I hung up the phone and felt my stomach drop. Carmen Van Kerckhove, popular and beloved co-founder of Racialicious, had decided to leave public life and diversity activism. She informed me of the decision, and asked me to take over the blog. I had spent the last year or so separating out my identity from Racialicious, and carving out a new niche in gaming and pop culture. I had gotten to a point where I was comfortable being my own boss, liked only being responsible for myself, and leaving the often intense world of racial justice for a more relaxed career focusing on culture.
Outside of my own reservations, these kinds of transitions tend to cause a lot of problems and turmoil. At that time, a lot of independent blogs didn’t survive leadership transitions, with either the audience abandoning the site or the new team running out of steam. I didn’t think I was up for the particular challenges that running the blog would entail, and I didn’t think I could put up with amplifying the abuse that women seem to attract online.
But still, whenever I thought about the blog shutting down, I felt cold inside. The community we were building was real, along with the actual changes to conversations about race and racism. Could we really just abandon it all before we really got started?
So, I accepted the role. Three years later, I still feel a twinge when I watch my friends live-tweet from the Tokyo Toy Show or E3. But when I think about our team, our community and our plans for the future, I know I’d make the same choice all over again.