Tuesday, July 18, 2006

International Blog Against Racism Week

(Hattip: Ragnell) So, this week is International Blog Against Racism Week, according to some folks on LiveJournal. Here's how to participate:

1. Announce the week in your blog. 2. Switch your default icon to either an official IBAS icon, or one which you feel is appropriate. To get an official IBAS 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.
Well, I've done the first. And I don't use my LJ for anything except a re-direct to this blog, so I guess I can't switch a non-existent icon to another icon (IBAS? shouldn't it be IBAR?) While I applaud having a bunch of bloggers discuss race politics, I'm going to side on the "anti-special-times-to-do-things" side this time around (in blatant disregard of the inherent hypocrisy of saying this and then celebrating Asian American Heritage Month) and ask: why should we make this week (of all weeks) International Blog Against Racism week? Shouldn't every week be committed to talking about race and/or racism? Does participating in this one week excuse all bloggers from talking about race for the rest of the year and still get to keep their "down for the cause" badge? I blog about race and racism every week. It must be nice to be one of those bloggers who can ignore racism 51 weeks out of the year. (Also, I just had to say it: I just love how the IBAR icons include two anime icons. Asiaphilia, anyone? God, I just gotta stop drinking the Haterade.) Anyways, for those of you celebrating, and for all of you who don't usually blog about race/racism: now's your chance. Happy International Blog Against Racism Week.


Blogger mingerspice said...

Shouldn't every week be committed to talking about race and/or racism?

One could say the same about poverty, civil liberties, homophobia, heterosexism, sexism etc., but I think it would be near impossible, and pretty unreasonable, for every blog to cover every one of these subjects every week (especially for those of us who don't post very often).

I think ideally every blogger would have an awareness of race and racism that came through in their posts, even if the main subject of each post was not race/racism. Perhaps International Blog Against Racism Week will raise some people's consciousness about issues of race and racism and remind them to include it more often in their analysis of "unrelated" issues.

7/18/2006 08:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asiaphilia, hahahaha! Those pathetic wapanese assholes!!!!

7/18/2006 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

hey mingerspice, i suppose you're right, but then I feel it's almost like we shouldn't need a week dedicated to the topic. it's as if we need to prod people to talk about race/racism in a specific timeframe: why not just encourage all bloggers to address political relevant issues whenever they feel like it?

7/18/2006 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Ragnell said...

Why not just encourage all bloggers to address political relevant issues whenever they feel like it?

That's normally what I'm more comfortable doing -- a forced post on the subject that will fall flat and possibly be more offensive isn't worth reading -- but I see enough value in the blog against days/events to pass on the word and see what I can contribute -- if only because it gets people who normally wouldn't consider blogging about relevant issues to consider it. Especially in fandom circles where only a select few blogs examine the source material for prejudice.

7/18/2006 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

hmmmm.... maybe i'm being too harsh, then? i suppose if it gets people who don't think to think than it's worth having -- i guess i'm just a little resentful that there are people who don't have to think. :)

7/19/2006 12:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Marna. said...

I guess I like it because I see it as having started as a response to Oyceter posting about race and POTC and talking about how she felt incredibly scared doing it 'cause she was sticking herself out front as a target.

So to me posting all in a lump like this is more about building a critical mass and maybe wearing out a few of the "stoppit stoppit stoppit stop talking about the race thing don't POINT AT IT!" folks a bit... and maybe a lot of us won't keep doing it. I don't know if I will. Eh, I'm a white Canadian chick; one week a year of talking and listening and 51 of listening sounds like a reasonable program at the moment. And God knows, I thought I was listening before, but I am LISTENING now...

7/19/2006 12:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Oyceter said...


I'm one of the people who started Intl. Blog Against Racism Week. Naturally, when these things get started and go beyond people's normal reading lists, the reasoning behind things gets lost, which is to be expected.

But I wanted to say that one of the reasons a group of us decided to have something like this was because of the rather virulent responses to several of us blogging about race and cultural appropriation; it felt like whenever the topic was being broached, people were being shouted down for being "reverse racist" or other such things.

So yes, in the end, I completely agree with you. This shouldn't be an excuse for people to write a single blog entry and lie back, comforted by the fact that they've done what they could to speak out. I can't force anyone to do anything, but I hope that in the end, it serves as an impetus for at least one more person to start blogging about racism and thinking about racism and speaking out about racism and acting against racism every day. But you've got to start somewhere, and right now, it seems like (in my corner of LJ) there are very few people even dedicating a week to blogging against racism, much less a year. So I figure anything is better than nothing at all.

The icons, um, haha. Those are the manga series I'm reading right now, so that's all me. And yes, I suppose you could call me an Asiaphile, given that I'm very happy to be Chinese and from Taiwan ;).

Anyhoo, not meant to be like "whack, these are the reasons, you must listen!" because of course, these reasons get lost when posts spread, and really, these are only my reasons, not the reasons of everyone participating. I just wanted to say that if it does end up as "Blog against racism for one week and forget about it for the other 51," I'd personally consider it a failure.


7/19/2006 01:10:00 AM  
Blogger Ragnell said...

Jenn -- Sounds like a reasonable reason to be resentful.

7/19/2006 04:20:00 AM  
Blogger mingerspice said...

The ninjas against racism logo made me uneasy, given the widespread and offensive appropriation of ninjas, as well as the "ironic" but still offensive (and rarely successfully funny) parodies of the original appropriations of ninjas that critique not the racism behind the appropriation, but instead the enthusiasm behind it.

How pop-culture ironic humor is used to critique enthusiasm instead of underlying racism/sexism/homophobia is a whole 'nother topic though.

7/19/2006 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Radical Hapa said...


7/19/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Jay said...

If we're strictly talking about the context here, isn't Rock Lee a stereotype too? I mean, the creator of Naruto himself said the character was based on Bruce Lee, and everyone in Naruto thinks he's ugly.

You know, Oyce, being Chinese doesn't exclude you from being a Japanphile, though context means more here. (Also, is it wrong if I mentally pronounce your handle Oy-see-ter?)

7/20/2006 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

i've been thinking about this and i'm wondering if this whole week is being taken sorta "out of context". is this week intedended to be a blog against racism week within the anime/manga fan community?

7/20/2006 02:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Oyceter said...

Jay: I disliked Rock Lee (and Master Gai) at first because I thought Kishimoto was explicitly making fun of Bruce Lee, particularly with the comments on his bowl-cut hair, his bushy eyebrows, and his round eyes. To not spoil Naruto (also, I'm still around vol. 18), just in case anyone hasn't read it and means to, I ended up changing my mind about him due to interesting narrative choices that Kishimoto decided to take. I like how Kishimoto goes into Rock Lee's background in depth and uses it to build sympathy for the character, especially in how he deepens Rock Lee's relationship with Master Gai.

This isn't to say that there aren't horribly stereotypes of Chinese people in manga; I think there are lots of them. The next time I see a Chinese character randomly wearing a chi pao/cheongsam, I'm going to... I dunno, chuck the thing at a wall. And I can definitely see where Rock Lee as a stereotype comes from, and I very much think he starts out that way. My own personal reading is that Kishimoto doesn't just stop at the stereotype; he goes on and deepens the characterization. But, YMMV.

Re: Japanphile. Yeah, I do think I can be one sometimes, and I've often questioned my interest in Japan and Japanese culture (I'm from Taiwan, so there's the big complex history of occupation to contend with as well). It's confusing. To give possibly unwanted background history, I ended up taking four years of Japanese in college and majoring in East Asian Studies with a focus on Japan, albeit with a lot of Chinese history courses too. So I wonder a lot why I have this interest and what I'm doing with it. Alas, no answers. I try not to be a Japanphile, but the possibility is always there, and I'm obviously not the one to say if I am or not.

Also, it's pronounced "oyster," though really, I don't mind either way.

Jenn: The week started a bit in the media fandom community, a bit in the sf/fantasy community, and a bit in the manga/anime community, just because those are the intersecting interests some of us have. I honestly can't say, because it's spread far beyond that, but in terms of my own thoughts about it, it's a bit of all three? The reactions in all three communities have influenced what I think and why I'm blogging about this.

Mingerspice: I can see why the ninja icon is nidgy. I can say it wasn't intended as one of those "Master the Art of the Ninja!" type things and more as a fandom-specific icon, but like many things, the intent of the creator doesn't particularly matter when a negative message is read into things. (yay aversive racism?)

7/20/2006 05:23:00 PM  

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