By Arturo R. García
This is just an idea that’s been kicking around my head for a few days, but I’d like to get everyone’s early take on it. Let me begin by listing reasons a POC-centric geek gathering should happen:
- Because we’ve already seen Geek Girl Con and and Bent-Constep up for communities typically marginalized or exploited by genre-related industries.
- Because Christina Xu’s GGC wrap-up raises questions that still need to be addressed:
in an age when superstar rapper Nicki Minaj name-checks Street Fighter characters and streetwear brands team up with comic-book companies like Marvel and DC, who exactly is the geek referred to in GeekGirlCon? To be a geek, do you have to prefer filk over bounce? Is it a self-identification?
I ask these questions because I’m legitimately curious; if fandom is the uniting factor, then the increasingly diverse audiences for all of our favorite geek media (video games, sci-fi, comics, etc.) should be offered a place at conventions like GGC. If, in fact, geekdom here is actually defined by a set of social norms and practices (or the lack thereof) that just happens to coincide with fandom, then geek communities need to have some serious internal conversations and own up to that.
- Because, while San Diego Comic-Con and other conventions featured race-positive programming this year, that still doesn’t make them safe spaces.
- Because you can still say the same about any number of fandoms.
- Because in spite of this fact, there’s still members of fandom – consumers, creators and executives alike – who still won’t own up to the fact that there’s geeks out there who react with hostility whenever somebody points out a problematic portrayal of race.
- Because not only are there POC writers, artists and editors doing good work, there’s cosplayers, bloggers,cartoonists, and filmmakers on the scene
- Because there’s got to be creators and aspiring creators of color out there who need a place in which to meet and network outside of the “general population.”
- Because executives still think diversity is “contrived.”
- Because, while it was great to read about DC Comics getting called out on the carpet at SDCC with regards to gender issues, I shouldn’t have to doubt that raising the same questions about race would get half as much discussion outside of sites like this one or Racebending.
- Because the Akira adaptation is still happening, proving Hollywood didn’t get the message about The Last Airbender.
- Because this might be the best way left to get those same industry forces to listen to our concerns, in a place where we can set the terms of discussion.
This is an awesome idea.
count me in.
I’ll preorder tickets for this.
and it felt good.
I am designing it as if I am teaching it next year. Who knows?
The share bear in me, wants to put it on my main blog.
The intellectual property understanding grown assed Black woman knows better than to do that.
Perhaps a modified version, no?
i would not be as knowledgeable in class (or life in general) without tumblr to back me up, i swear.
however… what about folks that don’t have access to a personal computer to be checking their feed constantly? this medium is amazing but we have to back it up with physical media that is…
Instead of pushing coding, let’s push critical thinking. How do we structure our projects? How do we build projects that can share code and data with other projects? How do we build things that others find compelling? How do we influence the world? Let’s elevate the field to the point where it begins leading a community outside of the academy. That won’t happen if all we do is write code or ignore the digital aspects of our work.
Audre Lorde (1982) ‘Audre Lorde: Lit From Within’ interviewed by Fran Moira and Lorraine Sorrel, Off Our Backs: A Women’s Newsjournal, p. 3. (via james-bliss)
Did Anzaldúa or Moraga ever comment on this? I really need to read This Bridge We Call Home and compare it to This Bridge Called My Back. I’m curious to see who did and did not contribute to Bridge We Call Home…
So as a white feminist, I feel the need to remind everyone: intersectionality is key to any progressive movement. It is the only way meaningful progress is possible. That means, inevitably, you are going to have to confront some kind of privilege that you have. If you’re a white feminist, like me, you have a massive one: white privilege.
And that in turn means that you are going to have to own up to shit and read some shit and acknowledge the existence of some shit that is really going to make you uncomfortable. It’ll make you uncomfortable because there is a power structure in place that prioritizes your race over everyone else’s and teaches you that anything involving racial equality is unnecessary, and everything involving racism is untrue or overblown. When you open your eyes to racism, your privilege is going to smack you in the face and make you so uncomfortable that you want to close the door entirely and focus back on whatever you were doing before.
And I say this out of love: get the fuck over it. People of color don’t have the option to close that door and back away. Discussions of race are not about your comfort, and the sooner we stop putting our comfort ahead of even the basic needs of non-white women, the sooner we can start making some real progress.
Ugh, I just lost a long-winded post. Someone up there is telling me something.
It’s been at least eight years since I read Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, but I remember a specific episode from that book that troubled me as the above anecdote troubled Audre Lorde. Specifically, the narrator leaves the United States and heads to Mexico, where she feels a kind of peace and acceptance that furthers her journey of self-acceptance. But I remember feeling disturbed by how Cuernavaca was described: with a near-utopian giddiness that bordered on othering. No sense of the history, the culture, or the identity of Mexico—it was a kind of paradisiacal garden of personal discovery for the narrator.
I don’t know if I’m remembering it correctly. I don’t know if I would react to it in the same way now.
But I don’t think Lorde would mind anyone holding it up for closer scrutiny, either; it’s a good example of her argument. There is very little to stop anyone from using entire groups of convenient people as fodder in their own personal dramas, except education, compassion, and a willingness to say, “I was wrong.”
These responses are both ENORMOUSLY fucked up. Like, RIDICULOUSLY fucked up.
“It’s been at least eight years since I read Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, but I remember a specific episode from that book that troubled me as the above anecdote troubled Audre Lorde.” These are not equal things that are happening here. What happened to Audre Lorde was that her peers (the woman who said it and the people who let her continue unchecked) SAID SHE AND HER BLACKNESS SHOULD NOT EXIST. This is not ‘othering’ which you haven’t even made a real argument for or shown evidence of in the first place.
And stfusexists, take your white opinions elsewhere cuz you wrong. Your long-ass response DERAILS and DE-BLACKS the conversation and is otherwise completely irrelevant. Next time you have the urge to say, “As a white feminist” please follow it by saying to yourself, “I should shut the fuck up.”
But #transformDH suggests, to my mind rightly, that the jolt of the oppositional can be powerful, when it is rooted in a critical activism that builds on the little-t theories that have preceded and exist alongside it, rather than manifesting as nerdy beleagueredness.** Germano reflects that “[s]omeone once remarked to me that scholarly publishing in gay studies was a conflict between the nerdy and the naughty.” This conflict seems to me to have re-emerged in #transformDH’s invocation of oppositional rhetorics, in a way that I believe to be productive. Sometimes we need collaboration, and sometimes we need solidarity. And perhaps even such fine adjustments require some transformation in the way we understand our work.
The Day of DH project is a collaborative publishing project for digital humanists around the world to document what they do.
I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. The perverse notion that the most established and privileged people in the field are a precious indigenous culture whose tacit knowledge the colonizing discourse-wielders (who happen to be disproportionately female, brown, queer) cannot possibly appreciate is a prime example of nerdiness serving as a place for white men to feel embattled.
Let’s be clear. The fact that you build things that other people have trouble understanding does not make you similar to Native Americans at the moment of colonization. At all.
This is kind of my favorite thing ever.
BlackGirlsCode was founded by Kimberly Bryant a Biotechnology/Engineering professional who received her first taste of computer programming as a freshman in Electrical Engineering back when Fortran and Pascal were still the popular languages for newbies in the computing world and the ‘Apple Macintosh’ was the new kid on the block. Kimberly decided to launch BlackGirlsCode to meet the needs of young women of color who are underrepresented in the currently exploding field of technology. Much has changed since those days and the mission of BlackGirlsCode is to introduce programming and technology to a new generation of coders who will become the leaders and creators of tomorrow. Our goal: Build the Future