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Troy

Death of the Online Discussion Forum

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History

Before the World Wide Web (WWW) became available to the general public discussion forums were quite popular on privately run bulletin boards.  Operating these bulletin board required a high level of technical expertise and an significant investment of time and money to manage.  Even the participants had to be tech savvy just to participate.

discussion-fourm.jpgLater corporate run platforms like AOL and CompuServe stepped in and made things much easier for everyone.  Running forums, and participating in them, was made a lot easier.  Of course you had to play by the rules laid down by the corporations, plus they charged monthly fee just to participate.  

The opening of the WWW allowed anyone with a bit of technical skill and a little bit of money to create their own discussion forums.  You no longer needed a corporation.  People happily ditched the fees, rules, corporate oversight, and enjoyed the benefits creating unique forums.

The additional benefits for those starting their own forums was that they and their participants had the freedom to determine the subjects and the rules for participation.  As a result, one could find discussion forums filled with other kindred spirits on virtually any subject. 

It was in this environment in which our forums Thumper Corner, and later Cynique's corner, thrived. 

The Rise of Social Media

In the age of social media now anyone can setup a discussion forum—absolutely no technical skill is required and it is all free.  As a result, the number of groups exploded.  One Facebook alone there are more forums dedicated to Black books than I can keep track of.  Indeed, the level of granularity on Facebook is down to the individual.  Individuals have their own discussion forums—with themselves as the subject.

It was during this period were AALBC.com's saw it steepest decline in participation. Today some of the old participants here are now active on social media.

Interestingly, it is not as if social media provides a better or even equivalent substitute to the discussion forum.  None of the Black book forums or groups I've participated on social media have come close to Thumper's Corner in terms quality of conversation on books.  The forums were also read much more extensively by non-participants (lurkers).  

There is no social media platform where one can post a comment with formatting as simple as what yiu are reading here.

The vast majority of groups I've seen on Facebook are just used by others to self-promote.  I too use those groups for this purpose.  It takes almost about 2 seconds to share something on a Facebook group—you don't even have to go to the group.

Many tout the benefits of Goodreads, but I don't use Goodreads at all.  It reminds me of the AOL days where you are greatly constrained on what you can post.  You can't even post a hyperlink back to your website.  At the end of the day all of these corporate websites invest a great deal of effort in keeping you on their platforms, and they do a great job.

Perhaps it is not that Thumper's Corner has been replicated on social media, social media provides a different and superior value proposition.  If that is the case, someone please explain it to me for I can't see what is superior about social media.

I won't even get into the issues of supporting Black owned entities, how social media invades your privacy, or any of the myriad of other adverse issues I can raise regarding social media.

I think we have lost more than we have gained during the rise of social media.  I did not feel this way 5 years ago.  It took time for me to understand what was happening and to see how things have played out.

Other Reasons for the Decline of Participation Our Our Forums

I'm not sure the rise of social media is the only reason for the decline in the popularity of the Thumper's Corner discussion forum.  Thumper's Corner's heyday also corresponded with a surge in popularity of African American literature in general.  

Also during Thumper Corner's prime we also managed an online book club* (The Coffee Will Make You Black), under the leadership of Thumper himself.  The online book club ended in 2006, this too certainly put downward pressure on discussion forum participation.

*A decade ago managing the platform required a great deal of my time.  I often did not have time to even read the books.  But today with AALBC.com being my full time job, my kids grown, and the AALBC.com website being greatly improved, managing a book club would be much easier.  In 2017 I plan to recruit and Book Club Manager (if you ave any recommendation for this role, please let me know.

Most people really don't like their ideals challenged.  On Facebook I can't tell you how many times I've read someone boast how they are blocking someone because they posted something that they disagreed with.  

In almost 20 years I have never banned anyone from these forums for saying something I disagreed with.  Banned for being a troll, spamming, or obsessively vulgar and rude yes.

But for saying something that I don't like, disagree with, or is unpopular—never.  That would defeat the purpose of these forums.  Sometimes that opinion I starting our disagreeing with is one that I later embraced.  This is how people grow and learn.

Growth and learning are fundamentally the my goals for these forums; which is one reason I'll keep 'em going.  I'd be willing to bet money these forums will outlive Facebook.

 

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Facebook has so deeply integrated itself into our society that now there are legacy options allowing a family member to take over your page after your death. Basically ensuring that you survive on SM long after you are gone. People are literally wishing dead people happy birthday on SM. I say all of this to state that as long as you pay for your hosting, your site will survive, but SM plays a vital role in allowing us to interact with people we can't see or talk to on a daily basis. It provides an easy out. We can say happy birthday and move on without having to speak to people. 

We can like something to show our figurative support, or share information to provide a temporary boost. Facebook is now considered 1 of the 4 Horsemen of Business along with Google, Nike and Amazon. Companies that are not going to go away any time soon because they have heavily invested in alternative methods and will always have the capital to exist.

Now, with that said... I don't think the forum is going away. It's still alive and kicking for certain communities. When another big Black book movement pops up, message boards will be back in vogue. AALBC will be primed for the resurgence when it happens.

Social media for enjoyment has to be divided from Social for business. Unless the content you are creating has the same emotional elements of hedonistic pleasures, social just doesn't work for business. Books are solitary. Music is not. Music tends to thrive on social platforms. Emotional news issues thrive on social platforms. Literature doesn't cause the same emotional response so it isn't good for social in most cases.

Good post though Troy. It sounds like the beginning of a book.

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If there's a decline in the participation on THIS particular forum I'd say it's because this forum tends to be too "serious" and intellectual for most AfroAmerican youth today.

As I've said before.....
As the AfroAmerican intellectual capacity begins to decline (for whatever reason you want to attribute) you should expect for discussions on serious issues to decline while discussions (if you want to call them that) on foolishness, gossip, personal beefs and feuds to increase.

What else can you expect for people with stunted mental maturity?

Often times "smart" Black people get so tired of the silliness and beefing that goes on in many Black forums that they leave and joing White discussion forums where they must either hide their identity or face constant racial harassment and having their points of view misunderstood by other members.


If you believe this is a problem....as I do...then we need to come up with a solution for it.
It's not going to get better unless the problem is addressed for what it is:
The decline of Black American intellectualism.


The first step is admitting that their is an intellectual crisis in the Black American community where too much "dumb shit" is being promoted among the youth and not enough intellectualism and critical thinking.

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I agree, and once again it sounds like Pioneer has written the preface of the book "The Decline of Black American Intellectualism". Troy your writing up there at the top is the Introduction, and Pioneer has the preface, all we need is Cynique to contribute and I can add in and we publish a collaborative book. That kind of moves us towards doing something.

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There are certainly more than enough smart Black people out there to participate on this forum to a greater degree than we see today. Indeed, it is not like the people who used to participate here got dumb all of a sudden.  Besides the site is not limited to just Black folks, and you don't exactly have to be a member of Mensa in order to get something out participation.

Rather, I think our best and brightest tend to prefer the large corporate sites.  As Jaron Lanier says, and I paraphrase, the one with the biggest computer wins.  Couple this with the fact that Black folks tend to marginalize Black owned entities and you have an have an environment that is tough for an indie website and essentially hostile for a Black owned one.

I've seen actual geniuses, like Ishmael Reed, write at length on Facebook.  They write stuff that Facebook can give a shit about, that I love to have here on this site.  But when asked it they would post something here, they simply won't do it. Now these are people who I actively support and whose books I sell.  But they refuse to lift a finger to support AALBC.com.

I've griped about this in the past, but image how all the Black owned entities would benefit, if all the terrific Black writers lining up to write for the HuffPost for free decided to write for sites like AALBC.com?  Again those with the biggest computer wins, but at what cost?  HuffPost gobbled up BlackVoices then buried it.  Sadly the most prominent Black websites are not owned by Black people.

Still, I appreciate that AALBC.com in general content is written at too high a level to appeal to the masses.  In general I need to "webify" my content: it needs to written for someone with a 5th grade education, short articles, big text, videos, images, large text, click baity headings etc. The HuffPOst has nailed all of these things:

huffpost-home.png

 

I'm aware of all of these issues, I also understand the growth of mobile has put increased pressure to eliminate long form articles, as they are harder to read on this platforms.  But again, there more than enough people who want something more than this.  In fact, it is those people who have helped AALBC.com last this long.  AALBC.com only grows with their support--your support.  

Plus AALBC.com is more likely to actually pay a writer.  But if good writers decide to write for the Huffington Post, or Facebook for free, why should I pay them for the same content?  When writers give rich corporate sites content for free they hurt themselves and other writers.  So a byline in the HuffPost or a bunch of likes on Facebook may feel good, but it does nothing for us as a people.

I live for the day when the Ish Reeds of the world (not trying to pick on Reed he just popped into my mind first), get the same feeling of seeing their work on an AALBC.com has they do on Facebook.

As far a collaborative effort on a book I'm down for that. I hope to being publishing books next year.  Maybe this project could be one of them.

 

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We shouldn't be surprised at how ubiquitous FaceBook has become. Everybody talks about how insidious it is but it is a natural evolution in the ongoing transformation of Society.  In the last century, trains and automobiles replaced horse-drawn carriages. Electric lights replaced candles.Telephones replaced way-of-mouth communication. Radios and movies replaced stage shows and plays.   And these upgrades took place in just the first part of a century that subsequently saw more advancements like airplanes and television and other quick fixes that made our lives more convenient and enjoyable. Time brings change. So what would one expect in the 21st century???  Asking this question, may serve to keep things in perspective.

Once the computerized age dawned and a new century began, what this introduced was not only convenient, but  magical.  Logged on to the Internet, with a few taps on a keyboard, a whole spectrum opens up to us, including sites where we can share our thoughts and our images with friends and strangers, near and far, - where we can be kept abreast of the worlds of pop culture, politics, sports and music, where we can exchange ideas and opinions  And all it costs is the surrender of your identity to an icon or hash tag. In today's world that's progress. 

Like all of the other things that time and technology have modernized, social media is a condensed equivalent of gossiping over the back fence or dishing dirt at the beauty shop, solving the world's problems in the barbershop or shootin' the bull at a pool hall, praisin' the lord in church or fellow shipping with friends, bringing snapshots to work or sharing favorite dishes, having a heated conversation at a cocktail party or an argument with your brother-in-law at Thanksgiving dinner. The difference is, that a new way of doing all of this is just a click away. Welcome to 2016.  Your alter ego has just found a stage!

Critics call FaceBook and Twitter a trivial waste of time and an affront to intelligent discourse.  But where is it carved in stone that we always have to cater to a higher calling? Social media is a fanciful facet of the prism that is our existence. We just have to avoid allowing it to reflect all of the light. It is a choice on the internet menu and as, in all indulgences, moderation is the key.  

For forum fans, what is an alternative to social media?  You can continue to belittle it and focus solely on actually experiencing life in an attempt to derive some deeper meaning from it, or for it. But the harsh reality is that life, itself, does not promise to be more fulfilling; it's difficult, it's capricious, alternating between  exhilaration and disappointment -  even defeat  A finger tap cannot download a better version of it, and you're left to your own devices and survival mechanisms to muddle through situations that even great mental prowess cannot vanquish. There is a reason why social media has become a favorite form of escapism.  

Philosophically speaking, in confronting the dilemmas spawned by the cyber world, retreating into the sanctuary of your skull, opening your mind and getting in touch with yourself is an ideal option. This, after all, is the ultimate destination in our life's journey. But along the way, can we take a break from time to time and just let it all hang out?  A steady diet of serious topics discussed by the erudite can dull the appetite. 

In any case, it's not as if dissidents can do a lot about their aversion to social media or the white profits that it generates. But discussion forums will never become extinct because they fill a void in the field of communication and communication is one of society's pillars. Occurrences go in cycles so it's predictable that as the social media fad levels off, in the scheme of things, AALBC  forums will revive and reclaim their popular niche and even inspire input from noteworthy black contributors as they come to realize their obligation to help their own.  All is not lost.

Meanwhile, as progress continues its course, a "black minds matter" movement could improve on the outdated "black lives matter" one, pointing us in a new direction that could hopefully benefit from the power of suggestion.  

 Just another point of view...

.

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…“gossiping over the back fence or dishing dirt at the beauty shop, solving the world's problems in the barbershop or shootin the bull at a pool hall, praisin the lord in church or fellow shipping with friends, bringing snapshots to work or sharing favorite dishes, having a heated conversation at a cocktail party or an argument with your brother-in-law at Thanksgiving dinner”

That's it Cynique!  I have a buddy that makes this argument and as result embraces social media--he is all in.

Again the problem I have is that social media has monetized this natural human activity that you've described so well.  They have monetized it to the point that all other indie site must struggle and fight to survive.  Again Black sites must fight harder than any others, because we lack the supportive infrastructure that majority run indies run have.

This is why I have opted out, for the most part, of social media for personal use and I limit my activity for business matters to posting links to my website (btw thanks for sharing :)).  I simply refuse to contribute to my own demise...  

Still, I don't assume Facebook will continue to be as popular as it is today, next year, or in five years.  Now I know the typical Facebook user does not care about this stuff but, we know Facebook's reach for publishers is down; this article calculates by 42%

Facebook has one significant difference than the other massive websites like Amazon or Google: I have only paid Facebook, while I have gotten a check from Amazon and Google every month for well over a decade.  Plus Google drives more traffic to AALBC.com than Facebook ever will. 

Companies like Facebook are like Ponzi schemes; they can't continue forever, extracting wealth from people and return nothing in return.  Now if Facebook starts paying people in some fashion I'll feel differently.  Until then we will continue to be taken to taken to the cleaners.

 

 

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I definitely think the discussion here is a foundation for a damn good book. You both are right. I don't really have much to add. I take that back... Facebook is fine because as I've said often it appeal to the emotional aspect of online interaction. In that arena Facebook is king and that won't go away anytime soon. it's a matter of marketing and how people are inevitably tied to a specific brand because the brand has been able to humanize its brand. 

Apple has done this.

Nike has done this.

Facebook has done this.

Google has done this.

I mean consider you couldn't even maintain your Huria Search engine due to Google's dominance in search. I can't gain a fraction of a tenth of a percent in the footwear industry because Nike owns the minds and hearts of the world. We are all damaged by the marketing machine when we are small business people, but the rest of the world isn't into business ownership so these companies will remain as powerful and influential as we move more and more towards online interaction in our daily lives.

I don't use Facebook as much as I used to, but I am still there just as you are. I also find some pretty engaging things there as well. It has become a part of the routine, but it is wearing thin for me... this only means that I will be replaced by the next person and the machine keeps rolling. That's okay because that is the way of capitalism. The person with the deepest pockets, or biggest computer always wins. However, in small pockets their are extraordinary success stories and they are becoming more common. That's what keeps me motivated.

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Chris I would be very careful in confusing what we practice here in the United States with capitalism.  What we have is an oligarchy; in which a handful of people control everything. This is not capitalism, nor is it democratic.

Our friends at Google can put me out of business tomorrow.  But worse there is NOTHING that any other Black person, or group of Black people, who would do to stop it.  

Of course this does not have to be the case, but we lack the desire to control our own destinies.  So for now, I serve at the largess of Google.  

Also, and please consider this carefully, when you write, "... in small pockets their [sic] are extraordinary success stories and they are becoming more common." This is a myth.  Yes there are some successes, but they exist to create the illusion that success is possible, which is necessary to keep the ponzi scheme going.

It is worse than the myth of professional sports, where Black kids in schools across the nation believe they have a chance to become  a professional football player.  Sure there is a chance, but it extremely slim and even if they make it they'll last on average 2.5 years.  The result is that so much talent that could have been used in other ways is wasted in pursuit of something that is unlikely.  The kid who wasted their time pursuing football would have been better off doing something with their brain...

The same goes for musicians it is fall less likely for a musician to make a good living today than it was in 1990.  Again, there are successes we can all point to but the reality is that there are a great many very talented musician who will stuck struggling with the dream of making it.

The same goes for webmasters of Black book websites.

This is no different the lottery, sure someone will win, but the VAST majority of us will loose. It makes no financial sense for anyone to play the lottery given the odds.  But again the marketing and promotion of it dupes us into believing that it makes perfect sense to play. Indeed I'm sure someone reading this is thinking what harm does the lottery cause--and that is my point.

The amount of wealth the lottery extracts from poor communities is staggering! Nothing is returned to the community as a result--except for a pipe dream.  We aren't even the ones who profit from the sales of lottery tickets in most cases!

You know you are in a poor community when you go into a grocery store, run by someone not black, and the most prominent thing you see is a lottery machine and cigarettes.

We are in a battle for the very minds of our people.  Our biggest problem is we don't even recognize who our opponent is...

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We also overestimate who ''our" people are.  As previously noted, class is beginning to usurp race, and money is the bottom line. Middle class blacks who "make it" on their own and are better off than poor whites, are satisfied to sit tight, just glad to be surviving.  They have no incentive to sacrifice their personal gains by taking on the monumental task of dismantling the racist system they have managed to circumvent.

As we have all agreed, blacks are not monolithic, although they actually are all in agreement about the white power structure being their "opponent".  How they cope with this depends on how much they identity with their race and how obligated they feel to align themselves with a black coalition intent on toppling a formidable system where they, themselves, have managed to become a "have" instead of a "have-not".

 Black unity is a dream hoped for, but it shows signs of drying up like  "a raisin in the sun".   

 

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I guess when I say I see small success stories, I'm not looking at the larger scope of business. I'm looking at the small Gluten Free Pastry company owner here in Memphis who was able to leave his job and has launched a granola brand as well. I'm looking at the locally owned DeJaVu restaurant that has two locations and is hands down one of the best restaurants in the South. When i say I see small pockets I mean just that. We have a chocalatier here named Phillip Ashley that recently provided chocolates for the Oscars and has been featured in Forbes. These are not just "illusions" as you say.  There are small businesses doing well and maintaining very comfortable lifestyles against some major players. I had a lawn guy who moved from having one truck to having a fleet in 10 years. My garbage company is black owned and they are doing a better job than the bigger company i was with.

Are there enough small biz people? No, but do not discount the small pockets because although the literary website that is fighting to maintain in a culture that doesn't understand how the internet works, that website is fighting and to me that's a success. It can be better, but it's here. it's not enough, but I'm not careful about saying there are successes because I believe strongly in the energy placed out here. When my energy is good I see a lot of good. When my energy is negative and doubtful I see very little success and accomplishment in the same things. I prefer to say I see success in small pockets and I don't think about the idea that it's a drop in the bucket. I think about the idea that people are fighting and working hard at learning. It definitely is a frustrating battle though so I get what you're saying.

I also think you are speaking towards the larger idea of success. Black kids pursuing sports careers, musicians looking for the big ticket, these are grand ideas and you are right. But where you see a waste, I see a kid who pursues football as earning a scholarship. Specifically at smaller schools, not just the big stage D-1 schools. I sent 100 guys to college on basketball scholarships. I can say without any hesitation that probably 80 percent of them have degrees of some type and are leading solid lives because of it. We place too great an emphasis on the NFL chasers as opposed to the kids who are attending the smaller schools and graduating. Also the graduation rates are going up across the board even at larger high profile schools as more players begin to realize that pro ball is not a great option: http://www.chronicle.com/article/Graduation-Rates-of-Football/135400/

I do agree that we are in a battle for our minds. The most frustrating part is knowing you have solutions but because Black folks can't listen to those without celebrity a lot of answers just disappear.

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I hear you Chris and I too celebrate our successes, but if we ignore the reality of how we are being exploited we will continue to be exploited.

Black boys, among the top 25 BCS schools, are 3% their school's student bodies, but 60% of the football players.  Only 1/2 of these students will gradate in 6 years.  The figures at many HBCUs are far worse.

I have only anecdotal data to support this but I suspect most of the degrees awarded do not serve these boys very well.  We also know many of these students take no show classes; and are given degrees that are essentially worthless.  Despite the propaganda the NCAA propagates.

Meanwhile, these young men make millions for their "schools" and their coaches earn exorbitant salaries often taking home more than the school's chancellor.

This is not a matter of seeing the glass half full or half empty.  This is objectively a bad situation for black student athletes collectively, and this is how we have to treat it  Anything less is a disservice.  But I guess we enjoy rooting for our home team so much we really don't care about our own exploitation.  I won't even go into the physical toll and brain damage many of these boys will suffer.

A handful widely successful pros or a free "education," does not justify this exploitation.  This is one reason students athletes must be paid for their service in additional to being properly educated.  

Again, this is no different than the argument I make against the huffington posts model of exploiting writers, or how Amazon, Google, and Facebook, lift content from wikipedia and use it for for profit--content that people have written for free.

The real cost of this is everything we will loose as a result this exploitative environment dominated by a handful of corporations. The student athlete that would have graduated with a meaningful degree, the terrific website we will never see, or the great discussion forums that will never launch.  

We think what we have is good, but it could be so much better... especially for us.

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Troy, if we pay attention to the reality and dwell on the failures as opposed to what is working the same thing will happen and improvement will always be slow. That is why improvement is slow. You are placing a huge amount of your narrative on the failures.

That is my point. Analyzing BCS schools is a waste of time. That is the NFLs minor league for football. Analyzing the lower levels where there are thousands of schools, not just 25 BCS schools doesn't bode well, but those athletes are graduating and those are Black men with degrees. Honestly I don't give a darn if you think those degrees don't help, because they may be trumped up in your opinion, I say that they aren't. Those kids/young men work very hard while in school. The myth of just passing the athlete is just that, a myth. It may have been a diploma mill at one point and there are still some diploma mills, but overall the athletes work hard during high school and in college. 

I think we all need to clarify a few things:

1. We all know that things are not as good as they can be.

2. We all know (those of us here) that it could be better.

3. No one, no one, knows how to fix the problems. Which is why there are continuously studies being done to try and figure out the solutions. When things improve there is another problem that will be analyzed and discussed.

That's how this thing works. We focus so heavily on the failures and the shortcomings that we spend less time analyzing the success and to me that is the problem in the US. You can hardly ever find a report that analyzes why things worked well or were successful. You can find a thousand reports and essays on why they are failing. I spend more time on what's working because that is the only way to get better. When I write business posts, I use my experiences to show where I failed, in order to show how someone can succeed. Maybe a simple change in research methods would fix a lot of our issues.

While you look at the low graduation rates of athletes. I look at the fact that the graduation rates of Black student athletes is always higher than the graduation rate of Black non-student athletes. What is it about athletics that sees more Black students graduate than those entering college without a discipline? Why is that you see athletics as a waste of time if the graduation rates are higher for those who play sports? Do you know that at the majority of colleges that are not BCS schools operate sports programs at a loss? That trickle down economics is actually working at the college level because of BCS sports. 

I'm not justifying not paying athletes or the exploitation of the athletes. I've written posts about all high major talent attending NAIA schools or small schools because the amount of money being spent is absurd. However, that same money coming in because of BCS sports funds every non "major" sport. You literally wouldn't have women's athletics without the money as it is disbursed and college sports isn't going anywhere. It has to be fixed for sure, but maybe this discussion on the message board, that transitioned into sports is the perfect metaphor for how discussions evolve and shift to represent how life really is. There are people who research based on negative qualities and there are people who research based on positive aspects. Both researchers are needed, but it is the neutral research or aspect that actually accomplishes the most. The problem is not many people are truly neutral. 

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Chris I'm not dwelling on the negative, I'm pointing it out. As you know much of what I do highlights the great many things Black folks have accomplished.

I'm with you on your points #1 and #2, point #3 regarding solutions warrants deeper consideration.

You can't develop a solution to fix something if aren't even aware anything is broken.  I submit one of the main reasons things don't get better for most of us is that we simply don't know that something is wrong..

If we happen to know something is wrong, we have no clue what the causes are.  Even after knowing there is a problem and what the causes are, people may still choose not to do anything about it because implementing a solution might be hard, uncomfortable, or require sacrifice...  Like the problem of addressing global warming.

If the victims of the lottery, tobacco companies, predatory lenders, college athletics, and the Huffington Post, don't recognize they are being victimized, then things can only get worse... much worse. Of course I recognize not everyone will die from cancer or heart disease from smoking but this fact does not make cigarette smoking a good thing.

Now the NCAA, who is responsible for ensuring that Black boys continue to be victimized, is a propaganda machine, plain and simple. Chris a couple of studies have shown (I quoted figures in an earlier above) a far less rosy picture than what NCAA does. One of the conclusions of from the study I linked to says

“Perhaps nowhere in higher education is the disenfranchisement of Black male students more insidious than in college athletics” 

So the fact of the matter is Black student athletes at the most desireable programs graduate at a lower rate than Black non-student athletes.  Again, we can't even begin to deal with this problems without recognizing that there is indeed a problem.  

The fact that this is a serious problem shouldn't even be up for debate, but again most people are oblivious to what is going on.

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The study is looking at BCS schools which is going to be skewed completely by the fact that a percentage of those athletes leave school early, and also transfer and those things are not taken into consideration in relation to the graduation rates at the BCS schools. Once again BCS schools make up such a small fraction of college athletics that it's almost insane to analyze BCS schools and major conference schools and completely overlook the number of schools at the low major D-1, D-2, D-3 (non scholarship) NAIA and JUCO schools that are graduating college athletes at a higher level than Black non athletes graduate. There is a reason all reports ONLY look at revenue generating schools and it's because it makes better conversation about the failure of athletics.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/10/29/graduation-rates-athletes-hit-record-high

While most research has a position and the NCAA has a position where they have to make themselves look better, their research has not been refuted. You can use the above link to look into the research on the NCAA website.

You can focus on the most desirable programs, but doing so means that you are focused on the negative because those schools make up such a small percentage of the scholarships available for student athletes. It completely discounts over a thousand programs at all levels to focus on 20-30 schools. So when you say there is a problem and it can't be debated or shouldn't be debated, that's not right. The problem is why is all of the research focused on the revenue generating schools? Are those schools more important than the non revenue generating programs that have a lot of Black students. I've posted a link below that discusses the NCAA stats and what's surprising is that of all sports the lowest graduation rate is among Wrestling programs. Those programs tend to be White.

We both know that Black students who attend college are not performing and graduating at the same rate as their peers, but when you dig into the stats across the board, not just at the revenue cash cows/BCS schools that your report focuses on we also know that student athletes graduate at a higher rate than their Black non athlete counterparts. http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/academic-success-rate-asr

So what exactly are you attempting to establish? That sports aren't working for Blacks and they should place their focus elsewhere? or That sports at BCS schools aren't serving their purpose for Black students? Because to look at BCS schools solely would mean that you are going to have to factor in students transferring which happens more often at BCS schools and students leaving for the pros which happens more often at BCS schools.

Now, you make the suggestion that people don't know. Troy, I think that is the most positive thing you've written because it gives people the benefit of ignorance. I'm unlike you in this regard because I think people know, they just don't give a damn. People know visiting AALBC is good for AALBC, but people are freaking haters and don't want to support the site because that would be supporting you and giving you an income. I think Black folks suffer from so much self hate that we tear down each other through inaction. In other words, I will give you lip service and lipstick support, but I won't support where it matters most because I'll be damned if I'm going to give your black ass a dime. I will give you a dime when I think it will benefit me, but outside of that I ain't paying.

The decline of the message board in my opinion is not anti-intellectual. It's anti you. 

On a daily basis when I'm around Black folks in the street and even at corporate styled events I here these words, "Fuck that nigga." It's under the breath and whispered in conversations between people. I've seen people standing when they don't think they are being heard and they say outright, " (insert name) thinks they are doing big things." Sabotage happens through a lack of effort as much as it does through ignorance. 

Schools are failing Black students. PERIOD Not just Black athletes, Black students. The reasons actually align with why this message board isn't half as busy as when I used to lurk. Our people are a monolith in that when it comes to having an issue with seeing the success of our people we have half of us pulling for each other and a quarter of us, waiting on failure and that other quarter isn't interested at all. It's like the issue with students we talked about. The good students get support, the poor students get support, the kids in the middle get left to figure it out. This message board and Black students are left to figure it out.

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Chris I completely understand the difference between the two types of schools.  I've sent kids to Syracuse University (SU) and The College of WIlliam and Mary (W&M), both schools have D1 football programs, both schools send athletes to the NFL.  But the two program have insignificant differences:

Tickets to an SU game can cost students over $100.  Tickets to a W&M game are free for students. SU spends perhaps an order of magnitude more than W&M to maintain their program. SU, with there 50K seat domed arena, is analogous to a professional team in the region.  I've seen high school with larger football stadiums than W&M's; W&M is more like an intramural program in comparison to SU.  For these reasons and more I'll argue that W&M serves the Black student athlete better than SU,

Yes, I'm talking about schools with the top programs.  Because they have the best teams, are televised far more often, and are the programs most desired by high school athletes. I'm also talking about these school because they do the most damage, as the data shows.  Yes! It is these schools, focused strongly on generating revenue, like an SU, that are the problems.

I'm not talking about schools than don't give athletic scholarships, or run intramural programs, or don't otherwise exploit Black students.  I'm not painting all college programs with the same broad brush. Can we draw that distinction here?

I was a D1 athlete. I think athletics are great when it is not exploitive, as the top football programs in the country are.

I prefer to use outside sources when looking at this subject. The NCAA's information is propaganda, generated to make itself look good--naturally.  

In fact Chris, you pointed out some differences in the way the NCAA tracks graduation rates.  Of course this differences tend to make graduation rate look better and mask the problems I'm pointing out.

But after reading what you wrote as far regarding the BCS schools, and they being the minor league for the NFL, I see we are on agreement for these programs.  Players in the de facto minor leagues should be financially compensated--especially if they are not going to be educated.

The Message Board

This might sound like a jacked up thing to say, but if I depended upon the support of my family and friends for the success of this site, I would not have a business.  But while I'm sure some of it is because of "hate," I think most of it is due to a simple lack of interest in Black literature or books in general. 

Now could more of my family and friends could go out their way to promote the site to those that might have an interest in the site's subject--even though they have no interest themselves, of course.  Some do, but the vast majority don't.  Are those that don;t haters?  I dunno...maybe.  Maybe they are just lazy.  

Some suggest that I should tell my family or friends, more frequently, or aggressively, what they need to do to support the site if they care anything about me. But making the that kind of appeal, to my family and friends, more than once, is not in my nature.  

@CDBurns how supportive of your businesses have you family and friends been?  Do you find the kind of hate that you feel plagues me?

FORTUNATELY, I do get a great deal of support from folks who I don't know, for from people I'm only acquainted with, or from people I've discovered through the site. You, Cynique, Pioneer and Harry, for example, have been for more supportive of this site than anyone outside my nuclear family.  And you have all been for more supportive of this discussion forums than ANY of y family and friends.  You still make these forums interesting, and by extension you help make the discussion forums possible--which benefits other writers and readers in ways Ihe may describe in more detail in another post.

The ability to aggregate support from those outside the immediate influence of family and friends is what makes the web so powerful, and it sadly is a power we largely choose not to use.

 

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I think we are in agreement on the college issue and we've written some good info so I will let that one go. 

I make a statement in almost every video or lecture I do on small biz, "You don't have a business until the people you don't know buy your product." The guy who called that interviewed you asked me a similar question about Black people and family support. I've had decent family support for my business, but I don't have a very big family. My peer/friend support is not very good at all. As far as Black people, I've all but avoided the tag of Black owned footwear company, because it has done very little to help me grow. As a matter of fact when I did very well, the people sending pictures of themselves in the shoes were primarily of different races.

When I say it's hating on you, it's not you personally, it's the idea of you. You are not living the life that other people are living. People have to acknowledge what you do and face the fact that they aren't pursuing a dream when they share your information. Instead of sharing your info they ignore and that way they don't have to support you or your dream.

You get what I'm saying? I may be wrong and I know I'm being negative about this, but I really do think people are willfully ignorant. They want to be uninformed because then they don't have to build you up and see you succeed. I have a deep desire to see people win so I make it a point to break bread with people who are in business at least once a year financially and if not financially with my time as often as possible. We are the exception, not the rule. People really do think that they diminish their opportunities by supporting you.

Like you said, we choose not to use the power we have. White folks use it and thrive. I could give examples, but you probably know what I'm saying.

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Chris, expressing a fact or an idea that has negative implications does not make you negative.  If that fact or idea is expressed to people who are unaware it, that actually makes you a positive. :)

Yeah I guess the "crabs in the barrel" had to come from somewhere ans wasin't just pulled out of thin air.  I just did not really see it in action myself until I started my business. Fortunatey there are enough people like you to allow  AALBC.com survive.  

Like you, I try to help people and related business understand that by helping each other we help ourselves.  

I'm running another social media experient.  I'm going to post photos of the top 100 bestselling authors on the site on social media  This should be a point of pride for all of these authors, and should be a great selling point for their books for what are obvious reasons.  

I'm going to tag their photos on Facebook so that they will see the image. I will observe how many of the authors;

  1. Acknowledge the photo through a like or comment,
  2. Share the photo, and
  3. Use the accomplishment as a credential. For example by saying, "I'm a top 100 AALBC.com Bestselling Author."

I know, from experience, the majority of authors will not take the first step, and virtually no one will take step number #3.

#3 is actually the most important step, not just for AALBC.com but for everyone in the Black Book Ecosystem, because it acknowledges that we value and take pride our own institutions.  This has been the Black book world's greatest failing.

You see if the authors themselves say, "Hey I'm a top selling author on AALBC.com," this signals to the readers that they view it as an important accomplishment. If enough authors took this simple, and logical, step publishers, readers, and the media will take notice too.

As Black owned institution are uplifted in the minds of the authors themselves the importance and our dependency upon european institutions for validation and acceptance becomes irrelevant.  

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You 2 have done an excellent job of analyzing and defining the subject under discussion but the more you conclude the more you reveal the complexity of the situation. Present company excluded, It would seem to me that unless someone is a best selling author or successful entrepreneur they don't have the luxury of plugging and supporting those they are in competition with. Their primary goal is to sell and promote their own product. Of course every one is eager to give free advice, and it's easy to be magnanimous when you are well off because being so is, in itself, a form of self-gratification. But when you are struggling to achieve, you tend to be self-absorbed. 

Expecting an individual to believe he/she will profit by merging with the group to achieve the common goal of success, is problematic.  A peer group can be made up of one's rivals and the ever present ego drives the individual to best the competition. It is not everyone's nature to be a crusader, and creative people and divas want to do things their way as opposed to becoming a spoke in the wheel. On the way up, ambitious people do benefit from those who have helped them, but this help usually comes from those who have nothing to lose by offering assistance. An old African proverb says that "one who travels alone goes faster, but those who travel together go further" is wisdom lost on black folks tryin' to be a hot solo act.  

I agree that people are intellectually lazy - because ignorance is bliss. If something is too much trouble then they sidestep it, wallowing in their comfort zone, something I can relate to because I have long ago given up on trying to cure the ills of society by intellectualizing them. Those who seek challenges are a special breed and, for people of color, they can be the hope of the future.   Just some rambling thoughts...

As for my presence on this board, it is what I refer to as "my other life"; a place where I can come and rise above the role of Mommy, Nana, and friend to the religious and boring. So I am guilty of not being accompanied by an entourage to make up an audience of lurkers or contributors to AALBC's forums. "Cynique" is a name nobody is really familiar with in my personal sphere. Sorry, Troy, for not holding up my end.                                                                                                                  

 

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Cynique I have news for you it is the "best selling author or successful entrepreneur" who is LEAST likely to support and AALBC.com.  Of course there are notable exceptions to this but the fact of the matter is that I survive thanks to the largess of individuals like yourself (and you done WAY more than you share to support AALBC.com).

Rich authors don't need to buy ads from or otherwise directly support an AALBC.com.  There are many reasons for this but I save that for a future post.  But suffice it to say I get the support I need from folks like and Chris before I do from say a Toni Morrison or Walter Mosley... (this is not exactly true and here is why)


@Cynique, do you think people in your personal sphere would recognize, or like your persona here?  Do you think they would find her interesting?

No one, as far as I know, from my personal world--even those in publishing, post here.  Del and Mel are exceptions, but I have not seen either in a decade or longer.

What we do here is an activity only a small percentage of the population can, will, or are interested it doing.  This is why lurkers will always outnumber posters, that is just the nature of things.

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My family and friends would probably find Cynique a little over the top in her role as a polemicist. But I don't care. There are enough people around who hold their tongues just to keep the peace. In the twilight of my years, my mission is to seek the truth and be a free thinker. It's a destination that makes for an interesting journey. 

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On 10/15/2016 at 0:51 PM, Troy said:

Del and Mel are exceptions, but I have not seen either in a decade or longer.

I last saw you in 2010! That ain't no decade, man!!! :D

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Well Mel it feels like a lot longer :-)  I'm pretty sure I have not seen Del in about ten years.  He did some readings in my home for a group of people.... this had to have been in '06 or earlier.

 

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