Person of color only thread #3 August 28, 2019 7:44 AM   Subscribe

Hello again! This is Mefi's third person of color thread (1, 2). As before, it's a space for discussion for Metafilter members of color, so before posting please take a look at the guidelines posted inside, thanks!

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* Only BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) members should comment in the thread.
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posted by Brandon Blatcher to MetaFilter-Related at 7:44 AM (61 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

So I thought I was done with the PoC only threads, but there were a few things that I didn't get to in the last thread. Some time and thought have solidified a few things in my mind, so here goes.

Sometimes I care deeply about race issues on Mefi. Sometimes I don't, which usually means there are times I can't. Life gets busy and my energy is directed else. Sometimes, its been one of those days/weeks, etc where I just do not have the energy or desire to wade into race issues on Mefi. You gotta know your limits and when to stick to them, otherwise you wind up in the gutter of despair or negative thoughts.

In the previous thread there, someone mentioned an odd race-related comment that was made on Mefi. I'm not linking to it because the specifics aren't important. It just highlighted an issue I've personally noticed. A race issue comes up and it's doesn't seem large to me. Sure, in a perfect world it wouldn't exist, but this is the world we got, and weird, bad, and inane stuff pops up. So it becomes a question of
A. do you deal with it and if so,
B. how do you deal with.

It's a constant calculation, and obviously can be exhausting and frustrating to constantly deal with. Seems like it always comes down to how much energy and time do you have at that particular moment to deal with the issue. But it's always a singular issue, where it's one person trying to come usually.

How do y'all deal with this?

At least Mefi-wise I've realized that I given myself permission to just "nope" on out, when it's too much and just move on, with the understanding that I have dive in on something else, at some point. There was some guilt about that for a while, but really, it's the only practical way I can deal with this on Mefi and life in general, so, that's that.

Perhaps we need a community buddy system, where people can just comment that they're noping out and asking for someone else to tag in on a particular post or comment.

This has also made me realize that I need to set aside some specific times or activities to embrace my racial identity in a positive way. Doesn't have to be anything complex, just listening to some favorite blues artists, or admiring the achievements of some PoCs. Hell, part of my enjoyment of The Expanse is seeing various ethnic identities on display in such a large number and it not being a big deal.

Because there's so much fantastically good stuff about ethnic identities, which everyone has! That makes it a helluva lot easier to deal with the bad shit when it pops up!

Anyway! What's going on with y'all?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:20 AM on August 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


What's going on with y'all?

I've taken some big steps back from social media. I'm on two forums: MetaFilter and ResetEra which are both mostly positive and progressive places where I don't feel so stressed out. Removing any small thing or person from my life that causes me stress is basically how I cope with living in 2019. Trump, gamergate, MeToo, children in cages....

It just never ends and so taking a break, stepping back from things (and that includes certain posts or just avoiding the site altogether sometimes) and only doing good or happy things is how I battle against this seemingly never-ending tide of bullshit and hate.

Stay strong friends.
posted by Fizz at 9:01 AM on August 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


PSA: TIL

Skin cancer expression on our skin does not demonstrate the same kinds of signs and signals as it does on skin with less melanin. Get dermatologist checkup if you have any doubts. Reading this helped me. I had a biopsy today. More PoC and BIPOC die of advanced skin cancers because we imagine we're immune or its not caught early enough. We're not. Pass it on to a loved one.
posted by Mrs Potato at 11:39 AM on August 28, 2019 [5 favorites]


Thanks for the post Brandon. Rather like Fizz, I found that cutting out Twitter and not reading the headlines at all for just two weeks has done wonders for my mental wellbeing. Now I'm on for a day and then off for three or some proportion thereof.
posted by Mrs Potato at 11:41 AM on August 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


At least Mefi-wise I've realized that I given myself permission to just "nope" on out

Everyone has the ability to nope out or avoid commenting in any given situation. Anything else is simply not an option. That being said, part of the draw of metafilter is that it, hopefully, encourages people to comment more than on cat memes and other oddball stuff, even when it's hard. Any squandering of the emotional or intellectual capital that it takes for those comments to be submitted is a risky and dangerous move.

Outstanding comments are what makes the site good and great and not just mediocre in my book. But, it's not your job to make them happen, no way, too much labor if you think like that.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:50 PM on August 28, 2019


Outstanding comments are what makes the site good and great and not just mediocre in my book.

Amplifying issues that are important to minority groups/voices/peoples is also something that gives me some sense of solace and a way to fight back against the river of shit we normally deal with in 2019. It is work, but it's work that I (and a few others I've noticed) actively do. It's worth acknowledging those people when they do that hard work, even if it's just a like or a "great job" or "this is a good post" kind of thing.
posted by Fizz at 2:02 PM on August 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


Thanks for this thread.

Came across this racially biased hate speech AI piece the other day. Thought it was wryly funny. Had to think about Mefi moderation & how it works to exclude all sorts of ways that people -- my friends -- tend to express themselves.

It's not even a criticism. I have no suggestions for how things should work otherwise. It's pretty obvious that to participate here you need to assimilate to White (preferably academic) culture. There's some space for a sort-of-friendly/sort-of-condescending/sort-of-irrelevant "diversity-of-the-gaps" around foodstuffs and folklore, but assimilation is how it really is. I don't see how that could be any different. Because assimilation is how it really is.

I carry around some ragged stories from a mottled past. Slavery, pride, cruelty, exile. Cling to them like bits of wreckage really. Because I recognize that's what they are; certainly to the folks that surround me. Bits of wreckage, perhaps holding some sentimental trinket value, but nothing substantial. Nothing substantial. Driftwood.

I've always been a drifter. Some places offer a sense of respite. But in the end they always end up reminding me that I'm well assimilated at best. Because assimilation is how it is. Over the years there have been people -- mean people, sometimes racist, sometimes just mean -- who felt good about telling me to "go home". I always laughed at them, at their blinkered outlook, at their failure to understand. Where should I go? My home is just the same as yours! I would say. Or something to that effect. But it's become a bit tiring. I'm tired, & well assimilated at best.

I wish I could go home.
posted by dmh at 5:53 PM on August 28, 2019 [9 favorites]


How do y'all deal with this?

My non-mefi work is heavily political, so I do what I want when I want to on here!

Might not work for everyone obviously; I'm lucky to feel like my day job (well, evenings and weekends job) is enough in that sense. But, you know, we should be happy when we can.

I do sometimes get a sense of fulfillment out of saying something on here or arguing with someone, but if it seems stressful I X out and I don't feel bad about it.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:20 AM on August 29, 2019 [4 favorites]


Thanks for making a new thread, Brandon Blatcher; ‘preciate it!

It's a constant calculation, and obviously can be exhausting and frustrating to constantly deal with.

This, 100%. There are days when I have the energy to engage, and days when I don’t. And thing is, I don’t think that most folks who aren’t marked realize: we don’t only encounter this crap online or on MeFi. We encounter it just by walking outside, turning on the TV/radio, logging into social media. If I get into RL kerfuffle over race or sexuality, then sometimes I’ve used up my fucks to give by the time I scroll through MeFi. Those days, it’s not even a Nope Out, I just close the tab/app and go do something else.

Perhaps we need a community buddy system, where people can just comment that they're noping out and asking for someone else to tag in on a particular post or comment.

Yes! Oddly enough, I have participated in another online community where a group of us did exactly that. If one person was just fed up with engaging with a poster, or wanted some extra citations, links, etc. to back up a point, they would ping the group and those of us who were around could give them some back up.

Life was really busy for me during the last open thread, so I didn’t have a chance to make this comment there. But here goes: One thing I find very dismal is the fact not being racist is considered to be this huge hurdle for users of the site to avoid. In fact, I remember one user framing it as this lefty culture thing that would be difficult for newcomers to get used to, or adhere to, and I guess might chase people away. And…really? Sigh.

There is this related thing that happens to me in real life…not frequently, but at least 4-5 times per year…where I’m in a group, and one member of the group forgets that I’m black. They tell a story or a joke or recount an anecdote, etc. and suddenly it gets very awkward. (It’s kind of boggling because, I’m rather obviously black, no ambiguity here folks.) Usually there is a scramble of “oh, I didn’t mean you” or “oh, I don’t think of you as black”, etc. and depending upon the group I either let it pass or do some schoolin’. But the thing is, in a text format like MeFi, you have time to pause and think through your comment, think about all of the types of people who might be in the metaphorical room, rephrase, and ultimately, you can step away from the keyboard and then come back and apologize if you need to.

I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth on plenty of occasions throughout my life and I learned pretty quick that you can say, “sorry I was a douchebag and I hurt you. I promise I won’t do that again.” And moving forward, you won’t do that again, you’ll do better. I guess it is still dismal and disappointing that that is too far a step or too heavy a lift for many folks.

Maybe I shouldn’t even post this comment, but. I guess I’m gonna.
posted by skye.dancer at 6:33 PM on August 29, 2019 [9 favorites]


Re deciding when to say something and when not: I'm inconsistent, honestly. Sometimes it just gets to me and then I take the 10 minutes to try to respond. Sometimes I don't feel like I have the ability at that moment to be nice about it, so I vent (whether publicly, semi-privately, privately) and hope someone else has more patience to say "That's not cool, here's why." (And yeah, I know, tone shouldn't be an issue that matters because we have to deal with these racial microaggressions already, they that dish it out should be able to take it back, but so many white people don't.) Sometimes I respond because I've seen somebody else get upset by the thing, so I've had a chance to brace myself before looking at the thing, and then I feel like I'm capable of raising the issue in the moment. Sometimes, I furiously fave people saying smart things countering the stupid thing. Sometimes, I just nope out, like you said.

On the "embracing my ethnicity positively" side, I'm hoping I have an excuse to be in proximity to Jollibee or FOB Kitchen this weekend because NOMs. :)
posted by Pandora Kouti at 8:56 AM on August 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


It almost seems like the opposite where people think norms like "not being racist" and "not assuming whiteness as default" are some odious hurdles to overcome. Again.

I wonder, also, if this affects some of our experiences of the space as either a community or just a place to visit to casually read cool links? dmh's lament above of just wanting to go home, of wishing there were a home to go to really resonated for me. Online spaces almost never give me a sense of comfort or relaxation because of pretty much all the reasons we've discussed in prior people of colour threads.

I am reminded of that post about the woman with the mushroom allergy whose in-laws refused to provide a mushroom-free dish for her at family dinners. It's boggling to believe that mushrooms are so essential to your identity that you can't make a single bowl of mashed potatos without adding mushroom powder, and yet.
posted by skye.dancer at 9:02 AM on August 30, 2019 [5 favorites]


Thanks for the thread, both to you, Brandon, and everyone still participating.

Perhaps we need a community buddy system, where people can just comment that they're noping out and asking for someone else to tag in on a particular post or comment.

I like this idea and would participate as best I am able.

It's not even a criticism. I have no suggestions for how things should work otherwise. It's pretty obvious that to participate here you need to assimilate to White (preferably academic) culture. There's some space for a sort-of-friendly/sort-of-condescending/sort-of-irrelevant "diversity-of-the-gaps" around foodstuffs and folklore, but assimilation is how it really is. I don't see how that could be any different.

I haven't been able to stop thinking about this since you said it, and it's part of why I've been quiet. I've looked the other way about a lot of things for a long time because you go along to get along, and more than anything else, I feel dirty for letting people off the hook. But at the same time, a certain amount of it is probably unavoidable, so I'm sort of stuck.

A similar feeling is a large part of why I'm not on other social media often. Still working through it about this place.

It almost seems like the opposite where people think norms like "not being racist" and "not assuming whiteness as default" are some odious hurdles to overcome. Again.

I noticed this too, and it's dismaying.
posted by mordax at 12:49 PM on August 31, 2019 [5 favorites]


Thank you for this thread, Brandon.

At least Mefi-wise I've realized that I given myself permission to just "nope" on out, when it's too much and just move on, with the understanding that I have dive in on something else, at some point. There was some guilt about that for a while, but really, it's the only practical way I can deal with this on Mefi and life in general, so, that's that.

Yup. This is how I am operating these days too. I do feel guilty about it but I also recognize it’s the best thing for my mental health.

Perhaps we need a community buddy system, where people can just comment that they're noping out and asking for someone else to tag in on a particular post or comment.

I think this is a great idea. I’m in.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:03 PM on August 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


I've got a bit of a family emergency happening at an already really stressful time of year, so I've been a bit less active on various internet venues of late. That said, chiming in random things my exhausted brain caught in skimming things today:

1). YES get your skin checked, friends! I had a basal cell carcinoma removed when I was a teen. Even the dermatologist thought it was nothing, because people like me "don't burn." They were floored and sheepish when they called back to schedule an operation, and after many years or wrestling with this I now think it's kind of cool to have a scar on my face. Also I stopped going to the beach or basically being in the sun at all and that gave me, like, a 20-year skincare head start on many of my peers and now I'm routinely estimated to be about 15 years younger than I actually am, which is ego-boosting.

2). I fucking loathed Friends and its toxic fantasy of an all-white New York City that passed on to shit like Sex and the City and Girls but decided it wasn't worth wading into the FPP with my haterade.

Love to y'all, and if anyone could spare some good luck I'd happily take it.
posted by TwoStride at 9:05 PM on August 31, 2019 [7 favorites]


Good luck, TwoStride. I’m sorry you’re dealing with tough times in your family!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:10 AM on September 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


Regarding #2, I would have found your perspective to be an interesting and valuable contribution to the conversation even if it was perceived by some to be "haterade." I actually think that pointing out racism is positive. It's not as if the racism or the perception of racism didn't exist before you expressed it. This thread - which i see as a positive development - is the result of someone objecting to racism.

This is not to put any pressure on you to post it. I had similar feelings about Friends but also decided not to wade in, so i'm with you there.
posted by yaymukund at 7:04 AM on September 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


Totally relate. My Mexican grandmother would show my sister and me her favorite movies when we would stay with her as kids, which included Glory, a movie about the Civil War starring Matthew Broderick as some sort of white savior/pariah. She also loved Vibes, which was about Cyndi Lauper and Jeff Goldblum playing psychics in South America (I think?). Fond memories of all of them, even if I wouldn't really watch any of them now.

Can also relate! My Chinese granny loved afternoon reruns of action tv shows (I think because you didn’t need to know English very well to be able to follow them) and my brother and I would watch them with her after school. We would watch The A-Team, The Saint, and Kung Fu, starring David Carradine in yellow face. I mean really! But still, those shows evoke a warm nostalgia because I remember cuddling with Granny on the couch while we watched them.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:23 PM on September 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


Interesting to hear about the Friends thread. I now feel somewhat vindicated in my decision to skip it.

I might be making this up after the fact. I suspect if you had asked me beforehand why I didn't read those, I would probably have said that I didn't particularly know or care much about Friends.

But, after the fact, yeah, I don't have to work particularly hard to rationalize the observation that MeFi didn't "do well" a discussion about a massively popular TV show being problematic.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 11:14 PM on September 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


Part of what is so important about threads/spaces like this is how they decenter whiteness. My teaching and research in a nutshell is "this thing our profession does is actually exclusionary and not inclusionary (intent isn't magic) so how do we address racist and/or classist structures in the field" and it has been so amazing to do this at a university that is majority students of color (primarily Latinx) because it is a different ball game entirely when people get systemic racism.

I would be interested in helping pull together some more resources, for BIPOC and for white MeFi users. What are resources (like a buddy system) that can help MeFi-ites who might show up already exhausted from engaging with societal racism? I just took a workshop on Language Justice and it was fabulous.

I see a page for "systemic racism" on the MeFi wiki, but not any other racism/racialization resources. I'm also up for (not right this week but maybe over the end of year holidays?) working with others who want to improve and increase 101 and 201 resources for folks who are still struggling with what comes after "I don't think I'm racist, but I just was informed that a thing I wrote is racist" or "I acknowledge there is systemic racism but I am white and I don't know what to do" Too often I see people give up ("this is so hard to get right!") or get mired in self-centering guilt.
posted by spamandkimchi at 8:21 AM on September 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


I think the book would also be relevant to people who don't live in the U.S., especially if they're not used to being around people who aren't of their particular color, and thus mostly conceive of race relations in the abstract.

I agree, but maybe not quite for the same reasons you mean.

Oluo's book is written about race in the U.S. Racism in other places probably shares the underlying dynamic of a powerful in-group establishing norms that exclude or disadvantage others. But the details will be different.

For someone in, say, China, I suspect the sections on affirmative action*, the school-to-prison pipeline, touching people's hair, and saying "the N word" will not be directly relevant. They'll more be a primer on how to avoid accidentally participating in U.S.-style racism on the Metafilter.

* Now that I think about it, Oluo's book probably isn't even about race in America so much as anti-black racism in America. At least among many of the Chinese Americans I know in New York, affirmative action is a much more fraught topic, given the perennial hand-wringing about the Asian population in Stuyvesant.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 6:32 AM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


thank you for starting another one of these threads.

my kids started school today, and I had a meeting with my oldest's son school counselor about plan of action if he encountered racism from a teacher or fellow students, again. I want to cautiously say that things went well, but I am disheartened that we even have to have a "in case your teacher is racist, do this" plan in place. JFC, if you identified as a white person, never tell a POC how to feel about a racist term.

also, I also "nope" out of threads sometimes. There is one asking about Vietnamese/Indian/Thai cooking, and it just rubbed me the wrong way. Excuse me, they are three different regions of Asia with very different cuisines, there isn't some blanket spices to use for all of them. And also, the only "special" cooking tool I use is probably chopsticks.
posted by alathia at 2:02 PM on September 4, 2019 [8 favorites]


I came across this today and immediately thought about bringing it here rather than the blue: Writer Adele Lim leaves Crazy Rich Asians Sequal After Learning Her White Co-Author Made 10x Her Salary.
posted by TwoStride at 7:12 PM on September 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


Can I just say that Dakota Fanning as a white muslim Ethiopian refugee is beyond the beyond? WTF?
posted by Mrs Potato at 1:08 AM on September 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Well I mean how else can people understand Africa unless we focus on white people? /s
posted by TwoStride at 2:27 PM on September 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


Hello! I took a month off Mefi and am slowly coming back. Haven't read through the whole thread yet but I figured I'd pop in and say hi :)
posted by divabat at 7:56 PM on September 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


Well I mean how else can people understand Africa unless we focus on white people? /s

Even this centering is now only an American only thing tbh as every other country recognizes the centrality of the African and her experience as the driving core of the understanding of the contemporary African continent.
posted by Mrs Potato at 6:11 AM on September 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


jj's.mama, are you familiar with Azie Dungey of the (amazing!) "Ask a Slave" YouTube series? She has a really moving This American Life segment about her time working as an interpreter at Mount Vernon.
posted by TwoStride at 6:58 PM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


OMG "Ask A Slave" is THE BEST. So satisfying.
posted by TwoStride at 5:13 AM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]


So the Current 'Weird' Foods MeFi thread is...

I mean it's from a Buzzfeed Listicle that originated in a Reddit thread so "Fruit of The Poisoned Tree" and all that but sheesh...

MeFiite 1: Hahahahahaha !! Listen this food combination is SO GROSS!?!?!

MeFite 2: Actually it's a fairly common combination in Country X and the dish is called Y ..

MeFite 1: SOOOO GROSS AND WHO WOULD EVEN EAT THAT AMITIRE?? LOL !!


*Beyond Frustrating* I just gah!
posted by Faintdreams at 7:50 AM on September 9, 2019 [4 favorites]


Sweet potato fries are evil.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:59 PM on September 9, 2019


aww I like sweet potato fries
posted by divabat at 4:38 PM on September 9, 2019 [3 favorites]


Team sweet potato fries here, too.
posted by TwoStride at 5:05 PM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]


I am not a fan of sweet potato fries and have had a visceral hatred of ranch dressing for 30 years but even I have a hard time pinning those strictly on white people.

Tex Mex on the other hand...
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:53 PM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yep. I tried to point this out early in the thread, but to approximately no avail.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 7:48 PM on September 9, 2019 [2 favorites]


So I was looking forward to reading an in-depth interview with Constance Wu in The Guardian, and the second photo in the article is a photo of Sonoya Mizuno (in the wedding dress), with the caption, "Wu as Rachel Chu in Crazy Rich Asians. Photograph: Warner Bros" and I'm just too furious to finish it.
posted by creepygirl at 10:17 PM on September 9, 2019 [3 favorites]


Now i’m afraid
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:45 PM on September 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


FWIW, a lot of that comment was consistent with my own experience as a "heritage" Chinese language learner. Especially if all your older relatives are fluent and literate in at least two mutually unintelligible dialects of Chinese and, after arriving here, learned English, it can be hard to understand or accept how hard logograms can be.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 8:38 PM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Have y'all seen the article in the New Yorker by Corey Robin about Clarence Thomas? (excerpt from his new book)
posted by skye.dancer at 11:34 AM on September 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Link doesn’t go anywhere (article).
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:47 AM on September 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Sorry for the borked link, folks. Thanks for correcting it, rather be jorting!
posted by skye.dancer at 5:11 PM on September 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think I just had a comment deleted from the "weird American practices" AskMe. Is there a more perfect sketch of race relations on Metafilter in 2019 than the mods deleting Asian American answers from an AskMe about what American practices would be interesting and valuable to tell a Korean?

Granted, I can't tell for sure because, of course, no mod note. I guess it could just have been another one I drafted on the subway and forgot to actually post after I got internet. :-/

Anyway, retyped it and included a link to the Atlantic for evidence. The mods like the Atlantic, right?

Not sure if the cost/benefit ratio of this place is going up, or just my cutoff.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 10:44 AM on September 15, 2019 [5 favorites]


Does anyone want to make a post on Packer's new article in the Atlantic "When the Culture War Comes for the Kids"?

I am enormously unqualified to contextualize it, and I suspect there's a lot of context that should be given.

I guess I want to hear that article discussed, but I don't feel qualified to start that discussion.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 11:20 PM on September 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


meaty shoe puppet - as a parent, I couldn't finish the article because I actually blacked out with rage. OMG the privilege dripping from the words.
posted by alathia at 8:12 AM on September 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


I started to read that new SNL threat and placed a bet with myself about when/who would show up to complain about Michael Che, and I won!
posted by TwoStride at 7:54 PM on September 18, 2019 [4 favorites]


That Shane Gillis stuff made me so mad. Not the thread, I mean Shane Gillis himself. I swear for an hour I went down a rabbit hole of reading articles about him. I cannot fathom all the people rushing to defend him. GAH.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:20 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Hey all! I'm so grateful for all of you. The existence of these three threads has been really important for me... it helps me not feel as alone as I sometimes do on this site.

Yesterday I was disappointed to read the rage fantasy of Michael Vick's death I found posted in the thread about the dogs rescued from his property. I'm so glad that his operation was stopped and that the dogs went on to safer and happier lives, but it sucks to be reminded that white people often appear to care more for their pets than they do about the rest of us.
posted by el gran combo at 11:35 AM on September 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


To follow up, the mods did kindly delete the Michael Vick comment I'd mentioned :D
posted by el gran combo at 2:27 PM on September 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


I didn't want to ask this in the singular they thread, because there's enough in there about various logistical difficulties with adopting singular they in an environment where that's not the norm. But I am curious:

For those of you who don't "look like native English speakers", how often do people interpret your use of singular they as a sign that you don't understand how to decline for number?

I haven't been explicitly corrected all that many times, but it has happened, and I assume that for every person who actually tells me I'm doing it wrong, there will be several more who just silently mark me off a few points in their heads.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 8:54 PM on September 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


I used to get the occasional compliment on how well I spoke English (my native tongue), but that's died out in the last 15 years or so. Progress? Or maybe it's just because I've stepped up, to borrow rather be jorting's delightfully accurate description, my Gilmore Girls-esque talking speed.
posted by TwoStride at 8:13 AM on September 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Yeah, your comment definitely reflects how I feel about recent events, anem0ne.
posted by mordax at 9:52 AM on September 23, 2019


Okay, fam, y'all have to hold me back from commenting in the IBM software engineering thread. Seriously. I saw how it went for me in that RMS thread, and yeah. Somebody hide my phone, okay?
posted by skye.dancer at 10:17 AM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


Re: IBM - I hear ya. :(

Also, hooboy, that environmentalism thread. I went ahead and called someone out in it, but I think I'm done with the Blue for awhile.

And if the next State of the Site update doesn't include plausible baby steps for addressing race issues, I'm probably going to need a new hangout.
posted by mordax at 4:13 PM on September 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


I was way too tired to try to even follow what was going on in the environmentalism thread. I'm likewise too tired, I think, for the Black classical music post.
posted by TwoStride at 6:26 PM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


That environmentalism thread had me so pissed that I actually posted in it. Now I'm posting here as a POC about how pissed I am! No greater insight here except that I am pissed off.
posted by Mister Cheese at 10:17 PM on September 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


it never would have occurred to me to assume people are silently lowering their estimations of me for seemingly not following appropriate-to-their-ears declension.

Wow, really? This is a constant thing for me. Maybe I'm just surrounded by prescriptivists? I get my grammar and pronunciation corrected a fair amount. I also get people trying to switch to Mandarin, which I barely speak and they speak even more poorly, or starting conversations by asking if I speak English (this has happened while I was writing a big label in English).

Anyway, +1 for how much this thread has improved my MeFi experience. Besides just knowing that I am not alone here, this has also been a good forum for the kind of check above, which I don't otherwise have many opportunities to get.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 6:00 AM on September 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it's pretty much racism all the way down. The pedantry just happens to be the vehicle.

Although I guess I should be glad this isn't a universal experience? So there's hope...somewhere.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 8:39 PM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to speak up before this thread closes to say hi, I’m listening. I’ve spoken up in a bunch of previous racism-related MeTas, including the companion to the original POC-only thread, but I’ve been pretty burned out + dealing with some mental health stuff which has killed my ability to do more than lurk. But I wanted to say thanks to everyone who’s been keeping these threads running, whether by posting or commenting. Hopefully I’ll see you in thread #4?
posted by bettafish at 3:37 PM on September 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


Hello! I also just wanted to say hi before this POC thread closes. I've been occasionally checking Metafilter and thinking about what happened at the State of the Site thread, etc. I'm really heartened by the presence of the thread itself, and so grateful that it exists and will continue on (thanks, brandon blatcher!)

In the SoTS thread, I wrote a few comments arguing about white supremacy that created heated conversation, to put it neutrally. I feel a mix of strong guilt and apologeticness about my words and comments in the past thread -- not because I think I was wrong, but because I felt like an instigator through the messenger of bad news, revealing issues that were latent, and stirring shit up (even if the racist shit had always been there, created by others). I definitely didn't want people to button, and felt so sad when that happened! I also feel a sense of relief and clarity and solidarity that I said something that I rang true to me, and rang true with some people.

So to fellow POC mefites: I'm sorry, and thank you.

==

A few things that happened to me over the past month or two:

- I visited a high school friend who's white-moderate-liberal-racist, and had some difficult heated conversations, while also realizing that they're still a friend that I care for, and they're a friend that cares about me

- I visited family/friends in Korea for a few weeks, where I partially grew up, and re-experienced what it's like to be in a country where I wasn't perceived as a racial Other. This was actually so surprising and amazing and deeply emotional for me .. especially when I came back to the US/NYC and was shocked to look at the US and it's racism with a deep clarity that I rarely get when I live here.

- I watched Slave Play on Broadway in NYC, which...... if you can see it, you should go (it's not what you think it's about). It was incredible and cathartic and (I think) ultimately empowering. There's a single line in it that changed my mind about dealing with whiteness.

As a result, over the past few months, I've been having so many more good conversations with white friends about race than I've ever had.

==

All in all I think I've decided to stay here at Metafilter, at least for a bit. I'm determined to treat this place as a version or microcosm of the world. I'll have conversations here that push back against whiteness and racism with firm clarity and generous compassion. Sometimes I might be snarky and angry. Hopefully I can work through this with grace.

I care about Metafilter and other Mefites here, and I also care about fully revealing & dealing with the white supremacy and racism that I've internalized. I think the only way out is through.

Thanks for listening to some of my thoughts. Looking forward to the next POC thread and wishing everyone a restful weekend. <3
posted by suedehead at 5:15 PM on September 27, 2019 [7 favorites]


I feel a mix of strong guilt and apologeticness about my words and comments in the past thread -- not because I think I was wrong, but because I felt like an instigator through the messenger of bad news, revealing issues that were latent, and stirring shit up (even if the racist shit had always been there, created by others).

For what it's worth, telling the truth about what's going on was the right thing to do, and the resulting shitstorm was not your fault. ('Pretend the low grade shit we're pulling is okay or we'll turn on you completely' is a classic toxic dynamic between people with privilege and people without, and a number of posters here definitely subscribe to that worldview.)

You were right to point stuff out. I'm unhappy I have neither the time nor energy to raise more of a fuss than I do, frankly.
posted by mordax at 5:48 PM on September 27, 2019 [4 favorites]


suedehead, I'd love to hear more of your thoughts about Slave Play, which I've heard very mixed things about and amy dying to see (but am too far from NYC to make it easy).
posted by TwoStride at 9:46 PM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ugh. suedehead, those issues were in no way your fault-- and they weren't exactly latent either, for that matter. Thomas Paine's Crisis called out the whole "Well! give me peace in my day" attitude centuries ago, but that same sentiment was on full display in the reactions to your comment.

Later, the Trudeau blackface/brownface thread had a comment or two about the dangers of "accidentally" seeming racist (by, say, singing a Harry Belafonte song) that I felt were comically missing the point-- and then I remembered that there was a similar sort of pushback during the boyzone era. ("What, I can't say 'hi' to any woman ever again?")

MetaFilter got some productive results from its "Shroedinger's rapist" threads, but I don't think it's anywhere near ready for a similar "Shroedinger's racist" conversation.

Uh, anyway I've been bogged down by work. Even before that I'd gone into yet another MetaFilter thread about North American "meritocracy" and came away with the distinct feeling that it was a waste of my time. (The post title is taken from a book that the linked article never mentioned, you see. Also, my pointing out that the idea of meritocracy is factually wrong/easily refutable will not overcome other people's beliefs and faith, so why try? By the time I got back to that thread and saw that I'd have to unpack a whole different layer of context, I just realized that I'd done this before, and why in the world was I expecting anything to change in the first place?

(Even before THAT I had said that I'd stay out of these threads from now on-- not because the threads are a bad thing, but because I thought that just speaking my piece in MetaFilter proper would work out, right? Ha ha ha.)

Only later did I actually watch the video of Robin DiAngelo summing up concepts from her own book White Fragility, and oh look, meritocracy is a sore point (~minute 56, but the whole video is worth watching)!

Sorry. I'm not trying to be pessimistic! I'm not leaving, I'm not giving up. This summer has given me a renewed sense of how... inertial this site is about racial issues. I still wouldn't recommend this place to my friends and family, and I still think that's a shame (and the comically obvious flipside to the "why can't we get more new members?" issue).
posted by tyro urge at 11:45 PM on September 27, 2019 [6 favorites]


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