Monday, March 24, 2008

Potential topic: the matrix of oppression and the blogospheres

In sociology, the term "matrix of oppression" refers to the intersections of different dimensions of social inequality -- race, gender, etc. Race-related discussions of 2008 US presidential race provide concrete examples in the differing perspectives on statements [see below] by Michelle Obama, Geraldine Ferraro, Jeremiah White, and Bill O'Reilly in the women of color, black, feminist, and (largely white male-dominated) progressive and conservative blogospheres.

After an introduction to the concept and the context for the various statements, the panel will continue with:
  • a qualitative survey of the different reactions, highlighting both typical reactions and outliers
  • a quantitative analysis, using tools such as Microsoft Research's BLEWS
  • thoughts on the implications for discussions of technology policy: how to ensure that the different voices are heard?
By collecting links to primary sources and discussions on a wiki, this session will also assemble a valuable corpus that’s useful for anybody doing research in this area.

Update, March 26: Skewz, which describes itself as "a media rating site for political bias", is also an interesting potential source for quantitative analysis. I'm sure there are lots of others too. Please add suggestions as comments!


jon said...


Michelle Obama:

"For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country"

Bill O'Reilly's response

"I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels"

Geraldine Ferraro:

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

and subsequently, in response to criticism, "I really think they're attacking me because I'm white."

Jeremiah Wright:

after 9/11: "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."

in another sermon, discussing treatment of black Americans: "The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

Norina said...

Well written article.