You probably noticed that either the words “tips”, “wanderlust”, “travel” or “travelling” are not mentioned in the title. This is more of a discussion about something that’s personal to me and I feel is important to reflect on, more so in light of everything that’s going on now.
I’ve been blogging about travelling for the best of 3 years, sometimes writing about blogging, networking and lifestyle on the side. Over that time I’ve come to the honest reality that blogging is a hobby, and by extension a business for many, done predominantly by women and predominantly by those from a white background. Most times I’m the only black male, if not one of few, in the blogging spaces I’m involved in. It’s noticable when I’m engaging in threads on social media, when I attend blogging conventions and expos and by the demographic of the majority of my 10k readers of the 100+ blog posts I’ve written.
So what’s it like being a black man involved in a space that’s dominated by women.
Honestly I don’t tend to think “I’m the only black guy here. I’m gonna feel so left out” or “I’m a black man so won’t be able to relate to and conversate with everyone else” here and let it haunt me in every interaction I go into. I don’t feel that the colour of my skin or my gender is a hindrance to what I do. There’s more to my identity and personality than being a black man. It’s definitely still a main part of my identity but there’s other factors that have shaped me into the person I am. If anything I use it to my advantage because that means I’m one of a kind and it makes me seem more interesting in the eyes of others. It’s an example of what the black male community are capable of, showing that black men can also articulate themselves well about something they’re passionate about, on essentially what is a piece of paper. We’re not just the footballers, basketball players, doctors, bankers or musicians that we’re stereotyped to be.
It’s weird in a way because this world is proclaimed to be a man’s world as much as that narrative is slowly beginning to change and women are beginning to assertive themselves more. Normally the conversations nowadays are what’s it for women in male dominated industries and spaces, the marginalisation they’ve experience and how much harder it is for them to get to positions of power compared to men, and rightfully so. But I personally feel I find myself in a unique situation where the roles are reversed. As a man I’m in a female-dominated space and therefore a minority, contrary to the real world. As a black person I’m in a white-dominated space and therefore a minority, but much like in the real world.
I find myself scrolling down threads and barely seeing anyone who is like me or sounds like me. Some topics such as beauty and skincare I struggle to identify and relate with because its something thats majorly exclusive to females. It’s hard to engage with that content because I don’t think its authentic for me to talk about something that I don’t relate to. I can support it as a fellow blogger but not to the extent my gender counterparts can.
I do think it’s a bit of a shame that not many black male bloggers are out there, consistently too. A question might be why is that the case? Perhaps because it’s not something they are encouraged to pursue as much. This is especially when you compare it to how many black men are thriving in industries like sports, music and financial. It could be that men in society are not being encouraged enough to open up and express themselves. Otherwise it takes away your manhood. There are various explanations and reasons for it. Some reasons I probably dont know and may have to be done in a separate post. There are loads of opportunities bloggers get to work with brands, go on press trips, attend top-quality events. Such things that enhance the quality of their lives. There’s even those who are doing it full-time and earning a living from it.
I don’t perceive it as an issue for myself. I enjoy writing and being a part of a friendly and supportive community. It’s still very much a diverse community despite the lack of black male representation and when I speak of diversity I don’t just refer to race and/or gender. I’m grateful that I have yet to experience some form of ill treatment or marginalisation. Like no one has backed away a few yards from me or sat away from me at seminars and workshops because I look intimidating to them (another stereotype of the average black man). No one has overlooked my content on socials or at least havent felt like they have. Blogging has given me so much pleasure and opportunities that I didnt expect it to give me when I started out and I’m grateful for.
I thought with the lockdown and share some experiences from the perspective of who I am. With everything else going on in the world that it would be an opportunity to reflect on things I may not have been in the mental space for or had the time. I can’t speak for the other few black male bloggers out there nor black women who blog because their experiences may very well be different or similar. It wouldnt be fair for me to generalise it without giving them the chance to talk about it.
I’m gonna leave it at that. Before I sign off my heart and thoughts go out to the late George Floyd and his family and friends. My blog doesn’t touch on social and political issues very much and this post originally didn’t have any ties to it. But the issue of police brutality and systemic racism is so significant and has gone on for far too long. George isn’t the only one. Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Kalief Browder, Breonna Taylor – the list is insurmountable. Innocent lives have been taken by the very people that are supposed to serve and protect them and their communities. This is worth writing many blog posts about.
I would like you all to support in whatever way you can. Spread the word on socials, sign petitions like these, attend peaceful protests or donating to charities. You can even donate to the Floyd family themselves via their George Floyd Memorial fund page. These are not affiliate links nor am I being paid to promote these charities or fundraisers in anyway.
Stay safe guys, stay healthy and let’s fight the good fight together!