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[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
It's storytime with mama rahaeli: I think we've got a legacy 'feature' that can be removed, but I'm not 100% sure. Read the background and try to convince me one way or the other.

The situation as it is now: If you try to post to your journal with a time before your most recent entry, you are prevented from doing so.

(The check is in cgi-bin/LJ/Protocol.pm, lines 1323-1327; the error is "You have an entry which was posted at $u->{'newesteventtime'}, but you're trying to post an entry before this. Please check the date and time of both entries. If the other entry is set in the future on purpose, edit that entry to use the \"Don't show on Reading Pages\" option. Otherwise, use the \"Don't show on Reading Pages\" option for this entry instead.")

This check was added in the LJ days (I'm not sure when, because the web gateway to LJ's source is down right now and I can't look up the history, but it was very early in my tenure so I want to say 2002 or so) to prevent a very common problem with people's computer clocks being set wrong. It was a horrible support burden (leading to dozens if not more support requests per day): someone's computer battery would be dying and their clock was set wrong because of it, or their clock would just be set a year or two off. Because entries in personal journals are displayed on the Recent Entries page by the time they're dated, not by the time the server received the post, a post dated 1970-01-01 would disappear completely: the person would post it, it would display on Recent Entries behind every other post they'd ever made, and they wouldn't be able to find it when they loaded their journal to see it so they would assume it hadn't been posted at all.

(This is not a problem in communities: to avoid the problem with having posters from many timezones, communities show all entries ordered by server time, not by user-supplied time.)

The fix definitely helped that problem, but it introduced the opposite problem (someone who posts once with an accidental date of 2038-01-01 then has to do some farting around with the backdating flag) and the whole concept of backdating in general is very hard to explain to people. It also, for us, causes issues with emailed-in posts: when someone emails a post to the site, it's posted with the timestamp in UTC (aka, DW server time), which then causes problems if someone wants to post within the 'window' of their timezone offset. (This is what made me start this post: I emailed in today's stupid kitten pic, which got a timestamp of 2014-04-21 0500 UTC, then I tried to post a second entry at 2014-04-21 0421 EDT and got the error. I've opened an issue for applying timezone offsets to emailed-in posts, but there's still the wider question to address.)

My gut instinct is that this check may have been necessary in 2002 (or whenever) when very few people had self-correcting clocks, but now it's 2014 and I don't think there's a single operating system out there that doesn't ship with the "update from timeservers" checkbox checked. I think the few people who will have disabled that auto-time-correction will be used to things behaving weirdly for them if their clock is hella off, and any potential support burden will be alleviated by the lack of having to support questions like "I posted an entry in 2020 to future-date it and now I can't update without errors".

So, discuss:

1) Do people think we can safely remove the "are you trying to post in the past" check?

2a) If not, should we switch to using system time for the "are you trying to post in the past" check? (IE, go by "time the entry was received by DW" rather than "time the user specifies for their post".)

2b) If yes, which of the two options should we take:

2b1) Eliminate all future-date/past-date checks when updating, but otherwise leave things as-is, so that entries on a personal journal's Recent Entries page are still displayed in the order they're dated, not the order they were posted;

2b2) Eliminate all future-date/past-date checks when updating, and switch to treating personal journals like communities, in which entries are displayed in strict order they're posted regardless of date specified by the user.

(I can make up some examples if people are confused about the distinction.)

I think we should get rid of the check, and we should otherwise leave things as-is (so: yes to 1, and of the two, option 2b1) but I am willing to entertain arguments in any direction. Convince me!
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Posted by Claudia Rebaza

English

Banner by Erin of a spotlight on an OTW logo with the words 'Spotlight on Legal Issues'

In our continuing effort to protect against online censorship that would harm fans, last week, the OTW filed an amicus brief in the case of Garcia v. Google. The case involves the scope and application of the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA and section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which together prevent content hosts -- like YouTube, the AO3, and many others -- from being liable for what their users post.

This case is partly a classic example of "bad facts make bad law," since the plaintiff -- an actress tricked into taking part in the film Innocence of Muslims -- has good reason to want the film taken down. But in response to her request, the court not only applied a tortured interpretation of copyright law (an issue addressed in many other briefs filed with the court at the same time), but also ignored important anti-censorship "safe harbor" laws.

The court forced Google to not only to take the film down, but also to ensure that it is never re-posted. In so ruling, the court ignored the provisions that protect content hosts from having to "police" what their users post. These safe harbors exist to prevent online censorship, and they are important to fans. Just about every site that hosts fan content depends on them. Just imagine if every allegedly infringing or defamatory fanwork led to a lawsuit, or if fan sites were required to monitor their archives to make sure no one ever posted objectionable material: many of the sites fans rely on wouldn't be able to afford to operate. That's the sort of thing these laws are designed to prevent.

For that reason, the OTW, along with Floor64 (the operator of TechDirt), filed a brief asking the court to reconsider its decision with an eye to the fact that although the decision may create a good factual result in this particular case, it makes terrible law that will harm freedom of expression on the Internet. As Techdirt explained in its post about the brief, "There is a reason why Congress was so intent on providing safe harbors, recognizing the incentives for broad censorship when you blame service providers for the actions of their users. Judge Kozinski appears to have ignored nearly all of Congress' intent in his ruling, and we're hopeful that (among the many other reasons why his ruling should be reviewed), the rest of the 9th Circuit will recognize that the original ruling has serious First Amendment implications, beyond just the basic copyright questions."

For those interested in reading more, you can find this latest brief on our Legal Advocacy page along with past filings.

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On clients and APIs

Apr. 20th, 2014 01:53 am
darael: Black lines on a white background.  A circle, with twenty-one straight lines connecting seven equally spaced points. (Default)
[personal profile] darael posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
Dreamwidth's APIs are poorly documented (people basically have to work off docs for old versions of LJ's APIs). They're also missing key features, like comment handling for more than backups.

I've been told there have been "some internal conversations about deprecating the XML-RPC API -- keeping it for backwards compatability, but moving to a much more modern second-gen API", but that nobody has had both the time and the inclination to work on designing such a thing.

Well, this is me, volunteering. To that end, I'm looking for input on what exactly such a new API needs to provide, and whether there's a preferred underlying technology to build on (exempli gratia, stick with XML-RPC? Change to SOAP? Use JSON? RESTful or not? et cetera). What I'm getting at here is that I'm entirely happy to take point, as it were, and to make decisions (especially where there's little or no consensus and someone has to make the call), draw up specs, write docs, and so forth, but the result is highly unlikely to be a really useful API unless I get input from more sources than my own experience and looks at the code.

At this stage, therefore, I want everything you, the reader, have to say on the subject. Use cases especially.

Go.
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Posted by Claudia Rebaza

English

Banner by Erin of a shield bearing the logos of several digital rights organizations.

  • The Asahi Shimbum detailed fan concerns about the TPP. "Usami and other creators of fan fiction, however, could face the possibility of legal prosecution as copyright violators in the future, depending on the outcome of TPP negotiations. Some countries are apparently demanding that Japan clamp down on knock-off and pirated works in the intellectual property arena, even if the copyright holder does not object to it. Under current Japanese copyright law, authorities take action only after the copyright holder, such as the artist of the original work or publisher, lodges a formal complaint."
  • India's Business Standard wrote about book piracy and its turn to crossover fiction. "By the 2000s, piracy had changed across all kinds of language publishing in India. In 2003, Harry Potter's publishers successfully sued Uttam Ghosh, preventing him from introducing a character called Jhontu in a sub-series where Harry Potter goes to Calcutta, a work of fan fiction if there ever was one...Book pirates in China had stayed ahead of the curve, by passing off a weird little book called Harry Potter and Bao Zoulong as a new Potter sequel. In this version, Harry Potter became a leading character in a translation of The Hobbit, with an explanatory paragraph to tell the reader how Harry Potter was turned into a hobbit one day while taking a bath."
  • The Wire explored the origin of The Office Time Machine. Creator Joe Sabia "wasn't really a fan of the show" but created it to "advocate for copyright reform and highlight the importance of fair use in protecting creators and their art."
  • Yet fair uses of content can be beneficial to creators. The Toronto Star discussed how music companies made more money from fan videos than official videos. “A lot of that is due to consumers putting more and more repertoire and new versions up there, but also it’s YouTube getting better at advertising" as now more than 50 countries are part of video ad monetization. "'It’s a massive growth area. We’re very excited about the creativity of consumers using our repertoire and creating their own versions of our videos,' said Francis Keeling, the global head of digital business for Universal Music Group."

What copyright developments have you seen relating to fandom? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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Posted by Claudia Rebaza

English

Banner by caitie of the OTW logo wearing a mortarboard with the post title written on lined paper

  • For those fans who enjoyed the OTW's academic panel chat you may also want to look at Participations: Dialogues on the Participatory Promise of Contemporary Culture and Politics. This conversation among seven academics included Sarah Banet-Weiser, Nancy Baym, Francesca Coppa, David Gauntlett, Jonathan Gray, Henry Jenkins and Adrienne Shaw. Coppa discusses Welcome to Night Vale: "[I]t looks to me like something that could have been invented by an artist trying to imagine Henry’s definition of transmedia’s best self: radio, so giving fans an opportunity to imagine the visuals individually and collectively, which they have done with gusto; central characters who are queer and of color; an open invitation to make other things for and in the world (I wouldn’t even say 'an invitation to fans,' because, in a way, we’re not fans; we’re explicitly framed as citizens of Night Vale)."
  • Anna Von Veh presented Beyond the Text at the “Books in Browsers IV” conference in San Francisco in October 2013 and it is now available online as part of the Conference Proceedings which were published in The Journal of Electronic Publishing. "The technology of the Internet is perfectly in tune with Jacques Derrida’s notion of 'difference'...where meaning is always deferred; and where, in a postcolonial understanding...meaning and agency are to be found in the gaps between locations of power and certainty. The Internet allows a metaphorical and literal leaking of content from the container and from those who 'own' it. So just as the conventional two-dimensional format of the book (or I believe its digital facsimile, the ebook) is no longer the appropriate technology for content in a networked world, the understanding of the ‘contained’, owned, settled story is no longer the appropriate concept of text in such a world."
  • The Examiner.com paired fandom and education in its report on the Chesterfield Library's Comic-Con 2014. "[T]he concept of a Library System sponsoring a Comicon is unique enough to elicit more than passing interest, especially when that system holds more than 11,000 graphic novel volumes in circulation." In addition to comics vendors, a cosplay contest, and the participation of local artist Chris Otto, of "A Dog's Life" web comic, local teachers and school clubs contributed content.
  • Master's degree student Tara Popp shared her capstone project on fandom where she "created and narrated a PowerPoint presentation on the 6 Cs of fanworks and its impact on youth development from a technological viewpoint." These 6 Cs were Cognitivity, Communication, Community, Contribution, Character, and Cheer. "[F]anwork is a 'spark' for young people. Sparks are special interests and abilities that inspire youth to pursue their passion on their own, and Benson (2008) advocates that parents and other youth professionals encourage them to do something they enjoy. For some youth, their spark may not advance further than their adolescent years, but for others, it is a life-long endeavor."

What fandom research or academic discussion has grabbed you? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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Posted by Kendra James

by Racialicious special correspondent Wendi Muse

Author’s note: Before anyone jumps all over me, I use “brown” here as a general term for people of African or indigenous American descent, not solely South Asians or Central Americans, though the article discusses issues for all POC travelers, not just the ones with darker skin.

Ah, Madrid.

I had decided that for spring break in 2005, instead of going to Memphis as planned, I’d take a week-long trip to Paris and Madrid instead. After all, in a weird twist of fate, the plane tickets to Europe were only about 100 dollars more than those I had bought to go to the place Elvis and I both called home. I figured as I could speak, read, and understand Spanish and French, I’d be fine. I’d been to Paris before, and loved it, and had heard awesome things about Madrid from my friends, so I thought, “Why not? Just breathe, and take a chance.” So I did, though I wasn’t exactly prepared for the less than warm reception in one of the liveliest cities in the Iberian Peninsula.

Paris was no problem, possibly due in part to the city’s expressed love (read: borderline fetishizing) of black folks (Josephine Baker, anyone?) or the running assumption that I was Moroccan/generally North African and not a black American. Most people just treated me like I was French, before I opened my mouth, of course (despite my perfect French accent, my occasional pause to find vocabulary words from my high school French mental database was a dead give-a-way). No one was rude to me or my friend with whom I went out on occasion (who is half white American, half indigenous Mexican, and clearly “of color”).

Madrid, on the other hand, completely did me in.

On a super basic level, I wasn’t a big fan of the traditional Spanish food, and, instead, flocked to the numerous Middle Eastern restaurants like water in a desert mirage. And though I was only there for three days, these little hole-in-the-wall, family-run eateries ended up being my surrogate safe havens as walking around on the street proved, well, difficult. I would say the city, overall, was far from receptive. While I understood having a pride in being Spanish, or a Mardileño, to be more specific, what I did not understand was why that translated into racism. I faced constant stares, and I mean constant, many of which were steeped in anger or confusion, despite my more than proper attire (I was not one of those fanny pack-wearing, head buried in a map, incapable-of-speaking-the-native-language types of tourists, trust me). I was cat-called, a lot, and though I was conditioned to that from having lived in NYC for four years at that point, what I hadn’t been exposed to was the overtly sexual racist epithets thrown my way (none of which I will repeat here). I tried to search the eyes of other people of color for an explanation. People of Asian descent seemed happy, even moreso there than in Paris. And people clearly from Africa also seemed OK, though I am sure their black skin proved problematic at times (look no further than the Madrid soccer related racism or even the recent Formula One racing incident in Barcelona). It was the somewhat racially ambiguous brown folks who seemed to run into trouble.

El Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Mexicans, and other phentoypically outcast Latin American immigrants (along with black Africans) held lower-echelon jobs and noticeably received stares and a little street harassment as well. Their spoken Spanish was a reminder of Spain’s colonial past that history had erased, glossed over, or simply euphemized, much like textbooks of Japan, the United States, or any nation, and their appearance even more so—typically indigenous and/or African features blending with those of the Spanish conquistadores and settlers of yore rendering many of the Latin American immigrants who had come to Spain in search of work easy to spot. I noticed that Caribbean Latinos and mulatos caught hell too, receiving the same sets of glaring eyes that I did when on public transportation or simply andando a pié.

To put it nicely, it was an awkward existence I led, at best, ceasing my outdoor activities more or less once the sun set because I had been propositioned more than once in the day time, and didn’t want to risk full on sexual assault at night due to my having been assumed to be a prostitute on account of my skin color. The hostel employees (all of Latin American descent) and the falafel bar owners loved me, but they were about the only ones in Madrid who made me feel somewhat human. On the cab ride to the airport, a place where I would later be racially profiled (read: separated from a line of a ton of other people, searched, forced to weigh my carry-on, a small backpack, and made to pay 60 Euros for it being a few kilos overweight on account of an art book I had bought for a friend from the Museo del Prado!), I vowed never to come back and counted down the minutes until I’d return to Paris for my departure to New York.

But during this cab ride, I learned a few things to which I was not initially privy prior to going to Madrid. The cab driver asked me how I liked Madrid, to which I replied, “I liked it, but I don’t think it liked me too much,” which led to our discussing (no kidding) race relations in Spain. The driver, born and raised in Spain, offered a perspective I had not fully considered. He mentioned the abject poverty and limited knowledge of Spanish that plagued African immigrant communities, and in many Spaniards’ minds, the state, as they were paying taxes to support unwelcome refugees. He also discussed the cause for my frequent run-ins with men who had less than Puritan intentions in their approach: that many women from the Dominican Republic and North Africa became prostitutes in Madrid to make ends meet. His explanation for the differing treatment of Asians vs. people of indigenous or African descent boiled down to the ability to assimilate.

“They come here already speaking Spanish,” he said. “. . . and with money” he added. He didn’t agree with how I was treated, and noted that I “seemed fine,” but was sure to note that “a lot of Madrileños aren’t ready for that kind of change. The young people, maybe, but their parents and people my age, not so much. They think they are pure, and forget about the years the Moors were here. They want things to stay the same. Come back in ten years, and maybe things will be better.”

Though I was back in Paris a few hours later, I thought about what he said for a while after that. While comfortably nestled in the plush leather-upholstered seats of the Swiss Air flight back to New York, I wondered if my little trip to Spain would have been different if I possessed a lower level of melanin, or even if I looked noticeably more African instead of bearing an appearance that confused people. Upon returning to the United States, the same friends who had recommended Madrid felt a tinge of regret for not having mentioned “the racism thing” or at least not having forewarned how it may have affected me. In retrospect, they all noted, as whites, they had never thought about it. They had only heard stories, those they had selectively compartmentalized in a place far away in the back of their brains because they didn’t really have to worry about it in Europe or in the United States in the same way, say, someone visually different from the majority would.

The experience and the discussions I had in the aftermath of my time in Madrid made me reflect on the privileges, or lack thereof, we have while traveling. Though I had a bad experience in Madrid, that is not to say every person of color has a comparable story. In fact, I know a few black women who loved Madrid and who have gone back several times, stating that they experienced a few incidents of racism, but mainly that it was more an issue of mistaken national identity than anything else. I think, too, of what the cab driver expressed in relation to his (and, arguably, the city’s) impression of Asians. Even my white friends had expressed a considerable sense of alienation in Madrid at times, not due to language, but mainly in relation to cultural differences or even physical ones (being super tall or Nordic in appearance, you name it). In looking back on the experience and after hearing those of others, I was able to put things more into perspective.

Even I am “privileged” (in a physical sense) in some locations, notably northern and central Brazil, where my appearance did not garner unreasonable attention, many assuming that I was just “one of them.” I even thought of my experiences in the United States. I didn’t feel as if my physically assigned racial characteristics made me stand out in some Brooklyn neighborhoods, whereas my white or Asian-American friends expressed extreme discomfort on account of stares and even statements geared toward them. I find myself losing sight of how powerful my appearance can be at the right place and at the right time, but never forget how much of a burden it can be in other situations.

In reflecting on my previous travel experiences as I prepare for an upcoming trip to Portugal, I began thinking about how many additional things I have to consider as a woman, and, in particular, a person of color before I travel. It’s amazing how many things travel guides leave out when it comes to the treatment a person of color may receive in a certain country, how to react to incidents of racism, or even whether or not what you are experiencing has nothing to do with race and all to do with cultural miscommunication. Though maybe I should expect it by now as many of the travel guide writers are white. Then again, only white people travel, right? (kidding, though on average, whites DO travel more widely and frequently than blacks, at least.. . though, given, this could be due to a series of factors that would lead me into an entirely new post, so I’ll shelve this for now).

Besides consulting the Minority Travel Forum on Rick Steve’s Graffiti Wall with posts from travelers of color (including people involved in interracial relationships, who have adopted children of a different race/ethnicity from their own, etc), which I highly recommend, it’s worth considering the following:

1. The travel guide will most likely leave out information about the reception, or lack thereof, you may experience as a person of color. This includes common words/sayings with which you may not be familiar, but that are actually not racist (i.e. if someone in the Dominican Republic were to call you “negrito” or “indio,” it would not be meant as a racial slur, rather a term of endearment based on your skin color and/or heritage).

2. Expect the unexpected, and don’t go into the situation assuming your experience will match those of your white peers and/or friends and family of color. Your command of the native language, body language, familiarity with the culture, style of dress, etc can alter how you are perceived and treated.

3. Don’t always assume racism is at play. As a result of the history of the United States, people of color and whites alike have been rendered into sensitivity machines, often analyzing things at a level of sociological sophistication that may not be of issue in some other countries. Also, bear in mind that every nation has its own respective history and deals with race and ethnicity accordingly. Don’t attempt to color their history with your own. Think of these things before you jump the gun.

4. Find out what you can do if you ARE a victim of racism. There are several anti-racist groups (i.e. SOS Racismo in Spain and Portugal) that hold workshops and do outreach based on race-related issues. Sites like this may be worth checking out prior to taking a trip.

5. Reconcile your prior experiences with those of the present. The United States and/or your home country more likely than not has witnessed acts of racism, many of which continue. Don’t assume that it’s only the country you are visiting that has problems. If we think of the Amadou Diallo case or the Jena 6 or Vincent Chin, the U.S. is a scary and ugly place for POC too. It doesn’t make racism here or elsewhere any better, but it definitely makes you realize that every country has its problems, so you can’t let a few instances of racism frighten you away.

6. If traveling by yourself and feel threatened as a result of your race/ethnicity, try to remove yourself from the situation, if possible and find a place where you feel more welcome. You may even want to try to get to know other people like yourself in that country, depending on the duration of your stay, to get tips on places to avoid, how to behave in the case of a threat, etc.

7. Do your homework. Before traveling anywhere, ask around and look up information detailing the experiences of people like yourself. As I mentioned before, their experience may not entirely mirror the one in which you are about to partake, but it may offer some helpful advice.

8. Have a good time, despite any adversity you may encounter. If anything, I learned to laugh at the experience in Madrid in retrospect, and in a weird case of Stockholm syndrome, have considered going back one day, though with a friend this time. If you have spent the money to go somewhere else, you might as well try to get as much out of it as you can!

The post [Thursday Throwback] Brown and Out of Town: a POC Traveler’s Guide to Racism appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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April 17th, 2014next

April 17th, 2014: Adventure Time #27 is out now! IT INVOLVES:

  • Finn and Jake being ghosts
  • BMO and Ice King on a date
  • EVEN MORE, AS IF THAT WASN'T ENOUGH??
You can read a preview by clicking on this page!

You can get it locally, online, or digitally.

One year ago today: hey kids! let's learn about... computers!

– Ryan

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buy this as a print

I found some photos that I took on a trip to Toronto about ten years ago. It's fun to see the parts of the city I explored before I actually lived here. Most of them are from the east end, where somewhere we found a train that was just sitting around waiting for some jerks to climb around on it.

 

Self-Healing From American Racism

Apr. 16th, 2014 02:00 pm
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Posted by Guest Contributor

By Guest Contributor Marly Pierre-Louis

All images provided by the author.

I love a good adventure. So when my partner asked, “How would you feel about moving to Amsterdam?” I was game. Between the shock of making that decision and being completely overwhelmed with all we had to do, I daydreamed about what it would be like to be Black in the Netherlands. I knew about the historical love affair between Black America and Europe. Black folks, especially artists, had always sought refuge from the terrors of American racism in Europe. Stories of Josephine Baker, James Baldwin, and Richard Wright in France painted an eclectic and humane portrait of Black life in Europe. I was thrilled at the prospect of experiencing a truly post racial existence.

Stage I

At least I thought I was. Something happened as we crossed the Atlantic: I got cynical. Post racial. What a farce. From the moment we landed I became slightly obsessed with analyzing how I was being read as a Black woman – an utterly disorienting experience. I had never before been so aware of how much influence my race and gender had on the way I maneuvered through the world and how I interacted with people. Specifically, white people. Meeting my new compatriots, I searched their faces, tones of voice, and body language, hoping for hints. I wasn’t getting any of the cues that I had spent my life learning to navigate. The feeling of being somehow “race-less” was unbearable.

This realization was deeply troubling to me. It made me cognitive of what happens when we step out of the borders of the United States and are actually able to put down our racial armor but can’t. We can’t function without it. So much of my existence had been crafted as a defensive response to white racism. I identify as a radical Black, sometimes nationalist, feminist. Who was I without the white American male gaze?

Stage II

I devoured everything I could find on race in the Netherlands and how racism manifested. Prior to 1975, when Suriname, one of the Dutch colonies was liberated, the Netherlands was pretty homogeneously white. So integration is a fairly recent phenomenon. Most of the Black folks who are here are migrants from Suriname or the Dutch Antilles. The marginalized groups here are not Black but Turkish and Moroccan migrants. I was told that in Europe, it’s not about race, it’s about ethnicity. My Blackness didn’t mean much to Dutch people and I was mainly being read as 1) a non-Dutch person, and then, 2) an American. Maybe post racial was possible!
Not quite.

The Dutch might lack the stereotypes and tropes of Black womanhood that the U.S has so painstakingly crafted over decades: i.e. sapphire, welfare mom, jezebel, etc. but they have plenty of issues of their own. In November I experienced my first Zwarte Piet season. Zwarte Piet is the Dutch version of Santa’s elf and the main character of their annual holiday celebration – a white person in Black face, curly wig, red lipstick and gold hoop earrings – in short, a coon. Hundreds of them descended upon the city for a three week period. It was, in a word … horrific.

While Zwarte Piet is the most overt manifestation of racism I’ve witnessed, I’ve watched enough BBC to know that folks here are dealing with their fair share of BS. In 2011, the Netherlands was the target of Rihanna’s rage when a Dutch magazine, Jackie, called her an “ultimate niggabitch.”

And last month, in a scene that was compared in reports to a Nazi Germany gathering, Geert Wilders, a right wing Dutch politician and leader of the Party for Freedom, asked a crowd of supporters at an election rally, “Do you want, in this city and in The Netherlands, more or less Moroccans?” To which the crowd roared back, “Less! Less! Less!”

The current coalition cabinet led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, leader of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (ironic, isn’t it?), is explicitly anti-Islam and has put structural barriers in place to make it difficult for immigrants to remain. New immigration laws mandate that non-citizens pass language and cultural tests within two years or else face deportation.

And that’s just the stuff that makes the news. I’ve heard tales of racial profiling, media discrimination, and the silencing of academics and activists of color. During the driving test for her license, a friend of mine was asked her opinion of Zwarte Piet by the instructor. When she told him she thought it was racist, he vehemently defended the tradition and then promptly flunked her. Riding on public transit without a ticket is called “zwartrijden” — literally, “Black riding.” A friend explains that when Black folks get on the tram, they sometimes hear people joke, “Ook al koop je sen kaartje, je rijdt sowieso zwart.” Translation: whether or not you buy a ticket, you’re still “riding Black.”

This country is far from post racial.

Honestly though? Aside from some suspicious looks every now and then, I truly haven’t experienced much overt racism firsthand. What I’ve realized is that my status as an American expat has sheltered me. My partner and I are both here under “highly skilled migrant” visas. My privileged status has kept me from being confronted by structural racism and not knowing any Dutch has protected me from microaggressions. I exist in a bubble.

Self Care

My self care plan has been to construct an existence and identity outside of both the white American gaze and the Dutch one. It hasn’t been easy but it has been liberating. I’m no longer allowing my obsession with how I’m being read as a Black woman to dictate who I interact with and how I interact with them. I’ve fully embraced the expat experience and it’s been refreshing to feel like I can be MYSELF here. Myself meaning, Marly, the multi-dimensional individual, rather than Marly, the accumulation of white stereotypes + white fear + white liberal guilt x the entire Black race. I’ve made friends with Dutch, Romanians, and Italians. In my conversations with this multi-culti crew, I’ve never felt like a spectacle, I’ve never felt exoticized, undermined or underestimated.

My bubble is fragile.

A few months ago, I was at an event with some friends. Someone they knew came over and they introduced me to her. She was white and quite tall so I assumed she was Dutch. At one point, she referenced something American and when I asked her where she was from she said “Arkansas.” For a split second, the post racial(ish) safe space I had constructed for myself collapsed, I felt exposed. Not only was she a white American, but a white American from the South – like the Paula Dean South! I couldn’t help but feel like my humanity was once again, in danger. I’m hiding from American racism in European racism — it’s a tricky space to navigate.

And it’s an ongoing struggle. Every now and then I catch myself looking at someone sideways determined to anticipate how their racism will manifest. And whenever it does, I feel a perverse sense of triumph. The world is once again as it should be.

Marly Pierre-Louis is a writer and community cultivator currently biking through the rain in Amsterdam. She is interested in intersectional feminism and sexuality.

The post Self-Healing From American Racism appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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Posted by Arturo

By Arturo R. García

Doug Glanville during his playing days with the Philadelphia Phillies. Image via Section215.com

An ESPN analyst is involved in what could be one of the most interesting stories of the year — depending, in part, on whether the network decides to cover it.

Doug Glanville is among the many former pro baseball players who contributes to the network’s Major League Baseball coverage. But he’s also penned columns for The New York Times and Time, on top of writing his own biography. But it’s his work this week for The Atlantic that has garnered attention.

Instead of covering his life on the baseball field, though, his column this week discussed his experience with a more commonplace aspect of life in America: racial profiling. Outside his own home.

This past February, Glanville wrote, he was clearing snow from the driveway of his Hartford, Connecticut home — located roughly 20 minutes from ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol — when he was approached by a police officer from West Hartford:

I noted the strangeness of his being in Hartford — an entirely separate town with its own police force — so I thought he needed help. He approached me with purpose, and then, without any introduction or explanation he asked, “So, you trying to make a few extra bucks, shoveling people’s driveways around here?”

All of my homeowner confidence suddenly seemed like an illusion.

It would have been all too easy to play the “Do you know who I am?” game. My late father was an immigrant from Trinidad who enrolled at Howard University at age 31 and went on to become a psychiatrist. My mother was an important education reformer from the South. I graduated from an Ivy League school with an engineering degree, only to get selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft. I went on to play professionally for nearly 15 years, retiring into business then going on to write a book and a column for The New York Times. Today, I work at ESPN in another American dream job that lets me file my taxes under the description “baseball analyst.”

But I didn’t mention any of this to the officer. I tried to take his question at face value, explaining that the Old Tudor house behind me was my own. The more I talked, the more senseless it seemed that I was even answering the question. But I knew I wouldn’t be smiling anymore that day.

After a few minutes, he headed back to his vehicle. He offered no apology, just an empty encouragement to enjoy my shoveling. And then he was gone.

And it’s not like Glanville lives in a “rough” neighborhood, either; he states in the column that he lives near not only Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, but Gov. Dannel Malloy and one state senator. Hartford police soon confirmed that the West Hartford officer was outside his jurisdiction, something that was not mentioned in a statement released on Tuesday by the latter department.

Instead, West Hartford police said the officer was looking for a “Black male, in his 40′s, wearing a brown jacket and carrying a snow shovel,” who had allegedly broken the town’s ban on door-to-door soliciting by asking a homeowner if he could shovel snow from their driveway for a fee. That person was later located and given a verbal warning.

“While the officer’s actions in searching for the suspicious party were completely appropriate, we wish he had taken the extra time to introduce himself to Mr. Glanville and to explain the purpose of the question,” the West Hartford Police’s statement read. “We have discussed this with the officer and will work to remind all of our officers of the importance of good interpersonal skills and taking time, when practical, to explain their actions.”

Before sharing his story with ESPN or the Times, though, Glanville continued his conversation with West Hartford authorities:

In my case, the officer had not only spoken to me without respect but had crossed over into a city where West Hartford’s ordinance didn’t even apply.

But as we spoke, I found myself thinking of the people who have to deal with far more extreme versions of racial profiling on a regular basis and don’t have the ability to convene meetings at Town Hall. As an article in the April issue of The Atlantic points out, these practices have “side effects.” They may help police find illegal drugs and guns, but they also disenfranchise untold numbers of people, making them feel like suspects … all of the time.

In reaching out for understanding, I learned that there is a monumental wall separating these towns. It is built with the bricks of policy, barbed by racially charged anecdotes, and cemented by a fierce suburban protectionism that works to safeguard a certain way of life. The mayor of West Hartford assured me that he championed efforts to diversify his town, and the chief of police told me he is active in Connecticut’s statewide Racial and Ethnic Disparity Commission in the Criminal Justice System. (He also pointed me to a 2011 article he wrote for Police Chief Magazine, addressing many of the same issues I raised.) I hope their continued efforts can help traverse this class- and race-based barrier, which unfortunately grows even more impenetrable with experiences such as mine.

Glanville’s encounter points to intersections of not only sport and race, but class and profiling, and of law and stereotypes. But a quick check of ESPN’s online listings for him shows that the topic hasn’t been broached. If Glanville is up to it, here’s to hoping it spurs a more in-depth discussion on these issues on the network. Considering that the network covers athletes’ legal issues as thoroughly as it would the average ballgame — a positive, it should be said — Glanville already offers ESPN exactly the kind of person who can approach these issues with the kind of nuance they deserve. Even if, unfortunately, he can rely on his lived experience in doing so.

[Top image via Doug Glanville's official Facebook page]

The post Will ESPN Tell Doug Glanville’s Story? appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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April 16th, 2014next

April 16th, 2014: Adventure Time #27 is out today! IT INVOLVES:

  • Finn and Jake being ghosts
  • BMO and Ice King on a date
  • EVEN MORE, AS IF THAT WASN'T ENOUGH??
You can read a preview by clicking on this page!

You can get it locally, online, or digitally.

One year ago today: the trick here is that it is ensconced in law that people can have different opinions about plays

– Ryan

OTW Fannews: Fandom self-discoveries

Apr. 15th, 2014 09:28 pm
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Posted by Claudia Rebaza

English

Banner by Diane of the post title with the OTW logo exploding in fireworks.

  • Two articles popped up recently that showed how introducing people to fanfiction through, well, fiction could spark discoveries. At Book Riot, Cassandra Neace used Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl as a way to jumpstart her imagination. "This is what I’ve learned: writers of fan fiction are incredibly capable and inventive...I even, at one point, dabbled in writing my own because it occurred to me that it was a great way to get used to writing on a regular basis. When the stress of world-building is taken away, it’s much easier to let the words flow. Eventually, the act of writing becomes so comfortable that the idea of building my own world from the ground up isn’t as intimidating as it once was."
  • Blogger Jules instead used Fangirl to learn more about the lives of her students and her inner slashgirl. "When I finished Fangirl, I was sad to leave behind Simon/Baz. Then, a few days later I–swear, no joke–went online to see if anyone else liked the idea of a Harry/Draco pairing. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, turns out one or two other Harry Potter fans like the idea of Harry/Draco."
  • Metro UK wrote about one music group's enjoyment of fanfiction: "Little Mix are well aware of the erotic fan fiction written about them – and they love it." Discussing their lesbian fandom, singer Jade Thirlwall said "It is very saucy and quite hardcore. I’ve read a lot of lesbian ones about us all being lesbians with each other...But they can write what they want – as long as it stays fiction."
  • Saginaw Valley State University's Valley Vanguard wrote about the importance of fandom on campus. "Fandoms are important, though, especially in college. Falling in love with the university, and also in love with the family-like relationships that come from these fandoms, is sometimes very essential to a successful college career. Without the reference group that is a fandom, individuals would feel like they don’t belong or feel lonely because they can’t share something that is very important to them. So, I encourage any of you that feel as though you are a part of a fandom to find others that share that specific craziness and be crazy together, geeking out about your fandom until you can’t anymore."

What fandom self-discoveries have you made? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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Posted by Arturo

By Arturo R. García

We now pause to honor Eli’s (Joe Morton) BOSS entrance.

Finally, the chickens came home to roost on Scandal‘s penultimate episode of the season.

Unfortunately, they came for the writers.

While it’s natural for this episode to serve as the introduction for multiple points of tension heading into the finale, the whole turned out more overcooked than the sum of its parts. And for this show, that’s saying something. Let’s take each of them one-by-one.

1. It’s six days before the election!: As we’ve talked about in the past, the lack of attention to any notion of a campaign (past dramatic speeches every now and then) during this stretch of the season made hearing this the biggest surprise of the episode. (So much so that the writers apparently felt the need to have everybody remind us over and over). Nobody’s asking this show to turn into a documentary, but the campaign process literally takes years. So setting this episode so close to the election felt like an albatross trying to fly its way to plausibility, not knowing the eight-episode structure for this arc clipped its wings from the outset.

2. Sally and Leo have an evil plan!: The lack of an actual campaign also undercuts Sally’s sudden attempt at an underhanded Hail Mary. Viewers barely saw her get over killing her husband, and now she’s trying to land the killing blow on Fitz’s campaign? Her candidacy barely has a reason to exist at this point. Also, it would’ve been nice to see how Leo set up his deal with the Evil High-Schooler; nobody on this show is exactly a good person, but one hates to think he’s like a political Woodeston when he’s off the clock.

“Bring my baby home.” Yes, ma’am.

3. Maya has an evil plan!: This was actually the highlight of the episode. The feint — tricking everyone into thinking she and Adnan wanted to blow Fitz up at his campaign stop — was well-constructed, the revelation that it was her who killed Senator MacGuffin felt earned, and Khandi Alexander more than delivered in her spotlight moments. Not only that, but the shot of Maya sneaking into the OliviaCave while Huck and Quinn were en flagrante crassus — some super-spies they are — was a rare moment in this episode where the show’s style outshone its attempt to pile on narrative substance.

Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) and Olivia (Kerry Washington), in the spotlight again.

4. Olivia and Fitz and Jake and Olivia!: At one point, Jake served as a serviceable counterpoint to Fitz. But since becoming Command, he’s devolved into the other side of the melodramatic coin. It’s not even clear anymore whether he has a real reason to want to be Olivia besides, she’s there and she was there and she won’t ditch both of them altogether. And now, instead of one lovelorn argument per week, we get two. That’s screen time that, to put it mildly, might have done more service to other characters.

5. Harrison’s trapped! Rowan is dying!: If I had to guess, I’d say both will pull through — after all, if Rowan were going to die, he would have done so at the end of this episode. But we’ll see how that all plays out.

Meanwhile, Racializens, what’s your predictions for next week?

The post Open Thread: Scandal 3.17, “Flesh and Blood” appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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Posted by Racialicious Team

From the beginning, we were concerned about casting, the issue of race. What we realized is that this story is functioning at the level of myth, and as a mythical story, the race of the individuals doesn’t matter. They’re supposed to be stand-ins for all people. Either you end up with a Bennetton ad or the crew of the Starship Enterprise. You either try to put everything in there, which just calls attention to it, or you just say, ‘Let’s make that not a factor, because we’re trying to deal with everyman.’ Looking at this story through that kind of lens is the same as saying, ‘Would the ark float and is it big enough to get all the species in there?’ That’s irrelevant to the questions because the questions are operating on a different plane than that; they’re operating on the mythical plane.

– Ari Handel, screenwriter for “Noah,” as told to The High Calling

The post Quoted: The Worst Justification Ever For Not Casting People Of Color appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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April 15th, 2014next

April 15th, 2014: Here, let me save you some time! Commotio cordis. Really sorry if you or your family has invested heavily in physical bodies made of meat, perhaps for untold generations!!

One year ago today: the bedsheets have batman on them, OF COURSE they have batman on them

– Ryan

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Posted by Claudia Rebaza

English

Banner by Erin of a close-up of Rosie the Riveter's arm with an OTW logo on it and the words 'OTW Recruitment'

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our previous call for volunteers!

Today, we're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Abuse Committee Staff - Closing 21 April 2014 UTC
  • Legal Staff - Closing 21 April 2014 UTC
  • Volunteers & Recruiting Staff - Closing 21 April 2014 UTC

We have included more information on each role below. Open roles and applications will always be available at the volunteering page. If you don't see a role that fits with your skills and interests now, keep an eye on the listings. We plan to put up new applications every few weeks, and we will also publicize new roles as they become available.

All applications generate a confirmation page and an auto-reply to your e-mail address. We encourage you to read the confirmation page and to whitelist volunteers -(at)- transformativeworks -(dot)- org in your e-mail client. If you do not receive the auto-reply within 24 hours, please check your spam filters and then contact us.

If you have questions regarding volunteering for the OTW, check out our Volunteering FAQ.

Abuse Committee Staff
The Abuse Committee is dedicated to helping users deal with the various situations that may arise. We also handle any complaints that come in about content uploaded to the Archive of Our Own. The team determines if complaints are about legitimate violations of the Terms of Service, and what to do about them if they are; our major goals are to adhere to the TOS, to make our reasoning and processes as clear and transparent as possible, and to keep every individual case completely confidential. We work closely with other AO3 related committees such as Support and Content.

Applications are due 21 April 2014 UTC

Legal Committee Staff
The Legal Committee is responsible for carrying out the OTW's legal advocacy mission and providing internal legal support and guidance to the OTW as an organization. We provide confidential legal advice to every part of the OTW organization, respond to fans' requests for general assistance and information, and create educational materials. We also file briefs in lawsuits and advise lawmakers about how to take fans’ needs and interests into account in creating and interpreting the law. And we're looking for a few new members!

We are particularly looking to expand our committee’s expertise in the fields of personnel/employment/HR law and nonprofit law. We’re also interested in finding people with expertise in the intellectual property laws of countries other than the U.S, and in adding to our group of people with expertise in U.S. copyright and trademark law. If this describes you – or even if it doesn’t, but you have legal experience and would be interested in joining the OTW’s Legal Committee, please click through to the application form.

Applications are due 21 April 2014 UTC

Volunteers & Recruiting Staff
The OTW is an entirely volunteer-run organization, and Volunteers & Recruiting looks after those volunteers! As the human resources committee, our job is to make sure that everyone has the tools, training and assistance they need to perform their best. If you have strong written communication skills, and an interest in or knowledge of personnel and/or project management, click through for details.

Applications are due 21 April 2014 UTC

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