DNC to help spread the word, and to help the turnout.  I don’t want bloggers to be pimped; we said as much when we met with DNC Chair Tim Kaine last week – we expect to have those “meet-and-greets” and receive talking points from now until 2012.  We told them that they need to learn how to “tell the story”.  What’s your take on it?

MHL: (LOL), I find the timing of their outreach very funny.  WHAT?  They’re just learning about the blogsphere, and Black Bloggers in particular? (sarcasm)  So, I’m wondering just what were they going to do if you guys aren’t out here blogging about politics, public policy and such?  They’re just figuring out that they can’t rely on corporate media to present a “fair and balanced” perspective on the elections (/snark)?  Sometimes, I wonder who’s running thangs to the point that they haven’t seen the importance of outreach to new and independent media before NOW.

(By this time, everyone in the room is hollering.)

We shook hands and she bounced to the next meeting she had.  And sorry, fellas, she’s getting married next week!

So, I attended a workshop on “Ten Lessons for Talking About Racial Equity in the Age of Obama”, and rather than sugar-coat things, they actually handed out a list of talking points to refute those who tell us we need to quit talking about race because we’re in a “post-racial” society now.

Can I tell you how much I heard “Bullsh–” being shouted in the room, when the “post-racial” comment was made?  While I’ll just give you the link to all ten principles, I’ll list more of the notable ones worthy of attention:

  • Link Racial Justice Solutions with Broader efforts to expand opportunity.  Linking our goals to broader solutions that directly touch everyone can engage new audiences and build larger, more lasting constituencies.
  • Acknowledge the progress made, but let the non-persuaders know, there’s a lot more to be done.  I swear, some people stopped and sat on their ass because electing a Black Man to the White House appeared to be the ULTIMATE goal towards “post-racial”.  Guess what – maybe the problem is trying to homogenize and whitewash over everything, as opposed to honoring the differences in race and culture that’s supposed to make this country great.
  • Over-document the barriers to equal opportunity, especially racial bias – I get tired of having to “prove” racism, but I also know it’s necessary because some of you just refuse to believe you might harbor an inner bigot.  Facts speak louder than complaints, and facts + complaints tends to = TRUTH.

For the rest of the principles, you can visit the Opportunity Agenda at www.opportunityagenda.org.

Tomorrow – Van Jones Cruisin’ and What’s Pissing Off Tim Wise.

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