So I think everyone should read saskaia's posts on the damage caused by pretendians and her shout out to cinnamon bearclaws.***
My ibarw post for the day is one I wrote recently about women of color being told to 'stand together' with white feminists (yet again).
I started a research project last summer, which I'm still working on, about the American West. Among other things I was trying to do was track down black men and women who went west -- when, how, where they ended up, what they did. It seemed to me, suddenly on reading a detail, that I'd never wondered, and never particularly learned, about the immigrants to the West who weren't white, especially in the early periods, before most western movies take place. So I went looking.I've seen scrollgirl's posts on fandom's treatment of the canonical racism of one character in Magnificent Seven, but I've never seen that show and only had a vague sense of when/where it was set, so it didn't contribute to a real consciousness on my part that yes, there were in fact people of African descent in the American frontier West.
.:. If you ever want to get a good feel for where you fit in today's society, pay attention to the commercials you see. On television, on the street, on the radio, everywhere. You will see many ads that feature POC in a service position helping whites. Occasionally this dynamic is reversed, but usually only in a situation where the service job is a skilled job. For instance, a white doctor or lawyer helping a POC customer.brown_betty, in commenting on a post by Charles Stross about the Bechdel Test, asks, "What is the last work you remember that had more than one character of colour talking to each other about something other than the (white) protagonist?"
.::. Take a second look at your favorite book or movie. Who is the protagonist? Who is the enemy? Who is a 3 dimensional, relatable character and who is a 2 dimensional facade? Who is seen as scary? Who is innocent and pure? Who dies in a horrific manner? Who is dehumanized in some way? If there is a criminal, does (s)he follow the pattern of
'nonskilled crime' - mugging, other types of theft, having a band of colleagues which are kind of bumbling, POC
'skilled crime' - committing thought out heists, a serial killer that is just so interesting, a child molester that had a horrible childhood himself, an individual (either by themselves or standing out from their colleagues), white
Watch your favorite television show sometime. How many white characters are in it? How many characters of other racial backgrounds are in it? How many of those are lighter skinned? What kind of roles do they have?
Stereotypes and the absence of diverse casting are both good things to watch out for, but the areas in which racism penetrates (just like any other prejudice) are numerous. Look, listen, question.
There will be moments in which you will accidentally see Black Person A behave a certain way and assume that other Black People are like that in areas where, if this was White Person A, you would find another attribution. This does not mean that you are a horrible person, but it does mean that you are not perfect. Doing this is good, but it shouldn't be needed, which means that there's no reason that you should expect accolades for this.
If you do make a mistake and accidentally say something offensive, don't expect people to coddle you "just for trying." That prevents you from learning, and comes with a distinct element of privilege. You are acting like you are deigning to give someone else your attention and how dare they turn you away. Stop. Take a deep breath, learn from your mistakes, and try again another time.
Think of all of the uses of "I" when you are contemplating why you are fighting racism. You may notice that this has become less about helping out others and more about helping you feel better. It makes you feel good, after all, that you are not like "those other racists." [...] It provides comfort. You are a warrior, you are a defender!
You are also making this about yourself. Stop. This is not about you.
Because my father has white privilege and male privilege and ability privilege and sexuality privilege, but growing up he was always way lower down the class privilege ladder than many of the other people he knew (and he's still further down the class privilege ladder than many of his friends, although it's really only noticeable in comparison). And, like nearly all people, he notices the privileges he doesn't have, rather than the ones that he does.
We care about the things we find personal. We care about the things that affect us. As a dyke, I take homophobia far more personally than I take racism, being whiter than a white white thing like I am. As a disabled person, I take ableism far more personally -- and as a mobility-impaired disabled person, I get far more upset about something like steps-without-a-ramp or insufficient handicapped parking spaces than I do about lack of closed captioning services or an environment that's hostile for service animals. We see what hurts us. It's harder to train yourself into seeing what hurts others.
Even if you can see it, there's always that temptation to use your experience as a form of identification, as an attempt to form a bond. (Far and away the most common instance of this I see: queer people trying to identify with people of color.) There's some use in that, because a lot of times, becoming aware that you lack a specific set of privileges will wake you up to the fact that there is such a thing as privilege, and thinking about the ways that your lack of privilege affects you can sensitize you to looking for how others' lack of privilege affects them. But there's also a temptation to generalize your experience and project it onto others, and that's where things start to fall apart.
fickle_goddess points out, "Quick, friendly tip to anyone out there thinking of writing a Character of Color: Don't constantly bring up their skin color for no reason except to prove it's a CoC."
From IBARW: Race and Racism in Fantasy Fiction (a PublishersWeekly.com blogpost by rosefox):
While reading Daniel Abraham's Long Price Quartet (or rather, the first three volumes of it, since the fourth isn't out yet), I was struck by the presence of a character type I rarely see: the merchant who has made his home in a distant country and is respected reasonably well as a businessman even if he isn't fully fluent in the language and looks like a foreigner. In real life, I encounter hundreds of people like this. Why are they so unusual in epic/heroic/high fantasy? More often, you see unquestioned isolationism that leads very quickly to unquestioned suspicion, hatred, and violence between cultures. In order for that degree of strict cultural distance to be maintained, pretty much every fantasy country would have to be run like North Korea, and even then you would still get diplomatic missions and intermarriage and international students and smuggling and so forth. Instead you get theoretically relaxed, open societies where it just happens that none of those funny-looking people from the next kingdom over have ever even thought about coming across the border to, say, start a restaurant or an import/export business, or even to do a bit of shopping. There might still be suspicion, hatred, and violence, but at least it would have some degree of nuance, instead of being predicated on the wholly unlikely notion of happenstance separatism.From Pirates of the Caribbean: The Tia Dalma conflict by shadowfae:
I remember writer Erica Jong said, after doing research for her erotic pirate fiction Fanny Hackabout Jones, that she was surprised to learn just how integrated pirate "society" actually was. Many pirates participated in the enslavement of Africans, trafficking human beings along with spices, rum and other sugar-based exports from the British triangle trade. But others raided slave ships and, instead of just stealing the sugar-based exports for resale, also freed the enslaved Africans on board, welcoming them on their pirate ships as high ranking crewmen. Pirates were thieves ... but most history (and even fiction) never tells you that one of the reasons pirates were hated so much was because of their threat to slave cargo. The Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy ignores this important point, too. Enslavement and the life of piracy were intricately connected.
Anyhow, so one of the basic principles of anti-racism is that you do your anti-racist work in your own communities. Another principle is that you work together -- solitary voices are easily dismissed as "that crazy woman who keeps harping about (blank)," but you also work together because it takes that sort of communal work to find the problems that we individually miss and to come up with solutions/alternatives that don't screw over someone else.
The Costs of Giving Up Religion Depends on Whether You've Got Structural Power in Your Society.
- Unless your religious-cultural heritage is the same as the dominant culture's, walking away from your religion may include the cost of walking away from your culture. [...]
- If you are part of a culturally-embattled religion/culture, walking away from your religion may risk your religion's or culture's continued survival. [...]
- Religions are a very effective means of organizing resistance to power. [...]
Recognition of White Privilege in the Atheist Movement
3.. A great deal of the stuff you "know" about non-Christian religions -- especially ones traditionally practiced by non-whites -- is probably colonial or Islamophobic propaganda. You know from personal experience how bad the mainstream media is about representing atheists; why are you trusting it for non-Christian religions?
7. Voodoo is a real religion. The only reason it's used as a synonym for the phrase "somewhat sinister but completely ridiculous superstition" is because Christian slavers and colonizers conducted a very effective smear campaign against it. Every time you use the word "voodoo" when you mean "somewhat sinister but completely ridiculous superstition," you're playing into the Christian hegemony you're supposedly opposing, and you're being racist to boot. Find a new word for that concept, and this time vet that word's history before you use it.
IBARW: Let's Not Talk About It - Being Black in Canada (by troubleinchina)
Better than nothing: on the lowered expectations of a lifetime lived on media crumbs [IBARW3] (by smillaraaq) about growing up American Indian in Hawai'i c.1972
american history is not always two-sided (by nextian) some powerful stories
Nationwide is sort of on the side of African-Americans now, too [on TheHathorLegacy.com]
Please tell me this isn't true:
Five year old Adriel Arocha is being blocked from attending school in a Houston-area school district.
As an Apache, he has long hair that he has been growing in his Native cultural tradition that “violates” this school’s dress code rules.-http://www.racialicious.com/2008/07/28/denied-kindergarten-for-being-native/