links for 2010-10-25

  • “Ravi and Wei have become a foil for anti-Asian racism calling for their 'return to their countries,' and ascribing homophobia to their cultures – as if homophobia were not deeply ingrained in the culture of the U.S.,' according to a statement prepared by Robert T. O'Brien, an instructor in the Department of Anthropology."
  • "It is not enough for good people — religious or otherwise — to simply be feeling more positive toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Tolerance and a live-and-let-live attitude beats discrimination and abuse by a mile. But it's not enough. Tolerant people, especially tolerant religious people, need to get over their squeamishness about being vocal advocates and unapologetic supporters of LGBT people. It really is a matter of life and death, as we've seen.

    I learned this in my dealing with racism. It's not enough to be tolerant of other races. I benefit from a racist society just by being white. I don't ever have to use the "n" word, treat any person of color with discourtesy, or even think ill of anyone. But as long as I am not working to dismantle the systemic racism that benefits me, a white man, at the expense of people of color, I am a racist. And my faith calls me to become an anti-racist — pro-active, vocal, and committed."

  • "In 2001, rumors were circulating in Greek hospitals that surgery residents, eager to rack up scalpel time, were falsely diagnosing hapless Albanian immigrants with appendicitis. At the University of Ioannina medical school’s teaching hospital, a newly minted doctor named Athina Tatsioni was discussing the rumors with colleagues when a professor who had overheard asked her if she’d like to try to prove whether they were true—he seemed to be almost daring her. She accepted the challenge and, with the professor’s and other colleagues’ help, eventually produced a formal study showing that, for whatever reason, the appendices removed from patients with Albanian names in six Greek hospitals were more than three times as likely to be perfectly healthy as those removed from patients with Greek names."
  • The question remains, can today’s black performers succeed in disconnecting blackface from its larger historical context? Is nixing minstrel show’s iconic white gloves and freakish red or white drawn-on grins enough to preclude blackface as an act of racism?
  • File this under, "Those Negroes are *so* unusual! And they eat funny food, too!" ::eyeroll:: –AP

    "[Y]et the black church has long been ambivalent about whooping. Some scholars say contemporary black churches are abandoning whooping because they think it's crass. But more white preachers are discovering it through YouTube and by sharing the pulpit with black preachers.

    The most persistent debate over whooping revolves around its legitimacy. Is it fair to call it an art form? What's so hard about a preacher screaming and sweating in the pulpit?

    Those are the critics who say whoopers are minstrels, not ministers.

    "The hairs on the back of my neck stand up when people say that," says the Rev. Martha Simmons, a whooping preacher and scholar. "It is a genuine art form."

  • "The mere idea of changing the affirmative-action system has reopened old wounds in Malaysian society and reactivated the long-running debate on how best to fuse Malays, Chinese and Indians into one nation. The direction Malaysia takes, moreover, has repercussions beyond its shores. The issues raised by Najib’s proposals are relevant to any upwardly mobile developing economy, especially a multicultural one: how to increase wealth and do so equitably."
  • This is a take down of the Elizabeth Moon essay that sparked a problem at Wiscon, a feminist focused con that is still struggling with inclusion issues. Moon was invited as the guest of honor, but this is a take down of her screed against Muslims/immigrants. – LDP

    "Saying that a group has "the traits of good people" is a direct linguistic claim that they are not, inherently, good people. Saying that Muslims have "the virtues of civilized people" says that they aren't actually civilized; they just share those "virtues," whatever they happen to be. And limiting the claim to "many Muslims" goes further into the previous statement… allows her to imply, without claiming, that the majority of Muslims are not civilized, lack virtues, and are not admirable."

  • "[W]andering around on my own as one of the new black faces in the crowd I discovered that lots of people felt entitled to walk up to me and demand my time. Someone actually asked me to teach them about race within two seconds of reading my badge. [...] Then there were the people who just stared into the POC safe space room like it was a particularly interesting zoo exhibit complete with pointing. And the infamous panel on Rape in Sci-Fi, and some other less than stellar interactions with random folks who clearly had thoughts about me, but lacked the stones to express them directly. Yeah, thinking back to that weekend I can't remember what possessed me to want to go back to WisCon this year. [...] I don't go to WisCon to be an example of my race, a teaching tool, a teacher, or even to prove that I'm not secretly someone else , I go to WisCon to have the closest thing to a good time that I can at a con."
  • "When I wear an ao dai as a steampunk, I think about it as being more than a costume or a cosplay. My outfits become a representation of myself: Vietnamese and American and steampunk.

    Time is treated by steampunks with a Doctor Whovian “wibbly-wobbly” sensibility: the future lies in the past and exists in the present. Steampunk clothes represent how our imagined histories are based on real history, and whatever steampunk fantasy we construct for ourselves can have a basis in who we are and where we fit in the world. When you see me, you can see a story, part fantasy, part reality. This is the story I give to you. When steampunks dress up, they engage in this performance of identity; when you see us, you see the stories we tell each other.

    Because sometimes the most interesting way to present your steampunk self is with nothing but the clothes on your back."