Category Archives: Open Thread

Open Thread: So You Think You Can Dance

by Latoya Peterson

Last night, while channel surfing, I decided to check out So You Think You Can Dance. I was instantly attracted because of the diversity of cast and crew and the interesting, complex performances.

This is a really bad video, but this was the only video of this really amazing performance by Alex Wong. (If anyone spies another, let me know.)

Wong really is poetry in motion – here is a different performance of his:

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find other videos but there aren’t any performers I dislike. The whole crew seems to be both talented and professional, and the choreographers really know their stuff.

Did anyone else catch the show?

Open Thread: NYT Op-ed Argues to Derecognize Certain African Nations

by Latoya Peterson

Reader BW sent in this op-ed published in the New York Times, which argues that the world should stop recognizing certain African nations. Pierre Englebert, of Pomona College, believes this will end many of the problems on the continent:

[F]or the past five decades, most Africans have suffered predation of colonial proportions by the very states that were supposed to bring them freedom. And most of these nations, broke from their own thievery, are now unable to provide their citizens with basic services like security, roads, hospitals and schools. What can be done?

The first and most urgent task is that the donor countries that keep these nations afloat should cease sheltering African elites from accountability. To do so, the international community must move swiftly to derecognize the worst-performing African states, forcing their rulers — for the very first time in their checkered histories — to search for support and legitimacy at home. Continue reading

Open Thread: Does the Celebrity Doppelganger Facebook Meme leave out POCs?

By Deputy Editor Thea Lim

Over at Sepia Mutiny, Anna writes about the fact that the new Facebook trend of replacing your profile pic with a photo of the celebrity who looks most like you poses a unique problem for some people of colour. She quotes from a number of friends who couldn’t find a celeb that looked like them:

“I’ve noticed that most of my friends of South Asian descent have changed theirs to Kal Penn when they don’t resemble him in the least… “all look same” syndrome, perhaps? :(“

“I’m only half-brown, and I hate that my doppelganger is white. I feel like I’m insulting my Dad with that picture. I’m not just white, even if I look it. I’m Indian, too!”

“I don’t look like Apu or that girl from the “Office”, so I guess I can’t play. Bummer.”

“I know I do not resemble anyone in the small group of desi celebs familiar to most Americans (e.g. Mindy Kaling, Padma Lakshmi, etc.). I couldn’t instantly think of a Latina/Persian/Arab/other brown-skinned celeb familiar to most Americans that I might resemble. (This is a small pool too! How many can you think of? The Kardashians don’t count ;)! Therefore, the number of potential possibilities seemed much larger in celebs more famous in South Asia than in the US. “

Personally I put up a picture of Pee Wee Herman. Unless it is hidden somewhere on his Wikipedia profile that he has some Chinese or Anglo-Irish heritage, I believe we don’t have any ethnic commonality.

Anyone else struggling to take part in the celeb doppelganger meme?

Open Thread: On Interlocking Privilege and Oppression

by Latoya Peterson

While I was at Web of Change, I proposed a caucus to discuss issues of race, class, gender, ability and access online. I gave a quick presentation outlining why technology is not neutral, and then opened it up to questions, comments, and discussions.

One of the attendees, Pam, brought up the term intersectionality. From the blank looks, I received from the rest of the room, I determined that this word has not gone far outside of the feminist blogosphere or feminist academia. I defined the term, then explained that sometimes we use this term to discuss our interlocking oppressions, or parts of our identity that cannot be separated from others.

Another attendee, Andrew, had a lightbulb moment and asked “Well, what about Interlocking Privilege and Oppression?”


Good question.

Much of my focus is on cross-cultural organizing between various groups. Andrew had pointed out earlier, in another session that while I could identify potential allies based on visible minority status, he was rendered invisible by this type of organizing. (Andrew actually attended all three sessions we hosted on access.) After mentioning how he as a poor white person who organized in rural areas defined community, we started to bat around two core ideas: How do we organize to achieve similar goals among disenfranchised people while taking into consideration the very real issues of racism/classism/gender oppression/ableism that keep us divided? And two, how do we deal with interlocking privilege and oppression, which is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to organize along class lines?

(Image Credit:  shho)