2/28 manhua

Thu, Feb. 28th, 2013 05:00 pm
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I really want to get my hands on this 2/28 manhua.

I don't actually know that much about the 2/28 massacre, partly due to being in a school with other kids who didn't grow up in Taiwan and probably a lot due to it still being a very taboo topic around the time. I have to see if I can find this whenever I manage to go back...
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For [personal profile] chomiji, who asked for "stories about your personal history and encountering and/or embracing a situation that occurred because of a point of difference" for her [livejournal.com profile] con_or_bust post.

1988-2010 )
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Why is American fantasy so Eurocentric? If you believe our fantasists, American cities are populated with imported Romanian vampires, Russian werewolves, Celtic faeries, Nordic gods, Germanic witches, and the (very) occasional African god or Arabic djinn, but scarcely a homegrown magical being to be found. In fact, indigenous magical beings abound in the Americas and their stories of magic, wonder and horror are widely told by spoken and written word. North American mythology is rich with magical beings. Do these stories get adequate air time? Is it easier to imagine an Old World teeming with supernatural beings than to visualize a North America enchanted with indigenous mythical beings? Is it difficullt to believe that we live in a naturally magical place? And if we did, what would it look like?
Theodora Goss (mod), Valerie Estelle Frankel, LJ Geoffrion, Andrea D. Hairston, Katherine Mankiller, Georgie L. Schnobrich

This is an assembled summary of what I remember from the panel sans notes; as such, attribution will be very hazy. Please let me know when I get something wrong! I am also inserting a lot of my own commentary in here.

Not a liveblog )

Anyway, that is my massive OT side thought inspired by the panel, and now I want to know where that USian fantasy is. Rec me stuff! [personal profile] coffeeandink mentioned Karen Joy Fowler's Sarah Canary, Louise Erdrich, and Terry Bisson' Fire on the Mountain, as well as Laurie Marks' Elemental Logic series as not a direct take on US history, but as reflecting many themes about colonization. I feel Bernardine Evaristo's Blonde Roots kind of does this, but not as cohesively as I would like. I am not specifically sure what I am looking for, but something about how the mythology of USian history directly results in all the "dark side" narratives, and not just that, but how they are tied together, like how the War of Independence went hand-in-hand with declaring people's (but only some people!) right to property as a freedom, how oppressions are often framed as "unfortunate side effects" when those very oppressions are built right into the US's history.
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ETA: please read this before reading the carnival

I'm sorry this is so late. I wrote up a giant post, and my computer crashed and I lost it.

These are the posts I didn't write: golden lotuses and size 9 feet; mismatched eyelids and tape; broken palms and murdered husbands; lucky nose and skimpy ears.

These are the words I can't say; not because I don't have them, but because I have too many, because they overflow and I choke on them, unable to get them out.

But, oh, my sisters and friends write—not for me, but for themselves—and sometimes I find myself in their words, and sometimes I find who I need to be in them.

I've tried and tried to write entries for this carnival and for the first one, but there is too much, and I cannot. But I can respond somewhat to what others have written.

As noted in the call for submissions, the optional theme for this issue is "hyphenates and sourcelanders and diasporas and being a minority Asian in a majority Asian country and majority Asian countries and minority Asian countries and third culture kids and thoughts about being refugees, immigrants, expats, nth generation, FOBs*, about generational gaps and cultural expectations and growing up in one place and then another and speaking one language at home and one outside and and and..."

* I think of myself as a FOB in many ways and dislike any mockery of fobbishness. Also, if you aren't one, don't use it.

Also, white people, when you're reading, don't co-opt. Don't take these pieces and use them against us. We know about intra-POC and intra-Asian racism and bigotry; we know how frequently our words stripped from us to be used against each other. Forming identities among inter/intra/transnationalities is hard; it is harder still when it is never a purely personal process, when every move we make for ourselves is taken from us and used to tar and feather all of us.

Nationality, ethnicity, and identity )

Language )

Gender and sex )

Story and remyth )

Many thanks to everyone for posting and submitting, and especially to [personal profile] ciderpress for starting the Asian Women Blog Carnival. Please contact her if you would like to host a future issue!
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The completely optional theme for the 2nd Asian Women Blog Carnival is....


I particularly want to encourage Central and Near Asian women to post, and to also note that I'd love as many Asian women's voices as possible, for all definitions of "Asian" and of "women."

The theme came from some noodling here and here, and I really apologize for the title! I figure it is probably pithier than "hyphenates and sourcelanders and diasporas and being a minority Asian in a majority Asian country and majority Asian countries and minority Asian countries and third culture kids and thoughts about being refugees, immigrants, expats, nth generation, FOBs*, about generational gaps and cultural expectations and growing up in one place and then another and speaking one language at home and one outside and and and."

Submissions due 1 June your local time, and the issue will go up a few days after.

ETA: Future hosts still needed! Please contact [personal profile] ciderpress if you'd like to host.

* I use this as someone who is proud to be a FOB and dislikes any mockery of fobbishness. Also, if you aren't one, don't use it.
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I found this to be very eye opening, but I also don't know much about global agriculture or environmental justice, so YMMV. I admit that I've been a bit skeptical of various environmental movements before, not because they're wrong, but because there are way too many examples of privileged white people espousing environmentalism while culturally appropriating and especially not thinking about how their movement fits in with other social justice movements. Patel specifically addresses these issues, especially in terms of class, colonization, and global agriculture.

Patel touches on a huge number of topics, from the rise of soy in everything we eat to high-fructose corn syrup to how big agricultural companies use genetically modified crops to control small farmers. But the central threads through the book are Patel's critique of the system that rewards big agricultural companies and the middlemen between farmers and consumers, how they are privileged over farmers and consumers, and his understanding of how this works globally. I find the last bit most helpful; Patel doesn't just look at the UK and the US, but focuses a lot on the Global South*. He also makes an effort to focus not just on the "big" players, but also on grassroots organizations and farmers themselves.

I had a problem with Sonia Shah's The Body Hunters, which is on big pharma, because I felt the focus was so much on those organizations that the people they were testing medicine on became a faceless crowd of victims. Patel does do this more in some chapters than others, but the sense I got from his writing was that he's worked very closely with the farmers he's writing about. As such, they come across as people, not victims. It also helps that he continually returns to solutions that small farmers and consumers have come up with; he focuses on how they help themselves, not on how the same international organizations that contributed to the poverty of the Global South are "saving" them.

One thing I took away from this book and others I've been reading (ex. Conquest, Dragon Ladies) is the power of bottom-up movements, how important it is for movements to focus on the people who are the most oppressed and have the least power in the system, because it generally seems easier to start there and end up with solutions that benefit everyone, whereas going from top-down tends to generate solutions that help those on top, but overlooks those on the bottom, particularly people who suffer more than one oppression. For example, feminism's focus on middle-class white women, the male focus in a lot of anti-racism and LGBTQ movements, etc. Of course, this is not saying that those of us who are more privileged should just not do anything, but just that we cannot center movements on the more privileged. I am still trying to figure out how to apply all this to my own attempts at social change and to IBARW, but right now, I have more questions than answers.

Anyway, highly recommended and very eye opening for me.

- [livejournal.com profile] furyofvissarion's review
- [livejournal.com profile] sanguinity's review

Note: Patel uses the term "people of colour" to describe non-white people (he is from the UK). I can't tell if this is only in the US edition, because it preserves the British spelling of "colour." I also can't remember if Patel footnoted or explained this usage or not; I, uh, already returned it to the library.

* He notes that he prefers this term over "developing countries" or "third-world countries." I have the same problems he does with the prior two terms, and I like that "Global South" does not sound like it is passing judgment, but I think it may overlook countries in the Northern hemisphere that also suffer the effects of colonization.
oyceter: Stack of books with text "mmm... books!" (mmm books)
I picked this up after reading [livejournal.com profile] sanguinity's write up and after becoming more aware of the subject after reading Conquest and Killing the Black Body, particularly the chapters about the forced sterilization of Native and Black women (and I am sure of other women of color) and the unethical means of getting those women to agree to Norplant or Depo-Provera.

Shah's book focuses less on reproductive health and more on Big Pharma and the drug testing industry. She goes through recent history, from the rise of testing with the Salk vaccine to the Nazi and WWII-Japanese experiments on human subject to the Tuskegee Syphilis Study to testing nowadays in "third-world" countries.

She explains the many factors that led to this: the more and more stringent requirements for drug companies to first prove that their medicines do not harm and then to prove that they actually do what they say they do and the growing protection of patients. But only patients in the right countries, only patients with money, only patients with power. Points she especially emphasizes are testing experimental drugs against placebos versus testing them against the best proven treatment, as companies have found ways to worm their way around "best proven treatment." After all, if they're testing in Africa or India, those people couldn't access the best treatment anyway, so a placebo really is their best treatment. And it would be unethical to provide access to good drugs during the trial and then to take them away afterward.

I agree with her analysis, particularly the way companies take advantage of the ravages of colonialism to subject even more testing and experimentation upon the very people hurt most by colonization. However, I think at times her argument gets a little confusing, particularly when she first argues against siccing experimental drugs that may or may not hurt patients on test subjects, and then argues that a drug study was unethical because they did not provide experimental drugs they thought might or might not help, as opposed to a placebo. I think I needed a little more data and a clearer picture of what counted as "known to help" and what didn't before I could quite figure out what was going on.

The other problem I had with the book was the lack of individuality of the people submitted to drug tests. She has several portrayals of individuals within the drug industry (none flattering), a few of people protesting the lack of ethical standards, Peter Lurie in particular, and a few of regulators and doctors in assorted countries. I wanted portraits of the individuals hurt by the drug tests as well, because although I do not think it is at all her intention to do the "third world as teeming masses of oppressed people who need to be saaaaved!" some of that still came out in the book. There is a lot of contempt for the people being tested on from the drug companies and the regulators, and it would have been nice to see the people as people, with their own stories and pain and difficulty. That said, they are in the book and they are quoted, but I still felt they were less individualistic.

I also wish her portion on drug testing in the US had focused more on things like testing on the poor, on women of color, on populations least equipped to say no. She does mention testing in prisons and on the homeless, but much of that chapter is on university students taking up drug testing for money. While it does prove her point about how someone can make an informed decision when there is money involved and that person needs the money, I think the argument would have been much, much stronger had she focused on populations that not only need the money, but are also caged by issues of social justice. I was thinking mostly about forced sterilization on the mentally ill and the differently abled, drug testing and monetary compensation on the lower class, Norplant and women of color (and how frequently the categories overlap and are the same).

Still, a good read, and I think I need to find more books on this subject.

- [livejournal.com profile] sanguinity's review
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I love the Olympics, despite the fact that I generally despise the nationalism that goes along with them.

On the other hand, it is very frustrating watching them in the US and having the focus be on all the US athletes, all the time. Plus, the announcers ask the stupidest questions!

ANNOUNCER: Keri Walsh, just how good does it feel to have found your wedding ring after it fell off during your game?
KERI WALSH: Oh, so good!
ME: ... DUH.

Also, besides the annoying US-centrism and the annoying faux Chinese commercials, all of which seem to feature dragons, and the horrible pronunciation of Chinese names (seriously, announcers! I know Mandarin is difficult, but it is still painful to listen to, especially for the athletes who aren't exactly new on the scene) and the desire to watch people not from the US, the focus on the US athletes is also just boring.

We all know the US is going to walk out of the Olympics with a ton of medals, right? As such, I am disgruntled and contrary and rooting for everyone else, and it feels like there is very little suspense in the broadcasts.

ETA: spoilers in comments
oyceter: (racism)
[livejournal.com profile] keilexandra's post reminded me of a rant I've had brewing. (On a side note, this post isn't meant to argue with hers, as I completely agree with her post. Like [livejournal.com profile] yeloson says, "Where you stand with intersectionality is really about what you're looking for—are you looking for social justice for all of us? Or are you just looking for someone to pull their foot off your neck, without worrying about whose necks you may be standing on yourself?")

I was in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai for the past two months this summer, and I cannot even count the number of times I heard anti-black comments, from "Oh, that place is so unsafe, so many black people!" to "OMG she's dating a black person and it will RUIN HER LIFE!" Before ranting about how racist Chinese society is (and oh, it is) and having people once more use that as an example of how bad Chinese people are, I would like to note: where do people think this prejudice is coming from?

Obviously, there are not cities and cities in China and Taiwan filled with black people for the media to make histrionic reports about. Most TV shows in Taiwan don't have sassy black sidekicks or Magical Negroes. But turn on the TV, and what do you see but bad HBO action flicks with the black guy getting killed, or all-white TV shows from the US (and sometimes the UK, but mostly the US), or news on the New Yorker cover of Obama. I'm also guessing that when the West began to trade with China, the ideas of the skience of race were probably brought over as well, complete with the placement of Asians above black people and Native Americans in the hierarchy (but all below white people, of course).

Six hundred years of white colonialism leaves its mark, even on areas that have suffered relatively little when compared to others.

... which is not to excuse anti-black sentiment, because choosing to side with the oppressors, no matter what the incentives? Still made of lose.

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PSA: [livejournal.com profile] telophase is looking for info on the An Lu Shan rebellion and the fall of the High Tang, probably with an emphasis on how the political events of the time affected daily life, clothing details, military details and etc.

I am now so sad that a) I do not have university library, b) I am not in my beloved EAS library from college, and c) people do not know about Yang Guifei. I shouldn't feel such, given that I also didn't know much about it before majoring in EAS, but it just reminds me how little of my history is common knowledge in the States and worldwide. And I'm not talking about details; I'm talking about one of the most famous stories in Chinese history (am I exaggerating? I think it's pretty famous, right?) that has been retold for centuries and reinvoked time and time again (and that is a lot of time, given that it took place in 755 CE).

Also... it's the Tang Dynasty! I am too starry-eyed about it because of the enthusiasm of one of my Chinese lit. professors (who, btw, was AWESOME), but I have the same passion for it that people do for the Renaissance. It was just this amazing period and there were many cultures (at least for the time) mixing in Chang'an (modern-day Xi'an and the capital prior to the An Lu Shan rebellion) and there was the poetry and the flourishing of art and... wah. I really need to find a good book or five on Tang Dynasty and finally get around to reading the one I have on female Tang poets.

It's not just Chinese history -- there are references to Yang Guifei and the fall of the High Tang scattered throughout Japanese literature, though I am much less knowledgeable about Korean influences, particularly since Japan took a ton of influences from the Tang Dynasty (Kyoto is basically Chang'an reproduced, the kimono is based off Tang clothing, etc.).

It's not [livejournal.com profile] telophase or her commenters' faults at all and I do not mean this as a way to passive-aggressively call them out -- this is just a symptom of a larger problem that is everywhere, and if you couldn't tell from my completely dorktastic spamming of Telophase, I am very excited someone is asking about it!

And again, it's not really a surprise, given how I know how history and literature is edited down in the Western world (am not exonerating the non-Western world, btw, but given the global dominance of Western culture, non-Western ones have to have a better baseline knowledge of Western history) and given how stupid I am about Black, Latino, and Native history and culture and literature just in the US alone, and that doesn't even begin to encompass how ignorant I am about African history, South American history, non-Chinese-or-Japanese Asian history, and all of the above cultures and literature and...

I wish I could download knowledge into my brain.
oyceter: (angry dieter's fork)
Yup, this is public; I am that pissed off.

I wasn't going to get involved, I swear I wasn't.

And then...


Because what the fucking fuck? Don't fucking throw the RAPE OF NANKING in my face when I am talking about white privilege. I just. I cannot type because WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK?! My grandfather was in the Chinese Navy then, fighting against the Japanese. I have friends with relatives who grew up not speaking Taiwanese because of the occupation. My family left the fucking country and moved to Taiwan because of that war. Don't throw that in my face as a counter to white privilege and just fucking assume I haven't heard of it for some reason; you have no fucking idea.

Comments by people not on my flist are screened; everyone else feel free to comment, but please note I am REALLY FUCKING PISSED OFF about this. Don't be stupid. I will repost asshattery under a filter and mock, and I don't fucking care if you somehow think that's unfair.
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This is directly related to several comments seen lately regarding racism on an international scope, most of which have been a part of the conversation about racism and Martha in the New Who. But I'm also writing this because I've seen these arguments come up before in the past as well, only I am too lazy to find all the links.

(From last I saw, there was a lot of dialogue going on in all of the threads, so I am pointing people there as reference and not as an invitation to pile up. The link above are also just examples that were fresh in my mind; again, I've seen this many other places as well.)

I was going to save this for Intl. Blog Against Racism Week, but hey, why not kick things off early?

Disclaimers like whoa! )

I'm incredibly disturbed by this trend of white British people either denying that racism exists in the UK or protesting that other oppressions are more important and serious than racism. I've also seen this coming from Australians and Canadians, and I'm sure it has come from basically anyone living in a non-US country as well.

I fully support and agree with the notion that racism manifests itself in different ways, shapes and forms in other countries. I also fully support and agree with the notion that racism in all countries is complicated by oppressions of all sorts, particularly oppressions of class, nationality, and religion.


None of this means that racism doesn't exist in [insert country here].

Last year, I think [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink asked me about racism in Taiwan. This was after the Great Cultural Appropriation Debate of DOOM and after I had been thinking more about racism and and race. I flippantly said something about there being none, probably thinking in the back of my head that white privilege didn't exist in Taiwan because white people were the clear minority, and that Taiwan was monoracial, and that for me, Taiwan's most important political issues had more to do with sex, class and China. And I'm sure when I said that, I fully believed it and didn't think I was oppressing or denying anyone.

Of course, I believed it and was able to not see racism because in Taiwan, I am a member of the race in power. And in Taiwan, people of other races are made nearly invisible because they are comparatively few in number, because they have basically no visible positions of power in the government, and because, surprise, surprise, their issues are seen as "marginal" and "unimportant." My not seeing them didn't mean they weren't there. It just meant I was blind to them, because I had the privilege to do that.

Perceived invisibility and actual non-existence are two very different things.

For a long time, I believed it when people in the UK and Australia and Canada and etc. told me race wasn't an issue there.

But you know what? Most of the people telling me race wasn't an issue were members of the privileged race there. And a very short time reading around anti-racist communities showed that there were lots of vocal, non-American POC and allies who talked about racism in their own countries. Five seconds on Google pull up lists of anti-racism organizations around the world, and, yes, in the UK. Reading through them, many of the details are different (ex. British Asians vs. Asians in Australia and how the term "Asian" calls to mind different groups of people and of course how the experience of British Asians and Asians in Australia are different). But the overall framework of oppression and privilege has a striking similarity to that of racism elsewhere.

And quite frankly, when I hear from a set of people with privilege and power that racism doesn't exist, and then when I hear from another set of people who are living as POC in those very places or are speaking out as anti-racists, I believe that second set of people more.

I do not think the first set of people are willfully lying, just as I wasn't deliberately deceiving people when I said there was no racism in Taiwan. But I do think that they have the privilege to not see the oppression that they are benefitting from, just as I was blind to oppression of people-who-were-not-like-me.

The lack of racism is a lot more than the non-existence or scarcity of racial minorities, particularly when historically, the lack of racial minorities can usually be traced back to genocide, colonization, deportation, and racially-based immigration policy. This, by the way, also applies to people claiming that their city/state/province/region isn't racist, though then, the reasons are probably compounded by income disparities and white flight (yes, US term I am using as a descriptive shortcut).

Furthermore, I think people who say that racism in their country is nowhere near as important as another ism are perpetuating a false dichotomy. There is no hierarchy of oppression. They intersect and feed off each other. So anti-Muslim sentiment is a huge issue where you live (and probably in a lot more places as well). That doesn't mean that racism is not important. And I don't think saying racism is an issue means that anti-Muslim sentiment is not important, particularly when the two often intertwine to devastating effect.

Also, to take this from a country-specific POV to an international POV, racism is an international issue and internationally, white privilege is a problem. Look at the division of wealth among nations; look at the political power. But over a century of white imperialism takes a long time to erase. (And no, citing Japan as the exception doesn't actually prove anything, save that it's an exception.) Yes, a white person abroad in a non-white country will very likely experience racial prejudice. But within the global framework, I'm also betting that overall, that white person is seen as having more power and money than a POC.

Bringing up how your country isn't racist in an argument about racism looks a lot like other tactics for derailing discussions about racism, particularly when other people of your nationality have been actively participating in anti-racist activity for quite some time. It looks a lot like someone popping into a thread about sexism in your country solely to say that their country has no sexism and that sexism is a concern of your country, and your country alone.

Which is to say: I (and I suspect most people blogging about this) welcome comments on how racism differs in various countries and on a global scale. But not on how racism doesn't exist or how talking about racism (particularly complaining about racist representations and stereotypes) in and of itself perpetuates racism.

- [livejournal.com profile] delux_vivens on the African diaspora
- [livejournal.com profile] spiralsheep on "Mammy" in Britain
- [livejournal.com profile] rydra_wong on racism in the UK
- [livejournal.com profile] shewhohashope on color-blindness in the UK
- Links to international anti-racist sites here and here
- The Global Hierarchy of Race
- Stop Trying to "Save" Africa
- Racism in UK media
(More useful links being posted in comments as well)

NOTE: I am screening all anonymous comments to this entry, and I will be freezing any threads that look troll-y.
oyceter: (angry dieter's fork)
For the record, Arabian Nights (and Days) is why I am not going to be reading Fables anymore.

I've previously had issues with politics and gender in Fables, and this one is the last straw. That said, it's one freaking huge straw.

Orientalist stereotypes for the win! (also, spoilers) )

The only reason why I finished reading that arc was so I could blog about it knowing that Willingham didn't suddenly retract something. After that, I threw the book in disgust at the floor. Quite honestly, if it hadn't been a library book, I probably would have thrown it against the wall repeatedly, as just once doesn't even begin to encompass how disgusted I am with it.

ETA: all anonymous comments on this post now screened, thanks to the appearance of trolls!
oyceter: Stack of books with text "mmm... books!" (mmm books)
I think this is one of the better books that I've read so far this year. I am of course being rather iffy in my statement because it's only June! There is still hope!

But this is a very good book.

Timbor's family has been exiled from Lemabantunk because his son Darroti murdered a Mendicant, a holy beggar. So Timbor, his sons, and their families all find themselves in the unknown land of Reno, Nevada in 2022. And here, Zamatryna, Timbor's granddaughter, starts a new life in which she must reconcile her few memories of Lemabantunk with becoming American.

I am really simplifying the story. But the book is about culture and immigration, on love and loss, on faith, on the ghosts of the dead, and on hope. I loved how Palwick uses the fantasy elements to literalize some of the problems of immigration. Timbor and his family are from a place that does not exist on the world; they are the only ones who speak the language and know their own customs.

Palwick also did a great job with the worldbuilding of Lemabantunk, so much so that when Timbor's family first arrives in Nevada, you experience the same shock that they do -- beggars here are not holy, and the souls of the dead are not necessarily in everything, so things are not blessed. I loved that Lemabantunk and Timbor's family are clearly not-white and that white America, so often the norm, is the Other, because we are always seeing it through Timbor, Darroti and Zamatryna's POVs.

I had a few problems with the ending and with the real story of what happened with Darroti and the Mendicant he murdered, particularly because the ending slots together so neatly. Palwick knows this, and it's part of the point, but I think I would have preferred something a little messier, without quite so many parallels. And sometimes, I felt as though Timbor's family's experience wasn't quite as complex as a three-generation immigrant family's would be -- I would have liked more on language and losing language, on identity politics, especially for Zamatryna and her generation -- but it's pretty good nonetheless. I also had a few qualms with the portrayal of Christianity, but they are also fairly minor. I think Palwick did a good job of showing that there are many different kinds of Christians and how each of them interacts with their faith and their God. It was only one end plot point that pinged my buttons, and I was generally ok with it because it was with one Christian character, not both.

But those are fairly minor nitpicks; I enjoyed this book a lot, and it made me think a lot. And dude! A book with POC! There are white people in it as well, but as secondary characters. They help, but the agency and sympathy and points of view all remain with the POC!

I liked most of all that it felt like the right mix of loss and hope for Timbor's family, because those feel like the central emotions when you move cultures.

- [livejournal.com profile] minnow1212's review (spoilers)
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Description: Not everyone is born in one country and grows up there. Some are born in one country and then grow up in another, or several others; these are third culture kids. Often, they find themselves out of synch with both places. What is it like to a third culture kid and where can we find ourselves in sf/f? Is Temeraire of the Naomi Novik novels a third culture kid?

Panelists: Lawrence Schimel ([livejournal.com profile] desayunoencama) (mod), Alma Alexander, [livejournal.com profile] yhlee, me

This is going to be a rather sketchy write up, since I didn't take notes. Also, it will probably be rather self-centered because I remember what I said best, heh.

Lawrence was the mod, but he was coming from a reading in a non-Concourse building, so the panel started a little late. Also, he had only found out he was the moderator a couple of hours beforehand! Alma Alexander, Yoon and me sort of stared at each other for a bit before deciding that maybe we should introduce ourselves. Thankfully, Lawrence ran in a bit after the introductions and saved us from more aimless staring.

Alexander said she was born in Yugoslavia but grew up in various countries in Africa and got her education in the UK and South Africa. Yoon said she was born in the States and alternately moved between the US and Korea several times. I said I was born in the States and then moved to Taiwan when I was 8 or 9. Lawrence said that he was not really a third culture kid, but more a third culture adult, having moved to Spain a while back.

I interrupted the panel mid-discussion sometime to ask if people wanted a definition for TCKs; I figure it'll be useful for people reading this now to have it at the front. Third culture kids are generally defined as people who grew up in two or more cultures (and usually countries, so hyphenated Americans and etc. don't usually count). Growing up in two or more cultures generally means that they form a "third" (or fourth, or fifth, etc.) culture of their own. General traits tend to include a feeling of perpetual alienation and a more global perspective (at least, I hope so for the second).

I also defined the difference between immigrants and expats as: immigrants are viewed as moving "up" culturally while expats are viewed as moving "down" or across. Lawrence also mentioned that expats generally have the option to return or move back and forth between their adopted country and their chosen country, and that they have a different relationship with their adopted country than immigrants tend to. I think a lot of this (or all of this) has to do with class; expats have the resources to move about and to keep options open while immigrants don't. I add my usual disclaimer that I am defining immigrant vs. expat descriptively and not prescriptively; this is how I think the terms are consciously or unconsciously used.

Someone later (in conversation or in the panel, I can't remember) brought up refugees as well, who are usually perceived to be even lower on the class scale (though not always; my grandparents for example).

Cut for length )
oyceter: (not the magical minority fairy)
Description: In authors ranging from Heinlein to Macleod, Spinrad to Cordwainer Smith, the revolution is glorified — sometimes a violent one, sometimes (but far more rarely) a peaceful one. How do we avoid making the same errors of glorifying violence and hero worship when coming at things from a revolutionary perspective in fiction? (Some people may not find these to be errors — they're welcome to come discuss that POV too.)

Panelists: Paul Kincaid (mod), L. Timmel Duchamp, Laurie J. Marks, Chris Nakashima-Brown, Lyn Paleo

Just so people know what they're getting into, this is the panel that made my head explode, thanks to unthinking racism and Europe/America-centrism. I not-so-sarcastically note that I was completely unsurprised to see the two going hand-in-hand. So please note that this write up is going to be incredibly biased, that I am still angry about it, and that I didn't take down any notes or pay very close attention because my hands were shaking (as stated, I was angry) and because my head had just exploded.

Non-literally, for the anime and manga fans out there ;).

So I will have to rely on [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink to provide more detailed quotes, as she was actually writing things down.

I originally went to this panel because I wanted to talk about the aftermath of the revolution, particularly in fiction, as I adore Lloyd Alexander's Westmark and Ursula K. Le Guin's Voices for dealing with that aftermath.

However, the panel ended up being on historical revolutions.

Mely later noted that the two of us were the youngest people in the room by far: one of the beginning annoyances was how quickly the panelists and the audience were to assert that the spirit of the sixties had died out and that the current generation was apathetic, capitalistic, and generally unconcerned with anyone but themselves. While I think the statement could be correct in some cases, I was irritated by how it was presented as fact without any attempts at nuance (both the generalization about my generation and the unthinking nostalgia and idealization of the sixties). It was also frustrating and anger-inducing because hi! I'm still waiting (and agitating) for my revolution!

The other thing that really, really, really pissed me off was that everyone (panelists and audience) only discssed European and American revolutions. Not only that, but they specifically only discussed white revolutions -- the Civil Rights Movement came up once, maybe twice.

Four out of five panelists were white, and I think Chris Nakashima-Brown may have been mixed race, due to his surname. Paul Kincaid was British; I think the rest may have been American, though I honestly don't recall.

The panel )

My reaction )

ETA: Nakashima-Brown's explanation of what he meant and L. Timmel Duchamp's write up and follow-up

ETA2: transcript (partial; I think it starts somewhere in the middle of the panel)
oyceter: Stack of books with text "mmm... books!" (mmm books)
It's very odd for me to read a history of the US and think, "Yes! That's me! That's my family! This fits with the stories my parents tell!"

Ronald Takaki tells the history of Asian-Americans in America: how they got there, who they were, and how they changed. He covers most of the large ethnic groups, thankfully including Filipinos, Asian-Indians, Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Koreans, and not just the usual Chinese and Japanese. And his history goes from the mid-1800s to the 1980s (the book was published in 1989. Really, the only thing I would complain about with regard to the scope is that it hasn't been revised for the present-day, but that's hardly Takaki's fault.

It's so interesting to see how similar the experiences of Asian immigrants are -- Takaki highlights changes in legislation that affect most of the Asians, including quotas and laws to keep out anyone of the "Mongoloid" race. And yet, the book draws clear distinctions among the groups as well, pointing out that the Filipino experience of being a colony of Spain made them more inclined to intermarry with Mexican immigrants, or that the experience of the Vietnamese and the Cambodians, who were fleeing from war instead of making a choice to move for financial reasons, would necessarily be more difficult and wrenching.

The book was also extremely helpful because Takaki would continue to return to each ethnic group at different periods in time so you could see not just how each ethnic group's experience was similar or different to others', but also how all the experiences changed over the decades in response to changes in immigration policy, colonialism in Asia, WWII and economic development.

Cut for length )

There's so much in this book that angers me -- not the writing, but the actual historical events. It is so frustrating and hurtful to read about a good century or so of racism, particularly because I didn't know about most of the things in this book, aside from the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII.

I like the interspersal of personal narratives, history and poetry written by Asian Americans; it made the book flow much faster. Highly recommended.
oyceter: (not the magical minority fairy)
I am having entirely too much fun spamming [livejournal.com profile] kate_nepveu in her post on European colonialism. Ok, there is a ton of discussion on Christian theology going on in the comments as well, which is very interesting, but it does not make me quite as "happy happy bouncy eeeeeee I miss my college major" as the talk about colonialism, seminal changes in modern history that widened the impact of colonialism (modern being in the past few centuries), race theory, Guns, Germs and Steel, the development of the modern idea of the nation, and all that fun stuff.

I really need to reread Imagined Communities. And finally get around to reading Said's Orientalism.

Also, while I don't watch Supernatural at all, I had lots of fun with [livejournal.com profile] loligo's post on SPN 2x03 and the multiple ways the show isn't really challenging classism, racism or sexism. [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink also has weekly episode writeups that include a census of female characters and characters of color.


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October 2017

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