daidoji_gisei: (Default)
I am posting this because 1) I have yet to think of anything to post of my own and 2) I have always considered 'skin-colored' to be one of the Dumbest Concepts Ever. I mean, my sister and I didn't have the same skin color and we had the same parents! So, yeah. Dumb. May Skin Coloured hasten the death of the concept.







Skin Coloured is intended to be a collaborative, visual exploration of what it is to be non-white in a white culture. Make-up, plasters and tights - even when they’re marked “flesh-coloured” - are not the colour of skin that isn’t white. And whilst white women may have trouble matching these items to their skin, for women who don’t class themselves as white, this inconvenience is symptomatic of a wider problem.

To help illustrate this problem, therefore, Skin Coloured is looking for submissions. Send us photographs that illustrate the inadequacy of provisions for non-white people, and we’ll post them on the blog, and hopefully both those submitting, and those who’re here to learn, will gain something from it.

Further information can be found here. Please help us by reposting this.



daidoji_gisei: (Default)
It's that time of year again!

[livejournal.com profile] oyceter writes here in [livejournal.com profile] ibarw:



"Welcome to International Blog Against Racism Week!
For 2008, IBARW will take place between August 4 through August 10.

If you would like to participate, here's what to do:

1. Announce the week in your blog.


2. ETA: If you use a blogging system that allows post icons/pictures, switch your default icon to either an official IBARW icon, or one which you feel is appropriate. To get an official IBARW icon, you may modify one of yours yourself or ask someone to do so. Here's a round up of IBARW icons.


3. Post about race and/or racism: in media, in life, in the news, personal experiences, writing characters of color, portrayals of race in fiction, review a book on the subject, etc. (Linking back here is highly appreciated!) The optional theme this year is intersectionality."

____________________________________________


I can tell you all right now I have no idea what intersectionality is, so I'm going to skip the optional theme. However, I am planning on participating and I hope that anyone reading this considers participating also. Don't worry that you don't qualify because you are not a good person; I'm not a good person and I'm in on it. The way I see it is this: Racism won't go away on its own and it is too big of a problem for the good people of the world to handle on their own: there aren't enough of them. So screw-ups like me are going to have to help out as well. So pitch in! Even a small start is a start.

daidoji_gisei: (Default)
One of the concepts that I kept encountering while reading through the links of last year's IBARW was the idea that racism was pervasive, that even though I did not consider myself a racist I could still be one. This was more than a little disturbing, and it will probably surprise no one that my first impulse was to reject the idea--how could I possibly be racist and not know?

Eventually, however, reality raised its ugly head. Left to my own devices I am quite capable of convincing myself that I am ugly, stupid, and a bad writer (truthfully, it taken several years to convince myself that I am a decent writer and I cannot be convinced that I am not ugly), and this annoys my friends to no end because they are convinced that I am not any of these things--and this being the case, I am probably not a reliable witness of my own state of mind.

Additional evidence that people in general are bad judges of this came earlier this summer in a study on racial bias in health care. In a study published on the website of the Journal of Internal Medicine, doctors were tested for how they would react to black and white patients complaining of the same heart attack symptoms and also tested for implict racial bias. The results were quite depressing.
"We found that as doctors' unconscious biases against blacks increased, their likelihood of giving [clot-busting] treatment decreased," said the lead author of the study, Dr. Alexander R. Green of Massachusetts General Hospital. "It's not a matter of you being a racist. It's really a matter of the way your brain processes information is influenced by things you've seen, things you've experienced, the way media has presented things."


The article is not long and I recommend that people go read it, because it doesn't just describe the problem, it points the way to combating it.
The best way to combat those impulses is by acknowledging them, specialists said, suggesting that medical personnel take a test to measure unconscious bias, such as one at implicit.harvard.edu.

"The great advantage of being human, of having the privilege of awareness, of being able to recognize the stuff that is hidden, is that we can beat the bias," said Mahzarin R. Banaji, a Harvard psychologist who helped design a widely used bias test.


It will probably be a while before I am able to find the time to take the test (I suppose if I were smart I could have taken it while I was lazing around on my vacation--oh, well), but after I do I will have objective data on myself, and then I can decide what needs to change. Knowledge is power, after all.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
Yes, it's time for me to once again to attempt to use this LJ to talk about something other than gardening, L5R, and food. It's International Blog Against Racism Week.

From the announcement on [livejournal.com profile] ibarw:

For 2007, IBARW will take place between August 6 through August 12.

If you would like to participate, here's what to do:

1. Announce the week in your blog.


2. Switch your default icon to either an official IBAR week icon, or one which you feel is appropriate. To get an official IBAR week icon, you may modify one of yours yourself or ask someone to do so. Here's a round up of IBARW icons.


3. Post about race and/or racism: in media, in life, in the news, personal experiences, writing characters of a race that isn't yours, portrayals of race in fiction, review a book on the subject, etc. (Linking back here is highly appreciated!)


OK, so I'm a few days late. Blame the airlines!
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
I thought long and hard about what to write in honor of International Blog Against Racism Week. As a Nebraska-born girl of German descent I cannot claim extensive knowledge of the subject of racism, and as the saying goes it is usually better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open up your mouth and prove it. But on Friday afternoon it occurred to me that this would be a reason to talk about Beloved, and any reason to talk about Beloved was a good reason.

Beloved is usually referred to as being a novel by Toni Morrison, but I think it would be better described as a horror story with a malevolent ghost. The ghost is not the source of the horror, it is one of its victims--the horror is generated entirely by slavery and the effects of slavery. You see, once upon a time in the period before the Civil War a pregnant and extremely desperate black woman gathered her three children and ran north to escape from slavery. She made it, but sometime later the slave catchers came to town looking for her and she--I had mentioned she was desperate, yes?--decided that it was better to die than be a slave. She managed to kill the baby before they caught her, and when it was buried the tombstone had only one word carved on it: BELOVED.

Beloved was a revelation to me--great novels explain something about humanity and it explained many things to me. How it felt to live in a society that had an arbitrary dividing line between "human" and "non-human" and how it felt to be on the wrong side of that line. The choices we make when desperate, and how we live with them. How we blame, and how we forgive. It is an exquisitely painful book, and when I finished reading it I knew two things. I was never going to read it again--not that I needed to, as it was now seared into my brain; and I was never going to get rid of my copy. I couldn't bear the idea of not having it.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
Some of you might have made your Awareness check and noticed that my default icon changed yesterday. This is because it's International Blog Against Racism Week, and I've joined the movement. If you too want to stand up against icky thinking, here's the scoop:


Welcome to International Blog Against Racism Week!

If you would like to participate, here's what to do:

1. Announce the week in your blog.

2. Switch your default icon to either an official IBAR icon, or one which you feel is appropriate. To get an official IBAR icon, you may modify one of yours yourself or ask someone to do so.

3. Post about race and/or racism: in media, in life, in the news, personal experiences, writing characters of a race that isn't yours, portrayals of race in fiction, review a book on the subject, etc.


If you need an icon, [livejournal.com profile] ocyeter has made some nifty ones, including the one I'm currently sporting. [livejournal.com profile] rilina has the International Blog Against Racism Week Link Roundup.

I do plan on actually writing something about this, but I'm going to wait until it's not over 100 degrees in my apartment. Some things require non-melted brains.

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