marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Something to smile about: 

There’s nothing else that can compare with my hair.
I love my hair, so I must declare:
I really, really, really love my hair.
Wear a clippy or in a bow
Or let it sit in an afro
My hair looks good in a cornrow
It does so many things you know, that’s why I let it grow
I love my hair, I love my hair
I love it and I have to share
I love my hair, I love my hair!
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (dolls)
Signal boost - if you're considering seeing The Last Airbender this weekend, please first head over to and read about the film.  The film's creators have taken a wildly popular anime full of Asian and other POC heroes, with sets and clothing designs that have their origins in a variety of non-European cultures, and turned it into an all-white-heroes, POC-villains exotic fantasy extravaganza.   I won't see it for all the tea in {some country that used to be China but has been replaced for artistic reasons with a non-Asian country}, and I hope you'll consider withholding your dollars from it as well.  The original show is up on Netflix if you want to give the real thing a try. 


Aug. 5th, 2009 01:21 pm
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Potatoes actually come in a wide variety of colors:

Except when they don't:

Comparison inspired by this, via [profile] james_nicoll  and [ profile] ktempest .  Scroll down to Paul Di Filippo's comment in which he discusses potatoes and corn and Sonic Youth.

Icons forthcoming.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Charlie)
This week is International Blog Against Racism Week - go over here to read a pile of awesome stuff.

My contribution is scatterbrained--motherhood has been kicking my ass recently. But here is some stuff I can share.

A few thoughts for white people who are not adoptive parents: 

1. Some babies who are ethnically Chinese are actually born in America! It's amazing but it's true.  Stop being so startled.

My son Charlie, a gentleman and a patriot.

2. Chinese children come in "boy" as well as "girl" versions, even the ones who are adopted. Stop being so startled.

3. Asian children in America are of multiple different ethnicities and nationalities, including the ones who are adopted.  Stop saying Ni Hao to random Asian kids.

4. You are seriously going to tell my my son "doesn't look Chinese?" What the hell do you think Chinese people look like?  This?

5. Black birth mothers who place infants for adoption generally do so because they cannot afford to add a child to their family, not because they don't care about their baby.  Stop talking shit about them.

6. The law is unfair to black people.  And poverty, with its associated ills, disproportionately affects black people.  Black parents who lose custody of their children are not necessarily bad parents.  Stop talking shit about them.

6. Oh hey I know, how about you just stop talking shit about  ALL black people? 

And thoughts for my fellow white interracially-adoptive parents:

1. Black mothers do stuff with their daughters' hair. Look here, here, here, here.  If you have a black daughter, for God's sake, do some stuff with her hair. Your average black mom would no more send her daughter to school with her hair in a mess than she would send her son in without a shirt.

2. Your child loses something of value when they are placed in a family that doesn't share their race. You can and should take steps to mitigate that loss and help them to develop as healthy of a racial identity as possible, so they don't feel like a fraud. But don't kid yourself that they haven't lost anything.

3. Chinese people in America do not, actually, stick their kids in adorable tiny silk outfits with frog closures at every fucking opportunity. 

4. Know your ethnic slurs! Do not, for example, put your Asian child in a shirt with bananas on it, like I did once upon a time. If you are white and have a black son, notice that monkeys are ubiquitous on boys' clothing, and then NEVER BUY ANY OF THAT SHIT. 

5. Be aware that many proper names have ethnic or racial baggage attached.  "Charlie" is such a name (Charlie Chan, 5 o'clock Charlie...).  If you're naming your child (as opposed to keeping their birth name) (which is what we opted to do), make sure you vet their name thoroughly before settling on it (You should probably check their birth name too, just in case there's baggage their birth parents are unaware of).

6. That "red thread" saying is not about adoption. Please stop repeating it. Also? Most adoptions involve some level of personal tragedy for the birth parents, and also for the child. Chinese adoptions in particular involve quite a lot of pressure on the birth parents.  Sentimentalizing that as "destiny" denies your child the truth of their story.

7. Did you know that Hinduism is an actual religion, where they revere their gods and stuff, and probably don't like blasphemy any more than other religious people? IKR? If you put your Indian kid in a Siva/Shiva tee shirt  because "he's my little destroyer--he's in the terrible twos and he destroys EVERYTHING!" I hope someone is very rude to you.  (ETA: Not because it's bad to put your kid in a Shiva tee shirt, but because if you do it you should be able to explain who Shiva is for real, and not be glib and reductive about it).

8. If you name your kid "Martin Luther King Smith" people will know that MLK is the only black person you've ever heard of.

9. If your home is going to be a safe space for your child--and it really, really should be--you are going to have to work hard to fight racism, and to overcome your own prejudices, and to understand and check your own privilege--EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. 

10. People of color who are against interracial adoption often have good reasons based in sociology, history, and personal experience, and are worth listening to even if you don't agree.  White people who are against interracial adoption often have a bunch of dumbass bullshit reasons based on racial biases.

11. In cases where a child is actually "saved" from poverty or oppression by being adopted, the credit and gratitude for that should go to their birth parents, who made an excruciating personal sacrifice in order to give the child a better life.

12. Going to a poor country to adopt a child and then complaing about all the poverty?  Makes you an asshole.  If you return from a poor country and say "the building where they finalized our adoption was so run-down, it was like something you would see in the projects!" you are an asshole and also very obtuse.  If you complain that the child you brought home from a poor country had diarrhea for a whole month OMG, when the people from the orphanage swore he was healthy, you are an asshole.  If you refer to your adopted daughter's home village as "pretty much the armpit of India," you are an asshole.  (I met all of these people in my adoption training; they were giving us advice about how to be parents. I also met awesome adoptive parents who do stuff like take their son to visit his birth mom in prison--it seems like it was 50/50 assholes/not assholes.  Kinda like humanity in general.)

Feel free to ask questions or add your own advice in comments (screened & lightly moderated)!

marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Please try not to argue with definitions that people post in the comments. However, posting your own definition is highly encouraged, even if it's just tweaking the wording of something in the ticky boxes.

Edit: I really want this post to stay on topic, that topic being people's own definitions of these terms. This is not about whether it's ok to call someone a racist or accuse people of racism--there's no way to answer that question without having a sense of what the terms mean to people, and I'm not the right person to host that conversation anyway.

I want this post to be 1. a safe space for people to say what they think these words mean 2. a multi-definition glossary of two terms that are used in a lot of conversations. That will only happen if it stays on topic, so I will politely freeze or re-direct conversations that are off-topic. If I freeze a comment, it does not mean I think you're a jerk or that I want you to get lost; please don't take it personally.

Thank you to everyone who is helping to build this resource, and I appreciate everyone's tolerance of the heavy moderation. If you want to talk (a little) more freely, there are other posts under my anti-racism category tag that may interest you.

Another Edit: discussion of how to define "Race" starts with Bluefall's comment here.

[Poll #1340724]
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Something Tempest said in a discussion yesterday or the day before helped to crystallize something in my mind.  This is often true of things Tempest says, but this time was different because she wasn't doing it on purpose.  (note: if you haven't been keeping up with the Cultural Debate of Doom 2009, ummm, I don't think it's possible for me to bring you up to speed.[info]rydra_wong  has cataloged everything important that hasn't been deleted or locked. And what [ profile] kate_nepveu  says over here is super important, fellow white people!  Go read it! But most of what I'm going to say here is generic & future-facing.) 
New Crit, Postmodernism, Privilege, Racism... )
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
...and how I learned them. Yes, this is a story of white enlightenment, and also an account of my racist dipshit behavior.   And I do enjoy cookies.  But I'm writing this as an exercise in Racism 101, passing along what I've learned, not as a confessional, and I'll attempt to avoid being a racist dipshit in the course of writing it.  (When I say "you" in the lesson bits I am addressing white people in general, in case that's not obvious.  I am not addressing any specific white person, in case that needs saying too.) 
Cut for Length )


Jan. 20th, 2009 11:55 am
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Closing prayer guy: "If you're black, you don't have to get back; if you're brown, stick around; if you're yellow, you can be mellow; if you're white, do right." 

(Not an exact quote, I'll fix it up once google catches up with things and I can get his name and a proper transcript.)

Reverend Joseph Lowery:  ""We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right"

[CNN has this quote as "black will not ask to give back" but I'm certain it's "get back" because he's referencing a song, I think called "Black, Brown & White."]

Also, the poet lady invoked pagan law (first do no harm) [darn, not really; see comments.] and (probably unintentionally) My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs (spiny/smooth).  

Watched the inauguration in the break room with my teammates at work. Our guy is leading us now. It's a good day.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
From Eyes on the Prize, the (victorious) end of the Montgomery bus boycott.

By the way, why isn't Eyes on the Prize available on DVD? Amazon shows one used set for $350.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Inspired by [info]deepad 's very helpful post for white people about how to be an ally, I went through my collection of books on librarything and tagged everything with a PoC author, as a starting point for reading more books by people of color.

The resulting list is embarrassingly small, includes a bunch of mangas, and includes only one African-American author.  Most of these books haven't bubbled to the top of my reading list yet, either, so they're tagged unread--including one I really need to read ASAP, Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White. Still, if you're looking to increase the diversity of your reading list, you might find something there that interests you. 

It's an eye-opening exercise and I'd encourage other librarythingers to try it, not so much for self-education as to make it easier for everyone to discover and support PoC authors.  Here's another thinger's "PoC author" tag list, and here are all books tagged "PoC." 

April 2013

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