The University of Chicago recently stated ‘We Do Not Support So-Called Trigger Warnings’. “So-Called”, eh? Because millennials are entitled and overly sensitive and oppressive, right? Not because anyone has ever experienced actual trauma and requested a little warning in order to properly administer self care, of course. Because mental health, being invisible, is still not as valid as physical health that can be readily perceived.
This is not about censorship. This is part of toxic masculinity, rape culture, and the “suck it up” mindset that has been damaging real, living human beings for generations. If millennials are willing to speak up about such societal poison, we should be thanking them, not punishing them.
Erica D. Price wrote an amazing piece on Medium. Please go have a read.
I have honored every request for a trigger or content warning that a student has ever given me, and I go out of my way to tag any potentially upsetting material with trigger warnings. I don’t do this because I am a beaten-down, scared shitless academic with no intellectual freedom. My students have not backed me into a corner and demanded that I keep thought-provoking content at bay. Students who disagree with me politically or philosophically (of which there are many) do not try to silence me under a deluge of TW requests. My universities have not twisted my arms, pinned me down, and affixed black TW duct tape across my mouth. That’s not how TW’s work.
Don’t believe anyone who says it’s a slow, trickle-down process. Don’t buy into that “be patient” nonsense. There is no reason that writers, cast, and crew are anything less than representative of the population other than an absolute willingness to uphold the status quo.
When a person in power says “do it”, it gets done.
Linda Holmes, the host of one of my very favourite podcasts, NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, mentioned a conversation she and Variety’s Mo Ryan had with John Landgraf, the CEO of FX, at the Television Critics Association 2016 press tour. The FX Network likes to see itself as a leader, yet was trailing horribly in terms of diversity and inclusion. From Variety, “In the 2014-15 TV season, only 12% of FX’s directors were women or people of color… At the moment, 51% of the directors booked by FX and FXX are men and women of color, or white women.”
Although creators on FX retain tremendous decision-making power, Mr. Landgraf threw all his weight and support behind hiring more diverse crew members. When that happened, things changed. Very, very quickly. Continue reading “Inclusion Happens When Declared”
Some great stuff here about diversity in geekdom, especially comics.
In one of his final interviews, the late, great Dwayne McDuffie, comic writer and producer of such quality superhero cartoons as Justice League, introduced us to the “Rule of Three”: In popular entertainment, if there are three or more Black people in it, it is then labeled a “Black” product. And so, when McDuffie added four Black characters to the Justice League of America comic, fandom flipped out and began foaming that it was “statistically impossible” to have so many Black heroes on a superhero team, and that this was only a stunt to “fill quotas.” To which McDuffie wryly replied, “The quota arguments on fictional teams crack me up. Is someone losing a job here? Which fictional character is losing a job?”
While I continue to plan the future of my academic career, I find myself in need of a creative outlet. I’ve started a small Instagram project that allows for collaboration with friends and kindred spirits. It’s a wee thing, though until I manage to streamline the process, it is still very labour intensive!
The stories, whenever they sporadically appear, will be posted on the @TeaTimeTinies Instagram account.
Here’s a screenshot of the first piece. It’s called Little Brave Riding Hood and it’s about a girl who loves her maths, her Granny, and her rocket scientist mum.
I’m especially interested in irreverent, iconoclastic, or dark (à la Edward Gorey) versions of stories. Extreme abbreviation as art form also welcome. I’m itching to do something like War and Peace in this format.
Have a story to contribute or interpret in a new way? Artwork? Let me know.
This is probably not what you think. It’s probably much better and more challenging. White people will likely have a hard time embracing this on the first round. It’s worth the shakeup. This is just an excerpt. Read the whole thing.
The dilemma of what white people should do to address racism has the same exhausting function of racism, because this dilemma is racism. Because for white people “to do” anything means that whiteness must be centered in a way that would perpetuate its oppressive essentiality.
There is nothing redeeming or redeemable about whiteness—by definition. Only the radical negation of it is helpful or freeing. And it is not enough for us as Black people to encourage or allow white people to try their hand at addressing racism. It is necessary instead to adopt a politic of exclusion. This is to build upon Malcolm X’s claim in The Autobiography of Malcolm X that “Where the really sincere white people have got to do their ‘proving’ of themselves is not among the black victims, but out on the battle lines of where America’s racism really is,” (X, Haley 1964: 383–384) with the vital understanding that Black victims exist everywhere whiteness does.
Not only are there problems with empathy in terms of race and gender, but it seems anything outside of one’s experience is an excuse to put on a superior tone and lecture others. I understand that sometimes being an objective outsider can provide a fresh perspective. Yet that tends to be a different dynamic – participatory, supportive – from positioning oneself as omniscient and higher-caliber than the unwashed masses. Continue reading “Class-splaining is just a symptom.”