I got asked to represent my entire race (yes, the Asian, the Jewish, and the BOTH, all three) for the first time ever at lunch the other day. It was weird.

FYI I've got this unlocked b/c I wanted [tumblr.com profile] summercomfort to be able to read it. FWIW this is the sort of thing I usually put under the very lightest lock. If you're on DW or LJ and want to be able to read these sorts of posts, lmk and I'd be glad to give you access.

Read more... )

Jeez. What a lunch.

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.
Happened to watch the music video for Michelle Branch's "Goodbye to You" (2002) for the first time ever just now. Realized two things.

1) Branch is part Asian. This is confirmed by her Wikipedia bio which says she's part Dutch Indonesian. Just look at her eyes in that video. I can always tell. It sucks that my life society is such that I feel the need to notice such things.
2) The music video is totally like Memento, except with a bit less angst.

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.
One of the PostSecrets this week was from a multiracial person who is embarrassed when she(?) passes as white. This of course resonated with me greatly due to that being my own life story (well, I wouldn't say "embarrassed", but there definitely are non-positive emotions associated with it when I stop to reflect).

This led to two very interesting threads in the PostSecret LJ syndicate: this one starts with the post card itself, and this one also. I admit I speak a lot in those threads; what people have to say there is really interesting to me, from the POC, the (assumed) whites, and the other multiracial people.

ETA: If you haven't seen it, here's a post I wrote a while ago listing things that monoracial people take for granted. Some of them are more applicable to white monoracial people than monoracial POC.

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.


Nov. 9th, 2010 09:23 pm
asterroc: (xkcd - Fuck the Cosine)
Is it a common stale sci-fi trope to have a supposedly sentient alien race actually have only males be sentient and females are bestial breeding stock, or is it only Orson Scott Card (the Piggies in Speaker for the Dead) and Larry Niven (Kzin and Puppeteers in the Ringworld/Man-Kzin Wars universe) who are guilty of it? This sort of things is really the worst possible example of how many authors assume males are standard and only put in females if they're making a point.

Are there any cases of the reverse, a supposedly sentient alien race where actually only the females are sentient and males are bestial breeding stock?

Relatedly, does anyone remember enough about Anne McCaffrey's Catteni (Freedom's Landing series) to recall much about Catteni females? I've a distinct impression that either their females were also non-sentient, or at best they weren't mentioned as being anything special. Certainly the protagonist female wasn't anything special, with her battered woman syndrome that's taken for entirely normal.
Reading over a list of things that people with white privilege take for granted, I am reminded of how I feel every time I am told to "check only one box." This list is things that people of only one race take for granted.
  1. You can check only one box.
  2. You won't have complete strangers walk up to you and ask you what you are (as if maybe you're not human, after all).
  3. You can answer "where are you from" with the place where your house is located, or where the hospital in which you were born is located.
  4. You can answer "where are you from" in under ten minutes, without any follow-up questions.
  5. You don't have to worry if someone is hitting on you because you look "exotic". 
  6. You don't have to wonder if the person you're talking to would treat you differently if they knew what you "really" were. 
  7. You don't have to correct people when they describe you. 
  8. You can talk about white privilege or racism without having people give you funny looks.  ("How would she know?")
  9. You don't feel constantly torn in two directions about common cultural norms and values.
  10. You don't have to think about whether the clothing, jewelry, or make-up you're wearing makes you look too much like race X.
  11. You can wear hand-me-downs without worrying if they're too "ethnic". 
  12. You don't have people turn to you as a representative of either/all of your particular races/cultures.
  13. You don't have to check only one box (multicultural) that lumps you in with people of entirely different backgrounds.  (Tiger Woods and Obama would check that multicultural box, but their experiences are nothing like mine.)
  14. You can nod and agree when someone says to you "I'm multicultural: Italian and German!" 
  15. People don't expect you to laugh at jokes that slander your own background. 
  16. You don't have to feel simultaneously guilty about your advantages and angry about your disadvantages.
Time to run to work.  Got any more I can add?
I just reread Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (first read in high school). The edition I had included two afterwords, one of which discusses some letters he received from readers in this and other books of his. A number of these letters, he says, criticize his treatment (or lack thereof) of blacks and women. Bradbury harshly rebuts that this is the first step of censorship, and that changing his works to appease the many different minorities present in a large and populous society such as ours would be changing the essence of his pieces and would destroy his artistic creation. Unfortunately the afterword is still under copyright so I'm not easily finding the relevant text - anyone happen to have a link?

I'm disappointed by this attitude. Bradbury lumps underprivleged minorities (such as blacks and women) with privileged or neutral "minorities" such as dog lovers. He doesn't show understanding of the distinction between elective special interest groups, and minority status imposed upon one by society, and he also doesn't show understanding of the privilege/status/power involved in the involuntary minority statuses. He also doesn't show any interest in increased inclusivism in future works, applying the criticisms only to past completed works - altering completed works wouldn't be right IMO, but I do feel it is worthwhile to portray a more ideal society in pieces one writes in the future, without as many boundary lines of privilege between different members of society.
If were pissed off about Racefail, you'll want to promote this. If you write, you'll want to at least think about this. It's a contest for the best science fiction short story about "a world where universal access is a shared cultural value." Deadline Aug 15, word limit of 5,000, prize of $300 or 6c/word.

And more K-12 too. An elementary school mural w/ faces of black and latino kids who attend the school, is going to have the children repainted as white "to avoid controversy".


Way to teach the controversy, conservative dudes.
Edit: I have received a response, and it seems good.

LJ is now requiring new users to specify "male" or "female" on new account creation. If you don't like this,

  1. Edit your profile and select Unspecified for your gender option.

  2. Give feedback to LJ about this, see sample below.

  3. Send an email to Anjelika, GM of US operations, anjelika@livejournalinc.com, again see sample below.

More info here. You have until this Thursday (12/17) to make your voice heard.

sample text )
CNN has an article up about Disney's new black Princess. While the article leaves some to be desired (as do most CNN articles), it's still an interesting read.

asterroc: (doll)
Working on my primary NaNoWriMo story since I finished the short story. I realized my brain was dry and I wasn't coming up with good names for my characters, so I turned to online name generators. All the names sounded too bland, so I picked Irish from the dropdown menu. Then I realized I'd only been picking white names, so I found me a nice Hispanic name. Then I wanted something else for my last character and decided I wanted part of the name Asian, and part Islamic, mostly for variety. I could retcon that this hodge-podge fits her do-anything character, or that it demonstrates the genetic mixing that takes place in a fixed population, but really I just wanted something new. I posted to the NaNoWriMo forums b/c I was having a hard time finding an Islamic name generator online, and the Asian names I found were either androgynous (to American me) or else were stupid anglicisms like "Beautiful Tree" or "Strong Wind". I got a bunch of helpul replies too, and then I got this one.

Racefail cut for the sensitive )


Aug. 20th, 2009 09:47 am
asterroc: (doll)
Or, An amusing incident in race identification.

A few days ago I was killing time at the Mall while T$ was getting fitted for a tux, so I decided to pop over to Sephora and pick up a new powder foundation since my old one was almost out. (I don't wear a lot of makeup, but towards the start of the semester especially I do wear just a little bit, intended to give a natural but nicer look, so I'll be a bit more respectable looking. On those days I generally wear foundation, a subtle eye shadow, and lipstick.) I wasn't sure which of two colors fit my skin tone best (I thought Light or Lighter, though they had other fancier names), so I went over to a couple of assistants and asked them. The first woman said she thought Lighter (in a thick French accent), but the second woman said Lightest. "No no no," interrupted the first, "she's not White." "She's not?" queried the second with a puzzled look on her face, swinging her gaze between the French woman and my face, looking for signs of non-white-ness. "Nope," I interjected, "my mother's Chinese." "She is?" the second woman asked again, apparently stupefied, continuing to search my face. "Yep, you can tell from my eyes," I added, grinning, which emphasizes the tilt on the sides of my eyes. "You can? I can't tell," the second woman said again, and ended up leaving me to the French woman's care in her confusion.

I do have the eyelid folds that all Caucasians have, I wonder if that was what was throwing her. And I wonder what signs specifically the French woman saw that triggered it for her. And interesting that the Lightest shade is apparently only appropriate for full Caucasians - though the photo they show of a woman appropriate for that shade is always a freckled redhead (of Irish descent), so I would think that most Caucasians shouldn't even be using that Lightest shade.

Okay, enough procrastination. Time for power cleaning since the house looks like we're in the process of moving (we are rearranging furniture) and we have two people sleeping over tonight.


Jun. 26th, 2009 10:29 am
Been watching Michael Jackson videos on YouTube since I heard the news. Looking beyond issues of the music, dancing, and the birth of the music video, there is much to consider. On the one hand, I'm intrigued by how many of his songs had messages of peace and brotherhood, presumably influenced by the Cold War era. On the other hand, the video for "The Way You Make Me Feel" makes me want to punch the patriarchy in the nuts. I also find myself wanting to do an in-depth analysis of how MJ influenced race relations in the US, but I don't know enough about the subject, so if anyone finds a good discussion of it elsewhere, or knows enough themselves to discuss it, please let me know.
asterroc: (doll)
Two thoughts on one topic.

1) Anyone else here multiracial? It occurred to me after some discussion elsewhere that I am not aware of knowing anybody in real life who identifies as being of more than one race, and I can only think of one person that I know online. So if you are multiracial and and willing for me to know, please comment!

I have set this post to screen anonymous comments, so if you want me to know but not others to know, then log out and comment, putting your name in the comment and I'll keep it screened so no one else need know.

2) If you are multiracial, what term do you prefer to use to describe yourself? If you are not multiracial, what connotations do you infer in words such as multiracial, multi-ethnic, multicultural, mixed race, mulatto, mutt, hapa, mix-up, or even "you may check more than one" (as in the 2000 census)?

A week ago I got into a conversation with T$ and some of his friends that wandered into the term mulatto, and then D-- asked what the more appropriate word was. T$ replied "mixed-race" and I surprised myself by realizing that I myself didn't like that term. To me it has negative connotations of being even worse than a pure breed non-white. I usually use multicultural myself, b/c I do not feel most of the obvious effects of having my race stamped upon my face. However the problem with using the term is that white often throw back at me that they're multicultural b/c their background is of different groups of whites. I jokingly use mutt to describe myself to friends, but I would never accept it from others - much like "nigger" is a term that blacks can use on each other but you can't use on a black.
Earlier today I found myself wondering why everyone was calling this election a historic one.


And then I remembered that Obama's black.

And for the next year they're going to be talking about the first black US President.

And then the year after, or maybe the one after that, we'll have forgotten it, and it will be a non-issue for everyone else too.

Then we'll truly be living in the future.


Aug. 14th, 2008 02:34 pm
asterroc: (doll)
Linked to me by [livejournal.com profile] jrtom, here's an introspective article about being biracial in America, and Obama too.
asterroc: (doll)
CNN has a series of interviews (videos) regarding people's identity as black. The first one is with a woman author, and discussed the "one-drop" concept, as well as self-identity and isn't half bad (though the camera work is mostly bad). If you watch the whole thing through, the next will load, but I haven't watched the others yet.



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