After I posted about People of Port Arthur winning top blog spot in the Walleye Reader survey, I received a lot of lovely messages of encouragement.
But also this one:
This isn’t what I’d classify as “hate mail.” It’s a legitimate complaint; it’s feedback about an important issue.
I responded to this comment, and I touched upon this topic on Lisa’s show, Superior Morning, yesterday. I’d also like to address it here.
First I’d like to say that I’m not trying to squirm away from criticism and sweep this issue under the rug, nor am I trying to ignore real concerns.
Yes, the blog is very likely 95% white people. I haven’t done the exact math, but I’d imagine that’s a pretty accurate estimate.
The blog is also heavily populated by a majority of heterosexual people and, interestingly enough, I’ve featured more female-identified people than male-identified.
There’s nothing I can do about who I’ve already featured in 2016 and 2017. I definitely did not and do not discriminate against race, sexual orientation, gender, spiritual beliefs, age, or outer appearance. I have chosen to not write about people after being informed of hateful beliefs or certain kinds of criminal activity. I probably won’t write about a person who’s been nasty or hurtful to me or my family. My prerogative.
I’ve attempted to be inclusive and that is illustrated if you’ve read through all the spotlights. But I take no issue with people noticing the “whiteness” of the blog because it’s true.
However, I do take issue with the statement that “it’s nothing like the real people you see downtown.”
I live here, right downtown. I took the pictures. I know these people are real because I talked to every single one of them. If it wasn’t in the downtown area, it was almost always in Port Arthur. They are all real people that represent Thunder Bay, Port Arthur, and downtown. Obviously 244 people is a tiny fraction of the people in my area.
When reading this blog, it’s important to remember three things:
1. This blog is just over a year old. Hopefully I’ll be able to add to the diversity as time goes on.
2. I am one person. This is something I do for fun. I have three children who keep me busy. I mostly walk everywhere. Besides this blog and my children, I have other projects on the go.
3. People say no to being featured all the time. I’d say it’s about fifty/fifty. As nice as it would be to feature a whole host of diverse human beings, I cannot force people to be a part of my blog. If someone says no, that’s that. I’m also not going to say no to featuring someone (if I’m asked) because that person is white or straight.
Not a big surprise for Thunder Bay?
Maybe I’m doing a great job of fitting in with all the “racist assholes.”
Or, maybe I’m a single mom of three just doing the best I can.
If you enjoy reading People of Port Arthur, that’s awesome! By all means, please stick around. If you have a problem with the blog and would prefer not to read, that’s ok too.