dreamer_easy: (melanin)
The SMH columnist who fretted about young women arriving for dinner in their burqas now argues that Australian boys are being physically, psychologically, and chemically feminised in preparation for an invasion by butch men from developing countries. I think she's serious.
dreamer_easy: (melanin)
Reading about bullying is at once reassuring and liberating, and bloody horrible, as all the old nausea and dread comes rushing out. I've parked so much information about the subject here there's probably not a whole lot of value in my adding much more, but I may take some notes and add further info and/or insights at some point. In the meantime, have a squiz at The Web Means the End of Forgetting, There's Only One Way to Stop a Bully, and this particularly ugly example of how malicious gossip online - in this case, a deliberate distortion swallowed and spread by the credulous - can affect someone IRL.

ETA: Six Causes of Online Disinhibition, for good or ill; and from the same psychology blog, 10 Rules That Govern Groups, Group Polarization, and Fighting Groupthink.

Putting that topic aside for now, here's some Australian stuff:

The Brisbane Times reports on sexual assault during Schoolies' Week. Beneath the titillating headline there's a surprising amount of acknowledgement that the problem is the rapists and not their targets - in particular, the need to educate young men.

Still on The Kids, a survey of young Australians brings out concerns about how police interact with them, including racist assumptions and general disrespect. (Have I told you this story before? My first conscious awareness of Privilege™ came when inspectors insisted a pair of teenagers Of Middle Eastern Appearance produce their train tickets, but let off the middle-class Anglo thirtysomething - me! - when I couldn't find mine promptly.)

Gay marriage: what would it really take? A detailed look at the state of play in Australia. (ETA: the same politics explains why schools get chaplains instead of counsellors.)

Heck, while I'm here, have this, too:

We Are All Talk Radio Hosts: "Our hypothesis is that the function of reasoning is argumentative. It is to devise and evaluate arguments intended to persuade... Skilled arguers, however, are not after the truth but after arguments supporting their views." Oh, shit.

ETA: And this: The forgotten Muslim victims of 11 September 2001, from the UK's Independent, 11 October 2001.
dreamer_easy: (Default)
Teh Moff feels gingerly around the Doctor's gender the way you might wiggle around a loose tooth you can't quite get to fall out:
"... dozens of other actors [besides Matt Smith] were seen - of many different ages and backgrounds... not all of the actors who went for the role were white... What does Steven make of those who opposed the idea of the Doctor changing skin colour? 'How can you cling to the logic of regeneration when, never mind colour, how does he change height? I mean, between Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, where did the extra bits go? Are they stored in hyperspace or what?... How does he always have his hair done when he regenerates?... Why has he shaved? How could any of this work? So he could absolutely change colour, yes.' [...] But... what about changing gender? Is that a step too far? 'Well, it could happen one day, and it's an exciting possibility. I would worry that you would no longer believe that it was the same person. Cos that's a big one. If a man changes his shape and appearance, it could believe it's still him... [with regeneration] you're saying, 'this man is definitely the same guy you've been following'... I wonder if making him female might push it? Maybe not. Maybe someone will come along who's more up-to-date and modern than me, and it could work... Given that the science of regeneration is nonsense, I don't think there's any scientific reason he couldn't do it. But it's a problem of narrative... Would you actually think, 'That's still William Hartnell'? ... the Doctor is quite blokey in certain respects. There are certain aspects of him that are quite male - his inability to settle down, his restlessness, his desire to avoid emotion and tinker with his engine - which all feel to me to be quite male. But, someone else may one day come along and say, that's a rule, let's break it. That's great when people do that.'"
On sex in the old and new shows:
'... in Doctor of old, nobody snogs! The Doctor was just one of a range of characters who didn't snog... Sarah Jane never snogged, no-one reacted to it. Neither did the Brigadier!... Actually, now we've gone a lot further to say that he is very reticent in those matters, because we see him faced with those things... old Doctor Who never specifically said that the Doctor avoids such encounters, but modern Doctor Who does.'
Lots more on that subject, but I'm not going to keep quoting, because it wouldn't be fair to DWM. Go and buy 417, it's chocka with terrific interviews, including Matt, Karen, and David, not to mention John Barrowman and Russell Tovey!
dreamer_easy: (hypomanic)
I have the rampaging thoughts tonight. Parking some of them here, just to get them out of my system.

1. Bullying is not a useful way of opposing racism, sexism, and other bigotry. In particular, social aggression between girls and women - malicious gossip, ridicule, exclusion - is profoundly anti-woman, a byproduct of patriarchy. It should not be confused with, nor is it justified by, honest anger, frustration, assertiveness, disagreement: things which girls and women are taught to suppress, but which are the real tools for dismantling oppression. Bullying will slow and confuse our efforts until online progressives reject it.

2. Why am I not an atheist? I'm a naturalist and a rationalist, so why am I up to my elbows in gods? Is this something to do with how the human brain makes sense of the world through narrative?

3. Dear Mr Dawkins et al, regardless of how much praying I and others may do during takeoff, the Bernoulli Effect is not magic. Please make a note of this.

4. The Ten Commandment Boogie helpfully reminds us that the Bible is "full of incredible tools". Surely you cannot be down-with-the-kids while simultaneously pastiching "Kokomo".
dreamer_easy: (HOLD ON)
Watch out - End of Time SPOILERS in comments!

[livejournal.com profile] jvowles wrote a gorgeous thank you to the Doctor Who cast and crew.

By complete contrast, I somehow stumbled across [livejournal.com profile] m_wesley's 2007 giggle-inducing review of the The Pit.

Pakistan's hijra will now have a legally defined gender of their own.

A remarkable podcast about William Cooper, the Aboriginal activist who spoke out after Kristallnacht and has been commemorated at the Martyr's Forest memorial.

An old favourite quote of mine:

"Some physiologists will have it that the stomach is a mill; others, that it is a fermenting vat; others again that it is a stew-pan; but in my view of the matter, it is neither a mill, a fermenting vat, nor a stew-pan - but a stomach, gentlemen, a stomach."
- William Hunter, quoted in A Treatise on Diet (1824)
dreamer_easy: (CURRENT AFFAIRS)
I've given in and am reading the newspaper again. Oy.

UN says Aboriginal health conditions worse than Third World: "Basic needs, such as adequate housing, safe drinking water and sanitation and access to education are not being met." How can any Australian in the 21st Century be living in conditions like that?! In fairness, the government has increased spending on Indigneous health, but the UN rapporteur says the money needs to go to "Aboriginal community-controlled health services". So yet again it comes back to self-determination rather than well-meaning but perpetually ineffective paternalism. (I'm trying to find the recent Remote Indigenous Services report which outlines some of the problems, including bureaucrats sitting on data.)

While I'm grumbling, what else is blindingly obvious, and yet somehow is constantly overlooked? Oh yeah: "The first step towards peace is for both sides to stop saying 'We're the innocent victims and the other guys are evil' - which is the discourse that predominates both in the Arab world and the Jewish world. We have to transcend the blame game and move to a discourse of mutual compassion."
dreamer_easy: (DEBUNKING)
Obviously, in a population of millions, there must be some young people who match the "feral animal" stereotype. But the danger of that stereotype is that, when you see someone who looks and sounds like a "chav", you immediately connect them to theft, violence, breeding like rabbits, etc - when in fact you almost certainly know nothing about them at all.

Previously I pointed out that statistics don't match the idea that British mothers on welfare are popping out more kids. I'm still trying to find specific information on the victims of crime committed by young people (basically, who robs whom?) But what I have managed to find so far doesn't lend much support to an image of kids "preying" on the rest of society. Britons are more likely to be the victims of violent crime if they are young, single, unemployed, live in a deprived area, and/or live in "social-rented accommodation" (council flats, etc). ETA: And here's a picture (thanks, Lance!).

Just as a side note, one of the odder comments made about "chavs" in the GB thread was the half-joking suggestion that they'd vote for the BNP because they were "first on the ballot". May as well set this one straight too. BNP supporters are more working than middle class, but by income aren't much worse off than the average Briton - and three quarters of them are older than 34. Which said, since voting isn't compulsory in the UK, you might imagine lazy, ignorant voters of any stripe wouldn't get as far as the actual ballot anyway.
dreamer_easy: (CURRENT AFFAIRS)
Update on that Louisiana JP who refused to marry an interracial couple - he's resigned. Plus, they're taking him to court. If there are other petty dictators in public office round the nation, I hope they're taking note.

(You always hope a story like this is a freak event. But something Aboriginal activist Sam Watson said recently got me thinking - he described racism in Australia as "endemic". That makes it like measles or something - it's always around, even when there's no visible rash.)
dreamer_easy: (BOOKS)
James Baldwin. The Fire Next Time.
Frances E. Kendall. Understanding White Privilege.
Brian Thacker. Rule No. 5: No Sex On The Bus.

Books bought and borrowed )
dreamer_easy: (FAIL)
Interracial Couple Denied Marriage License By Louisiana Justice Of The Peace

It's illegal, of course, and now that a couple has spoken up, everyone's response is basically "... the hell?!" I don't think this guy's going to remain a JP for long. What worries me is that he managed to get away with it for two and a half years. How many other petty officials are there out there, misusing their small powers in this way?
dreamer_easy: (IBARW)
[livejournal.com profile] outsdr helped me track down the info I wanted about from DWM 71. You are a mensch, sir! :D There was a lot more detail there than I'd expected, too. I've added it to yesterday's [livejournal.com profile] seeingred posting about yellowface in The Talons of Weng-Chiang.
dreamer_easy: (australia)
With the hard work of recent weeks I've been trying to avoid current affairs as much as possible, which in my case mostly means not reading the SMH every M. I've been aware of the debate over health care reform in the US, but mostly just the madness-and-lies end of it. A debate at [livejournal.com profile] jblum's lj was more edifying, because it meant discovering the many differences between the US and Australian health care systems. (IIUC, the major differences are that some health care is directly provided by the government in the form of public hospitals, and all residents have government-provided basic health insurance. Private health insurance is cheaper than in the US and doesn't restrict the patient's choice of providers.)

Another comparison, though, was chilling. You'll remember my comparing the comparatively high infant mortality rates of African Americans with the similarly high rates amongst Indigenous Australians. What I didn't realise is that the USA as a whole has a high infant mortality rate compared to other developed nations - 6.78 deaths per 1000 live births in 2004, compared to Australia's 4.7. A CDC report from October 2008, Recent Trends in Infant Mortality in the United States, has the details.

I'm not sure to what extent the higher death rates of Black, Native American, and Puerto Rican babies explains the overall figure for the US. With those groups making up a large chunk of Americans, it would make more of a difference than the very poor rates for Indigenous Australians, who are only about 1% of our population. OTOH, in 2004, we had the 20th lowest rate in the world and the US had the 29th.

Between that unacceptable ranking, the shameful state of health amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the suicide rate, Australia can't be too smug. But we must be doing something right - and both sides of American politics seem to agree on making US health care a bit more like the Australian model.


Aug. 20th, 2009 10:47 am
dreamer_easy: (GINGER)
Abusive and, frankly, threatening comments to my 2007 entry on gingerism vs racism:


I assume this is in response to a comment I left yesterday at the Gingerism blog, which seems to have been suddenly taken over by a nutter.

Normally I'd just ignore and ban the guy, but I don't take kindly to being threatened, so I'm pursuing it with lj and with the guy's ISP, Comcast.

Is there something in the human brain that makes it difficult for us to see nuances? The guy's outraged at the idea that prejudice against redheads is not as damaging as racism. Similarly, over in GB, Torchwood COE SPOILER ).

ETA: Hey, check out my sexism: the nutter's a lady.
dreamer_easy: (IBARW)
It's International Blog Against Racism Week! Check out [livejournal.com profile] ibarw for updates and links.

My plans to do a couple of longer postings this year have fallen through, so what I'd like to is to share with you some of the links I bookmarked when researching my essay for a forthcoming volume of Time, Unincorporated. I'll group them into broad subject areas. Here goes:


Britain's most popular television programmes 'too white', says Trevor Phillips Telegraph, 16 July 2008.

Too many black and Asian faces on TV, says BBC director Samir Shah. Guardian, 26 June 2008.

Comedian attacks TV chiefs over lack of ethnic diversity. Guardian, 8 February 2008.

TV's McGovern calls BBC 'racist' BBC News, 31 August 2007.

UK History

From the Beeb, the Race UK subsite

From the National Archives: Moving Here: 200 Years of Migration in England

The Anti-Slavery Society's page on Slavery in England

And via the British Library: The First Asians in Britain

US Culture

NAACP Report Finds TV Networks Lagging in Diversity, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 December 2008. (The report, Out of Focus - Out of Sync, is available online as a PDF.)

Black Women: Wise Best Friends To White Women Everywhere. Jezebel, 29 August 2007.

Bridal Magazines Seem To Think Black Women Don't Get Married. Racialicious, 14 December 2006.

I want you to want me, Salon, 30 July 2005 (and letters responding to the article).

Why Can't A Black Actress Play The Girlfriend?. Newsweek, 14 March 2005

Hollywood distorts black romance. USA Today, 34 March 2004.

Love in Black and White. New York Times, 26 January 2003.

Interracial Intimacy. The Atlantic, December 2002.

Trying to Get Beyond the Role of the Maid. New York Times, 17 May 2002.

There's also an interesting article on interracial screen romance at the Starpulse site, but every time I visit it, it sticks a Trojan on my computer! >:(
dreamer_easy: (australia)
Have posted a few links over at [livejournal.com profile] seeingred about the attacks on Indian overseas students here in Australia, which have included a petrol bomb and a stabbing that has left a student in critical condition. (I'd love to think the violence was just a Melbourne thing, but I'm very worried it's affecting more than one group of visible OS students and more than one city.) Anywho, for me, the most hopeful was The Age's report that the Victorian A-G is pushing for hate crime laws, which would increase sentences for crimes motivated by homophobia, sexism, and religious prejudice, as well as racism.
dreamer_easy: (tardis)
That list of supporting characters in Doctor Who is now up. I've been over it about a thousand times, but I bet you can spot a mistake.
dreamer_easy: (X_X DED)
Spent the entire day revising that list of supporting Doctor Who characters, pausing only to fiddle with my iTunes library (now that the Office of Fair Trading have crowbarred my iPod from the clenched hands of *(%(*%&)*%^ Australian MP3 Repairs), wash up a few things, and discover a vast zit on Frank's chin which required a brief home visit from the vet. There are DVDs and DWMs all over the place and my eyes are BLEEDING.
dreamer_easy: (IBARW)
Essay on Doctor Who + race now up to 2100 words. I've just ripped out the wimpy, flavourless original opening paragraphs and replaced them with something far more robust. Two bad nights' sleep in a row mean I'm a wreck right now, but I'm really pleased with that.
dreamer_easy: (WRITING ack)
1400 words, yesterday and today, of an essay for another Mad Norwegian collection, Time Unincorporated. It's about race in the new Who and may God have mercy on my soul.


Mar. 9th, 2009 12:25 pm
dreamer_easy: (Default)
Questioning Transphobia links to a post at Problem Chylde called The Top Five Ways That White Feminists Continue To Discredit Women of Color. For both bloggers, I think, the problem boils down to exclusion: "...it attempts to define what feminism is, what counts as feminism, and tells us that we aren't really part of it" (PC); "as being outside the movement, as being, at best allies to feminism, and not truly able to be a part of feminism" (QT).

This plugged in to some thoughts I've had about the difficult discussions of race and racism online, particularly in fandom (and therefore particularly amongst women). What I'm wondering is to what extent the fannish obsession with boundaries, and the schoolgirl thing about forming cliques, tends to whittle the debate down to simplistic binaries - who's on our side of the line, and who isn't.

Fandom spends a great deal of time trying to define boundaries - the most obvious debate being what counts as "canon" and what isn't. Is it An Unearthly Child or 100,000 BC? Which is more valid, tie-ins or fanfic? There's a parallel between this fanboyish behaviour and the bad habit in fangirldom of forming cliques - not by including mates in private conversation, but by publicly excluding individuals through indirect aggression (anonymous bitching, malicious gossip, "open letters", etc).

I've never really understood the thing about rigidly defining the edges of feminism. Or femaleness, for that matter. For example: who gives a toss whether progressive men are allowed to be feminists or merely "pro-feminist"? What's important is what they're actually doing about inequality. Similarly, the exclusion of transwomen from women-only spaces often seems not to be about how transwomen behave, but about trying to sharply define "female". Literally: who's allowed in the clubhouse and who isn't?

None of which is to say that I don't have exactly the same impulses as everyone else. Not only do I have my own gut feelings about what counts as canon, but I'm aware that sometimes my brain will cough up remarks like "But he's really a boy" or "Hmmf, he doesn't look very Aboriginal to me". Yeah, thanks for that, brain. Plus there's that dreadful thing where you see a name (or a username) and your grey cells do that internal scan for which category they belong to (sweetie / asshole / lol-bringer / complete cunt etc etc). Particularly dangerous when you're bad at names and tend to mix them up, as I do.

Anyway. So I'm talking about a powerful impulse to exclude, an impulse I think we've got to recognise and overcome. Audios aren't canon. New skool fans aren't real fans. She's a bad feminist. And she's not really a feminist at all. We're not talking to her. She is beyond the pale.

Now I must clean me lute.


dreamer_easy: (Default)

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