yeloson: (Default)
2012-04-27 11:31 pm

Dog Eat Dog - a game to grab

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)
2012-03-29 01:41 pm

Hunger Games: A thought about performative roles (Spoilery)

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)
2012-03-28 04:36 pm

Dog Eat Dog

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: (pic#459018)
2012-01-16 01:41 pm

The Arkh Project

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)
2011-06-13 11:23 am

Stories Stolen, part 2 million and 1

Between white people pretending to be lesbian women of color and trying to get lucrative book deals (in order to, "better direct white people to listen to real women of color and real stories..."UM), and People of color still needing white people to stand in as metaphors in 2011 in movies...

I'm reminded more and more why I organize stuff like the Remyth Project or the APIA Spoken Word Summit:

Our stories are our voices are our lives are our history. These are the words they put in our mouths, steal from our mouths, silence with time and gatekeepers. These are the ways they turn us from people into imaginary beings and magical Not People in a Not History.
yeloson: (Default)
2011-05-20 10:56 am

Chnam Oun 16 by Bochan

This whole damn video is gangster.
yeloson: (Default)
2010-11-28 11:18 am

Take Yoga Back

The popularity of yoga continues to skyrocket in the Western world as yoga studios become as prevalent as Starbucks and the likes of Lululemon find continued success in the mass marketing of $108 form enhancing yoga pants. As this $6 billion industry completes one Suryanamaskar (sun salutation) after another, there has been growing concern from the Hindu American Foundation about a conscientious delinking of yoga from its Hindu roots.

From asanas named after Hindu Gods to the shared goal of moksha to the common pluralistic philosophy, the Hindu roots of yoga seem difficult to deny. Yet, more often than not, many Western yoga practitioners are aghast at the very suggestion that the cherished "spiritual practice" of yoga is firmly grounded in Hindu philosophy. In fact, in a letter to Yoga Journal magazine, HAF noted its disappointment at finding countless descriptions of the Upanishads or Gita as "ancient Indian" or "yogic", but rarely "Hindu".

Shortly after being told by Yoga Journal that "Hinduism carries too much baggage," the Foundation formulated its stance on this important issue with the release of its paper Yoga Beyond Asana: Hindu Thought in Practice, quoting extensively from both the legendary yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar as well as his son, Prashant Iyenagar. The stance paper highlights not only the delinking of yoga from its Hindu roots, but also the erroneous idea that yoga is primarily a physical practice based on asana. Yoga covers a wide array of practices, embodied in eight "limbs," which range from ethical and moral guidelines to meditation on the Ultimate Reality. Asana is merely one "limb" which as become the crux of Western yoga practice.
yeloson: (Default)
2010-11-06 09:23 am
Entry tags:

We keep it worldwide

Last night tossed up a thread on APIA hiphop, and, this morning some knucklehead was like, "Congratulations America on your project to transform all non-white people into Jim Crow stereotypes".

...right. Luckily that stupid shit got deleted by the mods, but seriously? If you simultaneously call out cultural imperialism and yet accept the white media's version of a POC art form as the truth of it, you're kinda failing in your critique.

Anyway, a bunch of folks started linking some music from around the world, and I thought it might be nice to do an eclectic world hiphop post. (Yeah, a lot of these are dated, I'm behind on all music, local, US, and beyond. Le sigh.)

yeloson: (Default)
2010-11-04 06:22 pm
Entry tags:

Snatch the words right out'cha mouth

The internet is aflame with the Cook's Source Magazine drama.

I can relate to it - my Art of Defending Racism piece was lifted wholesale, conveniently "cleaned up", including having my name scraped off of it, and then sent around by email supposedly by "Anonymous". I check every few months for new sites which may have gotten the email and reposted it and request a) putting up the unedited original, b) attribution, and c) link to the original post.

I'm sure many of these sites get paid by advertising, which is annoying on principle, but not worth pursuing further. At the same time, I always wonder what I'll do when I run into the one site/person who will just simply refuse to work with me.

I had another piece I did get 75% lifted by Racialicious... ironically, and sadly, to highlight the Women of Color Beauty Carnival...

And there was the one guy who was completely copying sections of my game blog wholesale ("for his personal use").

Although we can usually track the issues with direct cash situations - like a book for sale being put online for free, or someone getting ad revenue for content they've stolen, I think there's the other issue of both potential revenue and historical attribution that's also at stake.

That is, what I write opens the doors for me to potentially write columns or books or in other professional fields. Stealing words isn't just whatever money you made or didn't make- it's the question of the status and who-did-what, for now, for history, that matters. Like White Feminists who get book deals and paid to write based on the work of women of color, for example. Or, as Delux points out, how cultural appropriation is just large scale copyright theft for profit and social brownie points.

This is part of the reason I wanted each author to have full control over their posts & words in The Remyth Project- if you want to take them down, or edit them, that's totally what you should do, and you shouldn't have to work through anyone else to do it. If you want to republish your words elsewhere, that's totally your right.

I'm glad the internet is opening doors for people to call people on their shit when they steal, but at no point am I under the illusion that internet justice is ever real protection, anymore than the safety for the majority is the safety for the minority, or that the copyright laws don't favor large corporations over small artists.
yeloson: (Default)
2010-09-24 09:33 am

APIA Spoken Word Summit 2011

On note of positive gatherings.

Since 2001 I've been a part of the Asian Pacific Island Spoken Word Summit - the US-wide (and beyond) gathering of APIA folks who are involved in poetry and activism.

In 2001, it was held in Seattle, hosted by The Isangmahal Arts Kollective (Some of you may know one of the members, Geo of Blue Scholars who worked with I Was Born With Two Tongues to make it happen.

The APIA Spoken Word Summit happens every two years, with workshops and performances, focusing on spoken word, written poetry, music, and activism. This last one was 2009 in Berkeley, which I volunteered along with many other very hard working folks - it was 9 of us, holding down the fort for 300 attendees...

This next year, 2011, in August, the next Summit will be held in Minneapolis, with Bao Phi as one of the main organizers.

If you're a poet, a writer, a performer, an activist in the APIA community, if you've been moved by the words of APIA poets (Yellow Rage, Proletariat Bronze, Illiteracy, Typical Cats, etc.), please consider blocking out some time near the beginning of August to attend either the full Summit or the performances. Or, if nothing else, consider if you can donate $10 towards funding the Summit.
yeloson: (stop silencing us)
2009-03-22 08:50 pm

You left me outside and now you want in

We are not allowed to express our political needs or tell our political histories because when we do it makes other people feel uncomfortable....silence about America's racial legacy is the price of admission to the social contract. - Melissa Harris-Lacewell

(Speaking from heart, speaking to healing. You know and I know the hate is out there. I don't link to it in these things because why should we let their hate use us like a computer virus, forcing us to forward hate on to each other? Wave after wave comes, so let's speak power and strength and do the opposite of what they do.)

A few years back, I went to GenCon, the largest tabletop roleplaying convention in the US. I arrived excited and eager to play, and a little sad my friends whom I had attended ComiCon weren't with me. I had just gotten out of the registration line and saw a person dressed up in blackface as a drow/dark elf. I flashed back just about 4 days before when a friend of mine had to leave ComiCon, completely shaking with hurt because someone thought it would be cool to get in blackface to dress up as Storm from the X-men.

The day before I flew back, I saw a newspaper headline, "Blacks are leaving Indianapolis, feel unwelcome". I wonder why?

I began to start looking hard at my hobby. Everything from artwork to social circles and the behaviors around it. I tried to start up conversations. Conversations with people who were intelligent, who I knew personally, who had no problem analyzing social behavior and how it affected play (after all, a roleplaying game is nothing but a group socially deciding imaginary stuff...).

But those conversations failed.

At first I thought I wasn't approaching it correctly, I tried different tacks, from talking about the raw representation of the artwork, to the historical issues of blackface, to, well... everything.

But see, my mistake wasn't that I was talking to intelligent, well read people - it was that I was continuing to mistake ignorance on the part of intelligent, well read people as unintentional. I was giving benefit of the doubt to the people who had the least excuse to be ignorant of both history and media. It wasn't not knowing, it was choosing not to know.

Instead of turning their minds to a legitimate question, "Hey, how did I NOT notice that all the bad guys are dark, or that the language used around orcs = the language used on native populations, or that even POC heroes are dehumanized with glowing eyes etc.?", instead the response was "You're crazy/reading too much into it/it's just a game/why do you care/you should find another hobby!"

That's right. "If you don't like it here, you can leave." And then they turn around and ask why there's so few POC in their hobby or their numbers are shrinking. (I went to GenCon SoCal that year, and all I saw were asian and hispanic kids playing Yu-Gi-Oh. I guess people of color aren't into geek stuff, right?)

But my story is not unique. We've been silenced, we've been pushed out. What is changing at this point, is that we're giving up the hope of working with broken social contracts. We're giving up on trying to engage in negotiations and reconciliation with people and groups that place their primacy and our marginalization as a price to admission. We're making our own.

And this is where we face white rage. It's not enough to push us out of the circles and silence us there, it's the fact that we're having conversations of our own, building our own circles, and our price of admission is equal participation and they are outraged to hear the word "NO" applied to their demands to be let in, to silence us in our own spaces, to make themselves the center here as well, all guised under the rationalizations of making "civilized discourse", "letting all sides be heard", or quite simply, getting to be the authority.

I'm watching a lot of folks go through the same journey I did- where you realize hate will follow you into your escapisms, where you realize we're not all one because we love the same thing, where you start to find out whether people respect you as a person, or just for what you can do for them.

Maybe the question you need to ask, isn't "How can I say this so they understand?" but instead, "Why does this person with this level of intelligence not understand already?"

Or maybe you need to ask if you still want to be paying the price of admission to play in those circles, or if you need to be charging your own admission and opening up your own.

(ETA: I'm amused at the number of white folks showing up to comment, imagining that this is a plea for reconciliation, or better behavior, or sympathy cookies. It's not. I'm talking to other people of color going through the growing pains of realizing their circles aren't as "colorblind" as they thought they were. As hard as it might be to imagine, people exist outside of you, and the world is not all in relation to you.)