PoC in Fantasy Franchises

Look, without our stories, without the true nature and reality of who we are as People of Color, nothing about fanboy or fangirl culture would make sense. What I mean by that is: if it wasn’t for race, X-Men doesn’t sense. If it wasn’t for the history of breeding human beings in the New World through chattel slavery, Dune doesn’t make sense. If it wasn’t for the history of colonialism and imperialism, Star Wars doesn’t make sense. If it wasn’t for the extermination of so many Indigenous First Nations, most of what we call science fiction’s contact stories doesn’t make sense. Without us as the secret sauce, none of this works, and it is about time that we understood that we are the Force that holds the Star Wars universe together. We’re the Prime Directive that makes Star Trek possible, yeah. In the Green Lantern Corps, we are the oath. We are all of these things—erased, and yet without us—we are essential.

— Junot Díaz

 (FanBros, “The Junot Díaz Episode”)

How Chicago newsrooms decided how to handle the Laquan McDonald video

Though the footage was less graphic than she anticipated, the station chose to air the video only up to the first shot.

“We just wanted to be sensitive,” Arvesu said. “You really didn’t need to see the shots when he was down on the ground to see the gravity of it.”

The station did publish the entire video online, however. “The internet has a different set of standards,” Arvesu said. “You go deliberately and click on something. You signed up for it. Sometimes on TV you don’t get to make that decision consciously.”

via How Chicago newsrooms decided how to handle the Laquan McDonald video | Columbia Journalism Review


Impoverishment of journalists impoverishes journalism

This impoverishment of journalists impoverishes journalism. We come to find less and less in the media about the working poor, as if about 15% of the population quietly emigrated while we weren’t looking. Media outlets traditionally neglected stories about the downtrodden because they don’t sit well on the same page with advertisements for diamonds and luxury homes. And now there are fewer journalists on hand at major publications to arouse the conscience of editors and other gatekeepers. Coverage of poverty accounts for less than 1% of American news, or, as former Times columnist Bob Herbert has put it: “We don’t have coverage of poverty in this country. If there is a story about poor people in the New York Times or in the Washington Post, that’s the exception that proves the rule. We do not cover poverty. We do not cover the poor.”

via In America, only the rich can afford to write about poverty | Barbara Ehrenreich | Comment is free – Guardian.


Trolls force Instagram to block #SandraBland

Say Her Name little girl
When #SandraBland started trending heavily on Instagram — the hashtag has accumulated more than 246,000 posts — some people began posting  racist, violent and threatening comments. To give the company time to sort through the posts and decide which violated Instagram’s community guidelines, it “temporarily restrict[ed]” images in the hashtag’s “Most Recent” gallery until moderators could catch up.

“Content in the ‘Most Recent’ section of a hashtag can be abused because the photos and videos that appear in that section are highly visible,” an Instagram spokesman wrote in a statement to The Huffington Post. After a 24-hour block, Instagram’s moderators caught up, and the hashtag started working normally around 10 a.m. Pacific time.

via Instagram Restricted Sandra Bland Hashtag To Block Hate Speech.

+Commentary: As has been posted here before in  Curation = Responsibility  & Who needs algorithms? that platforms have to be very careful, a human eye is often required to detect the hate-speech where algorithms can not. Relying on peer-to-peer reportage is a quagmire also. At the speed with which stories are trending it is exhausting & time consuming to have real people vet them. The trolls who (as hashtag activism becomes more powerful) are now turning their eyes to “fighting back” by further traumatizing people and hijacking the attention for their twisted agendas is worrying. Mainly to defame, slander, get clicks/likes and other vanity metrics by trolling people openly but also for more nefarious reasons too. Several times SJWs (which I use here as empowerment not pejoratively as the GGer’s do) posted the people who were posting F*ck Sandra Bland accounts/posts and tried to use doxxing on them & outing the personalities behind them. Continue reading

5 Years Ago: Battle Still Raging

There’s a Battle Outside and It Is Still Ragin’

[Frank Rich on the Shirley Sherrod Incident in 2010]

This country was rightly elated when it elected its first African-American president more than 20 months ago. That high was destined to abate, but we reached a new low last week. What does it say about America now, and where it is heading, that a racial provocateur, wielding a deceptively edited video, could not only smear an innocent woman but make every national institution that touched the story look bad? 


Even though the egregiously misleading excerpt from Shirley Sherrod’s 43-minute speech came from Andrew Breitbart, the dirty trickster notorious for hustling skewed partisan videos on Fox News, few questioned its validity. That the speech had been given at an N.A.A.C.P. event, with N.A.A.C.P. officials as witnesses, did not prevent even the N.A.A.C.P. from immediately condemning Sherrod for “shameful” actions. As the world knows now, her talk (flogged by Fox as “what racism looks like”) was an uplifting parable about how she had risen above her own trials in the Jim Crow South to aid poor people of every race during her long career in rural development.

via There’s a Battle Outside and It Is Still Ragin’ | The New York Times.



#IfIDieInPoliceCustody the White & Black media would never let you see this picture & they'd blame me for my death.

This is a the heartbreaking twin to #IfTheyGunnedMeDown and a sad commentary on the news surrounding the death of Sandra Bland. Reading them is very emotional, and achingly poignant to imagine having to give a directive to the public in case of an untimely encounter & death at the hands of police. Especially given the low suicide rate among African-Americans, the troubling events surrounding this story, the lack of answers, and a multitude of questions.

Once again, the victim in this case is already being tainted by release of her previous report and saying in a video that she “sorta suffered from Depression & PTSD” using her very own words, which may have been said off-the-cuff to basically obscure the case, and subvert justice. A thorough investigation and what should be ongoing outrage and protest over this matter. Visit #IfIDieInPoliceCustody or see a few of the tweets below the break ~

Continue reading

Black Twitter contains Multitudes

At any time, among the millions of Twitter users who identify as black, there are infinite subsets of trending conversations, of jokes and causes and connections being made and discussed. Black Twitter has the potential to diversify the way we approach traditional news reporting and to influence which stories relevant to people of color receive adequate national coverage. It provides an immediate platform for audiences of color to challenge the news institutions that report on their communities. But any journalistic beat dedicated to covering this vast community will inevitably run into issues by focusing on just one story at a time, or just one range of responses to that story. It’s an idea that runs counter to the essence of all Twitter activity, which is rapid, constant and varied.

via Why Black Twitter Is Bigger Than Any One Story | Rolling Stone.


Note: Read the whole thing at the link above, it is entirely too short – it just gets started and stops IMHO. Rolling Stone should hire her to write way more!