At the open call, I was granted an audition in front of the show’s producers. Looking around the room, I felt different from the other kids who had made it this far. They were mostly white and suburban-looking, so I decided to use my half-Ecuadorian mixed-girl urbanness to my advantage by turning up my the Cosby-kid charm to the extreme. I remember the wide-eyed panel taking in my confidence as I told personal stories about my Philadelphia Eagles fandom, my thrift store shopping, and my nascent ambition to become a professional DJ. I had never done this before—play into what I thought people expected a nonwhite “smart girl” to act like—and I felt strange afterward, vain and false.
At the local geography bees I participated in as a kid, my opponents were mostly black. But when I advanced to the official state finals, as I did twice in middle school, I was surrounded by white kids and their parents, who looked at me as either undeserving or “exceptional” (not like other brown kids!). I lost those tournaments almost immediately, which made me feel like while I may have been considered smart in the fishbowl of my school, I couldn’t compete in the vast “real world.”
Blackness, Teens: How Our February Cover Star Amandla Stenberg Learned to Love Her Blackness by Solange Knowles at Teen Vogue is a joy and a delight to read. Amandla inspires the hell out of me.
ON GOING VIRAL
SOLANGE: I feel like my introduction to you was probably like that of a lot of people — or at least people who might not have seen The Hunger Games — via your video on cultural appropriation, “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows,” which was so brilliant! I know that you made it for a class assignment, but in terms of sharing it with the world was there ever a moment of fear before hitting the “publish” button?
AMANDLA: I really didn’t think it was going to be so controversial. And then to have the label of “revolutionary” pinned on you afterward felt really daunting. I kind of had a moment with myself, like, “OK. Is this what you want to do? Do you actually want to talk about issues? Is it worth it?” There are still moments now where I’m like, “Whoa, this is a lot of pressure.” But it’s worth it because when people come to me and say, “I’m more comfortable in my identity because of you,” or “I feel like you’ve given me a voice,” that’s the most powerful thing ever.
Copyright, Politics: God v. Copyright: Mike Huckabee Invokes Religion In Copyright Suit by Timothy Geigner at TechDirt highlights just how ridiculous a weapon copyright can be when people try to use it.
Strap in, folks, because we've got quite a battle brewing. You may recall that Mike Huckabee recently found himself the subject of a copyright dispute with Frank Sullivan, a member of Survivor, over the use of the band's hit song Eye of the Tiger at a rally for the release of Kim Davis. Davis was the county clerk who asserted that her right to express her religion -- in the form of denying same sex couples the right to marry -- overrode the secular law of the land, which is about as bad a misunderstanding of how our secular government works as can be imagined. Sullivan's filing indicated that the rally was conducted by the Huckabee campaign and that the use of the song had been without permission, therefore it was an infringing use. Left out of the filing was any indication of whether the Huckabee campaign had acquired the normal performance licenses.
Based on Huckabee's response, it seems like no license was ever obtained, as Huckabee is instead claiming the use was fair use, and that the use was exempt from copyright law to begin with because the Kim Davis rally was a religious assembly.
Feminism, Periods, Inclusivity: 4 Ways to Make Your Period-Positivity More Inclusive by Sian Ferguson at Everyday Feminism has some really good points about how we talk about periods and bodies.
As a society, it’s absolutely imperative that we work towards destigmatizing menstruation. The period-positive movement aims to do that through discussion and education. It aims to encourage open discussion about periods and raise awareness around menstrual health issues and menstrual hygiene.
The movement includes the development of eco-friendly, reusable menstrual products as alternatives for disposable pads and tampons. It usually aims to get people to see menstruation as normal, and even beautiful.
The period-positive movement is incredibly important.
But unfortunately, a lot of the period-positive movement is – often unintentionally – exclusionary.
In order for the movement to be more impactful and less oppressive, we need to think deeply about the various ways in which we can make period-positivity more inclusive.
Monopoly, Gaming, Friendships: How to Win at Monopoly and Lose All Your Friends is hilarious and wonderful (and image heavy); I want to play a game of Monopoly immediately.
I like board games, and I play them frequently. When the original Landlord's Game was developed, it was certainly fresh and innovative. However, 110+ years of advancement in the field of game design has produced games that are far superior, packing more strategy, nuance, and fun into a fraction of the play time. Monopoly is, by comparison, a long, boring, unpleasant slog. On the now-rare occasions that people insist I join a game of Monopoly, I play in a way that ensures not only that I'll win, but that they'll be more open to my suggestions for other games in the future.
Art, Jewelry, Geekery: Here’s How You Can Turn Your Blind Box Collectibles Into Super Cute Earrings: Because you NEED mini Catwoman earrings by Jessie Jem over at The Mary Sue is a fun art project if you wear earrings or have friends who wear earrings and love geeky things. (I do not wear earrings, which surprises people all the time. I can't tell you how many times dear friends have given me earrings as gifts, because 'everyone wears earrings' which, no, not really, and also, you mean all women wear earrings, which also, no.)
While I don’t give in and collect as much these days, I’ve built quite the collection. Much of it is from Heroclix, but since I don’t buy them for gameplay, they just sit around collecting dust. So these days, I’ve been donating them to make room for new items to love and repurposing the ones I can’t part with into jewelry.
To me, repurposing unloved treasures into jewelry is a super simple and inexpensive project that allows you to showcase your collection in a new way—not to mention it is so easy that you’ll knock it out in a few minutes!
Access, Disability: #Accessfail rant on Tuesday 1/12 by Jesse the K points out a common flaw with how businesses use ADA-compliant spaces.
Starbucks in OKC built to ADA standards but mgmt makes #accessfail with furniture placement & storage choices. The "extra room" on handle side of a door? Wheelchair users need that space to reach the handle. You create #accessfail you put news racks, signboards or flower pots there!
More #accessfail when you store chairs & boxes in the wide hall to toilet or cabinets inside. As those of us who use wheelchairs daily learn, our travel path is still invisible to non-W/C users & still blocked #accessfail. You may think at least W/C user needs are recognized but not reliably.
When I point this out owner usually offers workaround "if I just ask for help." But that's why ADA design is so specific & roomy): to permit W/C users to move through the world unmarked, as smoothly as "typicals."
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