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Blogging from the poorhouse – Blogher 2006

Blogher 2006 has been announced so mark your calendars: July 28 and July 29, 2006. Sour Duck has asked the question of how to get economically disadvantaged women to the conference this year. If you scroll down here to the comment section you can read Lisa Stone’s response which includes what helped last year. Some of the solutions included donations, free passes in trade for volunteer hours, and sponsorship.

If you have any ideas on how to help cover the costs of Blogher for those who can’t afford to jet set across the country, continent, or globe, contact Blogher and help open doors.

Regarding the challenge of poverty, I really feel strongly about blogging as a people’s media. I like to read opinion blogs, but I get a lot more out of experience blogs, or when the two are brought together. I like to read about what is happening in the world based on people’s real lived experiences. I like it when practice shows theory – after all, the personal is political only if made so.

Access to blogging does suggest a certain minimum level of prosperity. There is an inherent technology required for blogging, and to own that technology can be expensive. As universal access increases however (at least in the western world) public libraries and computer centres are helping to minimize the need to own your own computer. But still. Blogging from the poorhouse is important and should be supported.

As far as what’s the best term to use to describe people who can’t afford stuff (i.e. “the language question”), whether that be groceries, heat, or registration and travel to Blogher 2006, I’d have to agree with Sour Duck’s analysis against the use of ‘lower class’. I also dislike ‘poor’. Both of these are concrete labels – and sound unchangeable. Today I am idealistic. And I feel like I’ve made some progress climbing out of poverty. Regardless of the statistics against hope, I would like to think that someday everyone will have access to the basic necessities of life. And so, since my family has yet to reach the poverty line, I feel my voice on this is legitimate.

I wouldn’t mind being called a poorhouse blogger or a poverty blogger although I really do think that this is a small part of my identity. Things keep on getting better and I’m happy for it. I don’t want to be defined by my bank account, I’d rather be looked at for my contribution, my work, my potential. I didn’t plan to be poor, but situations what they were, choices made, the struggle of the single mother, yadda yadda yadda, that’s what I am. For now.

Maybe the way to look at this language challenge is the same way other stigmas have been explored. First off, a person is a person. Other factors are simply classifiers, not defining attributes. This makes me “a person who studies”, not simply a student. Don’t put me in your schema of students; understand me out for who I am. If you take this approach, then “poor bloggers” can become

  • bloggers with financial challenges
  • bloggers with economic disadvantages or
  • bloggers of insufficient means

It’s not as light on the tongue as saying “poor” or “needy” but it let’s us deal with the whole picture, and treat each person as an individual with particular needs and potential.

I like the language questions. Thank you Sour Duck, for asking.

3 comments:

  1. Elisa Camahort, 3. November 2005, 11:40

    I came up with two alternatives to “poor” in response to SourDuck’s question:

    low-income or
    financially-strapped

    Both of which indicate a condition in the here and now, and not part of someone’s being in general.

     
  2. Administrator, 3. November 2005, 11:57

    Absolutely – and thanks for pointing these out. I’m sorry I missed your suggestions.

    It’s a hard question in that there isn’t a thesaurus that works this way (that I’ve seen) – and semantics are tied to personal experience with language.

    The more suggestions the more choices.

    Candace

     
  3. Sour Duck, 3. November 2005, 16:57

    You’re welcome and thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.

    My, how bland that statement is. Thank you for a FANTASTIC piece! ;)

    I’ll add a pointer to it at my blog, for those interested.

    “Iím sorry I missed your suggestions.”

    Actually, you didn’t miss them – Elisa came up with these suggestions in private email to me. (I had asked the Blogher organizers to hold off until others had weighed in at my blog, which they kindly did.)