yeloson: (Default)

(c/p from Tumblr)

Some basic shit needs to be said.

Racism works on people treating you a certain way because they THINK you are something, based on how you look, and what they think people should be treated like.

Throughout various times in my life I have been assumed to be: Mexican, Filipino, Japanese, Iraqi Chaldean, White, Half Black, and probably a lot more no one ever told me.  But the thing is, depending on what people THINK you are, changes how they TREAT you, and there’s racism.

You didn’t have to do anything for this to happen to you, there’s society, it’s doing it’s thing, and you just happened to pop out with this particular gene expression and now you’re either getting shit, or getting benefits, or sometimes, one way or another depending on where you are, how you’re dressed/how your hair is, or what the current political climate is at the moment.

Obviously, though, that also depends on where you sit on the race appearance scale- people like me, who can be racially ambiguous… sit higher up on this scale than someone who is unmistakeably dark with unmistakeably kinky hair.

So, we got no control over how our genes came together, and we’ve got no control over larger society.

What do we have control over?  Whether we play the game and support the system or don’t support it.

When someone points out that the system exists, that lighter people GET more benefits (benefit of the doubt, taken at face value, wages, promotions, loans, housing opportunities, attacked less, arrested less), than darker people who get more fuck overs (dismissed, more violence, less wages, less opportunity, more abuse, worse healthcare, targeted legal violence)… and you pretend it doesn’t exist?  You, in fact, fight to keep that hidden?

That says you’re down with those benefits to you and costs to others.

Welcome to the land of White-Identifying.

Don’t be surprised when folks give you a hearty FUCK YOU because that’s what you just gave them. 

And this isn’t a theoretical - you just said everything they’ve been through, personally and first hand, all the shit their family has been through - doesn’t mean shit to you.   At that point, no one owes you anything in terms of politeness or manners - because you just cosigned on every act of violence and oppression.

One of the most common, passive aggressive BULLSHIT ways people do this is derailing.  The point of derailing that is the giveaway that it’s bullshit, is the point of dismissing the suffering of others.   If Black folks are talking about lynching, I can bring up the fact that Chinese were lynched as well, but if I a) claim that Chinese “had it worse”, or b) “Well, it’s not that bad, I MEAN CHINESE GOT LYNCHED TOO”…

Yeah, that’s not actually about expanding the conversation or adding history, that’s really boiling down to, “OMG, HOW DARE WE SPEND THIS MUCH EMPATHY CARING ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE!!!”

And that’s where you see folks get committed.  They’ll argue for days, because in their heads, even if they hate the idea of being less than white people on the racism scale, they’ve completely internalized the idea that they’re still supposed to be better off than Black folks.   This is where you see people talking about “Black people have enough already! What about…”

They always try to frame it as about talking about their own histories and struggles, but, ironically, instead of making their own conversations about it, they instead go and make sure to go interrupt other people’s conversations.   Because it’s not so much about telling the story as much as silencing other people’s discussions.

And then y’all turn around and say, “Well, I’m POC too! Why are you identity policing me?!? I thought you were against racism, how can you start including how I look in the conversation?!?”

It comes down to how you act - you’re acting white, which is making you “look white” as far as behavior is concerned.  You protect the oppressor, you ARE the oppressor.   You protect the whiteness, so you ARE the whiteness. 

You reaped the benefits on other people’s backs, you got the good deal, you get the badge of being “the good one” in the white people’s eyes, and you weren’t even being asked to choose, but you decided to make the choice ALL ON YOUR OWN that little bit of white approval, or at least the idea that “I’m better than those people” was MORE IMPORTANT, than the actual suffering of other people.

It’s never your fault you looked whiter, it’s absolutely your fault you acted whiter.

yeloson: (Default)
Between reading Chuang-tzu, rereading Lao-tzu, and finally getting back into I-Ching, I've started distilling some useful notes.

"Effortless Action"

Wu-wei/non-action, etc.   First useful note - this is the end goal, mastery.  It is not the starting point of the work, but the end point.   If you have a goal, you must put in effort and work, until you reach the point of mastery where you can do the most with the least - "effortlessness".

Utilize Inherent Nature
Everything has inherent nature - basically, what it naturally inclines towards.   Utilizing the nature of things means you don't have to work using your own energy, you can let nature take it's course.  (note, understanding nature entails observation and science). 

Focus on the essential
"Sages ignore their senses & look to their stomachs" - cut out the superfluous and focus on the part that actually "feeds" you.

Not too much, not too little
Doing too little rots away ability, doing too much uses up too much energy.  Do such that you still have some (energy) left over, so you can build a reserve.

Develop skillfulness
Skillfulness is doing more with less effort, mastering subtlety, efficiency. 

Non-contest, what is easy with what is easy
There's a story about a butcher who carves perfectly and never wears out his knives because he never "chops" the meat, he finds the spaces between the meat and tendon and separates what is already easy to separate.  He's not contesting with the meat, he does what is easy, and then when he comes to a difficult place, he slows down to find the easiest path through the complicated section.

Together, these 5 things produce the ability to create the necessary effects with the minimal amount of energy or work - "non-action" as the ultimate example.
yeloson: (Default)
When you cut away the wrapper, appropriation is telling other people's stories for your entertainment & profit, not theirs.
yeloson: (Default)
Just because there seems to be a roll of these, I guess it's time to point them out.

Into the Far West attempts to take the Wild West and add wuxia. But they decided they didn't want to include any Indians at all, because they were "afraid they couldn't do them justice". But apparently they can do Chinese folks justice, or something. Oh, and add white people doing kung fu with steampunk stuff.

Um. Ok. It makes me think of the all too repeated argument against showing black folks as thugs, pimps and hookers on tv- "But then we wouldn't be able to put ANY black folks on tv at all!". Oh, I see.

Steampunk Musha: Victoriental Adventures

Well, if the name wasn't enough, by the description alone, apparently Japanese and Chinese are interchangable languages and so are the cultures.

I mean, oh god asking Steampunk, where people will research how clothing was dyed and stiches were done by hand, to have to look up the fact that China and Japan are... like... not the same.

And of course, Wolsung's art can speak for itself:

So, anyway. It's one thing to want to have an idealized alternate history of your culture where you're not, like, a major cause of suffering that lasts centuries and has effects to people to this day. But it IS a whole other thing when your idealized fantasy history also means that POC are non-existent or fulfill the EXACT SAME RACIST STEREOTYPES of the 1800s. See, that's where you go from escapism fantasy to racism.

But hey, the your imagination is the only limit!

And what does it say about your imagination that it's stuck in the centuries old tropes?
yeloson: (Default)
Dog Eat Dog is a teaching game about colonialism, and how it creates internalized isms in the process. I've played it a few years ago and I consider it an excellent teaching game.

The kickstarter ends in 47 hours, and for $5 you can get a PDF, or shell out for a full book. The game designer is also looking to donate 25 copies to schools and orgs if he can hit the stretch goal before things end.

Check it out:
yeloson: (Default)
Election year. Trayvon Martin. Rekia Boyd. Shaima Alawadi.Ramarley Graham.  OK shooter killing black folks.  Howard Morgan. Deanna Johnson running over black children.

Look America.  Your white supremacy issues?  Your hatred for black folks?  Your Islamophobia?  It's killing people.  You talk about "don't worry, the old generation will die off soon" but these ain't old people doing the violence.  And waiting for time to take them out while they're actively killing people? 

Instead of, you know, putting these people to trial?  Instead of, getting these people off the streets so they STOP MURDERING PEOPLE?   Instead of putting everyone who covers for them up for accessory to murder?

I'm not even going to address all the various slurs and hate phrases thrown in the last few years, but as a side note, it's not new that hateful language is usually a flag that violence is soon to follow.  And here it is, and we see you trying to do anything EXCEPT ACKNOWLEDGE THIS AS WRONG AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?

It's not the old generation, it's lynching for a new generation.

ETA: 29 killed since Jan. , 18 unarmed:

yeloson: (Default)
It's been a week since I saw the movie, and I've been thinking more about it, as other folks have been talking about it, plus all the stuff in the media going on in general. Especially around race, gender, etc.

So, the thing I really liked about the movie was the way in which the Capital's society clearly devalues life outside of it's happy, privileged existence, and the entitled expectation that people should be happy, even grateful to die for the sake of entertaining their betters. The uncomfortable false romance at end was really a perfect note to highlight the ways people have to make survival choices - you live, but you don't get to keep your truth or identity, and that's a luxury you can't afford. (Also reflected with Cinna and Haymitch's roles in the Capital...).

Anyway, the things I didn't like about the movie was Rue's role as the Magical Negro, and how Thresh basically fulfills the Scary Black Brute role in the matter of 10 seconds.

And it's really just occurred to me - what it says that a story that dissects how privilege eats lives and identities, demands people fulfill unrealistic roles just to be allowed to live (or perhaps, die differently) and at the same time, the movie itself is playing out JUST those roles.

Mainstream America can see it's wrong for Katniss to be forced into false roles for the entertainment of the privileged, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME the only reason Rue, Thresh, or Cinna get to be in characters in this film is the fact that they help the white girl - in a meta sense, the very thing that is crushing to the white protagonist is unremarked, even normalized as required narrative, for the black characters.

Even then, we see backlash from white fandom, as even those roles were too much blackness even then, too many seconds of precious film, too many heartbeats of empathy given, to a characters who ultimately only exist in a narrative sense (as far as the film is concerned) to be aids to the white girl.

I still enjoyed the movie, but it really makes it an interesting thing to consider when you pull back and think about it.
yeloson: (Default)
Dog Eat Dog is a game about imperialism - how it changes cultures and people, and how we make survival choices in the face of it. I think it's an awesome teaching game and really recommend folks to go support!
yeloson: (Default)
A bunch of tweets about magical POC stereotypes from Twitter:

Magical Negro characters (and Magical POC in general) not only help the white protagonist, they put their needs above their own.

Characters of color being focused around the needs of white characters is like how Bechdel test points to women built on men's needs in film

It's always interesting how focused they are on making POC "give blessing" to the white characters. Like some white guilt assuaging spell.

NDNs tell the white man it's ok their "time is over", the asian admits the white guy is a better ninja, (cont)

...the black person must admit the white guy has (soul/magic power/dance skills/etc.), ESPECIALLY with their dying breath.

It fuels a double dose of white privilege: "White people are just better at everything" and "POC exist to acknowledge & serve that"

Then we see that shit play out when white folks roll up into spaces, act a fool, wonder why no one is singing Kumbayah and praising them.

Then white ppl, "But aren't you HAPPY you got to have a POC in a movie SERVING a white person?!? Isn't it your DREAM?"

And apparently these stereotypes are so accepted, ppl don't get why folks are not happy with The Help, Avatar, Dances with Wolves, etc.

It says a lot to where the expectation is that we should dream to have the honor of dying for white people as a power fantasy.

And coming out of media, we see these supposed activist groups that can't understand why POC would want to put POC needs before their own.

"Oh, no, your needs don't matter. WHY would you want to focus on something so small as your freedom when you could be working FOR us?!?" OH

Media isn't mind control, but it is influence. And when all these movies tell the same story, a lot of people start to believe it true.

Like: black males are dangerous once they can walk. And they need to be shot in the back unless they unless Blackness WMDs from their backs.

Or that NDNs secretly really want to find a white person to pass all their knowledge onto, so white people should get up in their business.

Or that the bloodstained land was given freely and with smiles and the slaves who worked it were happy to serve...

I read a book on advertising & they pointed out- when you think McD's do you think of the last time you were there, or a commercial?

Many people think of the commercial, not the run down, janky place they go to. The fiction overwrote the reality in their memory.

This same thing is the fictions we tell over and over in mass media. Bias is built up by culture, and media plays a big part.

Media & celebs claim to always be about being "edgy" and new, but if you're repeating racist shit from 100 years ago? #Um

And yes, I hold writers and Hollywood to that- you know your craft. Either you're deliberately shaping it, or you're failing your message.

The fact that the magical POC is so widespread means a lot of folks are choosing the stereotypes & othering for the sake of white privilege.

Like I said earlier about the #TrayvonMartin murder - white delusions will be defended as more important than black lives.
yeloson: (pic#459017)
I've been thinking a bit about privilege, oppression, and how it plays out.

There's the classic Maslov's Hierarchy of Needs- the basics, food/clothing/shelter, then up to things like freedom and entertainment, etc. From the most basic needs to survive to the things which are necessary to thrive.

The way privilege rolls, is that some people's wants matter more than other people's needs.

"My freedom of speech matters MORE than you not being shot."
"My right to religious practice matters MORE than you not dying of horrible, treatable, medical conditions."

We're not even talking about two things on the same level of needs - where we can start really exploring ethics- we're just talking about "My less life necessary thing is more important than your MORE life necessary thing because you don't fucking matter."

Anyway, I've been thinking about this a lot, right now, because of Trayvon Martin. He's murdered. Not being shot is pretty much one of those basic needs to live. And the ways in which people are talking about this only highlight this issue.

For example- white people's "need" to have black people always appear non-threatening (mind you, non-threatening blackness is a series of ever-moving goalposts which cannot be met, short of not being black) MATTERS MORE than Travyon's need to have not been shot. White people's need to feel as if racism is over, and not have to deal with it, matters more than the fact there is a dead child.

That's on that, directly.

But shit like the Occupy folks jumping over the Million Hoodie protests? Again, white people's need to be the center of attention, over recognizing a horrible murder.

And that's what this is, and what we're going to see, throughout ALL Of this. They're going to claim reverse racism when anyone asks for anything resembling parity on Maslov's hierarchy of needs.

The backlash is going to be the fact that we, are caring TOO MUCH about a person of color.
yeloson: (pic#459018)
Folks are trying to put together a QPOC videogame.  I'd say if they need anything right now, it's a) anyone who can help them get some funding and investors, and b) some donations, and c) word out.

yeloson: (Default)
Expanding a thought from Twitter.

So, according to the media and tons of people giving advice to POC is that the only sure road to success is hard work.

But when you see successful POC, or, specifically, successful black people, then the refrain is that the only way they could have possibly succeeded is unfair affirmative action.

The only way both of these could be true is if you subscribe to the idea that in the entire world of POC, no one has ever worked hard, and only white people work hard.

Of course, if that is true, then there is no point in telling POC to work hard, because you are believing it to be biologically impossible for them to do so for that many people to have NEVER worked hard.
yeloson: (pic#459020)

So part of the reason I've been looking forward to this game is that it's a game about women of color that a) isn't sexualizing/exotifying them, b) isn't on some bullshit "And now we go shopping!" gender hustle.

If you think there needs to be more videogames, more works of art with women of color, as legit characters, not as masturbation material, or bullshit, if you think histories of POC deserve to get in media, please drop $5 or $10 on this project.
yeloson: (Default)
There's a thing I see happen a lot, that helps lead to a wack internet.

There's this idea that if you run a discussion space, that you have to try to maximize the breadth of possible discussion topics, and ways of talking about a topic, that this is somehow necessary for "Free Speech", and therefore, moderation should be minimal.

What this misguided approach does, is lead to problems, in the form that sites become terrible places.

What do I mean?

Myth #1: Minimal moderation leads to breadth of opinion

Start with this flowchart: "So you're mad about something on the internet...

So, the most rational people do the best thing- they disengage. They leave your site, they stop contributing.

Everyone else who remains, ends up going back and forth, and ultimately, there's only two ways this can go:

1) Pile-on - the majority expresses their displeasure on the few, which could be useful if the few are asshats and the majority is fighting for civility and calling out bad behavior, and is shitty when it's vice versa.

2) The endurance test - the people who are dogged/obsessive, keep posting, and posting and posting. If you look back at the flowchart, not only is the problem that the odds are these people are terrible people, but even the good people at this point are likely simply repeating more and more obvious statements (or being further and further sidetracked into derailing) at trolls.

Notice that both breadth of opinion and quality of discussion die.

Myth #2 Continued debate leads to truth

This one is especially problematic, because it overlooks a core premise: that everyone involved is actually discussing in good faith and hoping to find the truth, instead of simply dickwaving, or worse, simply trolling for lols.

When you look at the scientific community, there's debate about some things, but other things aren't given the time of day... for example, the people who argue the Earth is flat. Do we really need more debate on this? Do we need to put our best minds to re-proving this?

No, we accept some people cannot be convinced and move on, so we can work on things that are worth discussion.

You can go to any public, mainstream site that is not, or barely moderated and find tons of racism, sexism, homophobia and idiocy. If unmoderated or barely-moderated discussion would naturally lead to truth, we'd be looking at Youtube comments for insightful commentary instead of being aghast at humanity.

Myth #3 Your site is not all the internet

"You're destroying free speech!".

Well, no, actually. Governments which block entire sites (that aren't, say, child porn or bomb making), or track everyone's emails, those are places that block free speech. Not being able to post on one site or forum, really doesn't block someone from going to any of the many other sites, or creating their own.

That said, it is worth noting, though, the difference between the silencing of voices like in Myth #1, where you let people shout down folks vs. actively banning people. The reason moderation works, generally, is that it lets someone use judgment as to whether the complaints are about being silenced by asshats or asshats being silenced.

For the moment being, I'm going to assume you actually want a space that isn't Asshatland (since, there's a lot of sites to compete with, and while the demand is high, the supply is even greater), so think about what you really want from your site and how you're going to go about getting it.
yeloson: (Default)
So, aside from several of my friends working on this game, it's going to be a social game about historical China, and women, being awesome.

Matriarchy Kickstarter

Please support and signal boost!
yeloson: (Default)
So, if having white actors always means more money, and therefore, is always a good idea, anyone want to explain to me why Memoirs of a Geisha didn't star white actresses starring in the lead roles in the movie?

Oh, maybe because the real formula is "Heroes = white people", "Hookers = POC", right? I think I'm just going to bring that up next time someone pulls out that bullshit logic.

Safe Space

Oct. 16th, 2011 04:43 pm
yeloson: (Default)
"There's no such thing as a safe space"

I really hate this phrase, because it's a disingenuous statement.

Let's do an analogy: let's say you work in a factory! Factories are dangerous, accidents can happen!

But you do things like have clear pathways, section off areas for machinery, put up lights and buzzers and warnings when something is moving or active or hot, you make sure to keep things in working order. And, sometimes accidents happen, and then the thing to do is fix the problem so it doesn't happen again.

Now, if we're in a factory and someone is actively making it unsafe, throwing sharp things at other people, you don't go, "Well, there's no such thing as a safe space!"

Mind you, if you want to have the discussion that safe space doesn't mean an uncomfortable, painful and hard to work through space, because of the nature of the work being done there (like processing, talking about really hard shit, etc.) that's fine. But that's sure as hell not the same thing as letting shitty behavior pass through.
yeloson: (pic#459017)
"This is not the typical, tragic Mulatto story..."

I just got back from seeing Lisa Marie Rollins' Ungrateful Daughter - a one woman play about transracial adoption, and it was super awesome and worth seeing if you get the chance.

She does a series of vignettes of different scenes of her life- some real, some metaphorical (like having an argument with Aunt Jemima about representation or having her life reduced to an oversimplified platitude on the Oprah show). There's a good mix of comedy and tragedy, and a lot of scenes of human vulnerability and mistakes. She plays all of the characters with great effect, and though caricatured, you see the stuff that makes them human under the extreme.

There is one scene, where she's 7 and her white mother is trying to do her hair for her first solo in choir... and her mom's frustrations with her hair and inability to deal with her blackness roll together in a heartbreaking, horrifying way that just... UGGHGGHGHGH - exemplifies white people's issues overall.

So, obviously, this is some deep shit Rollins is digging into here, and not all of this is easy to watch. There is no sexual violence, and there's no use of white people's favorite racial slur, either. So yay, but still, emotionally wretching scenes at times.
yeloson: (Default)
I'm a little too tired and jaded to really be emotionally up about Troy Davis.

Which isn't to say it isn't fucked up, but rather, yes it's fucked up AND that it's fucked up the way in which white liberals hop onto a cause of the week and proceed to do what, for them, is the most entertaining and exciting form of protest, and also the least useful.

Racialized death sentencing is generations old. Police forcing false witness testimony is also not new. So now everyone's calling the governor and holding vigils.


Where's the forming of a solid voting block? How about getting together lawyers to draft some legislation (banning death penalties, better appeals processes, police accountability)? Will there be serious education about all of this, tomorrow, next week, or next year? Or will it all have disappeared, because none of that is as "fun" or exciting as having a rally?

I'm thinking also about all the white liberal folks who say they're up for "teaching Obama a lesson" - how nice and privileged it is to consider voting for someone else, people who aren't declaring you non-people and that your health rights or ability to have full rights under the law aren't in question.

I saw white people saying, "Don't play the race card!" when talking about Troy Davis. Really? With the next gay bashing, will we say, "Don't play the Queer card!!!"?

MLK's quote about the white moderate being a bigger obstruction to justice than the plain haters is still true. I think in these cases, we've got justice tourists- people who are happy to march so they can say they marched and feel good about themselves and it's really just too bad that people died/injustice happened anyway. It lets them enjoy their hate on for "the man" as a fun crusade, and not as something that deals with their community's survival or their own.

All the white savior narratives have them being worshipped for helping the POC and taking down the 1 or 2 white people running the hate operation, none of those stories show them having to sacrifice everything because white culture doesn't change easily, or without showing the worst of it's evil to those dismantling it.

It's easy to hold a vigil for a night. It's tough to live life on the job of changing things, because nearly everything needs to be changed.
yeloson: (Default)
Clearly, I must at some point make a mashup mixtape that's basically the soundtrack to a yet to be released Blaxsplotation 007 movie.


yeloson: (Default)

November 2012



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