Caitlin Is Not Groot: Finding Proper Communication Adaptations in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Lately, she really, really identifies with Groot. Which, hey, that’s understandable! Groot is awesome: he’s kind, strong, loyal, a little bit silly, and he saves the entire team at the end of the first Guardians of the Galaxy film. Rocket “translates” for him wherever he goes, and Groot sometimes has difficulty processing information clearly (especially Baby Groot in the second film).

Groot is also a sentient, mostly non-verbal non-human tree.

Is this how Caitlin sees herself in science fiction? I think she deserves better than that.

Why is the need for communication adaptations so rarely applied to human characters in SF/F?
{article}  ableism  representation 
10 days ago
How Princess Leia Changed My Life
I get that there’s still a lot of people who believe that little girls go through a “princess stage” because of the nice clothes or elevated social status or the idea that they want to be rescued. But the truth is, there’ve been stories about princesses in every culture throughout the history of the world, and in every one of those stories, those princesses have something normal little girls completely lack:

Power.

And in every one of those stories, those princesses get that power taken from them.

But in the end, they get that power back—something that almost never happens to us normal girls—and, more importantly, they get justice. Whether they marry for love, destroy their enemy’s Death Star, or simply find out they’re heir to a throne, for once, girls get to be the ones in charge.
{meta}  [star.wars]  +leia.organa  feminism  social.justice  representation 
19 days ago
Why Do We Need More Women Journalists? This Excellent TCA Question Is A Perfect Example.
But I also want to point out that this sort of question – which keeps showrunners accountable, ensures that the final series are more historically accurate and inclusive, and makes it impossible for white men to erase other demographics from history – is so, so important for journalists to ask. It may seem small, but if directors and producers expected this sort of question from every press tour, they’d be a lot more dedicated to making inclusive art. It’s true that women and minorities are not the only ones who can ask these questions; white men can and do hold each other accountable for racism and sexism. But it’s also true that all-white or all-male groups of journalists can more easily forget to ask important questions, recognize problematic content, or advocate for oppressed groups.
{article}  sexism  racism  social.justice  representation 
20 days ago
Is Your God Dead?
Building walls, banning refugees and ignoring the poor are the social expressions of bankrupt theologies....
8 weeks ago
Southern Gothic, Slavery, and the White Femininity
Erasing people of color in favor of white female narratives is neither empowering nor feminist. This feels like a common misstep we’re seeing often nowadays, in the ways Hollywood will, say, cast a white woman in a role that’s traditionally played by a woman of color and cry female empowerment or white-wash a character because they don’t want to repeat racist tropes. The truth of the matter is, this practice does little to nothing for women of color. Which brings us to The Beguiled and Sofia Coppola’s decision to erase the character of Hallie and most references to slavery in her tale about Confederate woman during the American Civil War. In the 1971 film, Hallie is a slave played by Mae Mercer who tends to the injured solider The Beguiled house takes in, but her role is mostly absorbed into that of Nicole Kidman’s Miss Martha. The only notable reference to slavery is a line in the beginning that tells us the slaves have left, and the women are alone. In an interview with  Buzzfeed and former TMS-er Alanna Bennett, Coppola said: “I didn’t want to brush over such an important topic in a light way. Young girls watch my films and this was not the depiction of an African-American character I would want to show them.” Coppola notes that she’s not opposed to telling more racially diverse stories in the future, saying “I feel like you can’t show everyone’s perspective in a story. I was really focused on just this one group of women who were really isolated and weren’t prepared. A lot of slaves had left at that time, so they were really—that emphasized that they were cut off from the world. [Hallie’s] story’s a really interesting story, but it’s a whole other story, so I was really focused on these women.” To be fully honest, I don’t know how equipped Coppola would have been to approach this story. It’s clear that it’s not one she wanted to tell. With a filmography that’s so invested in white femininity and white characters (implicitly or explicitly), I have some doubt that she would have handled it well. What I will argue, however, is that The Beguiled is a story that depends and relies on slavery despite never including a single black character, and erasure is not an acceptable alternative to challenging and difficult representation. Even if Coppola asserts she “wasn’t really looking at the political aspects,” they are inescapable in this story. These characters are not just women, they are Confederate woman. They proudly assert their southernness, emphasi
8 weeks ago
How To Talk To Your White Best Friend About Racism
It’s better to have extremely difficult talks in a real friendship than to ignore the issues and pretend they don’t exist. After 20 years of friendship, I’m finally starting to talk about intersectional racism with my white best friend. Not racism in a metaphorical way. Not racism like: “Hey, did you happen to leaf through that Ta-Nehisi Coates book I left on the coffee table?” Not racism like: “Wasn’t that Margaret Cho joke so dead-on?” Racism like: “I need you to acknowledge our lives aren’t the same.” For a long time, I pretended our lives were the same. Sarah (name changed) and I went to the same politically radical college, where we first bonded over our love for practical joke-oriented performance art, cooperative living, and television. She goes to racial justice meetings and founded an arts residency for social justice. Now, Sarah works at an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse hospital. But (and this is a duh) none of this means she will ever completely understand lived-through racism, and its impact on me. In college, where we bounded across campus discussing Marxism with pine-scented oxygen in our lungs, noshing bagels on the sunny quad, and baking bread in our cooperative house together, it was easy to pretend that Sarah and I were equals in the eyes of society — even though an unconscious part of me always knew that we weren’t. For starters, there were the basic economics. Sarah’s parents procured internships for her at prestigious museums, took her skiing in the Alps, and spoiled me like I was their second daughter. My parents, meanwhile, hadn’t been to a museum in years, and their idea of leisure as immigrant restaurant owners was sleeping more than six hours a night. It was easy to pretend that Sarah and I were equals in the eyes of society — even though an unconscious part of me always knew that we weren’t. But there were also racial inequalities between Sarah and me. When I moved to a small white rural town in the Catskills to live with Sarah, I discovered how hard it was for a politically radical person of color to fit in. While some of my new acquaintances were friendly, others were outright hostile when I talked about cultural appropriation. I was told wearing a sombrero at our Halloween party was not cultural appropriation because cultural appropriation is a relic of the past in our post-racial millennial society. When I asked why there were no local anti-Trump protests, I was told that our town was indeed doing activism, b
{article}  racism  social.justice 
9 weeks ago
Don't Overinterpret The Handmaid's Tale
In other words, Christian evangelicals—or for that matter conservative Jews and conservative Muslims—who oppose abortion, gay marriage, or refuse to dine with women or men other than their spouses are not any less American. What would make them less American or un-American is if they believed, as a matter of faith, that democracy should be done away with and that there was only one truth that could be expressed by the state. Then the rest of us would have, quite literally, no choice. It is the closing of the avenues of possibility—and therefore of hope—that makes dictatorship, and not just the religious kind, so terrifying.
{meta}  [the.handmaids.tale] 
9 weeks ago
Abolition Culture
Recognizing and owning abusive behaviours without being thrown away is integral to building a world different than the one we live in. It also takes the onus off of those harmed to do the work, endure in silence or be gas lit. More creativity and investment is needed around holding people accountable.
11 weeks ago
6 Signs Your Call-Out Isn't Actually About Accountability
It’s “performing activism” – when we’re more worried about how we look to other activists than our larger vision of what we’re trying to build together.
{article}  social.justice  101 
11 weeks ago
Our addiction to links is making good journalism harder to read
A 2005 study suggested that “increased demands of decision-making and visual processing” in text with links reduced reading comprehension — a challenge we face every day as we try to parse the web’s infinite information.
{article}  science 
11 weeks ago
While many people think fanfiction is about inserting sex into texts (like Tolkien’s) where it doesn’t belong, Brancher sees it differently: “I was desperate to read about sex that included great...
"While many people think fanfiction is about inserting sex into texts (like Tolkien’s) where it doesn’t belong, Brancher sees it differently: “I was desperate to read about sex that included great friendship; I was repurposing Tolkien’s text in order to do that. It wasn’t that friendship needed to be sexualized, it was that erotica needed to be … friendship-ized.” Many fanfiction writers write about sex in conjunction with beloved texts and characters not because they think those texts are incomplete, but because they’re looking for stories where sex is profound and meaningful. This is part of what makes fan fiction different from pornography: unlike pornography, fanfic features characters we already care deeply about, and who tend to already have long-standing and complex relationships with each other. It’s a genre of sexual subjectification: the very opposite of objectification. It’s benefits with friendship."
{article} 
11 weeks ago
‘Good Grammar’ Comes From Privilege, Not Virtue
Good communication is a constantly moving target and a cultural construction. Let’s not freeze our expectations in a place that puts marginalized people at another undeserved disadvantage.
{article}  social.justice  language 
11 weeks ago
If You’re Suicidal, Staying Alive Is The Most Selfless Thing You Can Do
If the past few weeks have made one thing clear to me, it’s that our culture treats narratives about suicide as not belonging to the people living (or dying) them, but rather being everyone’s to consume. As if by completing suicide you lose all right to privacy, to autonomy, to the secrets that you’ve struggled your whole life to keep from slipping from your fingers.

Who’s selfish, then? The people who spend every day fighting the urge to die? Or the people who get some kind of voyeuristic frisson from reading a dead woman’s hospital records?
{article}  mental.health  social.justice 
11 weeks ago
The Heineken Ad Is Worse Than The Pepsi Ad, You’re Just Too Stupid To Know It
This commercial is the worst type of propaganda. It tricks you into thinking social problems can be resolved if only people tolerate their oppression just a LITTLE while longer. It pushes the idea that bigotry, sexism, and transphobia are just differences of opinion that are up for debate, and deserving of civil discourse and equal consideration. And it makes folks think that four minute commercials are a viable way to address societal ills that corporations have no interest in fixing.
{article}  social.justice 
11 weeks ago
The Loneliness of Donald Trump
Equality keeps us honest. Our peers tell us who we are and how we are doing, providing that service in personal life that a free press does in a functioning society. Inequality creates liars and delusion. The powerless need to dissemble—that’s how slaves, servants, and women got the reputation of being liars—and the powerful grow stupid on the lies they require from their subordinates and on the lack of need to know about others who are nobody, who don’t count, who’ve been silenced or trained to please. This is why I always pair privilege with obliviousness; obliviousness is privilege’s form of deprivation. When you don’t hear others, you don’t imagine them, they become unreal, and you are left in the wasteland of a world with only yourself in it, and that surely makes you starving, though you know not for what, if you have ceased to imagine others exist in any true deep way that matters. This is about a need for which we hardly have language or at least not a familiar conversation.
{article} 
11 weeks ago
Allies Should Be Seen, Not Just Heard
Advocacy is at the heart of being an ally. It’s not always about being on the forefront of the fight. It’s about assisting people by giving them access and the tools necessary to affect change. In short, the best allies are the ones who act as a catalyst for change.
{article}  social.justice  101 
11 weeks ago
White People, It’s Time To Prioritize Justice Over Civility
In turn, more cover means white supremacist views can gain footholds and start influencing beyond the dark corners of the internet. The Trump Administration is no accident. The growing international support of such populist, racist movements is not by chance. We saw this coming because white people don’t listen and don’t want to listen. Think about the fact that non-racist, diverse modern societies are new. Our entire history has been one of inequality. These ideas aren’t emerging from nowhere: Indeed, we’re fighting against humanity’s collective history. But that’s all the more reason we need more white people speaking out against it, interrogating their own privilege and seeking out people of color’s perspectives.
social.justice  racism  {article} 
12 weeks ago
Can Having Genital Preferences for Dating Mean You’re Anti-Trans?
It’s fine to not find people attractive, but it’s mean to constantly yell about how unattractive you find those people, especially when those people are oppressed.
{article}  trans  gender.identity  cissexism  social.justice 
12 weeks ago
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: A White Feminist’s Dystopia
Underlying all this is an unsettling message that has been carried from the book to the series. Atwood describes her novel as “speculative fiction,” meaning that she believes the events she depicts are a credible possibility. It seems to me the peak of hubris to “predict” events as a possibility that we have already seen come to pass, just to a different set of people. The Handmaid’s Tale suggests that the brutality of slavery alone is not impactful enough to serve as a universal wake-up call; instead, we’re only drawn to this “feminist” rallying point when the person enduring these heinous crimes is a college-educated white woman.
{meta}  [the.handmaids.tale]  racism  sexism 
may 2017
I’m So Tired of Being Told that my Fat Body is Going to Kill Me
What’s funny is that while my body has not been trying to kill me, something in my body has for a long time. I’ve been battling deadly chronic disease my entire life. Disease that is actually attacking the body that everyone tells me is my enemy, and my body has been fighting so hard against it. But my doctors don’t regularly remind me that this disease is trying to kill me, society hasn’t made countless memes about my impending death. That would be cruel. In fact, society doesn’t actually give much of a fuck if my disease kills me or not. But my body, the body that is my only defense against this disease, is constantly treated as the real enemy that I should be fighting. Guess how often I have to tell doctors I don’t want to get on a scale vs how often they proactively ask how my disease is progressing?
fat.acceptance  social.justice  {article} 
may 2017
Jane Austen And The Persistent Failure Of The White Imagination
At the heart of these adaptations — and their inability to capture the ways that Austen’s writings could easily reflect the lived reality of a diverse spectrum of modern Austen fans — lies a failure of the white imagination. When institutions from primary school onward amplify white-centered stories and histories as the only “great” art, it becomes easier to imagine zombies in an Austen landscape before people of color can be inserted therein. When non-white voices and stories are erased — or, worse, in their rare depictions, consistently presented as less than, negative, or one-dimensional — white people are rendered incapable of imagining people of color as fully human, complex, and equal to themselves, living lives just as rich as (if not richer than) the white experience.
{meta}  &jane.austen  racism  social.justice  representation 
may 2017
We’re Bad at Death. First, We Need a Good Talk.
Talking about death will never be easy, but it is increasingly necessary. As medical technology advances, there will be more and more we can do — but it’s not always clear there’s more we should do. Only through earlier, deeper conversations can we ensure that what we want is what we get. And only by acknowledging our gaps can we ensure everyone, everywhere gets it.
{article} 
may 2017
Money Isn’t Everything…Unless You Don’t Have It, And Then Yeah, It’s Everything
I’ve retained this belief that both writers AND Black people — and Black writers specifically (and Black writers who write about race even more specifically) — retain some sort of authenticity and community through a shared financial struggle that we’re never, ever, ever, ever to speak of aloud, and the psychic acceptance of this new financial status hasn’t been easy. Even now, as I type this, I’m tempted to delete this paragraph and continue pretending even as I recognize that the money I currently have may have saved my life — and the morass of indecision of not having it could have ended it.
{article}  social.justice  economics 
may 2017
The Census and Right-Wing Hysteria
Nonetheless, the “minority-majority” forecast, as it is commonly interpreted, is likely to be proven wrong. Not only could whites remain a majority well past midcentury, but they will retain political, economic and cultural control of the country long after that.

Simply put, the demographers have not taken into account how the perception of race is likely to change in the coming years. For example, whites are already seeing the descendants of some Asian and Latino immigrants as being similar to them. Consequently, whites treat them as white. This “whitening” process will only increase in the future.
{article}  racism  usa  social.justice 
may 2017
I’m a Trans Woman, and I Was Socialized Female
My gender was policed. I was molested. I was raped. My worth was systematically defined by my emotional labor. Men treated me like a sexual object. My appearance was considered up for public debate. This was clearly, unequivocally female socialization, and when feminism and the social justice community realize that trans women have been treated like women from the start, they can finally start fighting for trans women’s liberation, as they should have been doing all along. We are your sisters, we are also suffering from misogyny, and we need your help.
{article}  feminism  trans  social.justice  sexism 
may 2017
Questions To Ask If You Have More Privilege Than Your Partner
By Anis Gisele When I’m vastly outnumbered by straight people, white people, or people who know each other, I want my partner to leverage his privilege on my behalf. (CW: mention of death; eating disorders; misogynist, racist, anti-queer, and anti-trans violence) I learned to be a girlfriend through ’90s American rom-coms. 90% of the time, I learned, I had to be laughing or cutely disagreeing with my white leading man. At some point, I had to pose a challenge to him, more along the lines of, “Pick me, love me, let me make you happy” and less along the lines of, “Please realize that patriarchy is hurting us and work with me to dismantle it.” My partner learned to be a boyfriend by dating girls who could play these American characters better than I could. I’m not straight nor white. My most honest gender is non-binary. I grew up in what we call a developing nation. I spent a decade of my life starving myself and imagining myself dead. I’m also straight-passing, cis-privileged, and light-skinned. In many ways, my partner and I proceeded with our relationship as if I were a straight, white, “all-American” gal. In many ways, my partner and I proceeded with our relationship as if I were a straight, white, “all-American” gal. His family and friends know I’m important to him. They cook me vegan food, lend me winter coats, and call me “vibrant” and “pretty.” I tell myself to be grateful — and I am. But once, his friend’s wife, a white woman, told me, “People get so offended since the Civil Rights Movement.” Once, over the course of a game night, his friend called me a bitch and a slut, and then asked if my partner and I have anal sex. And once, his friends were cackling over an iPhone screen, and when the phone reached me, all I saw was the Tinder photo of a genderqueer person. In all these situations, instead of making a decision I could respect, I chose to be, first and foremost, a girlfriend — a quiet, indistinct, likable girlfriend. I said nothing because an evening with friends had to go smoothly. I stopped asserting my needs as a queer person, a person of color, a person of the female experience, a survivor of trauma. The more time I spent with my partner’s community, the more agitated I became. I would sob afterwards in his car, in his room, drilled down to my core by a feeling I couldn’t define. That feeling was invisibility. That feeling was namelessness. That feeling was invisibility. That feeling was namelessness. To my partner’s face
may 2017
What’s the Problem When Black British Actors Play Americans?
Is otherness necessary to make the black American experience palatable to casting directors or audiences? If otherness is undetectable to the American viewer through use of a convincing accent, does its privilege disappear?
{article}  racism  hollywood  social.justice  representation 
may 2017
From Reparations to Regeneration: A call for the redistribution of wealth, resources, and access
Reparations are commonly understood to be a method for oppressors (directly or as benefiters of the oppression) to pay harmed persons for the trauma, disadvantage, and violence they inflicted on them. However, the word itself suggests that something (or here some people) will be repaired. That would require an entire system shift. Can money do that? Nevertheless, rather than disregard the method outright, I propose a reframing. What I propose is for the regeneration of Black people’s economy, health, and education. For this, it is necessary that systems be completely redesigned and that there be a redistribution of wealth.
{article}  social.justice  racism  usa 
may 2017
Craft’s Long History In Radical Protest Movements
Knitting, embroidery, and other crafts can be powerful tools in the fight against fascism and the patriarchy. Even those who’ve never attended an anti-Trump protest are likely aware of the pussy-hat phenomenon. The pink-knitted caps have quickly become the almost-official symbol of resistance against The Orange One, even making the cover of Time and The New Yorker magazines. While some have justly questioned the hats’ inclusivity, others have seen them as a novel and playful form of protest providing a welcome break from traditional forms of activism. But these hats aren’t as unique as you may believe. In fact, women have been using knitting and other crafts, such as sewing and embroidery, in their activism for well over 100 years. In addition to advancing progressive causes, using craft as a political tool helps to rebuke patriarchal notions of femininity. Society likes to view craft-making as the dominion of docile, domestic ladyhood — but this has never precisely been the case. Ann Rippin, a researcher at the University of Bristol in the UK, who specializes in the role of cloth in society, explains that although craft was historically used to oppress women, it also gave them a creative outlet. “Traditionally, women were taught embroidery as a way of learning ‘feminine’ characteristics,” she says. “It taught them to follow a pattern, to be neat and docile, to be inside the home rather than out in the world. You learned embroidery to advertise your marriageability.” But, she adds, “there was no way of controlling what women were actually thinking about while they were stitching.” In the early 20th century, the suffrage movement saw women turn their needlework skills into a tool for liberation. In the UK, the artist’s suffrage league produced around 150 embroidered banners for marching with, as well as posters and postcards. ‘There was no way of controlling what women were actually thinking about while they were stitching.’ Of course, this was partly due to the limited technology of the time, making textiles and needlework the easiest modes of communication. But even as technology advanced, women continued to turn craft into an effective protest tool. Betsy Greer, an artist, activist, and writer from North Carolina, is credited with coining the word “craftivism.” She tells me she was inspired to embrace the movement after she attended a parade in Greenwich Village around 2000, and saw some people with political puppets they had made. “They were real
may 2017
What Does ‘Mental Illness’ Mean In The Era Of Trump?
Not only can you not tell if someone has a mental illness by looking at them or how they behave, they themselves may be mentally ill and not know it. And some of us who have been labeled with an illness may in fact not have one, either because we were misdiagnosed for being female and upset, because we’re actually autistic but present differently because we’re not white boys, or even because we’ve fully recovered but can’t shake the stigma.
So is Donald Trump mentally ill? That’s not the conversation we should be having.
{article}  social.justice  ableism  mental.health 
may 2017
It’s Time To Ignore Caitlyn Jenner
This fundamentally affects her political judgment and enables her to separate economic conservatism from social conservatism — she can claim to support her community while not understanding the systems of oppression that keep trans people disproportionately in poverty.
{article}  social.justice 
may 2017
Why Trumpian Conspiracy Theories And Anti-Semitism Are Intimately Connected
As Alana Newhouse put it in Tablet Magazine, anti-Semitism is not a social prejudice against Jews. It has very little to do, Newhouse writes, with any individual’s distaste for perceived Jewish traits, or even antipathy towards specific Jews. Anti-Semitism in its classic sense is the belief that there is a malevolent entity behind the curtain, pulling the strings, and that that entity is a Jew.
{article}  social.justice 
may 2017
What It Means To Be Highly Empathetic, And Autistic
The truth, unsurprisingly, is that you can be empathetic (even highly so) and autistic. You can be extroverted and autistic. You can be outgoing and autistic. You can be a people person and autistic. Of course there are autistic folks who are introverted as well, but as the saying goes, “If you met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person.” Ascribing generalizations to a diverse group of people only serves to harm us.
{article}  ableism  social.justice 
may 2017
We Must Choose Revolution Over Privilege and Complacency – Here’s How I’m Doing It
You already know we can’t be complacent in this age of Trump and bigotry. Here’s a reminder of how our power to resist gives us hope for change.
april 2017
Congressional Memo: If Republicans Blow Up the Filibuster Over Gorsuch, Is Legislation Next?
“That would dramatically change the character of the politics of America,” said Byron Dorgan, a former Democratic senator from North Dakota. “The filibuster is a set of brake pads of the speed of the passion of the moment. The Senate is the place where cooler heads prevail and you need a larger group of people to find common ground. It’s an unfortunate situation.”
{article}  usa  politics 
april 2017
Isolation, Abandonment, and Desert Planets: How I Connected With Rey’s Loneliness
I grew up with siblings who were too old for make-believe or hide-and-seek, so I spent much of my childhood entertaining myself. My imagination was a fertile place where ideas bloomed like flowers. I kept myself busy by inventing eccentric characters and unusual worlds. However, pangs of loneliness struck when I reached adolescence, a time where I was trying to figure out my identity and place in the world. There was always a deep-seated need to connect with others, but I never fully realized it until I saw The Force Awakens. I saw my own loneliness in Rey, the movie’s central protagonist. The most poignant scenes were the ones in which the scrappy scavenger was alone and fending for herself. Though Rey’s background is still a mystery, a hot topic for fans of the franchise, those silent moments at the beginning of the film unveil the very core of her character. As I watched her prepare her own dinner and scarf it down alone, I felt this profound connection with her. There were so many nights where I silently ate by myself.  I frequently crave interaction and human connection, but it’s difficult to make friends when you suffer from social anxiety. It’s almost impossible to express yourself when your words stick like tar to the roof of your mouth. I was always the quiet kid in class, the kid that never raised her hand or uttered a single word. I had the desire to be both visible and invisible. The need to be seen and understood was always bumping shoulders with the urge to vanish and distance myself from those who might do me harm. Nobody bothered to get to know me, but then again, I never bothered to open the door. When Rey runs away from Maz, the miniscule alien that understands the Force, she’s actually running away from a better future. I’ve definitely closed the doors on better opportunities because I was too afraid. Though Rey’s circumstances are much different from mine, her vulnerabilities don’t define her and that’s one thing we have in common. Rey’s strong and capable and there’s a lot to her. She gets herself out of sticky situations, and she doesn’t shy away from her weaknesses. My favorite scene is the one in which she takes the lightsaber from Kylo Ren, the film’s antagonist. The moment the lightsaber connects with her hand, it’s like she’s holding a deadly serpent instead of an elegant weapon. In other words, she has a visceral reaction to it. It’s obvious she doesn’t want to fight with the lightsaber, but she has to in order to survive.
april 2017
Let’s Expose the White Double Standard for ‘Playing the Race Card’
“He was only accepted because he’s black.” There’s some real hypocrisy going on when white folks complain about people of color “playing the race card.”
april 2017
A Reality Check for Your Typical ‘White Men Aren’t the Enemy’ Objection
Being able to see us all as simply being human is a privilege for those who aren’t dehumanized.

I love to see each individual as being simply human. But by the very virtue of the fact Trump was elected, that Milo had such amplification, that the problems of centuries have not been acknowledged  –  much less fixed  –  basically tells us that our external appearances are seen, even if we, ideally, would prefer to live in a world where we don’t.
{article}  racism  sexism  social.justice  101 
april 2017
How To Win With Identity Politics
Thanks to efforts in North Carolina, we have answers on both fronts. Here are some crucial lessons we can learn from the state and its activist organizations to shape a future Democratic revival that doesn’t rebuke identity politics.
{article}  politics  social.justice 
march 2017
5 Bad Ass Japanese American Women Activists You Probably Didn’t Learn About in History Class
Since history tends to sideline the central role so many women played in the major social movements of the 20th century, here’s a little herstory lesson about five women warriors whose incarceration during World War II inspired them to fight back–some more widely known than others, all supremely talented and fierce activists who nuh care if them hurt hurt hurting your stereotypes about quiet, submissive Asian women.
{article}  history  feminism  social.justice 
march 2017
Men Grin and Women Scream: A New Analysis of Gendered Words in Fiction
Author Ben Blatt recently wrote about some of the findings from his new book, which uses statistical analysis to examine trends in literature, for The Wall Street Journal. As part of his research for the book, Blatt used computer models to look at the gendering of certain words and descriptions in fiction. The results revealed a whole lot about our cultural subconscious.
{article}  language  social.justice 
march 2017
What a Start-Up’s Scandal Says About Your Workplace
In her book “The New Prophets of Capital,” Nicole Aschoff writes sympathetically about the stories we spin not only to make sense of the world, but also to help ourselves bear its indignities. To uphold a profit-driven society willingly, workers must believe, in the face of contrary evidence, that such a society “is worth their creativity, energy and passion” and that it “meets their need for justice and security.”
{article}  social.justice 
march 2017
Taking an Irish Stand against ‘racist’ Donald Trump
We Irish should recognise this sentiment, because we were once on the receiving end of this kind of hateful suspicion and stereotyping. We are an immigrant nation. We have known the horror of fleeing our homeland in “coffin ships”, just as Syrians do today. We fled hunger and conflict in this land as others do today. We were called terrorists when Irish-made bombs murdered men, women and children in British cities, just as others are called terrorists today. And Irish Catholics suffered suspicion and prejudice in the UK and US in the early part of the last century, just as Muslims suffer today.

Any Irish-American who doesn’t understand this misunderstands their own history and our collective story. As Daniel O’Connell once said of the Irish slave owners of the 1800s: “How can the generous, the charitable, the humane and the noble emotions of the Irish heart have become extinct within you?”
{article}  racism  history  social.justice 
march 2017
How Moms Still Get Pushed Out of the Workplace (And Dads Don’t)
“Without careful design, expanding work-life accommodations can unintentionally reinforce archaic gender roles and lower the glass ceiling, Temple of Doom style. That’s because women are much more likely to take advantage of these policies, and employers know it.

“If you want to create policies that promote women’s labor-force participation without curbing their career achievements, you also have to address why family-friendly policies aren’t being used by men.”
{article}  sexism  social.justice 
march 2017
Work Is My Self-Care
It should come as no surprise that self-care, as coopted from black women and marketed largely to white women, has come to be synonymous with idleness. For white women, taking care of oneself has historically meant abstaining from work. When Charlotte Perkins Gilman experienced post-partum depression, her doctor prescribed the now-infamous “rest cure.” She was to “lie down an hour after each meal. Have but two hours’ intellectual life a day. And never touch pen, brush or pencil as long as you live.”
{article}  social.justice 
march 2017
Nazis, Please Keep Your Hands off Our Jane Austen
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a bigot in possession of an internet connection must be in want of attention.
{article}  racism  sexism  social.justice  &jane.austen 
march 2017
We Can’t Talk About Standing Rock Without Talking About Cultural Appropriation
Understandably, the whole thing can be emotionally and mentally draining, but the debate about cultural theft takes up more space than it should. In reality, white supremacy is the battleground; cultural theft is the fallout. It’s one very visible and particularly painful symptom of a power imbalance that is both systematic and directional. The minute a people’s attributes are reduced to fodder, substance, material to be culled and used at the whim of a dominant group, power shifts. When we normalize the cultural theft of indigenous traditions, decorations, images, histories, language — the very details that facilitate identity — indigenous people are reinforced as the playthings of white supremacy.
{article}  racism  culture  social.justice 
march 2017
The Death Of Trumpcare Is The Ultimate Proof Of Obamacare's Historic Accomplishment | The Huffington Post
This, in the end, is what Obama, Pelosi and their allies achieved with the Affordable Care Act ― not the creation of a jury-rigged system of regulations and tax credits, or the expansion of an overtaxed Medicaid program, or any of the myriad smaller policy initiatives the Affordable Care Act. The true legacy of Obamacare is the principle that everybody should have health insurance.
{article}  politics 
march 2017
“Whiteness”: The origins and evolution of “whiteness” in the West
This was all done so that the poor white-skinned Europeans would identify with the rich white-skinned Europeans, even though their social positions were vastly different and the poor white-skinned Europeans were still being exploited by the rich white-skinned Europeans. In many ways this was an ingenious way to prevent revolt in rather turbulent times. In past times strong cultural bonds and loyalties to king, country and religion would maintain stability and guard against internal revolt no matter how oppressed the poor were. However, in the turbulent times of colonialism, a time of revolution, of mass immigration, of religious schisms and new opportunities, these old loyalties were unstable. Something new was needed and “whiteness” increasingly became the locus of loyalty that protected against revolt, especially in the American colonies.
{article}  racism  social.justice  history 
march 2017
The Case For Inter-Personal Reparations
Interpersonal reparations is a necessary first step for state sponsored reparations. Blacks asking the state to force unwilling white people to pay reparations depends on and therefore invests in the state’s ability to take commit economic violence on its populace. For reparations to not invest in a new ability of the state to commit economic violence it would have to rely on a pre-existing value or structure.
{article}  racism  social.justice 
march 2017
Social Justice Must Be Complicated, Because Oppression Is Never Simple
When starting a major company, it is not enough to say, “I will create a successful major business.” The Secret will not work here; you cannot manifest success through your wishes. If you start a major business, the first thing you do is say, “I have a dream, now I need a team.” And you don’t look for people with the same skillset and experience as you. You don’t look for people with the same focus as you. You look to cover your bases. You do not cut out your finance department because you are not personally interested in finance. You do not tell your web designers that their talk about color schemes is distracting you from your main vision. You regularly look around the room and say, “Who is missing? Who do I need to help cover all the angles?”
{article}  social.justice 
march 2017
Befriending Becky: On The Imperative Of Intersectional Solidarity
Each of those times I had the wrong way of thinking. I came to that realization by listening and learning and surrounding myself with people who were gracious enough to share insights that I lacked. I believe this has led me to not only be a better feminist, but a better human being. I haven’t quite yet reached the pinnacle of intersectional Shangri-La, but I know some stuff. And in the interest of sharing my own insights, I’ll leave you with three things I try to consider when partaking in liberation work.
{article}  feminism  racism  social.justice  101 
march 2017
"Not All"
Unfortunately, non-racist, non-queerantagonistic, non-misogynistic, non-abelist/disableist, etc. systems and institutions do not prevail in this country. They are exceptional–as are the people who, at the very least, grapple with, question, confront, challenge, undo, excise, abolish, and heal their privileged roles in the various hierarchies. And the proof that they are exceptional rests in the fact that oppressive categories, institutions, peoples, and systems not only exist, but thrive. And beyond thrive, they set the tone for existence.
{article}  racism  social.justice  101 
march 2017
Fearless girls shouldn't have to save us
Women in leadership matter and representation matters, but leaning entirely on the perceived endless strength of women, which apparently is inborn and therefore present and completely available to us as children, does nothing to hold men accountable for the inequalities they benefit from disproportionately. What doesn’t kill you doesn’t make you stronger, it just gathers momentum and causes you to drain your own bravery just to get through the day.
march 2017
OP-ED: The problem with changing the election year
The real reason that voter turn-out is low in our elections is that usually you, the voter, have little or no choice of who to vote for. Since 2007 there have been five regular elections. With seven seats on the council, that means 35 races. Only three (3) out of the 35 races have been seriously contested. By “seriously contested” I mean the winner gets less than 70% of the vote. In 24 of these races (69%) there was no opposition at all! In the past 10 years only one African American has been elected (and that was in a special election).
march 2017
The Facts are True, the News is Fake
How to Disagree with Yourself In the summer of 2009, I partook of a an hour long discussion with David Cameron, who was in the running for, and later became, the U.K. Prime Minister. The discussion was about how to make society robust, even immune to Black Swans, what structure was needed for both decentralization and accountability, and how the system should be built, that sort of thing. It was an interesting fifty-nine minutes around the topics of the Incerto and I felt great communicating all the points in bulk for the first time. The room in the elegant Royal Society for the Arts was full of journalists. I subsequently went to a Chinese restaurant in (London’s) Soho to celebrate with a few people when I received a phone call by a horrified friend. All London newspapers were calling me a “climate denier”. The entire fifty-nine minutes were summarized by the press and reported from a tangential comment that lasted twenty seconds taken in reverse. Someone who didn’t attend the conference would have been under the impression that that was the whole conversation. It turned out that I presented my version of the precautionary principle during the conversation, worth restating here. It asserted that one does not need complex models as a justification to avoid a certain action. If we don’t understand something and it has a systemic effect, just avoid it. Models are error prone, something I knew well with finance; most risks only appear in analyses after harm is done. The burden is on those who pollute –or introduce new substances in larger than usual quantities –to show their lack of risk. In fact the more uncertainty about the models, the more conservative one should be. Ironically the same newspapers had lauded The Black Swan in which this very point was flushed out very clearly. I managed to defend myself by making a lot of noise, and with explicit legal threats, forced every newspaper to publish my correction. Even then someone at The Guardian tried (unsuccessfully) to tone down my letter by showing that it was some type of disagreement with what I said, not a correction of their misrepresentation. In other words I was disagreeing with myself. But if I eventually cleared my ideas, thanks to my bully pulpit, other can’t do the same. The London newspapers were actively misrepresenting something to their own public. Someone who read the paper was mistaking the journalist for an intermediary between himself or herself and the product, the piece of news. So
{article} 
march 2017
The Disturbing Truth That Makes Get Out Depressingly Plausible
Of course, the movie takes this stark difference in how black and white people are valued and exaggerates it to comedic and horrific effect. But this type of parody isn’t possible without an excavation of legitimate and verifiable certainties. Not only does Get Out exist within a racially tinged context that specifically draws from the microaggressions committed against black people, it could not exist if the races were flipped. A movie where a black family kidnaps, controls, and auctions off dozens of white people—mostly white women seduced and lured by the black family’s handsome son—could perhaps exist as some sort of bizarro-universe thriller. But the truth at the center of Get Out that makes it so resonant and terrifying would not translate. It just wouldn’t be realistic enough. No one would believe that this could be possible, even in a pretend movie universe, because we know that the National Guard, the FBI, the CIA, the Navy Seals, Nancy Grace, the United States Postal Service, Bruce Wayne, Mike Pence, Walker Texas Ranger, and even the exhumed skeleton of Charles Bronson would immediately be at the doorstep of any black family who attempted to do to white women what the Armitages did to black men.
{article}  [get.out]  racism  social.justice 
march 2017
What Becky Gotta Do To Get Murked? White Womanhood In Jordan Peele’s Get Out
Peele’s editorial choices reveals his hand: graphic white male death is okay, and even the fetishizing of the dead body of the one (of two total) black women characters is just fine. But the intentional framing and editing choices Peele makes to conceal and work around the explicit deaths of Missy and Rose show that white women are still valued as fragile and occupy a unique cultural privilege…even in the blackest horror film of this decade.
{article}  [get.out]  racism  social.justice 
march 2017
The Most Terrifying Villain in Get Out Is White Womanhood
The final subversive trick of Get Out, of course, is that “beauty” doesn’t kill the “beast”—Chris makes it out alive, if now mentally scarred forever. We’re used to seeing black people die first in such movies, but Chris takes his place within the horror canon as an inverse of the Final Girl. The Final Girl is almost always a white woman (and usually a brunette) who manages to defeat the monster and save herself. She is often young and virginal and definitely not a mean girl. We’re supposed to identify with her and wish for her victory. She is who Allison Williams would play if this were a typical slasher film made by a typically white filmmaker—but this is not, and it was not. She is the villain, an exact incarnation of the horror of being a black person in America.
{article}  racism  social.justice  [get.out] 
march 2017
Why ‘Get Out’, a Movie About Anti-Black Racism, Had an Asian Character
To understand why the Asian man asked this, you have to consider Claire Jean Kim’s theory of racial triangulation. Racial triangulation posits that Asians exist on a spectrum where they are 1.) perceived as better than Blacks (but not as good as whites) and 2.) categorized as perpetual foreigners who will never be accepted as “full” Americans. According to racial triangulation, Asians are in racial limbo, trying desperately to achieve whiteness and status as “real Americans” by stepping on the heads of Black folks.

So when the Asian man asked Chris, “Is the African-American experience an advantage or disadvantage?” he wasn’t just making small talk, he was wrestling with the decision of whether or not it would be better to trade bodies with Chris and experience anti-Blackness or stay the same and live life as an Asian man in America and experience xenophobia.
{article}  racism  [get.out]  social.justice 
march 2017
Get the Fuck Outta Here, the Sequel: Further Consideration of Jordan Peele’s GET OUT
If I’m not mistaken, James Baldwin (my apologies for constantly coming back to him, but he knew, and taught me, mad shit) said that the reason that white people enjoyed certain kinds of black art — particularly protest art — is because it assures them of their power. In other words, our complaints assure white folks that they are still in control, given that they are the source of the complaints and our continued complaining means that they still have the power to inflict the things about which we complain.

If that observation holds true, then the thing that would likely strike the most terror in the hearts and minds of white folk is leaving them out of it and not considering them at all. That is to say, create worlds and art and philosophy and love and movement and spirituality and whatever else, that doesn’t even so much as consider Whiteness whatsoever; treats it as a non-factor, a non-entity, as non-existent; rejects it outright, and completely centers us as though nothing else matters. And there’s evidence to suggest that this actually does terrify them: they bombed Black Wall Street when it became evident that we neither wanted nor needed them in order to survive and thrive.
{article}  [get.out]  racism  social.justice 
march 2017
Donald Trump is a Rich Man's Idea of a Rich Man
I freely admit my circumstances weren’t as dire as some. I belonged to what sociologist Loic Wacquant memorably called “the working class aristocracy.” My father’s job gave us health insurance, after all. For others in my family, being “rich” meant being able to go to the dentist. But really, this all makes the point: We didn’t dream of gold faucets, we dreamed of being free from want, something that was once thought of as a democratic right.
{article}  classism  social.justice 
march 2017
The Future of Not Working
Moreover, cash might force aid workers and nongovernmental organizations to confront the fact that they could be doing better by doing things differently — often by doing less. “It’s easy to muster evidence that you should be giving cash instead of fertilizer,” said Justin Sandefur of the Center for Global Development. “The harder argument is: You should shut down your U.S.A.I.D. program, which is bigger than the education budget of Liberia, and give the money to Liberians. That’s the radical critique.” Faye put it more bluntly, if half-jokingly: If cash transfers flourished, “the whole aid industry would have to fire itself.”
{article} 
march 2017
What We Lose When We Give Awards to Men Like Casey Affleck
The standard objection to excluding men like Affleck, Polanski, or Gibson from the entertainment industry is that it's "philistine"; excluding any great artist means we get less art, and anyway, penalties should be dealt out by courts, not bosses. Yet as Affleck becomes more successful, he becomes more of a financial asset to the people he works with—meaning they're more inclined to protect him and less inclined to give his accusers a fair hearing, because dealing justly with the accusations will endanger the bottom line. If the allegations are true, more and more women will be forced to work with Affleck despite the danger he poses to their physical safety and mental health, even as it becomes more and more risky to report any harassment. In the end, many of those women will do what White and Gorka did—they'll quit, either the project or the filmmaking industry altogether. Keeping great male "artists" around while they endanger their female coworkers isn't only unjust, it actively lowers the number of great female artists by creating a workplace in which women are primarily valued for their ability to accommodate and ingratiate themselves to sexist men, and not for their actual talents.
{article}  feminism  social.justice 
march 2017
‘Get Out’ And The Revolutionary Act Of Subverting The White Gaze
As Rose and Chris drive upstate for a weekend at her parent’s home, it is Rose who is behind the wheel. During the trip she scolds Chris about his smoking habit and coyly suggests that he is jealous after she speaks with his friend Rod (Lil Rel Howery) on the phone. Many of these actions are seemingly innocent, but upon further inspection it becomes clear that her behavior is microaggressive. Her dismissive deflection of Chris’s concerns and endless attempts to challenge his sense of perception are a mode of violence. Through these actions, she asserts her narrative as truth, clouding his ability to solely trust his intuition. Presumptively, she is Chris’s ally, his defender, the doting partner, but as the film progresses, her true nature is exposed. It is an all too familiar scene for people of color.
{meta}  [get.out]  racism  social.justice  representation 
march 2017
Gay Loneliness is Real but Toxic Gay Culture isn't the Problem
An uncomfortable byproduct of the monomaniacal quest for marriage equality has been the creation of a new form of minority stress—the stress of the gay man who does not find a husband, or who doesn’t want one, or maybe wants two, and therefore cannot participate in this new and strange celebration of conservative values we’ve constructed as the ultimate goal of gay life. At their best, queer ideas about romance could help undo (for everyone) the poisonous idea that long-term unbroken monogamy is the only way to happiness. But now, many gays have bought into that lie. This is what happens when a civil rights movement values the banality of traditional romance over proud assertions of individual and collective identity, when the desire to enter a system supersedes the desire to change it. As an Asian-American friend said to me, not long after the Obergefell decision: “It feels like someone I don’t know gave me something I didn’t want, and now I feel like I have to use it or feel ungrateful.”
{article}  lgbtqa 
march 2017
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