How representative is the SDMB? And how representative does it want to be?

Not unnaturally, the SDMB membership still reflects its roots in Chicago to a large extent, with a disproportionately high number of members living in that area. Looking a little further afield, there is a very solid representation from seemingly every state of the Union. Even a few dinosaurs from Florida drop by from time to time!

Among other English-speaking countries, Canada’s well represented, as too is Australia and Ireland, although it seems to me that in the case of the latter two countries, a fair number of the posters may be American nationals. New Zealand has some gracious and beauteous posters, as does the UK, of course. Europe is particularly heavily represented by the polyglot Northerners, with the Dutch and the Swedes leading the way.

Then there’s piecemeal representation from South and Central America, Africa (RSA, at least) and the Middle East and Asia (especially East Asia).

Returning to the USA itself, how well represented are the so-called minorities, I wonder - the blacks, the Hispanics and the recect immigrants? Many among these groups are well-educated, English speakers and computer-literate, and yet it is my impression that they are under-represented (especially now that **Kaitlyn ** has gone the way of all flesh). Interestingly, and rather in line with my sociocultural views (whereby women in the West are at least as equal with men as many men are), women are very strongly represented on the Dope. By the same token, people with sexual orientations that differ from the norm are very well represented (given their proportion in society).

Which got me to thinking - does the inclusion and indeed welcome afforded to one group (albeit a broad and disparate group) militate against a sense of inclusion and welcome to other groups? Is it difficult to have a Board that does not lean in a certain direction, like a lawn greens bowl with its built-in bias? Do certain alliances effectively proclude others (on the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” principle)?

A final thought. Some folks here opine from time to time that it’s a Good Thing that foreigners contribute to the board, but am I the only one who has a slight feeling of unease when I read that? Is it really a board with no boundaries, or is it an instantiation of American values and popular culture? Is there an onus on “foreigners” (both within the States and outside it) to fit in, to assimilate? Or is a pluralistic, multicultural virtual community something that American dopers want to be one part of?

There are a fair number of hispanics on this board, but there seems to be few blacks, or at least very few Dopers have ever identified them as African-
American. But that’s symptomatic of the fact that blacks are less likely to own a computer than non-blacks.

Politically, this board is quite liberal, by American standards at least. This is an important point for non-Americans to keep in mind – the optinions expressed on the SDMB are not necessarily representative of mainstream America.

As for cultural assiumilation, I don’t think any of us American Dopers are trying to force foreign Dopers to assimilate, but the fact is that most Dopers are American, so the discussions naturally tend to be USA-centric.

Actually, it’s not the Americocentrism that bothers me (not a whit, in fact - it’s a function of the numerical make-up of the board), it’s the feeling that people from other places are somehow guests at their table. Example. Give one’s opinions on American gun laws - as lucidly and elegantly as one can - and some people (only some, mind, but others tend to stand by and do very little) will demonise you and tell you it’s none of your business. Well, an individual’s private life is not my business, but American culture, constitution and values surely are, given the USA’s position as a world leader (thank God! - wouldn’t want to imagine a world where China, for example, had that power to use).

On the other hand, it’s perfectly acceptable for Americans to give their opinions on aspects of culture of which they have very little or no direct experience - and a good thing that is too.

It can come across as very patronising, and results I fear in the best non-US posters either becoming cynical and sardonic (not difficult for us Brits) or just sticking to their own little threads. Sad, I feel.

It’s nice to hear the opinion voiced that if some nation has to be world leader it’s a better world for it being us than (e.g.) China. Here’s to hoping we continue to weild power well often enough to maintain that sentiment. I suppose we’re annoying as hell sometimes with our “Land of the Free” flavored patriotism, speaking as if we and only we cared about civil rights and liberty and protection from coercion, and declaring ourselves to be the permanent pinnacle of human rights and freedoms. But maybe having that kind of image of ourself makes us strive (at least some of the time) to live up to it, even though we’re not always consistent about it.

Pardon the hijack.

Not a hijack at all. That’s exactly the type of comment I was hoping. What I wish more Americans could understand is that those who criticise aspects of their country’s life and thinking do so because they rate the place and its values so highly. There has truly not been a land like it in modernity and its institutions must be zealously and jealously guarded and maintained.

The gun issue is actually quite minor in the scheme of things - I just wish to stir some folks from the torpor that can overcome those who have had it good for too long. Things can change. Freedom and the open society are like precious flowers. Critical discussion must be embraced and actually encouraged. Living in China brings this home to me eveyr day.

Eek. I object most highly. I’m neither black or Hispanic nor a recent immigrant and yet i’m still a minority.

I get so tired of people relegating minority to only those two races. :mad:

Were you seriously expecting a long detailed list? Blacks and hispanics both show up as roughly 12% of the US population (toatal 24%), while those from Asia make up 3-4%.

As a Canadian, I find this board more diversified than most on the internet. I’ve learned quite a bit about American customs and culture which are different from my own ways.

I like that the board is more liberal than the US culture as a whole as well, because some of the aspects of American culture, such as guns, and the position on some social and political issues are so strongly believed in and defended by American conservatives and those that believe in those positions are quite often so unwilling to hear other opinions.

There are times, such as the arguments about not wearing shoes in the house that I shake my head and close the browser window because one legged strawmen can’t take off their shoes and because of that another custom is “WRONG”. But there are jerks in every country and before that strange debate I thought it was only on television that people were wearing shoes in the house.

Are you serious?! Maybe this just isn’t a very black-friendly board! There are plenty of overwhelmingly black message boards out there and I doubt many are near-unanimously applauding Johnny Cochran’s death across their landscapes.

To address the OP: the extremely limited nature of free posting here as a guest dictates that the SDMB is going to add very few new members over time. However representative or unrepresentative this board is, it’s not going to get noticeably more so under current policies.

Representative of what?

I’m curious, do you think this board isn’t very “black-friendly”? If you answer that question, would you also define “black-friendly” while you’re at it? Thanks.

What’s so hard about just saying minorities and leaving it at that?

*Returning to the USA itself, how well represented are the so-called minorities, I wonder - the blacks, the Hispanics and the recect immigrants? *

could become:

Returning to the USA itself, how well represented are the so-called minorities, I wonder?
We know who we are. See? Now, was that hard?

Probably the least so of boards I usually attend, unless you include Fark (which I don’t visit anymore).

It means a board would have a negligible amount of anti-black (i.e. criticism or disparaging of blacks in general or hyper-criticism of black celebrities) threads, and that posts countering anti-black racism usually wouldn’t be met with knee-jerk suspicion of hypersensitivity or “political-correctness”

I think most people less-than-upset about Cochran dieing are so because of his character. Not his skin color.

What next? A thread praising Idi Amin? He was black, so we certainly can’t say anything negative about him, right?

Thank you ahunter

I’m afraid I am by nature a rather atheoretical person, sometimes mistaken for being anti-intellectual. One of my traits is to give examples, since an illustration can be more effective than an explanation. I guess I like to paint word pictures and this is an effective way to do this.

Perhaps also there would have been no need to give examples of what I meant by ‘minorities’ (pure and simple), but I felt that ‘so-called minorities’ needed expansion.

While I’ll stipualte that we get maybe a liitle more than our fair share of “whatsa mattter with black people…” threads, I’d hardly call this place unfriendly to black people.

As far as the OP, off the top of my head I can think of a half a dozen black Dopers (yours truly and pizzabrat not included), and I’m sure that’s way off the true number.

Is this a whoosh? Representative of the worlds population, ethnic groups and countries.

Well, if we were to go strictly by that, then no. I mean, around what? Two billion people live in India and China, a huge chunk of the world’s population. And yet the Dope doesn’t exactly pan out that way.

[/smart aleck]

Just had to get that out of the way before someone else did and meant it seriously. Carry on.