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Sep. 14th, 2009 @ 07:37 pm Laughing is better than the other option.

"Hollywood Casting Cheat Sheet."

How to avoid discussions of transphobia and sexism.

No comment needed, I think.
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Aug. 28th, 2009 @ 09:33 pm "If Black Women Were White Women"

"What if suddenly, instantly, the power of white femininity were transferred to black women?"?

Read this article. Wow wow wow.

(It's modeled off of Gloria Steinem's "If Men Could Menstruate," which the author links to here if you haven't read it.)
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Aug. 17th, 2009 @ 11:25 am Link-blogging

The people and their cultures: POC and the movies: With the movie "adaptation" of Avatar, a lot more people are becoming aware of the problem of whitewashing in the media, or, as unusualmusic puts it here, "stealing our stories and retelling them with white people. Dressed in our cultures. Which are then considered exotic." What people then need to understand is that The Last Airbender is part of a pattern - a tradition - of white people hijacking other people's stories for their own glory, and Avatar is just the most recently high-profile example of this. However enraged The Last Airbender makes me, it's ultimately only one of many such battles.

If anything I said above comes as the slightest surprise to you, you would do well to read this article. It's beautifully thorough, and explains why this is too persistent to explain away as "unintentional," or "not a big deal," or "just looking for the best actor to play the part."

The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck: This is how casual misogyny from the men we love pushes us to make the call of "Swallow shit, or ruin the entire afternoon?" on a daily basis, and how the result is to make us - not hate, which would be easier both for us and for the anti-feminists - but mistrust them. We're "[n]ot fearful; just resigned - and on my guard."

This dynamic translates almost point-for-point to other oppressions, as the writer herself points out. If you are male, white, cisgendered, straight, abled, and/or middle-class, please read this and think about the people you love who are female, of color, transgendered, queer, disabled, and/or poor.

I love you, but there are times I have to defend myself against you.

I know you love me, but there are times you have to defend yourself against me. I will do my best to make myself trustworthy every day.
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May. 11th, 2009 @ 10:31 pm De-lurking to say ...

People of color/non-white fans of sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction, please stand up!

This roll call, from the deadbrowalking community on LJ, is a response to yet another white SFF writer displaying ignorance of the long-standing presence of fans of color - not yet six months after RaceFail '09. You don't have to write anything lengthy or clever - this post is merely an attempt to get a (however incomplete) count of fans of color, after the nth time a white writer/reader said, "Wow, there's non-white people in SFF?"

And people wonder why we need to specify "'09" after "RaceFail" ... The ignorance is here, again, still.
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Apr. 9th, 2009 @ 12:49 pm Asian Women Carnival #1
Current Mood: pleased

[info]ciderpress (LJ) has posted the first Asian Women Carnival!

I haven't had a big chunk of time in which I could sit down and read through everything, so instead I've been reading a post here or there, spending a few minutes at a time. And that's been better, in a way, because then I get to savor each individual post instead of trying to digest all this emotion and wisdom and passion at once. I am so, so loving it.
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Apr. 8th, 2009 @ 07:55 pm Secret Identities release!
Current Mood: excited

I'm excited to announce that there's just one week left until the release of Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology!

For those who still haven't heard about this book, Secret Identities is a graphic novel collection of new superhero stories by and about Asian Americans. If you want to find out more, there's plenty of material to browse in the PDF preview, or the video trailers.

I highly encourage you to pick up this book, if you're someone who loves comic books and is impatient with how slow the mainstream publishers have been to leave behind the straight-white-male majority in its characters. (In other words ... like, all of my friends? :D) Please spare a few bucks to support it - it's less than $15 at Amazon! I think this project deserves major success, and I'd love to send the message to the comics industry that Asian American superheroes DO have an audience - and deserve a place, front and center - in comic books.

(Those of you who know [info]ratzeo, he is happy to have you buy the book through him and take advantage of his sweet discount at the Comics Dungeon. Heck, even if you don't know him, he'd probably do it anyway as long as you're local.)
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Apr. 2nd, 2009 @ 06:24 pm 5 things make an anti-oppression post

Some personal background explaining the reasons behind this post )

1. For those who are still asking, "What is RaceFail '09?" the briefest answer I can manage is: what started as another instance of the discussion about misrepresentation/lack of representation of people of color in science fiction and fantasy has resulted in a particularly public and particularly ugly backlash from (often white) writers and readers.

For a timeline of specific events, please start with this summary by Avalon's Willow. Further events occurred later, as described here by [info]rydra_wong, who has also painstakingly collected all the RaceFail-related links she could find, under this tag

If you're ready for further detail, please see my LiveJournal memories for (what I consider) some of the important posts.

And finally, please refer to this guide to the positive, productive actions taken by POC and allies in the face of RaceFail. Not because of. In the face of.

Read as much as you can. Learn as much as you can. If you take nothing else away from this, remember these two things: This is not "just another wankfest," because it's about race, racism, and representation - not individual personality clashes and this or that book. Also, this is not the first or only such conversation, even if it's the first time you've heard of one like this.

2. One of the best responses to RaceFail has, by far, been the creation of Verb Noire, an e-publishing company dedicated to written works by and about people of color and/or queer people. Please support them by donating.

3.I've posted this before, but remember: if you are an Asian woman or an ally, please contribute to the first Asian Women Blog Carnival. The deadline is tomorrow.

4. This is not a new study (it was published in 2007), but it's highly relevant: Subtle Discrimination is More Taxing On The Brain. Instances of ambiguous racism were more detrimental to black test subjects than obvious cases.

"Interestingly, white volunteers were more impaired by overt racism than by the more ambiguous discrimination. Salvatore and Shelton figure this is because whites rarely experience any racism; they do not even notice the subtle forms of racism, and are thrown off balance when they are hit over the head by overt acts. Many blacks, by contrast, have developed coping strategies for the most hateful kinds of racism; it's the constant, vague, just-below-the-surface acts of racism that impair performance, day in and day out."

This is why I'm more disturbed by expressions of privileged ignorance from people whom I have some trust in, rather than dude-on-the-street spouting a racial slur. This is why I care more about creative works that fail in race or other areas when they come from creators who should know better, based on their previous performance (Joss Whedon, I'm looking at you).

5. This is not race-related, but it's important: March 31st was End the R-word Day, a day dedicated to ending the use of "retard"/"retarded" as a derogatory term.

I have succeeded in removing the word from my vocabulary, but I've utterly failed in speaking out to the people around me. There's no excuse for this. I wouldn't tolerate people using "cunt," "pussy," or "gay" as insults to me, so I can't tolerate "retard" used in the same manner.

I will start by resolving to respond to derogatory uses of "retard"/"retarded" by saying, "Please don't use 'retard'/'retarded' as an insult." That's all. It's just a start.
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Feb. 23rd, 2009 @ 09:01 pm Two things you can do for women
Current Mood: hopeful

Yes, you! From the comfort of your computer chair!

1. Donate to Home Alive

Home Alive is a Seattle-based anti-violence organization that has presented community-based responses to violence since 1993. However, severe lack of funding has caused them to cut back on their work, and even lose their office space. They are very much in need of financial support right now.

More details on the situation )

Please consider donating to help keep Home Alive functional. Every little bit helps.

2. Support the first Asian Women Blog Carnival

[info]ciderpress (LiveJournal) is launching this carnival in April. The call for submissions has details and background, but here's the basic information: )

According to these criteria, every single one of you is eligible to contribute to this carnival! You have until April 3 - go for it!

x-posted to LJ
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Feb. 18th, 2009 @ 08:30 pm Fail, Penny Arcade, fail
Current Mood: disappointed
Current Music: "Metal Heart," Garbage

I like Penny Arcade, I really do. Even though I'm a more of a tabletop gamer than a video gamer, I find them clever. This made me lol. This is one of my favorite webcomics of all time. I enjoy their con. I think their Child's Play charity is awesome - so yes, I know they do charity, and no, I don't think that means it's impossible for them to unwittingly act like assholes.*

And, okay, yeah, I don't expect them to be particularly progressive. I go to them for laughs and geekery - and, as with much of my geekery, I don my armor and hold my breath and hope to get through unscathed.

The misogynist insults? Made me roll my eyes, but the joke itself was funny - and, notably, would've been just as effective with non-sexist language - so I just tried to ignore it. (And please, no bullshitting about how the language isn't anti-woman just because it wasn't directed at a woman, or some such. "Bitch" and "pussy" are blatantly gendered insults, and are used to deride women, or "feminized" men - gay men, weak men, etc.)

Of course, it was easier to ignore before they made a T-shirt of it.

Then there's this. (And yes, it's an old strip, but I found it because it was linked in a recent newspost - without the slightest hint of apology or embarrassment.) It's always fun to be reminded that, if I commit the offense of being inebriated and annoying while female, I deserve to be reduced to "some bitch" or a "drunken whore." As a note of comparison, I doubt they would refer to me as "some chink." I wonder if they would refer to an inebriated and annoying gay man as "some fag." None of these forms of derogatory language are okay - not the homophobic language, not the racist language, not the sexist language.

And finally, there's today's strip )

*sigh* Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go apply Cerise like a balm to the soul.

*I really, really need to do that post on "niceness" and privilege.
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Feb. 17th, 2009 @ 08:00 pm Today at the gym ...
Current Mood: snarky

... the attendant/coach-person recounted an angry phone call she'd just received. The husband of one of the gym members didn't want his wife to come to the gym anymore. He said that she was becoming Americanized and didn't want to cover her face anymore (and either blamed the gym for this, or considered it a contributing factor - it wasn't clear). He demanded to cancel his wife's gym membership, and the coach informed him that only the owner of the membership could do so (it involves a contract).

Now, the coach recounted this story calmly, expressing frustration over the fact that a) the man was taking his anger out on her/the gym, b) he started asking for information about employees of the gym, and, of course, c) he was acting on his disagreement with his wife by attempting a very controlling, inappropriate action. The coach was justifiably upset. I was uncomfortable, but not because of my coach's words, exactly - rather, because of the fact that we were discussing an "other" form of sexism - as in, one that is foreign to middle-class White culture, and thus easy to demonize as the only/worst form of sexism. The result is that White sexism gets a free pass (or at least minimized) and the non-White culture gets othered as "those backwards foreigners."

However, none of this was stated explicitly. It may have been an underlying attitude - that's usually the case in "polite" conversation - but the coach, for her part, was speaking pretty intelligently and without judgment.

Then one of the gym members spoke up.

Now, this gym member was an older White woman who had been chatting in a friendly manner with other gym members when I arrived. To all outward appearances, she seemed like a nice woman. I'm sure that those who know her would describe her as nice - maybe even sweet - and would say things like, "But she's so nice, she could never be racist!"*

But then "nice White lady" opened up with, "Oh, she must be Muslim."

Uh-oh, I thought.

"I feel sorry for people in that religion."

You DO, do you? Well, I feel sorry for your ignorant cracker ass, but what can you do?

"It's very strict."

Unlike any other religions, of course. Why, I hear that Catholicism is just a skip through the park!

"But there are different kinds."

So nice of you to acknowledge that we're not all an indistinguishable mass of brown people.

"Who would want to cover their face, anyway? It's crazy."

(At this point, I was giving my arms the workout of their life on the pec machine.)

"I bet she saw all the women here being free, and wanted to do that too."

Oh, you mean like women who wear skirts because they want to celebrate their body, but who risk having their pleasure in themselves poisoned by dehumanizing sexual harassment or slut-shaming disapproval? But of course that's better than those weird Muslim men.

"If you're going to move to America, you should adopt all the customs."


One of my professors once talked about how she had to don her armor every morning, to protect herself against the racism she met on a daily basis. It's times like this, when the White privilege comes from random sources at random moments - I just wanted to get some exercise - that I remember how sadly right she was. I can only imagine how I would've felt if I'd been that wife and heard those words - my culture trivialized and my choices co-opted by the dominant culture. Or if I'd been the husband - my shortcomings used to spread judgment against my entire religion.

So fuck you, Nice White Lady. Fuck you and your "polite" ignorance wounding everyone who doesn't have the privilege of being like you.

*I keep meaning to address this false argument, that somehow nice = anti-racist. I should do it soon.
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Nov. 22nd, 2008 @ 01:42 pm (no subject)

Maybe it's because I'm sick, and I had a shitty week at work (the former likely caused by the latter), and I'm just feeling bitter, but damn if this isn't an accurate summary of "anti-racism" from liberals* most of the time.

*"Anti-racism" from conservatives, on the other hand, being "what white privilege? OMG reverse racism!"

P.S. As you can see, I'm not in the best place to work on the positive-thinking meme from yesterday. I'll ... get to it.
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Sep. 12th, 2008 @ 12:11 pm "What If Bristol Palin Were Black?"
Current Mood: cynical

"Christian-right leaders and conservative stalwarts have praised the decision of Bristol Palin, the daughter of Governor Sarah Palin, to carry her child to term. She is 17 and conceived this child out of wedlock. Now imagine she wasn't the daughter of a prominent Republican politician but an average person. Now imagine she was black.

"What do you think conservatives would have to say about her?"

- Cenk Uygur, "What If Bristol Palin Were Black?"
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Aug. 18th, 2008 @ 11:22 am How To Tell People They Sound Racist
Current Mood: sick

How To Tell People They Sound Racist

Practical advice, and eloquently said, if not shockingly new information.

(Also, since this is on YouTube, you should know better than to read the comments.)
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Jul. 7th, 2008 @ 08:39 pm Book talk
Current Music: "Dead End Poem," Octavia Sperati

Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism )

Y: The Last Man volume 1(ish) )
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Apr. 24th, 2008 @ 10:49 am "Preservation of ones' culture doesn’t mean contempt for others'"
Current Mood: pissed off

A proposed Arizona bill would ban race-based student organizations and any courses that supposedly "denigrate American values and the teachings of Western civilization."

The results of this bill would be simple, and devastating. Ethnic student associations like MEChA, which provide students with a place to learn about and share their cultural heritage, would be lost. Courses that (dared to) criticize the violent colonialist history of the United States, or the continuing racist patterns that persist today, would be silenced.

These results aren't the unintended consequences of well-meaning legislation. Read the article, and you'll see that this is exactly what the legislators mean to do.

Read more and send an email to Arizona legislators.
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Apr. 18th, 2008 @ 10:52 am Happy Friday
Current Mood: sleepy

1. The first thing that makes today happy for me actually came out of an unhappy thing - I finally sat down and read through blogs to find out why everyone was pissed off at Amanda Marcotte ... and, well. Once again I am disillusioned at the behavior of many prominent white (female and male) feminist bloggers. Once again an eloquent woman of color has been silenced so forcefully that she has left the feminist blogosphere. It's happened before. I continue to shy away from mainstream feminist blogs. I will not be buying Marcotte's book. At this point, I'm feeling cynical and kind of detached.

But the good thing that came out of this? Following the links and comments led me to rediscover Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." I first read this in high school, back when I still didn't Get It - but even then, the words stuck with me. And now, going back, I rediscovered the following passage, which still rings painfully true:

"I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: 'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action'; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a 'more convenient season.' Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."*

People often forget that that MLK was a radical.

2. [info]ratzeo came over last night, and we just got to geek out together, me drawing and him DSing ... I like that we can have a good time around each other as well as with each other (as in, when we are actually doing the same thing). All in all, a perfect way to usher in Friday.

3. On a more frivolous and shallow note, my coffee maker shipped from Amazon today and is scheduled to arrive on Monday, whee! Now I just need to, you know, get some coffee to actually make with it.

4. I wish I could be home right now, drawing. I'm really glad I feel that desire.

5. I don't have any plans for tomorrow, and that actually makes me happy. It means I get to do whatever I want, and I don't have to figure out what that is until tomorrow.

* On a slightly irrelevant and totally geeky sidenote, this is a classic example of Lawful Neutral alignment. It is also the reason I dislike Lawful Neutral the most out of the non-evil alignments.
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Apr. 15th, 2008 @ 11:31 am Joss Whedon on the murder of Dua Khalil

Today I found a link to Joss Whedon's commentary on the murder of Dua Khalil, a young woman who was killed almost exactly one year ago. Her death is yet another instance of the abuse of women being treated as a spectator sport - and in the year since, that has not changed. The reason Joss' entry surfaced again is that a charity anthology, Nothing But Red, was written to commemorate Khalil's murder and raise money for Equality Now, and it has just been released.

I never read Joss' entry last year, but I'm glad I found it now. If you are like me and also missed it, I want to bring this it to your attention now for two reasons: the first is that, as to be expected, Joss writes very eloquently about Khalil's death, as well as the pervasiveness of misogyny and sexual oppression.

The second reason is this quote:

"Women’s inferiority – in fact, their malevolence -- is as ingrained in American popular culture as it is anywhere they’re sporting burkhas. I find it in movies, I hear it in the jokes of colleagues, I see it plastered on billboards, and not just the ones for horror movies. Women are weak. Women are manipulative. Women are somehow morally unfinished."

I appreciate that Joss does not use this event as a call to arms for feminism that relies on perpetuating racist and imperialist power differences. In other words, he does not seek to protect women from misogyny by redirecting our malice against non-white men and non-U.S. cultures. Too often, the response - the feminist response, even - to news such as this is one of, "Look how awful they are," and "We should help those women over there." Villainizing minority men, infantilizing minority women, and ignoring the whole heap of steaming bullshit that is sexism in the United States.

I do not feel safe from misogyny for being born in the U.S. In fact, when my so-called "liberal" or "progressive" male peers decry "foreign" sexism but refuse to acknowledge the necessity of combatting or even acknowledging their own privilege - I don't feel very safe at all. Finding one more male ally who not only challenges his male privilege, but also refuses to soothe his ego by relying on his racial privilege, gives me some hope.
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Mar. 9th, 2008 @ 12:23 pm Andrea Smith denied tenure
Current Mood: pissed off

Assistant Professor Andrea Smith was denied tenure by the University of Michigan. The press release regarding the denial can be found at http://www.woclockdown.org/ImmediateRelease-TenureForAndreaSmith.pdf in PDF format, or pasted on La Chola.

Smith is one of the foremost indigenous feminist scholars and activists working today. By that I don't mean that she's only important to "indigenous feminism" - she's vital to both indigenous rights and feminism. Writing about indigenous women is indigenous scholarship. Working for indigenous women is feminist activism. If either of these groups forgets how necessary she and her work are to their movements, they're cutting themselves off at the knees.

Note that, while the Program in American Culture recommended Smith for tenure,
the Department of Women's Studies, where she is jointly appointed, did not. As a result, the College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts also gave a negative tenure recommendation.

You can read in the press release about Smith's publications and service and nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. I personally first heard of Smith when taking a course by Luana Ross, who was one of Smith's former professors. We were assigned Smith's book, Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide, which analyzes the ways in which sexual violence was and is central to the genocide of indigenous peoples in the United States. This book is insightful and infuriating, and I recommend it to anyone. If you know me offline, I will loan you my copy.

In conclusion? This fucking bites.

(hat-tip: Oyceter)
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Feb. 21st, 2008 @ 08:36 am (no subject)
Current Mood: pleased

Then democracy asserted itself, just like that.

I love it when news makes me say "fuck you," but in a happy way.

Also: today's icon comes from this post by the brilliant [info]das_dingsi.
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Jan. 24th, 2008 @ 08:21 am It's funny 'cause it's true.
Current Mood: amused

I wish I could say that this never happens in real life, but I can't.
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