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I am deeceevoice.
FYI -- I'm not here much, so if you write me, don't be surprised if it takes a while for me to get back atcha. These days, you'll find me here and there -- or not at all. It's a combination of being bored/fed up with the place and the fact that I have a life. When I'm not working like a fieldhand, I'm in my activist mode on a variety of issues. (Yes, there is a world beyond this virtual one.)
Wikipedia is a technology-driven enterprise. As a result, it is skewed toward a white, male, under-50 demographic -- and any hack with a computer and Internet access can edit virtually anything. This has resulted in both misinformation and disinformation; appalling subject matter deficits; and various biases vis-à-vis subject matter treating people of color, the Third World and, most notably, African peoples. The nature of such biases runs the gamut from simply naivete and a kind of youth-driven myopia/provincialism, to a pervasive Eurocentrism/cultural bias, to racism (both mindless and calculated, subtle and blatant/virulent). I have found the project's self-policing mechanisms likewise riddled with some of the same problems, resulting in governance structures the members of which often function without integrity or accountability, who are often hostile, antagonistic, hypocritical and unjustly and unfairly punitive. And when the admins abuse their authority in the most blatant and egregious fashion, they are not held accountable -- while those guilty of lesser offenses often are dealt with excessively harshly.
Some time ago, I was blocked after making legitimate changes to a document -- this after another, edit-warring editor openly and blatantly invited others to engage in tag-team edit warring, a favorite tactic on Wikipedia to censor the writings of other editors who don't toe the party line of a numerically superior editorial faction. Because I focus on subects dealing primarily with black people, it has been my experience that this dynamic is an exceedingly common one on Wikipedia when the subject in question treats people of color. The matter at issue in this case? A cabal of editors who repeatedly have tag-team edit-warred about the insertion of adequately sourced and perfectly appropriate material on the "Negroid" nature of the face of the Great Sphinx of Giza. They refuse to allow any inclusion of well-documented, widely known observations of various learned writers throughout history, or that of a former Harvard professor. At first, they relegated the information to a subsection dealing with crackpot theories. Then they deleted it altogether, claiming the source, which recapitulated information (also alluded to in other articles) printed in The New York Times, was unreliable. The very same editor in this case (whose edit note is linked to above), in an another article related to the ethnic identity of dynastic Egypt repeatedly, however, edit-warred in preposterous information contained at the Stormfront website. On Wikipedia, an editor can decide some hack whose material appears on a neo-Nazi website is a reliable source, while a published Harvard professor writing in The New York Times is not.
Am I calling this editor a racist? Nope. Not me. Gosh, that would be impolitic! Besides, Wikipedia wouldn't allow that. Someone can act like a racist, but you can't can't just up and call them one! That's a wiki no-no. I just named the editor on this page, and a wiki admin nominated my user page for deletion without even discussing the matter with me beforehand. When other editors jumped on him, including another admin, the AfD was withdrawn. But then another admin jumped on the bandwagon and unilaterally deleted my user page -- again, without any sort of prior notice or comment whatsoever, puportedly objecting to my listing of links at the top of the page, saying I was using my page as a "soapbox." Anybody ever noticed all the "This user is for/against/a (insert cause or socio-political stance of choice here)" boxes plastered all over people's user pages on this website? Betcha no one's acted to consign those thousands of user pages to wiki oblivion, least of all the overzealous Aussie admin who expunged mine.
How's that for breaches of wiki etiquette? Compared to my teeny, tiny little poot (that's black southern talk for breaking wind quietly -- what? you never listened to the comedy of Richard Pryor?) in the corner of a room, the precipitous and uncalled-for actions of these two admins are tantamount to someone dragging an elephant into a cocktail party and letting it hunch-and-heave a ginormous, stultifying, steaming pile on the host's antique silk oriental carpet, using the Italian linen napkins for pachyderm t.p., and then carelessly discarding them on the buffet table next to the paté.
In another instance, an article treating the "racial controversy over ancient Egypt," after more than two years of effort by informed editors, has been gutted and trashed -- essentially by an appallingly ill-informed/misinformed, single editor -- with a decidedly eurocentrist viewpoint. The article, once provocative, interesting and enlightening, is now nothing more than an inadequate outline with a decidedly eurocentrist slant. The article is now essentially worthless.
The same dynamic was at work on an article about Black people, where essentially a team of white (certainly non-black) contributors has determined that only they are allowed to define who black people are. Contributions by black editors have been reverted (deleted) summarily and repeatedly -- wholesale -- including corrections of grammar, fact and capitalization. And one of these very same offending editors had the gall to visit my user page to tell me to stop editing, because my edits were "not helping."
I recently revisited Jazz, once a featured article. It's now an utter mess and has been de-featured (is that a word?). It's been so whitewashed, so gutted, the subject is barely recognizable. I've reinserted some language here and there. I simply don't have the patience to read the entire thing, let alone attempt a thorough rewrite. Betcha this article is virtually the only one in cyberspace that seeks to portray jazz as a "color-blind" phenomenon, de-Africanizing its roots, and with more illustrations and examples featuring white people (including a list of all-white and Jewish bandleaders from the 1920s)!!! A classic case of Jewish/white black-wannabeism/cultural appropriation.
But that doesn't stop it from being at the top of the list of sources on the subject when you Google it. Frightening.
Wikipedia is a f***ing runaway freight train headed straight to hell. It's downright and despicably dangerous.
In short, Wikipedia is all too often an unreliable source riddled with systemic bias.
Personally, I do not believe Wikipedia is an effective venue for treating fairly or accurately subjects related to African peoples. Wikipedia is a noble idea, but inherently and fatally flawed. It has its pluses, but plenty of minuses as well. Don't believe the hype and proceed with caution.
So, in short, dear reader, I give you fair warning:
DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SEE IN PRINT.
If You Don't Mind The Interjection
|The Original Barnstar|
|For grinding it out and making your voice heard Docjay8406 16:09, 28 November 2006 (UTC)|
|The Tireless Contributor Barnstar|
|Two and a half years and 15,000 edits? Yeah.
Someone should have given this to you by now. Docjay8406 16:09, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
|The Purple Star|
|I award you this purple star for dealing with numerous personal attacks from others diplomatically
while continuing to contribute to Wikipedia. Wiki Raja 18:08, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
I am sorry I missed you - I see you have not signed on for a long time. I worked hard on the now useless article on Black People; for a while it looked promising but mediocrity is insidiously invasive on this site. I find it to be so ruthlessly eurocentric - it is certainly toxic and exhausting for folks. I applaud you for all your work and your tenacity. Peace VaniNY (talk) 07:42, 29 March 2011 (UTC)