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Today I learned (again) that it is much worse to call someone a racist than it is to do or say racist things.

Also, that if a racist act happened a long time ago, it becomes magically not racist and so you mustn't say *anything* about it having been, you know, racist.

So, you know, don't discuss racism ever. It will magically go away all on its own and you can make white people feel more comfortable in social media, which is a lot more important than making black people feel more comfortable in social media.

Well, fuck that noise.
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I've culled all my dullest snails and kept those with lighter or more rufous markings. I'm now down from several hundred snails to about two dozen. Given the sheer number of eggs I destroyed, I'd have had over a thousand within a fortnight. The rotting plants have been taken out, the living plants put back and the tank water is clear again instead of murky green.

More people in my friendslist are dropping Livejournal and switching to Dreamwidth. I gather livejournal have been doing something even nastier with advertising, while Dreamwidth have just brought out a whole load of new features. I do like the way DW ask 'what do you think?' and take it all on board.

The weather continues sunny. It's very, very odd, at least for the North Wet of England it is. We're getting drought warnings. I like having the windows wide open and listening to birdsong all day. It's especially sweet when Moth's curled up under my right hand and occasionally prodding me in the midriff as a reminder to keep stroking her head. Poor Pol is going to be melting.

This article from last week offers a picture of how racism is affecting people in the British workplace today. To quote: Blatant racism is still far too prevalent in the workplace: more than a fifth still said they had been offended by a racial remark in their place of work. Chinese were the most egregious victims with 35% citing an example, followed by a quarter of Pakistanis.
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So, I am doing a ten point OU course on the arts.

Part two is about Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of Aung San, who led the anti-British movement towards Burmese independence. Aung San Suu Kyi is an activist from the country currently known as Myanmar. (Burma and Rangoon are referred to as Burma and Rangoon throughout the course material. The names used by the current administration are Myanmar and Yangon. Deciding which terms to use is a political statement in itself.)
Aung San Suu Kyi moved to the UK to study, married a white Brit and had children there then came back to Myanmar/Burma to head a pro-democracy party. She's been under house arrest and had her movements curtailed for a long time.

Much of the material at the start of this section is interviews and parts of a documentary by John Pilger, a British journalist.

One question during the course asks if Buddhism has informed her political views regarding the role of violence or non-violence in resisting authority. We are pointed to the first five verses of _The Dhammapada_, a Buddhist text (I've chosen the online translation which is closest to the one we are given in the course). The particular translation we are shown is the one that is published as a Penguin Classic, and is by Juan (Joan) Mascaro, a Spanish man who spent a while as VP of a Sri Lankan university then came to Cambridge University and where he wrote his translation of _The Dhammapada_ from Pali to English. Mascaro's original interest in texts stems from his interest in occultism.

We're shown these five verses and told that they preach non-violence, and they are Buddhist thought, and Aung San Suu Kyi is a Buddhist and therefore thinks this way and thus preaches non-violence.

So we've got an English-educated activist, seen through the eyes of a British journalist, and whose religion is being judged by popular UK-published English translation by a Spanish occultist. I can't help but feel that the Burmese point of view is missing - but then Aung San Suu Kyi *is* Burmese, so I am discounting her just for going to Oxford University and living in England for two decades. I think it's the choice of translation of the Dhammapada verses, and the focus on John Pilger that make things feel 'off'.

So, does anyone know more about Aung San Suu Kyi and/or Buddhism who might be able to help me untangle all of this? It's *not* helping me do my homework: examining the lens that Aung San Suu Kyi is being viewed through would almost certainly cause me to fail that part of the course. My job for the course is to ingest, digest and tidily regurgitate the John Pilger point of view.
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I've just waved good night to Angela, Rob and Claire after a lovely evening, playing the Zombies boardgame while watching Sean of the Dead (Rob for the first time). Great fun. Now I am on irc reading people watching Question Time and Nick Griffon getting, by all accounts, utterly pwned.

I had a bad day healthwise, did my OU homework and didn't get out to post a letter, but I did call my MIL and have a nice chat. Porridge for breakfast, avocado for lunch, kebab for dinner. Migraine was appalling but lifted in time for me to enjoy visitors.
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Slightly dodgy cut text there, equating blackness with evil, but that is what I get for quoting a long poem I don't thoroughly know already.

Keeping accountable (The blackness of my deeds with deeds as black;) )
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Carol made me this wonderful, wonderful necklace, all brightly coloured metal beads clustered on a silver chain, which would be perfect even *without* the silver spoon charms strung on at intervals. The necklace jingles, I love the colours and the spoons made me giggle very much.

I have Chorley cakes. They're like Eccles cakes but more buttery and with less fruit. I live about ten yards from Chorley but have never seen them for sale here. These are from a garage in Tonge Moor, the one I used to go to on my dawn walks.

The Asian Women Carnival is asking for submissions for the fourth Carnival. Yayness. The posts are not for or about me or people like me but they never fail to make me think, so I am very much looking forward to the next one, which should be in late October. Truthrages says here I’ve been thinking about various cultural ideas of silence when it comes to Asian women, the ways that our words and voices are so often unheard or discounted. I’ve been thinking of the roles that Asian women play in fairytales and myths and in today’s media, and the ways they compare to the roles we play in real life. I've been thinking of the stories and images we Asian women create for ourselves, as compared to those fed to us by others.

Herein lie mentions of racism and sexism in science fiction and a post that made me giggle a lot )
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And then I didn't remember or mention that it is International Blog Against Racism Week as of, I think, the 2nd of August. Find out about it. I can almost guarantee there will be some great posts.
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I got all posty and thoughtful a while ago about RaceFail 09, and then my posts on race and racism stopped. I haven't stopped reading, or thinking, or looking our for, or noticing. I've just run out of spoons to gather all of that into articles I can then go on to defend or explain further. I have to say more than grawr: racism=bad or grawr: racism=everywhere. I would like to discuss sci fi books still being published with protagonists who are not white, but appear misleadingly white on the cover, because 'characters of colour don't sell'. I would be able to give a brand new example. But I have no brain. I would do reviews of books I have read, but I am back to the same old white-written brain candy. I have a Books I Want To Read list, and no spoons to winnow through the list and buy the ones I could deal with reading just now.

I would discuss how Neville Shute writes of New Australians in a sympathetic way, but scrubs Aboriginal Australians from the narrative. How this is not remarkable. How Ray Mears *doesn't*, but how he is remarkable for bothering to remember that his same surviving explorer heroes were despoiling holy sites kept sacred for thousands of years. Admirable people doing terrible things. I have no links though, and no ability to hold the ideas together to explain how indigenous peoples get disappeared, treated as irrelevant, by the media and press.

I would point out yet more adverts that rest on the idea that the viewers of an advert will be white, and will view other countries as exotic and strange and their people as Not Like Us. But I have forgotten which adverts those are, other than the flash of annoyed disgust as I recognise the same old othering game being played out once more.

What I do know is that, when I get better again, when I have spoons, and a brain that can put these ideas together, I won't be short of brand new, topical, relevant examples to link to, from the news and current media. I will be able to spend a single day looking, and come up with hundreds of examples. I have no spoons now, but I haven't forgotten that those posts still need to be written. Be assured that, when I can, I will write my share. I haven't forgotten and it hasn't gone away.
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Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Roma persecution and Norse Pagan racism. )
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I'm getting a leeeedle too practised at pulling my sleeping pattern round after an all-nighter. Usually it's insomnia, but last night was so I would be awake in time to do my Pagan thang in time for The Solstice which was at about five past five this morning.

In contrast to nearly every other midsummer I've encountered, it was pleasant out and I didn't mind sitting in the long grass in the small copse by the side of the playing field. The traffic sounds were already loud by the time I packed up and came back, only to find out that it was still only just past 4am! The main thing is, the solstice *was* greeted, and now the sun is past its prime and winding down towards winter. Boo.

Happy winter solstice to any southerners reading.

I have no profound thoughts to share. There's an advert on TV for a cooking sauce with lots of white people cooking very slowly in mock tai-chi style, on dark wood stands with something written on them in Chinese in gold. There's a Peugeot advert that's selling the same tired old stereotype of A Woman Being Nuts For Shoes. Woo. Stay classy, advertisers.

Genghis Khan gets a decent amount of air-time on The History Channel. Apparently, if he's not horsing around in your back garden, there's a great deal to admire. Technical innovation, mainly. ...And that's the first time I've heard of someone having molten silver poured into their ears and eyes. It seems an awful waste of silver.
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Today's offering from the world_of_wol Dreamwidth community: Popo-chan, the amazing transforming owl which has to be seen to be disbelieved. I've seen it before, but it was great to go there again.

I learned today about Missing Black Woman syndrome - where the main character is a white male and his two sidekicks are a) a white female and b) a male who is either socially inept or black. The post I linked to illustrated the phenomenon in an amusing way.

I've read lots of recommendations for books by non-white authors where the protagonist, the main character, is not white. I am looking forward to buying some. What are your favourite chromatic books? (I like 'chromatic' as a term). I already recommended Returning My Sister's Face, but I have to also mention having been charmed by The Marriage Bureau for Rich People, an Indian take on the Jane Austen milieu. The link is to a review of the book. I did get the feeling it was written very much with non-Indians in mind, but what the heck. If there's a sequel, I will read it.

I also went out in the very much pouring rain, only to be greeted very quickly by bright sunshine and a large rainbow over the hills. It was well worth getting wet for, as was my eventual tea of a white poppyseed-topped plaited bun, boursin, on-the-vine tomatoes (bought days ago) and a chocolate eclair. *Nom*.
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The clinic that oversees my migraine treatment, the City of London Migraine Clinic is in deep financial trouble. They undercharge for their services (their suggested donation is too low to cover costs) so they're begging for enough funds to carry on. They were the main push that got me into the pain clinic and thus a reason behind my being remarkably sane for someone who gets anywhere from one to three full-blown migraines every day. I am short of funds, having splurged on going to London to see a play with ruthi, but I will scrape together what I can.

I like living within sight of a farm. I can see the farming year going by, even if I need binoculars for most of it, and even with binoculars I am not really impinging on privacy since people are still little stick figures. The sheep wander from field to field. Today there was a yellow digger. I've no idea what the farm is called, but I like it being there.

There was a comedy thingy on Radio Four, which I missed most of, but it ended up with a nasty slap in the face for me. A joke that had a punchline including the words 'you stupid cow'. Well, thanks for that, Radio Four. Women have traditionally been seen as being stupid, and this was a reminder that we're often still seen that way, in jokes and sketch shows. It's only three words, but there's so much history behind those three words, they really hurt. The song before that sounded like it may have been advocating violence against men, which I am not keen either.

Moth's tending to not sleep through the night so much and be more keen on sleeping through the day. It makes it awkward to give her medicine. When I was getting up every dawn, medicating her was easy. Perhaps I should start setting a wake-up alarm again.

Trout, fennel, lemon zest (not juice), carrots and almonds go together really, really, really well.

If you're going to claim not to be a troll, why randomly put in a gender slur and then hang a lantern on it? There's also been someone kicked from a community I am in, for being a leeeeedle too racist-trollish, so I went to their LJ to check them out, and urgh. There were some very not nice racist things in their journal. I am so glad to see them gone. They'd jumped into the conversation and were replying to *everything* anyone said on cultural appropriation, doing everything on the Derailing for Dummies website, from raising other subjects, to 'whites have it bad too'. Someone else pulled a 'this discussion is too academic' and 'we need to be colour blind'. It was like all of RaceFail 09 in one post.


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May 2014

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