links for 2010-09-10

  • "This is how it feels to be judged by the sins of others who destroy in the name of your faith. You're no more responsible for 30 Christian extremists in Florida than Muslims are for the 19 hijackers of 9/11. Yet most of us, when polled, say that no Muslim house of worship should be built near the site of the 9/11 attacks. In saying this, we implicitly hold all Muslims accountable for the crime of those 19 people.

    "Now you know how it feels to be judged that way. It's inaccurate, and it's wrong."

  • "In identity politics, visibility is a pretty big deal, and it still means something to be black (and/or gay) in America; this is by no means a colorblind society. But I'm 'unseen' in a different way than Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, enjoying white privilege, and heterosexual privilege, at every turn — without my consent. It may seem a ludicrous complaint, especially since I'm not hiding my 'identities' on purpose, but what can I do — wear a sign around my neck? Emblazon a T-shirt with the phrase, 'I'm a biracial lesbian, just so you know and can respond accordingly'?"
  • "Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin (D), who 'is neutral in the race between King and Ali,' is not buying King’s explanation. Ervin left a comment on Maryland Politics Watch’s post, stating 'this is the second piece of mail that has left me wondering if Senator King has any idea how many people of color that she represents in her district.' Ali was equally bewildered by King’s denial, 'because clearly, to the plain eye, it’s obvious the photo has been altered. Without a doubt. So it’s one of those cases when someone says the sky is purple.'"
  • "What makes it all truly disagreeable is where they’ve gone with the concept 'what do the Kings of Leon look like when surrounded by black people?' The answer – horrifyingly – is that they are made to look positively messianic. In one hideous shot, one of the Kings, Bubba or whatever he’s called (ho, ho, they all look the same to me, ho ho) actually throws out his arms in a crucifix pose to welcome two ecstatically approaching black children. This comes fast on the heels of a shot of Bucky or Jeb or whatever striding purposefully in the beating sun leading a throng of other black children, like a pot-bellied charity shop Moses."
  • "Beyond their settings, what these future-war games have in common with the Modern Warfare series is a refusal to forthrightly acknowledge the inspiration for their subject matter. Video-game designers and players like to brag about how 'realistic' the games are, but when gamers talk about verisimilitude, they’re usually talking about graphical fidelity, about how lifelike the characters and environments are in an otherwise fantastical world — and not about how the medium reflects anything else about the actual world in which we live."
  • "The second part of this contradiction I’m pondering is that the culture of the Internet is all about what’s funny.  Lisa Nakamura made the excellent point in her talk about the 'racist griefing' that goes on in online games which often makes explicit use of racist epithets, which she explains this way: 'The n-word is funny because it is so extreme that no one could really mean it. And humor is all about ‘not meaning it.’ If you take humor and the n-word, you get enlightened racism online and attention.' She calls this 'enlightened racism.'  Nakamura goes on to argue that paradoxically, 'the worse the racism and sexism are, the more extreme and cartoonish it is, the harder it is to take seriously, and the harder it is to call it out'.”
  • "Manie Groenewald, the head of the African language studies department at the University of Johannesburg, said his students are now using a dictionary published in 1969 and another from the 1930s. Although they have been republished, they have not been updated, he said.That has left users with a dictionary whose vocabulary predates the dramatic political and social transformation in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994."