greenie_breizh: (sean)
Aaaand a few links that have nothing to do with each other but they do have to do with what's on my mind these days! I'm a little frustrated that I'm not finding the time to comment on some of these really important things that are happening, but I'm still trying to balance everything in my life. :/

How to Be a Friend to Trans Folks Without Putting Your Foot in Your Mouth: A Short Guide for Cis People. These things are always good to go over, if only as a reminder, and I like the suggestions in this one. Which pronouns do you prefer? should be a much more common question :/

Vancouver's Insite drug injection clinic will stay open. This is a ridiculously important ruling for Canada, which ensures that harm reduction programs such as Insite have a chance to do their work, even with a Harper government.

by Lemony Snicket (at Occupy Writers). So much to say about the Occupy Mouvement, but for now, I'll keep it short with a few links. I like the Lemony one, and this one, which unpacks what's going on with one of the images against Occupy Wall Street: Don’t EVEN get me started, mythical bootstraps college student. Finally, I think this collection of photos of the 1% who stand with the 99% is full of very powerful acknowledgements of privilege and requests for more taxation, which I find overwhelming because it's so unlike anything we're used to hearing. Good for a lot of these young people to recognize they may have worked hard, but that's not all that got them where they are. I wish we would hear these people more, instead of politicians being afraid of even whispering about taxes.

On a TOTALLY DIFFERENT note, some fandom stuff because light-hearted is, occasionally, really great. :)

Out in every way, Sean Maher is happier than ever. So so happy to hear any article where Sean talks about how great the response to his coming out has been. This never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Jewel Staite talks Firefly, food, fun and Fillion. Just a very fun interview that reminded me of old times. :)

As it turns out, there's also now BIG NEWS, which is this website. Sean mentioned it yesterday and it was exciting enough but OMG Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Fran Kranz, Nathan Fillion?! This is going to be the best thing ever. I can't wait to find out what part Sean plays, and to see some of the footage. This is so wonderful, and as far as I'm concerned, FAR more interesting than the Avengers movie. Whedon Shakespeare movie FTW. :D :D

Anyway, back to work, I have a midterm review to prep for, as I expect students will be flailing!

EDIT: Apparently Sean is going to be Don John, which at this point means little to me, so I need to go back to the play and check it out. :) :)
greenie_breizh: (identity)
Through an NPR report that a friend recommended, I started reading [ profile] chaoticidealism's journal, and I suggest you all do the same. In my own time I've focused more on the type of marginalization that non-whiteness, non-heterosexuality and femininity/femaleness bring onto people, but obviously marginalization isn't limited to these particular experiences. Disability studies is an entire big field that I've only been able to dip into briefly, but which I find fascinating because it speaks to me on the same level as the stuff that I'm more familiar with.

The experience of oppression at the hand of a dominant group has much potential for enabling people with different experiences to connect and empathize with each other (that doesn't mean equating the experience of being black with the experience of being gay, but rather it means recognizing the different forms that systemic oppression can take). I love to be reminded of that by reading thoughtful, non-essentialist reflections from someone else who's been thinking about this sort of stuff.

I particular enjoyed this post entitled "Joining the Disability Rights Movement", on the place of the neurodiversity community (which includes people with autism) within the larger disability rights movement.

As a sidenote, I love when people in the majority group get labeled, the way that Lisa is using the word 'neurotypical' to describe people who aren't part of the neurodiversity community. It feels weird, but it's an important experience to have when you're part of the dominant group and thus are most likely not used to being labeled constantly (including by people who barely know you). I think we have a lot to gain from being able to recognize the parts of us which enable us to access certain types of privilege.

EDIT: From a new post of [ profile] chaoticidealism, not the one I was mentioning, but it sums up the argument wonderfully:
But sometimes, I see people who say, "I'm high-functioning. I'm not like those low-functioning people over there." And then they advocate for the rights of high-functioning people only, by whatever arbitrary standard they're using today to define "high-functioning", because at some level down deep, they're still trying to justify their existence. They feel like they've got to say, "I'm valuable because I can do X, Y, and Z", and distance themselves as much as possible from "disability". They don't realize that the solution is to challenge the disability stereotype that they're taking for granted. And they don't realize that it's valid to say, "I'm valuable," no strings attached, with disability or no disability completely irrelevant.
greenie_breizh: (ftw)
1 sleep until Allie gets back
starting new job July 5th
buying new bike tomorrow
Iceland postcard from Allie in French
cat napping with her head against my leg

Now some actual interesting links:

- Accepting Kyriarchy, Not Apologies. On why the term "kyriarchy" is more useful than "patriarchy" to understand patterns of dominance and oppression in our society.

- Rachel Maddow's BRILLIANT fake presidential address. I wish so, so much that Obama had said these things. "If you can't handle the risk, you will no longer take your chance with our fate to reap your rewards."

- Here's another fine mess by Roger Ebert, on the BP oil spill. I don't 100% agree on the idea that we need to go back to an earlier age - I think that usually grossly glamorizes what life was like then - but we do need to learn to use less. In a lot of ways, it's a lot like privilege - we can't expect to keep all our advantages, to be coddled, and we should get over that.

- A post on Hey Baby Hey, an online video game which, essentially, mimics what street harassment can feel like.
greenie_breizh: (full of words)
First, [ profile] arcadiane wrote this excellent post on Where The Wild Things Are (the movie). I realized I'd never written about the movie and what I thought about it but she's said it all, pretty much, and I'm still not sure I have my own words to talk about it. I can see how people would hate the movie and find it boring, but if you can let yourself be taken by the beauty, the quiet, the kid's point of view, and not look for a plot, it's exactly what I would have wanted this movie to be, I think.

Second, I actually discovered this a while ago but I don't think I've ever linked to them: ASL songs. They're vids that put songs into ASL language (I'm assuming you can do the same with other sign languages, but as in the world of hearing, American stuff dominates online) and they're damn cool. Two awesome guys who do them are CaptainL0ver (his version of If You Seek Amy is particularly awesome, but check out more) and CaptainValor (I love him in Party in the USA). And then there's this adorable teen (and the girl he learned it from) doing it on Hot 'n' Cold (they're not super fluent or putting the rhythm into it as much, but he's super cute). (They're all a little gay and effeminate, too, which, <3.)

Third, not so much with the fun and funny, my f-list is awesome and shared links with me about James Cameron's Avatar that I wanted to share back with everybody:
- About the white privilege perspective in the movie, check out When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like "Avatar"?, which is dead-on throughout the entire article, but I want to highlight this paragraph:
These are movies about white guilt. Our main white characters realize that they are complicit in a system which is destroying aliens, AKA people of color - their cultures, their habitats, and their populations. The whites realize this when they begin to assimilate into the "alien" cultures and see things from a new perspective. To purge their overwhelming sense of guilt, they switch sides, become "race traitors," and fight against their old comrades. But then they go beyond assimilation and become leaders of the people they once oppressed. This is the essence of the white guilt fantasy, laid bare. It's not just a wish to be absolved of the crimes whites have committed against people of color; it's not just a wish to join the side of moral justice in battle. It's a wish to lead people of color from the inside rather than from the (oppressive, white) outside.

- About ableism in the movie, read Future of Portrayals of Disability in Movies? Cameron’s Avatar. I thought about a lot of that as soon as I saw Jake in a wheelchair. :/
greenie_breizh: (<3)
OK this time I will spare you the ramble unless you want to look at it, so yay lj-cut! This is about Vanessa and Zac and how their story - what we see of it in public anyway - overlaps the high school sweethearts ideal of what love looks like. And just so we're clear - this is not about anything I've seen anyone or the fandom in general do, it's about the bigger picture and the kind of meanings that we as a Western society put onto relationships.

I struggle to find a way to express how much I love them as a couple, and how genuine they seem to be about their love and support for each other, and the fact that I have very little patience for young forever love as a cultural narrative. )
greenie_breizh: (still life)
I wanted to share a paragraph in a book that really spoke to me on the topic of why the notion of impartiality actually reifies the dominance of certain perspectives over others. I haven't read the chapter where the author develops her point, but I thought this was nice to share as a starting point for thinling about this.

From Iris Marion Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference (p.10-11):
Some feminist and postmodern writers have suggested that a denial of difference structures Western reason, where difference means particularity, the heterogeneity of the body and affectivity, or the inexhaustibility of linguistic and social relations without a unitary, undifferentiated origin. This book seeks to show how such a denial of difference contributes to social group oppression, and to argue for a politics that recognizes rather than represses difference. Thus Chapter 4 argues that the ideal of impartiality, a keystone of most modern moral theories and theories of justice, denies difference. The ideal of impartiality suggests that all moral situations should be treated according to the same rules. By claiming to provide a standpoint which all subjects can adopt, it denies the difference between subjects. By positing a unified and universal moral point of view, it generates a dichotomy between reason and feeling. Usually expression in counterfactuals, the ideal of impartiality expresses an impossibility. It serves at least two ideological functions, moreover. First, claims to impartiality feed cultural imperialism by allowing the particular experience and perspective of privileged group to parade as universal. Second, the conviction that bureaucrats and experts can exercise their decisionmaking power in an impartial manner legitimates authoritarian hierarchy.
greenie_breizh: (quality tv: dollhouse)
First, a funny comic strip about Dollhouse being renewed.

And now more serious links:

- On the virginity fetish. Two really interesting points that caught my attention.
"She points the finger of blame back at conservatives and argues that it's the myth of virginity, not 'Girls Gone Wild', that's hurting this generation of young women. Those two competing influences have more in common than some might think: Both teach women that their most valuable commodity is their sexuality." Not only that, but it's a very specific kind of sexuality that's valued here: phallocentric sexuality, so implicit in the message is the idea that their heterosexuality is most valuable. Our obsession with virginity and what constitutes a virgin terrifies me with its implications and the fact that it's making teens have unsafe sex (whether oral or anal) in hopes of staying "pure". Not to mention the double-standard that exists, obviously, because we're much more concerned with women than men staying virgins.
"I don't believe in gray rape. [...] We can reframe sex as something that should be a collaborative, partnered event. And, if we redefine consent as not the absence of a “no” but a presence of a “yes,” then maybe we'll actually get somewhere." I don't know that I'd go as far as saying I don't believe in gray rape, but I do think we need to ask ourselves how on earth men can think they have consent when they don't. (Because yes, overwhelmingly, it's men raping women, especially "date rape" which is where the issue of consent is often understood as most blurry. But that applies beyond that specific hetero set-up anyway.) I love the idea of thinking of sex as requiring an (enthusiastic) yes rather than the absence of a no. It completely changes the dynamic. But for that we need to learn, and teach our kids (especially our girls) that sex is not something dirty, not something to be afraid of; something they don't need to have, or want (hi asexuals!), but if they do, it's great, and they should let their partner know and be informed and safe. Sex ed would look very different if we thought about sex differently, not solely as a vector of diseases.

- Michael Kimmel on Gender. The key quote is that video excerpt they have available is "privilege is invisible to those who have it" which I think is mostly true, but I think it's also more nuanced in the sense that it's often invisible to those who don't have it, too. When I see the level of heteronormative statements that can come from LGBT folks, or the kind of sexist reasoning that some women can have, I think it's useful to remember power doesn't work in a straight-forward manner. It's embedded in our belief systems and we often end up unwittingly reinforcing dominant patterns that don't benefit us. We can even be strongly invested in these patterns, to the point of experiencing internal homophobia or racism. But it remains easier for those in the majority/dominant group to think of themselves as universal, not to see their race/gender/sexuality/ability as a privilege whose benefits they reap (whether they want it or not).

- I also really want to do a more substantive post with the French comics for IDAHO, but I don't think I'll have time this morning.
greenie_breizh: (Default)

652€ disability cheque: How am I supposed to live?

I've been thinking and talking about disability quite a lot these past couple of days, so it's a happy coincidence that today is Blogging Against Disablism Day (or should that be Ableism?). I wish I had more time to do one coherent post based on the discussion that I had following my post on the deaf kid storyline in House, especially since a lot is in French.

I'm not extremely familiar with ableism (which is defined as "discriminatory, oppressive or abusive behaviour arising from the belief that disabled people are inferior to others"), but from having worked on other forms of discrimination and privilege, I think I would rather use and think about able-bodied privilege than ableism. The difference is important to me.

Ableism, like homophobia/heterosexism or racism, tends to refer to specific actions or thoughts, and assumes that disability is a clearly-defined state, an objective fact if you will. Ableism may be unconscious, but it is still the result of what an individual person did or said.

Abled privilege, on the other hand, invites us to think about the context that makes ableist behavior possible. It challenges not individuals who -unconsciously or not - engage in abileism, but in a system that favors and rewards being able-bodied (in the larger sense, including mental disabilities). Focusing on the consequences of living in a world that privileges the able-bodied is not unimportant, it is a very practical concern. We need to think about how our world and assumptions constantly silence, marginalize and inferiorize the disabled, and to think about the practical and very real changes we can make the world more welcoming for people with a disability. But it's even more important that, as we make efforts to enact changes, we think of the framework that we are working with. If we don't, we run the risk of supporting changes that are in fact still embedded in a way of thinking that posits that being able-bodied is better. And while that might still make the world more physically accessible to people with disability, it doesn't change how we make them feel in this world. Trying to address the consequences (ableism) without thinking about the context (abled privilege) runs the risk of having the very presumptuous and conceited attitude of thinking we know better, and thinking we are doing disabled people a favor, instead of correcting something that is our fault.

Because I've been mostly reading up and talking about deafness and deaf culture in the past few days, I want to finish by focusing on this particular "disability" here. I'd like to invite you to read on controversial issues within the deaf community, for example why attempts to integrate deaf students in general-education might not serve deaf students as much as ourselves and what we like to believe about our culture of "inclusion".

Also, this really only works for French people, but here is a visual lexicon for LSF (French Sign Language) for people who are interested in learning more than the alphabet. It doesn't replace actually taking classes, of course, but it's an interesting resource. Maybe we could at very least learn to say "hi", "sorry" and "bye" - bare minimum to say the least, but it's a first small step.

I'd also like to take advantage of this post to highlight some links that [ profile] lounalune shared with me. I haven't had time to read them but I already know they will be good food for thought. :)

And to finish, a poem that I found here and really liked, and lyrics from a song I've been listening to too much and seemed appropriate.

Thoughts of a Deaf Child

My family knew that I was deaf
When I was only three, and since then fifteen years ago
Have never signed to me.
I know when I'm around the house,
I try and use my voice,
It makes them feel more comfortable;
For me, I have no choice.
I try, communicate their way-
Uncomfortable for me.
My parents wouldn't learn sign
Ashamed or apathy?
I never cared about the sound of radios and bands;
What hurts me most is, I never heard
My parents' signing hands.

-Stephen J. Bellitz
Reprinted from Senior News, July 1991

This one's for the lonely
The ones that seek and find
Only to be let down
Time after time

This one's for the faithless
The ones that are surprised
They are only where they are now
Regardless of their fight

This is for the ones who stand
For the ones who try again
For the ones who need a hand
For the ones who think they can

- Greg Laswell, Comes and Goes in Waves
greenie_breizh: (identity)
Don't have time to work on my paper before I go out to lunch, so I wanted to share a few important links:

LJ comm [ profile] rahmbamarama has been having an interesting and very necessary discussion about racism (and other forms of privilege). The original post itself contains a number of useful and important links for anyone looking to educate themselves about white privilege.

I originally came to this post and the fic through [ profile] deepad's Open Letter to the Politfandom that is a MUST-READ not just for people who read and write in the Politfandom, but anyone who is ever going to think about Barack Obama and/or write/read original fiction that is based in the real world. Basically I think everyone should read it.

Once you're done, definitely check out [ profile] color_blue's redrawing boundaries. It's frank and angry and a good reminder that oppressed minorities put up with a lot of shit on a daily basis and at the end of the day they're still the ones who are expected to give the "benefit of the doubt" to privileged individuals who have been too steeped in their privilege to see what they were doing all along. It's not an easy read and I can't quite describe my feelings about it but I think it's essential to read that side of the coin, too, not just the people who will put up with trying to explain and educate.

It's also a nice reminder that fandom is, like any other place, often safest for people with privilege.

I also need to share this video (original post here) that I all beg you to watch, because at some point you're going to be the one calling on someone for saying/doing something racist or being called on for saying/doing something racist:

Every time I do a post on white privilege and racism I think I really ought to say something myself rather than simply point to other people's posts, but I feel like I am still learning too much at this point. I feel like listening and pointing to things that make me think and help me feel more confident in my understanding of white privilege is more productive at this point, and I am less likely to say things I will later realize were pretty idiotic. I have enough of those already. :) I think one of the most important things I am learning is that, as someone who is privileged in a number of ways, when someone who is less so is expressing frustration and disappointment and trying to teach me something, the very least I can do is listen and avoid defending myself. Not because I'm not doing anything wrong, quite the opposite. But because, while I am implicated in the system of privilege that advantages me, it's not about me. It's also not about all my amazing middle-class white guys that I know and I'm proud to call my friends. Although it is often about what we do, unconsciously or not.

To finish, go read The Spoon Theory (found here originally) to think about disability and the privilege of being able-bodied.

EDIT: See also On racism, pop culture and political correctness.
greenie_breizh: (quote)
Throwing a bunch of random links at you:

- How to Suppress Discussions of Racism by [ profile] coffeeandink.

- Prop 8 related: the SoliHairity Project, with photos of people I know (all the white backgrounds).
- Prop 8 related, 2: California's Attorney General on why it should be overturned.

- Un article du Monde sur une étude faite par le MAG sur les jeunes LGBT.

- An awesome-sauce interview by Joss Whedon (as usual) (for people outside the U.S. the transcription is beneath the video). Some of his answers literally made me laugh out loud.

"If you have a good idea, get it out there. For every idea I've realized, I have ten I sat on for a decade till someone else did it first. Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.
As for my success, well, I'm for it."

"The West fascinates me because it's the creation of culture and morality out off nothing but remnants. But it lacks spaceships! Solution: Firefly."

And of course: "DON'T TELL RHODE ISLAND."
greenie_breizh: (political)
We watched one of Stuart Hall's lectures tonight in class. Nothing ground-breaking, but beautifully articulate on issues of meaning-making and representation.

I also learned, not without surprise, that Stuart Hall is black.

It was funny - to realize I'd unconsciously been making that assumption we all tend to make, especially if we're white, because I've been reading stuff on LJ about cultural appropriation in writing and more generally white privilege and stuff, and it's frustrating, in a way, that I continue to make these assumptions. It makes me want to pay closer attention. Anyway, I wanted to share a few of the things I've been reading:

I Didn't Dream of Dragons and the continuation, more specifically addressed to white folks. A few selected passages that really spoke to me:

Do not tell me, or the people like me who have grown up hearing Arabic around them, or singing in Swahili, or dreaming in Bengali—but reading only (or even mostly) in English (or French, or Dutch)—that this colonial rape of our language has not infected our ability to narrate, has not crippled our imagination.

[...] Asking an author to write the Other with respect and assuming it to be sufficient, is like telling a person that being polite to everyone is sufficient in their goal of being an anti-racist ally. This is crap. Your definition of individuality, just like your definition of politeness is culture-specific.

[...] I distrust universalising statements proclaiming our inherent mutual humanity because they are uni-directional—they do not make everyone more like me, they make everyone more like you. And I do not want that.

[...] We are not used to throwing our abusers in jail after three strikes--we negotiate with our abusers being our bosses and television hosts and school teachers and peacekeeping forces and our clergy. When someone tells us we are wrong, we can't run away or banish them, we learn to live with them, and with ourselves.

[...] Decide whether you want to understand the critical lenses we use to deconstruct dominant narratives, and learn how to use them. This will probably be painful because it reveals feet of clay in dearly beloved books and authors. Is the cost worth the result for you? No one is saying there isn't still value in something offensive and flawed, but your line of tolerance may be different from someone else's. I found that, having once turned my critical reader on, I could not turn her off, and I am happy, on the whole, that this means that there are now books that I find unpalatable which previously I would have been able to enjoy.

(Also, frustrated because there was one good link that I can't find again. Will edit if I do.)

I also never got around saying on Tuesday just how fantastic it was to see so many African-Americans involved in the inauguration process, both in the proceedings and in the audience. I'm sure Obama will disappoint in some ways, but no matter what, he changed something big, and I can't help but smile at his image. Looking at this little girl's eyes, I feel like I won't ever be able to grasp the full extent of just how amazing it is that this biracial man is going to be everywhere for the next four years. (Not just him. All of them.)

Speaking of Obama and politics, much much win for his swift decision on Guantanamo (dude, he's left-handed, too? heee), and his support of Roe v. Wade today.

On that topic:
"I think what everyone ought to be interested in doing, whether they are or not, is reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies," Gandy told CNN. "Because if we reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, it will by definition reduce the number of abortions and reduce a lot of the pain and despair that has befallen women in these economic times, who cannot afford to enlarge their families when they don't have a job and they don't have a way to put food on the table for the kids that they have now."
THAT, yes.

To go back to Obama, how gorgeous is this B&W photo?

On this note, I will leave you with a beautiful photo and great moment. Not seeing / hearing about Bush anymore is going to be quite glorious, too.
greenie_breizh: (identity)
"See, if we can't notice color, if I'm not allowed to notice color, I'm not going to have a very easy time understanding or acknowledging the consequences of color."

If you're white, and ESPECIALLY if you feel concerned by racism, but even if you don't, I BEG you to watch this presentation by Tim Wise. I know it's an hour long. Every minute of it is worth it because this is something we don't talk about. Not in those terms, and it's extremely important that we do. That we understand what whiteness and white privilege is, that we understand what we gain from it and how it hurts us, because it does.

(People of color should also really, really watch this to familiarize themselves with the argument and because it's a really fascinating presentation. It's just that for white people it really should be close to an obligation.)

This, by the way, touches upon why I think France's approach of "we're all equal! we can't distinguish one another by skin color! this is racism!" is problematic at best. In the words of Time Wise (and to repeat the point made by the quote above) "if we're colorblind, we can't discuss white privilege". We need to acknowledge color so we can deal with the consequences.

Interestingly enough, this morning on [ profile] metaquotes someone quoted [ profile] nightengalesknd talking about the phrase 'I don't think of you as disabled' and why that's actually offensive to disabled people. It is the exact same mechanism at work here.

When we don't acknowledge difference and inequalities, it's always to the advantage of the dominant group.
greenie_breizh: (random4)
Privilege is a concept I'm still learning about so I can truly own the concept and articulate it... so for now I will simply link you to three interesting posts:

- What privilege is and what it isn't.

- Privilege and meritocracy.

- Links to Tim Wise about White Privilege.


greenie_breizh: (Default)

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