Another person of color only thread July 23, 2019 8:01 AM   Subscribe

This is a follow-up to the previous and wonderful people of color thread. Consider this a space for discussion for people of color. Before posting take a look at the guidelines posted inside, thanks!

Guidelines for Members:
* Only BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) members should comment in the thread.
* There's no set agenda or theme for the thread other than creating a space for BIPOC members to express themselves with little fear of having to deal with macro or micro aggressions.
* Non-BIPOC members should refrain completely from commenting or favoriting. That said, it's impossible to prevent anyone from using a feature of the site, aka favoriting, so it's best not to pay much attention to them in this thread.
* Please remember that this is a public thread, so anyone on the internet can read it.
* The contact form is always available if there's anything you want to privately direct towards the mods.

How the Mods have agreed to moderate the thread:
* Light moderation with mods chiming only to direct questions i.e. "Mods, xxxxxx...."
* Refrain from deleting any comments unless they're outright threats to another person or group.
* Remove any comments that attempt to argue the validity of the thread's purpose.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 8:01 AM (99 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite


The previous 'State of the Union of Mefi/please fund us' thread sure ended up as a mighty shit-show didn't it?

I am glad it was prematurely closed.
posted by Faintdreams at 9:22 AM on July 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Also thank you Brandon for creating /facilitating this thread.
posted by Faintdreams at 9:23 AM on July 23, 2019

Agreed. Progress isn't a straight line and some of the turns it takes are downright infuriating, astoundingly weird and straight out brutal. But forward we go...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:13 AM on July 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

So. I live in Europe. My mother was born in the Netherlands. My father was born in South America. My father's father's ancestors were taken from some place in West-Africa. My father's mother had a father who was Chinese and at some point returned to China. I'm confused. Can I comment in this thread?
posted by dmh at 10:23 AM on July 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

Dmh - I am going to answer this question in good faith - do you feel that your ethnic heritage in any way makes you part of the marginalised groups mention at the start of the thread? If yes then yes, but if you're asking to make some kind of 'gotcha' point about personal identity and inclusivity, then No.
posted by Faintdreams at 10:26 AM on July 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

Ok, thanks for clarifying. BIPOC is not an acronym I'm familiar with. I wasn't (and still am not) sure whether it has connotations beyond the words that make up the acronym. I've only ever seen it used in a context that relates to US history/institutions/experience, so I wondered about that.
posted by dmh at 10:41 AM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

I checked out of that site status thread after a hundred comments, so I totally did not see how bad it got. I'm stunned.
posted by joyceanmachine at 10:54 AM on July 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

Thanks for doing this post. It seemed like the working on POC stuff threads sort of fizzled when the State of the Site thread took off. I kinda feel like so many things have been said at this point, we are really waiting for a more of a response from cortex/the site. Not to discourage people from saying more stuff, of course.
posted by snofoam at 11:09 AM on July 23, 2019

I'm someone who has been active in threads about improving Metafilter's problems with race in the past, and I have not commented in the recent threads at all. It's hard for me to quite articulate why, and part of it is that I saw other POC members saying everything I would have said more eloquently than I would have said it, which is really cool! (Seriously, big thanks to everyone having these discussions.) But I also felt that I had said everything I had to say in previous threads to no avail, that further participation would just be repeating myself and continuing to pour time and emotional effort into something with no payoff. I'm tired. And yes, the State of the Site thread was thoroughly disheartening, especially seeing how many POC members (each of whose contributions I deeply value) decided to take a break or button as a result of it.

I guess I'm just making the point, in case it was at all in doubt, that there were even more people who were upset and hurt by how that thread went than the ones who visibly reacted to it. I try to stay positive here but I do feel less welcome on MetaFilter than I did before that thread. But I'm glad we have this space to talk to each other.
posted by sunset in snow country at 11:55 AM on July 23, 2019 [6 favorites]

So in the last POC chat some people shared links to things that they thought about posting on MeFi.. but then due to Race/Culture/Other issues did not.

Does anyone have anything like that to share in this thread? Genuinely curious.
posted by Faintdreams at 2:31 PM on July 23, 2019

I thought about trying to lead off the thread with the following comment but refrained to let things flow organically. But this seems like a good place for it!

One of the things I've been enjoying lately as a Black American is reading various stories of resistance, which typically aren't so widely known. Like that time a Civil War slave stole a Confederate steamship

Is there anything you've been enjoying about your ethnic identity lately?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:46 PM on July 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

Brandon, (back when it was good) did a 3 min animated video outlining Robert Smauls and his daring escapades during the Civil War!

Link here

Or here if you prefer to cut n paste yourself
posted by Faintdreams at 3:24 PM on July 23, 2019

One thing I'm concerned about is the tendency to blame current site ills on the politics megathreads (I saw a comment in the other meta saying it's the politics thread that have made this place unwelcoming to BIPOC... as if this place hadn't been unwelcoming for a long time already) and I feel like the shuttering of the megathreads is going to result in further complacency.

In terms of what's been bringing me much-needed laughs this week, Black social media has been allll over the white woman who claims she "invented" the silk sleep cap... The Root and twitter have been hilarious.
posted by TwoStride at 5:12 PM on July 23, 2019 [7 favorites]

So, uh, who's still around?
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 8:47 PM on July 23, 2019

Also are you now:
a) just hanging around, reading not saying much (hi!)
b) mostly moved on to bluer pastures (take me with? please?)
c) considering contributing more posts/comments and/or posting work from marginal voices (thank you!)
d) actively wanting to making this place more welcoming for any wayward new people and possibly reaching out to people who've left? (good luck)
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 8:58 PM on July 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

i'm still hanging out mostly on the blue, but i'm both stubborn and privileged in my own way, so there's that.

tbh i rly liked that whole web hosting for mefites idea that got thrown in. but yeah i was all set to contribute at the beginning of the SOS post but then i'm like, nvm.
posted by cendawanita at 10:21 PM on July 23, 2019

oh and i need other site recs. i'm back on dw but web 1.0 it's not super conducive to my thoughts, but my tumblr is v fannish and im just shouting in the tags anyway.
posted by cendawanita at 10:22 PM on July 23, 2019

also, i just want to state publicly, i still have no idea about most of mefi, so apologies to ppl who have been adding me as a contact, i'm... slowly (and badly) following up on the notifications.
posted by cendawanita at 12:26 AM on July 24, 2019

I am still around. It often have to delete comments two or three times before submitting them, I guess after certain interactions on the ‘State of Mefi’ thread I feel.. more fight-y when I comment. I try not to be, but my “Oh no you didn’t just ..” trigger is more susceptible to being twanged.
posted by Faintdreams at 1:52 AM on July 24, 2019

the white woman who claims she "invented" the silk sleep cap

The what

I'm sitting in my silk bonnet right now in disbelief. The caucasity.

And yes, State of the Site thread became a horror show and completely put me off of donating when I got to the end. I suspect this isn't a unique reaction.
posted by Freeze Peach at 5:12 AM on July 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

What is it with Twitter and bold, unsubstantiated, easily checked claims of invention?

This month seems particularly rife.

I fell out of the fandom aspect waaay before I stopped watching it, but now that Supernatural is (finally) ending, various fans have been claiming that Supernatural is why geek fandom as a whole exists today.

I mean wtf?

I only mention it because the Supernatural fandom was my first exposure to the extremely racist and homophobic side of larger fandoms. I had a glimpse of it during the Buffy days ( Ahhhhh Kendra), but for me living in the UK Buffy was kinda pre-easily accessible internet.
posted by Faintdreams at 6:03 AM on July 24, 2019

Thank you for starting this thread and framing the guidelines, Brandon.

I’ve been travelling and not reading Metafilter as much, but I’m back home now and have read (most of—I had to skim parts) the notorious State of Metafilter MeTa thread and WOW. You could use the end of that shitshow as a textbook example of white fragility. Ugh.

The mods really need training ASAP. I hope now that the politics megathreads closure will free up so much of their time, that’s what the team will be turning its energy towards.

I say this in all sincerity: My dream would be for them to have a trainer who goes through that thread with them and points out all the ways it went off the rails and where and how they could have intervened effectively. Not to make them feel bad about it, but for them to understand why their moderation around race issues has been ineffective and that it’s been blindered by their own unconscious biases and white fragility.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:52 AM on July 24, 2019 [8 favorites]

I then stumbled upon another podcast hosted by two Indian American women who discuss how white people, particularly white women have ruined yoga.

I'd love to hear this, what's the name of the Podcast.

I've been going through the State of Site thread in small chunks, 'cause that's the only way to get through that fire. But I'm not sure it ends to be completely read, except for Miko's excellent advice about rebuilding the site, 'cause...that thread was a helluva crash and burn. Totally get why anyone would take a break or leave.

Media consumption wise, I'm late to the party, but have been devouring the sci-fi series The Expanse, which is stunningly multicultural and overflowing with strong female leads, highly recommended. Even better, at it's core it's becomingly optimistic, which is incredibly refreshing these days, especially for sci-fi
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:44 AM on July 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm here. I'm amazed at how that other State of the Site thread, which I was involved in way before it went to hell in a handcart, ended up so poorly.

I'm maybe in a bit of a sub-subset of the population here on the site, and this is likely because I'm insulated against the worst of racial issues by class and appearance despite my Native background, insofar as I'm less likely to suffer from the mental exhaustion of explaining/answering questions about/defending/clarifying POC issues on the site than many other folks, including those who have buttoned for that very reasonable cause.

I'm sticking it out, I'll continue to casually drop in and interact on these issues where I feel my voice is useful or relevant or experienced for the expected future despite some tone deafness and hardship from the userbase and, to a lesser degree, from the mods themselves.

I'm doing this for two, ok maybe three or four, reasons I think:

1) Metafilter provides such insight and eloquent descriptions of the same from people who I can be sure are actually commenting in good faith that I can't discard it easily. The price of admission (pun intended, I'm a $5 noob with occasional donations) is so low that I can't even begin to think of getting this level of service elsewhere. Maybe I'm naive.

2) I want to educate/discuss/read about these issues and Metafilter provides a venue for that. Fraught perhaps but I can drop in and comment or read easily so I suppose inertia along with a safe feeling I have from knowing the mods won't allow gratuitous awful things to stand here at least.

3) The mods are trying I feel like. Even if they're not perfect or trying hard enough for others, I feel like they are doing something and that's not something I throw away lightly. I know I'd never want to mod this place, hell I couldn't. The depth and breadth of their knowledge and experience combined with the touch you need to fix derails/issues along with knowing that shit is going to get called out by someone for some reason a high percentage of the time, even if you get it 'right' is mind boggling to me.

4) I come and comment intermittently and read sporadically. I feel like taking the mini-breaks and/or not parsing the whole site everyday provides a more holistic view that would be less healthy if I was seeking out, hell or making posts which I do less often than many folks here, posts about a particular topic.

I dunno, that was probably rambly but I'm in between conference calls so, them's the breaks.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:56 AM on July 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

Also, tbh, I feel fairly stifled by what I see as a controlling mod attitude towards this thread, which is, you know, how it works here but *shrug emoji*

What do you mean? How would have preferred to see this thread be created? Not arguing, just curious.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:59 AM on July 24, 2019

I just saw this trailer to an upcoming Netflix show, Wu Assasins, and I feel like I have to cash in my Southeast Asian chip again because between Henry Golding in CRA and Iko Uwais here, do American casting ppl sincerely think all Southeast Asians of the indigenous stock are all Chinese?? I feel like the inclusion of Mark Dacascos here only strengthens my point.

(Now the overthinking part here is me pointing out, if the Chinese majority in Singapore has a bad case of supremacy towards other races especially the indigenous/natives and Indians, I have bad news about the Indonesian indigenous majority... And their treatment of the Indonesian Chinese. So if Golding's casting is an accidental win (to my eyes), Uwais here is the exact opposite. But that's why I'm here I guess, overthinking this sort of thing)
posted by cendawanita at 8:50 AM on July 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

I was pleasantly surprised by Marvel's announcements of upcoming movies, which double down on diversity.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:55 AM on July 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

RolandofEld I hear what you say and I admire the sentiment. While I was indigenous enough for the provincial government of the day to do reprehensible things in regards to my adoption and associated records I'm definitely pale enough to avoid overt notice in groups of people who can't pick out the combination of my skin tone, eyes, hair and nose.

It's frankly been a lot easier for me to just embrace the easy-to-integrate parts of my identity and not engage in the conversations and encounters that make me feel bad about myself. Now staring at a pile of adoption stuff IRL (nearly 2 decades after legal, infrastructure and logistical barriers were dropped) I can see that strategy has not been good for me personally in my development and it sure as hell has been a convenient crutch when pulling up lame in conversations I really should have exercised more courage in.

I love the idea of this place; I don't love that I haven't played my small part in making it's actual expression more like my idealistic fantasy. I'm not feeling terribly brave but comments like yours above (and a host of material elsewhere that has either been easier to find or that I've been more receptive to reading) has made it clear that I have a responsibility to myself and my community(ies) to be better.
posted by mce at 10:08 AM on July 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

That makes perfect sense, ifdssn9, thanks for taking the time to explain.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:06 AM on July 24, 2019

Brandon Blatcher, I'd been dithering about whether to start The Expanse. Thanks for moving it to the top of my list!
posted by TwoStride at 1:11 PM on July 24, 2019

Over at the “Political Megathreads RIP” Metatalk, it seems to me as if the self same people who didn’t think MeFi was worth funding, or fundraising for, or that POC should just Like it or Lump it the way it currently is, are suddenly *very* eager to suggest siloed fundraising to keep the Political Megathreads ongoing.


🤔 😑
posted by Faintdreams at 2:25 PM on July 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

Also I am no way surprised that the silk cap fiasco involved Goop.

This is (after all);a site that claims sticking a Jade Egg up your yaya is good for your health.

It’s full of disgusting cultural appropriation and Woo.
posted by Faintdreams at 2:28 PM on July 24, 2019

I dunno, I feel that some of the people who are praising the demise of the megathreads are the same kind of people who feel that talking about race is too political...
posted by TwoStride at 2:36 PM on July 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm still around! Mostly because I hate the format of most other places for discussion (Twitter is the woooorst) and Metafilter is much better than Reddit, but also because I do think mods are trying and are willing to be more responsive.

I've been reading a lot of SFF written by people from the Chinese diaspora lately: on my desk I have Jade City by Fonda Lee, Want by Cindy Pon and The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee. I'm kind of thinking about starting a non-Western fantasy book club on FanFare, just because I've read so much of it lately.
posted by storytam at 3:15 PM on July 24, 2019 [5 favorites]

Primalux, Same.

I heartily agree with every word. It’s just so disheartening. The front page is more diverse and varied than I have seen in a long time, and meanwhile the megathread about Political Megathreads is full of people basically saying If You’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem, and the Politics Megathreads should just subsume everything.

It’s intense mood whiplash
posted by Faintdreams at 5:50 PM on July 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

I don't know if this is the appropriate place for this but I just got approached apropos of nothing and "what's your background"ed again and I'm just so tired of it. It's Canadian, I'm Canadian, I was born here, I AM FROM HERE can't I walk down the damn street without being reminded that even though I was born here I visibly don't belong here? No? Ok then.

And really like my racial and family history is both complex and mysterious and I really don't want to get into it with Random Stranger, or even most of my friends to be honest, and I certainly can't talk about it with my family because I'm the only one who isn't white and however much they may love me they are all fucking racist.

I'm just glad this thread is here so some white person can't shut me up about how I'm not allowed to be upset about this. I don't have the energy to justify why I'm allowed to be upset about it. I'm just so sick of it and so alone in it and feel like nobody understands.
posted by windykites at 6:01 PM on July 24, 2019 [8 favorites]

windykites: every family photo I’ve ever been in looks like someone in casting is gonna get fired. My adoptive great grandparents taught at residential schools that, time and place, were very likely ‘home’ to my birth grandparents. I am cautiously optimistic about an upcoming physiatrist appointment after the last one took my lack of a family medical history as a reason to dismiss my chronic neurological pain as the result of “prenatal neglect”.

Every damned day it’s something. I feel you so hard. There’s no one to tell without having to explain and explaining never goes well.
posted by mce at 7:59 PM on July 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

Somewhat related, I went to peek at one of the megathreads last week to see if anyone had posted this HuffPo piece interviewing minority U.S. lawmakers about whether they've been told to "go back," but didn't see it discussed or quoted on the megathread [...] And I certainly wouldn't have felt like it'd be a good place to comment on personal lived BIPOC experience regarding being assumed to be "from" somewhere other than my home state solely because of my racial appearance.

I'm a relatively new arrival to the megathreads, and personally avoid HuffPo, but the current megathread has covered: Trump tells four Democratic congresswomen to go back to where they came from. Three were born in the US; AOC's response; Trump Fans the Flames of a Racial Fire and Trump’s Tweets Prove That He Is a Raging Racist; Theresa May's real legacy; a reflection on the pervasiveness of 'where are you really from?'; Trump’s America Is a ‘White Man’s Country’; Rep. Al Green to force impeachment vote against Trump; speculation on voters and appeals to racism; personal lobbying against racism; Pressley/Tlaib/AOC/Omar press conference transcripts; and this. And these are only highlights from the discussion that I quickly collected, more to make a general point about how much I've valued the megathreads as a forum where a well-sourced discussion is happening, albeit in a fairly fast-moving, megathread way, among a community of people who are very serious about protecting and promoting a fair and just society.

I also feel strongly that megathread participants would be some of the strongest supporters for diversifying the mod team, given the issues that are regularly discussed, and the news that is regularly posted. It's been the segregated forum for what many have considered 'outragefilter' and wanted to be shielded from, and now the Decommissioning MeTa is sometimes reminding me of a NIMBY fight as we seek to integrate into the Metafilter community.

The megathreads are not designed for extended discussions of lived experiences, but even in the most recent one, lived experience has been shared, when it related to the news being posted and discussed. From my view, the HuffPo piece and a discussion of lived experience would have been welcome in the thread, and it might have drawn out additional discussion and sources and possibly a mod note encouraging an independent FPP, because we were regularly encouraged to keep focused on Potus45-related current events.

Nevertheless, the megathread era is closing, and I'm glad we had it for as long as we did, including because it allowed us to work together to organize and promote resources, like the Immigration section of the MeFi Wiki Get a lawyer page, and ultimately create a sense of solace and solidarity for a lot of people. We now have a new opportunity to build something that is more inclusive and better meets the needs of the community, and I'll definitely be reflecting on the feedback here and the Decommissioning MeTa and thinking about how to constructively participate in the process.
posted by Little Dawn at 10:33 PM on July 24, 2019

Just flagged his jokey post about Waco and David Koresh, because Jokey front page posts about how Koresh was a laid back talented musician is a whole ‘notther level of WTF?

post here
posted by Faintdreams at 3:59 AM on July 25, 2019

Took about 2 hours but the Koresh post was finally deleted. Than fuck.
posted by Faintdreams at 5:06 AM on July 25, 2019

In the previous megathread, we did have someone ask for help for someone else who had been detained, and then find a resource in the megathread that seemed helpful. And I posted a PSA in that megathread, noting that in addition to the protests and resources already posted in the thread, another member had created a MeTa about direct action. It feels like to the extent that megathread participants believed that the collaborative engagement was a form of activism, it doesn't matter when the site's decision to segregate the entire enterprise made useful information difficult to access and didn't help promote a reputation for thoughtful and inclusive discussion.

We also had spinoff FPPs related to the current concentration camps, and at least one at the suggestion of a mod, but people also kept posting the latest news on the megathread, because that's the forum we've had to bring it all together and push back against the fragmented news cycle that can otherwise dull awareness about the scale of what Potus45 is doing. I think the megathread gave some of us (or at least me) a sense of power over the madness, because getting it all down and being able to see what is happening felt like a first step to being able to do anything about it.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:44 AM on July 25, 2019

I feel like ifdssn9's comment and yours, rather be jorting, speaks to a fundamental failure of the design of the megathread, which was encouraged by mods to be focused on breaking news, but also influenced by inconsistent moderation standards and member expectations about the purposes of the thread. I had previously asked to break the topic subsections into separate FPPs, but that wasn't accepted back then, and I'm glad to see it discussed again in the Decommissioning MeTa, and I hope it does address the glaring failures of the megathread format to actually create more inclusive spaces for discussion, where there could be responses and critical discussions about how someone is protesting, without being deleted as a derail like it might have been from the megathread.
posted by Little Dawn at 8:32 AM on July 25, 2019

Glad to see this new thread! Thanks to Brandon Blatcher for wrangling guidelines.
posted by skye.dancer at 8:51 AM on July 25, 2019

I haven't even opened the megathread thread because I value my sanity, but to tie two threads together, I was a bit bothered by the response in the megathread when Ryan Zinke greeted Rep Colleen Hanabusa with "konnichiwa" during a hearing. It all felt a bit... performative? People were explaining in great detail why it is not correct to greet a Japanese American with "konnichiwa," and they were absolutely right in everything they said and their hearts were in the right place, but it did drive home to me that I was in a place where people felt the need to explain that. Whenever a public figure is clumsily racist toward Japanese Americans, someone on MetaFilter is always there to talk about their Japanese American friend who is perfectly American and whose family has been in the US for four generations, so there, as if such a person were a rare find and not 75 percent of my social circle. I am glad people have these connections but it does make me feel like a bit of an outsider.

In summary: no, I don't think the megathreads are a good place to discuss this stuff
posted by sunset in snow country at 9:27 AM on July 25, 2019 [3 favorites]

Eh, I went back to the thread in question and it wasn't as bad as I remembered, so I think I must have just been feeling extra defensive after, you know, a fellow Japanese American had to field a racist "uhhh haha konichiwa" during a government hearing. But I do stand by my larger point of feeling alienated when people feel the need to pick apart generations to prove that something was racist.
posted by sunset in snow country at 9:43 AM on July 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

‘The People who want to do Megathreads Right’ has already splintered into a Dreamwidth group and a reddit group, and most of the ‘Can’t we just do X?’ Are breathtakingly naive about the technical practicalities of running such a thing anyway.

Just spinning up a new wordpress site on a cheap (or free) web-host ain’t gonna cut it.

It’s interesting to see all the ‘What about volunteer mods?” Suggestors also back peddle immediately when the actual y’know *work* and responsibility aspect of the entire endeavour is actually broken down.

Just because a thing *looks* easy to do, doesn’t mean it is easy to *actually do*.
posted by Faintdreams at 11:00 AM on July 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's frustrating because I'm not on Reddit and I refuse to link my Dreamwidth and Metafilter identities, but I also lack the time/patience to create yet another online identity, so... there are diminishing places where I feel comfortable discussing things.
posted by TwoStride at 11:26 AM on July 25, 2019

Long time reader but never much of a commenter but since these threads are explicitly about people like me I'll chime in a little bit.

For context, I'm an 30something Indian guy living in India, working in tech. I've also spent six years in the SF Bay Area. Like most educated people of my generation in India, and especially due to my profession, I've been half-American for many years now.

I've always used Metafilter as a window into American culture, politics and society. I've learned a whole lot from it, and not just about US-specific things (e.g., "emotional labor"). But I've also never much participated because (a) if it's a US or Western topic I have more to listen than to add (b) if it's a thread about India it would be too tedious to participate in a thread where it's just white people with not enough context or just people making it about the US or their irrelevant anecdotes.

I don't think I have much to add to what other PoC members of this site have said already, so I'll close with a small anecdote. When I lived in the US a good friend, white American, told me, "IdleCuriosity, you know you're the first Indian person I've had a real conversation with". I said, "great, but why do you think that is, though? It's not because we met half-way. It's because I know your culture well-enough to meet you all the way".

I don't think there are easy solutions to this. I empathize with the provincial upbringing that most white people have in America. But if you want to seriously engage with PoC you gotta try to meet us halfway. I've known people who've done that and approached foreign subjects with genuine curiosity. Just don't barge into a thread about say Hindu nationalism with no background whatsoever. It's too complicated to explain via internet comments.
posted by Idle Curiosity at 11:54 AM on July 25, 2019 [21 favorites]

The megathreads for me are a symptom of metafilter's desire to contain and control. Your politics goes here, jokes belong in that thread, be angry over there. That's the site's way of addressing bigotry without explicitly addressing bigotry. In the absence of an actively antiracist mod team, we should expect such "colorblind" strategies to be implicitly racist.

It's a very consistent pattern in this site's moderation. The long-term and short-term followup posts barely mention racism, opting instead to focus on ideas of diversity and inclusion. In his most recent post in the short-term followup thread, cortex doesn't mention race:

2. I'm still frustrated by, and sorry about, the way in which the State of the Site thread went sideways the other day. A lot of that ties into how a lot of different perceptions of what's "political" can end up in crappy conflations or conflict. Avoiding political stuff in the broad sense isn't a practical solution to any site problems, and it's important that folks not conflate the idea of US politics discussions with more general social justice issues, in the world or on the site. So we’ll be talking in that upcoming megathread discussion about where to go with “politics discussion” in the sense of current events to do with Trump et al, but that’s distinct from political discussion in the sense of social justice topics. We’re committed to doing the work we’ve outlined on social justice stuff; that’s happening, it’s not up for debate.

He posted that in a thread purportedly about addressing racism in the short-term, in response to people making the connection between the "State of the Site" thread and racism. In that context, I think his omission was a decision rather than an oversight.
posted by yaymukund at 12:45 PM on July 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

I've just finished reading the State of the Site thread. Wow.

I think I'm one of those people for whom Metafilter is better enjoyed as a lurker. I'm a non-American non-white person who is of the dominant race in my home country. I can see myself in some of the "moderate white supremacist" descriptions, with caveats of course. At the same time, I feel keenly that Metafilter is not a site meant for me and other non-Americans. The comments about feeling like the dumbest person in the room hit home. The comments about the barriers to entry being too high ring true. Even the discussions about race and ethnicity are rooted in an American context that I don't fully understand.

Even right now, I'm not sure if I should even post in this thread, because I understand that even though I'm non-white, I don't share all the experiences that a PoC in America would have because I'm not a minority in my home country. That I probably have more in common with the white majority in America, at least in terms of privilege and mindset and structural racism that keeps me where I am in my society. But the fact remains that if I were to go to America, all people would see is a PoC.

In the previous thread(s? I don't remember) for PoC, I remember being amazed that so many of the names I recognised and respected turned out to be PoC. I was really heartened.

I feel their absence keenly in this thread.

I don't even know what I'm trying to say, other than I'm sad things headed south and some of the people I respected most are gone.

As a mostly-lurker, I'm part of the problem. I don't post or favourite or contribute much to the community. But I'm just afraid of posting. Right now I'm afraid I've just posted in the wrong thread. Still wondering whether to hit post.

But I've also never much participated because (a) if it's a US or Western topic I have more to listen than to add (b) if it's a thread about India it would be too tedious to participate in a thread where it's just white people with not enough context or just people making it about the US or their irrelevant anecdotes.

Yeah, this too.

Back to lurking.

/hits post
posted by satoshi at 6:58 PM on July 25, 2019 [12 favorites]

chiming in my welcome, and also as global POC, but country majority. hi hi hi!!

debating whether i want to share this how to cook the perfect laksa* (HAHAHA) article without comment and see where it's headed TBH

*the very premise is false.
posted by cendawanita at 9:17 PM on July 25, 2019 [3 favorites]

and im just here like, SIS, y'all talking about curry mee, that's not laksa. anyway, the sheer effrontery of Felicity Cloake being dismayed we make laksa with a variety of noodles (gosh!)

Can I share my favourite laksa origin story tho? The state of Johore does their laksa with spaghetti noodles, because, no joke, their Sultan during Victoria's reign got so into being a 'cultured' Anglophile that he basically switched the typical noodles Johoreans used at the time to spaghetti to make it more European, and I guess that was the most available at the colonies at the time. Imagine, we could've had a laksa dish with fettucine instead....

All in all it's this Guardian recipe should've been subtitled, 'the perfect laksa when you're away from home and there's no decent grocer for love or money within 10km', because mint & coriander to sub for laksa leaves? yikes.

ALSO ALSO, peranakan means 'Chinese mixed with the indigenous Southeast Asians' sociocultural group so, NO, they DID NOT in fact migrate from China, jfc which Nyonya person trolled her hard on this one. (this is like Australians telling foreigners about drop bears tbqh)
posted by cendawanita at 10:05 PM on July 25, 2019 [3 favorites]

I’ve never made laksa myself, mostly just eaten my mother’s and grandmother’s*, but even I was like WUT at the mint. Mint?

But now I just want some laksa honestly.

*BUT we did make some from a package the other day and I was shocked, it was actually quite good. Imported from Singapore I think. I wish I could remember the brand.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:02 PM on July 25, 2019

Food! Now this is something I know something about. :D

Imported from Singapore I think. I wish I could remember the brand.

Was it Prima Taste by any chance?
posted by satoshi at 11:54 PM on July 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yes! That was it, Prima Taste. I googled the package image and that’s it! Mmm. Thank you!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:03 AM on July 26, 2019

Meanwhile the hair bonnet FPP just reminds me how white Metafilter is which then makes me kind of bummed.
posted by TwoStride at 5:15 AM on July 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

a) just hanging around, reading not saying much (hi!)
c) considering contributing more posts/comments and/or posting work from marginal voices (thank you!)

Mostly these two. Was thinking of putting a Wakandacon FPP together today. It made it to year 2, and is happening this weekend.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:53 AM on July 26, 2019 [4 favorites]

Doooooo iiittttttt!!!

Also, as mentioned in the previous thread, try adding a Paypal or other link on your profile page, see if folks wanna toss individual posters some coin.

I've been tagging my posts with postsbyblackmefites to show that illustrate that Mefi isn't just white and that is awesome. Other groups may want to so do similar!

Or not, it's totally up the individual !
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:20 PM on July 26, 2019

I too would love love love a Wakandacon post, I looked at the coverage of last years event from faaaaaar away in the UK with envy - although not too too much envy as I was knee deep organising a fan convention at the time and whoo boy those things can go sideways fast!
posted by Faintdreams at 7:12 AM on July 27, 2019

Will someone please come to my apartment and smack me every time I think about clicking on a thread that involves white people talking about Mexican food?
posted by Sequence at 7:26 PM on July 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

Ha, I'm curious now about is irksome about white people talking about tacos? Wondering if I, as a black American male, would be as annoying!

Though my taco talk is usually along the lines of "can we get some" and "oh, that's a different way to do a taco, let me try it".
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:13 PM on July 28, 2019

The problem at the end of the day really isn't what food people like. It's when there seems to be a thing where if post references Mexican food, even if it isn't actually directly about cooking/eating that food, then it is automatically presumed to be on topic for every non-Hispanic person to weigh in on their feelings about Mexican food and restaurants. But can we also talk about, say, the racist implications of how white people engage with Mexican food and think of it as the "fun" kind of multicultural but don't engage with actual Hispanic people? Apparently not without immediately getting talked over. Woo.
posted by Sequence at 4:00 AM on July 29, 2019 [6 favorites]

jj's mama and others, you might enjoy this essay by Mat Johnson on Passing, in Moments. I won't spoil the final paragraph, but it delivers really well on how he built up the essay, I thought.
posted by TwoStride at 11:45 AM on July 29, 2019 [5 favorites]

It's not AS prevalent, but if that British person lives in a major urban area and have never had either a taco or a dim sum serving, I'd be comfortable in making some preliminary conclusions.

Lol I guess in that vein, the very first comment in my post abt that video essay on Ip Man is pretty much par of the course for the site.
posted by cendawanita at 5:39 PM on July 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Why stop though? All that validating favourites....
posted by cendawanita at 6:58 PM on July 29, 2019

...irksomeness is resulting more from how non-Hispanic people are treating the FPP as open season to talk about taco opinions (which aren't what the link in the FPP is about)

Yeah, it comes down to people not reading the room or not even being aware there's a room with different people. Having taco opinions on a post about a restaurant trying new types of tacos would be more ok than highjacking a thread about something else to turn into taco opinions.

But thread drift happens. I use to get really pissed after making a post about the Moon only to have to some idiot come in a crack about a joke how we never actually landed on the Moon. Internet points and all that.

Not to compare the two, obviously ethnic issues have more weight than spaceships. It's just hard to remember that at times, especially when you're in your office and see a thread on the internet that mentions X favorite thing of yours, so you chime about your joy and just forget or not realize that's not the focus of the discussion. People are tricky and being aware of other people 24/7 can be even more tricky.

I'm just thinking out loud, 'cause I'd probably be the sort spitballing about tacos if they're mentioned.

The real question and my point is what do people do once they're made aware of this and if they want to change, how long does it take for them to do so?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:26 AM on July 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

The answer is people.

We all do things that make perfect sense internally but come out all sorts of wrong. Life lessons and all that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:36 AM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Maybe, but that's the point, right?

A one-off is no big deal. Decades of that micro-aggressions just really work your nerves. It gets to the point that one, innocently ignorant remark or action pushes the wrong button on a wrong day and you (the general you, not specific you) just can't deal with anymore.

Or you can, but just don't fucking want to. 'Cause decades.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:58 AM on July 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'm tentatively stepping into this post, because honestly, I'm tired. One of my first Asks on AskMe was a race-related question, and I was firm and clear that I considered the word racist that my family was objecting to being called. I found the white knight MeFis that popped in to "explain what the poor white man was thinking" was really uncalled for, and honestly, for one of my first Asks, it left a bad impression in my mouth.

I'm tired of fighting for space to be heard, only to be patted on the head like a puppy, or worse, treated like a rabid dog who is taking offense at everything. The post about the tacos? I clicked on it because I had a similar conversation with some girlfriends the other day (one of my girlfriends is 40 and single and loves sharing her Tinder stories), only our conversation delved into our relationship with food, the short "Bao", and what food tells us about other people. Mostly, if someone says they never have tried X food and don't follow up with "but I'd love to!", then that person is DEAD TO US (just kidding. mostly). I don't even know how to process a grown person living in a big city never trying a taco, and then bragging about it in an international forum. Like, do you want headpats? A kick in the groin? WHAT DO YOU WANT WITH SUCH STATEMENTS.

and this is my life. I don't even know if I can filter being nice anymore online, because my real life is one big cluster of trying to play nice with the white overlords and realizing that it sucks to not be white in the US and trying to bring up race relationships and being Ignored All The Time.

(sorry for the long rant, I guess I had lots of feelings about this)
posted by alathia at 8:03 PM on July 30, 2019 [6 favorites]

I was considering doing something about the Bruce Lee in the new Tarantino movie kerfluffle before the Jen Yamato article came out, mainly a link to the Walter Chaw twitter thread, but someone beat me to it (as in actually did it and not just considered it). And though I didn't see the deleted comments, it looks like it went the way I thought it would with people trying to defend the scene as not racist. That's pretty much the same thing that happened to anyone who expressed discomfort with the scene on twitter. Gah.
posted by LostInUbe at 9:52 AM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

rather be jorting :
I initially got wind of the whole thing because Angry Asian Man (among others) picked up on Shannon Lee's comments. And then I saw the stuff on twitter about the reaction of some audiences. The LA Times piece did a better job summarizing everything than a piece-meal post would have.
posted by LostInUbe at 10:31 AM on July 31, 2019

I mean, I guess it's probably for the best but I really wish the mods would name the people who barge in to be all, "racism doesn't exist!"
posted by TwoStride at 10:35 AM on July 31, 2019 [3 favorites]

thank you ratherbejorting and primalux.

My husband and I saw that movie, and I was actually so disgusted I left and didn't come back. The movie theatre was rather full, and the amount of laughter during the scene actually turned my stomach. I wasn't the only one who left, there was another Asian couple who came out and we kind of grimaced at each other. I live in Seattle, so the Bruce Lee legacy is alive and active here. I've taken my kids to the Bruce Lee tour at the Wing Luke Museum, and we talk a lot about the rampant racism in Hollywood at the time.

But to see it on the screen, and played for laughs, it was really demeaning. Bruce Lee is an iconic legend in the Asian American community, and he was literally used as a racial punching bag. They could have done the scene much better. I read through the comments on the other thread. I don't care that it was a hazy flashback or whatever. Quentin Tarantino should know better, and shame on him and all the other actors who filmed that scene.
posted by alathia at 10:58 AM on July 31, 2019 [3 favorites]

I’m still here. I’m mostly lurking because my job has been requiring an enormous amount of overtime for the last year, and I’m just tired and want a place to decompress.

I’m sticking around for now, because it appears that the mods are trying, which is more than I can say for my other online places to decompress.

I’m a little nervous about participating in this thread, because I’m biracial and sometimes pass as white, and I worry about taking up space that someone else might need.

I guess it’s probably for the best but I really wish the mods would name the people who barge in to be all, “racism doesn’t exist!”

Me too. It’s a lot harder to drop the mods a note that a user is “Doing That Thing again” if there’s no MeFite-facing record of that person Doing That Thing. I get that it may not be practical, since I remember from other Metatalks that some people feel like naming someone in a mod comment comes off as overly hostile.

And that Bruce Lee thread has some prime examples of comments that aren’t insta-delete-worthy, but still make being a POC on metafilter uncomfortable.
posted by creepygirl at 12:18 PM on July 31, 2019 [4 favorites]

It's mostly that it's inconsistent. Like, in the discussion of the politics megathreads the mods definitely called out users by name who then got timeouts and/or subsequent warnings.
posted by TwoStride at 12:55 PM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

That Bruce Lee / Once Upon A Time In Hollywood thread makes me not want to be or engage with MeFi anymore.

I mean, I have a low regard for Tarantino Apologists generally, but wow people are Leaning In with the the “Well Actually..” in that thread.

The wilful ignorance of how film and pop culture works to frame a persons legacy is just.. White (and Male) Privilege writ large.
posted by Faintdreams at 1:59 PM on July 31, 2019 [3 favorites]

Recent Asks reminded me that I have unformed Thoughts about how I dislike how the debate around cultural appropriation has been reframed from one about colonialism/money/power to one about personal taste. I don't know how to phrase them and would probably not talk about it anywhere but here because my Thoughts are a vague morass of "it's complicated". I just feel like a whole complicated conversation about systematic exploitation suddenly became an open forum of white people wondering Is It Weird If I...... Not just on MeFi, but the billions of thinkpieces and articles and Twitter dunks out there. (And a lot of the time it feels like the concern isn't actually "is it respectful to engage this way" but "am I being tacky?".)

Idk. A lot of it comes from seeing expat/tourist friends in Taipei shy away from purchasing totally cool stuff they admired from indie designers (like these patches or this tablemat or these shirts) because they looked too Asian. Which like, there's no debate on the ethics of buying them, my friends just somehow decided that the one thing they took from the cultural appropriation debate would be "owning things that don't look 100% Western is tacky". Like, that's not the point!

(Unrelated note but the Taiwanese indie art/design scene is AWESOME and someday I will make a FPP about it. Someday.)
posted by storytam at 6:50 PM on August 1, 2019 [10 favorites]

Anyone else find stuff like the shooter threads totally disheartening? Like, the white domestic terrorism angle is obvious. I find it just painful to continually rehash/compare who gets taken alive and who is executed by police...
posted by TwoStride at 5:44 PM on August 4, 2019 [4 favorites]

Yes I saw you primalux and admired your attempts to engage productively. I just don't have it in me.
posted by TwoStride at 6:34 PM on August 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah. I'm actually not against having detached theoretical conversations about things that are personal to some people, because everything is personal to someone, and there's value in detachment and theory.

I'm just frustrated by how stupid and repetitive some of the from-first-principles stuff is. Like, okay, this was a plausible hypothesis...maybe fifty years ago or whenever it was still weird to shoot strangers for no good reason. But by 2019 we've falsified it to death and back, so maybe we could not again...?

Sorry, this is incoherent.

I wonder if this is how my philosophy profs felt about us undergrads most of the time. I don't know how they graded those papers.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 9:00 PM on August 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

"But also - a lot of conversation here ends up being detached and theoretical because of race and class issues - the people discussing and being detached from the issues are not people that are most commonly affected by them."

posted by meaty shoe puppet at 9:04 PM on August 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

I go back and forth with this thread and similar threads. Sometimes it's all about refreshing, other times I just avoid it for a bit, because invariably something awful will be mentioned.

Where do I go for "race free" days? It's rhetorical, but how I'm feeling at the moment, just someplace to go where my ethnic identity is just another awesome part of me and not on the forefront of how the world wrongly judges me.

/end rant

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:00 AM on August 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

I go back and forth with this thread and similar threads. Sometimes it's all about refreshing, other times I just avoid it for a bit, because invariably something awful will be mentioned.

Where do I go for "race free" days? It's rhetorical, but how I'm feeling at the moment, just someplace to go where my ethnic identity is just another awesome part of me and not on the forefront of how the world wrongly judges me.

For what it's worth, you've perfectly captured how I'm feeling lately too, and why I've been quiet in this iteration of this thread: I don't actually know what to do right now. Stay? Go? Permanently? Temporarily? Where should I be?

posted by mordax at 2:01 PM on August 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

So, something random to share.

I have two kids, ages 11 and 14, and I really try to show them US history more than what's taught to them in school. I recently came across this video of the Video History of Asian American musicians, and it was pretty powerful (for us).

It's not definitive or complete, but it did introduce my kids to people like MC Jin, danAKAdan, and a few others that I had told them about, but couldn't find videos to show them. We also talked A Lot about the LA Riots, and the race relations between Black people in the US and Korean Americans esp. in LA at that time.
posted by alathia at 4:32 PM on August 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

I have zero time to make a substantive post, but this new study, relevant to race and social media, just popped up on my Twitter feed and I wanted to share.

The Risk of Racial Bias in Hate Speech Detection (PDF). Maarten Sap, Dallas Card, Saadia Gabriel, Yejin Choi, and Noah Smith. Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, pages 1668–1678 Florence, Italy, July 28 - August 2, 2019. FTA: "We analyze racial bias in widely-used corpora of annotated toxic language, establishing correlations between annotations of offensiveness and the African American English (AAE) dialect. We show that models trained on these corpora propagate these biases, as AAE tweets are twice as likely to be labelled offensive compared to others."
posted by skye.dancer at 12:08 PM on August 12, 2019 [3 favorites]

Ugh, seriously, equating Americans as white and foreign users as non-white? Really wish a mod had said "Uh, whoa, WTF no." Even within the context of trying to keep things railed by specific request. Not feeling like I can post a response without it being considered a derail there because I don't have anything to add about site finances, but pretty unhappy that was left standing without addressing the racist assumption behind it.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 11:55 AM on August 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

Agreed, Pandora Kouti. I knew which comment you were referring to before clicking on the link.

Don't forget "IMO spam originating from Africa is much more entertaining than American spam"
posted by yaymukund at 12:05 PM on August 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

I mean I guess it's cute and all that LM thinks such comments are only "accidentally racist." Back to coddling racist comments it is!
posted by TwoStride at 4:05 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

On a tangent, but maybe I will find a sympathetic audience in this thread: I'm getting annoyed by the various op-eds going around protesting that "The New Colossus" totally applies to non-European immigrants.

It was written the same year the author founded Society for the Improvement and Colonization of East European Jews, and one year after the Chinese Exclusion Act banned all immigration of Chinese people for the next sixty years.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 9:22 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yes, actually, although maybe that's not so.

I don't mind when people claim that we should in the modern day interpret the poem to include non-European immigrants, but I was seeing a bunch of articles claiming that even in the day the author intended it to include all immigrants.

To date the Chinese Exclusion Act is the only time the U.S. has banned an entire race from immigrating. The erasure of that history bothers me.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 10:07 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think the Black Lady Sketch show is like all sketch shows, with hits and misses. But the Hertep sketches have been hilarious!
posted by TwoStride at 6:01 AM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I mean I guess it's cute and all that LM thinks such comments are only "accidentally racist." Back to coddling racist comments it is!

They have never not coddled people posting racist comments. This aspect of the moderation has been consistent throughout the ~15 years I've been here. I'm personally limiting my participation under the assumption that it won't change. I encourage y'all to do the same.

aand that's a cue for me to take a break.
posted by yaymukund at 10:02 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm still here and will continue to be.

Ultimately, people are just weird and awkward, prompting all sorts of shit to happen that shouldn't happen, yeah. Doesn't make it right, but it's just a fact of life.

I'll aim to do a better job of calling stuff, be it in a thread or to the mods, 'cause the site is better when racial/gender BS isn't happening. And I'll try to listen at times, especially when someone points out messed stuff I'm doing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:58 PM on August 21, 2019

I'm kinda curious about what you're talking about and kinda frightened to know, heh.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:54 AM on August 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Much thanks to Think_Long for sharing The 1619 Project from the New York Times. Looking forward to reading it in full (see thread for PDF link).
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:27 AM on August 22, 2019

Posting because I was curious too and had to search it out:

This is the original comment that jj’s.mama and others above were referring to about conflation of POC/non-US, then makes a joke about African origin spam. This is the mod response.

I’m still trying to articulate my thoughts about it.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:36 AM on August 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

One explanation for the "accidentally racist" phrasing would be if the mods were still thinking of racism as disparate treatment rather than disparate impact. In other words, they have not yet internalized the idea of structural racism or implicit bias. Then it would be valuable and relevant to qualify racism as accidental, to distinguish it from the deliberate racism that is what they understand the unqualified term to mean.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 8:16 PM on August 22, 2019 [7 favorites]

This would also be consistent with the pattern we've seen of the mods responding to accusations of racism by explaining the thought process which led to their behavior. They're trying to demonstrate that the behavior is disparate impact rather than disparate treatment.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 8:17 PM on August 22, 2019 [6 favorites]

Also, as this particular MeTa's 30-day window is winding down, I've been thinking in general of the MeFites who had posted in the previous POC-only thread but are now on hiatus or have taken their leave of the site. I wonder what sort of input and thoughts we might've seen from them otherwise.

I had good intentions of posting more, here, but the timing of this thread coincided with a ridiculously busy time work/personal-wise. As a result, my primary mode of site engagement has been to scroll through posts during my commute and favorite things.

I confess, though, that I am also really exhausted by...everything, all of it. Trying to stay engaged despite microaggressions. Typing out lengthy responses to problematic comments, only to have that comment, and/or related responses disappear during refresh. Happened to me just this morning. I've decided that if nothing else, I'm done with doing that on this site. Moving forward, I will direct that labor towards in-person interactions instead.
posted by skye.dancer at 7:40 AM on August 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

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