Person of Color thread #4 September 30, 2019 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Metafilter's fourth open thread for discussions by people of color.

I'm cribbing Brandon Blatcher's excellent format for this post - all of the material after this is just a C&P from the ones he did earlier - and I'm only posting in case nobody else had the time or energy to do so yet.

This is Mefi's fourth person of color thread (1, 2, 3). 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!

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 mordax to MetaFilter-Related at 12:36 PM (31 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

There was so much I wanted to say in response to this thread: Stories About My Brother, about Prachi Gupta's brother. My wife mentioned it to me because we've discussed my own experience with dating, with being short, with having Indian heritage and growing up in America, I just didn't have the spoons for it.

I just wanted to acknowledge that here. Like, that post has been sitting in the back of my mind for some while now and I've been typing out comments in my head but I just don't have the energy to share all of the screaming thoughts in my brain.
posted by Fizz at 1:16 PM on September 30, 2019 [7 favorites]

Thank you for starting this thread. I may not post that much in these threads for POC but I read them all. I like having this space that I know won't be invaded with "Well, actually..." and hurt white fragility.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:49 PM on September 30, 2019 [10 favorites]

I enjoyed the material and commentary in the Okra/Food thread as well as that of the Shinnecock people and their struggles against climate change and shitty treatment in general.

Not much more to say currently that I can recall but I appreciate the thread and all you folks commenting and reading the same.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:56 PM on September 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thanks, Mordax!

One kind of bright spot in the US today: Amber Guyger (the Texas cop who murdered a man in his own apartment because she accidentally walked in on him) was found guilty of murder. It's a really striking commentary that across my feed, there's been so much disbelief that justice actually seemed to prevail for once.
posted by TwoStride at 3:50 PM on October 1, 2019 [10 favorites]

Also I'm having another of those jarring moments when my Black social media feed was full of Jessye Norman tributes yesterday, and the obit post on the blue is barely a blip.
posted by TwoStride at 4:00 PM on October 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

I continue to feel that largely white crowds are far shittier about people having religious feels than largely non-white ones, and that when they think about other people having religious beliefs, they are thinking about white people with religion rather than nonwhite people with religion. But I no longer have any hope that will ever change. So this is really just here as essentially a period.
posted by corb at 3:13 PM on October 3, 2019 [4 favorites]

RIP Diahann Caroll
posted by Mrs Potato at 11:30 AM on October 4, 2019 [7 favorites]

I just made an obit post for Diahann Carroll, Mrs Potato. What an amazing woman.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:32 PM on October 5, 2019 [5 favorites]

AskMe was a great resource when I was in high school and college trying to learn the implicit knowledge that, I think, most upper-middle-class white people get from their families.

Now that I'm married to a white woman, though, I'm realizing that AskMe is mostly great for teaching me to ape white and white-collar norms. It is not even passable at suggesting, or teaching me to find, mutually satisfactory compromises between white and Chinese norms. That is not what most Mefites do with Chinese people.

As a specific example (the precipitating example, in fact), yesterday I pulled a neck bone out of the stock and started sucking the gristly bits off it. My wife told me that was disgusting, told me to stop, and then left the room and refused to come back to dinner until I was done.

For her, this is an isolated incident. She individually does not want me to do this one thing, which she detests from people of all races, including her father.

For me, this is part of a larger trend that we all saw recently in the durian thread and before that in school cafeterias. A trend I definitely don't want my wife reproducing for our children in their own home.

So I thought about asking Metafilter...and I realized that this is not a question Metafilter would do well.

And now I'm kind of...mourning? For a long time AskMe had a pretty good chance of answering any question I asked. Now I understand that that was more a result of which questions I chose to ask it. It feels a bit like finding out that your teachers don't know everything.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 7:27 AM on October 6, 2019 [20 favorites]

Maybe we need a navigational PoC/BIPOC ask me thread?
posted by Mrs Potato at 8:26 AM on October 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

I’m sick to my stomach with the bossy hectoring in the Facebook thread. I got called out and was told:

My family and I are unethical and are capable of casually killing puppies.
“No one wants to change but fuck, if every time you picked up the phone to call your relative, a puppy was killed, yeah I know some people would shrug and say "so what, make more puppies" but people who lived on a ethical plane would find alternatives.”

I’m not trying hard enough. My elderly parents and other family members are judged and found wanting. My parents were doctors; they dictated everything. They just never developed a feel for computers.
“Nonsense. You think pre-Facebook no one spoke to their loved ones? It's just the most convenient. There are other social networks that work just as effectively without the horseshit. You just have to take the initiative to get everyone on board. And yes, I know that's not easy, but it's far from impossible.

My mother is 77 and one of the most tech-illiterate people I've ever met in my life, yet she uses Telegram and Ello without issue.”

I’m frustrated with the lack of empathy, the inability to understand what it’s like to have a large, global family. Not all of them are rich, not all of us speak the same language, we’re not on the same continent, we’re not in the same time zone, making tech service impossible. Making a phone call to/from the antipodes costs more money than some of my relatives can easily budget. Some are quite old, don’t like surprises, and nap a lot. Being able to post at their convenience is powerful. Being able to take their time writing in a non-native language is powerful. To get a response from a grand niece or nephew in a few hours? My titas cried the first time that happened. When they left the Philippines and moved to Europe and North American, they couldn’t afford phone calls, film was expensive, and mailing packages was, too. But now they can see the newest grandchild immediately.

It’s midnight and I’m sitting in bed, crying with frustration, furious. I’m not sure what more I want to say. I’m also not sure if I want to be here on Metafilter anymore, either.
posted by lemon_icing at 4:50 AM on October 8, 2019 [13 favorites]

Ugh, that thread is gross. And, per usual, the pushback was extremely mild. I'm beginning to wish that mods would never address us as "folks."

I'm sorry, lemon_icing.
posted by TwoStride at 5:22 AM on October 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Ugh, that thread is gross. And, per usual, the pushback was extremely mild.

I read that thread and just closed the site for the day. I'm increasingly convinced I need somewhere else to be, just haven't figured out where yet.
posted by mordax at 10:35 AM on October 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the kind words. I thought I might go back and explain just how spread my family is but realised it doesn’t matter.

posted by lemon_icing at 12:53 PM on October 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

Thanks for the kind words.

You matter.

Anyone interested in having one for us?

I'd be down for that.

Sorry about the work situation, too. :(
posted by mordax at 7:52 PM on October 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Is it just me.. or is the 'Black Magic/ Black Sorcery' thread kinda.. exhausting?

I don't mean the actual thread itself, just the title and the inference that science/physics the 'average person' can't immediately understand is 'Black Magic' is just so .. problematic

Here's the original thread I'm referring to for context:

I can't tell if I'm being over-sensative.
posted by Faintdreams at 2:46 AM on October 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

primalux, it does feel like the white/middle-upper class/academic/educated default has been slowly slipping back into place. I’d like to add to your summary: USA-centric and mono-lingual.

That is what I didn’t express earlier: the complications of language. Many, if not most, of my younger relatives (first gen non-Filipino) do not speak the same language and are not fluent in their parents’ tongue. Amongst the older gen, the majority are spread across Tagalog (national language of the Philippines) and two dialects. I am only fluent in Visaya and barely understand Tagalog. The American/Canadians and British cousins often struggle with each other, ffs! I speak Spanish, so I can navigate with the Spaniards and Italians. But my French is schoolgirl level, and my German is abysmal. My brain doesn’t work at all with Portuguese.

Why this big breakdown? Because there were so many judgy, off-handed comments about “just pick up the phone and call, you lazy FB-lover you! There was life before FB”. You know what that life was like? Kids acting as translators.

But . . . everyone in my family can write and read (with difficulty) English. So having a platform where one can take their time reading and writing to communicate directly across generations and languages is intimate and powerful.

So is this a BIPOC issue? Or a white, middle-class, live near my mom, and only speak one language issue?
posted by lemon_icing at 11:50 AM on October 9, 2019 [12 favorites]

White progressives do indeed uphold and perpetrate racism, but our defensiveness and certitude make it virtually impossible to explain to us how we do so.

This is how I've decided to stop talking about Star Trek here, and probably stop using Fanfare entirely. I keep bumping into white people who think that because white liberals mean well, they should be above criticism and cannot possibly behave in racist ways.

Not everybody: the regulars were, in fact, fantastic, and do understand all this, white or otherwise. There's just been enough times I've had to go over race essentialism and associated ways even a liberal product can be bad that I'm just... tired, and ready to move on with my life.

primalux, yep, I also wonder: so, what else is happening?

Same. These threads are a decent first step, but more actual changes are necessary.
posted by mordax at 4:15 PM on October 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

mordax, I pretty much stopped using Fanfare because I got sick of the constant (not-so-)sub-current of misogynoir/antiblackness and other racism, so I feel you. It’s interesting how if a show is flawed or just plain mediocre but centered on white characters, it’s a perfectly acceptable problematic fave or guilty pleasure, but if it’s centered on or even has significant supporting black characters, especially black women, then suddenly it’s just plain bad! And those actors are always the worst ones in the ensemble! And if it’s part of a franchise, well, it’s Not Really Franchise and we must rehash the truth of this in every. Single. Episode thread.

(I really want to be happier about the upcoming Picard show than I actually am, but even if it’s a trainwreck spewing its cargo of flaming turds everywhere, you know the response will still be, “Hey, it needs work, but at least Real Star Trek is back!”)
posted by bettafish at 5:54 PM on October 12, 2019 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I remember you and I trying to explain the baggage surrounding Danny Pink's treatment to someone in a Doctor Who thread one time. That was... disheartening. (And I agree with everything else you said as well.)
posted by mordax at 1:09 AM on October 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the link!

I was a bit surprised to see the claim that these new pages were the result of email consultations, as they seem very much written for the majority. Was anyone in this thread consulted?
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 11:31 AM on October 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I did not know the US had Indigenous Peoples Day; I’m glad I know that now. Looking it up, I just learned the US still has “Columbus Day” as the name of the federal holiday, yikes. Canada’s Aboriginal Day is June 21 but it’s not a federal holiday, though there are people pushing for it to be and I definitely think it should be.

I have read the new site guidelines now, and I think they’re a good step forward. I was actually wondering what had happened with that and was thinking of making a Metatalk post to ask, and lo and behold here is an update. I was impressed at how many things they included that have been lacking in the past.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:43 AM on October 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

This piece from Mother Jones frustrated me so much I had to read it in chunks. The title says it all: The Whitewashing of “#WhitePeopleDoingYoga”.
posted by lemon_icing at 10:43 PM on October 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

I wanted to post that when I read it because it seemed so obvious and then I read the comments and realized that it would probably be a mess.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:35 PM on October 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

Agreed; this is the only place I felt safe enough to share.
posted by lemon_icing at 1:29 AM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

I hadn't read that Mother Jones piece before, and yet it felt so familiar. SIGH.
posted by TwoStride at 6:27 AM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

hi all, I just wanted to pop back in to say bye real quick. I've stopped posting many times in the past but this time it looks final. I hope that my writing has provided some comfort to the more irritated members out there and I wish you all the best. ♥

- yaymukund
posted by i like crows very much at 3:53 AM on October 23, 2019 [7 favorites]

I'll miss you, yaymukund.
posted by TwoStride at 5:23 AM on October 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

I hope that my writing has provided some comfort to the more irritated members out there and I wish you all the best. ♥

Your contributions mattered, and I wish you the best too. Obligatory mention of the POC Slack, if you're up for it on your way out of here.

posted by mordax at 4:16 PM on October 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

I’ll miss you too, yaymukund. Thank you for all you’ve contributed...take care.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:35 PM on October 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Does anyone else get a little eye-twitchy at the people who love to invoke Brer Rabbit in the politics megathreads?
posted by TwoStride at 9:57 PM on October 26, 2019 [4 favorites]

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