The announcement that Google Reader would be shutting down hit me like the loss of an old friend with whom I had lately fallen out of touch–softly at first, then more powerfully. It’s easy to think as tech consumers that things die because of our neglect or disinterest. The biggest cliché that I acknowledge here is that Google Reader was more than a website, and whatever we neglected was more than a RSS aggregator. Still, Google Reader supported a blogging culture in which I have participated more infrequently over the years. Perhaps it’s worthwhile to take a wistful moment to reflect on how things have changed and what we do now.
I think I started using Reader in 2006 or 2007. I started by following some TV fan blogs that I wanted to keep up with. (I was really into Lost at the time.) When I got a handle of finding RSS feeds, I began to add everything. Blogs for cooking, news, tech, music, of college administrators and advisors, and even calendars and events. I must have cleared hundreds of items a day, reading post titles in fractions of a second. (The Trends feature in Google Reader tells me opaquely I have read 300,000+ items since 2009; apparently, it can’t fully count how many items I have read.)
In the summer of 2007, I started a blog with a close friend for our campus Asian American student organization. In the process of gathering things to write about in the world at large, I started a folder in Reader called “asian americana”, and then set out to find all the Asian American blogs there existed. There weren’t that many. Into “asian americana” went Angry Asian Man, of course. Hyphen magazine had a blog, too. Reappropriate was refreshing. Sepia Mutiny was still alive. Disgrasian was just a new upstart. If I missed any, my sincerest apologies; I read you all.
With Mexico’s presidential elections coming up this Sunday – under no shortage of shadiness, mind you – let’s kick off this week’s edition with Molotov’s “Gimme Tha Power,” (nsfw – language) which still resonates a decade after its original release:
Our next track is a find by our own Andrea Plaid: Esperanza Spalding,who we’ve featured before, teams up with jazz great Joe Lovano for a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Can’t Help It,” in a clip that winds its way thru NYC. And if you’re a fan of Wicked or Rent, keep an extra-close eye on her co-star …
One more track with a message to close us out: Jasiri X and Rhymefest went to the source when making the video for “Who’s Illegal?,” traveling to Alabama and Arizona and getting a view from the ground-level at the immigration fight in each respective state. The track is currently available as a free download on Jasiri’s Bandcamp site.
Last week at Racialicious HQ, we were delighted to see the term “hipster racism”–coined by our very own Carmen Van Kerckhove in 2006*–suddenly enter mainstream parlance, thanks to Jezebel’s publication of Lindy West’s “A Guide to Hipster Racism.” In a flash, the words “hipster racism” papered themselves across Facebook and Twitter feeds across the continent (and maybe the world?). Words are wonderful, and when more people have access to language that helps them name the racism of everyday life, we’re happy.
There was only one glitch. While West linked to one Racialicious post (a short piece Carmen wrote in 2007 about white girls and gang signs) she never once name-checks Racialicious or Carmen…or any of our amazing pals and allies who have been writing about this stuff since the main target was Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Girls (i.e. a long time ago).
On the one hand, no one takes up social-justice work to see their name in lights and, at the end of the day, the point is just to get the message across, no matter who gives it the signal boost. On the other hand, we’re only human. It hurts when work that we, as a collective, have been jackhammering about for seven-plus years gets credited to someone else. (Seven years, y’all! Back to the dawn of skinny jeans! Before Facebook was open to the public, for cripes’ sake.)
And as our friends at Bitch pointed out, it is also distressing, though not in the least surprising, that the words “hipster racism” are more palatable, resonant, and listenable when they come from the mouth of a white blogger. It’s enough to make you get real low and start thinking terrible emo thoughts, like one white blogger is worth more than ten bloggers of colour.
And so! To keep the emo monster at bay and, as an ancient person who remembers all the way back to a long lost time when Racialicious was known as Mixed Media Watch, I decided to quietly slip out of retirement for a moment to revisit just a few of our landmark posts about hipster racism, so as to remind ourselves (and yes, to remind the internet) of all the brotherpucking hard work we have done, lo these many years.
by Guest Contributor Jen Wang, originally published at Disgrasian
I know, I know. It’s just a clothing line! Lighten up! And it’s so kawaii as the ads keep telling me, forcing the word on me like a pacifier to the lips of a crying, reluctant babe. (Wouldn’t be surprised if Gwen Stefani had tried to trademark the Japanese word for “cute” some time in the last 5 years or so. She’s already pretty much got “Harajuku”–the name of a Tokyo neighborhood–locked down legally.) And look, the Harajuku Mini for Target children’s clothes collection, which launches Sunday online and in stores, is“kawaii,” in a “What if a little panda cub who was part skater-punk threw up and it looked like lollipops and rainbows?” sorta way.
But, you know, I can forgive, but I can’t forget. Wait, who am I kidding? I can’t forgive either! Because when I see this ad plugging Gwen Stefani’s latest business venture…
The controversy over Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother spread out this week online, when her oldest daughter shared her own story with The New York Post.
Written as a letter to her “Tiger Mom,” Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld (pictured above, on the right) defends her mother’s sense of humor and her parenting (“No outsider can know what our family is really like”) but also, unnervingly, seems to cast aspersions on critics:
In a pair of interviews posted since Latoya’s column on Amy Chua’s recent Wall Street Journal piece, Chua elaborated on both the themes of the book it was taken from, Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother, and said the newspaper mis-represented her book.
All I know is that for me it is feminisms with an “s.” Feminism for me is so much more than women’s issues, it’s human rights. I think it’s important to pull it apart. One definition is not going to do it. I think it’s dangerous to have one definition of feminism.
Harmony Education Foundation honours Jessica Yee for her work in breaking down barriers of discrimination and fighting for social justice. Her advocacy and activism for a more inclusive and equitable Canada epitomizes our ideal of a “youth leader for social change”.
Just as a visual representation, this is Jessica’s life according to Twitter:
# about to go watch my sister warrior and fave Native hip-hop lyricist Lindsay Eekwol Knight throw it down at the University of Saskatchewan about 15 hours ago via web
in Saskatoon presenting “Workin’ It With Two Spirit Youth” at the All Nations Hope 4th Annual Aboriginal HIV/AIDS & HCV Conference about 24 hours ago via web
Getting on the plane to Saskatoon! (@ Ottawa International Airport) http://4sq.com/b1rKvc 2:17 PM Nov 3rd via foursquare
5:30am train back to Ottawa to speak w/ fellow Onkwehonwe strong woman Ellen Gabriel “Oka Crisis, 20 Years Later” then 4pm plane 2 Saskatoon 9:46 AM Nov 3rd via web
On the train back to Ottawa – here for a whole 4 hours today! Lol (@ Via Rail Train Toronto-Ottawa) http://4sq.com/9qc6ZU 7:59 AM Nov 3rd via foursquare
Press Advisory – YOUTH ACTIVIST JESSICA YEE TO RECEIVE 2010 HARMONY AWARD: TORONTO, Nov. 2 /CNW/ – http://bit.ly/aal1MK 11:16 AM Nov 2nd via twitterfeed Retweeted by JessYee
Nia:wen ko:wa to all my friends, family/of choice, and most of all the youth who this award was for. Love you all so much 10:17 PM Nov 2nd via web
incredibly humbled tonight and blessed to have such an amazing community of support for me to receive 2010 National Harmony Movement Award 10:15 PM Nov 2nd via web
At Six Nations Polytechnic today working with kick-ass First Nations youth across Ontario on HIV leadership prevention http://4sq.com/ahwxpl 8:14 AM Nov 2nd via foursquare
hitting the road to Six Nations for Chiefs of Ontario HIV Young Leaders Forum today! 7:19 AM Nov 2nd via Twitter for BlackBerry®
Girl…celebrate with a nap!
In addition to tirelessly working on the blog carnival, and being our resident Twitter socialite, the fabulous Ms. Plaid was recently spotted on a Women’s ENews panel about “Drawing the Line: Sex and Consent.” Here’s a clip of the live event:
Fatemeh, in the midst of editing and writing, was also quoted in the LA Times, on the inclusion of Iran and Saudi Arabia on a new U.N. agency devoted to women’s rights.
Fatemeh Fakhraei,[sic] the editor of the U.S.-based Muslimah Media Watch, expressed similar concerns.
“It’s important to have representatives from the Middle Eastern region on this board, but it’s equally important to have representatives who are genuinely committed to improving women’s rights,” she wrote.
Y’all see him every day on site – but did you also know that he moonlights as a DJ? Arturo, post a mix!
Nadra Kareem is knee-deep in writing for TheLoop21.com, Change.org and About.com.
Thea is buried in her next novel. She says “after four years of blogging, I am trying to learn to appreciate much slower modes of publishing. :)” But several of her articles for Racialicious are being reprinted in Canadian and American textbooks, including Canadian Content and Opposing Viewpoints.
It’s been a good few weeks for media coverage.
The image at the top is from Essence Magazine’s November Race Issue, where they said:
“Latoya Peterson is like that whip-smart friend who effortlessly breaks down the nuances of White Privilege but can also gab about True Blood. As editor of the blog Racialicious, the 27-year old offers witty, fearless critiques of race and pop culture.”
I would transcribe the text, but it’s basically my bio and a quote about having women in front of and behind the camera. All of my comments about race ended up on the cutting room floor, which I expected.
It was great meeting Morgane, Lena, and Jen, but where there is feminism, there is always drama. (See here, here, here,here, and here.)
Last night, I was on a panel about the Future of Blacks in Television – soon as a video is up, I’ll link to it.
And on to our special guests…
While he’s not officially a member of Team Racialicious, he’s with us 100%, so we were thrilled to see the fabulous Phil Yu (aka Angry Asian Man) hitting the cover of KoreAM:
By Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man
Racialicious would also like to say congratulasians to our buddies at Disgrasian!
Yes, I’m aware that Olivia Munn is on the cover of Maxim. Looking good too. But whatever. Forget that. The real hottest ladies on the internet are currently rocking the cover of Hyphen. My pals Jen Wang and Diana Nguyen, the brainy and beautiful bloggers behind Disgrasian, are the cover gals of Hyphen’s“Trailblazing” issue.
I love it. Lots of good stuff inside too, including interesting features on Asian Americans serving in the Obama White House, to Asian Americans gaining visibility in the wine industry. Get your copy on newsstands, or better yet, subscribe to the magazine here at the discounted rate of $16 for 4 issues ($2 off).
Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World