What is an 'American Blogger'? According to Some, Not Me!

3 years ago

I'm certainly no activist.  I have strong opinions, but I try to keep it light 99.9% of the time.  In a Facebook group I am in, this trailer for "American Blogger" was posted.

There were comments on this American Blogger Official Trailer but Chris Wiegand has since disabled comments.

I'll post the facebook comments that I made on it.

At first I felt like this:

"I think I saw 2 [people of color]. I think. Looks like a cool film though. One I probably can't relate to, but I can't relate to Scandal or like... alien abduction documentaries either, so... I'd watch. ~ 23 hours ago"

Then someone posted this article - A documentary called 'American Blogger' is really only about white lady bloggers - http://www.dailydot.com/entertainment/american-blogger-white-lady-bloggers/

Then I felt like this:

"...my jaw hit the floor about here when presented with the questions about demographic he filmed... "I hope that's not what people think about... I'm a documentarian. I see myself as a journalist. I can't force something that's not there," Wiegand explains. "I just film what is presented to me." I thought "documentarians" went a little further than that. But - I guess that's just me. ~ 19 hours ago"

A couple hours pass and I'm beginning to see how annoyed I really was with the filmmaker's attitude towards diversity. Then I go over to the Black blogger community and post the following:

He'll win a lot of awards for this, then a black blogger will come along and make our version... then a latino one... then an asian one. People still see America as overwhelmingly white - and American bloggers are no exception.

The filmaker says - "I wasn't sure if anybody would try to question my motives on picking people or something. I filmed the women who said yes. It's not intentional if it's heavy one way or another," he says. "I would hope that nobody would ever look at that and make some political argument out of it."

"I hope that's not what people think about... I'm a documentarian. I see myself as a journalist. I can't force something that's not there," Wiegand explains. "I just film what is presented to me." ~ 19 hours ago

And posted the link again so that they could see it.  A couple of people were like - "whoa" - but mostly radio silence.  There's this 'thing' in blogging that if you want to make money, even a little bit, you only speak up about certain things and NEVER about certain people.  This whole film is about the "top" white bloggers - seen as untouchable by anyone - even the brown bloggers that apparently exist outside of their world.  Well, not at all according to Weigand.

So yeah - as time passes, I get pretty ticked off.  Had he just kept his mouth shut and let the thing ride without explaining it away with a flippant - "so what" type response to the diversity question, I probably would have typed like... 500 less words yesterday.  But no.  Here's a comment I made on my own post about it.

"Working on my own documentary about Caribbean people living outside of the Caribbean. What if I just picked people from Trinidad living in DC? I couldn't say that it was about "Caribbean people" without going further than just who I know and where I am - that is irresponsible. He asked his wife's blogger friends.... Calls it "American blogger" and feels like he "can't force something that's not there." Wow. ~ 17 hours ago"

Then I commented again in response to another comment.

They keep saying we always have to go and make our own stuff.... Well... Yeah. But we feel obligated to include them in our films, and we do sometimes even if it doesnt fit for the sake of diversity. ~ 16 hours ago"

Then I went back to somebody else's post to reply to a comment.

"He said he was a journalist... So journalists don't investigate an industry any further than his wife's circle of friends? It was irresponsible if him to call it "American Blogger" as a "journalist" because he didn't show the diversity that exists in American blogging, do any research, or make any attempt to do so apparently... Just his wife's friends? Okay. LOL ~ 14 hours ago"

This morning, someone's reply got me back to thinking about it... I'll leave the situation with this comment.

"Maybe it's just me. I do feel obligated [to include white people] especially if it is the truth. I know that I don't exist in a vacuum. At least I know that now. If I had seen that 20 years ago - in the world I grew up in - one black person would be about right. I was that one black person in a sea of whiteness. The one black friend that white people always claimed to have. My kids are growing up in DC, where it is (for now) predominantly black, and when we go outside of this area, they are like - where are all of the black people? I get it, how that could be his world and everything, but if he is going to call himself a "documentarian" and a "journalist", I think a certain level of responsibility goes with that. Indicate that you are only covering a certain segment of society, or do research so that your product can reflect what you are claiming to present. The fact that he was unapologetic and frankly, nasty about it rubbed me the wrong way. I was like "whatever" when I saw the trailer - just like I was like "whatever" when "Friends" was set in NY and no one had any friends of color that they interacted with regularly. But when I read his statement? I was like.... um... wait... what? LOL! ~ 21 minutes ago"

And that's all I've got to say - at least until CNN calls...



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