Person of Color thread #5 (I think?) June 6, 2020 10:54 AM   Subscribe

Given everything that is going on in the U.S. and the world related to racism at this very moment, I thought it was time for another BIPOC only thread. There are also many FPPs related to race currently as well as two new moderators. As before, this is a space for discussion for Metafilter members of color, so before posting please take a look at the guidelines posted inside.

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

How the Mods have agreed to moderate the thread:
* Light moderation with non-BIPOC mods interacting only to direct questions i.e. "Mods, xxxxxx...." Any BIPOC moderators are invited and encouraged to participate in their capacity as community members.
* Refrain from deleting any comments unless they're outright threats to another person or group.
* Remove any comments that attempt to argue the validity of the thread's purpose.
posted by primalux to MetaFilter-Related at 10:54 AM (65 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's Request -- frimble

I'm always tired when someone tries to interject a conversation with "WELL MY ONE _____ FRIEND/ASSOCIATE/COWORKERS COUSINS FRIENDS UNCLE SAID..." about the subject of conversation. Especially when dealing with matters of race and ethnicity. Like, BIPOC people are not a monolith. Especially those from a different community and country.

Like if we can understand that not all women like frilly dresses, not all nerds love math, not all Black people listen to hip hop, etc... especially during these times people strain to find the ONE person to cling onto to do their work for them. Reductress is totally accurate during these times.

And I'll be even more specific, I'm constantly tired and frustrated when typically white people try to extrapolate and entire East Asian culture and people if they know ONE person (barely) to represent how an entire country's people feel, think or experience. Can I also bitch about the "well I have an Asian wife, SO (blah blah blah)" and especially infuriating when their "Asian wife" is from an entirely different culture. Like if they actually have a Vietnamese wife trying to talk for South Korean issues, or something like that.

I see this on Mefi crop up quite a fair amount, and it's especially egregious on Askme and extra infuriating when these opinions are shouted down on blue but held when answering a question on Ask.
posted by xtine at 11:25 AM on June 6, 2020 [16 favorites]

@xtine, I'm SO tired of that as well too. I'm from Hong Kong and lived in China for a few years. It doesn't make me an expert on Korea, Japan, Thailand, India or just about anywhere that isn't those two places. Heck, I wouldn't even consider myself an expert on Hong Kong since I haven't lived or visited in a long time.

I've also noticed that white men feel this constant need to judge Asian Americans on whether or not we are "real Asians." White expats in China were constantly saying that TO MY FACE, like they were the experts. Hilariously, many of them barely knew anything about the culture or the language. Just STFU, assholes--you don't get to judge because like Jon Snow, you know nothing.

On a more positive note, I really want to give props to toastyk for their wonderful posts, particularly the ones on Hong Kong. I feel so seen here.

I have to admit that I'm only posting here again on MeFi as a whole because of the new mods.
posted by so much modern time at 11:44 AM on June 6, 2020 [7 favorites]

Heck, I wouldn't even consider myself an expert on Hong Kong since I haven't lived or visited in a long time.

This. I'd further like to add, not even everybody in their country may understand their own issues. Like... how many Americans are clueless or naive about what's going on right now? So that "oh I have one Taiwanese associate that told me about X thing" is that really representative of all of Taiwanese people? No.
posted by xtine at 11:52 AM on June 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Sending love and solidarity to all POC on MeFi right now, but especially Black MeFites. It's been a devastating week and I hope you are all taking care of yourselves.

The thing giving me life right now is Tsuru Rising, the virtual event of Tsuru for Solidarity. This was originally a Japanese American community protest against the border camps and immigrant detention and an expression of solidarity with detainees based on Japanese American experiences in World War II, but in response to current events the organizers quickly added a lot of programming to express solidarity with the Black community and to work against anti-Blackness in our communities and call for an end to racist policing. Speakers are talking about defunding the police and calling for reparations for Black Americans. IT'S FUCKING AMAZING! I LOVE IT!!!

And this dovetails nicely with what people are saying above about not taking your one (Japanese) friend to represent what all (Japanese Americans) think: Not only is it dumb to extrapolate from one person regardless, if you have one POC in a room full of white people? They're not telling you what they really think! I've had my frustrations with conservative and slow-moving elements in my community before, but get a bunch of us in a room together and more likely than not we get radical as FUCK! I think JAs are lucky in that we don't as often have to actively hide parts of ourselves to get along, but sometimes you're just in a room full of white people and it's like yeah whatever or you spend the whole time debunking some weird idea someone has and don't get around to talking about what really moves you, and then you get around your people and there's that ENERGY. You cannot, cannot pretend to know what all people from a particular community think when you corner them alone in a hostile space and ask them.

Anyway! I'm just really excited about Tsuru, thanks for listening

I get that this is not the right space for the mods to respond since it's the POC-only thread, but lest it get lost, I also want to call attention to meaty shoe puppet's question about anti-racism training for MetaFilter mods toward the end of the thread about the new mods. I'm also eager for an update and I hope we get an answer.
posted by sunset in snow country at 12:17 PM on June 6, 2020 [6 favorites]

The one good thing that's come out of this ::gesticulates wildly:: *everything* is that the Racists and Bigots are generally Proudly showing their Asses online and often doubling down on their statements.

Which means two main things:
1- They are easy to see and avoid if necessary
2 -They are doing this in public so 'I have the receipts' (to misappropriate a phrase) which means they can't successfully gaslight people when they get challenged.

It's a shame as I have had to purge two authors ad two large brands from life, but at least I know they think I'm a lesser being so I can choose not to give them any more of my money.

Neal Asher hardbacks on my bookcase and TBR pile *gone*
Jim Butcher Dresden Files material *gone*
One smaller youtuber (whom I won't name as they now deleted their channel anyway)
Two Leftist Comics (again I wont name them because they've deleted things before they can be screen shotted )

It's disheartening and sad making but I'm all out of benefits-of-the-doubt at this point.

It's still all very very tiring and angry making though.
posted by Faintdreams at 12:19 PM on June 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

Also when the two new Mods were announced and it was stated that they both come from Outside Metafilter, I just thought ' Welcome to the Shark Tank ' what a time to start this particular job as a POC (as well as all the other marginalised identities they share)
posted by Faintdreams at 12:27 PM on June 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

OMG every social media space I frequent has been just utter garbage for the last 10 days and of course more, but I've finally hit my wall and have been unfollowing/defriending/and even delurking for the first time ever to read some users for filth in other spaces. And it's been nice to have such utter clarity of a new one-strike-you're-out policy, but it's also just disheartening.

I expected nothing good of Metafilter and thus was not unduly disappointed by all of the white fragility/white performed wokeness that cropped up.
posted by TwoStride at 1:49 PM on June 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm neither here nor there in this situation (Indian who spent a few years in the US but no longer there) and I mostly read MeFi than comment so I'll just say:

This is no time for jokes. Every thread about race, or every thread about India for that matter, often has those inane "jokes" (haha what next will they build a death star/make everyone wear a yellow star). I usually stop reading a thread as soon as I encounter one of those jokes. And no, it's not your coping mechanism or "gallows humor" --- only people on the gallows get to say that.
posted by Idle Curiosity at 2:35 PM on June 6, 2020 [5 favorites]

Not related to Mefi, but this week I've been reminded of that scene in The Sopranos where the country club bankers ask Tony if he knew John Gotti.

How do I feel about these events?
The same way you should be feeling.

Have these issues affected me?
Sure, they should affect everyone.

Do I have anything I want to share?
Not really, no.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 6:19 PM on June 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm very disappointed at the "heat, not light" deletions. You have built a site culture that is incredibly hostile towards PoC. To wade against this current of hostility already takes massive amounts of energy, and it should be absolutely fine if someone decides to do the bare minimum of contributing their experiences and insights, instead of going the extra mile to dress it up in niceties. Just because you've normalized PoC meeting you 100% of the way, instead of meeting people in the middle by looking past the presentation to the core message, doesn't mean that expectation is right and anyone not following it is rude. And I'm especially incensed by white liberals who concern troll by masking their own fragility under a veneer of education: "I would be able to take this directness, but other people are fragile, so the best way for you to reach them is to be nice."

It's all light, you dumbasses. For as much we have talked about respectability politics, you sure haven't internalized this message.

Speaking of which - I'm keeping my mind open about the new moderators. But I will note that I still find it very interesting that a lot of more vocal PoC members, who have had a long history of supporting other PoC and being direct about race, here applied for the job, and did not get it. And I know I can't directly accuse the site of this, because it has a billion alternative reasons why it could point to, but it really does feel like being vocal and direct about race is something the site views as inherently combative, to the point that a person is too volatile to be a moderator.
posted by Conspire at 7:01 PM on June 6, 2020 [20 favorites]

Metafilter: It's all light, you dumbasses.

(Oh, would that English declined the vocative!)
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 7:37 PM on June 6, 2020

I had been monitoring the recent two askmefis, I found them notable because they were both Asian American women in situations with a "white dude saying racist and racist adjacent things" as their partner in relation to coronavirus and the more recent ones in relation to the protests.

I hadn't remembered the underlying comments that was deleted for the "light not heat" and I appreciate it being reposted here because I remember it being along those lines - firm, but not insulting or a hot take. I think being called a racist is one of the scariest and closest thing to an race-related insult white people can suffer - maybe that's why it was interpreted as uncivil?
posted by Karaage at 7:53 PM on June 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

I haven't thought about this in awhile, but it reminded me of an exchange I found extremely frustrating back in February regarding Asian Americans seeing more harassment as a result of covid.

You can see the conversation yourself, which I think was an important one, (although it's still painfully obvious to me that people I was arguing with weren't even addressing the points I was making).

But instead of letting it play out, it stamped out by one mod as a "bizarre derail" at which point I backed off but was left feeling like the mod didn't even want to try to understand, but then LobsterMittens came in later with a much more nuanced, empathetic view that made me feel like someone heard what I was trying to say and left me feeling like I didn't need to get back in it with the people lecturing me about things I already knew. Like wow, go back and read LMs mod note. That shows me someone who's genuinely trying to be nuanced.
posted by Karaage at 8:05 PM on June 6, 2020 [4 favorites]

Honestly speaking, LobsterMitten is absolutely stellar. I think the site would be much more of an empathetic place if all of the moderators would adopt her willingness to make space. It's not that she always gets everything right, it's that she views people of different backgrounds than her as coming from an informed place and therefore tries to understand the issues underlying their behavior, instead of viewing them as problems or naughty children, I guess. I genuinely hope that the new moderators are being trained by her.
posted by Conspire at 8:23 PM on June 6, 2020 [5 favorites]

Oh yeah, the difference between taz and LobsterMitten in that thread was stark.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 8:30 PM on June 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

Hey so as one of the applicants for that job: I don't know if you're talking about me particularly, but I'm not really comfortable with being pitted against the two new mods. I got an interview, which led to a pretty good chat with cortex about site stuff. He did ask me a bunch of questions later about what my moderating philosophy would be. I haven't asked him why I got rejected, but that's on me - I was having a bad day when the email came and didn't feel up for asking him to explain, and I have a general antipathy towards asking for feedback after job rejections because 99.99% of them are useless garbage, so even if cortex's would have actually been useful I probably wasn't in the space to hear it. I appreciate that the new mods are QPOC and wish them luck.
posted by divabat at 9:11 PM on June 6, 2020 [6 favorites]

(also if one of you is @MefiOutsider on Twitter: please cut it out, you're kinda creeping me out to be honest and besides I'm one of those "trendy enbies" you seem to hate so much)
posted by divabat at 9:19 PM on June 6, 2020 [10 favorites]

primalux: thank you. That user had tagged me on Twitter saying y'all were most likely talking about me and I wanted to make sure things didn't get too far into "rarrrr let's hate on the new mods rarrrr" territory like they were doing.
posted by divabat at 9:31 PM on June 6, 2020

Our tribe has been, as far as I can tell anyway, silent on the current events regarding BLM. Not surprising since, as I've said on here before, there's been not a little trouble regarding tribal council members punching down against certain family members in attempts to disenfranchise them and/or consolidate power. Not to mention a fraught past of lukewarm, at best, support of other groups that are not unlike our tribe even. My family is all aboard for other tribal pushes, and the current BLM protests of course, so that's something at least.

I wish I could go protest. My high risk status (lung (ABPA/asthma) and not super healthy weight) prevents that from being something I'm willing to roll the dice with so, yea, I'm a coward. Feels pretty crappy and like I'm letting POC friends and neighbors down, not to mention my kid's generation.

My interactions have been limited to not letting bullshit stand on hyper local social media and I did get a kudos from a random person who was an adoptive parent of a POC child saying thanks and that I restored some of her faith in the local community.

I'm just so tired of the casual, easy going racism along the complete and total bullshit lines of "All lives matter". It's such a garbage saying and always comes with zero attempt to engage with actual issues and takes so much energy to even begin to address comprehensively with words (verbal or written) that it's exhausting to try to educate/un-fuck someone who is, perhaps, reachable but so deep in ignorance and privilige that they're dangerously close to actively racist-lite.

Re: askmes and mods.

I didn't see those askme questions. But now...

I agree with everyone here saying that 'light not heat' is pretty shitty. If it was a standalone thing it'd be more 'not great, let's do better' but as it stands now with A) all the good people of the world finally putting some well and truly deserved heat on the powers that be regarding race and inequality on a level not seen since the civil rights movement (apologies if I've missed a movement this large in between but this one is the biggest in my living/woke memory anyway since Rodney King happend when I was just learning to read) and B) mods/members here already having been put on notice of how shitty things come across here sometimes... well, it's not great.

The mods have a hard job. I couldn't do it effectively. I'd screw someting up and/or drop a silly/bad mod note way more often than they do. But I think folks here in this thread are in the right for saying that they want better and being let down when it doesn't pan out that way.

In conclusion, non-POC folks can use some fucking heat now and then. Even myself who mostly presents as passing for not POC but benifiting from a family history that has taught me a few things about shitty treatment and oppression... even I can use some heat and prodding more often than I get it. Why are we sugar coating it and asking members here (POC included) to behave a certain way [light] vs letting them tell it the way it is [heat] and if that pisses off some members who aren't on the ally train by now, well, shit, they probably never will be by this point.

I love y'all. This site is a treasure. The membership is a beacon of intelligence and empathy and insight (for the most part). Let's support all of that and none of the rest.

posted by RolandOfEld at 10:08 PM on June 6, 2020 [7 favorites]

This place needs to do better. There are too many people asking black people, POC, visible minorities to carry the burden of their shit: Should I do this? Is this right? Am I doing this wrong?

Here's the answer: figure it out, it's on you. We had to figure out how to deal with the overt racism, the microaggressions. We had to learn to do all of that. so now it's on you, learn to be better. There are books, there are narrative films, documentaries, interviews, educational resources, it's all out there. So stop putting it on us to absolve you of things you know are wrong. That you're asking means you know on some level that something isn't right.

I'm just tired. I've stepped away from twitter and I'm avoiding the news. I get some big picture breaking news alerts, but I'm avoiding reading in too much detail. I tend to spiral and obsess over these issues, racist events at large, microaggressions, me just carrying all of the small instances where I've had to keep my mouth shut in my personal life because it's just easier to do that.

Just try to be better and try not to put it on all of us. We're already carrying the weight of history and our current times.


I love MetaFilter. I try to make it a better place, I try to model that by posting things that make people smile and let them see that the world is larger than we think it is. I want this place to work, I want it to thrive, and I want people to feel comfortable here.

Thanks for listening.
posted by Fizz at 5:06 AM on June 7, 2020 [19 favorites]

Fizz, your posts on various and sundry items are a treasure and a bastion of sanity in a doomscrolling world. I don't comment much but I read them almost everytime. Thanks.
posted by RolandOfEld at 5:57 AM on June 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

How does one get an edit into the MeFi Wiki?

Divabat put together a list of 43 MeTas about racism on MeFi between 2001 and 2017. It'd be great if we could keep that up to date.

I'm also curious if there's been any movement on updating the Microaggressions and making space page to consider the possibility that the reader is a PoC. EM said that was "on the list" last year.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 8:54 AM on June 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I am hoping the new QPOC mods will herald a change to the problems we have seen here. Obviously they are just two people and not responsible for fixing an entire site. But representation is important and I was happy to see they’ve got experience with anti racism training. I also agree with the comments above about LobsterMitten, whose modding most often aligns with what I would expect of a thoughtful, aware mod.

Speaking of modding, I missed the deleted comments in that Ask. That a firm but not insulting answer by a WOC was deleted and the light not heat rationale given by a mod is indeed disappointing. When I commented, I really felt the need to confirm to the asker that, whatever she ended up deciding to do, that yes her husband is definitely racist and blind to his own privilege and no, she isn’t being unreasonable, and it is definitely not on her to do the heavy lifting of educating him.

Random, non site related thoughts:

There’s been a large increase in the number of hate crimes against Asians in and around Vancouver, where my parents live. My mom is Chinese and I worry about her getting targeted. Now that the stay at home conditions are easing there, and my dad is recovering from the serious accident he had back in January (yes it’s been a shit year so far), the two of them have been going out for more walks so Dad can practice using his walker. I keep picturing someone attacking my mom first, and then my (white) dad trying to defend her and him getting attacked too. Or them attacking him for being with her. I don’t want either of them to get attacked! I also worry about my brother, who is half Chinese like me and looks more Asian—in addition, he also has experience being profiled by the police, so I worry about him getting beaten up by a member of the public or the police. Or both. Christ things are fucked up.

My partner and I attended a BLM protest in our small city where the organizers asked for speakers from the Black and Indigenous communities here; several of our local chiefs have been quite vocal about supporting BLM while also highlighting that here in Canada police violence against Indigenous people is a huge problem. I was very heartened to see people, BIPOC and white, come out in vast numbers to protest in my (generally stereotyped as redneck) community. As a POC who is not Black or Indigenous I’ve felt it’s important to be present and supportive of those communities, but as a POC I also personally derive comfort from knowing there are people in my community who are anti racist.

Anyway I’m rambling now so I’ll stop, but finally, I want to say thank you to primalux for starting a new POC MetaTalk.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:58 AM on June 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

I realized after reading rather be jorting’s comment that I had not explicitly said it, so now I will. Sending love and solidarity to all the POC here but particularly holding Black Mefites in my heart. What a devastating past couple of weeks.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:28 AM on June 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Yes, sending love to all black mefites, this week has been tough and I am sending power and love to all of you.
posted by Fizz at 11:33 AM on June 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Things I've been thinking about, recently:

1) Differential power relationships. Most people are fixated on relationships where they are in positions of less power (cause they have to be). Just about everyone, however, has some relationships where they're either explicitly or implicitly in the position of more power. One's well-being doesn't directly depend on their thinking about relationships where they have more power - so most understandably spend much less time, there.

2) Trust. Do you trust your superiors? Do your subordinates trust you? How are your criteria to trust those above you different than your understanding of the criteria of those below you? They're unlikely to be the same.

3) Am I obligated to take part? Sometimes you just can't (or really shouldn't) opt-out of certain relationships or communities. Others you're free to choose to be a part of (or are free to choose to not be a part of).

For me personally, I found these points super clarifying - especially in terms of explicitly defined relationships, like in my expectations of myself as a parent vs. my expectations of my own parent, or in terms of myself as a manager vs. my expectations of my management. In my case, I already knew that I needed to figure out how to earn and keep the trust of my kid and my reports. I only recently realized I wasn't really holding either my parent or my management chain to the same standard.

And you can look at just about everything through this lens. Has this police officer acted in a way to earn my trust? Has this white person? Has this predominantly white community or space? If the answer is "no" - are you obligated to continue having a relationship with them? More - are they doing anything to build trust with you? Are they allowing you that decision? Or are they acting like they're entitled to your trust?

At the same time - brown people aren't a monolith. There's good reason for other brown or black folks to not trust me or people who look like me, either - so me and people who look like me have got work to do, too.

tl;dr - time is short, and you can't make more. When I have the choice, I'm very purposely trying to spend mine more intentionally.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 9:17 PM on June 7, 2020 [6 favorites]

Lmao @ black American mainstream culture being good enough for everybody to imitate or pay homage to but our "culture" is the first thing that gets blamed when we get killed, or beaten, or, like, exist while visibly black. Non-black POC or white friends, family and partners aren't going to erase this apparent enduring stigma.

Everybody wanna be black but don't nobody wanna be black.

I feel like something broke in me after engaging for the last few years weeks in social media and protests and stuff but I can't talk about feeling traumatized without sounding dramatic. I still feel like I'm under siege? Like more so than the background radiation of racism and dread? Writing that sounds stupid. I still work hard (glad to have an essential job) and attend my tabletop campaign and engage like a regular person because wtf can you do without being repetitive and one note? I'm not even 30 yet. When I see a cop car I feel sick. I obsessively check our locks because of what happened to to Breonna Taylor (not that it would have saved her).
posted by Freeze Peach at 9:40 AM on June 8, 2020 [26 favorites]

You don’t sound like you’re being dramatic to me, Freeze Peach. Your response sounds perfectly understandable given the intense anti-black racism you’re exposed to constantly. You quite rightly fear for your own life and the life of those you love, and that is exhausting and terrifying. I’m so sorry. I can’t know what it is like to be black, but my heart hurts for you just reading your description of what you are going through.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:12 AM on June 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

Freeze Peach - you're describing a form of racial PTSD and know it's a Trope around these parts, but you can find licensed Black therapists that can help you with better coping mechanisms to .. uhm.. cope.

Good luck.

Therapy is not always the answer, but it can definitely help you hone the correct questions.
posted by Faintdreams at 1:34 PM on June 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

Thank you all for your comments and for listening, I appreciate it. And to clarify upon rereading I wasn't like directly talking to anyone or calling anyone out with my last sentence in the first paragraph, it was purely a general statement. Seeing people talk about their solidarity is great.
posted by Freeze Peach at 6:47 PM on June 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

I am just exhausted. That's really where I'm at.

I'm a WOC who is partnered with a white(ish) man and I gave somewhat gentle advice in that thread but wasn't because I think it's right that WOC are Baby's First Race Discussion for twenty-thirtysomething white men over and over again. It's because the actual answer is that white dudes leave WOC when they're honest about their feelings already and everyone who is in that situation who can afford to leave usually has, so like why would I offer that suggestion, if that were an option it would already be on the table.

Which is exhausting thinking about it, tbh. Fuck.
posted by corb at 2:17 PM on June 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

I came to type a quick comment about learning a new dimension to a childhood fable and instead got suckered into typing out several paragraphs on Chinese history, historical constructions of race, and the construction of political continuity.

This would have been an opportunity for a better class of mods to have stepped in.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 7:23 AM on June 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

I've spent the week dipping into #BlackintheIvory and #PublishingPaidMe on Twitter and man, just stewing.
posted by TwoStride at 2:07 PM on June 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

Hey Freeze Peach, I want to send you compassion and good vibes.

I feel the tiredness emanating from posts on this thread. I am also tired. I'm a POC who works in issues around race and institutional racism, so have been used for some time to having awkward, tone-deaf conversations around race with white people who would be horrified if you said they were being racist, but who are constantly using stupid generalisations, stereotypes, microaggressions, etc. I have written elsewhere on MeFi how I feel like I have to work twice as hard as others to get the same level of recognition as my white colleagues.

That has been the case prior to BLM and since BLM, the number of stupid conversations I've found myself involved in has escalated both in and outside work.

I am really, really tired of white people telling me how uncomfortable they feel talking about race, they don't know enough so really should they be sharing BLM-related resources on social media, they're so worried they'll say the wrong thing. I've always been sympathetic on the surface because I've been socialised to be a Nice Person (TM) but inwardly I just feel like, I don't care about how you feel. This is reality for many, many people. Educate yourself. Sit with your discomfort. It's not going to kill you. It's not my job to make you feel better about yourself. To be fair, though, I think this is on the verge of changing. I feel that my legendary Nice Person-ness is starting to wear extremely thin.

But worse than the well-meaning white person looking to me to soothe them is the white person who is aggressively uninterested in engaging with the discourse around race. Again, they would never consider themselves racist, but they have a very fixed, black-and-white view of things and no interest in understanding that it's their privilege as a white person that allows them to see things in a very fixed, black-and-white way. e.g "Vandalism of statues is wrong." "The protests are wrong because mass gatherings in the time of Covid-19 could lead to the disease spreading." These points of view lack nuance. They push back when I point out examples of racism. "Are you sure you're not just being oversensitive?" (I'm not being oversensitive.) "Are you sure that isn't a fake article?" (It isn't a fake article.) The sad thing is, these are people I consider friends! But it's like, are they really my friends? I don't know. I am tired and angry and sad.

Re: Metafilter: I have read and participated in many, many threads that made me want to nope out, but I will say, I am glad to call this community home. (I've been a member for 10 years, even though my current username is quite new.) I appreciate that the discourse around race is not perfect but improving. I appreciate that, while I'll never be half as intelligent or eloquent as many people on this site, participating here has helped me to refine my thinking about many things, including race and racism.
posted by unicorn chaser at 5:56 AM on June 11, 2020 [11 favorites]

My energy levels seems finite lately. I've been exhausted. I took a break from social media to get my energy up. Replying to primalux above:
a) Just a few weeks ago I was explicitly asked to let a white man know whenever he lets out a microaggression. WHENEVER. I had pre-emptively told him a few times prior is not my job. Is he not listening to me because I'm not white? I can't say I'm surprised. He actually thinks figuring out what's racist means thinking about it and not ever reading/asking/learning something new. As if he can just distill meaning after a long think.

b) BIPOC definitely aren't perfect at being non-racist. Do white people think the P in POC means Paragon?
posted by mayurasana at 9:16 AM on June 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

For folks who are feeling defensive or baffled while reading this thread, may I recommend Dolly Chugh's book The Person You Mean to Be: How to Fight Bias. It is my new (just finished it this morning!) recommendation for folks who are on the "what should I do, I'm scared of doing something wrong but I definitely know that I can't sit on the sidelines." I include myself in this as an Asian American who does _some_ anti-racist work within the context of urban planning but knows that I should and could be doing so much more to address anti-Blackness specifically. Chugh is a woman of color (Indian American) but doesn't shy away from confronting her own sexism and racism as examples of what it takes to "build" towards instead of just "believing" in equity.

There's so much action-oriented stuff in the book and really helpful framing (for me at least) in that we are practicing how to be Good-ish people rather than angling for affirmation that we are Good people. Chugh cites Roxane Gay's identity of "bad feminist" as an inspiration/example of this.
When we are in a fixed mindset, we are walking on I’m-a-good-person eggshells. We are in a constant struggle to not say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing. I call this overwhelming feeling the “fixed mindset tax” because it is taxing on our attention.We focus less on the project, person, or policy at hand and more on not being wrong. Furthermore, our preoccupation with not being wrong means that we will not learn from our mistakes, which means we are even more likely to be wrong. The fixed mindset tax can be costly.
I joked on Twitter that this is the first time I've actually found the growth vs fixed mindset concepts helpful.

This section I am sharing for people alarmed by what feels like "too much anger."
Rabbi Solomon explains, be prepared to be uncomfortable. “Sometimes, when I am proximate to someone’s problems, I begin to realize how much privilege I have as a male, as someone with light skin, and so on,” he confesses. “It can be very discombobulating internally. Even though I’m trying to be helpful, they are angry at me. And they have the right to be angry. But it can be socially, psychologically dangerous to feel attacked. It’s very hard work.”

Rabbi Solomon’s description—hard work—perfectly explains how it feels to cope with self-threat. We will not always get the affirmation we crave. Craving the affirmation does not make us bad people as long as we work to see the craving for what it is and prevent it from being a burden to others.
Chugh also brings up what folks have written here already:
African American spoken-word artist Christopher Owens could not believe his white friends had done it again. For the twenty-seventh time (not a typo), a white friend had tagged him on Facebook with a request. “My friend will say ‘Hey, my mom’s friend is saying racist stuff on my page, so could you explain racism to her? I want to say something, but I know it would resonate more if you said it.’” After the twenty-seventh Facebook tag, Christopher was done. He explains, “It’s exhausting to explain to people who aren’t oppressed that you’re oppressed.”
posted by spamandkimchi at 12:33 PM on June 11, 2020 [11 favorites]

I think I've mentioned before that I feel uncomfortable about posting in these threads because I'm mostly-white and pretty much entirely white-passing, but I just have to vent real quick:

People sure do hate it when you point out that a mediocre white dude is, in fact, mediocre, don't they?
posted by tobascodagama at 12:54 PM on June 11, 2020 [8 favorites]

(And by people, I include mods who will let snarky defences of said white dude stand while deleting snarky responses to them. Don't think I didn't see that.)
posted by tobascodagama at 12:55 PM on June 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

BIPOC definitely aren't perfect at being non-racist. Do white people think the P in POC means Paragon?

I don't know if that's better or worse than white people who, while this is going on, just cannot accept their whiteness and want to somehow slide into the same category. Like: yeah, 100% that anti-blackness is a thing, and it exists in many communities of color and needs to be confronted, but by /us/, not white people being the ones to focus on that while desperately trying to avoid accounting for their own selves.
posted by corb at 1:40 PM on June 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

Oh hey, I hardly ever check this part of the site. A belated thank you to so much modern time for the compliment! I'm glad you enjoy my posts.

As for the rest of it...I'm really sorry at what the Black Mefites are currently having to deal with at the moment. It just sucks overall. :/

I hope everyone can find ways to maintain and preserve their sanity and health.
posted by toastyk at 6:54 PM on June 11, 2020

If the mods deleted something defensively, I sure would like to know what it was.
posted by tiny frying pan at 4:35 AM on June 12, 2020

The transparency policy at includes the following:
All moderator actions on this site are visible to everyone...While the individual actions of a moderator may cause debate, there should be no question about if an action happened
MeFi has effectively had a moderation log for post deletions in the form of the MetaFilter Deleted Posts blog, and it came in handy when the mods deleted a post by jj's.mama about racism at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

As far as I know, the MetaFilter Deleted Posts blog exploits an implementation detail in the site's software. It is not officially sanctioned and not guaranteed to keep working.

I'd be excited to see MetaFilter adopt a site transparency policy that included official logs of all moderation actions.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 6:33 AM on June 12, 2020 [9 favorites]

Oh yeah, the deleted post blog stopped updating after 17 July 2019, a couple months after little dawn used it to find jjs.mama's deleted post.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 8:08 AM on June 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Apropos nothing, except my disheartened at myself comment above, I went to the local BLM protest/march today. Said fuck it and masked up and wife and her business partner donated water and masks and we took the kids and it was a great small town rally with the only drama being after the fact armchair quarterbacking by social media assholes which are not worth even taking the bait on.

Good day.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:17 PM on June 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Did I miss something going down recently?

Sorry that you feel so unsupported, primalux. I definitely feel that way sometimes, too. It's like so many comment threads are just so... alien to my lived experiences.
posted by TwoStride at 8:32 PM on June 13, 2020

Just posting here for the record because this time I saw it in real time versus the other one mentioned before which I had to look back on. Three full days before a racial slur was deleted. It's telling to me the priority of what gets seen and deleted here sometimes.
posted by xtine at 8:46 PM on June 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Ok, I'm catching up on the current meta now. What a shitshow.
posted by TwoStride at 8:56 PM on June 13, 2020

I opened that up and it made my head hurt so I closed it.
posted by corb at 9:51 PM on June 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

I honestly couldn't get past the title, like, what the fuck?
posted by tobascodagama at 2:04 PM on June 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

Thanks, primalux, for creating this thread. I have written and deleted this comment a zillion times down, but every version boils down to one thing: I am so very tired right now. Even with energizing things happening around our rights, with large bunches of previous clueless or apathetic people getting motivated and coming out to protest, or speaking out at work, or on social media. I want to feel hopeful and energized by the appearance of momentum after what feels like an eternity of stagnation, erosion, and apathy. But instead I feel numb and exhausted. I read threads here on MeFi and...half the time I can barely make it through before I click away. Or I type out replies but end up deleting them: I'm just too tired to...risk it? To engage? To invest? Something.
posted by skye.dancer at 1:53 PM on June 15, 2020 [7 favorites]

I’ve been trying to think of how to express my wide ranging thoughts in that thread but really, suedehead’s comment expressed what I wanted to say very well.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:30 PM on June 16, 2020

meaty shoe puppet asked: "How does one get an edit into the MeFi Wiki?"

1. go to
2. use the Create Account link in the upper right corner and create an account
3. while logged in, go to the page you want to edit, such as
4. look along the top for the word "edit" which is a link like and use that
5. make the changes you want, use the "show preview" button at the bottom to see what the change will look like, and use the "save changes" button at the bottom to save your edit
posted by brainwane at 3:36 PM on June 19, 2020

I'd like if these posts became link-sharing threads, too. Because, yeah: I'm tired of discussions on the Blue that derail in all kinds of ways, including tons of "let me reminisce about how unbothered I was to grow up as a white person in the super racist South!" like we had a bunch of in the last week or so...
posted by TwoStride at 11:34 PM on June 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

On a completely unrelated note, I just learned why my Slack emoji menu has a few Chinese characters, named either with their Unicode code point or some not-very-apropos English word.

E.g., 得 means a couple of things depending on whether you read it as de2, de, or dei3. None of those usages immediately explain why the emoji is named :bargain:.

Turns out they're named according to their use as loan words in Japan for captioning of television broadcasts (pdf).

How that got announced as "support for popular symbols in Asia" is probably unsurprising, and a re-rail of this thread back to issues on the site.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 8:11 AM on June 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

Today is June 21st.

On June 6th I said:

Also when the two new Mods were announced and it was stated that they both come from Outside Metafilter, I just thought ' Welcome to the Shark Tank ' what a time to start this particular job as a POC (as well as all the other marginalised identities they share)
posted by Faintdreams at 7:27 PM on June 6

posted by Faintdreams at 1:32 PM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Let's talk About Race (baby) Metatalk Thread is just so..

Tiring? I'm gonna go with Tiring.

I'm Bone Tired Y'all.

And Sad. So very, very sad.
posted by Faintdreams at 1:34 PM on June 21, 2020 [4 favorites]

Yup. There was some fierce whitesplaining in a thread about anti-Asian racism and COVID where Asian American members were discussing how anti-mask-wearing sentiment in the US intersects with and is fueled by perceptions of Asians (who often wore masks pre-COVID) as foreign and effeminate, and some white Americans felt the need to explain that actually, American culture is all about freedom and rebellion and it has nothing to do with being anti-Asian. Like thanks I was confused about the culture of the country where I and my parents and grandparents and great-grandparents have lived all our lives but I'm sure you are educated enough about the fine points of anti-Asian racism to dismiss it out of hand. And the thread that's causing some hubbub in the other race MeTa because of a deleted mod comment is also full of whitesplaining, of the specific variety where white people are in such a rush to show that THEY'RE enlightened that they end up denying the lived experiences of POC.

I've been pissed enough at the state of things here lately to think seriously about buttoning, and I have zero desire to participate in that other MeTa and get hit with a brick wall of white fragility; I've said my piece and if site ownership wants to keep on the way they're going that's on them. I do feel hope reading some of the comments made by white allies in that thread - I think the sea change in the U.S. has made its way here too and white people are starting to believe that this is their problem. I'm not convinced it will change the site culture here but as a broader indicator it seems like a hopeful thing.
posted by sunset in snow country at 7:48 PM on June 21, 2020 [9 favorites]

Ugh ok I'm stepping away from the thread about the white lady and her black poodle.
posted by TwoStride at 1:19 PM on June 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

I haven't been in these recent race Metas because I've been too tired to deal with all of this lately but that white lady and dog thread really pissed me off when it first went up. I'm glad to see some people are pushing back in there now and thank you to 23skidoo, I'm sorry I didn't say something earlier.

There was a recent deleted post, of a twitter thread that Ava DuVernay called, "one of the best threads on the criminalization of Black people that I’ve read lately." But the poster didn't like the way the thread was going so it was deleted for being too contentious, or something. And sure, that was a thread that was obviously going to pick up some ignorant comments but it had the potential to lead to some introspection and self-reflection by white users about their own racial privilege in America. It could have been a great place for white users to somewhat messily talk about race and their own relation to it and benefits from it instead of in other threads where they rightly get told to maybe listen and not talk so much.

The white lady black dog thread:
1. Lets them look at pictures of dogs
2. Moves the focus from white person culpability and racial privilege to Bastard Cops and Those Other White People Who Are Bad and allows everyone to feel virtuous.

Way to solve racism Metafilter.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:05 PM on June 22, 2020 [4 favorites]

I missed my Mefi Decade Anniversary. It was May 24th this year 2020

60 Mefi Posts. 700+ comments
15 Metatalk posts, 200+ comments

At least 5 (?) Quonsars!

More than a decade of membership.

I no longer feel comfortable financially supporting the site, and reading mostly makes me feel sad.

In a different (non race orientated) thread someone said:

"This place is, now more than ever, a community rather than an answer production factory." .. and it doesn't feel like that to ME any more.

I'm only one Black woman, but it's becoming more and more stark that the White experience on Mefi as a whole is starkly different (and qualitatively better) than the Non-White experience, and I'm struggling to think of reasons to stay, and keep engaging with the site .. at all.

So as a non-American POC, specifically Black Woman, are there any good reasons to continue using Mefi as a whole?
posted by Faintdreams at 2:56 AM on June 23, 2020 [6 favorites]

I haven't really been participating in here much not because of anything to do with Metafilter specifically, I've just been busy. But I do appreciate the Mefite-based spaces for other purposes that come up. I started up a Discord for Mefites who play Animal Crossing and it's been really nice! Good group, very helpful and supportive. That way I get some of the best bits of Mefi without needing to go through the droll.
posted by divabat at 8:26 AM on June 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

Alright, I stepped into the race MeTa and said something that might make people uncomfortable, I'm now going to close my computer and walk away and come back and see if it goes how I hope or fear.
posted by corb at 5:05 PM on June 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone who favourited and replied.
For a while (perhaps a month or so ) I'm going to look at MeFi as a whole less, and avoid everything except the front page and occasionally Fanfare.

There is still a lot here I love, but a lot less than it used to be.
posted by Faintdreams at 10:25 AM on June 25, 2020

The new mod travelingthyme wants to hear from us about their proposal for a community advisory board.
posted by TwoStride at 11:00 AM on June 25, 2020

I hate both versions of the Fanfare pages entirely and find the discussions either problematic or nearly nonexistent for the shows I'm interested in.
posted by TwoStride at 12:23 PM on June 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

« Older Paywall Labelling   |   What's for dinner? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments