Things to Come at TWC

Jun. 29th, 2015 05:22 pm
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Posted by Kiri Van Santen


Banner by Alice of a book/eReader with an OTW bookmark and a USB plug going into the spine.

The OTW's journal, Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), will be celebrating its 20th issue this September. OTW's Communications Committee is at work planning some events to recognize the achievements of our small but extremely hard-working team that has given us several of these issues each year since its launch in 2008.

But we would also like your help! How would you like to see TWC celebrated? As we plan for a panel discussion and posts, what topics would you like to see discussed? What kind of events would you like to take part in? Let us know!

In the meantime, TWC has two calls for papers for future issues. The Symposium section in each issue exists for fan contributions, so even if you are not an academic, do consider submitting an essay for these issues! Or help TWC out by spreading the word.

Special Issue CFP: Sherlock Holmes Fandom, Sherlockiana, and the Great Game (March 2017)

"This special issue seeks to engage both academics and fans in writing about the older, long established Sherlockian fandom. We welcome papers that address all fandoms of Sherlock Holmes and its adaptations, particularly those that trace the connections and similarities/differences among and between older and newer fandoms.

We welcome submissions dealing with, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Questions of nomenclature, cultural distinction, class, race, gender, and sexuality.
  • The role of Sherlockian fandom and the Great Game in fandom history.
  • Academic histories of Sherlockian fandom, both organized and informal.
  • Connections between new adaptation-based fandoms and the older fandom.
  • Fan productions, e.g., pastiche, fan works, and Sherlockian writings on the Canon.
  • Influence of intellectual property law and norms on adaptations and fan productions.
  • Sherlockian publishing, e.g., MX, Titan, BSI Press or Wessex Press.
  • Community, e.g., Sherlockians on the Internet or Sherlockian “real world” gatherings.
  • Specific national fandoms, e.g., Japanese or Chinese Sherlock Holmes reception.

Read more at their announcement on the TWC site.

They are also looking for contributions for a special issue on Queer Female Fandom:

This special issue is the first dedicated to femslash, and it aims to collect and put in dialogue emerging research and criticism on the subject, from histories of lesbian fandom to current fan activities around queer female characters and pairings. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • case studies of femslash subcultures and fanworks
  • femslash dynamics and demographics
  • platforms, archives, and communities
  • diachronic or comparative analyses
  • feminist investments in centering women
  • debates about queerbaiting and the politics of visibility
  • queer female authorship in gift/commercial economies
  • transnational circulation of queer female texts
  • yuri (girls’ love) and other non-western femslash iterations

Read more at their announcement on the TWC site.

And don't forget to check out the recently released issue 19, "Transnationalism, Localization, and Translation in European Fandom."

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Posted by Guest Contributor

By Guest Contributor Dorothy Attakora-Gyan

First things first…wait! I probably shouldn’t open a piece on Rachel Dolezal with the only Iggy Azalea lyric I know. Goodness, let’s try this again.

I advocate letting folks self- identify how they want to—ethically. Rachel Dolezal it seems, has not self- identified ethically and it is fair to hold her accountable and ask her to do better.

A few weeks ago, I presented at a conference in New Orleans. During my visit to that magical city, I had the honour of meeting a French researcher with whom I quickly connected, and remain in touch with today. This isn’t altogether unusual; at conferences people meet each other, exchange contacts, hope to continue networking. What was new for me, however, was how easily I connected with said researcher, who not only researches Rastafarianism, but identifies as Rastafarian herself—and is a white woman.

I’ll be honest: Folks who read as white and seem to perform the racialized other tend to rub me the wrong way. I’m suspicious and wary of them. I’m not afraid to tell them this, and this includes the Rachel Dolezals of the world.

Why, you ask? Because such white folks often try to pass off as innocent and benign what is actually ignorant and entitled. They tend not to acknowledge how their white skin affords them easy access to black masks. The thriving legacy of American colonialism allows white entry into another culture for the purposes of consumption—and similarly easy exit. Rachel can perform “blackness,” yet still stand in stark contrast and opposition to the very community she claims an affinity with.

People of colour exercise choice in our embodiment and performance of our racial identity, when we exercise choice in our lives, we are largely punished for doing so. We can barely navigate white spaces without risking our lives. Just ask Trayvon’s family.

Given all that, I tend to view with skepticism white people who voluntarily don racialized identities that people of colour often have imposed on us to some degree.

Which brings me back to my new friendship with the French researcher This woman, born in Europe and of Italian-French descent, seemed to consciously own her whiteness. But reading race off the body can be tricky—as social constructions often are; with olive skin and flowing dreadlocks that fall well below full hips, my friend could be easily be read as a light-skinned person of colour on first glance. The sounds that escape her lips when she speaks are a mixture of English and Jamaican patois, with a hint of a French accent. From experience I know assuming race based on apparent signs can lead to uncomfortable scenarios; so, I allowed her the opportunity to self-identify.

And she did, as white European. She further acknowledged that while Rastafarianism is now her way of life, it hasn’t always been—and as a researcher, it’s her livelihood as well. She discovered it, fell at home there and is intentional about how she lives and how she uses her white privileges for the betterment of the communities she works with.

Truthfully, I wasn’t confused by her appearance, her speech, or how she identified. I’ve seen white men and women wear their hair in locs before (though often not tending to them diligently, nor understanding the rich history behind them). There’s no shortage of white people whose frame of reference for Rastafarianism is Jamaica, Bob Marley and marijuana, and little else. These performances of difference are a kind of rote memorization, a mechanical adoption of “culture” from another world that is equated with claiming that culture as one’s own. Such performances are quite common.

As an African woman who grew up in small town in Canada, I have had my fair share of encounters with women like Rachel Dolezal. I had plenty of white acquaintances who performed ‘blackness’ proudly—better than me, they claimed. White acquaintances who never seemed to actually talk about race, with comfortable homes where I wasn’t invited, because I was a dark-skinned Black girl.

I’ve been told by countless white folk that they are objectively “more Black” than I am because, well, they can recite rap lyrics from the ‘80s and I can’t. (If you ask me, I have a pretty good excuse going. You see, back in the early ‘80s when rap was making a splash here, I was but a toddler living in Kumasi or Takoradi, with no clue North America existed, let alone rap music.)

In my 30’s I can now joke that Canada’s own Rachel Dolezals are right, in a sense. In their imaginations, which white supremacy has taught them is the same thing as the real world, they are more Black than I am. Consider: I didn’t even know I was “Black” for the first 5 years of my life, before my family emigrated to Canada . Perhaps white Canadian-born people think they have a head start on what ‘Blackness’ is? Congratulations, I guess,

Here is my truth, I am West African, a daughter of the Gold Coast, what is now known today as Ghana. I am of and belong to the Ashante and Fanti tribes. My peoples never had to raise me to identify as Black; we didn’t have to fit neatly into North American standards of racial categorization. My skin has always been a badge of pride. I have always existed outside of the North American context, as a dark skin African girl. And I thrived.

But my life did bring me to Turtle Island, known today as Canada. Here I am, on un-surrendered lands, in all my Black woman glory. I have come to claim the term Black. But I will be clear, it was forced on me; I could not, and still cannot escape it. Nor do I want to by any means, but that is not the point.

The point is, as a Ghanaian-Canadian girl child, this identity of “blackness” was foreign to me. It was violently thrust on me. Once in Canada, the names of the tribes I was born into quickly faded in importance and visibility next to the fact of my Blackness.

I have been punished here in Canada for this black skin, for this Black label. I have been called the N-word for it, spat at in defense of the word. For this label I have experienced and continue to endure traumatic surveillance while crossing borders. I am policed daily by others. My hair and skin touched without consent because I am “different.” Teased for being too dark. Blackness, even if you own it, means facing what many of us are taught to run from.

Into this picture comes sweet, innocent Rachel Dolezal. Rachel wants the world to know that she can and wants to choose (consume) blackness. Call me bitter, but this the epitome of white privilege.

And here is where my new white French Rastafarian friend did disrupt something for me in New Orleans. She was conscious of the reality that whiteness gives her freedom denied others to move in and out of cultures.

She identified as a white woman, but also as a Rastafarian, one who spent some years in both Jamaica and Ethiopia, birthed a daughter in Ethiopia and raised her children there. She speaks Amharic, Jamaican Patois, French, Spanish and English. And while she has gained access to and built trust in these communities, she knows well that she was able to so because her skin carries capital. I had met white Rastafarians who wanted the aesthetics, the caramel babies, the exotic partner of colour. I’d never met one willing to acknowledge that she came to this lifestyle more easily than those around her, that most of the community lived a different reality. My new friend spoke candidly of white supremacy, her whiteness, and her white privilege. With Rachel, we still wait for her to do the same.

I’m not arguing that simply stating one’s privileges upfront permits appropriation. What I am saying is accountability is rare. We women of colour, we Black women, are not used to these white women who speak the truths of their reality. They are rare, and Rachel Dolezal is not one of them.

It seems that as Black women, we have grown used to, even been taught to expect, the entire world feeling entitled to us. Everyone can voice their opinion on who and what we are. Tell us how to identify. Our expressions of gender and sexuality are put on display. We are hypersexualized, or made asexual. The white gaze, we are taught, is more than acceptable; it is our normal. The world doesn’t give a damn about how we self-identify, or labels freely thrust upon us. Welcome to the other face of blackness, Rachel.

The black female body specifically is open terrain, entered by all, a common possession and consumer item.[i] Rachel Dolezal and other white women are able to embody and move in and out of blackness (or what we signify as black attributes) and yet black women are demonized for performing blackness. The Black woman’s body is regulated; blackness makes our bodies fixed and immobile.[ii] And herein lies the issue with Rachel’s claims to self- identify—she has used both her white privilege to choose and embody different identities, and white supremacist constraints on Black women, to appropriate and legitimate a claimed Black identity. Isn’t the question of her blackness moot when she hasn’t even been a decent white ally to people of colour?

I hope we all know that the concept of race is socially constructed, an illusion, a God-awful science experiment gone wrong, but we in Black bodies know that our experiences of white supremacy are not imagined. White men and women have long known they are not imagined. Laws have been built to enshrine white supremacy, which with slavery and free labour have been engines of capitalism.

Racism was created to serve particular bodies and we have bought into it. It is a thriving business with unimaginable causalities. It is insidious; everywhere, and we in black skin have felt its pain. So it’s not that absurd that communities of colour are wary when white folk want to escape their roots and “become” us. We were never depicted as the Promised Land. Whiteness still is.

Let’s humour Rachel for a minute. Even if we accept her self-identification, she refuses to own up to her privileges. There is something disingenuous about her process, whether conscious or unconscious. Her desire to escape whiteness has become so real for her that she fears the truth of herself.

For years whiteness—whether represented by anthropology, science, politics, law, or “the public”—has interrogated communities of colour, mined us for our stories. Probed our genitals, researched us, learned us, made us open books. Yet Rachel Dolezal doesn’t want to be subjected to same rules, now that she faces an interrogation arguably similar to black people, bodies, and communities have long endured. The black woman’s body, has long been placed on scaffold for all to ogle and criticize. We have long been trending hashtags, but because we are murdered by the state. We live these narratives. One does not merely pick the positive experiences of Blackness and hand back the negative. Perhaps some Black people believe that financial wealth will allow them this mobility, but that is an illusion, and a colonized way of thinking.

With the delicious melanin comes oppression. I was born with this skin, regardless where I am in the world; this dark skin marks me as at the bottom of the totem pole. And I mean every totem pole, including within my own community. But Rachel? Will never actually ever have to be Black. If Rachel were Black, she would know. The world would have long reminded her.

We are asking Rachel to consciously remember her whiteness, which comes with privileges and guilts. True healing and transformation requires a community or person to remember what they have decided to unconsciously, or consciously forget (Smith, 1999). Rachel Dolezal refuses to speak the truths of her history. She hasn’t been accountable. Her white skin carries with it a particular narrative, one of colonialism, imperialism, and oppression—likely the very reasons for her departure in the first place. So don’t ask Rachel anything, she checked out long ago.

[i] Brand, D. (2001). A Map To the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging. Toronto: Vintage Canada.

[ii] Razack, S. (2005). How is White Supremacy Embodied? Sexualized Racial Violence at Abu Ghraib. Canadian Journal of Women and Law , 17 (2), 341-363.

With identities as hyphenated as her last name, Dorothy Attakora-Gyan is currently completing her Ph.D. at the Institute for Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa. She is invested in studying solidarity building across differences within transnational feminist networks. She can be found on twitter at @deearchives.


The post Don’t #AskRachel — She Checked Out Long Ago appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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Posted by Racialicious Team

Transcript courtesy

Giving all praise and honor to God.

The Bible calls us to hope, to persevere and have faith in things not seen. They were still living by faith when they died, the scripture tells us.

They did not receive the things promised. They only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

We are here today to remember a man of God who lived by faith, a man who believed in things not seen, a man who believed there were better days ahead off in the distance, a man of service, who persevered knowing full-well he would not receive all those things he was promised, because he believed his efforts would deliver a better life for those who followed, to Jennifer, his beloved wife, Eliana and Malana, his beautiful, wonderful daughters, to the Mother Emanuel family and the people of Charleston, the people of South Carolina.

I cannot claim to have had the good fortune to know Reverend Pinckney well, but I did have the pleasure of knowing him and meeting him here in South Carolina back when we were both a little bit younger, back when I didn’t have visible gray hair.

The first thing I noticed was his graciousness, his smile, his reassuring baritone, his deceptive sense of humor, all qualities that helped him wear so effortlessly a heavy burden of expectation.

Friends of his remarked this week that when Clementa Pinckney entered a room, it was like the future arrived, that even from a young age, folks knew he was special, anointed. He was the progeny of a long line of the faithful, a family of preachers who spread God’s words, a family of protesters who so changed to expand voting rights and desegregate the South.

Clem heard their instruction, and he did not forsake their teaching. He was in the pulpit by 13, pastor by 18, public servant by 23. He did not exhibit any of the cockiness of youth nor youth’s insecurities. Instead, he set an example worthy of his position, wise beyond his years in his speech, in his conduct, in his love, faith and purity.

As a senator, he represented a sprawling swathe of low country, a place that has long been one of the most neglected in America, a place still racked by poverty and inadequate schools, a place where children can still go hungry and the sick can go without treatment — a place that needed somebody like Clem.

His position in the minority party meant the odds of winning more resources for his constituents were often long. His calls for greater equity were too-often unheeded. The votes he cast were sometimes lonely.

But he never gave up. He stayed true to his convictions. He would not grow discouraged. After a full day at the Capitol, he’d climb into his car and head to the church to draw sustenance from his family, from his ministry, from the community that loved and needed him. There, he would fortify his faith and imagine what might be.

Reverend Pinckney embodied a politics that was neither mean nor small. He conducted himself quietly and kindly and diligently. He encouraged progress not by pushing his ideas alone but by seeking out your ideas, partnering with you to make things happen. He was full of empathy and fellow feeling, able to walk in somebody else’s shoes and see through their eyes.

No wonder one of his Senate colleagues remembered Senator Pinckney as “the most gentle of the 46 of us, the best of the 46 of us.”

Clem was often asked why he chose to be a pastor and a public servant. But the person who asked probably didn’t know the history of AME Church.

As our brothers and sisters in the AME Church, we don’t make those distinctions. “Our calling,” Clem once said, “is not just within the walls of the congregation but the life and community in which our congregation resides.”

He embodied the idea that our Christian faith demands deeds and not just words, that the sweet hour of prayer actually lasts the whole week long, that to put our faith in action is more than just individual salvation, it’s about our collective salvation, that to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and house the homeless is not just a call for isolated charity but the imperative of a just society.

What a good man. Sometimes I think that’s the best thing to hope for when you’re eulogized, after all the words and recitations and resumes are read, to just say somebody was a good man.

You don’t have to be of high distinction to be a good man.

Preacher by 13, pastor by 18, public servant by 23. What a life Clementa Pinckney lived. What an example he set. What a model for his faith.

And then to lose him at 41, slain in his sanctuary with eight wonderful members of his flock, each at different stages in life but bound together by a common commitment to God — Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, DePayne Middleton Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel L. Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson.

Good people. Decent people. God-fearing people.

People so full of life and so full of kindness, people who ran the race, who persevered, people of great faith.

To the families of the fallen, the nation shares in your grief. Our pain cuts that much deeper because it happened in a church.

The church is and always has been the center of African American life — a place to call our own in a too-often hostile world, a sanctuary from so many hardships.

Over the course of centuries, black churches served as hush harbors, where slaves could worship in safety, praise houses, where their free descendants could gather and shout “Hallelujah.” Rest stops for the weary along the Underground Railroad, bunkers for the foot soldiers of the civil-rights movement.

They have been and continue to community centers, where we organize for jobs and justice, places of scholarship and network, places where children are loved and fed and kept out of harms way and told that they are beautiful and smart and taught that they matter.

That’s what happens in church. That’s what the black church means — our beating heart, the place where our dignity as a people in inviolate.

There’s no better example of this tradition than Mother Emanuel, a church built by blacks seeking liberty, burned to the ground because its founders sought to end slavery only to rise up again, a phoenix from these ashes.

When there were laws banning all-black church gatherers, services happened here anyway in defiance of unjust laws. When there was a righteous movement to dismantle Jim Crow, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached from its pulpit, and marches began from its steps.

A sacred place, this church, not just for blacks, not just for Christians but for every American who cares about the steady expansion of human rights and human dignity in this country, a foundation stone for liberty and justice for all.

That’s what the church meant.

We do not know whether the killer of Reverend Pinckney and eight others knew all of this history, but he surely sensed the meaning of his violent act. It was an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress, an act that he imagined would incite fear and recrimination, violence and suspicion, an act that he presumed would deepen divisions that trace back to our nation’s original sin.

Oh, but God works in mysterious ways.

God has different ideas.

He didn’t know he was being used by God.

Blinded by hatred, the alleged killer would not see the grace surrounding Reverend Pinckney and that Bible study group, the light of love that shown as they opened the church doors and invited a stranger to join in their prayer circle.

The alleged killer could have never anticipated the way the families of the fallen would respond when they saw him in court in the midst of unspeakable grief, with words of forgiveness. He couldn’t imagine that.

The alleged killer could not imagine how the city of Charleston under the good and wise leadership of Mayor Riley, how the state of South Carolina, how the United States of America would respond not merely with revulsion at his evil acts, but with (inaudible) generosity. And more importantly, with a thoughtful introspection and self-examination that we so rarely see in public life. Blinded by hatred, he failed to comprehend what Reverend Pinckney so well understood — the power of God’s grace.

This whole week, I’ve been reflecting on this idea of grace.

The grace of the families who lost loved ones; the grace that Reverend Pinckney would preach about in his sermons; the grace described in one of my favorite hymnals, the one we all know — Amazing Grace.

How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.

According to the Christian tradition, grace is not earned. Grace is not merited. It’s not something we deserve. Rather, grace is the free and benevolent favor of God.

As manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. Grace — as a nation out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us for he has allowed us to see where we’ve been blind.

He’s given us the chance where we’ve been lost to find out best selves. We may not have earned this grace with our rancor and complacency and short-sightedness and fear of each other, but we got it all the same. He gave it to us anyway. He’s once more given us grace.

But it is up to us now to make the most of it, to receive it with gratitude and to prove ourselves worthy of this gift.

For too long, we were blind to the pain that the Confederate Flag stirred into many of our citizens.

It’s true a flag did not cause these murders. But as people from all walks of life, Republicans and Democrats, now acknowledge, including Governor Haley, whose recent eloquence on the subject is worthy of praise, as we all have to acknowledge, the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride.

For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression, and racial subjugation.

We see that now.

Removing the flag from this state’s capital would not be an act of political correctness. It would not an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be acknowledgement that the cause for which they fought, the cause of slavery, was wrong.

The imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people was wrong.

It would be one step in an honest accounting of America’s history, a modest but meaningful balm for so many unhealed wounds.

It would be an expression of the amazing changes that have transformed this state and this country for the better because of the work of so many people of goodwill, people of all races, striving to form a more perfect union.

By taking down that flag, we express adds grace God’s grace.

But I don’t think God wants us to stop there.

For too long, we’ve been blind to be way past injustices continue to shape the present.

Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career.

Perhaps it causes us to examine what we’re doing to cause some of our children to hate.

Perhaps it softens hearts towards those lost young men, tens and tens of thousands caught up in the criminal-justice system and lead us to make sure that that system’s not infected with bias. That we embrace changes in how we train and equip our police so that the bonds of trust between law enforcement, and the communities they serve make us all safer and more secure.

Maybe we now realize the way a racial bias can infect us even when we don’t realize it so that we’re guarding against not just racial slurs but we’re also guarding against the subtle impulse to call Johnny back for a job interview but not Jamal, that we search our hearts when we consider laws to make it harder for some of our fellow citizens to vote by recognizing our common humanity, by treating every child as important, regardless of the color of their skin, or the station into which they were born and to do what’s necessary to make opportunity real for every American. By doing that, we express God’s grace.

For too long, we’ve been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation.

Sporadically, our eyes are open when eight of our brothers and sisters are cut down in a church basement, 12 in a movie theater, 26 in an elementary school. But I hope we also see the 30 precious lives cut short by gun violence in this country every single day, the countless more whose lives are forever changed, the survivors crippled, the children traumatized and fearful every day as they walk to school, the husband who will never feel his wife’s warm touch, the entire communities whose grief overflows every time they have to watch what happened to them happening to some other place.

The vast majority of Americans, the majority of gun owners want to do something about this. We see that now.

And I’m convinced that by acknowledging the pain and loss of others, even as we respect the traditions, ways of life that make up this beloved country, by making the moral choice to change, we express God’s grace.

We don’t earn grace. We’re all sinners. We don’t deserve it.

But God gives it to us anyway.

And we choose how to receive it. It’s our decision how to honor it.

None of us can or should expect a transformation in race relations overnight. Every time something like this happens, somebody says, “We have to have a conversation about race.” We talk a lot about race.

There’s no shortcut. We don’t need more talk.

None of us should believe that a handful of gun safety measures will prevent every tragedy.

It will not. People of good will will continue to debate the merits of various policies as our democracy requires — the big, raucous place, America is. And there are good people on both sides of these debates.

Whatever solutions we find will necessarily be incomplete. But it would be a betrayal of everything Reverend Pinckney stood for, I believe, if we allow ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again.

Once the eulogies have been delivered, once the TV cameras move on, to go back to business as usual. That’s what we so often do to avoid uncomfortable truths about the prejudice that still infects our society.

To settle for symbolic gestures without following up with the hard work of more lasting change, that’s how we lose our way again. It would be a refutation of the forgiveness expressed by those families if we merely slipped into old habits whereby those who disagree with us are not merely wrong, but bad; where we shout instead of listen; where we barricade ourselves behind preconceived notions or well-practiced cynicism.

Reverend Pinckney once said, “Across the south, we have a deep appreciation of history. We haven’t always had a deep appreciation of each other’s history.”

What is true in the South is true for America. Clem understood that justice grows out of recognition of ourselves in each other; that my liberty depends on you being free, too.

That — that history can’t be a sword to justify injustice or a shield against progress. It must be a manual for how to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, how to break the cycle, a roadway toward a better world. He knew that the path of grace involves an open mind. But more importantly, an open heart.

That’s what I felt this week — an open heart. That more than any particular policy or analysis is what’s called upon right now, I think. It’s what a friend of mine, the writer Marilyn Robinson, calls “that reservoir of goodness beyond and of another kind, that we are able to do each other in the ordinary cause of things.”

That reservoir of goodness. If we can find that grace, anything is possible.

If we can tap that grace, everything can change. Amazing grace, amazing grace.

Amazing grace…
how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost
but now I’m found
was blind, but now, I see.

Clementa Pinckney found that grace.
Cynthia Hurd found that grace.
Susie Jackson found that grace.
Ethel Lance found that grace.
DePayne Middleton Doctor found that grace.
Tywanza Sanders found that grace.
Daniel L. Simmons, Sr. found that grace.
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton found that grace.
Myra Thompson found that grace.

Through the example of their lives. They’ve now passed it onto us. May we find ourselves worthy of that precious and extraordinary gift as long as our lives endure.

May grace now lead them home. May God continue to shed His Grace on the United States of America.

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Question thread #32

Jun. 28th, 2015 11:30 pm
pauamma: Cartooney crab holding drink (Default)
[personal profile] pauamma posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
It's time for another question thread!

The rules:

- You may ask any dev-related question you have in a comment. (It doesn't even need to be about Dreamwidth, although if it involves a language/library/framework/database Dreamwidth doesn't use, you will probably get answers pointing that out and suggesting a better place to ask.)
- You may also answer any question, using the guidelines given in To Answer, Or Not To Answer and in this comment thread.

OTW Fannews: Building on the Past

Jun. 28th, 2015 04:30 pm
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Posted by Katie


Building on the past text with hourglass image

  • Although many an article speculated about the future of Mad Men's characters, it was The Washington Post who looked into what would happen to the the fandom's RPG twitter accounts. "[A]t least one Roger Sterling (@RogerSterlingNY) has no intention of quitting: 'Yeah, I’ve got tons of thoughts. Writing Roger has been a big part of my life for years now. He’ll go on, spouting wisdom and snark.' Sterling — who also tweets as one of the more active Peggy accounts (@PeggyOlsonMCWW) — plans to continue in character, noting the stellar tweets of @WillMcAvoyACN, a spot-on Twitter account based on the Jeff Daniels character from Aaron Sorkin’s HBO show, 'The Newsroom,' who regularly engages in political Twitter debates. One is tempted to believe that it’s actually the work of Sorkin himself."
  • The Guardian looked at the evolution of fanzines. “'It’s a very pop thing, a fanzine that’s just about one artist – not to make it for any other reason than that it expresses a deep interest and focus on one person,' says Chris Heath, the award-winning journalist who has written every issue of Literally. 'While you could argue that it becomes more irrelevant in the internet era, I think it also becomes maybe of more worth, because one of the great things – and great problems – about the internet is that it’s boundless. And there’s something great in opposition to that about seven inches by five inches. It’s a pure, perfect little package of one particular part of pop culture.'”
  • The World aired a piece on the constant reinvention of Sherlock Holmes, with attention to the role of fanworks. "[W]e also have an entirely different genre of Sherlock being produced almost by the minute — one created entirely by fans. 'Fan fiction is fascinating because it's being written in almost every language,' says Dundas. 'There's this incredible, sort of prismatic view of character provided by fan fiction that is something that we've never really seen before and I think is an intriguing new direction for how a character could evolve through popular culture.'"(No transcript available)
  • The Daily Mail featured the Finnish fans behind Fangirl Quest, a global sceneframes project. Various images were included of their iPads aligned with backdrops featuring famous characters from famous TV and movie canons. Clearly the Daily Mail lacked any fans of its own working on the article, however, as they captioned a photo of Kirk and Spock walking near the Golden Gate bridge as a "Star Wars scene in San Francisco."

What parts of fandom seem eternal to you? Write about them in 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 Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.


Poll for last entry

Jun. 28th, 2015 12:39 pm
yvi: Sam hugging her father (Stargate - Sam & Jacob)
[personal profile] yvi
Poll #16803 Favorite Harry Potter books
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 23

What are your three favorite Harry Potter books

View Answers

Philosopher's Stone
10 (43.5%)

Chamber of Secrets
4 (17.4%)

Prisoner of Azkaban
18 (78.3%)

Goblet of Fire
10 (43.5%)

Order of the Phoenix
13 (56.5%)

Half-Blood Prince
8 (34.8%)

Deathly Hallows
6 (26.1%)

What are your two least favorite Harry Potter books?

View Answers

Philosopher's Stone
6 (26.1%)

Chamber of Secrets
10 (43.5%)

Prisoner of Azkaban
1 (4.3%)

Goblet of Fire
6 (26.1%)

Order of the Phoenix
6 (26.1%)

Half-Blood Prince
5 (21.7%)

Deathly Hallows
12 (52.2%)

Harry Potter reread

Jun. 28th, 2015 11:49 am
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)
[personal profile] yvi
In an effort to start reading again, I am once again rereading the Harry Potter series. This must be at least my fifth, maybe even my sixth or seventh time reading them, and I am currently up to Prisoner of Azkaban.

And for the first time, I think, the first few books really annoy me. Not all the time, then I wouldn't continue reading. But still, some of the character decisions that are needed to advance the plot (like Harry not telling the teachers about what Draco said after the first incident in CoS, or not telling Remus about the Grim) rub me wrong. Also, this time it's really obvious to me, more so than usual, just how dangerous things at Hogwarts are without anyone caring about it (the first Quidditch match in PoA taking place in a thunderstorm, only the Prefects guarding the Great Hall later, students having detention in the Forbidden Forrest, etc.). Or, how sometimes, because something needs to be shown, the PoV just changes. There's no way Harry could have heard what Hermione and Ron were talking about during the first Quidditch match in PS, for example. It happens rarely, but it throws me off.

Anyway, looking forward to reading the books I like most afterwards. Because I am one of those (apparently) Rare people whose favorite isn't PoA or CoS. Instead, mine is Half-Blood Prince. If I had to put them into order, mine would be something like :

Half-Blood Prince
Order of the Phoenix
Deathly Hallows
Goblet of Fire
Chamber of Secrets
Prisoner of Azkaban
Philosopher's Stone

Basically, I like the main characters a lot more when they are older, and the one thing putting CoS above PoA is that I really love Harry interacting with Tom Riddle. And there are days I'd probably rank Deathly Hallows above them all. Yes, despite the camping.

How do you rank the Harry Potter books?

Edit : here, have a poll :-)
Poll #16803 Favorite Harry Potter books
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 23

What are your three favorite Harry Potter books

View Answers

Philosopher's Stone
10 (43.5%)

Chamber of Secrets
4 (17.4%)

Prisoner of Azkaban
18 (78.3%)

Goblet of Fire
10 (43.5%)

Order of the Phoenix
13 (56.5%)

Half-Blood Prince
8 (34.8%)

Deathly Hallows
6 (26.1%)

What are your two least favorite Harry Potter books?

View Answers

Philosopher's Stone
6 (26.1%)

Chamber of Secrets
10 (43.5%)

Prisoner of Azkaban
1 (4.3%)

Goblet of Fire
6 (26.1%)

Order of the Phoenix
6 (26.1%)

Half-Blood Prince
5 (21.7%)

Deathly Hallows
12 (52.2%)

sophie: A cartoon-like representation of a girl standing on a hill, with brown hair, blue eyes, a flowery top, and blue skirt. ☀ (Default)
[personal profile] sophie posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
The new Apache system-wide configuration that I talked about a few posts ago has now been rolled out across all Dreamhacks.

The instructions with the show-apache2-config command detailed in [staff profile] mark's post are now deprecated. I have replaced the "show-apache2-config" command with a command that simply prints out the new config, so you will not lose anything by following the instructions, but they are no longer necessary.

For the two users who had changed their httpd.conf files in a manner other than through Mark's script, I've put their changes into their local httpd.conf files. I'm also adding some more lines to the system-wide httpd.conf in a new pull request since some of the changes would be useful to everybody.

You should now be able to continue 'hacking as normal. If you have any questions or something goes wrong, please leave a comment!
afuna: Cat under a blanket. Text: "Cats are just little people with Fur and Fangs" (Default)
[personal profile] afuna
The us supreme court decision on marriage! omg. omg. I've only read snippets but the ones I've seen have made me tear up with how strong and definite they are. No wishy-washy "well there's technically no legal reason we couldn't..." but just outright saying that this is the right way to treat people. Empathy? Love? Fuck yeah.

I've seen so much happiness today, feel warm and mushy.

The ones where it's like "two 80-year-olds who have been together x years" make me tear up the most because asdfhfhfh to have been denied that for so long but then to have it within their lifetimes. I don't understand being able to look at them and still deny that they love one another and have made a life together. They've already made the lifetime commitment; being able to go to the courthouse to have the government formally acknowledge that doesn't change anything within their relationship, but it changes so much everywhere else. (And I wish it could have come sooner, but I'm glad that it happened *now*).

(I am so looking forward to SF Pride parade this Sunday. First time I'm able to attend; seems like a good year to go! My brother is all "wave a flag for me" :D)

Dreamwidth news: 26 June 2015

Jun. 26th, 2015 05:45 pm
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_news
Hello, Dreamwidth! Greetings from Portland, where Dreamwidth has assembled for this year's Open Source Bridge. (Which remains my favorite conference ever for how wonderfully welcoming and diverse it is.)

Behind the cut:

* A fond farewell
* Email woes: mostly fixed
* Multiple sticky entries
* Rescreening screened comments when they're edited
* Other new features and tweaks
* Pretty pretty pictures

Friday 26 June 2015 )


That's it from us for another update! As always, if you're having problems with Dreamwidth, Support can help you; for notices of site problems and downtime, check the Twitter status page; if you've got an idea to make the site better, you can make a suggestion. (I'm still a lot behind on the suggestions queue, though, just as a warning.)

Comment notifications may be delayed for up to an hour or two, due to the high volume of notifications generated after an update is posted to [site community profile] dw_news. This was posted at 5:45PM PDT (see in your time zone). Please don't worry about delayed notifications until at least two hours after that.

SDCC 'Fandom Is My Fandom' Panel

Jun. 26th, 2015 04:58 pm
[syndicated profile] otw_news_feed

Posted by Janita Burgess


Banner by Diane with the outlines of a man and woman speaking with word bubbles, one of which has the OTW logo and the other which says 'OTW Announcement'

Those of you lucky enough to be attending this year's San Diego Comic Con have the opportunity to see OTW Legal chair Betsy Rosenblatt and Legal staffer Heidi Tandy on the 'Fandom Is My Fandom' panel on Thursday, 9 July at 5:00-6:00 p.m. in Room 14A.

Heidi will be moderating. Panelists include:

What's the panel about?

'“Fandom” isn’t just one thing these days, and it never was. But now that fans - and their creativity, content and consumption - are something for media companies to understand, PR people to focus on, social media to thrive on and news organizations to report about - what happens to the “traditional” fan community and the fanboys and fangirls that create the culture and content? Are follow-on works like fanart, vids and fanfic to be mocked, tracked, supported, enjoyed within an organic community, or considered a stepping-stone to a creative career? What if the answer is “sometimes one, sometimes all, and sometimes something else”? We’ll look for answers and information from deep inside popular fandoms, the media companies that work with them and the sites that host them.'

For more information, visit the SDCC webpage!

[syndicated profile] racialicious_feed

Posted by Arturo

By Arturo R. García

Author and Racialicious alum Tamara Winfrey Harris.

Longtime readers of the blog will remember friend and alumnus Tamara Winfrey Harris: Tami’s voice, which many of us first discovered through her blog What Tami Said, has been essential reading in the POC justice ecosystem for years.

But over the past few years, her reach has expanded, and she’s been published everywhere from The Guardian to Salon to — just last week — The New York Times.

Well, we’re proud and happy today to be able to share with you a part of her most pivotal work yet: The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America, in which she takes on the stereotypes regularly used to deride black women in the US — their romantic lives, their mental health, their beauty and more.

“The more Americans face stereotypes about us in media, pop culture and other places, the more they are subconsciously ‘activated’ where real black women are concerned, affecting the way we are seen by potential employers, partners, the government and others,” she writes.

The book will be out on July 7, but is already available for order online; it’s already ranked as the No. 1 new Gender Studies release on Amazon. An excerpt can be seen below.

In 2003, the California Black Women’s Health Project found that only 7 percent of black women with symptoms of mental illness seek treatment. And, according to a 2009 National Institutes of Health manuscript, a 2008 study of African American women’s perspectives on depression found that many “believed that an individual develops depression due to having a ‘weak mind, poor health, a troubled spirit, and lack of self-love.’”

A member of the mental health profession currently working in higher education, Adrianne Traylor says, “I am cognizant of our community being left out of mental health discussions, not having appropriate access to mental health support, the cultural restrictions and barriers that keep us from seeking that support and that there are really not enough competent therapists to deal with situations that are unique to the black experience in America.

Finding a black therapist to refer a client to is extremely difficult. Even when it comes to self-care, I think. ‘Who am I going to talk to? Who am I going to refer myself to? Who can I talk to who can really understand what makes my situation unique as a black woman?’ We really lose out in the mental health equation — particularly when it comes to areas of depression, stress, and anxiety.”

Members of the black community often learn that mental health care is something they neither need nor can afford — economically, socially, or culturally. Black folks are encouraged to take it to the Lord in prayer, but Adrianne stresses that many mental health issues cannot be ameliorated by a pastor, friend, or family. Some mental illnesses require intensive therapy or psychotropic drugs, and not getting that treatment can be devastating.

Her own family provided her with a strong example of this cultural challenge. Adrianne says she grew up surrounded by women who exemplified the positive aspects of “black women always being strong and resilient and always being able to carry everything.” But as she grew older, “I saw the [unwillingness to pursue mental health care] weighing more heavily on the women in the family, because it seemed they were the ultimate repositories for sanity and intactness for everyone.”

When she was a teen, the house where Adrianne was born burned down. It was her grandmother’s home and had been the center of many family memories. The loss was devastating to Adrianne. “But I remember watching [my grandmother], who was temporarily living in this itty-bitty house out in the country, and on the one hand admiring her strength. She had lost everything — her physical mementos of her life with her husband — everything. She seemed so strong and seemed on the surface to be coping. But I wondered what happened when she went to bed at night. What did she do then, when no one was looking at her? I started thinking if we were wearing a lot of masks to get through our lives and whether they were helping or hurting us.

“As you become older and more aware of family dysfunction . . . it is an awakening. You’re oblivious to things as a kid and then your eyes open. You realize that the things that seemed like such strength could have really been someone doing what they could to hold things together.”

Thirty-five-year-old Vivian St. Claire* is a high-achiever, perfectionist, and inveterate “good girl.” She earned a PhD before she was thirty “because I was bored.” Vivian also suffers from clinical depression. And three years ago, she had a nervous breakdown, driven in part by her relentless drive to meet societal expectations.

Despite her academic and professional success, Vivian couldn’t shake the notion that she was a failure as a woman. A late bloomer in affairs of the heart, who was always more confident in intellectual pursuits than romantic ones, Vivian was childless and single, having just broken up with the man she once thought she would marry. “I never wanted to be the single black woman, and I think that fear created that whole pressure.”

Her undiagnosed clinical depression began to spiral out of control as Vivian grappled with fears about her personal life, her weight, and other issues. She began taking Ambien to cure the insomnia it caused — Ambien, red wine, and occasionally marijuana.

“I would black out,” she says. “It was just all this very unhealthy mix of me trying to hide from a lot of different things. I know I was all over the place.

“Another part of my depression is I had a pact with myself: if I wasn’t married by thirty-five, I was going to kill myself. I very much planned everything out for my life. At thirty-five, my plans ran out,” she says.

“That came out when I had my breakdown. My parents were in the room. While I was being evaluated, my mom was just sitting there silently crying.

“I would like to be more open with my struggle with depression — let close friends and things know,” says Vivian. But she admits her openness is tempered with the realities of being an academic hoping for tenure and a desire not to “embarrass” her parents. Although they were there during her breakdown, they still have not processed her mental illness.

“My mom is fine with it for other people, but not her children— even though her brother is a paranoid schizophrenic.”

As her parents helped her complete paperwork that would commit her to the hospital, Vivian was surprised to hear her father answer in the affirmative when asked about mental illness on his side of the family.

“‘Oh, yeah, your Auntie So-and-So has this. Your uncle is paranoid schizophrenic and whatever.’”

Black families often keep mental health histories under wraps, treating suffering members like guilty secrets. Quoting author Nalo Hopkinson in the book Brown Girl in the Ring, Vivian points out, “We as a people — our secrets are killing us.”

It was a hard road back to mental health. Healing required that Vivian learn to be gentle with herself, to practice physical and mental self-care, to let go of her perfectionism, and to refuse to see her mental illness as a stigma.

“Today, I would say I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been — mentally and physically. I’ve come to a peace with myself. Yoga, therapy, being open about my mental illness and my medication, having coping mechanisms, and staying healthy — they are just part of my life now.”

Her voice catches as she describes her pride at making it through: “At this point, every day it’s a blessing that I’m happy, that I’m content with myself, and that I’m okay. I’m very proud of myself. I’m proud every day, because at least I keep holding on. It’s not so much of a struggle for me anymore.

“Putting other people’s pressure on me almost killed me. I’ve had to become comfortable with the uncomfortability of not being perfect. I’m amazed at the woman that I have become. . . . Sorry, I’m getting a little emotional, but it’s been hard. It’s been very hard. But I’ve earned a life beyond thirty-five years.”

Learn more about Tamara Winfrey Harris and The Sisters Are Alright at

The post Killer Secrets: An Excerpt From Tamara Winfrey Harris’ New Book appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

sophie: A cartoon-like representation of a girl standing on a hill, with brown hair, blue eyes, a flowery top, and blue skirt. ☀ (Default)
[personal profile] sophie posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
I have a bit of an apology to make.

I haven't been doing a lot lately, and I'm keenly aware of that. I could use this space to find a bunch of excuses about why this is the case, but I'm not going to do that. I'm just going to say that I apologise, and that I'm going to try to make things better. Starting now. (Actually, starting yesterday.)

Because I haven't been keeping in touch, I know I haven't been very responsive to questions and comments. I want to change this, too. As such, I want to do a redo of a previous post that I made a few years ago: What do you find difficult on a Dreamhack? I want to try to help people and fix any issues they might be having.

Also, if you have any questions or comments about the Dreamhack service in general, please do leave a comment, or send me a PM! A comment would be preferable, but I'll be glad to respond and/or help if needed regardless.

Code push!

Jun. 25th, 2015 09:20 pm
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
We will be performing tonight's code push in a few minutes. There'll be a brief downtime, but not longer than a few minutes. (Ideally, that is.)

I'll update this entry when we're back, and people can report issues here.

EDIT: New code is live! Please report any issues here.

We're currently having an issue with the image proxy for accessing the site via HTTPS -- images are currently failing to load. We'll have that fixed as soon as we can.
sophie: A cartoon-like representation of a girl standing on a hill, with brown hair, blue eyes, a flowery top, and blue skirt. ☀ (Default)
[personal profile] sophie posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
Now that the Dreamhack machine has been upgraded, I'm looking at making things a bit easier to maintain, starting with the Apache configuration files.

[staff profile] mark has already posted instructions to update your configuration so that it will work, but ideally, that shouldn't need to be an issue - it should Just Work. And as it turns out, very few people ever modified their default Apache config files; there are very few cases where it's necessary. In fact, of the three people that have, two of them had only done so for Apache 2.4 compatibility.

It makes sense to me to have this sort of configuration change done on a global basis rather than needing each person to change their Apache config themselves. I do recognise that some people will still need to make local changes, though, so I'm going to be setting it up so that the configuration file as it is now will simply become an Include line to a central configuration file which uses environment variables (which will be in a ~/apache/conf/envvars file) to allow Apache to know where everything is.

This will also involve adding one line to the start-apache and stop-apache scripts pointing to the new envvars file.

I'll make the changes for everybody so that nobody needs to worry about how to do this. Where people have modified the defaults, I'll make sure that those changes are still in the new files. I'll also back up the old Apache configs to a ~/apache/conf/httpd.conf.2.4-backup file in case anything goes wrong.

I plan to do this change in a few days from now - if anybody has any questions or concerns, please let me know! This change does mean that nobody will need to modify their Apache config any more, so when this goes through the instructions in [staff profile] mark's post will no longer be needed, although it will still be necessary to update your code to the latest version and, if you have any branches you're working on currently, pull the latest changes from develop into those branches in order to get the code change for Apache 2.4.

If anybody needs any help, please let me know in the comments!
kaberett: A sleeping koalasheep (Avatar: the Last Airbender), with the dreamwidth logo above. (dreamkoalasheep)
[personal profile] kaberett posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
... this will probably get everything else that makes it in under the code-push-wire edited in BUT for now here's everything people managed to get submitted and merged between when I started the last code tour and when I finished it. #DWgoestoOSB is getting lots done, okay. Including lots of new themes, a couple of functionality tweaks to improve user experience, and improvements to some developer tools.

Read more... )

I believe this is now everything that was in today's code push!
kaberett: A sleeping koalasheep (Avatar: the Last Airbender), with the dreamwidth logo above. (dreamkoalasheep)
[personal profile] kaberett posting in [site community profile] dw_dev

This is batch the first of code tours for the code push coming toniiiiiiiiight.

Batch the second, of everything everyone at OSBridge has written since I started this one, coming up shortly...

Read more... )

Contributors (first-time starred, and welcome to them!): [ profile] afuna, [ profile] anall, [ profile] fhocutt, [ profile] hotlevel4, [ profile] kaberett, [ profile] kareila, [personal profile] ketsu, [ profile] me-and*, [ profile] momijizukamori, [ profile] pauamma, [personal profile] timeasmymeasure, [ profile] woggy

[syndicated profile] otw_news_feed

Posted by Claudia Rebaza


Banner by Ania of a manila file folder with the words 'OTW Report'

We are pleased to announce that the OTW has published its 2014 Annual Report (available in PDF or in HTML). The report provides a summary of our activities during the past financial and calendar year, our financial statements for 2014, and our goals for 2015. This is the eighth annual report of the OTW (see previous reports).

The 2014 Annual Report highlights successes and achievements from across the organization and challenges we faced during the year. We encourage all those interested to take a look at the report and, if you have questions, please feel free to contact us here or through our contact form.

Thank you to all of our members, staff, donors and volunteers for your support!



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