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Stuff I focus on a lot, categorized:
About a month ago, I engaged in an extremely long-winded and probably pretty useless argument about diversity in hiring in Silicon Valley. I’m not sure why I bothered, except that my haunches always get raised when people talk about “pipeline problems” for talent – as if the pool for all the talent you needed was a slow trickle in every single flavor but one and THAT’S WHY everybody in your company looks the same.
Anyway, the conversation stayed pretty genial throughout, though I was still bummed that I, for some reason, wasn’t able to convince my internet debater that Google being… say… 2% black and not particularly women-friendly had much less to do with a tiny black talent pool and more to do with hiring policies that from the start filters out black people. Policies like “hire from Harvard/Stanford only” or “get your Google-employed friend to refer you” in lieu of policies like “let’s see your code.”
I won’t go over my points in detail again (mainly, I’d just like to point out that NOT hiring someone because you’re afraid they’re going to think they’re a token hire is massively insulting to that person/self-perpetuating your echo chamber) - because this guy says just about everything I wanted to say, PLUS he’s actually in the tech industry:
Yuri Kochiyama, Japanese-American activist, passed away earlier this month at the age of 89. In a time where the Asian-American movement sometimes feels completely coopted by hashtagtivism and micro-aggressions, it feels even more important to remember the iconoclasts of our past.
Before the month is suddenly over (I had meant to post this weeks earlier, drafted it up and then left it in drafts for much longer than intended), I wanted to point people who hadn’t already discovered it to the amazing Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center website created in her honor:
She’s most remembered in cultural history as the woman who held Malcolm X’s head in her lap as he lay bleeding to death from his assassination. But she meant so much more to the civil rights movement as a whole, including securing apologies for Japanese-Americans interned during World War II (she was one of them) and helping the fledgling Asian-American movement that grew out of descrimination during the Vietnam War.
And she represents something to me at least that I feel Asian-Americans need to think hard about nowy – what really does fighting for our rights mean divorced from the context of everybody else’s? Especially now that we’ve climbed (mostly) out of that pool of race-based disdain/fear, to the point where it’d be really unfair to, for instance, count us as diversity points in a tech company.
Sure, a lot of our position now was hard work and a culture of valueing education and immigrant go-gettedness, but a lot of it was also built off the backs of movements another race started and still has to fight harder than us for today.
It’s almost weird looking back at pictures like this and then seeing the prevalent racism against blacks/latinos/otherbrownerAsians in the Asian community today, even from people purporting to fight the good fight for better Asian inclusion/visibility. Before this month is up, I just want to remember - and think about how to get back to - a time where it felt like the civil rights movement was unified?
To be honest, when I first heard of Eddie Huang’s Fresh Off the Boat series, I wasn’t really feeling it. I mean, I’m glad to see Asian Americans (especially specifically Taiwanese Asian Americans) get some representation on national television and this article from the excited, but also eloquent, dad of the kid who’ll be playing Eddie in the series made me think “Good for you!” But after the disaster that was the racist shit show of Sullivan & Sons, I was pretty sure I knew where this would lead:
ASIAN PERSON STRESS OUT OVERACHIEVER. WOMAN ARE OVERBEARING DRAGON LADY. CASUAL RACISM TOSS AROUND OK BECAUSE MINORITY SO JOKE.
But then this trailer came out.
Yes, there’s still a little about the above, but in one trailer it seems to get so many hallmarks of the Asian in White Country experience right. The approximation of the American accent by the immigrants that are really trying to fit in (my Aunt basically memorized an idiom phasebook). The way Asian mothers strain to “bond” with white moms (my Mom could never get over how one of the Michigan moms at our school was unloading her second-hand goods on other families: “I felt like I had to buy something to be nice, but why would I ever need another person’s toaster?!”). The sad battle for supremacy with the only other minority in the area.
Also, I actually laughed at the line about wishing Evan was a girl.
It’s heartening. It looks like the Asian version of “Everybody Hates Chris” (though I hope it lasts longer) and something I’d actually be interested in watching. And I also find it heartening that it’s part of a surprisingly diverse slate of new comedies on ABC.
One of the weirdest things I noticed in recent years was the racial step backwards network television seemed to have taken.
I guess I don’t have the stats to prove it was a racial step backwards, but it certainly feels like television was more diverse in the early-to-mid-90s. Sure, you had Seinfeld and Friends - but there was also Fresh Prince and In the House… and Family Matters and Sister, Sister. Somehow, over 20 years, network television transformed into this instead:
That’s the main stars of NBC’s 2013-2014 lineup. The one black guy in the top right is the main character from Ironside, a cop drama where he is apparently the only black cop in a team of New York-based cops.
I’m picking on NBC, because somebody had already made the picture. But just a year earlier, ABC’s lineup was almost as bad: Out of 24 scripted shows, you had 26 POCs in main character ensembles (21, if you count Lily the adopted Asian girl from Modern Family). Eight of those 24 shows (over 1/3rd) contained casts of ONLY white people. Another eight shows were all white-people-except-for-one-guy/gal. There was no show that was predominantly POC, though there were two where POC made top billing. The poorest represented, as always, were Latinos (compared to the population) and Asians (Three. I counted three whole Asians in all 24 shows).
That’s pretty abysmal… and this was the year we were heaping praise on them for bringing us Scandal.
Which I guess makes it doubly nice that ABC is basically doubling the amount of diversity in its lineup with just three of its new additions. Let’s hope this is a continued trend and not just one blip in a slide towards television whiteness even as America’s population demographics continue to get more colorful.
Excerpted from Cord Jefferson’s piece on Gawker.
I was about 10 when Friends first came out and it was full-blown popular by the time I’d reached “can control the TV remote” age. And this is a little embarrassing to think about now, but 13-year-old me daydreamed about being a recurring character on it one day.
It’s weird to think that, should I have completely gone a completely different route and become an actress, 14 years later, I STILL wouldn’t be able to get a recurring role on a show that’s supposed to be about 20-somethings in New York City… aka my life (at one point, anyway).
Though what’s most interesting to me that Lena Durham and the one racist lady from Vice ended up being the straw that broke the collective internet’s “I’m so sick of stories about New York that only involve white people“‘s back. Why this and not Two Broke Girls?
Really, this is the main point of everything icky and bigoted, be it racism, classism or misogyny.
From A Complete Guide to Hipster Racism on Jezebel
I didn’t actually remember who’s link I’d opened up to find that horrible Gurl Goes to Africa tumblr about white people in Africa, but I’m sorry that this person got so much flack for liking it that she’s now leaving Tumblr. I didn’t really follow her, but her previous posts seemed pretty good and I probably would’ve started if I’d discovered her before this.
I disagree, however, that the blog isn’t racist. Yes, some of the original captions are ridiculous and they should probably be mocked (though I construed the girl who braided her hair and then said “Look, I’m African now [only with white skin]” or something along those lines as meta humor). But overall, someone just took ANY picture ANY white person put up of their trip to Africa and mocked it. The overall message of that is “white people don’t belong here.”
Looking through some of the comments on other sites about this blog, people have argued that the blog is actually making fun of privilege. Because it takes some amount of money for you, as a white person, to get over there and cavort amongst Africans. I guess compared to many of the impoverished children shown, sure, the foreigners have more privilege. But saying you have to be an elite, at least by Western standards, to make your way over there ignores the people who decided to volunteer for Peace Corps or those who fundraised with churches or those on the dozens of other types of scholarships/volunteer opportunities that recognize that some people do feel affected by what’s happening in the world of the Bottom Billion (to coin a phrase by Paul Collier) and want to at least try to help, no matter their own financial situation.
And that having been said, what exactly is wrong about being born into a privileged position? Babies have about as much control over their financial environment as they do over the color of their skin. The ones in these pictures at least had the decency to grow up and spend what money daddy and mommy earned on trying to get unsheltered (whether they succeeded or not, I don’t know). Should they have stayed in their respective countries of origin and spent it on burgers topped with edible gold foil instead? Or is just the fact that they’re born rich enough to afford to volunteer enough to shit on them?
Though thinking that everyone up there is in fact privileged because they’re white is also racist, which leads back to:
By not being discretionary with who’s pictures they’re putting up there, this blog sucks. Once again, yes, some of the original captions are hilariously obtuse - but not all of them are original captions. Some the author/s came up with themselves. Unless they could give more context to point out why the pictures without original captions are hilarious, putting them up and mocking them solely because they feature a person of one race interacting with people of another is pretty racist.
You don’t have to have plans for genocide to be racist. You could just make a tumblr expressing the opinion that someone doesn’t belong somewhere because of their skin color.
I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you to Tumblr and the time I have spent here. I have met some amazing and fantastic people; people who have become my friends and important to me, in real life, as well as making me laugh and think, on the daily, on the internet.
But, it is time to hang up my…
How anyone can tell me Rush Limbaugh is not a racist is beyond me.
Not that I don’t doubt Rush Limbaugh is a big ol’ racist, but I may need a little help understanding what’s the racist implications behind him calling the President “boy” and “man-child.” I would’ve felt that this was more Rush being dismissive (and ageist!). Is “man-child” another minstrel show term I didn’t know about?
During a rant about tax funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, Chicago-area high school teacher Dave Burk allegedly told students, “How would you feel about your tax dollars going to pay some black fag in New York to take pictures of other black fags?” Openly gay Geneva High School student Jordan Hunter is now spearheading a call for Burk’s firing.Burk’s attorney, D.J. Tegeler, said Monday he was not personally aware of the terms Burk used to his classes, but that Burk apologizes for any offense. “Mr. Burk is cooperating fully with both the principal, the dean of students and the school board,” Tegeler said. “Mr. Burk’s biggest problem is he does not want to intentionally offend anybody and if he did, he apologizes.” Tegeler said Burk will abide by any punishment the district picks. “We have no intention of fighting anything,” Tegeler said. Hunter, who reported Burk to the administration, wants Burk fired. “If he wants to talk about a poor place to put our tax dollars, I think his salary is a poor place to put our tax dollars,” said Hunter, who is gay.
Hunter said several other students have contacted him, saying Burk repeated the same phrase in all his classes. “He’s free to feel any way he wants, but [with him] being in a position of influence like that over children, I don’t think he should be using that position to make statements like that,” said Hunter, 17, of Geneva. School board member Matt Henry said Hunter’s allegations might come up during tonight’s board meeting, but the board’s plan is to leave the issue to Craig Collins, the assistant superintendent for personnel services, who could not be reached for comment.
Kudos to Jordan Hunter, let’s hope he prevails.
The lawyer’s name is D.J., because he spins the truth.