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Babble Voices: Mocha Momma Has Something to Say

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KSID Interiors
Monday
Jul302007

Marginalization & Marketing

*Edited: Cross posted at BlogHer. If you leave me some comments there I will tell Santa that you were good all this year even though you have a few months left to be naughty.

As I continue to digest the contents of the BlogHer 07 weekend I also continue to get a bit of indigestion gassiness on some issues that just irk me to no end. All that was to say that I don't plan on playing nice for a moment.

I'll play nice later.

The State of the Momosphere session is the one that I wanted to attend to simply ask some questions about Who Gets Contacted by marketing professionals (and I have, so please don't think I'm complaining that I never have) and Why. In fact, when the moderator, Jory, was outlining the session she made the three points that would be discussed and asked if there were any other questions the audience would like addressed before they got started.

Only one hand went up in the air. Mine. I pointedly asked if we could please discuss the lack of racial diversity in the blogrolls and communities we find ourselves in as a general topic but if we could explore issues of moms of color.

Naturally, the conversation was engaging, but we kept getting to a point where the audience wanted to say things that had already been covered so that they could have their say. And they kept on saying it and saying it over and over until I was prodded by a certain someone to just SPEAK MY MIND ALREADY.

Again. The Hand. It went up. As the microphone was being passed to me some gentlemen marketers were commenting on the fact that they pursue mothers who blog about products and that one of them even apologized on behalf of corporate America (Corporate America? You're not forgiven. You're ON MY LIST.) and another one said that the best way to contact these mothers is to establish a relationship with them so that they know you care.

Great. A segue.

The Hand.

My question, then, was directed at those two marketing professionals and I asked when they would tap into the mothers of color and bring us into the fold because they are leaving us out of the loop. When will the diversity come into play?

And the question? With The Hand? It died a sad death right there. We got back to the monetization of blogs and I got a little excited when Stefania chimed in that diversity does indeed need to include moms of color because she has concerns about Asians being marginalized as well.

Then, that died, too, as we went directly onto a privacy issue.

And I shook my head. And I pursed my lips. And I was disappointed and let down that the one question that was given to the moderator was ignored.

Certainly, I am grateful to the dozens of people I spoke to after the session was over. There was a full 20 minutes of chatting with people who agreed with my comment and told me to press on and to keep fighting for women of color. I needed something else instead. I needed any of them to take the microphone and say, "Excuse me. Isn't anyone going to answer Kelly's question?"

Where were you, Mommybloggers? I needed you.
« Cuppa Pissed Off | Main | Chicago's Most Wanted »

Reader Comments (34)

Well, it's obvious the moderator and the panelists were afraid of your very appropriate, legitimate question.

And you're right. It's one thing for people to tell you after the session that they agree. It would have been another to grab the mic, and say, "Hey, why didn' you answer her question?"

July 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRWA

Perhaps this would make for an entire session at the 2008 event?

July 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterCMA

Ooh. I stumble across this blog every now and then and can't resist commenting on this one. I have this maybe naive, or maybe just non-American perspective on race. I know this country in particular has a unique history with regards to race but I tend to subscribe to the Morgan Freeman philosophy of: it just shouldn't matter. I understand target consumerism and marketing strategies and whatnot, but is it not completely weird and uncomfortable to watch a PayDay Lender commercial on TV featuring ALL minority couples happily grinning as they get payday loans with 22% interest rates? As someone who grew up in a multi-ethnic community full of first-generation immigrants, I remember feeling a sort of dawning realization when I first moved to the US as a teenager and realized that when people said "white," they meant ME.

This mentality, if you ask me, is cultivated by marketers intent on selling to a particular type of consumer rather than everybody with a buck or two in their pocket. When it comes to purchasing power, the POOR, not the wealthy, have the upper hand. Put a face on today's poorest--that's your target consumer. It works globally and it works domestically. I, for one, am beyond tired of obsession over appearance as if it matters for *anything*...

:)

July 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

RWA - I don't know if I would say afraid unless that they just had no earthly idea how to begin the subject and where to go with it. In which case, I should have stood up and shouted my question again.

CMA - There was an inclusion/exclusion panel the next day in which Joy from GingaJoy asked that I attend as I was bitching and moaning about this until she could no longer take it. So glad I went to that one. Will blog it later.

Leah - You have a most unique perspective and I appreciate you calling out the 22% loan commercials because HELLO, THOSE PLACES ARE RAPING THE POOR MINORITY PEOPLE. So, the question this begs is this: what do marketers think I like and want and have the purchasing power to buy? Because my purse opens and closes, too.

Oh. And I got a huge raise with my new job. Eat that, marketing professionals.

July 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMocha Momma

I hope you will cross post this at blogher. I felt that session was practically an altar call for monetization. And although one of the panelists was clearly very passionate about monetizing, I do not think think the agenda was being steered by the panel. I guess I need to go back and read the session description. Maybe I was just in the wrong place.

I was thinking about that moment and the question you raised today, before I ever saw this post. I was aware that the question was never answered, but it never occured to me that I might have a part in it as anything but a bystander. That's awful, but maybe what's especially awful is the possibility that most of us heard it as a rhetorical question. A question that we are so used to going unanswered, we have quit expecting any. I don't know. But you sure have given me a lot to think about.

July 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKyran

Hey Mocha Momma:

You were on point to ask that question. And by the way; did the inclusion/exclusion panel help with your concerns. Yeah,I heard about those marketing guys.

And with regards to Morgan Freeman - huge fan am I. With all due respect to Leah, I saw him make that very statement in his interview with Charlie Rose - in fact I saw it a couple of times. Be clear, he said race should not matter, not it does not matter. There is a distinct difference. Let be careful not to call it a bed of roses when it smells like crap.

BTW, congrats on the raise. With that said, can you let a sistah hold a couple of dollas until Friday - just kidding.

Peace.

July 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterContent Black Woman

That's a shame that it wasn't addressed but I've seen this happen repeatedly. I've asked the similar questions in discussions I've been part of, and it has been glossed over.

Afterwards I have had people that told me I was "right" to speak up and they were so glad that I did at times I couldn't help ask if you felt that way why didn't you say something? :-) I'm only one person theres only so much I can do but I'll continue to speak up on issues that are plain wrong one day someone will hear me and speak up also.

It's something I've noticed a lot throughout my blogging life, and it's truly a shame. I purchase products (high priced products I might ad) just like anyone else.c

July 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterOpal: Vegan Momma

I think Kyran nailed it - perhaps it was seen as a rhetorical question and not something that demanded answers. I humbly submit that I too could have redirected the panel your way same as anyone. Apologies for my part (or nonpart) in this.

I hope the discussion continues - and you get answers - on the blogher site where it's cross posted.

By the way, I have a photograph of a screen grab from the legal part of one of those lenders: 99% (you heard me) interest in the small print. Disgusting.

July 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMom101

i'll tell you what, sister. i was sitting in the back several rows behind you. when i first heard you speak i was a bit excited with the "this is Mochamomma" and then quickly got over it as i listened to you speak. i agreed with what you said and heard the anger in your voice and had my hand up for a LONG FREAKING time after that to ask a follow up to the advertisers but no one handed me the mic. i also looked for you afterwards to talk about it further and never could find you in the throngs of women. but yes, i heard you and yes, i wanted more of that discussion.

July 31, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjen

i'll tell you what, sister. i was sitting in the back several rows behind you. when i first heard you speak i was a bit excited with the "this is Mochamomma" and then got over my geekdom as i listened to you speak because what you were saying was more important. i agreed with what you said and heard the anger in your voice and had my hand up for a LONG FREAKING time after that to ask a follow up to the advertisers but no one handed me the mic. i also looked for you afterwards to talk about it further and never could find you in the throngs of women. but yes, i heard you and yes, i wanted more of that discussion.

July 31, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjen

Privacy...yawn. I would have much rather continued the discussion that you and Stefania tried to start.

I apologize for having not had your back in there. I mean, it was the least I could have done after you went up my skirt.

July 31, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermothergoosemouse

I feel awful. I'm such a scaredy-cat when it comes to speaking in front of others. There were so many times in that panel and in other panels that I wanted to stand up and ask a question but my overwhelmed brain couldn't take it.

I apologize for not getting over my fear and asking why no one answered your question. I didn't want to talk privacy either.

If anything, I've learned a valuable lesson: stand up and say something.

July 31, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterdana

Mocha - I'm sorry we didn't get to talk more at BlogHer. I thought your question was fabulous and have to say that I've been quite naive. I haven't been working towards getting ads, etc, so I didn't even think about the women of color aspect. I got a request for a blueberry juice review at one point, but not much else. Hmmm. I guess the thought that on the blogosphere, we all represent our selves with words equally, that doesn't fly so much.

July 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLady M

Kelly,

I think that the reason nobody insisted the question be answered is that nobody cared. The attitude was like, 'what does that have to do with me? Anyway. . . ' and of course, they congratulate you afterwards, because 'you are a credit to your race,' etc. and 'good luck with that.' Not that I'm bitter or anything. . .

July 31, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterangie

You deserved more than an answer - this is a discussion that deserves its own session (thanks CMA). I'm one of those marketing guys and I can easily go through how I find the blogs I pitch - it's typically based on the needs of my client, whether the discussions you're having on your blog are relevant to what I'm working on, and whether you have the technorati and google rankings that matter.

You have the numbers, and you have plenty of relevant conversations on this blog. So why don't people pitch you?

Simple: because we stink at this. We have so much to learn it's scary. And we have to do so much better it's even scarier.

That's the short answer. I'll be writing more about it later this week or next, and I hope you'll continue leading this discussion because it's important.

July 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Wescott

I won't rehash all that's been said thus far except to respond to Angie's comment with even more controversy:

some of the women in that room were more concerned with who is popular and how to get the popular blogs to link you.

Know what, ladies? Write well. THAT is what gets you linked. Also, have some integrity. People tend to appreciate that. Also? Who gives a flying fuck whether or not you can get Big Bloggers to email you back when your baby is spitting up blood or peeing in their bed or when your toddler is gnawing on the bedposts? THAT'S WHAT MY MOTHER, MY PEDIATRICIAN, AND MY REAL LIFE THREE-DIMENSIONAL GIRLFRIENDS ARE FOR.

So, yeah, Angie. Some of them had that as a concern.

July 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMocha Momma

Where the crap WERE you? I looked for you at at the cocktail parties but my Mocha was no where to be seen by me! So sorry we never met!

I perked right up with your question in the midst of many self-serving, self-promoting ones. Can you tell by that point I was pretty tuned out? What started as a great session with energy took a turn for the worst in my opinion. I would have LOVED to explore your question....

July 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

Ach. The session was such a disappointment on many levels (or maybe not, since my expectations were very low). When you got the mike I was hoping that the discussion would go further after you sat down and was further disappointed when it didn't. It didn't occur to me that I should have demanded it. Maybe next year I won't be so passive. Glad at least that you put it out there because I am sure many people took note of an issue they probably did not even know existed. I agree that it could use its own session next year. You would be a great person to lead it.

August 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLetterB

I'm beginning to feel better but I fear that I have cornered myself into leading a session next year (which means Amber STILL won't be able to find me - sorry!)...

Surely, David will bring his friends (whom we will not roast on a stick I promise) and Lisa will spread the word.

All I need is a microphone now.

August 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMocha Momma

It sounds like BlogHer 2008 already has its first session defined with a topic and speaker {wink-wink}. I'm sorry your question (and the session's only question) was basically ignored by the panel. There are folks out there who don't even SEE that diversity in marketing is something they need to think about and have a view on. But you'd think that "professionals" in the field would think of that kind of thing, eh? It just sounds like the panel already had an agenda of the discussion in their minds before the session started and didn't want it going down the road you brought up. It's unfortunate for all those who attended. But thankfully you did bring this up and the speakers for NEXT year will be flexible and focus on the questions the attendees bring up. Let's hope....

August 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

Perhaps I have my head up my ass here. I do this blog thing cuz it feels good and I love to read other's intelligent words. Money? I know nothing, except for I never have enough. Blogher, not a member, yet. Is that kind of like joining a sorority when you go to college?

What I hear is that Mocha, you have to deal with this question day in and day out, in some way and that I have no idea how that truly feels. Disparity, equality, color... it makes me feel sad and lonely. And it makes me think, more. Thanks.

August 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

I think next year I WILL conference because you know I would have spoken up. Also, next year I will be on drugs to combat my anxiety - I am okay to speak in public, in front of a crowd, but had trouble with the one-on-one. I'm so weird.

August 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

i, too, would like to see more diversity in the marketing. why is it the same PR people keep chasing the same bloggers over & over? why don't they spread it around and why don't they look for a larger variety of women? it bugs me.

and i wish i had done/ could have done something to keep the subject going in the session, too. even though i was typing as furiously as i could just to keep up. when i go back to add links to the live-blog post, kelly, i'll link to your & citymama's posts about this topic. we need to keep the discussion going.

(and on another note, i'm so sad i didn't get to spend more time with you. love you, girl.)

August 1, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterbecky

So maybe this discussion didn't happen during the session but it's pretty great that it's happening here ... that session was overstuffed with a whole lotta topics and this was an important one that shouldn't be overlooked. So thanks for bringing it up (again, and again).

August 2, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermayberry

I think we could probably populate a whole day at BlogHer just on the various aspects of this topic -- diversity, blogger relations, what does it mean to be included/excluded

But IMO this also needs to be discussed with the businesses who own the budgets. And that makes it a BlogHer Business topic as well.

And not just a topic for a conference. I think there are things that we can and should do well before then. I've been noodling with some ideas, and would love to brainstorm more with any women (and men) who are interested.

August 2, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Getgood

Kelly,

I had not even considered the question until you asked it. Maybe I've just been in the mix of racial ignorance for too long (I am Spanish but look like I'm half white/black). I'm always stuck. I know I don't "blend in" and there is always the question of my background. I think I go on autopilot. I never considered this in the blogging community. My only excuse is that I am a relative newbie.

When you asked the question I felt my corner of the room go cold. This kept me from following up. I did not hear what Stefania said. There were women sitting on the floor next to me chattering...

I do think this is a great panel subject for '08.

Jazz Brown
http://www.FineryInLife.com" rel="nofollow">FineryInLife.com

August 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJazz

I wish I was at BlogHer, because I would have loved to hear what you and City Mama had to say in person. I hope at BlogHer next year (I plan to go hell or high water), this will be an entire session and good things will come of it.

Just reading these comments, I can see you have shifted the tide somewhat. That seems to me to be quite an accomplishment. This is one post. Imaging what an entire session can do?

August 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMomish

I started to comment, but went too long. I posted on http://filipinamoms.blogspot.com/
Please check it out.
Thanks again for being an inspiration.

August 8, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersheila bd/xiaolinmama

Dude. I'm late to the party AGAIN. I posted my comment over at BlogHer.org, but to concisely reiterate:

hear, freakin' HEAR.

K.

August 13, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChookooloonks

Like Jazz, I'm relatively new to blogging and had no intentions of getting in on the marketing bandwagon. I started doing it because I like to write and I'm a part of a local group of bloggers of various races. But, you bring up some very interesting points and I plan to tune in and speak up to see how "we" progress.

August 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterQueeny

I just found out about this topic from a post on SV Moms blog by Glennia. I am a woman of color who is also a new blogger (as you can probably tell from my blog design/theme). BTW, I love your blog design...even though I don't drink coffee. :-)

I recently attended a fabulous Working Mother Magazine Multicultural Conference where the majority of attendees were African American. You can see the demographic Instant polling results at: http://www.babblesoft.com/blog/index.php/2007/08/07/musings-of-a-texas-gal-in-nyc-working-mother-conference-instant-polling/

I have to say it was the one of the best conferences I had ever attended and where I felt like I wasn't an outsider. I'm usually a brown girl in a sea of white in my business functions here in Texas.

I am going to subscribe to your feed!

August 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAruni Gunasegaram

[...] that went on at BlogHer Business because I was asked to be on the panel with Stefania since we caused a ruckus last year, but she did me proud and I followed with interest. However, I have just been [...]

[...] absolute best participants during the whole weekend. Some of the backstory can be found here with the post I wrote two years ago. It was a conversation that was in dire need of happening and it was standing room only. Some very [...]

[...] Kelly, mocha momma: When are you going to tap into mommy blogs of color? Tired of being excluded. What about diversity? [ed note: for more discussion on this issue, go and see Kelly’s site to continue the conversation] [...]

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