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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bridging the Digital Divide

Hello, I'm the new guy. I'm Kenneth Quinnell and I regularly blog at Florida Progressive Coalition (amongst other places). At the New Organizing Institute Blogger's Summit, AAPP made the generous offer to let the rest of us grace his space to talk about issues that appeal to his audience. Sounded like a good offer to me, so I took him up on it. This is my introduction.

A quick note on me. I'm a mid-30s adjunct college professor (political science and history) who is the happily-married father of three sons under seven. I run a statewide Netroots organization and am a state and local-level Democratic Party activist. I live in Tallahassee, Florida, and the area I live in is pretty forward-looking, but much of the neighboring area is deep-South. Parts of the Florida panhandle are referred to by Floridians as L.A. -- Lower Alabama. So, I'm a Southern White Guy.

Don't get worried, I'm not that kind of Southern White Guy. There's nothing redneck about me, I have no accent, I hate the Confederate flag, and, when it comes to issues related to race, I've always thought differently than most of the people I grew up around. (And only about 20% of the stuff at Stuff White People Like are things I actually like).

I will say that I was raised around a lot of racist people. In fact, before I went to college, I'd literally say that the majority of adults I'd known in my life were either openly racist or passively racist. But from an early age, I never understood that way of thinking. Mainly, I guess, it came from growing up in lower-class, mixed-race neighborhoods where I could easily see that my African-American and Hispanic friends didn't fit the things the adults were telling me.

I was always interested in other cultures, too, and loved the idea that there were other people out there who had different experiences and thought about things differently than I did. I grew up as a big, big fan of stand-up comedy and sports (among other things) and amongst the names that my sons have been given are tributes to Jackie Robinson and Richard Pryor, two of my idols (along with George Carlin and FDR).

So, what will I post about? Well, pretty much anything that might be of interest to readers of a blog titled African American Political Pundit. There will be a bit of a Florida focus, but not overwhelmingly so. Everyone knows Florida has a high Hispanic population, but what most people don't know is we also have the third-highest black population in the country. I'll talk about the roots of white racism and interactions between the races and how all of this interacts with politics, particularly progressive/liberal/Democratic politics. And I'll respond to what others say about what I've written and whatever people ask me. Hopefully, this will be an interactive experience and we can all learn something valuable from each other. Or at least have a little fun along the way.

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