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An Open Letter to People Accusing Writers of "Racefail" Jan. 15th, 2016 @ 03:14 am
(This is in response to various pieces on racefail in SF/fantasy of various vintages, including one where PoC are trashing a white author's inclusionary in a "what if PoC just happened to be *there* just like any other people" handling of the "not making every character presumed white" thing. I didn't find this offensive, exploitative, or appropriative, I was just happy that it wasn't yet another unrealistic wall of whiteness. I'm not sure how deep a cultural background every minor character needs to avoid token-ness in a novel, if I wouldn't know any more about someone I wasn't on meeting-the-family terms with in person? This has been bothering me for a while, but I was having a hard time putting my finger on exactly *why*, but it think it's got to do with erasure.)

So how exactly is a mixed author supposed to write PoC in a non-faily way, if asking actual single origin PoC about their experiences is off the table, and you (meaning PoC reviewers, largely American) don't like what you get when we *don't* ask? Often our personal and family experiences, particularly if we come from more person-first countries instead of hyphenated-identity countries like the US, just don't fit with what you expect of the Great American PoC Experience. Is there a difference between saying a character is acting "too white" and saying it about an actual person? Because I have no experience of my mother filling the house with the scent of any traditional family recipes cooking, must I only write characters with mothers presumed to be white, because I don't have any good, solid cultural markers of non-whiteness to attach to her in non-stereotypey ways? She's never made a casserole, either - the only scent filling the house after a cooking attempt would be that of burning! When languages don't get passed down because learning English seems far more important, when you go to the local church regardless of your actual religion because that's where the social community is, do you research these, or do you go with your own lived experiences that may not match up with anyone else's, and risk a fail either way?

And even if you pass with your first character, that's only one. Do you have to just write white people from then on? Write about people like your friends and hope nobody notices the characters don't look much like the author picture in the back if they don't think they're representative of what they think someone with that particular set of genes should have grown up like? Do you hope you've learned enough by now to write a character that feels a little less personally defensible, a little more Great American PoC Experience, and take the risk hoping for more exposure for your PoC character?

I'd like to have anyone who isn't already aware that American privilege (cultural privilege, as a general concept, but this predominates in the English speaking global internet/media) is most definitely a thing to stop right here, go find yourself any privilege checklist, replace it using "American" as default, and unpack it. You may not like it, if you're American, but this is exactly the same for any other default group and checklist, only this time patriotism is involved. Take a deep breath, tell patriotism to go have a break and you'll come back for it later, and carry on. We'll all be better off for it.

Read it? Patriotism's napping in your lap with a nice full belly, all content, and you can handle the fact that not every idea or concept other countries have about race is either identical to America's or apartheid? If not, have a look on YouTube for the "Radiators for Norway" video, watch it, then come back.

So, now that you're aware that something you may have previously assumed a global truth may in fact only be "normal" in the United States (President Obama without his security detail on the Tube in London would be presumed to be a businessman, not a shoeshine boy - the world is aware of many of your cultural oddities they don't share or have any desire to, even if you think they do), and possibly only among people of similar upbringing, how much of other people's experiences that you haven't lived, and don't know people that have, are you that qualified to judge, when you don't know the writer or their history that well, or they're not from your country or culture?

I'm not talking established white American writers here so much, but even then unless someone's doing it horribly, horribly wrong to the point that the average reader is going to wish the book *had* used a stereotypical YA all-white heroines-of-suburbia cast instead of any inclusion at all, I don't think they should be ripped apart for not using harmful, cliche stereotypes, but simply trying but *not getting it right enough* because that's not going to do anything but make people write more white people. If they have to dodge both the publisher minefields and then the fandom ones, not to mention the book cover ones?

And newer authors and fanfic authors and people that just write stuff down in places where they'll probably never see the light of day see these people getting flamed for things that didn't seem all that bad because at least PoC were *there* see this happening and sometimes, sometimes it's enough to whitewash that character. Or not ask yourself why you did in the first place and go back and undo it because it's safer to just leave them white or presumed-white. Not ask yourself why you don't write characters that don't look like you, don't look like your friends, but do look like the Americans you see on TV.

EL James. Part Twilight fanfic and epic laziness in the conversion, but also part America Sells. It shouldn't have happened because it shouldn't have had any *reason* to happen, but it did.

So, stop with the "fail". Someone's skin tone and hair texture is not automatically going to determine their ethnicity, family history, personal experiences, or world views. There is a lot of planet outside America, and much of it also speaks and reads English, and may have experiences your American upbringing is not qualified to judge.

And many of us are PoC or mixed.
If you want to read what we're writing.
i'm all: uncomfortableuncomfortable

Eeeep and Hmmm... Apr. 6th, 2013 @ 07:08 pm

I'm thinking I might be starting to go a bit hypomanic from the lack of sleep lately (7 day average 6.1hrs per 24; 5 day, 5.45hrs; 3 day, 3.65hrs...), only the whole having a hard time sleeping after being awake for 20+ hours thing makes me wonder if I've got "cause" and "effect" reversed here. Because I am not usually an insomniac. I tend to be able to fall asleep anytime I find it convenient and flat, or at least drop into half-asleep hallucinations that seem to rest a little bit of my brain if I'm sitting.

My jaw feels a bit sore and clenchy, which with everything else leads me to speculate there may be a little more serotonin than normal floating around. Or that I shouldn't have decreased my Keppra dose a week or 2 ago. As Keppra's also used as a mood stabilizer like the rest of the anticonvulsants, and is said to sometimes cause depression and rage as side effects, if it weren't for the fact that it's said not to act on serotonin, I'd suspect it was pulling some freaky anti-Prozac thing. Sucking up excess happiness and TMJ-headache-causing serotonin like donuts to the traffic cop of electrical activity it is in your brain.

I mean, it sounds better than "Scientists aren't quite sure how it works...". They're scientists! They're supposed to know things, or at least have solid theories that makes it sound like they're quite sure! If we wanted vague, mysterious, or wishy-washy answers, we'd go to a philosopher, theologist, or politician!

...dude. Where the hell was I, again?

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

i'm all: more awake than i bloody well should be
spin this: Bloom - Gypsy & The Car

Or I could sleep on the job at the TTC... Feb. 17th, 2010 @ 07:51 pm

I am Topaz Niobe Footeagle, the favored second daughter of a dysfunctional working-class mixed-blood family. I am short and well-proportioned, with black hair forming a curly halo around my face and soft brown eyes, possessing a serious nature and a gift for teaching. I'm a third-year Ravenclaw, excelling in Potions and barely scraping by in Care of Magical Creatures. In my spare time, I like to wander around the castle taking magical photos, and when I graduate from Hogwarts, I want to drive the Knight Bus.

Who are you at Hogwarts?

Dredged up meme... Feb. 7th, 2010 @ 11:44 am
1) Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The article title is the name of your band.

"Today's Another Day"

2) Go to http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The final words of the last quote on your page are the title of your album.

"To be pleased with one's limits is a wretched state."

3) Go to http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/
The FOURTH image on the page is your album cover.

A red tailed hawk. http://www.flickr.com/photos/waslin/4335169880/

4) Design your cover. Layout and presentation are up to you.

You can't make me open Photoshop when I have this many Safari windows, two copies of Firefox, and one of Camino, the last three with many tabs each. So imagine it.

5) Post your cover, along with these instructions. In the comments your friends will tell you what kind of music you play and the name of the album's single.

Sounds like mildly electronic instrumental, to me. I don't think anyone actually reads this journal, so...

This is not the quiz I thought I was taking... Dec. 23rd, 2009 @ 10:36 pm
Code is buggered, but I'm sufficiently intrigued by the "things fictional people might be saying about you behind your back" to copy and paste it. I was aiming for an entirely different quiz, but the link was bad and I had to search, and got the wrong one - can't tell until you see how the results end up formatted. This one's from here - Welcome to Hogwarts ... A YOUR LIFE quiz!

You got Harry!

You're in Gryffindor!

You're a unique person, and an even more unique Gryffindor. Many people who know you might make claim that they're never sure what person you're going to be that day, as your personality, as well as your moods, have the ability to change without notice and at any time. Many people who meet you may think you're just as sweet as you can be; friendly, warm, sympathetic and thoughtful ... And you are, you well and truly are. Though you're not going to trust someone right off the bat, you have no problem talking to strangers and making new friends. You're the friend that has an instinctual understanding of other's emotions, and you generally take on the role of mediator amongst your friends, ready to restore peace. You love easily, and well. You have no fear of showing telling people, "I love you," when you mean it. And you do all of this because you know you wouldn't be anything without your friends -- they are your support system, your allies, your dearest confidants.

And those who know you on a deeper level also know that you have another side to you, one that they may be the only ones you allow to see. You're a deeper thinker, it's true, but sometimes this can get the best of you, causing you to sometimes over-analyze situations and read more deeply into things than you should. This may occasionally breed in you insecurity and paranoia. You may also be easily dragged into conflict because of your determination to protect your friends. You should watch out for letting your ego get the best of you -- you're an awesome friend, a strong person and well loved, but when you convey your wisdom and experience, be careful not to make others think you are being patronizing.

How does all of this make you perfect for Harry?

For you, love means the world. You don't know what you'd do without the friends and family that love you. You know what an important role love has played in making you who you are, and how important love can be in the lives of others. With Harry, it was never any different. Even when you two were just friends, the fact that you ended every letter with, "With love," or ended every muggle phone conversation with, "I love you, bye!" slowly but surely made him comfortable with saying it back ... Still only when you two were just friends. Just by being you, and by being open to him, you gave him a little bit of what he needed without even realizing it. This drew him to you, your capacity to love despite the ugliness of the world, and over time, his feelings for your changed from friendship to something much, much more.

What the other's think of you:


Harry: His entire face brightens when asked about you, you know? It's quite cute ... But even better were his words. He told me that, for him, you became a part of his make-shift family when you two were just friends, and that at first, it was your loyalty and dedication to helping him in the War that drew you together ... but over time, the friendship became more, became so valuable to him, and you were always there with support and love, even if you could offer nothing else. Eventually, he began to fall in love with you. You embodied everything about this world that he needed to believe in in order to try and save it, and having you by his side, along with his other friends, kept him focused on that when he felt hopeless.

Ron: Likes you very much. He tells me that you're the girl he goes to when he's have 'women problems', and that you're especially easy to talk to because you don't make him feel like an idiot when he clearly is ... except for that one time when you bashed him over the head for being unfairly angry at Harry.

Hermione: Hermione thinks you're pretty damn cool, from what I gathered. At times, she seemed a little unsure of what to say about you, but I get the feeling that's because you're pretty hard to define! She made it clear that you've a great loyalty to Harry, and she made mention of the fact that she likes that that loyalty seems to spread out from Harry, and over into his friends as well.

Neville: Thinks you're really nice. He feels a bit like he's got a kindred spirit in you, because at times you can remind him of himself, his eagerness to be well-liked, to be a good person and someone that stands up for the right things.

Seamus: Seamus said that he likes you well enough, he supposes, but that you and him never really got very close because of that time when he stood against Harry. Ever since then, he feels like maybe you might hold it against him, or maybe that it keeps you from getting to know him any better.

Dean: Says you're wicked awesome! You've got all the great qualities of a true Gyrffindor, but at the same time, you have a mouth on you that could qualify you for Slytherin! He just thinks that's funny, you know, and that it's always entertaining to him when you do get riled up. It's rare, he says, but so damn awesome.


Terry Boot: Terry says he doesn't really know you, only knows that you're dating Harry Potter, so he suspects that you've got to have something special about you ... He just doesn't know what it is.

Luna Lovegood: Luna says that she admires your ability to be open with others about you feel, whether it be good, or bad, and that it's your honesty and sincerity in everything you do that makes people really like you. She points out, though (and to my surprise) that you may be too intense for some because of that, and not everyone is so open to the truth as you.


Hannah Abbott: Hannah told me that there was once a point when you and she were talking, and that by talking to you, she was able to understand a few things that she hadn't even thought of before. She wouldn't go into details about what the conversation dealt with, only that you gave her a different perspective to think on, and by doing so, helped her deal with a lot of things she was having trouble with.

Cedric Diggory: Thinks you're cool. He didn't really have much to say about you, and while he never came out and said it, I have a feeling you two aren't exactly close, or have never really gotten the chance to be. He did say, however, that you were a cool girl to have around, that he's only ever heard good things about you and that he wishes you and Harry the best.


Draco Malfoy: Obviously, Draco dislikes you solely because you're dating Harry Potter. I had a feeling you'd want a bit more information outta him than that, so I poked and prodded until he told me some more. He said he didn't even know you before you started dating Potter, and that since you two have become a couple, all he hears about is how cute you two are, and how good you've been to Harry, and he wants to know WHY. Why, Gods, WHY would anyone date Potter? ... Sorry, that really was the best I could get out of him. I doubt you expected much more, though.

Pansy Parkinson: When I brought up your name, all she did was this ... snorting type laugh thing that I can only assume means she either finds you highly amusing, or you give her allergies ... Either way, I wouldn't care too much about what she thinks about you.

Millicent Bulstrode: ... Surprisingly, she gave kind've a half-smile, half-grimace when I brought you up, though she didn't say much. I have a feeling she's a little torn by you. Maybe you once did something to get on her good side, or there is something about you that she likes. Maybe she even has a crush on you. I just don't know, and I just wasn't going to push it because she's friggin scary.

Blaise Zabini: ... Thinks you're a little too pure, he said, but that when he looks at you, he thinks he sees something just waiting to break out ... He definitely thinks there is a lot more to you than the sweet, nice, helpful girl that the school has come to know and love, but that you're too afraid to let it break out. This led him to say he wouldn't mind helping you come out of your shell ...
Other entries
» I hate the economy.
I wish there was such a thing as "discriminability compensation" - some sort of benefits you could receive when yes, you're entirely capable of doing the job just fine, but you will never, *ever* get hired for a job as long as there's at least one other person applying for it, no matter how completely and utterly incompetent they are at actually doing said job, compared to you.

If I'd wanted a minimum wage job for the rest of my goddamn life, I'd have gotten a liberal arts degree, not a business degree and then a community college diploma. And my unemployed mother does *not* need to say I'm not trying hard enough because she sends out one or two more resumes than I do - she has nothing to do all day, where I still *go* to my crap-paying job.
» In which an update, like, *actually happens*.
I suppose I have to do this once a year or so, to prove that I'm a real person and not just a comm troll.  Even though my "real person" LJ is somewhere else and not linked to this one at all.  Unless you're doing the six degrees thingy, in which case I have found a connection that takes three people in the middle to get to my other one, but I'm not telling you who.  Not that I ever update *that* one, either.

Current substance addiction:  Resin.  Entirely legal, no gastrointestinal side effects, and easily obtainable.  Too easily, in fact.  My wallet hates me and wishes I'd stuck to just American Girls, or BPAL.  But I guess if I'm going to hell anyways, I might as well enjoy the ride.

Trying to learn how not to take shitty photographs at the same time - realizing there's more to composition than simply "I was here and this was there" documentation of the stuff.  And that fixing it up in photoshop is standard practice, not "cheating".  *Oh*.

Five winters without SAD hitting at all, if this year makes it six, I must be doing *something* right, given that the schedule before was every other year.  The clusterfuck headaches may have lost their seasonal pattern of jumping in there those other years, or may not, but I'm sure as hell not going off the Topamax just to check, thank you very much.  For scientific purposes, you can now have my mother and her more recently aquired every-morning-at-3 cluster headaches that she's able to prevent by not forgetting her Advair at bedtime.  Yes, she seems to get things like headaches, asthma, and periodic inner ear balance problems *after* I do.  Figure that one out.

She doesn't seem to inherit the hobbies, though.  It'd be fun to see her bouncing and crashing around at my adult gymnastics class.  Perhaps one of these days, I'll learn to land more than crash, too.  But there's only so much that it matters, when you've got soft landing mats and nobody's yelling at you to stop playing, because it's just for kids.

» Go-Quiz.com Personality Cocktail

» Writer's Block: More Island Time
You're packing your bag for that other desert island—the one with no electricity—what 5 books do you take with you?
I take a Kindle, satellite internet connection gear, and solar panels.  Because it's a *desert island*, it's gonna have sun.  Now it has electricity, and I control it, so the next poor SOBs that wash up here had better share the food.

» Crazymeds...
I'm not sure if I'm more in the category of "med-sensitive" or just "plain old weird".  I had better keep my head screwed on straight for the rest of eternity, because there's not a whole lot of drug choices out there if I get something that calls for a "psych med" that I can't make go away with something else, like light or exercise.

I've flunked the three main categories of antidepressants, and the "diet" ones of those, no less.  In the TCA and Friends corner we have Elavil and Flexeril, the former causing my heart to race and beat weirdly and randomly dropping my blood pressure through the floor when I really needed to be standing, thank you very much, the latter causing as many fucked up teeth from wicked dry mouth as I'd tried to avoid from breaking them grinding, and not doing shit for depression.  Either it doesn't work as well as it should, or you can't take it long enough to find out...the dry mouth thing is probably going to happen with all of them, and the other stuff is *scary*.

The MAOIs send their bastard stepchild RIMA known as Manerix, Aurorix, or just moclobemide, out to bat, since it doesn't get much play, and doesn't have many interactions.  Like hell.  I didn't try the "aged meats or cheeses", since I don't tend to eat them anyways, but the drug interactions made themselves noticeable right away.  You can take your ADD meds and stay up for three days, or you can not take them and sleep for three days.  Then you can choose which one you do the next time.  This...is not an improvement.

E is for Effexor, and also for Explosive diarrhea.  'Nuff said.  Haven't tried Strattera, but given what else starts with S...not sure I want to.  Celexa was a definite improvement, the first time, if you pretended not to notice what could be warning signs of hypomania, but given the Asperger's, just appears as if I'm closer to normal.  Second time I tried to go on it (and then back off it), things were worse.  Third time, I lasted maybe two days. 

I just don't get along with things that hit my serotonin receptors anymore.  Or even things that just wave "Hi!" as they pass on their way to somewhere else.  Hell, if a drug so much as mentioned a passing interest in serotonin just once to a high school guidance counsellor, even if only at their parents' insistence, I probably can't take it.  I can't even take *cough syrup* anymore, and we're talking normal doses here.  Also rules out Demerol, which my grandmother couldn't take either, so maybe some of it's genetic.  I don't know if this has anything to do with the fact that expensive migraine drugs, 5HT1 agonists, do absolutely *nothing* for me, or if it's something else entirely.

The antipsychotics people are tacking onto antidepressants?  Anything more powerful than 10mg of metoclopramide (I believe I read somewhere that it took 12 times the normal dose to get an antipsychotic effect from that one?) is a Bad Thing.  Yes, this includes 0.25mg of Risperdal (which doesn't work for vertigo when nothing else works either) and whatever unspecified dose of Stemetil (Compazine) they throw in an IV when you show up in the ER with a badass migraine.  They kinda work backwards in me.  I get *angry*.  I believe this is detailed below re: ER trashing by angry (im)patient in pain with a big IV pole averted by the fact that she did have both parents with her at the time to prevent it from happening.  Let's just say "no" to that category from now on.  (Unless they get Abilify in Canada.  That one almost sounds like fun...as long as you're away from things you're likely to damage.)

There's also the anticonvulsants.  Don't know how much they'd do for mood on their own, for someone that's not naturally bipolar, since they're normally added to something, but the ones I've tried (Keppra, low dose Topamax, benzos) don't seem to do as much in the way of *bad* stuff as the others, and there's so much more variation within the class than with others.  I'd rather not have to go to the more unpleasant ones, though.

That leaves us with the current "sanity maintenence" regimen of increased light, by working night shifts under rather high intensity full spectrum metal halide lights, and my adult gymnastics class.  The gym is a new thing, started in the summer, will continue as long as I can, but everything's been holding ok in the "winter mood" department for a few years now.  I do not intend to work nights, or at this job in any form, forever, but maybe it's been long enough that my body's forgotten it used to complain about winter more than just physically?
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