Every year, I make the claim, falling on deaf ears as it does, that the folks that are putting together the national ISTE Edublogger Cons for whatever reason, are not meeting the needs of a diverse group of teachers, or that they represent education in general. Every year, I look at the “group photo” of the year’s event and think that it is no where near representative of the education professionals population in general. Every year, I am hit back with the old arguments that these events are not exclusive, that they are not hiding, that they are not trying to keep anyone out, that as a rule, the unconference is open to everyone wanting to attend. Even when the event is held in a majority-minority city such as Washington DC, Philadelphia, or San Antonio Texas, the same thing happens: A whole lot of white folk show up. Very few hispanics, very few African Americans, and very few Asian Americans. And dont even get me going on Native Americans!
Bash me all you want for white guilt and being out of touch with the reality of the web and the flat earth and all that, but I have decided to put all of the pictures together to prove my point. A picture is worth 1000 words, 6 years of pictures are worth even more!
Why do the ending photos taken at every single one of these events look like closing night at the Republican National Convention, where the VAST majority of attendees look like the membership to the Augusta National Golf Course? Yes, there is a token Condoleza Rice, or Herman Cain in there, and let’s put Marc Rubio on prime time to make it look like we love the hispanics, but when the shots of the crowd are shown, the one black dude is in the front row, and stands out against the vast sea of white faces. I have gone back to all of the Edublogger Cons (Now called Social Media Cons or something like that) and have found each and every group picture that is taken at the end of each conference. Compare the pictures for ethnicity and see if you see a trend of any kind.
See if you agree with what I have been saying for over 6 years now:
Edublogger Con 2007 in Atlanta GA:
Here is a link to the hilariously inappropriate ©-ed photo by Steve Hargadon of the 2008 Edublogger Con in San Antonio (Steve, why did you copyright a picture of an open event like this?)
(Sorry, I can’t post it, it is copyrighted. Just click and see for yourself.)
Starting to see a trend here?
Let’s look at 2009 taken by Peggy George on Flickr:
Did 2010 become a bit more shall we say, diverse? It was held in Denver:
For a better version, click here
Again, © 2010 by Peggy George. (Peggy, why did you © that image for goodness sake?)
What trend we see here is that the NUMBERS are increasing, but the diversity is not.
2011? Surely it had to be better! It was held in Philly! Have a look:
So by 2012, in San Diego, especially since I blog about this EVERY SINGLE YEAR, surely someone would have gotten the message and done something to make this event more attractive to people of color. Surely they read my blog, right?
Come on Edubloggersocialmediacon people! Your crowds, whether you mean to or not, look a hell of a lot like these crowds:
Look hard, there is one black dude in there. Now go back to the 2012 Socialmedia Con shot…can you find the black dude in there?
The point of the matter is that no matter how well-intentioned, or how good you think you’re doing, if you’re not meeting the needs of all the crowd, of all the teachers, then that reflects back when that those teachers go back to their students.
So, I wonder what you guys are going to be doing for San Antonio this year to get a more diverse group in your social media conference and make it a true un-conference in every sense of the word? Hey ISTE, are ya listening?
Maybe you could use Chris Rock at ISTE next year like when he attended the GOP convention in 2000: