#poctakeover January 13, 2020 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Have you noticed an increase in posts about race by people of color lately? It’s not just your imagination. Come and learn about our #poctakeover initiative, and our major takeaways in trying to provide a vision of what a site truly inclusive of people of color would look like.

For the past few weeks, members of the MetaPoC slack have been posting FPPs under the tag #poctakeover, as well as its auxiliary tag, #drowningoutwhitevoices. We created this initiative because we were interested in seeing what a Metafilter that was truly inclusive of people of color would look like. Racial identity and privilege has not always been discussed well on the site. This creates a lot of stress for members of color. Posting a link or comment requires a lot of strategizing: how do we best frame the discussion to avoid racist derails and microaggressions? Are our experiences really going to be well-received by white people on the site? In other words, even simple acts of engagement on this site often require a lot more energy from people of color than white people, hindering the extent to which we can be involved.

To combat this, we decided to project a vision of what Metafilter could be like if it didn’t place constant stress on its members of color. To us, this meant a lot more posts about race. To white people, race might be a special and occasional topic, but to us, these are our everyday lives and experiences - a truly inclusive site would have constant and abundant discussions about our experiences. Moreover, this meant widening the range of voices on race. Instead of carefully curating topics that we knew would be received well by white people, we decided to also post topics that might be too challenging or “fun” for white people. To us, this would show what the site would look like if people of color felt free to share their interests without intense strategizing and scrutiny: in addition to well-researched and sourced posts, there would also be more posts that were controversial and meant to solicit healthy discussion between people of color, and more posts that were fun reflections of our communities that weren’t really meant to make any deep commentaries on race.

While there are far too many posts and participants for us to highlight, here are some of my favorite samples: For more, please check out the tag #poctakeover!

A look at the labor behind the scenes

On paper, “ignore the contentious history the site has had with members of colors” seems simple. In practice, getting our members past these justifiable concerns was a challenge. Many MetaPoC members were anxious about being vulnerable, and then having that vulnerability betrayed by racism, micro-aggressions, or derails. To combat these concerns, we adopted a non-hierarchical model of collective support. We created a dedicated channel in our slack where members interested in the initiative could get feedback on drafts, call for support where the discussion was getting contentious, vent about problems in an empathetic space, and discuss more nuanced aspects of posts that they were too afraid to talk about openly in the more white-dominated main site.

In practice, our community-orientated model was very effective at getting people to feel more comfortable with opening up on Metafilter. For example, one reason why many members of color were hesitant to post topics relating to race was because they felt obliged to defend themselves and educate white people in the aftermath of racist comments. In other words, posting a FPP often means having to sit around and budget time and energy into education. By diffusing these expectations into a collective, members were enabled to say, “I don’t have the energy to defend myself right now: can someone else step in?” Moreover, no one person had to be made responsible for the bulk of any one post’s education or defense - the effort could be split up between multiple people. In other words, we were able to lower the effort a member of color expected to invest in a post, reducing the barrier to entry.

However, the labor that went into keeping up this support was intense. MetaPoC members provided countless hours of volunteer time in making sure people were supported. When concerns arose, multiple members took it upon themselves to provide feedback, reassurance, and support in virtually every instance. While we were all glad to do this, we wanted to emphasize the amount of labor currently required to support the full engagement of members of color on this site. In almost every post, we witnessed that mefites would attempt to derail the conversation to center white people, make ignorant or contentious racist remarks, or just generally be nasty. Our members had to be constantly vigilant to respond to these incidents: because we often had multiple active posts up at the same time, we felt like we were responding to a constant barrage of racism, which resulted in feelings of exhaustion and burn-out for many members.

A note of thanks to the moderators

We would like to thank the moderation team for their extensive attention to the initiative. While we did not inform the staff of #poctakeover, and we were independent throughout, we noticed that the moderators stepped up their game in response to us. We noticed many deletions that we were pleasantly surprised by: the moderators did a good job in responding to subtle patterns that we thought would go overlooked. Some of the deleted comments involved microaggressions or patterns that looked innocent on the surface: calling for peace and colorblindness in response to PoC being assertive about what bothered them about comments, complaining about how experiences of race were “too complicated” for well-meaning white people to understand or whitesplaining racism, or dictating what PoC should be doing from the perspective of “woke” white people, for example.

One point of discussion in our slack, which we do not fully have the answer or even a consensus about, but we would like to raise because it highlights challenges in the moderation response, is whether racist comments should be deleted. Some members of our collective were in favor of deletion, because they would allow discussions to rerail. But other members brought up the issue that it prevented them from seeing who the perpetrators of these remarks were, so they could see which members they needed to be wary of in respect to racial issues in the future. Collectively, we can see both sides, so we don’t have a clear cut request or direction to this complex issue.

One aspect that would help in for Metafilter’s long-term future is to have a PoC moderator, as well as further anti-bias / anti-racism training and self-learning by the moderators. It’s important to envision how making the site inclusive also needs to happen on a structural level and at the mod level.

What can white mefites do better on?

A lot.

But as for more specific and actionable feedback, we noticed that a lot of the problems stemmed from (mostly white) mefites not having knowledge of or much to say about racial experiences, but deciding to take up space anyway. We saw this manifest in several ways:

1. Taking the small portion of the conversation you do understand and have opinions about and amplifying it to be the entire conversation, even when it is tangential to the points being made. This was a major issue in jj’s.mama’s post about tamales as a Christmas-time tradition: motivated by the title of one of the links, a white member wrote a generic comment against cultural appropriation, which many mefites of color were hurt by, especially as it propped up Japanese-American people as a thought experiment, to the point that members of color no longer felt comfortable sharing their experiences. As members of color pointed out, cultural appropriation was not even the main topic at hand, and the one link discussing it even concluded that people of many different backgrounds should feel welcome to the tradition.

In our vision of a better Metafilter, people of color would have space to exchange experiences, so that we can feel reaffirmed by each other’s presence, compare and contrast our cultures, and enrich each other. It becomes very difficult for us to do this when people are constantly entering the room to use the topic as a soapbox and referendum on very general ideas of race: it immediately reinforces that this space is not for us, often repeats racist language or behaviors that we’re already used to seeing on a constant basis, and puts us on the defensive. We get that white people may need spaces to process their thinking about race out loud, but doing so is often directly at odds with creating space for nuanced discussion between people of color. Please be mindful of where and when you choose to do this.

2. Paternalism. Remember that on Metafilter especially, you are engaging with some very smart people of color. Framing your comments with the premise that people of color don’t know better and need to be lectured to is offensive: we saw many instances of people feeling like they have to step in and make certain comments under the premise that people of color don’t know better and need to be saved. In general, if you find yourself disagreeing with us, instead of assuming that we do not know better, try to understand why. We probably have experiences or backgrounds that let us see more nuance on topics of race. Immediately rushing to correct us prevents you from learning from our experiences, assuming that we are even willing to bother articulating our experiences and thinking in the face of demonstrated unwillingness to learn.

We found this particularly problematic in stoneweaver’s post on spiritual traditions among people of color: several members immediately took a stance denouncing these traditions, calling them snake-oil or anti-scientific. Even if there is a point to be made here, these universally dismissive statements eliminates room for nuance: members tried to explain how aspects of colonialism, social connection and culture, or racial trauma interacted with these issues, but were repeatedly shut down.

3. Dominating the conversation with performative allyship. Making Metafilter a site where people of color can talk to each other involves making room for deeper discussions on race. As we move past 101 issues, this necessarily involves probing topics that are complex. At the 101-level, allies are often given hard principles and rules for how to behave. Unfortunately, this can interact poorly with the need for more nuanced conversation: as we move into topics like colorism, or conflicting needs, or situational privileges, we need to challenge and add nuance to some of the basic tenets given at the 101-level. What makes it impossible is if well-meaning allies keep repeating these 101 tenets as a way to shut down the conversation: in these situations, allies need to get better at identifying where people are color are striving for more meaningful conversation, and step back.

A major example of this occurred in primalux’s FPP on a book written about the experiences of Mexican migrants, by someone who identified as having lineage from a Puerto Rican grandmother but no Mexican background or experiences of migration herself. In spite of primalux asserting that she herself was a white-passing Latina, a member repeatedly doubled down on the assertion that she was policing the authenticity of Latina experiences.

To be clear, there were many more problems than these specific examples, but I don’t have the energy to detail everything and explain comprehensively. However, I’m sure that the other participants in this initiative will detail other points that bothered and harmed them in the comments of this Metatalk post: I would urge members to read and internalize their feedback, and also respond with belief and compassion.

What’s next?

We envision #poctakeover as an on-going initiative: you can expect more posts under the tag, although the frequency may move up and down with our energy levels. In general, we would like to invite more people of color to post under the hashtag. You don’t have to be a member of the slack to participate - the tag is a great way to alert other people of color to your post! (That being said, we are always welcoming more members of color to MetaPoC, so send either me or anem0ne a message if you’d like an invitation.)

We would like to invite all Mefites in general to engage in positive ways: while I outlined ways that your comments can shut down conversation, and we would like you to take these thoughts (as well as other issues raised) in consideration for how to engage, your comments also have the potential to make people of color feel welcome. We’ve noticed that many posts on the experiences of people of color don’t get a lot of engagement, especially when they’re not about our responses or reactions to whiteness. While hard-line rules for conduct are hard to give because appropriate behavior is situational, consider the following:
  • Are there respectful questions I could ask, making it clear that I honor the time and expertise of the people in the room?
  • What was something you liked about the FPP? It’s okay to say that something is cool or interesting. You don’t have to relate to something on a racial level in order to appreciate it. Don’t feel that you have to reflexively avoid something just because you’re not of that ethnicity: “this was super interesting, my favorite part was ____” is often appreciated.
Engagement can be hard, but it’s worth it. No hard-line rules exist: as sunset in snowcountry put it, “you just have to use your empathy and judgment and be ready to accept the occasional discomfort of getting it wrong and vow to do better next time.” If you do get it wrong, it’s usually not the end of the world. What’s important, however, is you learn from the experience, and do not make your behavior into a pattern. If you’ve been called out, consider it as an opportunity to learn: someone believes in your capacity to grow and be better, and has invested energy into correcting you. We especially appreciated comments from mefites who returned to apologize and commit to doing better, as it really helps us feel that our efforts have been seen and have led to positive changes.
posted by Conspire to MetaFilter-Related at 10:40 AM (125 comments total) 175 users marked this as a favorite

I've been really appreciating all these posts and the clear effort involved. From a mod perspective it's also been very useful in offering extra chances to iterate on some of the interventions and language we've been trying. Thank you to all the participants, and I'm eager to hear what Mefites of color thought.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:05 AM on January 13 [11 favorites]


Thank you for posting this, Conspire!

As a participant, just want to say that I've loved being a part of this, and that I definitely would not have had the courage or the enthusiasm (or even the idea) to put together the Japanese American culture post that Conspire linked without the encouragement and support of the slack.

Also, on the topic of engaging positively: I'm someone who happily dives in to race topics where I'm comfortable (meaning a lot of Asian American stuff, general 101 stuff, and a limited subset of intersectionality/mixed-race/diaspora experience stuff) but tended to avoid posts about POC experiences that I'm not as familiar with (which in practice ends up meaning a lot of indigenous and Latinx topics). #poctakeover pushed me to pay more attention to those posts and engage with them, which was rewarding in a lot of ways, so I want to echo the call to engage and share what you like about posts even if you're not as familiar with the subject matter.
posted by sunset in snow country at 11:28 AM on January 13 [26 favorites]


Yeah, I want to echo sunset in snow country's point. This initiative was great and I hope, rewarding for all of us participating. But it was definitely noticeable that the posts about not-Asian POC things got less engagement - both from the general site userbase, and from our slack - myself very much included. So I think Conspire's recommendations for how to engage when you don't see your racial identity reflected in the post material are relevant to us not-white people as well. It's also a reflection of the flattening nature of "POC" as a label. I'm sure the initiative was also influenced by many of us being USians in a similar way. It's a lesson/awareness I definitely want to focus on going forward, as #poctakeover continues and also as a general life lesson.

All that being said, I really loved this project! I had never posted anything on Metafilter before, or really even considered it. But as the initiative went on I found myself thinking about things I would like to share with people more, and about the conversations I wanted to be able to have. When so much of our experiences talking about race on Metafilter have been colored by the negative aspects, it was nice to approach it from a feeling of positivity.
posted by arabidopsis at 11:42 AM on January 13 [20 favorites]


I found this project both rewarding and exhausting so far, but I'm fully committed to continuing to be a part of it. It's very freeing to not have to second guess whether I should post about topics I find interesting or that I find personally relatable because other people might turn the comments into a shit show. Even if they do, or even if said posts don't get much engagement, at least I'm able to take up equal space in this community.
posted by primalux at 11:47 AM on January 13 [11 favorites]


Thirded! Posting fpps and talking about race can both be kind of intimidating sometimes for me, so it was great to have poctakeover as motivation and support. I also agree with needing to get out of my comfort zone wrt race. Too often I just fave and move on, but I want to take more time to think about posts from outside my realm of knowledge and how to engage in a respectful manner.
posted by storytam at 11:48 AM on January 13 [8 favorites]


This is great! I'm in sincere awe/appreciation for the folks who came up with the idea. Equally, I want to say thanks to all y'all for what sounds like a lot of energy and labor towards a more inclusive MetaFilter.

Finally, thanks to Conspire for the note about engaging. I have noticed the hard work and cool posts that y'all have put together recently -- but had deliberately held off on commenting with even a 'thanks and this is what I appreciate about this'. It's so so easy to derail and center a convo on the white perspective. But, this is a timely reminder to continue to think of thoughtful ways to engage with a post (besides favoriting it).
posted by librarylis at 12:06 PM on January 13 [7 favorites]


I’ve been really enjoying the variety of posts, thank you all for this hard work.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:09 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


I've also noticed and appreciated the recent change; it didn't occur to me that it was a concerted, coordinated effort (I rarely think to look at tags), so thanks also for this post.

I was particularly interested in the tamale post and the one (also by jj's.mama!) about the lowrider homage to Maria Martinez because of my own family connections to New Mexico. I didn't comment on them because - as is the case with a lot of MetaFilter posts I find interesting - the reasons I find them interesting tend to be more personal and tend to require more explanation (or personal exploration) than I'm able to put into a comment. Often I find my time is better used thinking about the topic than talking about it - or simply that by the time I've thought through my reactions to a post to the point I could comment coherently, the conversation has moved on (or the thread has closed entirely).

So, I guess I'll try to remember to put in those simple "this is good" comments more often and posters should try to remember that a lot of us are reading, engaging, and appreciating your hard work in ways that aren't always apparent.
posted by nickmark at 12:31 PM on January 13 [17 favorites]


This is really cool. Thank you for sharing all of this information.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:36 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I really appreciate how much work* this has taken for a small number of users while the site as a whole and the rest of us have really benefited from it. Quite often the links in these posts have taken me so far afield to interesting places that I forget to come back and engage with the posts themselves—signs of a great FPP (but a forgetful Mefite)! I will try to do better going forward.

*especially the should-be-unnecessary work of dealing with the same old pushbacks and derails and tone policing! Ugh!
posted by sallybrown at 12:45 PM on January 13 [9 favorites]


This is really admirable in itself and this post documenting the process is very informative and thought-provoking.
posted by Frowner at 12:58 PM on January 13 [23 favorites]


I don't even know where to start. This tag, this movement, has been a gift to the site. So many of the recent great FPPs have been under this tag--and even though I feel like I spend 24/7 on Metafilter, this post helped me realize I hadn't seen at least half of the posts! And the very fact of the tags was thought-provoking and challenging in a way that felt really useful given the recent conversations about race on the site. I do hope everyone found it as rewarding to write and coordinate, as it was to read. Thank you for the incredible amount of good work this represents.
posted by mittens at 1:30 PM on January 13 [27 favorites]


What mittens said! I have not noticed the tag but I have noticed the big increase in PoC-related posts, which is awesome. Conspire, thank you for this post and thanks to everyone who has been posting as part of this effort. I truly appreciate it. This is a wonderful development.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:48 PM on January 13 [5 favorites]


We’ve noticed that many posts on the experiences of people of color don’t get a lot of engagement, especially when they’re not about our responses or reactions to whiteness.


I’ve tried to read, but not comment on, posts tagged drowningoutwhitevoices, thinking that the intent was to foreground BIPOC voices. Should I approach those differently?
posted by zamboni at 1:59 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


I’ve tried to read, but not comment on, posts tagged drowningoutwhitevoices, thinking that the intent was to foreground BIPOC voices. Should I approach those differently?

My read was that most people just treated the "drowningoutwhitevoices" tag as a cheekier version of "poctakeover", so I don't think there was any special meaning like that there! Absolutely feel free to engage with those posts as well.
posted by Conspire at 2:02 PM on January 13 [8 favorites]


It has been disheartening for me to participate in this project. When the only way people will engage is by fighting and talking down, it's exhausting. Like surely someone has had some kind of interesting thought because of something I posted! Trying to post deliberately nonfighty content means no conversation at all most of the time. I do think so much of that is people not being sure *how* to engage and not wanting to muck things up, which I do understand and appreciate. I mean and even on posts that aren't part of this project, fighty provocative links get more action so it's part of a general trend on what gets engagement. But it feels so hard to move the needle when no one comments. Like it's really nice that people are commenting here that they have noticed and liked these posts, but if you like them say so in the post! If something is making your world better, you aren't going to keep seeing it if you don't encourage it. If you don't stretch YOURSELF and look for ways to engage with it. My undying appreciation to the wonderful people who have been supporting and shepherding and participating in this project. Y'all are absolute gems and I am better for knowing all of you.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:09 PM on January 13 [39 favorites]


Also - other mefites of color - please feel free to use these tags! It is not an exclusive project, and it is really awesome being able to scroll through those two tags for posts.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:15 PM on January 13 [7 favorites]


> if you like them say so in the post!

I favorite them, which I do to express that, but I don't want to be noise in the discussion if I don't have more to say than "Interesting!"
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:36 PM on January 13 [11 favorites]


I've enjoyed these posts and appreciate the time and effort people put into making them.We mentioned it in the podcast last week.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:40 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


i was noticing the tags and am SO impressed and appreciative of the behind-the-scenes work described here. thank you everyone who put in labor in private or in public to make this happen. there were a lot of high quality posts and i feel like i saw more in-depth/open comments from members of color, and i'm glad if that got to happen because the necessary support was there. and i see what a frustrating experience it still was.

like, seeing these at first, i briefly imagined what it'd look like to post about disability in this way: "show what the site would look like if people of color felt free to share their interests without intense strategizing and scrutiny", and the thought is exhausting and i knew it'd be just unthinkable without this kind of support, and it makes sense to learn that it takes this kind of organization. it's SO MUCH WORK to engage here, but it goes better when people do it very very consciously and intentionally, and thank you for modeling that. speaking of, looking at my history, i commented less than i thought i did, and i missed a lot of posts or forgot to come back to see the discussion, and i'd like to prioritize that more!
posted by gaybobbie at 4:13 PM on January 13 [18 favorites]


stoneweaver, thanks for speaking up here, I don't know why I hold myself back from commenting my appreciation of your posts because I am excited whenever I see them and almost always add them to my activity because I’m interested in the conversation. I’m sorry that conversation has been lacking and I hope that starts to turn around.

Also, this Meta post is incredible as is the wider effort. Thank you for the generosity of education about what white mefites can do. I agree with mittens that this is a gift to the site, and like gaybobbie I'm in awe of all the organization and work this effort took.

So often I’ve been pissed off because of knowing Metafilter doesn't do "x"-well with the “x” being the ways the culture of the site harms me, but I’ve never tried to build the community I want to see instead of just being privately frustrated. Thanks for sharing a look in this post at how that process works!
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 5:02 PM on January 13 [5 favorites]


I had not noticed the tags (I apparently don't look at tags nearly enough) and I had not exactly noticed a trend of posts about race, but I had noticed that there were a lot of cool-sounding posts hitting the front page that I really wanted to check out. (Sadly, a lot of my MetaFiltering these days involves copying URLs into my "To Read" list and hoping I get around to them before the thread is closed.)

I am dismayed to learn just how much emotional and other work this has required of all the participants, but I'm very glad to know that the approach you came up with was effective, and I'm very glad to know that the initiative will keep going. This is a great thing.

And now that I'm more aware that it's happening, I can bump some of those links up a bit on my To Read list so I can share my enthusiasm a little earlier in the comment thread. (In particular, I thought stoneweaver's Relearning The Star Stories Of Indigenous Peoples sounded fascinating, so I hope I'll find time to read that by tomorrow.)

Thank you to all the participants (past and future!) for sharing these things with MetaFilter - and Conspire, thank you for letting us know a bit about what this experience has been like, and what we can do to encourage these great posts.
posted by kristi at 5:06 PM on January 13 [7 favorites]


This is really admirable in itself and this post documenting the process is very informative and thought-provoking.

Exactly this!

I also hadn't noticed the tags, but the posts mentioned above had all stood out to me and I enjoyed reading them even when I didn't comment.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:55 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


My read was that most people just treated the "drowningoutwhitevoices" tag as a cheekier version of "poctakeover"

"We’ve noticed that many posts on the experiences of people of color don’t get a lot of engagement"

Please consider that #drowningoutwhitevoices does not, to me, inspire white people to engage, nor does repeated references to posts being "for POC" or "a PoC [space]". If you want to hear more, I would encourage you not to drown or exclude a decent chunk of your audience.

I have appreciated these posts. I have not appreciated that tag. Take that as you will. Thanks to the various MeFites who have not used it.
posted by saeculorum at 6:09 PM on January 13 [13 favorites]


I don't have as much time to engage thoughtfully with the site as I used to, but I absolutely noticed this. At first, I just noticed what seemed to me like an increase in quality posts. I mostly read on my phone these days, so it took me a while to spot the tags. When I did, I smiled. Well, #poctakeover made me smile. #drowningoutwhitevoices made me laugh out loud.

stoneweaver, I promise you I've been reading and enjoying your posts, and I regret that I haven't said so until now.

I was just thinking today that MetaFilter has made me a markedly better person over the years, usually through the insights and hard work of others, and sometimes despite myself. It's nobody's job to do this (well, aside from the mods, a little bit, maybe), but I promise that I have tried to apply this IRL, in meaningful ways.

I'm not saying this for a cookie, or to make this about me. I just want to add my voice to the people here who are saying that this work is so appreciated. The front page has been so good lately! You are making MetaFilter better. And I promise you, you're making a real difference out in the world, too.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:10 PM on January 13 [8 favorites]


If you want to hear more, I would encourage you not to drown or exclude a decent chunk of your audience.

Your concern is noted!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:19 PM on January 13 [37 favorites]


SL Twitter to a comic that encapsulates how I feel about saeculorum's comment.

Rather than continuing to center white feelings, though, I wanted to echo that I had also noticed a lot of high-quality posts about people of color, appreciated them, and appreciate this post that lays out the behind-the-scenes work that it involved. I think that I end up excising or downplaying my race often in order to participate in certain spaces, and that this ends up having a cumulative effect on how much of my whole person I even see as part of myself.
posted by coolname at 6:28 PM on January 13 [39 favorites]


Please consider that #drowningoutwhitevoices does not, to me, inspire white people to engage, nor does repeated references to posts being "for POC" or "a PoC [space]".

So, I'm one of the people involved in this, on the backend.

Both the #poctakeover and #drowningoutwhitevoices are deliberately, obviously glib and tongue in cheek. We assumed that the mefite audience, long having been part of the conversation about how the site deals with POC, would understand that. Obviously we aren't taking over anything, and we have no intention or ability to drown out anyone. Frankly, it's been work and we were having a laugh.

To be clear, as far as we are concerned everyone is welcome to participate, in good faith (and with good humour). If that's not enough, then maybe these posts aren't for you.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:39 PM on January 13 [44 favorites]


If you want to hear more, I would encourage you not to drown or exclude a decent chunk of your audience.

I'm glad that the tag seems to be tripping you up. If so, they're doing their intended job of getting you to pause. I consider that moment an opportunity for you to consider whether you've put sufficient thought into your comments and read the room well enough to make a meaningful contribution that fosters community.

You're correct that for some threads that were particularly contentious or more geared towards discussion between people with lived experience, some of us did issue more proactive requests - even pre-emptively, as I did here. If these requests made you uncomfortable, I'll note that there are plenty of other spaces for you to practice the skill of being mindful of your fellow community members. For example, consider that your involvement in this particular Meta right here is a great opportunity.
posted by Conspire at 6:41 PM on January 13 [52 favorites]


Just to underscore the above, it should be clear that in this thread, it's much more relevant what people of color felt about this project, including that tag, and the conversations etc.

If white members have thoughts about what was good about this, or what guidance was helpful to you, please share. But if you dislike some part of this or have negative comments, I'll be blunt: it isn't constructive to interject those here.

One of the recurring problems happens when someone from a dominant group (e.g. white) comes into a thread by/about/etc a marginalized group (eg. POC) and offers a reflexively negative (skeptical, contrarian, dismissive, deflecting, etc) take on some part of it. This is a strong pattern, it happens very predictably. We really need white members to self-reflect on this tendency in how you participate, and stop doing that. I think it's born of trying to be A Critical Thinker, but it's a crummy kind of reflex to apply overgenerally, and in threads about marginalized people it's crushing other people's interest in participating here. Don't be that guy.

Conspire has some suggestions in the post for how to engage positively, like saying what you found interesting/worthwhile/etc in a link or asking a positive followup question to draw out someone else's useful/interesting/etc point. Also, take a look at some of the linked posts for lots of nice examples where people were doing this consciously -- commenting to keep the focus on points that were interesting, elaborate on good examples, amplify other people's illuminating points, etc. Any given one might be a small thing, but it makes people feel appreciated and glad that they posted something.

This has been a very positive project and it's great to hear all the positive aspects people have been identifying in this thread. I noticed a lot of effort to engage with each other's comments, to amplify each other's points, to re-rail and keep the focus on people saying the most useful stuff.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:58 PM on January 13 [48 favorites]


I'm glad that the tag seems to be tripping you up. If so, they're doing their intended job of getting you to pause.

That is exactly what happened to me. I was somewhat affronted, and realized immediately what a bad take that was. So, progress…

Thanks for doing the work to improve MetaFilter.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:32 PM on January 13 [34 favorites]


I've also noticed all the great posts out there, and I'm looking forward in particular to delving into stoneweaver's most recent offering. I'm a little wistful I missed out on the tamales post... ironically, in large part because I was preparing my household to host a tamalada in which we all sat down to learn from a family friend. (I haven't actually read the discussion, so maybe I will be less wistful when I do.)

Our tamalada happened because my friend K knew her mother had grown up attending tamaladas, but hadn't ever held them herself as an adult. K wanted to learn how to do them, but her home isn't really big enough, and she and her sister were really worried her mom might overstrain herself. We like tamales and communal food, and we love our friend's mother very much, so we volunteered to provide our house and do some of the prep work so that we could all collectively pair our labor with our friend's mother's willingness to teach us to generate learning and tamales and community.

It went really well, I think. Everyone went home laughing and loaded with tamales. We messed a lot of things up, but they got fixed, and now we have notes about what to do better next time.

I am white, and so is the rest of my household and the rest of the friends who came to help with the tamalada. Some of the tamales used a different recipe that was maybe less authentic, in order to accommodate the vegetarians in the room: no lard in the masa for their tamales, and non-meat fillings that my friend's mother had seen and liked and proposed. But the rest of it we were careful to do according to my friend's aunt's recipe, so her mother wouldn't have to do the labor. It--there was a lot of care going on back and forth and a feeling that the important thing was to figure out how to be kind to one another and make everyone feel welcomed.

Without my household, the tamalada couldn't have happened, and I don't know whether my friend would have had the critical mass of people with whom to learn how to do it. Because we all tried to hold one another, we were able to share an affirming, mixed community experience together.

I would like to see that spirit here more on Metafilter. I see the massive effort that y'all are doing to try to host this metaphorical tamalada, and I hope that I (and a critical mass of other white people here) can do the work to meet you in the middle so that we can come together in community with our whole selves. Thank you for the effort that it has taken to provide your expertise here.
posted by sciatrix at 8:46 PM on January 13 [28 favorites]


1. Really enjoyed a lot of these posts, thank you to everyone who participated especially because I know making fpps can be super stressful especially if it's not just "oh hey cool link" but about something you actually personally care about and care about how it will be received

2. As an enjoyable side effect of making metafilter feel less like a white bubble it also made metafilter feel much more properly international. obviously still a heavily US centric site... but it felt less suffocatingly so
posted by Cozybee at 8:52 PM on January 13 [11 favorites]


I hadn't noticed the tag but I had noticed that overall the FPPs were about more diverse people and experiences. I'm really not a big commenter on the Blue so I didn't stay out of them on purpose or anything but now when I'm reading a post involving PoC I'll try to remember to look for the tag and perhaps modulate my interaction accordingly.

One thing I've bemoaned over the past couple years is that I'm sort of uncomfortable linking other online friends to MeFi's front page in general, because it's difficult to dig into as-is without some old school internet comprehension and the chances are really high that they'll randomly land on some whitebread nonsense. But because of this excellent initiative the balance has noticeably shifted and if that could increase over time I would feel better about pushing friends to join me over here, too.

Thanks for sharing so much behind the scenes information. It's really interesting and valuable!
posted by Mizu at 9:08 PM on January 13 [5 favorites]


Man, thank you for this hard work. Off to read some links! I’ve noticed some great articles recently centered around POC but hadn’t realized the level of effort that went into this and now I’m excited to dig in.
posted by purenitrous at 9:09 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]


sciatrix, thanks so much for sharing. Your experience really is a great example of how to participate in a tradition with love, respect, and a graceful purpose.
posted by jj's.mama at 10:47 PM on January 13 [9 favorites]


His thoughts were red thoughts: Both the #poctakeover and #drowningoutwhitevoices are deliberately, obviously glib and tongue in cheek. We assumed that the mefite audience, long having been part of the conversation about how the site deals with POC, would understand that. Obviously we aren't taking over anything, and we have no intention or ability to drown out anyone. Frankly, it's been work and we were having a laugh.

To be clear, as far as we are concerned everyone is welcome to participate, in good faith (and with good humour).


Thank you for explaining this clearly. I'm not good at things that are glib and tongue in cheek, especially in a foreign language, so this was appreciated. I thought that I was meant to stay out of the conversation in those posts.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:05 PM on January 13 [11 favorites]


I'm not good at things that are glib and tongue in cheek, especially in a foreign language, so this was appreciated.

Our apologies for that, Too-Ticky.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:39 PM on January 13 [5 favorites]


I'd noticed this trend over the last few weeks, and while the posts are excellent I was secretly wondering how long until somebody made a grumpy trainwreck MeTa post about the tags. I'm glad to see it announced like this instead!

They do still give me a little pause, since they can read antagonistic to folks not steeped enough in site culture to savvy the tongue-in-cheek intent (which speaks to ongoing worries about MeFi's learning curve). But then again, anybody who would find more offense in a subtle out-of-the-way tag than would find joy in the associated post probably wouldn't be a good fit for the site anyway.

One suggestion: maybe future posts in the series could link to this announcement thread (sort of like how the political megathreads had standing links to Chat and relevant MeTas below the fold) so more casual readers can be made aware of the existence, background, and goals of this project? That would help avoid potential misreadings, and hopefully make it easier to discover related posts or inspire others to post as well.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:39 AM on January 14


I didn’t notice the tags at all but noticed the pronounced uptick in Asian and indigenous people posts as areas I’m particularly interested in and really really loved it. I haven’t commented much because I’m trying to practise listening more, but I have read and bookmarked a lot more!

Thank you also for explaining the dynamics behind the support in the slack and the lessons learned, suggestions going forward from the experience. Thoughtful posts like that are helpful for any kind of community work on the site and it’s interesting to see how an effective project moves forward - many voices, a lot of effort - and to see the amount of real work it takes.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 1:01 AM on January 14 [11 favorites]


I thought I had seen something happening with these posts, but the tags didn't register until mentioned on the podcast. This directed me to some of the posts i had missed. Damn, this was a lot of work! This Meta is also useful for giving white participants some very clear, direct instructions for what to do / not to do. And, the mods making clear that some things just aren't welcome sometimes is good.

arabidopsis' post on who has the right to claim a racial identity and the personal discussions in there were great. It gave me a lot more to think about; about some of my students, some friends, some people I've worked with. And just how hard it can be and something I am not expected to do. That complex of issues and wishes and identities is around me. But each story adds more. I had missed it. Glad I found it from this Meta.
posted by Gotanda at 1:10 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]


I mostly read on the phone these days, so the tags had passed me by (sidenote: #drowningoutwhitevoices, when I did notice it, came across to me as well-intentioned and not undeserved sass; if we can't be sassy in the tags where can we be??).

What I had noticed was the huge uptick in diversity of posters and subject matter. I wasn't aware how much work was going on behind the scenes and I thank you for it; it's been great.

Trying to post deliberately nonfighty content means no conversation at all most of the time.

I hope this doesn't get you down too much. Some of the best content I've posted to mefi gets little comment, and sometimes the average stuff takes off. I don't think it's a judgment on content or indicative of interest levels, necessarily. For example, I only try to comment when I have something (relatively) informed to say; if it's something I don'' know much about, I don't want to shit up the thread.

When posting, I sometimes think "I bet [particular mefite] will like this!", and more often than not, they appear to do so. It can be easy to miss the silent and favourable majority when squeaky wheels are so loud, but we do appreciate and engage with your links!
posted by smoke at 1:44 AM on January 14 [12 favorites]


Hey! This is great, and count me as one of those who also doesn't notice the tags. I was really enjoying the posts, and kudos to you all.
posted by cendawanita at 3:11 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]


His thoughts were red thoughts: Our apologies for that, Too-Ticky.

That's okay, thank you. Not a big deal.
I think the positive definitely outweighs the negative here. From now on I'll focus on that, and there's a lot of great stuff going on, that's for sure.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:31 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]


can i just also call out poffin boffin for keeping up a crazy consistent level of quality posting on indigenous people subjects? cause damn.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:04 AM on January 14 [51 favorites]


Thank you for all the hard work to greatly improve our space. I did not realize it was a coordinated effort (and am apparently oblivious to tags), but I have certainly noticed and been delighted.
The conversation here has also made me continue to rethink how to respond to posts which interest or delight me while I have no direct personal connection. I have previously thought I had little to add, but particularly on slow moving posts will put in more effort to post a brief thanks to the author.
posted by meinvt at 7:07 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]


Thank you so much to everyone who has coordinated behind the scenes and made posts. I'm sorry this level of effort was necessary to make all these great posts more feasible, but I'm grateful you have done all of this work.

And thank you, Conspire, for making this detailed MeTa post. I've appreciated the posts before, but seeing all this work and coordination, I'm really blown away.

I'll also echo the thanks to the mods for their efforts in supporting and maintaining positive, welcoming discussions, and providing more detailed comment deletion notes to reinforce the desired community norms.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:20 AM on January 14 [11 favorites]


I'm glad this is a project that exists and I applaud everyone who has been participating. Cheers to all of you.
posted by Fizz at 7:57 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]


This effort, and this post, are wonderful. Thank you to everyone involved for your tireless efforts to make Mefi a better place.
posted by okayokayigive at 9:18 AM on January 14


I didn't notice the tags but did think "Wow, MeFi's been markedly better and more interesting recently." So thank you very much for coordinating this meaningful effort. Even though I made very few comments (I make few comments these days in general) I read a lot of the threads in full and explored the links.
posted by Miko at 9:29 AM on January 14 [6 favorites]


I had noticed what seemed like a wider diversity in viewpoints reflected in the FPPs and a lot of really interesting and thought provoking stuff being posted, but hadn't noticed the tag. I've been doing a lot of reading and following even if I haven't been doing much commenting-- I hesitated to interact with many of these posts because I didn't feel like my voice would add anything valuable but the discussion here around that is interesting and I'll be thinking about ways in which I can engage.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed their time, energy and knowledge (and an even bigger thank you now that I know how much work is being done behind the scenes to make this successful.)
posted by geegollygosh at 9:41 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


However, I’m sure that the other participants in this initiative will detail other points that bothered and harmed them in the comments of this Metatalk post: I would urge members to read and internalize their feedback, and also respond with belief and compassion.

One thing that sticks out to me as I click through all the links to comments that Conspire put in this MeTa is that sometimes a comment that does one of the three things Conspire listed as things that white people can do better on will have more favorites than the original post does. It's something that it seems could contribute to feelings of exhaustion and burn out previously mentioned. (And I'm not suggesting members shouldn't be allowed to fave what they want to fave or anything like that, just noting a point that bothered me as I clicked through the links.)
posted by 23skidoo at 10:10 AM on January 14 [28 favorites]


Thank you so much to everyone wo has put hard work and thoughtfulness into participating in this initiative. I'm going to check out the tags to find new (to me) FPPs that I might've missed.
posted by See you tomorrow, saguaro at 11:06 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


23skidoo, exactly. In my tamale thread, the person who had a hot-take (they didn't read or comprehend the actual articles), got tons of favorites. So that was disconcerting. And most of those people were passively engaged and didn't comment, so the only assumption is that they agreed with what the commenter was saying and if they did, well, that's interesting...
posted by jj's.mama at 11:59 AM on January 14 [20 favorites]


I don't read the tags much, but I had definitely noticed how awesome the front page had gotten lately and was starting to notice specific posters (esp stoneweaver and jj's.mama) who consistently post excellent links that I know I'll enjoy. And seconding the comment above about how more diverse posts makes the site feel more truly international.

Anyway, I'm loving it and I'm sorry to hear about how much labour it has been. I usually try to listen rather than comment on posts where I don't know much about the subject (which is many of these) but after conspire's suggestions for how white people can do better I'll try more often to just comment that I appreciated the post even if I don't feel I can say much of substance.
posted by lollusc at 12:31 PM on January 14 [3 favorites]


This is incredible, and mittens puts it so well in calling all of the effort put into this (both this movement and this post) a gift to the site. I really appreciate the suggestions for things that those of us who are white can do better on - the performative allyship in particular is something I think I'd been fairly blind to before, so I appreciate it being called out as a problem. And count me among those who hadn't noticed the tags and doesn't often comment on the blue, but who had noticed an uptick in quality posts recently.

This (post? hashtag?) seems like something that deserves a spot on the sidebar.
posted by DingoMutt at 12:49 PM on January 14 [5 favorites]


A major example of this occurred in primalux’s FPP on a book written about the experiences of Mexican migrants, by someone who identified as having lineage from a Puerto Rican grandmother but no Mexican background or experiences of migration herself. In spite of primalux asserting that she herself was a white-passing Latina, a member repeatedly doubled down on the assertion that she was policing the authenticity of Latina experiences.

So I think - while I appreciate the overall effort - this speaks to kind of the discomfort I feel at folks speaking for the entirety of POC, because there's some stuff that there's /definitely not agreement on/. I myself remember that thread and how grateful I, as a racial-Rorscach-test Latina, was that someone pushed back on primalux's statement, because I kept getting so angry every time I saw that thread that I could not engage with it myself. The issue of how people identify, and how people identify in different situations and have identified historically, is so fucking fraught, and I definitely felt there was a lot of lack of awareness in that thread - and some mockery of a Latina's identity that I feel wouldn't have stood if it was another identity.

The issue of white people coming in and saying things that are contrary to what POC believe is a real problem, but there's also a problem when people decide that a perspective is "the white perspective", because it means POC who wanted to talk about it don't feel comfortable talking about it because it feels like taking sides between POC and white people in a way that's going to get a lot of heat.
posted by corb at 1:16 PM on January 14 [7 favorites]


As the person who posted that thread and who was dealing with the "pushback" - the point Conspire was making is that the conversation is very different if it's happening between Latinx people rather than having a white person come in and assert those things which is a very different dynamic. There is plenty of room for disagreement and I don't think anyone was saying what was said was "the white perspective" but rather there is a very different dynamic that comes into play when conversations take place among and between members of a community.
posted by primalux at 1:49 PM on January 14 [16 favorites]


Thanks for not only the posts but this meta -- it inspired me to go back and read the ones I didn't notice before.
posted by value of information at 1:53 PM on January 14 [3 favorites]


posted by jj's.mama 23skidoo, exactly. In my tamale thread

I missed that FPP so I went back and read it and I enjoyed it and then I remembered how we too always had tamales at Christmas and then I got very very hungry and then I went down the street to the taco truck and my little trick is I bring my own plate to cut down on waste.

Also, I appreciate all the work that's been going into this project and how it's making/keeping MetaFilter great. Thank you.
posted by mattdidthat at 2:05 PM on January 14 [4 favorites]


Wow, this is just awesome, thank you SO much. As I'm mostly on Ask, I hadn't noticed this work, but reading about it here, I'm so grateful for this positive, intensive, collaborative investment in the site. I've been concerned reading about whether MetaFilter will continue to be viable, and about how it alienates POC. It's beyond admirable that the MetaPoC members involved in this effort are not only sticking around -- despite the labor and vigilance you're describing that would drive many reasonable people away -- but leading the charge of culture-shifting.

I'm glad that moderators have stepped up their support, and hopeful that the open moderator role will be filled such that it "better serve[s] our diverse community." I hope that, between that and the efforts described here, we'll improve so that we don't continually "attempt to derail the conversation to center white people, make ignorant or contentious racist remarks, or just generally be nasty." It shouldn't be so dang hard to make a post and have it go well. Thanks for being the change.
posted by daisyace at 3:56 PM on January 14 [8 favorites]


I'm very excited and glad that this MeTa is posted, and that we are having a discussion about it! I've been following this project and have been on the MetaPoC slack, commenting on Mefi but not yet participating in creating posts.

I sincerely and deeply appreciate how the folks on MetaPoC have been working together to create posts and shape a discussion. There is so much thoughtful discussion and emotional & intellectual labor being done.

I also am heartened and grateful to the mod team who I feel have been actively changing their moderation practices to support these threads and push back against problematic comments.

One thing that I want to actively point out, especially for those who are white: Notice the comments and sharing that is possible when space is created for listening and hearing each other out, free of disrespectful snark or casual racism or performative allyship:

- Thank you picklenickle for articulating things about my own multiracial experience that I hadn't consciously considered before.

- I’m sorry to turn this into a confessional! I'm a longtime lurker but there have been so many good posts lately I felt I needed to respond to one.

- Thanks for a great set of articles, this really resonated with me.

- The Filipino stories are bringing tears to my eyes. The fracture between me and my siblings is surprisingly hard to write about. I thought enough decades had passed.

- Thank you for this post and this discussion. It inspired me to log in again after 5 years and comment!

I want more of this in my life, and for Metafilter also. As spaces and threads like these are made, Metafilter becomes a better, supportive community.
posted by suedehead at 5:12 PM on January 14 [35 favorites]


Thank you so much to everyone involved in this initiative. I am collecting articles right and left from these posts to share with others and archive them for myself using Tumblr. I also appreciate the upthread explanations of what "performative wokeness" means and looks like.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 5:59 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Not speaking for any other POC besides myself at the moment, but:

Regarding whether it's appropriate for non-POC to comment on POC-related threads, I understand the reluctance to jump in on a discussion on topics outside your ethnicity, and I'm sympathetic to the well-meaning MeFites who have hesitated to comment on POC-related threads out of such concerns. As others have mentioned above, I'm also still learning how to get a handle on thoughtful and positive engagement outside my personal commenting comfort zones - am I bringing anything relevant to the table, am I going to say anything worth reading, am I going to stick my foot in my mouth because I know I don't know enough about this topic and, as a result, accidentally hurt someone by blundering into a conversation I shouldn't have blundered into?It's oftentimes easier to avoid engaging at all. Saves time and energy, you don't have to risk making a mistake, nbd.

But please consider this: there are plenty of less considerate commenters who have demonstrated, time and time again, that they do not share such compunctions, and refuse to acknowledge any form of gentle contradiction or correction. As Conspire addressed in the body of MetaTalk post already, we've repeatedly seen people feel at liberty to barge in on POC-related topics to take up space and speak for POC or talk over POC, with seemingly very little thought at all and often quite a bit of collateral damage.

So my suggestion is: If you see someone else behaving poorly in POC-related threads, please feel free to jump in and push back on straw men arguments, inaccuracies, and dismissive contempt. You don't have to comment if you don't want to, but if your commenting hesitation stems from feeling like your input isn't welcome or appropriate because you're reading a thread about POC experiences you don't share, then focus on the thing everyone can comment on: people behaving rudely.

Sure, if you don't have anything nice to say, sometimes it's best to not say anything at all - but when you see that someone else doesn't have anything nice to say, sometimes it's even better to just go ahead and speak up. Better done than perfect! And, at the very least, I'd welcome seeing more non-POC MeFites feel free to speak out against critical fails in the comments so that the burden to push back doesn't fall on POC MeFites alone. (There's some terrific examples in the mod comments linked up in the MetaTalk post, btw! Thanks, mods. Thods.)

Anyway, that's just one suggested mode of interaction, from just one person's pov. If you're concerned about taking up space, think also about the space you can free up, so that we can have fewer energy-sapping derails and more positive engagement.

Speaking of which, one of the positive outcomes I've seen from #poctakeover thus far: how it's encouraged people who haven't felt like MetaFilter was "for them" to come back and engage, to feel not as alone anymore because they recognized parts of their identity and history reflected in the FPP topics or comments, to realize that this doesn't have to be an unwelcoming space by default. (I want to mull on this more in a separate comment, but I also wanted to get it out there now, so I'm not second-guessing myself so much that the words just never come out at all!) It's been so incredibly humbling to realize that there's actually been this level of positive impact, beyond just making the site more fresh and lively, beyond just helping ourselves feel more emboldened to post, beyond just general education for the active members of MetaFilter. That's the best takeaway I've had from this experience, tbh.

More later! :D
posted by rather be jorting at 6:01 PM on January 14 [37 favorites]


I also noticed the increased volume of POC-related FPPs, but I didn't see the associated tags! I'm a pretty rare commenter since I rarely find I have anything useful to contribute to the conversation, but I really appreciated reading the perspectives of fellow POC Mefites. In particular, the biracial Asian-American FPP was really interesting to me as a first-generation Asian-American accustomed to always being the "other" / a marked person in every room/space. I've read conversations about colorism within Black & African-American communities, but I had never realized that "passing as white" is a fraught situation and experience that applies to other POC communities as well (though admittedly, there is a different historical context at play)....

...To be perfectly honest, I'm not really comfortable talking about race in online communities especially amongst strangers, but I have learned a lot from listening to those who did speak up despite how historically many of these conversations have devolved. So thank you, posters, organizers, commenters, and mods all!
posted by devrim at 7:08 PM on January 14 [9 favorites]


Also, since I'm the only person who has been called out here in a statement that makes it seem as though I'm unaware that I don't speak for all Latinx people: by far the worst microaggression I've ever dealt with on this site was this comment from you, corb. It's a shame my post made you so angry you couldn't respond and are thankful that a white person stepped in for you. I've been angry about the way you callously dismissed people like me and my family for years at this point. I am *well* aware that I don't speak for all Latinx people. Especially anyone that says shit like that.
posted by primalux at 7:42 PM on January 14 [30 favorites]


So I think - while I appreciate the overall effort - this speaks to kind of the discomfort I feel at folks speaking for the entirety of POC, because there's some stuff that there's /definitely not agreement on/.

Not to make this all about that one FPP, but I didn't see any claims that anyone was speaking for all latinx people in that post or any other #poctakeover posts, and certainly not from primalux. There was clearly some confusion about this, and primalux explicitly and directly stated several times that they weren't trying to do that.

What they did do was state two points of fact - (1) that the author of American Dirt previously identified as white, and (2) they now identified as latina as they have a Puerto Rican grandmother. These two facts comprised a summary of the author's own op ed, and were relevant to the main link, a critique of American Dirt by a member of the community that the book was ostensibly about.

The point of this project has been to showcase a diversity of experiences and views and spur new discussions, not to claim authority on the definitive POC experience or the One True Brown Opinion or whatever.

As primalux said in that FPP, POC aren't a monolith. If you disagree with a post, that's peachy - let's talk about it. Or what is this place even for?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:08 PM on January 14 [14 favorites]


I have really enjoyed these posts, and I've learned a lot! I don't look at tags and wasn't aware of the effort involved. Thank you so much for this MetaTalk writeup revealing the coordination and care behind these excellent posts.
posted by cadge at 8:30 PM on January 14 [4 favorites]


What they did do was state two points of fact - (1) that the author of American Dirt previously identified as white, and (2) they now identified as latina as they have a Puerto Rican grandmother.

I can see how some might infer an eyeroll at the end of a sentence like "Collins, who used to identify as white, now identifies as Latinx" which reminds me of something that someone else said in another MeTa, which I'll paraphrase as "When you read something that gives you big emotions, instead of telling the author what their meaning must have been, ask them if your interpretation is what they intended to convey". I think it's good advice for any situation, but especially for conversations concerning race on a text-only website like this one.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:39 PM on January 14 [8 favorites]


Yeah I don't pay attention to tags and was all man, the front page is just vibrating with damn good stuff lately related to indigenous and first nations people and stoneweaver has been killing it. Thank you for all of your efforts and your vulnerability in face of past performances on this site to continue here. Learning the organization behind it is doubly impressive and I thank you for this gift.

Also as a non American it has made the front page feel less USA USA which is something I really appreciate.
posted by kanata at 8:46 PM on January 14 [19 favorites]


This has been great! I don't know if anyone is taking requests, but I greatly enjoyed the Japanese vegetable digression on that one post, which is very on brand for me. Any plans for more posts on traditional food-ways/vegetables/horticulture among various non-western non-white etc cultures?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:53 PM on January 14 [3 favorites]


Something I'm navigating and learning as I read these excellent posts: how do I, as I white person, meaningfully contribute? I really enjoy on metafilter how mefites bring their own experiences to the discussion, it's just that sometimes this can be seen as minimising the experiences of others, especially POC. For instance, I held back on commenting about my own experiences of lunchtime food bullying in that excellent thread about uncomfortable dining, as it didn't seem quite relevant as the bullying was 'garden variety' rather than race based.

This is on me to work on, but thank you for the comments above with tips on how to engage meaningfully and without trampling.
posted by freethefeet at 9:27 PM on January 14 [3 favorites]


I've been angry about the way you callously dismissed people like me and my family for years at this point

My feelings about undocumented immigrants were objectively terrible 7 years ago! Which is real, and I apologize for the hurt I created back then. But also -speaking of race102- those opinions unfortunately reflected a genuine part of the experience of many immigrant families in America, where you are promised acceptance so long as you are "good" and "obey the law" and do the things "good immigrants" do. It's easy to internalize the things your parents do out of fear, but don't tell you about their reasons. There's a reason 75% of my family and many other Latinx families from where I grew up have served in the military "to show our gratitude", and it's not one that I really thought deeply about several years ago. It's a part of how working class people of color have been kept divided - by promising legal immigrants acceptance as long as we do everything "Americans" do, and stoking the fires so that we're all pointing knives at each other rather than at the people who want us all to burn. That has started to dissipate in the last four years when we've all been reminded that no, they do hate all of us, every one, and they don't really care about legalities so much as want to hurt every Latinx person who dares to cross the holy borders.

Which I think is also part of why I was so angry at what you seemed to be doing - and yes, it felt to me like policing the experience of people who may have bought into that shit earlier, identifying publicly as white as some sort of camouflage or hoping to keep the devil from their door, and then having the wool pulled off their eyes and standing up for who they are. It felt mean - but more than that, it felt like it gave other people permission to be mean, people implying that the author's racial identity was just something she was doing it for money, or to "make herself more interesting", which is a really awful thing, in my eyes, to accuse someone of, especially in these days when you're more likely to be targeted than rewarded these days.

And maybe that's not what you meant. But one thing that's hard in those posts is that they're this weird thing, where like, the person posting may be aware there's another point of view, but the white mefites reading the post don't know that. It's not that you or anyone is explicitly saying 'this is the One True X Opinion', but it's that if they aren't seeing these sides represented, they're going to think that the one opinion they've heard expressed is the "Right" one, and that's the one they're going to defend because they don't know enough to know that it is a complicated issue. And that's going to cause some hurt.
posted by corb at 9:42 PM on January 14 [17 favorites]


It's not that you or anyone is explicitly saying 'this is the One True X Opinion', but it's that if they aren't seeing these sides represented, they're going to think that the one opinion they've heard expressed is the "Right" one, and that's the one they're going to defend because they don't know enough to know that it is a complicated issue. And that's going to cause some hurt.

I mean this is literally what Conspire (and by extension the rest of us involved in this) were trying to convey? That there isn't a "right" answer and it's not for white people to jump in and claim there is.
posted by primalux at 9:49 PM on January 14 [9 favorites]


But I will say, definitively and whatever people want to think of me, that a woman with a Puerto Rican background and no history of the kind of immigration Mexican people often have to go through is not the right person to tell this story and the many *Mexican-American* people who also hold that viewpoint shouldn't be brushed aside because other Latinx people think it's fine. And I do believe she tried to capitalize on her background to make it seem legitimate. We can disagree on whether that's fine, but I'm Mexican-American and here because my father and grandmother and other family members did go through that immigration story and I don't think it's ok. We've all covered that Latinx people aren't a monolith. This is my family's story. It's not yours.
posted by primalux at 9:59 PM on January 14 [16 favorites]


Part of poctakeover was to highlight voices that we might not hear otherwise in the mainstream media. So this review was just a Mexican American writer who is not as well known as Sandra Cisneros, et al, sharing her opinion of the book.

The link was never about how LatinX someone is. The article was about the fact that Jeanine Cummins wrote a book that felt stereotypical to the reviewer and left a bad taste in her mouth considering that Cummins had to do "research" on Mexico in order to write the book.

She now herself says "I don't know if I'm the right person to tell this story"

This isn't about winning arguments. This is about opening ourselves up to the opinions and experiences of others. Why try so hard to invalidate the experience of someone who is simply telling you how they feel about a book?

Jeanine Cummins has the support of so many people. What's wrong with listening to a dissenting voice that says, wait a minute, I don't like what I'm reading here.
posted by jj's.mama at 10:07 PM on January 14 [33 favorites]


I would like to add my deep gratitude and respect for the thought, effort, execution and support you all have poured into this; the energy level alone to put this all together totally blows me away. ❤️
posted by taz (staff) at 11:38 PM on January 14 [14 favorites]


Im late to this thread, but I’ve been reading the FPPs with interest and trying to remember to favorite the post, so the poster knows I saw it. I have mostly not commented, because a) I’ve been interacting pretty lightly with the site lately and b) often I have nothing substantive to add besides my attention. There’s a lot of good stuff on the front page lately.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:28 AM on January 15 [5 favorites]


Thank you for all the work you all have put into this. I imagine a tremendous amount of endurance is involved. I especially appreciate the point by point writeup of the behind the scenes process in this MeTa. It is very useful for me to hear how people are putting solidarity into practice right now.

how do I, as I white person, meaningfully contribute?

I am trying to be consistent about saying "thanks," because ~everyone likes to hear that their work was appreciated. I'm trying in general to remember that ~noone needs me to show off how much I know about the universe for them, especially in places where there's already too much talking over the people bringing the object of discussion to my attention in the first place.
posted by PMdixon at 8:43 AM on January 15 [10 favorites]


Thank you to the collective who expended so much time and effort in creating and sustaining this project. The timing was pretty serendipitous, don’t you think? December is a month of year-end reflection and for many, gift giving. And what an amazing gift this was. How great was it to hear from folks who hadn’t logged in for half a decade, or who dropped by scoop up links, or who had to comment because they just couldn’t lurk any longer. You all created room for old and new voices to breathe and share.
posted by lemon_icing at 10:51 AM on January 15 [16 favorites]


[One comment deleted; please check your email and see my earlier note above about how this isn't a good time/place for talking about white members' feelings.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:56 AM on January 15 [6 favorites]


slight update:
(That being said, we are always welcoming more members of color to MetaPoC, so send either me or anem0ne a message if you’d like an invitation.)
The anem0ne account is gone for now; please redirect any requests either to Conspire or to this account.
posted by Her thoughts were mug thoughts at 3:54 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


I've missed a lot, and am so eager to go through the volume of posts created for this effort.
Thanks to all who put themselves out there in participating in this awesome, visionary project.
posted by batmonkey at 6:12 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


On the question of whether to delete comments: I've noticed that the mods are leaving up more responses to deleted comments and I end up thinking I've missed something and going back and trying to find comments that aren't there - which is really annoying! Is there something like a spoiler tag that could be used to hide these comments from people who don't want to know and make them accessible to the rest of us?
posted by Blue Genie at 6:24 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Similar suggestions (spoiler-tag style collapsed or obscured text etc) for alternatives to deletions have been made at various points before, but the answer has always boiled down to Nope. There's of course history and lots of takes on that history, and less-boiled-down answers probably also involve a That Should Probably Be Another Meta Not This One.

Speaking of This One! I'm also in the choir that was pretty oblivious to tags themselves, but have been noticing the front page in general having a wider variety of interesting stuff and more voices again, which is fantastic, and thank you to all the labor involved!
posted by Drastic at 7:08 PM on January 15


I also did not notice the tags and very rarely comment on the blue, but I definitely noticed that POC users were posting really fantastic and interesting links. It also made me glad that I had read all the previous POC metatalk threads because I recognized usernames and realized that a concerted effort was happening. Thank you so much for the amount of time and attention and intentionality that went into this, a gift to the site indeed. And thanks also for the tips on white folks participating, I don't comment much but I will work on dropping in my appreciation. Thank you all!
posted by fairlynearlyready at 12:03 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


I noticed the uptick, thought it was a great idea and obviously the result of a concerted effort, but failed to appreciate just how much. Thank you both for the effort, and for this field report.
posted by nat at 1:30 AM on January 16


I don't spend much time on the blue at the moment for time reasons, but dang what an amazing volume of quality posts! It's time to dive back in!

Adding my thanks to the pile, to everyone who created these posts, did the support work and emotional labour in the background and fielded poor/terrible comments. What a great result, but at no small expense to some folk here. Thank you.

Also just to quietly add a (shouldn't be necessary but here we are) vote for "was not bothered by the tags", it's something to reflect on if you were I think and not complain about, plus I do enjoy a humorous tag v much, please keep that shit up.
posted by greenish at 2:02 AM on January 16 [3 favorites]


This all seems exhausting and I am glad that you are doing it!

One thing I have particularly appreciated from the mods in relation to this effort that I've noticed is a relaxation of the usual expectations about threadsitting. I think that relaxing these expectations at least a little is a good thing in general when FPP posters have demonstrable expertise to share. However, especially in this context where there is often a large gap, it looks like we have a lot to learn that is worth making extra space for.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:50 AM on January 16 [3 favorites]


I've been a little less engaged with Metafilter lately, but this makes me excited to dig in more again.

I'm so impressed and grateful for all the work you've all done around this initiative! What a really incredible amount of energy and work and tenacity. Thank you also for this very clear and informative post sharing the context and purpose and some of the things the group has noticed during this effort.

This gives me so much hope that Metafilter can continue to improve and can grow to become a much richer, more inclusive community. Thank you to all the people who have been contributing to this effort for all your work!
posted by aka burlap at 10:07 AM on January 16 [2 favorites]


I was coming back here to say thank you to everyone who was so very encouraging in this thread. I really deeply appreciate your kindness and taking the time to let me know that you have been enjoying the posts! (There's a new treat up now - a fast little short story.)

And now I'm kind of struggling, because Blasdelb, you were specifically exhausting. There is like an entire point in this actual post about how exhausting you were. We tried really hard in this post not to say usernames, because we wanted to focus on behavior and not make this about people. But it's extremely jarring to see you commenting here without even acknowledging that you specifically don't know how to make space for anything that's not hard science. And yet you have also ignored posts about indigenous scientists. Which, frankly, I made in response to your aggressive materialism.

You, very specifically, nearly made this not a worthwhile project or space for me. I am hesitating to say this because I don't want it to turn into a rehashing. I'm quite certain that I could have expressed myself better in that thread and framing and etc etc. But a huge part of this project was about trying to let ourselves NOT always be catering to the white gaze and trying to be perfect so that we might maybe be heard. We allowed ourselves to make posts as though we were not talking to white people. There's a cost to that. and in this case, one of those costs was some really deeply missing the point bullshit.

I could come in here and list all my academic credentials - I could be fancy enough to be taken seriously. But that shouldn't be necessary. There should be space for people who haven't had the privileges I have had. There should be space for people who have rejected western ways of credentialing. There should be space for radically different worldviews.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:21 AM on January 16 [42 favorites]


I just want to chime in on the chorus of thanks. These are good and I appreciate the hard work.
posted by fedward at 12:29 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


It also probably says something about internet/online culture (or even just various professions and educations, mine included) where it's a lot easier to dig into a negative criticism of something, but harder to come up with a thoughtful comment about something that you liked. We're generally so primed for defensiveness and tearing others down (see: for example, various accounts dedicated to obsessively refreshing and scouring for the latest thing to nitpick and complain about for the sake of complaining), that it's genuinely rare and difficult to figure out words for engaging outside our comfort zones in a positive way.
posted by rather be jorting at 12:49 PM on January 16 [22 favorites]


As a non-PoC, I did not notice this initiative (I don't usually read the hashtags), but going back over the list, it includes some of the best recent posts. MeFi is what we make it!
posted by benbenson at 1:07 PM on January 16


Quick question for the group here that I think is germane to this MeTa.

There are times when I will encounter an interesting link/links that I think might make the basis for a good FPP, but where the topic is in some way related to issues that affect PoC, or some other marginalized group. I've tended to avoid posting on these topics, not being a member of these groups myself, with the thought that someone else could bring a more informed and experienced perspective to the issue. Often times, though, those links / that topic just doesn't get posted at all, and I kind of regret not posting.

This happened to me today when I read this article (and watched the embedded video) about Rep. Ayanna Pressley's decision to open up about her struggles with alopecia. In it, she discusses how important her hair was to her public persona and her self-confidence, and how difficult it has been as a black woman to deal with losing her hair, to which a high degree of cultural significance is attached. Despite not having faced any of these issues myself, it was a very moving piece that I thought could serve as the basis of an interesting FPP.

The problem is pretty obvious, though. While I can obviously appreciate the courage it's taken for her to do this, and I can identify a tiny bit with the baldness aspect as someone who also has a visible condition that affects my appearance, the cultural significance of African-American hair is not something I can speak with any authority on. if I were to make a post about it, I would not even attempt to do raise this issue in the content of the FPP. It would just be a single link post with perhaps a few pull-quotes to get a conversation going. But then I run the risk of stealing the thunder of someone else with a more personal connection to these issues who might want to make a better post on the topic that might be framed in a way that leads to a better discussion. On the other hand, if nobody in MeFi's PoC community happens to be working on a post on that topic, then the link just won't be seen at all, and that seems regrettable as well.

So, what is the right play here? I'm not suggesting there's a one-size-fits-all answer here, as there probably isn't for all imaginable instances like this. But there does seem to be a tradeoff between the desire to have privileged MeFites do more of the work, and on the other hand, having those MeFites be seen as stepping on the toes of others who might *want* to do that work, and I think those tradeoffs are worth discussing here. Is it better to have a non-PoC make a bare-bones post so a discussion can happen, or is that counterproductive to the point where missing out on the content is preferable to creating a discussion that could alienate people? Are there rules of thumb we can consider when making our post/no-post decisions? Or is this just a "use your judgement and sit with the discomfort if you get it wrong" situation?
posted by tonycpsu at 1:38 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


Also non-POC here, so put my opinion low on your list, but I think a bare-bones post would be fine, and people can add links in comments if they bring particular knowledge to the discussion. For something like your example, which is in the news, maybe wait a day or two to see if someone more qualified posts first?

I like bare-bones posts more than megaposts in general, so that might be influencing my suggestion.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:59 PM on January 16


Honestly, I don't think you need to add a lot of additional context unless you're comfortable doing that and I do think "use your judgement and sit with the discomfort if you get it wrong" is probably the best guideline. I would also suggest waiting a few days on posts like that just in case there are people with more direct experience or relation to those topics who would like to post on it but maybe haven't gotten around to it or haven't come across the link yet. Just my personal opinion.
posted by primalux at 2:01 PM on January 16 [10 favorites]


The problem is pretty obvious, though. While I can obviously appreciate the courage it's taken for her to do this, and I can identify a tiny bit with the baldness aspect as someone who also has a visible condition that affects my appearance, the cultural significance of African-American hair is not something I can speak with any authority on. if I were to make a post about it, I would not even attempt to do raise this issue in the content of the FPP.

Just some suggestions, as a non-black poc:

1) Her video is very moving, and it will still be moving in like a week or ten days even. It's okay to wait to post, and it's okay to wait longer than you think you should to post.

2) I also can't speak with any authority on the cultural significance of African-American women's hairstyles, but as long as you're willing to wait a week or ten days to post, take some time and just read up on African-American women who write about the cultural significance of African-American women's hairstyles- you might find an article that *does* speak from a place of authority, and you might feel like including that article as part of your post.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:10 PM on January 16 [9 favorites]

slight update:
(That being said, we are always welcoming more members of color to MetaPoC, so send either me or anem0ne a message if you’d like an invitation.)
The anem0ne account is gone for now; please redirect any requests either to Conspire or to this account.
you may also message stoneweaver.

and, once again, to explicitly clarify: the metapoc slack is not a space for allies. your space, as an ally, would be here on mefi. the metapoc slack is for people who identify as poc.
posted by Her thoughts were mug thoughts at 3:48 PM on January 16 [9 favorites]


Just adding my gratitude, respect, and deep admiration for the work and energy that everyone involved has and continues to devote to this initiative. Thank you, also, for creating this post to lend some insight to your approach and the huge effort happening behind the scenes, and for the extremely useful feedback on how white mefites (like me) can be better members of this community.
posted by jameaterblues at 6:59 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


I'd like to chime in and thank everyone behind this initiative, both for the excellent posts and for this impressive analysis of the work that went into them. I had also not noticed the hashtags, but MeFi has been fantastic lately and now I can see that this was a big part of why.
posted by daisyk at 7:22 AM on January 17

slight update:
(That being said, we are always welcoming more members of color to MetaPoC, so send either me or anem0ne a message if you’d like an invitation.)
The anem0ne account is gone for now; please redirect any requests either to Conspire or to this account.
you may also message stoneweaver.

and, once again, to explicitly clarify: the metapoc slack is not a space for allies. your space, as an ally, would be here on mefi. the metapoc slack is for people who identify as poc.
final update:

please refer all requests to join the poc slack to stoneweaver and conspire.

given how a certain specific thread has gone, i'm disinterested in continuing to participate in this site.
posted by Her thoughts were mug thoughts at 9:13 AM on January 17 [6 favorites]


The #poctakeover posts have been good, I'm glad you all have put in the effort, and I hope it continues.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:24 PM on January 17


I haven't been participating here in the last few months, due to the moderators' and user base's casual approach to countering racism and other oppression on the site. The response to this thread has confirmed my desire to leave.

The poctakeover posts have been outstanding. That posting links from poc perspectives and keeping MeFi discussions of those links requires the amount of work Conspire details in this post should be a source of shame to the moderators and the rest of the user base. We should not act as if it's anything close to reasonable to require a group of volunteers to put that much time, effort, coordination, and emotional energy into heading off -- not even preventing, just heading off -- racist pushback and discussion on MetaFilter. That people are responding with "keep up the good work!" rather than "This is exactly what I as a white person am going to do to take this burden off our POC members" is unconscionable to me.
posted by lazuli at 10:10 AM on January 18 [17 favorites]


That people are responding with "keep up the good work!" rather than "This is exactly what I as a white person am going to do to take this burden off our POC members" is unconscionable...

That's right. That's because it's so deeply entrenched in most white people of the North American population that racism is fundamentally not their problem.

The glorious era of racial ignorance (and the gift racism has been for North American "white" identity) is coming to an end. Thank you Conspire, and the numerous unseen others, who have made the effort here to help Metafilter to function with more racial inclusivity (I have also backed away from Metafilter because even if I give, there is no give-and-take; if I ever need to actually ask a question about what really hinders me in life, even among the "supreme" minds of Metafilter, I know I am not wanted here). I'm inclined to follow this new work for a bit and see if I can feel it to participate regularly again. It really seems like some smart people worked quite hard to break the invisible glass for everyone here, so I'll try support it by having a look.
posted by human ecologist at 11:26 AM on January 18 [8 favorites]


I am glad you said what you said, lazuli - I am really proud of this project and our posts and what we've done and I like having recognition for it, but I am also really resentful about how much unpaid labor it took from us and how we were mostly left to fight our own battles and deal with a lot of bullshit that people should never have felt comfortable saying, much less being left there by the mods* and I would MUCH rather have recognition of that.

*though both things have gotten better as the project grew
posted by primalux at 12:07 PM on January 18 [15 favorites]


That people are responding with "keep up the good work!" rather than "This is exactly what I as a white person am going to do to take this burden off our POC members" is unconscionable

Honestly, I feel like it's virtue signalling from me to jump into this thread and talk about what I've done or am going to do. I think the challenge is worthwhile and the scorn is warranted. Maybe there should be a separate, more appropriate thread for allies to talk and plan and challenge one another to do better.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:00 PM on January 18 [18 favorites]


A whole section of this post, and some of the ensuing discussion, is about how white MeFites can engage positively; it's hardly the case that we can't participate, but rather even an endeavor like this is distorted by the need to cater to white perspectives despite its entire focus being to make the space more inviting and well-trod by PoC viewpoints and issues.

"drowning out white voices" is clearly not what's happening but is a joke as stated above. Moreover, it's the kind of joke that PoC MeFites need to feel comfortable making if we're going to be inclusive of everyone.
posted by XMLicious at 2:37 PM on January 18 [6 favorites]


[One comment deleted just prior to XMLicious, for the same reason of, this thread isn't the time/place.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:41 PM on January 18


I feel like it's virtue signalling from me to jump into this thread and talk about what I've done or am going to do....Maybe there should be a separate, more appropriate thread for allies to talk and plan and challenge one another to do better.

even an endeavor like this is distorted by the need to cater to white perspectives

I agree, I've been enjoying the wide variety of interesting posts on the front page and appreciate the huge amount of effort that has gone into them.

After seeing some of the comments here and elsewhere, I've also been wondering about the possibility of having a separate thread where allies could discuss their responses and plans, and challenge each other without distorting threads that are intended to make space for others.

(But, I can also see how a thread like that could go terribly wrong...)
posted by rpfields at 5:10 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


I felt the same as Jessamyn - I didn't want to come into a thread where we're talking about and appreciating the enormous amount of work here by the POC community within MF, and make it about me and what I planned to do, that felt like poor form. Sorry if that was a bad judgement.

Here for a thread where we do talk about it though. I'd be happy to kick that off, to take the work away from the people who have been doing it so far? Would anyone like to comment before I do, or would anyone else like to?
posted by greenish at 11:14 AM on January 19 [6 favorites]


Maybe there should be a separate, more appropriate thread for allies to talk and plan and challenge one another to do better.

Personally as a POC I would welcome this; I have personally witnessed / heard of a white people's caucus / white affinity group happening successfully a few times, with the help of thoughtful facilitation and organizing.

I do think that the facilitation/organizing is key. And would encourage those who are starting the thread to tap into that history/practice that others have been working on for a while.

Here are some resources I've found recently:
White Anti-Racism Affinity Groups: I Used to Be a Skeptic, But Now I’m an Evangelist
Building an Effective White Caucus
Tips for Creating Effective White Caucus Groups
Caucus and affinity groups

I'm glad to see this conversation continuing and changing.
posted by suedehead at 4:18 PM on January 19 [42 favorites]


Thanks suedehead I am reading all of these and they're fantastic.
posted by greenish at 5:31 AM on January 20


Some good stuff here! Thanks for mentioning the campaign in MetaTalk.
posted by michaelh at 12:11 PM on January 20


I noticed and appreciated the uptick in posts by POC, but I don't know that I commented on any. I was trying not to insert my voice into the conversation.

I don't usually leave comments if all I have to say is "thanks" or "I liked it" - I guess I was worried that this would be noise? This post is helpful for me personally, because it tells me that I should be leaving those comments more often. If I had known before that these were welcome, I would have commented more. I hope in the future more of us will feel comfortable expressing our appreciation for the posts.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:01 PM on January 20 [5 favorites]


So. I made a fpp about allyship boosting the words of Summer May Finlay, a Yorta Yorta woman. I haven't tagged it #poctakeover as I'm white, and I don't think that would be appropriate at all. However, I hope that it is in the same theme and helpful- please let me know if it's not.
https://www.metafilter.com/185263/how-to-be-a-good-indigenous-ally
posted by freethefeet at 9:01 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


In a previous MetaTalk thread, my understanding was that a number of non-POC MeFites were eager to discuss action items in the form of A Plan and had referenced doing so off-site in the politicsfilter Slack. As I am not a part of that Slack, I'd be very interested in seeing the follow-up from those discussions in the proposed anti-racist ally MetaTalk thread. I also agree that it would be a good idea to have a separate thread for non-POC MeFites to discuss, plan, and challenge each other to do better. The resources suedehead provided above look like they'd be a great jumping-off point for discussion. Are people going to start that thread soon?
posted by rather be jorting at 11:51 AM on January 23 [3 favorites]


There is in fact a MetaTalk in the queue! We've had a couple of unexpected mod availability things the last couple days so we've been holding it till things settled down a little so we knew someone could be around, and this afternoon is actually a pretty okay time for that so I'm gonna touch base with the poster and see about getting it put through.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:55 AM on January 23


(Or, rather, there is a MetaTalk in the queue, based on some discussion in this thread in particular. I don't want to set up the poster as feeling misrepresented if their focus isn't specifically that, or suggest that it should be a one-and-done thing. Just wanted to acknowledge that mod-side we've had to manage a little delay in one bit of folks' followup on this.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:58 AM on January 23


Nice! Glad to hear things are moving along, and thanks for the info re: queue timing logistics and mod-poster communication.
posted by rather be jorting at 12:15 PM on January 23


And it's up now!
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:25 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


1. Taking the small portion of the conversation you do understand and have opinions about and amplifying it to be the entire conversation, even when it is tangential to the points being made.

I've noticed a certain kind of comment in a couple different threads connected to race- the comments are similar to the kinds of comments described above, but different in subtle ways.

The kind of comment I've noticed starts off by talking about the subject being discussed in the links in the post, but then at some point, the comment will switch gears and start talking about something other than the content of the post. These kinds of comments can quickly change the focus of the thread from "people are discussing the content in the links in the post" to "people are discussing something other than the content of the post". When discussing something connected to race, it can kind of side-track a thread, because site culture is such that commenting on a comment is perfectly acceptable, and before you know it, the discussion in the thread is about something very disconnected from the content in the links in the post.

This is just my opinion, but if you notice yourself leaving a comment where a small initial part of the comment is about the content of the links, but most of the rest of the comment is about something else other than the content in the links, before you hit "Post Comment", maybe try editing your comment so that the focus of your comment is directly tied to the content in the links in the post.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:18 PM on January 26 [12 favorites]


One thing I’ve noticed - there doesn’t really seem o be a lot of content about Spanish-language television or movies on Fanfare. I don’t want to make posts if no one else is watching them because that would probably not be great either, but - is anyone else, or would anyone have interest in trying them if they have subtitles? There are some really great gems even available on Netflix or Prime right now that I think would be right up Metafilter’s alley!
posted by corb at 3:07 PM on January 28 [3 favorites]


is anyone else, or would anyone have interest in trying them if they have subtitles?

Yes, definitely!
posted by Dip Flash at 8:54 PM on January 28


there were many more problems than these specific examples

I'm leaving this comment here because I can't think of any other thread where it would make sense, so this one will have to do. I've noticed a kind of comment in a couple of threads related to race, where someone will point out that another Mefite's comment (on a certain topic related in some way to race) is in some way problematic (and even go so far as to explain *how* and *why* the comment is problematic) and the Mefite who left the comment will say (either calmly or angrily) that they have been called a racist, when nobody called them that specific word.

This is just my 2 cents, but if you find yourself making a comment that claims that another Mefite has called you racist, before you hit "Post Comment", do a Ctrl+F and search for "racist" and see if anyone has actually called you that word. If not, consider editing your comment so that you don't use the word "racist", instead replacing the word "racist" with other more accurate words
posted by 23skidoo at 10:11 AM on February 5 [13 favorites]


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