Just so you know…

If you are going to comment on anything here, especially if you want to just argue without PROOF, then you will be mocked, ignored and banned, not neccessarily in that order. If you drop in on posts older than 6 months old, you will be mocked, your comment deleted and banned again not in that order. This is my little corner of the web, and if you don’t like the rules feel free to leave, just close the door on your way out.

Wiscon 39 Programming sign ups CLOSE TOMORROW 3/29!

Reminder! Wiscon programming sign ups close tomorrow! Get that survey done so your feedback can be heard! It’s a big part of how programming is decided so you should do the survey!!!

WisCon 39 Programming

Traditionally, WisCon programming has been divided into separate tracks to provide some visual organization in the at-Con programming pocket guide. However, they serve other purposes. By grouping like concepts together, we hope to prompt you to think of fascinating and important directions to take programs. The tracks are listed below. Click “More»” to read each full description.

Please review your panel interest expressions on the panel sign up and attendance interest form!

For your convenience, we’ve also provided a full list of proposed panel items. You may wish to open this link in a separate tab or window for ease of reference.

Questions/Concerns/Feedback can be sent to program@wiscon.info

Thank you!

Cheers!

Tanya D.
WC 39 Programming Deputy

I’m going to be on a panel at C2E2 this year!! So excited!

Thanks to the fabulous @ANerdCalledRage asking me to join her, I’ll be on this panel at this year’s C2E2:

Through Brightest Days & Blackest Nights – A Black Nerd Girl’s Journey

Fri. April 24| 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM | Room S405b

This is no longer Heinlein’s Nerdom. The white-skinned, flowing haired Damsel in Distress is more likely to be the dark-skinned, kinky haired Reluctant Hero. The chiseled, blue-eyed avatar is more likely to have brown eyes and rounded features. As the Geekverse grows, so do representations of black women within it. Unfortunately, black women still face many barriers towards being accepted as “real nerds.” Our discussion will focus on the past, present and future of the black nerd girl and her place in the ‘Verse. This Panel is sponsored in part by the Chicago Nerd Social Club.

@ANerdCalledRage (Mod), @karnythia, @kdc, @karlyn_darlin & me! @cypheroftyr

Full Schedule is now live at C2E2’s website

A lovely Friday night spent with cool people

20150327_190811

I’m really lucky in that I know such awesome people. Hungout last night atmaryrobinette ‘s along with GeekMelange, Karnythia & KTO. I got to meet @tobiasbuckell. Pictured showing off Mary Robinette’s selection of fine spirits. He’s a cool guy and glad I got hang out with such cool peeps. Also, there was pecan pie & good whiskey along with awesome peeps.

Lemme dust this thing off and say hello, again

So things have been super busy for me since I last posted here! Last October I started the #INeedDiverseGames hashtag over on twitter and it took off into the stratosphere. That was partially in thanks to Karnythia who has a great online footprint and presence.

Thankfully the conversations sparked by this hashtag continued on and now there’s a Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook page, Google+ and other spots.  There’s a lot more going on, including a Patreon, some other fund raising things going on, and hopefully many great things going on in the year to come.

You can find out more about #INeedDiverseGames on the FAQ page, and if you are feeling generous, support us on Patreon, PayPal donation, or via our Spreadshirt store.

The other exciting news is that I’ve got an article over at BoingBoing Offworld! On what else, Race, Thedas and Dragon Age. Check it out and as usual stay out of the comments.

So there will be more frequent posting and hopefully more talk about things that don’t fit my twitter/tumblr/Facebook.

If you want to follow me on social media, you can find me on Twitter, Google+ & Tumblr pretty easily. My Facebook is locked to Friends Only. If you want me to speak on a panel, or at a convention, there’s a handy link on the sidebar.

So… Coming Out Day

I’ve got mixed feelings about Coming Out Day. On the one hand, I understand it’s importance, the necessity for some to have this day. On the other, I almost feel like there’s a pressure to be out and proud or use the day as a springboard to come out if you’re not already.

What I don’t think a lot of people realize is that coming out, being out and staying out is a privilege. It’s brave, it’s costly but it’s a privilege. Being out is also dangerous for some of us. While it would be nice to come out of the closet, blowing the door off the hinges, having everything be awesome and nice… it’s often not the case.

Too many people, especially young people are told they are not worthy of human decency, love, affection because of their orientation. Too many are cast out from their homes, their lives torn apart for taking that step. For being true to themselves.

Too often our youth are driven to suicide, too often people don’t come out for fear of losing everything. Home, job, children, even their lives. It’s not easy to come out and have life just go on as it had been. Some people are forthright in their confusion, their disdain, anger, feelings of betrayal.

Others may slowly creep out of your life, unsure how to deal with you now that you’ve broken their nice little assumptions of you. Then there’s the hostility, the threats, the danger that the person you know isn’t who you thought they were. The way in which they avoid you, hurt you, make remarks that cut all the deeper because they know you have taken that leap to be open and honest with everyone in your life.

Coming out is a process that shifts with each time you do it. Each time you give that piece of yourself up to outer scrutiny. If you come out, it’ll be done many, many times for the rest of your life. There’s always new people, new situations, new reasons, ways to fling open that door again.

But there’s the flip side to all of this. For a lot of people, they just can’t come out. It will mean death, it will mean loss of all. There’s some people who don’t’ give a damn about being out. It’s their life, their business and no one needs to know.

I can respect that, and I can also respect those that have to come out. To be who you are in all ways to everyone around you. Neither way is wrong, or right or perfect, or deserving of ire.

Lastly, and this is something I want people to really remember. You don’t owe it to anyone to come out. You don’t owe the world, your family, your friends, anyone but you a reason to be out.

If you never tell a soul about your partner, never correct pronouns when someone asks about your husband or wife, it’s all good. 

We all have the right to live our lives as we see fit. It’s not a competition, no one gets a fucking prize for being out nor do we get black marks for keeping our lives to ourselves.

So if you are using today to come out, I salute you. I am proud of you and I honor your bravery in doing so.

If you are pondering your orientation, thinking about today and using it as a way to come to terms with who you are, again…my hat’s off to you and I wish you well on your journey to wherever you land.

If today is a day that makes you cringe and hate the world and it’s ideas, I understand and hope it passes quickly and quietly for you.

If someone takes the risk to come out to you today, be a good friend. Don’t talk over them, just listen, don’t offer condolences, say it’s a phase, turn them away or tell them to get right with DEITY. It doesn’t work that way.

Don’t take someone’s act of bravery and turn into a moment to earn brownie points, or show just how tolerant you are.

Shut up, listen and when they are done talking? Give them a hug and thank them for taking that risk. Thank them for their bravery and their trust in you.

Lastly some resources for you:

National Coming Out Day – Wikipedia Article

National Coming Out Day Facebook Page

On Respecting the Boundaries of your Bisexual Friends (from my ‘grown up blog’)

Human Rights Campaign Straight Ally “Coming Out Day Guide” 

HRC’s Coming Out Day resource page

We Got Your Back Project

About “Save the Pearls”

So… I’ve had some time to ruminate on this ‘book‘… “Save the Pearls”. I put book in air quotes because this doesn’t deserve to be called a book. It’s a self serving, poor me, white people are OMG oppressed in this far flung, post apocalyptic, fictitious world so this is totally ok, AMIRITE?! oppression fantasy brought to you.

Here’s the “About” blurb. I apologize in advance for any rage you may experience, but I didn’t write this. Bold commentary mine.

Would you betray your loved ones—and maybe your entire race—to avoid a horrible death?

In a post-apocalyptic world where resistance to an overheated environment defines class and beauty, Eden Newman’s white skin brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. The clock is ticking: if Eden doesn’t mate before her eighteenth birthday, she’ll be left outside to die. (Humanity is fucked then if people who don’t mate by 18 are left to die, shortest dystopian epic ever)

If only a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class would pick up her mate option, she’d be safe. But no matter how much Eden darkens her skin and hair, she’s still a Pearl, still ugly-cursed with a tragically low mate-rate of 15%.

Just maybe one Coal sees the real Eden and will save her-she has begun secretly dating her handsome co-worker Jamal. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father’s secret biological experiment, she is thrown into the eye of a storm-and the remaining patch of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land.

Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity’s last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction to him. To survive, Eden must change-but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty-and of true love.

Acclaimed writer VICTORIA FOYT <—- acclaimed by WHO? blends equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and romance, in this captivating dystopian novel set in a terrifying future, which is all too easy to imagine. <—- only if you are a white person who is terrified of becoming a minority and what it could mean if *gasp* there are more of them than us.

The first installment in the Save the Pearls series of fantasy romance novels, Revealing Eden recently won the 2012 Eric Hoffer Award in the Young Adult Category, the Best YA Fantasy Award from Books & Authors, and was runner up in the 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival!

NO, JUST FUCKING NO. Save yourself the trouble and embarrassment of attempting to make a “statement” when all you’ve done is show how very, very little you know of how the world works. This attempt at showing some alternate reality, where white people are oppressed, devalued and dying out because they have a low mate rate because they can’t survive a super heated environment due to their lack of melatonin is perverse.

It’s a sad attempt at showcasing their own little world view (emphasis on little, since their writing and attempts and stemming the tide of their own fail on FB shows how narrow minded the author is) and trying to make some kind of … argument for something…

The author has posted a response on the Facebook page, here and many people have responded. It looks like the author is deleting comments that disagree with her post, her book and this whole concept. Here’s what I had to say:

Intent means nothing. Look at the vocabulary used in the book. Coals for dark skinned people, supposedly those that are “Coals”a re more worthy and valuable. Do you understand that coal does not have value except as fuel, something to be used and tossed away? Yet the poor, oppressed white people in this book are still called “Pearls”. Pearls, a semi-precious item in today’s world, something of intrinsic value, that is coveted, and treasured by others. 

The snippets I’ve seen are poorly written, the cover is offensive and you jumping up and down saying I’m not a racist is full of fail. Try harder, do some research into what words mean as well as caste systems, and try again once you have some research, some facts and can do better than this…whatever this is.

In choosing to KEEP TALKING instead of listening to the numerous POC (and non-POC) voices telling her how racist, fucked up, vilifying and fetishizing this thing is, the author is trying the usual tactic of repeating ad nauseum, but I’m not a racist! I’m not a racist! And this goes back to Jay Smooth’s point of how to tell the difference in someone doing/saying something racist, but that doesn’t mean they are a racist.

I’d liked to have given the writer of this fictitious world the benefit of the doubt, but when her responses basically boil down to OMG YOU ALL I AM NOT RACIST, STOP PICKING ON ME. I AM CRYING ALL MY WHITE WOMAN TEARS, WHY CAN’T YOU JUST TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHAT I’M DOING HERE!!!

I can’t do that because of her oh so special comment here:

Conceivably, if the book had not reached the African-American community of readers, if such a category still exists, perhaps there might be some backlash. The first young African American reader who responded to me loved the book. But then, she’s the kind of free spirit who would eschew limiting herself to a single category.”

That gave any inclination I had to be civil in this post went right the fuck out my living room window.

“IF SUCH A CATEGORY STILL EXISTS?” You know what Victoria Hoyt, FUCK YOU. I’ve been reading since before you were thought of you privileged dumb ass. Who the fuck do you think you are to make such a statement? Clearly reading, writing, and comprehension are skills you lack based on the this thing you are attempting to pass off as a serious look at “reverse-racism”, what-if scenarios.

Here’s something for you to read, print, and tack it next to your monitor because you need a lesson in how not to continue to fuck up regarding race issues:

I didn’t mean to and other such nonsense from allies:

http://racismschool.tumblr.com/post/22807040831/i-didnt-mean-to-and-other-such-non-sense-ally

Also, the Invisible Knapsack from Peggy McIntosh is required reading for you (and anyone else dumb enough to think your book is anything but an epic case for race fail).

I’d say just fucking Google it but it’s clear that using research tools and methods and actually trying to sound like an intelligent human being is beyond you, so have a freebie.

Ahem, back to what I was saying… oh yes how this attempt at post apocalytpic dystopia (read white oppression, mandingo fantasy gone wild) is a piece of tripe.

In going back to the site (shudder) to get more reference material I found this “video-log” of the main protaganist. SHE IS IN BLACKFACE, FUCKING BLACKFACE YOU HEAR ME. (video is here, watch at your own risk, I am not responsible for any damage caused after viewing it)

Just… really? Mate rate? Is that what people have been reduced to you in your fantasy world? Mate or die? If that’s the best you can come up with as a plot device, I would skip this tripe anyway but the whole thing about “Coals” and “Pearls” just cements the fact you are naive, privileged and have no clue about real world race issues.

Let me tell you something… words have meaning, they have value. Tossing about words like Coals, savage, beastly in reference to the antagonist who discovers her father’s experiments and tosses her out in the rain forest does not endear me, you want-to-be wordsmith. It shows that you still buy into the savage, hyper-sexualized, black man trope. It shows me that you couldn’t be bothered to try and find some way to describe the superior, darker people in this book without finding a way to still reduce them to nothing by your choice of words.

The fact that whites are described as “Pearls”, something precious, to be coveted and desired, “saved” shows your oppression fantasy quite clearly for the world to see, and it’s ugly. You should cover it up. I also want to know in what world (oops, yours apparently) that the girl used in the YouTube video would be considered ugly? She looks like someone dabbed her in brown shoe polish and she needs a bath but she is not ugly. I suppose there are people who tell her, you’re not bad looking for a Pearl in your book? (my guess is not really).

Someone with some sense, and a red pen should have stopped you when you pitched this idea to begin with. Someone with sense and editorial knowledge should have sat you down and explained how racism actually works in the real world, how the caste system works in the real world before letting you attempt whatever the hell you have let loose on the world.

Congratulations, you have created something I hold in greater derision that 50 Shades of Grey. You have also shown that you need some very harsh life lessons in order to see that racism is more than you conceive of in your attempt to show people the wrongs of racism. You failed Hoyt, seriously, epic-ally failed in Eden.

Also, other people have taken this concept and done it WELL. [Noughts and CrossesBlonde Roots] You should read their books, take notes and once you come out from the cave of Tropes, caricatures and fallacy that your characters reside in, perhaps learn to listen and try again, or not. I’m sure none of us would mind if you stopped attempting to teach people about concepts you don’t even understand yourself.

On “Oh You Sexy Geek Girls & Self Objectification”

Ok, so I’ve read this article, really sat down and parsed it out, shared it on my Tumblr after a FB friend posted a link to it and I can’t get behind it.  This person doesn’t seem to be a member of the cosplaying community, is painting every woman who does cosplay with the same brush of wanting to garner straight male gaze with their attire, and couches it in academic sounding terms for the appearance of legitimacy.

It doesn’t consider those who do cosplay for the love of costuming, the challenge of getting a difficult concept right, showing off the fruits of your labor to those who can appreciate the work and craftsmanship that goes into cosplay.

It also assumes that all female “sexy” cosplayers are straight and angling for hetero male approval/attentions. Or that all these women are doing it to show off their bodies in some attempt to titillate or again garner straight male gaze/approval. 

As a gamer, and a geek I found it offensive on behalf of people who do cosplay. A friend of mine who is really into it took serious offense at the article because it assumes that she (as someone who has cosplayed Isabela from DA II and Trish from the Devil May Cry series) is putting on that costume strictly to garner male attention and approval. No she does it because she loves the costuming, the challenge of putting it together and because she wants to do it for her own pleasure, not to get some dude’s (unwanted) gaze

It also made me think of another friends post (on Tumblr) who dressed up for her self, because she was having a day of I wanna wear this for me. A coworker then turned it into C must have a date/is interested in someone in her class/has a crush. Because clearly you can’t just dress nicely for YOURSELF, instead you must be doing it to get some man’s attention. 

Yeah that article just doesn’t sit right with me.I will definitely reference it at my WisCon panel next weekend.

Review: Throne of the Crescent Moon

Throne of the Crescent Moon
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent showing for Saladin Ahmed’s fantasy. I got sucked into the characters and invested in them. Raseed bas Raseed especially won me over. Zamia, our Badawi tribeswoman, augh all the feels for her character. I think that The Good Doctor needs to settle down, relax and leave the adventuring to men like his Dervish assistant. I can’t wait for book 2 and hopefully more Ghul hunting with this cast of characters.

View all my reviews

On respecting the boundaries of your bisexual friends – inspired by Neo’s post

The Microaggression by a bi-woman who had a former school mate assume she MUST have a crush on every woman she knows

“Girl:: Oh hey, so you’re bisexual?

Me:: Yeah.

Girl:: Do you have a crush on me then?

Me:: Oh hey, so you’re straight?

Girl:: Yeah.

Me:: Do you have a crush on every guy you meet?

Girl at my old school upon finding out I was bisexual. Made me feel like there was no hope left for humanity.”

Along with neo_prodigy@ Livejournal’s recent post on respecting gay men’s boundaries here combined with the idiocy of Dan Savage (pick anything he’s said about bisexual’s over the last year) has me full of thinky thoughts about the fallacy that bisexual = I want to fuck everything with two legs.

Let’s be clear on that, just because I’m bi does not mean I want to necessarily fuck everything. I have limits and boundaries as I’m sure you do too. To wit; here are those boundaries & limits so no one can say I never told you so.

1. If you are not bi or lesbian; there’s a 100% probably I don’t want you. If you’re straight, you’re straight and thus off limits (That’s my opinion, YMMV)

2. Even if you are bi or lesbian; don’t assume I want to fuck you. I’m not easy and odds are you are likely not my type.

3. What is my type you may ask? Well the one thing that is an absolute requirement you have to be intelligent… you have to be able to carry an intelligent conversation with me or you are not allowed to ride this ride. All the other stuff is negotiable.

4. Don’t ask me stupid questions about being bi; aka so do you have one of each? Partners are not pokemon, I don’t collect them

5. Don’t tell me it’s just a phase and that I’m really lesbian and will figure it out one day. I’m 38, I’m damn sure this isn’t a phase.

6. Don’t assume I know everything about all bisexuals out there. Just like with other things about me, bisexuals are not a hive-mind and I can’t tell you definitive answers regarding every be-all, end-all things bisexual.

7. Don’t reduce my identity to equal sexual activity. I’m more than who I share my bed with as are you.

ETA: 8. Also: I am not magically straight when I am involved with a man. I am not magically a lesbian when I am involved with a woman. My sexual preferences/attractions don’t change based on who I’m in a relationship with, just like you don’t stop finding tall people attractive just because you’re dating a short person. (via zia_narratora @livejournal.com

Lastly, treat me as a person, as your friend and I’ll do the same for you. Respect me and I’ll respect you. If you can’t do that —–> the door is that way, don’t let it hit you on the way out.

Savage Reality (Repost from Neo Prodigy on Livejournal)

“Bisexual activists like to complain that they’re the most oppressed because (1) it’s a contest, and (2) it’s a good excuse. If they can argue—and unfortunately, they can—that lots of gay people are mean to them (some gay people don’t want to date them, some gay people doubt they exist) and straight people are mean to them (some straight people don’t want to date them, some straight people doubt they exist), then bisexual people aren’t to blame for the bisexual closet. Everyone else is.

“I’m sorry, bisexual activists, but you’re doing it all wrong. Instead of berating me for my alleged bi-phobia—and if I’m the enemy, you’re in real trouble—berate your closeted compatriots. If they all came out tomorrow, you could put an end to bi-phobia, take over the LGBT movement, and kick my ass out of it.”

Dan Savage,

In regards to your comments on bisexuals, I only have this to say: THANK YOU!

Yes, thank you for personifiying everything that is fucked up about the LGBTQ community with your nonstop racism, transphobia, biphobia and pure unadulterated bitchassness and making it easier for me to have a reference to point to. Thank you for being the guy who villifies rape survivors and still manages to get a pass for it. That way I can stop pretending like I would piss on you if you were burning in hell, kinda like how you can stop pretending that you care about black people.

More than Phelps, more than the Westboro Baptist Church, assholes like you are the reason why it doesn’t get better for queer people. Because as you have continuously proven, you’re more of a threat to us than they are. At least they don’t prop themselves up to be allies.

And biphobia will only end when everyone comes out of the closet? REALLY SAVAGE?!!!! REALLY?!!!!!! Because being a visible minority ALWAYS goes over so well in this society. I’ve been out and proud as a visible Negro. We see how well that’s worked for me and mine for the past 400+ years in this country alone. We’ve also seen how well that’s worked for those who are visibly out. Ask Emille Griffith, Lawrence King, Duanna Johnson and Matthew Shepard and all the other heroes and heroines what being visible gets you.

But you are right about one thing Savage, you do represent the LGBTQ community. In fact, you personify everything that is the LGBTQ community. Because one would be a fool to think you are the only one with this fucked up mindset. In fact, this is why I always state that while I’ll advocate for queer rights, I’ve got no use for the LGBTQ community. Because otherwise, the LGBTQ community would’ve marched and protested against you the way they attacked black folks during the Prop 8 fallout, even though white people were the reason for Prop 8 passing. But no, all we’ll get is excuses and hemming and hawwing and defenses about how speshul Savage’s ass is.

And to all of you white folks (and a few token sellouts) who still give him the time of day, FUCK YOU TOO. I mean what the hell else does this guy have to do to prove what a piece of shit he is? But of course he’s enabled because he knows he can get away with it. Trust, this is some white privilege through and through. Because let POC, specifically a black man, spew a portion of the bile Savage has spewed and they would’ve been lynched by white folks queer and straight alike.

And this is the asshole, we’re supposed to entrust with at-risk suicidal youth? REALLY? REALLY?

Yeah ask me again why it doesn’t get better.

Dear Dan Savage, just stop talking about Bisexuals, it’s clear you know NOTHING about us.

I already didn’t like Dan Savage… but goddamn now I’m just bursting with anger. How the fuck, just how the everliving fuck does he even fix his mouth to spout the shit about bisexuals that he continues to let out into the ether?

Via AngryBlackTumblr: Bisexuals You Need to Come Out to Your Friends and Spouses—Now

Dear Dan Savage,

You know his claim as to why Bi’s NEED to come out? So we can basically stop whining about being invisible and do something and claim our spot in the community. You know what, fuck and you Savage.

No one should be forced to be out, in case you haven’t noticed not everyone can safely be out no matter their orientation. A lot of people can’t be out because they will lose their homes, their jobs, their kids, be threatened with bodily harm, and the list goes on. I should not have to declare myself at the LGBTQIA community border for your comfort. I don’t have to declare my orientation so you can pigeon hole me, continually treat me as a red-headed step child in the family because I supposedly can run back to hetero privilege whenever I get too scared.

You don’t speak for me Savage. You don’t get to draw lines in the sand and declare that my bisexuality is valid only because of my age. You don’t get to deny those teen boys (notice girls aren’t even on his radar as valid) their orientation because you claimed being bi as a teen. You are not them, they are not you and you are not the fucking mouthpiece of the entire LGBTQIA movement.

You preach that it gets better for some, but you are employing the same divisive tactics that anti-gay leaning folks use on the community. Just stop talking about things you don’t know, you don’t understand and for fucks sake stop posturing yourself as the be-all-end-all pundit of queer issues. Stick to what you know, which isn’t much.

No love,

Me
ETA: Just a few links I found while Googling Dan Savage + Bisexuality. Almost all links point to some bi-phobic shit he’s said in the past and never apologized for. Come at me again with how he’s not bi-phobic and I’m going to laugh at you.

Queer Women of Color Still Face Racism During Pride, Among Other Things (Repost from Spectra Speaks)

In response to mainstream prides everywhere, including both the racism and sexism that pervades the larger gay community, Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+ Boston) hosts OPTIONZ — in its fifth year — tonight, a highly anticipated annual pride party specifically created to provide a space for lesbian, gay,bisexual, transgender and queer women of color and their friends, supporters, and allies during pride. But as excited as I am about QWOC+ Boston’s work in ensuring that we — women of color — are celebrated and visible during pride, that this is not the main subject of my post. If you follow QWOC+ Boston, you may have noticed on Facebook or any of our other social media channels, that our OPTIONZ party needed to be relocated to a new venue.

The reason for the venue change is that, last-minute, the previous venue, Caprice Lounge, presented me with some new terms: “No Hip Hop music, because of issues we’ve had in the past.”

Now, QWOC+ Boston has had a long-standing relationship with Caprice; we’ve been hosting events at their venue for the past three years. The reason, they gave, for the new policy was due to some recent violence that ensued after a Hip Hop show they hosted. Besides the fact that we’ve never had a single fight break out at a QWOC+ Boston event, it seemed ludicrous that the management had decided to villainize an entire genre of music based on a one-off incident. Something else that really pissed me off is that after informing us that we could not play Hip Hop at our party, we were offered a slew of other genres we could play as substitute including… (wait for it)… Rock music. So while we’re on stereotypes, it’s okay to play angry white man music, but not angry black man music? Wow.

Racist stereotypes aside, I was also only told that we could not play Hip Hop music on Tuesday (just two days before our event), which also seemed shady and manipulative. There had been no mention of this during our earlier communications. So, despite the fact that they’d been pushing for a large venue deposit to be made and incessantly trying to get me to sign a contract that would guarantee them two thousand dollars from the bar (of which I’d be liable if it was not met), I’m just floored that they had the audacity to limit whatever kind of music we played at our party.

So, guess what I said? HELLLL NO!

Okay. Not exactly in those words. I needed to be realistic. Despite the outrage expressed by community members after I’d relayed the incident — including the collective push for us to say goodbye to Caprice, I wasn’t sure it would be possible to find another venue, not during one of the busiest seasons of the year — weddings, graduations, prides etc — with just TWO days to go before the event.

So, rather than be seduced by the opportunity to give Caprice a self-righteous middle finger — and run the risk of having to cancel our pride party altogether —  I told the event coordinator at Caprice to send me the contract with all terms laid out; I would look it over and get back to her. In the meantime, I reached out to other venues comparable in size, and after just one day of mass emails and phone calls, I got lucky.

Market Lounge was big enough to accommodate us. Moreover, they weren’t going to charge us an arm and a leg to use the space (since they had no competing events during our event time). In fact, they seemed excited about getting the business of over 150 pride-ful peeps on a Thursday night. We had struck gold! Or so everyone thought…so  the applause began.

Great decision. Excellent. Yay for saying no to racism! But what I didn’t tell people, was that the new venue had a similar (albeit less overtly racist) dress code policy; a variation of the all too familiar Boston ‘dress code’ which goes something similar to “No hats, no sneakers, no do-rags, no athletic wear… women in dresses/skirts, men in collars etc” was prominently displayed on the wall by the entrance to their establishment. Here’s the picture on the right.

Making a decision based on who was less racist seemed impractical, so we went with this new venue because they were responsive, accommodating of our group last minute, the management agreed to not enforce their dress code policy during our event, and most importantly, they weren’t going to charge us an arm and a leg to bring them business (vs. Caprice that was essentially trying to make us pay them to go against our ideals).

Here’s the thing folks… I’ve been an event organizer for over five years, and I know first hand that most — if not all — downtown club venues have similar racist policies intended to keep “those people” out of their clubs. It doesn’t take a genius to note that these policies are overtly racist. In fact, as you read through the banned items of clothing, you’re almost expecting to come across, “No Black People,” towards the end of the list.

Venue policies are a stark reminder of Boston’s deeply rooted history with racial segregation, but racism isn’t the only issue queer women of color have to deal with.

If I turned my nose up at every venue that had a racist policy, homophobic and/or sexist staff etc, QWOC+ Boston would never have succeeded in pushing the physical boundaries of our community and creating new safe spaces for LGBTQ people of color in the manner in which we have. I daresay our willingness to push through the discomfort of so many tough, frustrating, awkward interactions has created more “ally venues” today for LGBT people of color — and the larger gay community as well as evidenced by a number of organizations / producers hosting events at venues after we’d done so successfully — than if we immediately walked away whenever we faced policies we didn’t agree with.

But this is not to say that we should ignore blatant signs of discrimination. There are venues that I’ll never send a dime of business (and LGBT organizations that I simply refuse to work with) until they’re willing to meet us halfway on the issue of white privilege/racism, male privilege/sexism etc. However, if we are to charter new territory, we must be patient, and more importantly, we must learn to speak the language of the gate keepers. In this case, that means knowing how to use money to send a message.

You should know that once I told Caprice that I was moving the party to a new venue, they came back with an O.K. to play whatever we wanted. This made for a great opportunity to explain that we would NOT be working with them this time around. And whereas, the loss of business may not result in the dissolution of their policy, the owner will remember that he lost a big event — a pride event, big dollars consumed at the bar, ouch — because he dared to broach the subject to the queer women of color who had been repeatedly giving him business for the past three years. (Incidentally, we first worked with Caprice during the second year of OPTIONZ, because we were in a similar situation; the venue we’d been in talks with slapped us with a racist dress code last minute, and wouldn’t budge on enforcing it. Caprice opened their doors to us then, and we’ve been working with them since. Isn’t it ironic, that the venue that has been the most flexible and easy to work with as far as hosting QWOC+ events, is the one being villainized for being racist today?)

I keep going back to the strong push I felt from our community to say F-U to Caprice and stand against racism, and can’t help but wonder if another ism or form of discrimination would have been met with the same level of engagement (and anger). What if I told you that via my work as an event organizer, I’d run into minority-owned/run venues with similar racist music / dress code policies? Can we remind ourselves that in women’s spaces /feminist circles, there is still so much language riddled with homophobia and transphobia? Shoot, I still pray for the day when sexism will be met with as much anger and outrage as racism from Boston’s LGBT community, when the political war being waged against women (via Planned Parenthood funding cuts, the GOP redefining rape etc.) will be treated as seriously by QPOC as they do AIDS/HIV prevention.

It’s easy to call out isms when the perpetrator is perceived to be a straight white man — the icon of patriarchy, which most of us can relate to wanting to take down. But the reality of being a queer woman of color is that you’re burdened with calling out offenses and violations against multiple facets of your identity, and forced to reckon with the harsh truth that your allies in one arena can be your oppressors in another.

Activism, for so many of queer women of color, is a constant negotiation of which ism to address. We don’t have the luxury of snubbing everyone that offends us, or we would have no where to go. We can’t — and shouldn’t have to — fight everyone. As a direct consequence, for queer women of color, standing up for what is ‘right’ in the face of racism, sexism, transphobia, xenophobia — all issues that significantly impact our community — can sometimes mean drastically limiting access to resources that we need as a community. So, whereas we should never compromise our ethics (as in this case — for the sake of a good party), QWOC+ Boston’s work isn’t just about one event, not just about today. I don’t think that I speak out of turn when I say that we all work our asses off so that tomorrow can be better, for everyone.

So, as we march, rally, dance, and speak out during pride, let us not forget those of us who are marginalized within the gay community, those of us who don’t have the luxury of approaching “Equality. No More. No Less,”, per the 2011 Boston Pride theme, as an isolated single issue. Most of the time, I hear louder, more aggressive forms of activism (against one kind of ism) encouraged and celebrated. But today, I feel humble as I reflect on the patience and perseverance that must have been maintained by my mentors and predecessors against so many injustices, that have enabled me to come this far. I celebrate you. I salute you. And I wish you all a happy pride.

Next up: we host Dennis Upkins for a spell on his Hollowstone book tour

I’m very happy to host the most excellent Dennis Upkins, author of the soon to be released Hollowstone. He breezed through the windy city during a stop on his book tour. Hollowstone is due out on 17 June 2011.

Q: Now, it’s great to see more POC authors and queer authors getting their work out and into the hands of readers who often feel left out of the literary mix. Hollowstone looks to address a lot of those needs. However, as a fan who is often left out of the mainstream media I wanted to know what else you might have planned to fill the gaps in for folks who aren’t seeing themselves reflected in the media they purchase?

A: I was talking to a good friend of mine about this, another professional writer, and we both discussed how we’re always looking for areas of opportunity to improve as far as being progressive and inclusive goes. While Hollowstone runs the gamut in tackling many facets of bigotry and institutional oppression, with Empyrea (the recently finished novel I’m currently editing), I come at representation of marginalized people from a completely different angle. Empyrea features a queer POC as the main protagonist, features multiple women of color in prominent roles.

It shows a loving interracial family in a matter of fact manner. Empyrea essentially illustrates what a world devoid of racism, misogyny, homophobia (as least as we know it) could look like. And while Empyrea is breaking a lot of ground, I’ve already got sequels planned and I’m looking for ways to step my game up. In the sequels, I know I will have a heroine who is a trans woman, lesbian characters and a disabled character. Each of them have important storylines, fleshed out roles, and treated with respect. The next novel I’ve got planned after Empyrea is a superhero story which features a teenage black girl and a gay man as the co-protagonists. Both characters have stories that are worth sharing. I’m constantly striving for ways to improve representation in my works because I believe everyone has a story worth telling.

Q: I know you’ve mentioned it on your blog, but I’m curious about who would be cast in a Hollowstone movie? Do you think the movie would suffer from white washing such as the reported casting options for a remake of Akira? Would you rather Hollowstone remain a book if your only option was to have a movie cast in the majorities image rather than how they are depicted in the book?

A: In regards to dreamcasting, I think this post sums it up: http://neo-prodigy.livejournal.com/954523.html Do I think the movie would suffer from white washing? That would always be a risk, a huge one in fact. It would really depend on the players involved, how much money would be riding on it and chance. For that matter, a publisher could’ve tried to whitewash the story, and we’ve seen this crap happen far too often. Luckily I was blessed to find a home with a good publisher (Parker Publishing) that was welcoming of Hollowstone as is. I give props to Neil Gaiman and Ursula K. Le Guin who have both been outspoken in standing tall against allowing their characters to be whitewashed and I would like to think if presented with the choice, I would make the same decision. Because Hollowstone tackles too many important issues to allow such crap to happen.

Q: If you could make the literary world over in an image that would included fair and equal representation for everyone, how would you do that with your authorial powers?

A: I guess pretty much what I’m doing now. Writing stories that celebrate marginalized people. Supporting works with my money that celebrate equal and fair representation of everyone and promoting and working with other marginalized creators to see their work make it to the public.

Q: We already talked a bit about being marginalized and invisible in mainstream media. As a queer man and POC, did frustration with that marginalization and invisibility have anything to do with Hollowstone’s creation?

A: Not really. At least not consciously or directly. I didn’t intentionally set out to write a story that was in reaction to being marginalized or invisible in mainstream media. But as the story developed, took on a life of its own, and continued to evolve, it did exactly that. But it had more to do with the fact that much of Hollowstone is based on personal experiences and things I’ve witnessed first hand. The marginalized issues was something I struggled with. It felt like walking a tight rope. Do you tip your toe in the pool of social justice issues and risk making your characters cliches who only exist to whine about racism or homophobia or do you go all out, balls to the walls, and show it all unapologetically and let the story share its truth. And why does it always have to be about racism/homophobia with gay and black characters. I wrestled with these choices and then finally I just had to tell myself, frak it. Truth is truth, no matter how inconvenient it is, and as Noah states in the opening of the novel, there are some stories that just must be told.

Q: If you could fix one thing in fandom (Take your pick; comics, movies, books, all of the above) which one would you fix or is it too broken to fix?

A: I would say all of the above, if for no other reason than they all intersect. I’m not sure if fandom is too broken to fix but I definitely think something drastic is going to have to happen, a massive overhaul to fix things. At minimum, marginalized peeps are going to have to double their efforts in creating their own spaces, their own media, supporting one another and boycotting those that denigrate them. At most, the industry is going to have to fall and be rebuilt before things can improve. Or something else unexpected can occur. I think it’s a matter of staying vigilant about these issues and continue to press forward even if fandom is hellbent on backsliding in regards to progress.

Q: If any of your characters from Hollowstone could write a post for the We Got Your Back Project, who would submit their story and what would they say?

A: WOW! This has to be one of the most powerful questions I’ve received. You know the We Got Your Back Project is near and dear to my heart, and some of the characters would definitely have a lot to say.

Noah- He would definitely discuss his experiences with knowing Ryan, Neely, and another gay character who is revealed in the story. He would discuss his experiences in trying to be a straight ally and would urge other allies to be proactive in supporting their queer brothers and sisters based on the folks who impacted his life.

Neely- She would discuss her experiences being a bisexual teen, growing up in a conservative environment, and how it isn’t easy to be out and proud, in spite of what society would have you believe. She would also point out that if it wasn’t for her older brother—who loved, protected, and accepted her as God intended her to be—she probably wouldn’t be here today. She would probably say why support and love is vital, especially in light of all the hatred and bigotry LGBTQs endure on a day to day.

Ryan- Ryan’s story would be the most powerful. Because he goes through a lot in the story. And his story is a sobering reminder why it doesn’t always get better and that in fact, it rarely does. And if his story doesn’t move people to take an active role in fighting bigotry and hatred, nothing will.

Q: Do you think that Hollowstone and books like it will finally get POC authors out of the “African American Author” purgatory books by black authors are often dropped into regardless of the books subject matter?

A: Your guess is as good as mine. If authors like Octavia Butler and L.A. Banks haven’t clued society in that our work is universal just like white authors, I don’t know if society will ever learn. As POC authors, all we can do is do what we can and just hope and pray for the best.

Q: Lastly, will we get to see more of the Hollowstone cast in future novels? Will we get to follow them as they develop or will they remain in the world built in Hollowstone?

A: You know, the thought of doing a sequel, even a trilogy, crossed my mind more than once. It was an idea I toyed around with and even debated with myself. Then I realized that the characters in Hollowstone get so much closure, not to mention the fact that the novel ends in a very unique way, that to do a sequel would probably be a disservice to the characters and the story. If you can ever exit on a high note, that’s the way to do it. That being said…in the superhero story I’m outlining, one of the central characters will make an appearance and something about their fate that was all but promised in Hollowstone, gets confirmed in the superhero novel. So stay tuned.

Denny, thank you so much for stopping by during your book tour and we’ll be sure to give Hollowstone a review once its out! If all of that didn’t convince you to buy Hollowstone, here’s 12 reasons to order it! You can order Hollowstone directly from the publisher or from Amazon.com

WGYB Project is still alive, and we’re still taking your stories

We Got Your Back Project is still alive and still seeking submissions!

I had a chance to talk the project up at Gay Is the New Black? Event hosted by JF tonight. Hopefully this will generate some interest and new submissions.

Can I ask a favor? Can anyone who comes across this post please signal boost this project for me & whereisjoy? We don’t want to see it die but to thrive it needs stories, your stories so that our POC-LGBTQIA youth know that they are not alone and just because someone says its gets better, that it may not apply to them.

Sumbission Info

Submission guidelines are below. If you come across something you think would be good for posting, please email us at wegotyourbackproject@gmail.com or tweet at us WGYBProject on Twitter.

Thanks for your interest in contributing to the “We Got Your Back” Project! We are accepting videos and written statements that share how the lives of LGBTQIA people get better when we have each others back. Give some hope to LGBTQIA youth by telling them how your own life improved. To submit, send an email to wegotyourbackproject@gmail.com We request that posts meet the following guidelines:

Videos: Please keep videos to no more than 8 minutes maximum. If you have a video on YouTube or Vimeo, please submit a link to the video and a brief description.

Length: 2,500 word maximum. (Please note, longer posts may be broken up into several posts on the project)

Language: Feel free to use adult language, however please warn for swearing or other adult and/or potentially triggering language in your post at the beginning. If you do share potentially triggering material, we ask that you use the “more” tag to put it behind a cut.

Permission to repost/share your content: Please indicate to us whether or not you consent to the sharing of your material outside of this project when you submit your post and/or video.

ThinkGalacticon Early Registration and WisCon Book Swap!

Hey folks!

We’re less than two months from Think Galacticon 2011! Did you hear that our Notable Guest N.K. Jemisin is up for a Hugo *and* a Nebula this year? Amazing!

We are taking programming suggestions through May 31st! Write them up now and post them as comments on any of our social media sites or on our online submission form.

Early bird registration also ends May 31st. Only $45 for adults or $40 for 18+ students. These prices will go up to $50 June 1st! Don’t delay and register now!

Are you going to WisCon? We are! Find us in Room 634 on Saturday night. We change our activities every few years and this year we are changing it to a Book Swap! Bring your favorite books of any genre (but especially genre) and swap books with us and other WisCon members. Enjoy our tasty vegan treats, register for the con (you get one last chance at early bird pricing!), and give us some programming suggestions.

We’re sharing the room with Scribe Agency/Andrea Hairston (who has a new book out!!!). They will be serving homemade beers and do battle with us at midnight! What kind of battle? Find out at Room 634, Saturday night at midnight!

Event Planning
ThinkGalacticon3 ConCom

Black is… black ain’t…

Black is beautiful, just so we are motherfucking CLEAR. Black ain’t “less desirable than other races”,

“inherently less attractive than other races”

tumblr_llb9rsnCiZ1qzo0zoo1_500

So… we are in the throes of yet ANOTHER online storm about black folks. Black women’s looks, black women’s bodies, black fathers and the old ass trope of omfg black folks are on the internet too!?! How about that has been dragged out and beaten again for what its worth. (A hint – Not much). I tried to be eloquent and wordsmithy, but you know what? Fuck it, I’m sick of being polite about people telling me how I should feel about how I look.

So many people have waxed eloquently on this topic that I’ll give you links and such… but for what my 0.02 is worth; I’m so fucking sick of being told that I’m not beautiful or attractive or worthy of love and affection because I’m “strong” or career focused or “the strength of the family.”. I’m really fucking sick of the idea that everyone gets a say in how I feel about myself as a black woman. I’m tired of everyone getting to hold up the brown paper bag to check my blackness, and worthiness of having a say in racial debates because I’m fair skinned and obviously “not really black.”

I’m tired of pseudo scientists speculating on the attractiveness of myself and the bounty of black women everywhere. Who the fuck decided that this guys opinion was worth anything to begin with? I don’t even know what an evolutionary psychologist is, do you? Someone explain what that means and then you’d better have a really, really good reason as to why some “evolutionary psychologist” gets a say on black bodies and beauty. I’ll be here, so when you get a clue, come holler at me. Until then, all these faux pop psychologists and arm chair thinkers can shut the fuck up about our bodies, our beauty and everything else in-between.

I leave you with some great articles and a repost of a lovely image snagged from the Angry Black Tumblr.

You Keep Saying Black Women are Ugly Worthless Whores and We Refuse to Believe you by Karnythia

Racialicious: Repeat Offender: Satoshi Kanazawa’s Other Greatest Misses

Angry Black Tumblr: The Article is now gone, but more thoughts

Angry Black Woman: Initial post on this article; noting original title was “Why are Black Women Ugly?”

ABW: Screencap of the article in question, after the title was changed.

Signal Boosting for afro_dyte

Originally posted by at how to help my show without spending money

As you probably know by now (and are sick of me squeeing about), a full production of my play, Tulpa, or Anne&Me is premiering here in NYC this June as part of the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. What’s great about PCTF is that they’re an eco-friendly festival that’s also about raising awareness (and money) for various causes. I’m doing my show to raise awareness for The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, a grassroots organization dedicated to undoing racism. Hopefully, at least one person per performance (4 people total) will attend one of the People’s Institute’s Undoing Racism workshops.

One of the results of finding this out in mid-April is that we have 6 weeks to do what people with some sense would take 6 months or so to do. People have to wear a few hats to get stuff done, but I’m good because I keep busy and feel creative and useful.

Among the many things on my To Do list is reaching out to people to spread the word about the show. So we had someone cook up a lovely little e-postcard you can pass around to your friends and co-workers, who can pass it along to their friends/co-workers, and so on. Isn’t she adorable?

I know that not everyone lives in the center of the world NYC, so getting friends to come see with the show with you is not an option. Nevertheless, there are still some things you can do. For example:

  • Follow the main character on Twitter (Afrodyke) and bring your followers along
  • Reach out to 3 blogs and/or LJ comms with readers in NYC (including yours!)
  • If you’re going to be in NYC, come see the show and bring a friend (or 10).

In the midst of extolling my artistic virtues (brilliant, creative, genius, blahblahblah), remember to tell them why it means a lot to you that this work is happening. Here’s our promo video (and a link to our IndieGoGo page) to help.

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Update: The date & venue for the video are incorrect, as you can tell by the updated e-postcard.

BTW, don’t forget to mention the People’s Institute.

Thanks for your help.

ThinkGalacticon 3 Needs you, yes you!

*waves from the ThinkGalacticon 3 ConCom*

Hi all, here is my hey, you should come to the nifty local con post, better yet, you should be on panels and volunteer post!

So ThinkGalacticon 3 is happening July 8-10 at Roosevelt University. We have the fabulous Hugo and Nebula nominated Nora K. Jemisin as our SFF Notable Guest.. We also have the awesome Adrienne Marie Brown as our Activist Notable Guest.

So, what do you need from little old me you might be asking? Well, we can always use Volunteers. we also still need the following ConCom positions filled (from the website):
* accessibility coordinator
* sustainability coordinator

If you would like more information and are interested please email us! [info@thinkgalactic.org]

Volunteer refunds: Those who work 4 hours or more get $20 or half-off, which ever was lower. Being on panels counts as volunteering. There will be volunteer forms at the registration desk. We will put up more information on volunteering soon.

We also need programming suggestions! You can suggest programming here Don’t be shy! If there’s something you want to suggest for a panel, go on and suggest it!

If you are going to be at Wiscon, what a coincidence! We’ll be there too! There’s going to be a ThinkGalacticon party, and we’ll be taking registrations as well.

Lastly, local authors if you are interested in doing a reading at TG3 or if you would like to have a vendor’s table at the Bazaar, please let me know via comment here or email at tdepass [at]gmail [dot] com. My role on ConCom is Event coordination, so if you have any questions regarding events during TG3, I’m the person to poke at.

Lastly, please register for TG3! It’s affordable even in this economy! You can get registration info from this embedded link

Black Gods, Tribalism and Wiccatru…

[DISCLAIMER GOES HERE!]

Note that I am no expert and this is all my personal opinion based on my relationship with my Gods. Do not assume I am casting aspersions on your personal beliefs/lack thereof. If you assume I’m talking about you, that’s your problem.

Are all things on my mind lately. Still amused at the people losing their shit over Idris Elba as Heimdall in the upcoming Thor movie. Last time I will say this: the Thor Movie – Based off a COMIC BOOK, NOT the Poetic Eddas or the Lore. STFU about it already.

The awesome pretzelcoatl posted this link on my Facebook page the other day. I was interested in the perspective of the author until I got to the words Mojlnir and Coven in the same sentence. O_o? Not sure how many of you reading know that I’m Asatru, and I’m still working my way through what this means for me but one thing I’m 100% certain about is that Wicca != Asatru. The words Coven and Mojlnir, Thor and such should not be uttered together IMNSHO.

Now it could just be a semantic misstep by the article’s authors, not knowing what to do with the word Kindred or the author could have actually said Coven. Regardless, it turned me off of the idea that this person was serious in their beliefs. Yes, that makes me sound kind of snobbish, but one thing that’s always stuck with me is the idea that our Gods don’t share with other pantheons. So for me, reading Coven and Moljnir struck me as odd and just not right some how. It rekindled the thoughts I’ve often had about mixing of pantheons and claiming more than one set of Gods/Goddesses.

Which gets into my issues with people claiming pantheon’s but not going all the way in their claims. IE not swearing oaths, living their words and deeds but claiming kinship to a particular path when it’s convenient. I firmly believe that if someone is going to claim a Nordic path then they need to claim it fully, not in a buffet style of grab it, keep it in my pocket until needed, brandish it as needed then put it away until the next time. I guess what I’m getting at, is that I find it bothersome when people lump Asatru, Pagan and Wiccan all in the same group and treat them interchangeably.

I figure if you dedicate yourself to a path that should be your path, and not take bits from each one that suits you when it suits your purpose at that moment. Keep in mind I’m not talking about Unitarian Universalists, I’m addressing specifically Pagan paths in this post. This could be my naivete about how others think of their path speaking or my attempt at keeping something intact as possible for my own use… scratch that last bit.

I guess this turned into a processing post about how I feel about some aspects of buffet style paganism or pantheism and how I’m not happy when people do that. So thoughts on my take on pick a path and stay with it? or don’t try to claim traditions you are not fully invested in and speak upon them as if you are a participating member of X tradition?

*sigh* I know this has the potential to turn into a firestorm so I’m saying it now. If you cannot be civil to people in this thread, don’t bother commenting. I’m not going to referee adults and I shouldn’t have to either.

Repost – BGG (Black Girl Gamer)–LFG, PST!

Snagged from Geek Feminism’s Blog. Reposting since it reached in and grabbed me by the heart.

Women, feminism, and geek culture

2011 April 8

Cori Roberts is founder of Gameinatrix.com and remaining founding member of Gamer Girls Radio, and has been involved in gaming media for over 8 years. She’s currently obsessed with the MMO Fallen Earth and anything involving vampires in the world of Second Life.

This post was originally published at The Border House.

A well-dressed black woman holds a machine gun.African American (black) woman from the recent Call of Duty commercial. One of the very few times a black woman has been used in the marketing of any game.

While several gamers are fighting for the right to game with all the controversy surrounding the community as of late, there are a few of us women gamers waging another kind of war in our own respective communities. It’s not just the standard girl gamer war, where there is incessant name calling, references to genitalia or even the normal male chauvinist crap. The battle is having to defend why we are even playing games, in the first place. Why would “we” be playing games, because black women don’t play games.

I’m one of these elusive, mythical, Black (African American for you new kiddies) women gamers who purportedly do not exist. While this particular battle is not a boss battle for me, it is an annoying and repetitive battle. It’s one I have to wage most every time I encounter a new “sistah” who can barely operate her iPhone, but thinks she is somehow more versed in games and who should be playing them, than I am. The first thing I’m asked is how I ended up even playing games, like it’s a disease I somehow contracted. Then I’m told how “different” and “odd” I am. My mother bought me my first console at age six and I never knew I was any different from other little girl. Never knew I was a geek, a nerd, or any other derivative until I was much older. However, after I realized I was one of these beings, referred to as a geek, I kept it secret and tried hard to suppress it. I can tell you I use to rent games at Block Buster and often lied about who they were for. Once out on my own, gaming became part my regular daily routine. Get up, school, work, come home, game. When I couldn’t afford to go clubbing, you’d find me on the floor of my furniture-less apartment, head propped up with pillows, faithful dog at my side, playing games. The only thing I bought other than games was clothes. Come on, I’m still a girl! It should suffice to say, I obviously don’t fit the mold of fat white guy, with glasses. I was a thin shapely black chick with glasses (used to wear glasses anyway), who spent her free time perusing not only Cosmo magazine, but strategy guides in now defunct Electronics Boutique. The guys began to love when I came into EB every Friday, because other guys followed me in and they stayed to chat when they realized I actually loved games just as much as they did. Me, wearing my designer perfume and clothes, could take a guy down in Tekken in 30 seconds flat. After getting over the shock of being beaten by me, I always had a new friend and finally there in EB I stopped feeling odd and out of place. I fit in somewhere. However the older I got, the more dissonance I noticed with other black women once I mentioned video games or anything geeky for that matter. All of those silent lunches finally lead to me speaking up and a mini-battle royale about the Lifetime Network and gaming where I schooled my “sistah” on the world of gaming and technology. I also shared with her that technology is an area where black women were being left in the dust. Most of us are still taught and truly believe as black women, it’s just our not our place to be “smart”. Before the eye rolling begins, this is not true of all women of color, but it’s true enough. So true that I still have yet to pick up an Essence, Ebony, or Jet magazine and see an entire tech section (not to pick on Essence, this is true of a lot of women’s magazines). Hip Hop mags like XXL do share some tech info with its readers, but tend to have more male readers than females. It’s also still true that most black women tend to steer clear of the whole technology thing and can barely use an iPhone, let alone know which cables go where on their Xbox. While we’re excelling in other areas, still some black women view the gaming industry as a childish and MALE one. As a result, our presence in the world of tech and gaming is lagging far behind the rest of the world.

As a Black woman (I prefer being called Black to African American, I didn’t move here from Africa and become American, I was born here), I find it disheartening that even so many of our notable Black public figures and role models don’t even acknowledge the gaming culture unless it’s the latest fad. For instance Oprah Winfrey has had a show or two about gaming addiction and how horrid gaming is, only to give away the Kinect on her show later. As a gamer I was not impressed or fooled. I once heard Tyra Banks say on her show something akin to she thought men were so childish playing games, and she hated when her man did it. Women don’t wanna play games, chile! These women are considered great role models and several young women look up to them. I wonder if they know the message they are sending to young black women. Yes you’re teaching them that beauty is subjective, but are teaching them that technology is for those other folk. This, in my opinion, will lead to a nation of beautiful black women who are technologically incompetent. They will know the best way to maintain their weave but not how to change out a faulty hard drive. Or even how to do something as simple as defrag a hard drive.

Take note, most of the women you’ll see fighting for a place in the gaming industry usually are not of ethnicity. I explained to my friend the facts and figures of the gaming industry, and how our lives as black women should not be all about being a nurse (this is a common thing in the black community, pushing daughters to be nurses or get into law, go after the money), but instead embracing a new culture, a culture that does in fact make a LOT of money, a culture that, though considered controversial at times, is indeed the future. A culture where most times, our differences are celebrated, not hated. Ok, perhaps I’m pushing the Utopia envelope here, but aside from a very few assholes, I’ve NEVER been called out for the color of my skin. Admittedly, I hail from several racial backgrounds, but I identify as being your average garden variety, Diva, black, woman. I pointed out to her that I’ve never been told I wasn’t dressed appropriately to game. That my manicure to was too old to game. That I wasn’t black enough to game. The only thing that has ever held me back is not having the SAME game as a gamer buddy.

Said friend turned her head to look out the window and quietly said to me, “I just don’t get it…you gamers…” But she did call a few months later sounding bubbly and told me she’d bought her first console. Yes it was a Wii, but she was planning on getting an Xbox, as well. She’d seen some ‘interesting’ things at Game Stop that she actually wanted to play. But I dare say if I hadn’t opened my mouth, if I hadn’t in essence said that gaming as entertainment is okay, she would never have played. Though I’ve managed to bring some of my friends to the dark side, I still have to deal with strangers form assumptions based on the fact that I’m a gamer. If I’m in Best Buy or any store’s PC section, I still get the tech behind the desk who feels the need to try to explain to me every detail of my video card and how it works, where to install it on my motherboard. I hate the condescension in their voice and this is after I’ve told them a million and one times that I’m a gamer. I have every console, (except the 3DS, but give me time) and even a gaming PC, that I built myself, from scratch, even after I tell them I run a gaming website and podcast and have for 8 years. They don’t hear me until I get a little belligerent and then they are shocked and awed. The next thing is to test me, because it’s just impossible to them that black woman as a gamer exists. I am always told that of course I must not be hard core, no woman is. I can tell you that I am indeed as hardcore as they come. And just because I may wear a weave, wig, extensions or like shoes, doesn’t detract from that. I’d like to tell my fellow “sistahs” that yes, you can be fabulous, and play games, and know how your iPhone works. I do not find it cute or charming when you have a beautiful piece of technology and you use it more as a status symbol and can’t even figure out how to make a simple call. You can be smart, and know how to fix your own PC, iPhone, or hook up your own HDTV and then feel extra proud to sit down and watch your Sex in the City re-runs, without having to call your man over to do it for you. I am hoping one day to be in the store and not have to tell another black woman to buy games for her daughter, not just her son, and not hear the mother say she won’t like it, when clearly the little girl is interested. I’d like to see more black women put their daughters in front of a computer and push them to learn more math, science and physics. But sadly I see this particular battle as a very long one. While I am graced to have a few black women who do share my passion for gaming, my white girlfriends (whom I love just as much) far outnumber the black ones. I do wish I had more black gaming girlfriends (and in the same city would be nice) so this black girl can stop constantly LFG.

Think Galacticon 3 – With notable guests N.K. Jemisin & Adrienne Maree Brown!

Think Galactic is pleased to announce that Think Galacticon 3 is happening July 8-10 at Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. Notable guests include Nebula-nominated author N.K. Jemisin as well as Adrienne Maree Brown, an activist with an impressive record of social justice advocacy and an interest in how science fiction can inform our ideas about social justice.

Think Galacticon, a project of the Think Galactic Reading Group and Collective, strives to create a space in which leftists and others can discuss politics and speculative fiction in an intelligent, engaging, and fun fashion. There will be multiple tracks of programming that seek to expand the boundaries of typical discussions. We want to explore issues of oppressive hierarchies, confronting topics of race, gender, sexuality, class and more. We are one of many groups that Wiscon has fostered and have a lot of great ideas for a thoughtful and challenging weekend of radical politics and fiction, so we hope to see you come!

It’s currently $40 for a regular membership and $35 for students until 3/31. The price will go up gradually until it is $55 at the door, so get your tickets now! The earlier you get the tickets the more you help us be able to pay for the upfront costs of running a con. It’s a win-win.

We also have youth memberships (ages 10-17) at a constant $25 and supporting memberships for those who cannot attend for $15. As always, you can donate however much you want to make this con happen.

Parents: We will again be having free childcare for children 9 and under, so please sign up your child(ren) for a free membership as well if you are a parent planning to attend.

You can read more about the con here: http://tgcon3.thinkgalactic.org

Programming is created from a bottom-up process much like Wiscon so please suggest a panel, workshop, or other activity/discussion you think we should consider. Here is our suggestion page:
http://tgcon3.thinkgalactic.org/programming/suggest-programming/

We hope to see you in July!
The Think Galacticon Concom

Help Con or Bust!

Here are some con_or_bust auctions with very few or no bids. Please bid and spread the word about these auctions!

Con or Bust is administered by the Carl Brandon Society. Learn more.

Make a donation or pay for an item with a PayPal account or credit card (more information)

Here’s a quick primer on how to browse auctions, many of which were posted several weeks ago now. And here are some auctions that have been modified or are neglected—no bids, only one bid, or fewer bids than I think they deserve. Please link this post or the general announcement post far and wide!

Modified items:

* chocolate chip cookies – additional batches offered
* Three Short Story Critiques by Claire Light – updated to include hour-long “meeting” along with critique and marked-up document
* Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories + Artwork by Shweta Narayan – additional poetry offered

No bids:

* character named after you and erotic paranormal trilogy
* Tutoring
* Middle Earth Roleplaying Modules
* Three trivia books about Stephen King
* George Beahm, The Stephen King Story: A Literary Profile
* Shine, Coconut Moon and Jazz in Love, Signed, by Neesha Meminger
* Farlander by Col Buchanan, Wolfsangel by MD Lachlan, and Changes by Jim Butcher

One bid:

* Yarn Lot #4: Grab Bag
* podfic by [info]bessyboo
* Spanish edition of The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
* Translation of a Korean text into English
* Coraline Nike Dunks
* Copy of the script for the TV miniseries of The Stand
* Professional Editing/Critique Service
* Fat-Acceptance Books II
* Signed 1st ed. hardcover of Acacia by David Anthony Durham
* Paper Cities (anthology) & Sybil’s Garage (magazine) full run
* Australian edition of Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
* Print of The Purifying Fire cover art, a Magic: The Gathering novel by Laura Resnick
* Alcestis trade paperback
* ARCS of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin, Finch by Jeff VanderMeer and The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe

Items I think deserve more love than they are getting (feel free to add your own!):

* Small Beer (Press) Sixpack
* Circlet Press Erotic SF/F Ebook Library
* One-of-a-kind altered fashion doll
* Custom story and character by Mary Anne Mohanraj
* Naming Rights In YA Novel by Karen Healey

Clear proof of the Tea Party’s racism (via A little more conversation, please)

Yeah, I know this is news just like the shocking revelation that water is wet. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know but I felt like this needed to be shared and outrage spent on it.

Clear proof of the Tea Party's racism In response to the NAACP calling the Tea Party racist, Tea Party leader Mark Williams published a letter online.  In the letter, he mocks African-Americans and he pretends to be a "colored" writing to Abe Lincoln. The letter makes me sick to my stomach.  It is horrible, racist, awful, disrespectful, ignorant and PROOF of the Tea Party's racism.  If they were not racist, they would not produce such an awful response. Please read Williams' letter h … Read More

via A little more conversation, please

A Guide: How Not To Say Stupid Stuff About Egypt

Keep in mind this author is not making wide brush strokes over all Americans, nor are they assuming we’re all idiots, racists, and never have gone further than our own back yards. They raise the points below after reading the stupid shit posted on the internet by people who think they KNOW THINGS.

If you feel the urge to come at me for re-posting this, bring a good argument because frankly I don’t have the energy or desire to fight with someone over a re-post. Don’t like the article? Then comment to the original poster.

A Guide: How Not To Say Stupid Stuff About Egypt

The past few days I have heard so many stupid things from friends, blogs, pundits, correspondents, politicians, experts, writers that I want to pull my hair.  So, I will not beat around the bush, I will be really blunt and give you a handy list to keep you from offending Egyptians, Arabs and the world when you discuss, blog or talk about Egypt.  Honestly, I would think most Progressives would know these things, but let’s get to it.

Continue reading A Guide: How Not To Say Stupid Stuff About Egypt

In Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day… “What Would Martin Do?”

In honor of today’s Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, I’m sharing the winning essay in the American’s for Democratic Action’s contest: What Would Luther Do? I’m pleased that the winning essay is by my good friend Joy E.

Remember, that even though Dr. King is immortalized for his “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King’s legacy is more than one speech, more than one action. Read Letters from a Birmingham Jail, and his other works. See the whole man, not an idealization remembered once a year for stirring words. Remember his actions, his humanity and most of all that the Dream he had is not yet realized, not so long after his assasination and we have a long way to go until it is realized.

To answer the question of How Long? The answer is still Too Long and a Long way to go…

First  Place – Joy E. of Chicago, Illinois

If Martin Luther King, Jr. could visit our country this January, he would see a nation much changed and yet the same. Imagine King catching a bus in downtown Montgomery. Perhaps he would select a seat in the front, next to someone tired from a long day’s work for little pay. Through the bus window, he might see dilapidated schools and foreclosed homes. If he were to open up a newspaper, he would read of another war with no end in sight. If King returned to this country of sweet promise and bitter disappointment, he would once again take up the struggle of the poor. King would organize against the interlocking evils of racism, militarism, and poverty. And he would invite us to join him.

In the 43 years since King’s death, we have not fulfilled his dream of equality. Poverty is rising. Health care is out of reach for too many Americans while our military budget grows. Ours is a political landscape that King understood all too well.

In his speech Beyond Vietnam, King decried the way the war on poverty was abandoned for the war on communism. Today we still choose fighter jets over unemployment benefits. The soldiers who fight and die in our army are still overwhelming our nation’s poor. If he were here today, King would say again, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

King cried out for the poor of Vietnam recounting American’s role in their history. “We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village,” he said. “We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon.” Today, King would similarly mourn the poor people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He would point out that we once supported the Taliban, the mujaheddin, and Saddam Hussein – over the protests of Iraqis and Afghanis. We remain the enemy of the poor in Iraq and Afghanistan and everywhere our government supports the rights of corporations over the rights of poor people.

King wrote, “I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values…When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” But that world revolution is still alive today and brings hope even to our country.

In Iraq, Afghanistan, America, and around the world, millions of poor people are building a nonviolent movement for a peaceful, just future. We should not need to Dr. King to entreat us to join the right side of the world revolution. The poor are calling us to join them. Just as King heeded their call, may we see their cause as ours.

Violence…and loathing

After reading some of the articles outlining the actions, words and implied threat in the words bandied about since Barack Hussein Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States, and culminating in the shooting deaths of six people, and critical injury to Congresswoman Giffords the fear I have about President Obama living through his term has returned one-thousand fold. Reading the following timeline from the Coalition to Stop GunViolence (h/t to ErikTheDane for the link) I’m terrified, not just for our POTUS but for any elected official that does not fall under the ideology of those who feel as if their country is being “taken from them” and their liberties being snatched from under them.

The people who bandy about careless words, reload, be armed, second amendment solutions ad nauseum and the media that does not hold their tongues, instead blast their hateful, careless rhetoric over the air, the internet and radio waves. That is partially what has fueled over two years worth of incidents, hate speech, and violent fantasizing by the far right. Read the article, see the time-line of the breakdown of civility, honest discourse and understand where this sense of loathing, disenfranchisement and breakdown of common sense, and ability to disagree without going to the extreme.

As you are an adult, I leave it to you to draw your conclusions from this time-line’s noted incidents, to the climate of simmering hatred and vitriol we are drowning in, and it seems that no one is willing to clean the pool of the detritus of hate and lack of logic. I just wish the people peddling hate would use this tragedy as a much needed wake up call and try, honestly try to put the brakes on the out of control freight train they’ve piloted for the last few years.

Continue reading Violence…and loathing

Repost-The Wrath of Fools: An open letter to the far right

The Wrath of Fools: An Open Letter to the Far Right

Monday 10 January 2011

by: William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

The Wrath of Fools: An Open Letter to the Far Right
(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t)

To: Palin-lovers, Fox “News,” the “mainstream” media, and the Far Right, et al.

From: William Rivers Pitt

Date: Monday 10 January 2011

Re: The blood on your hands

 

 

 

Dear “Patriots,”

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords isn’t much older than I am. She served in the Arizona State House of Representatives, and the Arizona State Senate, before being elected to three successive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. She once described herself as a “former Republican,” and is today considered a “Blue Dog” Democrat, meaning she holds a number of conservative political positions. This is not terribly surprising, given the generally conservative political bent of the state she has served for the last ten years. She was married four years ago to a space shuttle commander who had served as a Naval aviator, and who flew 39 combat missions in Desert Storm, before volunteering for astronaut training.

Last Wednesday, she was sworn in to her third term as the Representative for Arizona’s 8th congressional district. One of her first acts in the newly-minted 112th Congress was to read aloud from the House floor, in response to the Republican Party’s recitation of the Constitution, the following lines: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

She returned to Arizona not long after to assist in the implementation of that most vital of Constitutional principles, calling together a meeting of her constituents in a peaceable assembly so the citizens she represents could petition the government for a redress of grievances. Among the gathered crowd were a number of her staffers, a judge, and a nine-year-old girl named Christina-Taylor Green who was born on September 11, 2001.

And then all Hell broke loose.

A man named Jared Lee Loughner waded into the group and fired a bullet into Rep. Giffords’ skull at point-blank range, before turning his weapon on others in the crowd. Christina-Taylor Greene, who would have celebrated her tenth birthday on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, was shot in the chest and killed. The woman who brought her to the event was also shot. Gabriel Zimmerman, who served as Rep. Giffords’ director of community outreach, was also killed. He was 30 years old, and was recently engaged to be married. U.S. District Judge John Roll, who had served on the bench for twenty years, was also killed. Dorwin Stoddard, a church volunteer, died after putting his body between his wife and the hail of bullets. His wife was also shot. Two of Rep. Giffords’ constituents, Dorothy Morris and Phyllis Scheck, were also killed. All in all, 31 shots were fired before several brave souls tackled Loughner, disarmed him, and wrestled him to the ground.

At the time of this writing, Rep. Giffords is lying in a hospital bed in critical condition. The God you Bible-spewing frauds love to flog the rest of us with must have been in that supermarket crowd with her on Saturday, with His hand on her shoulder, because it is nothing short of a full-fledged miracle she survived at all. Doctors are actually cautiously optimistic that she will survive, though the degree to which she will ultimately recover is still sorely in doubt. She can respond to simple commands, according to her doctors, and is marginally able to communicate. If she survives her wound, it is wretchedly certain her life will never, ever be the same.

I just thought you should know a few things about the people you helped into their graves and hospital beds this weekend.

Yes, you.

You false patriots who bring assault rifles to political rallies, you hack politicians and media personalities who lied through your stinking teeth about “death panels” and “Obama is coming for your guns” and “He isn’t a citizen” and “He’s a secret Muslim” and “Sharia Law is coming to America,” you who spread this bastard gospel and you who swallowed it whole, I am talking to you, because this was your doing just as surely as it was the doing of the deranged damned soul who pulled the trigger. The poison you injected into our culture is deeply culpable for this carnage.

You who worship Jesus at the top of your lungs (in defiance of Christ’s own teachings on the matter of worship, by the way) helped put several churchgoers into their graves and into the hospital. You who shriek about the sanctity of marriage helped cut down a man who was about to be married. You who crow with ceaseless abandon about military service and the nobility of our fighting forces helped to critically wound the wife of a Naval aviator who fought for you in a war. You who hold September 11 as your sword and shield helped put a little girl born on that day into the ground.

You helped. Yes, damn you, you helped.

The “mainstream” media is already working overtime playing up the “Disturbed loner” angle with all their might. There is no doubt, from the available evidence, of Mr. Loughner’s transformation into a disturbed individual. But here’s the funny part: all the crazy crap he spewed, about the gold standard (a favorite of Glenn Beck, the master of Fox “News” fearmongering…so he can sell his gold scam to suckers) and government mind control and everything else before going on his rampage, is straight out of the Right-Wing Insanity Handbook. His personal YouTube ramblings were a mishmash of right-wing anti-government nonsense…the kind that attracts sick minds like Loughner, the kind that only reinforces their paranoia, the kind that finally pushes them over the brink and into the frenzy of violence that took place on Saturday. The kind that the likes of you have been happily spreading by the day.

He did not act alone. You were right there with him. You helped.

I’m talking to you, “mainstream” media people, who created this atmosphere of desperate rage and total paranoia out of whole cloth because of your unstoppable adoration for spectacle, and ratings, and because the companies that own your sorry asses agree with the deranged cretins you helped make so famous and powerful. It was sickeningly amusing on Sunday to watch Wolf Blitzer bluster and bluff on CNN about how the media owns no responsibility for this disaster. It was like watching a ten-year-old try to explain how a lamp got broken while he was running through the living room, but no, it wasn’t him. It was, in reality, a pathetic display…but that is what you generally get whenever Wolf is on your screen.

“Mainstream” news personalities like David Gergen and John King bent over backwards warning people not to blame Sarah Palin and her ilk for this calamity. It was a sick man who did this, they said. Bollocks to that. I hate to break this to the “mainstream” media know-betters, but words matter. When people like Palin spray the airwaves with calls to violence and incantations of imminent doom, people like Loughner are listening, and prepared to act. The “mainstream” media lets it fly without any questions or rebuttal, because it’s good for ratings, and here we are. Words matter. Play Russian Roulette long enough, and someone inevitably winds up dead.

Remember the run-up to the Iraq invasion, and the subsequent occupation? “WMD everywhere, al Qaeda connections to 9/11, plastic sheeting and duct tape because we’re all gonna die!” was the central theme of the majority of your broadcast schedule for years…until it was all proven to be a lie. You helped the liars, you were the liars, but you knew that. You also got your spectacle, and the corporations that own you got paid a king’s ransom, so everyone was happy, except the dead.

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Tell me this is any different, I dare you. For the spectacle, the ratings and the pleasure of your owners, you ran names like “Sarah Palin” across the sky in lights, even after she should have faded into well-deserved obscurity, and helped this blister of right-wing rage fester until it finally burst. This was your show, and in perhaps the most wretched irony of all, I would bet all my worldly possessions that your ratings are through the roof right now. You got what you wanted. I hope you are pleased.

And yes, I’m talking to you, Sarah Palin, you unutterably disgusting fraud. You pulled it off your ridiculous website, but it’s out there: you put cross-hairs – literally, cross-hairs – on Rep. Giffords, you blithered about “reloading” instead of “retreating,” and you made this country more stupid and violent with every breath you took. Well, congratulations, you failure, you quitter, you inciter of mobs. You put the cross-hairs on her, and someone finally pulled the trigger. Run from it all you like, Lady MacBeth, but this blood will never be washed from your hands.

I’m talking to you, Sharron Angle, you walking punch-line, who talked about “Second Amendment remedies” being necessary if you didn’t get your way on health care reform during your failed Senate campaign.

I’m talking to you, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly, and Michael Savage, and Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingraham, and to every other right-wing tripe-spewing blowhard blogger and Fox News broadcaster. I hope you are proud of yourselves, because this is the day you get to reap what you have been relentlessly sowing since you were forced to encompass the unmitigated outrage of a Black man winning the office of President of the United States.

That’s right, I said it. Anyone who thinks good old-fashioned American bigotry and racism are not the core motivation for a vast majority of these so-called “revolutionaries” should get their heads examined. You’ve heard of the “elephant in the middle of the room?” Well, this is the burning cross in the middle of the room, and no amount of spin will douse those flames.

I’m talking to you, Koch Brothers. Your money to create and spread this disease was well-spent; you now have one less Democrat in the House to worry about, at least for the foreseeable future. Congratulations, you un-American sacks of filth.

And I’m talking to each and every one of you who listened to these traitors and believed the nonsense they spewed at you for no other reason than to pick your pockets for campaign/organization contributions. I’m talking to you who wore your silly fatigues and carried your badly-spelled fact-deprived signs to protests with pistols on your hips and rifles on your shoulders. You who threw bricks through the windows of politicians you disagreed with. You who shot out the windows of Rep. Giffords’ office not even a year ago.

You worked very hard to create exactly this atmosphere in America, and now it has come to be. We have entered the age of the Wrath of Fools, and we now must again exist in an America where the word “assassination” has become all too relevant.

You helped this happen. You.

You know it. I know it. Have the guts to admit it, even if only to yourselves.

I know many Republicans and conservatives, and consider them to be dear friends. The single most influential person in my life (aside from my mother) was a rock-ribbed conservative Republican, and there is no person I respected more than him. I do not count these people, and those like them, among those whom I address here. They are as sickened and repulsed by you as I am.

This is not the end of the story, but is just the beginning. The good people of the United States of America, the true patriots, have finally seen you with your media-painted masks ripped off. They have seen what comes to pass when hate, venom, ignorance and violence goes unchecked and unanswered. You have been exposed, and the fact that it took such an unimaginably horrific act for that exposure to take place only increases the fierceness with which you will be answered. You will be repudiated, not with violence, but with the scorn and rejection you so richly deserve. Spin it as you will, scramble all you like. You are found out, and you have nowhere to hide.

Oh, P.S., if anyone reading this is operating under the delusion that the overheated right-wing rhetoric that went a long way towards almost getting Rep. Giffords killed, and had a strong hand in putting six people in the ground, is some sort of new Obama-era phenomenon, well…

“I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus – living fossils – so we will never forget what these people stood for.”

– Rush Limbaugh, Denver Post, 12-29-95

“Get rid of the guy. Impeach him, censure him, assassinate him.”

– Rep. James Hansen (R-UT), talking about President Clinton

“We’re going to keep building the party until we’re hunting Democrats with dogs.”

– Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), Mother Jones, 08-95

“My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building.”

– Ann Coulter, New York Observer, 08-26-02

“We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors.”

– Ann Coulter, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, 02-26-02

“Chelsea is a Clinton. She bears the taint; and though not prosecutable in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored. All the great despotisms of the past – I’m not arguing for despotism as a principle, but they sure knew how to deal with potential trouble – recognized that the families of objectionable citizens were a continuing threat. In Stalin’s penal code it was a crime to be the wife or child of an ‘enemy of the people.’ The Nazis used the same principle, which they called Sippenhaft, ‘clan liability.’ In Imperial China, enemies of the state were punished ‘to the ninth degree': that is, everyone in the offender’s own generation would be killed and everyone related via four generations up, to the great-great-grandparents, and four generations down, to the great-great-grandchildren, would also be killed.”

– John Derbyshire, National Review, 02-15-01

“Two things made this country great: White men & Christianity. The degree these two have diminished is in direct proportion to the corruption and fall of the nation. Every problem that has arisen (sic) can be directly traced back to our departure from God’s Law and the disenfranchisement of White men.”

– State Rep. Don Davis (R-NC), emailed to every member of the North Carolina House and Senate, reported by the Fayetteville Observer, 08-22-01

I could go on, and on, and on, and on, but you get the gist.

Most Disrespectfully Yours,
William Rivers Pitt

Words have power and meaning

Like the rest of the country, I’ve been watching the coverage of the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords at a local Safeway in Arizona. Like others I’ve watched pundits, the local blogger and everyone in between postulate on what motivated the shooter(s)*. I’m horrified at the loss of life, of a nine year old girl who was on the scene because of her interest in the political system, and a judge who stopped by in support of his colleague. I’m also moved by the words, thoughts and analysis of so many people online, who have stopped for a moment and put some thought into what they are saying and bringing some sense to the table in this maelstrom of chaos brought on by this senseless act of violence. I’m no wordsmith, but I do want to throw my digital two-bits in on the subject of words and the power they carry. My words here are not meant as an indictment, sanction or anything of the sort but they are meant to be taken, read, re-read and hopefully they will put some food for thought on the stove today.

First, we (as in anyone who has uttered an unthinking word about someone of an opposing viewpoint, be it political or otherwise) must stop the hate speech. We must stop being so careless with our words, only to be forced to swallow them after tragedy occurs. It’s far too easy to say “Well I didn’t meant THAT!” THAT being whatever act has been done by one or more members of the society; especially if they are in any way encouraged or easily swayed by rhetoric, and the lull of a final solution to what they perceive as a problem in their worldview. Second, It’s far too easy to use words laced with violent intent, and ASSUME that every single person that your words reach will be able to discern between the verbiage you toss about and your actual INTENT. I would hope that the people tossing about such hateful words so carelessly regardless of where they stand in terms of religion, politics, anything would remember the basic lesson of speaking. Do not assume anything about your audience, speak to them as if you are bringing new information to the table and they are learning from you.

Third, call out those that continue the pattern of hateful and violent speech against anyone they are not in sync with. Keep events such as the shooting in Arizona in the back of your mind, the Kennedy Assassinations, the murder of Dr. King and everyone who has taken a bullet because they dared to have a differing opinion than what another portion of society holds. Remember the lives lost over the years because someone felt that they held the key to solving the worlds problems in their hand via violence. Especially if their motivation does wind up being traced back to words said in the media freely and with no regard as to how they are going to be perceived, taken and used by those that may not be able to tell the difference between the reality we inhabit and the reality they inhabit. We must also think about those that have mental illness, those that just may not be well in any sense of the word and how a message such sent by a politician urging people to remove a Congresswoman, dressing in fatigues and inviting them to shoot M16’s? What about a message sent by using a map with bullseyes on it to target your opposition?

(Image posted for reference, and the fact that Palin should not be allowed to scrub this from her sites in the chance that people will forget. The memory of the internet is long)

There is so much power in what we say, the way in which we say it and in this day and age the method of delivery can get your message out there for good or ill in seconds. I repeat, we all need to take what has happened as a lesson in meaning what you say, and saying what you mean. Be clear in your speech, right in your intent and for the good of all of us, consider the places your words will reach, the ears they will fall upon and the minds they will touch. I say this to you politicians, friends, teachers, educators, loved ones, celebrities, sports figures. All of us are responsible for the words, the intent and messages we put out in the world every moment of every day. No one should be afraid to do their job because they could be shot down.

None of us should be afraid to disagree with someone out of fear of retribution by another, or by the person we’ve disagreed with. We really need to wrangle our words, think about their perception once they are out in the ether of the internet, others minds, hearts … this event is already changing how public servants will think about their jobs, how they serve and I’m sure many will rethink public office if merely dissenting with the opinions of others can earn you a death sentence.

Many others have covered this topic with more clarity and more eloquence than I can. I leave you with their words and I urge you to share their words, and think very hard about your own the next time you engage in conversation, especially one in which you plan to disagree with someone about the topic at hand.

Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Giffords

Cabell Hankinson Gathman:Discussion of an assassination: ableism & the failure of sociological understanding

Letters from Titan: Words Matter

Views Across the Pond: Lessons learnt – The Shooting of Gabrielle Giffords

Join the Coffee Party Movement: On the shooting in Tucson today

Huffington Post: GOP Senator, Rhetoric must be toned down

Maddowblog: This is a democracy, we can’t govern if we don’t respect each other

Signal boosting for my friend Joy – Vote for her essay!

The lovely Joy E. has entered an MLK Day essay contest and she’s a semi-finalist. Please go here and vote for her essay! It’s number five. The $500 prize money will go a long way in helping complete her graphic novel about Tuwani.

I’ve posted her essay from her blog under the cut. Please vote and pass it on to friends!

Continue reading Signal boosting for my friend Joy – Vote for her essay!

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 8,100 times in 2010. That’s about 19 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 26 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 601 posts. There was 1 picture uploaded, taking a total of 455kb.

The busiest day of the year was October 1st with 170 views. The most popular post that day was Introducing… The We Got Your Back Project.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were neo-prodigy.livejournal.com, theangryblackwoman.com, facebook.com, wiki.feministsf.net, and kindlypogmothoin.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for obama family, vg cats, kate harding, livejournal vs wordpress, and wordpress vs livejournal.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Introducing… The We Got Your Back Project September 2010
13 comments

2

Things I am sick of hearing about Senator Barack Hussein Obama July 2008
14 comments

3

I laughed so hard I cried… crack-fic re-write of the DH Epilogue. Spoilers of coures July 2007
4 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

4

I think I love Kate Harding for her post… April 2008
2 comments

5

VG Cats takes on Transformers July 2007

Ugh Skyline…

I saw Skyline today… now I had zero expectation for this flick. It was fully intended as a turn my brain off, see shit blow up kind of film. However, it failed to meet even my lower than low expectations for an early winter action movie.

The characters were blander than a rice and water diet. I’ve seen Balsa wood with more character than these walking archetypes of horror/sci-fi/action films. The film, short as it is, should have ended with…

Spoiling the ending under the cut. Read it and save yourself some $$$ …

Continue reading Ugh Skyline…

A moment of utter anger over yet more jokes at Antoine Dodson’s expense

I’ve always been angry about the way the Antoine Dodson case and interview has been turned into an internet meme, a joke and worse people are profiting off Mr. Dodson. After seeing yet another person post that damned auto-tuned version of the “rape song” I’d had enough. I’m ugh… I don’t even have words that aren’t a froth of utter rage for people treating this man’s interview with reporters as something funny, overshadowing the fact that he fought off his sisters attacker from their home and making him some internet joke.  So much so, you don’t even see her NAME anywhere, just people making fun of a man saving his sister. So here’s a bunch of links…

Antoine Dodson – Turning Rape into a joke (Salon.com)

Antoine Dodson – Internet star or Homophobic joke? (Kenyon Farrow)

Why is Antoine Dodson funny? Two Candid Perspectives (The Social Path)

What’s so Funny about Antoine Dodson? (Change.org)

Antoine Dodson – Famous for all the wrong reasons (CelebriFi)

Yeah, not amused, never was amused and never will be amused. Let this internet meme rest and let that man get back to having a life free of being a living, breathing internet joke.

 

A brief thinky post on the Wiscon situation and disinviting EMoon as GOH

This will be brief and entirely ineloquent because I am sick and cannot brain well. In short, disinviting E Moon as GOH is NOT FUCKING SILENCING HER! Reposting her own words for the world to see is NOT BULLYING HER! All these people whinging about how evil the mean brown people are, how they wheedled the comcon into disinviting her to be GOH need to just shut the fuck up, as in NOW.

I’m tired of people crying about Moon being silenced, and persecuted and all that other bullshit. She shat on the living room carpet, threw a blanket over it and continued to act as if there was nothing there. Her continued silence, refusal to discuss the issue and then the concom taking a while to make up their minds while staying conspicuously quiet is the issue.

I’m sick of people throwing tantrums in the Wiscon LJ comm about how meen this was, and rude, etc etc to disinvite Moon and stamping their feet and saying they aren’t coming now because the Con obviously isn’t for them.

GOOD, I don’t want my con experience ruined by whiny ass people who think its all about them and can’t see why Moon’s screed was so damn problematic. Also, if you can’t realize how much her words hurt our Muslim sisters and brothers, then I suggest you revisit Civics class, Privilege and Classism as well as Racism 101.

Many, many other people have said their piece on why the whole issue and how it was handled is problematic. See the [community profile] wiscon, [personal profile] karnythia, [personal profile] yuki_onna, [personal profile] nojojojo and K. Tempest Bradford sums up my feelings perfectly with You People are out of your Goddamned Minds

More on Moonfail… and how Wiscon has disappointed me

So there’s plenty more going around the web on the lack of response from Wiscon’s concom, especially after the governing body SF3 has suggested that E Moon’s (link goes to the post that kicked this off) GOH invitation be rescinded. There are others who have spoken far more eloquently than I ever could, those that were deeply involved in the whole thing that have stepped away from being on concomm or the programming comm and have said NO to Wiscon because its failing to meet its own expectations by not rescinding her invitation, and by expecting Muslim attendees to be walking teachers to correct her failure to see them as human beings, and in her own words as good citizens. That’s utter bollocks, and imposing an unfair burden on Muslims that would be attending the Con.

The other issue I’m having is seeing how this is affecting so many people, and how little it seems to matter to those who can make the decision to disinvite her. Is the pain of even one member of the community insufficient to move the concom to a decision? Do they need to see people canceling their memberships, their rooms and more declarations of how done people are with Wiscon to be moved to action?  Is it going to come down to money lost versus doing the right thing to get some kind of action to occur?It shouldnt be a matter of just dollar but of sense, and of what the Con supposedly stands for and not forgetting that in the face of controversy.

I’ve only gone to Wiscon once, and I greatly enjoyed it last year. I got to meet many wonderful people who I’ve remained connected to since Wiscon 34. I was afraid to even attend this year post race-fail, and frankly after seeing all of the hemming and hawing on making a decision about Moon’s GOH invitation and the idea that Muslim attendees should be walking teachable moments instead of making Moon see where she screwed up and making her accountable for her words; which are on the internet for the world to see and repeating them is not maligning her, it’s called quoting people I’m angry that I even gave Wiscon this one year of my time, money and experience. I’m disappointed more than angry about all of this.

I hope that Wiscon makes a decision, and soon about rescinding Moon’s GOH status before anyone who cares just gives up and goes away. I know I’m getting to that point and I’ve only gone once but was excited about returning to Madison next May, already booked a room and was planning on how to get there even if I don’t have a job by next spring. But instead I’m going to join the folks sitting, waiting and wondering what is going to finally happen.

Lastly and most definitely not least, I hope that people have not forgotten about Nisi Shawl, the GOH for Wiscon 35. I feel like she has been overshadowed, overrun by the utter fail of Moon’s idiocy and hate speech and forgotten in this. I hope to be there to support and celebrate Nisi as she should be celebrated for all she’s done. It was wonderful meeting her last year and I want to keep her in people’s minds as they make up their mind about attending/not attending/giving up on Wiscon altogether.

In short, I hope there’s some action sooner than later and I can resume plans to attend in good conscience.