chrysanth's recent activity

  1. Comment on What’s so bad about digital blackface? in ~life

    chrysanth
    Link Parent
    Yes, very useful! I can't say I will buy the anthology, but I will be more than happy to explore some of these essays with copies I'm sure are easily available online (thank goodness for...

    Yes, very useful! I can't say I will buy the anthology, but I will be more than happy to explore some of these essays with copies I'm sure are easily available online (thank goodness for university access to academic journals).

    1 vote
  2. Comment on What’s so bad about digital blackface? in ~life

    chrysanth
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    That's an interesting case, because it can't really be approached with the author's framework. One could use the critique of the cultural appropriation discourse to say that the piece is not...

    That's an interesting case, because it can't really be approached with the author's framework. One could use the critique of the cultural appropriation discourse to say that the piece is not necessarily racist just because "white people appropriating black culture," but since music videos aren't fungible like memes are, the rest of the framework isn't applicable.

    1 vote
  3. Comment on What’s so bad about digital blackface? in ~life

    chrysanth
    Link Parent
    No, not at all! I made those edits because there's been a lot of meta-discussion recently about the kind of atmosphere we want to cultivate on the site, and I don't want to contribute to an...

    If I caused any harm I'd like to apologize (I didn't read the original version of your comment before the edit)

    No, not at all! I made those edits because there's been a lot of meta-discussion recently about the kind of atmosphere we want to cultivate on the site, and I don't want to contribute to an environment where we take everyone's response in the worst possible light and drive people off the site.

    I think the author addresses your point in this paragraph:

    Fungibility reveals the ways in which the black persons that memes capture are being “annihilated”, so to speak; the meme is reducing away their personhood so they can be endlessly circulated and projected upon. So one might understandably say that this is the source of the evil, the antiblackness, in digital blackface. However, this is unsatisfactory: because such a reduction or annihilation is the nature of memes. All memes are fungible.

    The point you seem to have in contention with the author is actually a point you both agree on. It's pretty hard to argue otherwise! The actual claim is that this fungibility enables a meme to become digital blackface when it narrows the possibilities considered to be present within blackness, which means considering the social context in which the meme is being shared.

    A great deal of theoretical work has been done on the covering up of black male intimacy and emotion; Taylor reveals that this meme is a case of that covering up. The meme is, as Jackson puts it, a stereotype, a cliche; it is a specific way of understanding what possibilities black life holds. A certain possibility – pure, gushy feeling – is covered up, while another – disaffected cool – is highlighted. Instead of being underdetermined, the image of the boy is overdetermined; it is manipulated so that it is actively and discretely read a certain way.

    It's the long history of "covering up of black male intimacy and emotion" that makes the difference in this case. To be perfectly clear, I'm not saying you have to agree with any of this. But if you disagree, and would like to do so by means of good-faith intellectual engagement with the author's argument, I feel like this last plank has to be addressed (i.e. memes are fungible, but that doesn't mean they can't be shared in a way that overdetermines blackness and reifies certain stereotypes that perpetuate racism).

    And while he does not intend to call out anyone (a good idea that shows that he's a sensible human being), declaring it bad does carry the implication of stop doing it if you want to remain a decent person for me, because decent people don't do bad things, or they wouldn't be decent.

    I can't say I follow the logic behind the suggestion that one's lack of intention of calling out others makes one a sensible human being. Sometimes people need to be called out when they're doing things that are offensive. Otherwise, why would they stop? I think the author's made a compelling argument as to why digital blackface is something we shouldn't do (being perfectly clear, of course, that "white people sharing memes of black people" is not digital blackface, as the author's piece has just explained to us). But frankly, I find the piece to be more about the philosophy of the arguments (which is why I shared it, for an intellectual discussion), so I'm curious about your fixation on what you perceive to be this moral imperative supposedly limiting your agency.

    4 votes
  4. Comment on What’s so bad about digital blackface? in ~life

    chrysanth
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    Right, it's only when the memes in question contribute to a narrowing of the possibilities of blackness in the social imaginary (e.g. through stereotyping) that they become digital blackface (at...

    Right, it's only when the memes in question contribute to a narrowing of the possibilities of blackness in the social imaginary (e.g. through stereotyping) that they become digital blackface (at least, this is how I'm reading you and the author of the piece).

    Distinct but related, your example made me think of this video. I'm left a bit conflicted on how to evaluate this as a cultural work, especially since it's ten years old at this point (though the tune is as catchy as ever).

    Yes, it seems to me a similar dynamic with the annihilation of certain ways of being Asian or Asian-American through media representation. As another minority, I'm inclined to believe we're all subjected to this dynamic in one way or another, the medium in the article being memes as opposed to film or television, around which conversations of representation tend to center.

    The piece my skeptical liberal friend with me specifically advocates not against using GIFs of Black faces, but for being mindful and intentional about which salient features we choose those GIFs for — which I think is easy enough for us to all do.

    This, I feel, begins to get at that radical black memeing practice the author alludes to in the conclusion. Sharing memes that expand our collective ideas about what it means to be black. I'm not active on social media, nor do I consume many memes nowadays, so I guess this discussion has limited practical application to my life, but it's intriguing to consider what other possibilities look like.

    4 votes
  5. Comment on What’s so bad about digital blackface? in ~life

    chrysanth
    Link Parent
    I see, thank you for the clarification! That seems intuitive to me now that you've explained, I have a similar experience constructing my thoughts differently when thinking in different languages....

    I see, thank you for the clarification! That seems intuitive to me now that you've explained, I have a similar experience constructing my thoughts differently when thinking in different languages. I was asking since I was particularly interested in any theorists of linguistics you've read, I haven't spent any time reading on that though I have absorbed some of this through readings on unrelated subjects (e.g. some of Derrida's linguistics in a piece by Stuart Hall in an African American studies class). Lots on my list of books to read already so what's a few more?

    Gosh, with regards to your anecdote, all I can say is "yikes." The pressure to perform racial justice, even when its performance and its realization are in such tension with one another, seems so strong nowadays. I've felt this in some organizing spaces I've been in as well, and it produces some very perverse incentives. I hope, regardless of that overzealousness, that the efforts of your group were successful in achieving more positive outcomes for POCs.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on What’s so bad about digital blackface? in ~life

    chrysanth
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    but the clicks though ;) You're equating an actually existing "Black culture of memeing" with a potential "generative, radical, socially connective, powerfully black memeing practice," the author...

    I’d argue that if this was the author’s intent then calling it “digital blackface” was an extremely poor choice, calibrated more to be provocative and attention seeking than to make a nuanced point.

    but the clicks though ;)

    Most of these memes using Black actors originate from Black Twitter in the first place before they go mainstream, so I’d say we do get a good look at what a Black culture of memeing would look like and it looks a lot like what we have. Maybe there’s an argument about cultural appropriation there (though I doubt I’d buy it), but analogies to minstrelsy are not that.

    You're equating an actually existing "Black culture of memeing" with a potential "generative, radical, socially connective, powerfully black memeing practice," the author is not talking about Black meme culture on Twitter when he asks us what the latter looks like. Neither is the author making an argument about cultural appropriation, although he identifies and discusses such an argument in the piece, so I'm not sure how your comment follows.

    2 votes
  7. Comment on What’s so bad about digital blackface? in ~life

    chrysanth
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I think I lost you a bit here, @Atvelonis. If I'm understanding you correctly, you're saying memes are like language in the sense that meaning is mediated through language, not that language...

    What I think is important to bear in mind here is that memes, as Whittaker implies, are less of a specific, unified construct and more of a medium or modality of discourse. Language, for example, has the capacity to introduce a specific emotionally and culturally harmful social recognition of the manner of being of a given racial group by means of stereotypical or degrading terminology, structures, and assumptions (among other things), perhaps unbeknownst to the audience and/or author—and can therefore serve as an incredibly useful framework through which to analyze case studies—but has no inherent quality prescribing racist or otherwise discriminatory meaning; that is, unless we are to subscribe to a strong form of linguistic determinism.

    I think I lost you a bit here, @Atvelonis. If I'm understanding you correctly, you're saying memes are like language in the sense that meaning is mediated through language, not that language itself has intrinsic meaning (which would be linguistic determinism), right? We can introduce "emotionally and culturally harmful social recognition of the manner of being of a specific group" through memes (and language), but memes (or language) alone cannot constitute that harmful social recognition, since that meaning would need to be attributed to them by an observer who interprets it?

    I've just recently gotten into the habit of capitalizing the term in my writing, so this is an interesting take.

    I was just as surprised as you to find this note at the end of the article as well. I began capitalizing Black after reading Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor's #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, following her lead in that work, but I think after reading Whittaker's piece I'm more inclined to leave it uncapitalized? I think capitalization ascribes a kind of unity or oneness to blackness that is often projected onto it even when it is not always present (or usually present). I think of the piece I submitted a few months ago written by Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò where he mentions how uncomfortable he is with a prescription that can increasingly be found online to "center Black voices" (or any other marginalized group) and how it does not necessarily presuppose the agreement of those voices in theory, but it does in practice, thus flattening black thought and leading to the centering of elite Black voices who have the privilege of being in the room, to the detriment of any others. Maybe we make a similar mistake when we capitalize Black or Blackness. I remember writing an article for a publication in university a few years ago and my (student) editor instructing me to capitalize the word "Socialism," and I was uncomfortable because I felt it presumed a singular socialism, when in reality there are many socialisms in theory and in practice that we should speak about in distinction to one another, since they prioritize different changes in different aspects of society and may even contradict one another. Perhaps one could decide based on the context whether or not to capitalize? So if one is discussing diversity of opinion and experience, leave it uncapitalized? But what if you use the word different ways in the same piece of writing? That violates the common standard of keeping your conventions consistent in the same piece of work. It's certainly a difficult question to answer.

    5 votes
  8. Comment on What’s so bad about digital blackface? in ~life

    chrysanth
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I don't find the piece to be prescriptive like you suggest. The author's position is in the conclusion of the article (drawn after deconstructing all the common discourses around digital...

    I don't find the piece to be prescriptive like you suggest. The author's position is in the conclusion of the article (drawn after deconstructing all the common discourses around digital blackface), so you may want to go back and read that section if you're interested in understanding their argument.

    I think the author would agree with you that it doesn't make sense for someone to tell you what not to do, in the kind of knee-jerk way you describe, since these knee-jerk reactions are often based in the cultural appropriation and fungibility discourses. Nowhere in this piece is the author actually in support of those discourses, though. They are just outlining them so they can critique them in service of their actual argument.

    I'll share the last paragraph here too, just because it was what drew me to post the piece in the first place:

    When we see that memeing – even memeing black people, and even when nonblack people participate in such memeing – is not inherently antiblack, we allow ourselves to ask: what would – as silly as it may sound – a generative, radical, socially connective, powerfully black memeing practice look like? I’m not quite sure, truth be told, but I’d like to find out.

    edit: softened some argumentative language

    7 votes
  9. Comment on Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of April 12 in ~health.coronavirus

    chrysanth
    Link
    Throwing in The Gaslighting of Science by Zeynep Tufekci for discussion. The piece covers the way in which certain kinds of knowledge about the virus (aerosol spread, clusters, presymptomatic...

    Throwing in The Gaslighting of Science by Zeynep Tufekci for discussion. The piece covers the way in which certain kinds of knowledge about the virus (aerosol spread, clusters, presymptomatic transmission) were ignored and/or not taken seriously which allowed things to get as bad as they did.

    Even now, there are still people in leadership or authority positions (of various kinds of institutions) who do not realize this stuff. See schools in the U.S. spending ridiculous sums on plexiglass shields between students, even as the windows are shut and the ventilation system continues without upgrades. (Not representative of all or most school districts, I imagine, but a powerful example of how people still aren't listening to public health guidance.) Family members and friends in my own life are the same way, agreeing to meet in person, indoors, no open windows, despite not yet being fully vaccinated, and wiping surfaces mostly to assuage their concerns about spread, since it wouldn't actually change a thing if one of them was infected.

    12 votes
  10. Comment on Amazon workers vote down Alabama union campaign in ~finance

    chrysanth
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    In many of these cases, the same dynamics I mention are at play. Brexit serves my point well. Some of the wealthiest people in Britain spent a lot of money to get people to vote Leave and millions...

    In many of these cases, the same dynamics I mention are at play. Brexit serves my point well. Some of the wealthiest people in Britain spent a lot of money to get people to vote Leave and millions of pounds were invested to do so. The people themselves are not the problem, the problem lies with the expensive (and very effective) political campaigns that spread doubt and uncertainty. I feel we aren't telling the full story when we leave out that bit.

    I don't think we're necessarily in disagreement here about the facts (people do indeed vote against their own interests), I just want to make it very clear that I am not blaming people for voting against their own interests, nor should we. I think it's counterproductive. Making that mistake puts all the responsibility for social change on the most vulnerable people and creates conflict where there could be mutual recognition and understanding.

    8 votes
  11. Comment on Jordan Peterson's ideology in ~humanities

    chrysanth
    (edited )
    Link
    Abigail has done such a great job of layering meaning in her videos to make them appealing to her left-leaning base and make them inviting to potential converts from the right. She makes all the...

    Abigail has done such a great job of layering meaning in her videos to make them appealing to her left-leaning base and make them inviting to potential converts from the right. She makes all the concessions that she needs to at the beginning of the video to be taken seriously: no ad hominem, no mocking, real engagement with the ideas of the opposition. Right-wingers who pride themselves on their commitment to "facts and logic" will have a hard time clicking away, if she claims she won't be getting down in the mud. But she also has developed this unique language over the course of years of making videos with recurring characters, symbols, and motifs: the arsonist, cigarettes, smoke, "exit to the far left," and so on. The scenes with Adelaide interspersed throughout the actual philosophy serve to both reaffirm Abigail's left-wing credentials (since they're a critique of the ties between right-wing liberalism and fascism) without outright alienating right-wing viewers (since the critique is coded) and also provide an opportunity for viewers to practice identifying ideology, which is what the whole video is about. I have to say I really liked this latest piece and am always excited to see what is coming next from Philosophy Tube!

    15 votes
  12. Comment on Amazon workers vote down Alabama union campaign in ~finance

    chrysanth
    Link Parent
    Don't forget the considerable resources Amazon put into their anti-union campaign. It's easy to individualize the problem and blame it on workers for not voting in their own interests, but Amazon...

    Don't forget the considerable resources Amazon put into their anti-union campaign. It's easy to individualize the problem and blame it on workers for not voting in their own interests, but Amazon is a powerful machine and it did everything it could to sow doubt and convince workers the union would hurt them.

    7 votes
  13. Comment on What charities/orgs are measurably effective in bringing people out of poverty and violence in US? in ~talk

    chrysanth
    Link
    Here's a Twitter thread from a labor activist I follow with some organizations you could donate to. Probably your best bet for being part of meaningful change, though, is actually joining an...

    Here's a Twitter thread from a labor activist I follow with some organizations you could donate to. Probably your best bet for being part of meaningful change, though, is actually joining an organization in your area. Donations can help but don't do very much to transform the kind of structural inequalities you reference in your post.

    7 votes
  14. Comment on Repeatedly finding myself upset with the conversations on Tildes in ~talk

    chrysanth
    Link Parent
    Yes, but this thread is not about NSFW content, it's about offensive content that users find a little too close to hate speech or violence for their comfort. For NSFW content on the site, tagging...

    A post about torture or a horrific accident where the story included gore-y images would be tagged with such warnings to reduce the risk of someone seeing something they didn't want to.

    Yes, but this thread is not about NSFW content, it's about offensive content that users find a little too close to hate speech or violence for their comfort. For NSFW content on the site, tagging has been an effective tool. The latter continues to be a problem even with the tagging system.

    4 votes
  15. Comment on Repeatedly finding myself upset with the conversations on Tildes in ~talk

    chrysanth
    Link Parent
    An interesting solution I've seen proposed to the problem of new users who aren't familiar with the site's culture (somewhere in here, actually, a Mastodon thread which was posted on Tildes,...

    An interesting solution I've seen proposed to the problem of new users who aren't familiar with the site's culture (somewhere in here, actually, a Mastodon thread which was posted on Tildes, though I can't seem to find it in that thread now) was the creation of a "site history" page which explains which consensuses have already been reached in the past. Every new user would read what these issues of contention were, how they were resolved, and decide for themselves if they wanted to continue with becoming an active user on the site.

    8 votes
  16. Comment on Repeatedly finding myself upset with the conversations on Tildes in ~talk

    chrysanth
    Link Parent
    Thanks for replying! I appreciate it, and welcome to Tildes too. Yes, in my experience, many discussions end up in these "rhetorical dead ends" as a result of these unhelpful behaviors that aren't...

    Thanks for replying! I appreciate it, and welcome to Tildes too.

    Yes, in my experience, many discussions end up in these "rhetorical dead ends" as a result of these unhelpful behaviors that aren't necessarily against the rules here on Tildes but don't contribute to meaningful or healthy conversation. I think editing the Code of Conduct to address these in-between situations would be a step forward in this regard, and could serve as the foundation on which we'd build additional labels and moderation tools. As it currently stands, there actually is no basis on which moderation could address those behaviors, since they aren't mentioned at all in the rules. What exactly constitutes those behaviors would have to arise from all of us discussing together.

    Usually ongoing events on Reddit don't comprise much of the discussion here, but you make a broader point I agree with. Minus ads, tracking, and the explicit prohibition of fascism and white supremacy, how much is actually different between Tildes and Reddit? It's not a surprise that patterns we observe on Reddit then go on to repeat themselves here. To be clear, those three things make Tildes a much better experience that Reddit - but I think we should strive to improve even beyond that baseline.

    10 votes
  17. Comment on Repeatedly finding myself upset with the conversations on Tildes in ~talk

    chrysanth
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    Thanks for engaging with my recommendations. I don't think the section of the docs you're quoting was meant to apply to the situation we're discussing in this thread. It seems like that subheading...

    Thanks for engaging with my recommendations.

    I don't think the section of the docs you're quoting was meant to apply to the situation we're discussing in this thread. It seems like that subheading was written with reference to proprietary algorithms which determine what users' feeds look like for ad profits. In response, the tagging system was developed as an alternative, to categorize posts by subject so you can find posts on topics you are interested in. The thing that a user might not want to see, as implied in that section, is something boring or unrelated to their interests, not a controversial or offensive comment.

    I think expanding labels could be a way forward to deal with that latter issue, which is what I feel is at stake in this discussion. We'd need to change the Tildes philosophy or code of conduct pages to include whatever framework is developed for thinking about these issues. What currently exists just doesn't cover what we're talking about now.

    5 votes
  18. Comment on Repeatedly finding myself upset with the conversations on Tildes in ~talk

    chrysanth
    Link
    I think there is a deficiency in the tools we have available to address this issue. One of the most obvious ones is the Malice label, but I feel the word malice suggests intent. Intent is...

    I think there is a deficiency in the tools we have available to address this issue. One of the most obvious ones is the Malice label, but I feel the word malice suggests intent. Intent is impossible to determine online except in cases where the actor in question is acting in bad faith and is not actively seeking to disguise that fact. Many of the commenters who are contributing to this hostile atmosphere on Tildes are not purposefully attempting to push out the minority, they are simply participating in the way they see fit, in good faith, and just happen to be advocating or defending a position which some of us find morally reprehensible. Since their intent is not to be malicious, the Malice label doesn't apply. However, their comments still make the conversation, and by extension the site, a worse experience. Users don't have any way to communicate this to moderation (as far as I can tell) except for using the Malice label and acknowledging that the comment is not malicious, or just directly messaging Deimos to discuss the situation personally.

    I think we need to be more willing to weigh the value of open discussion and debate against a welcoming environment, and develop moderation tools to address situations where the latter is being sacrificed so that the former can continue unabated. I know the site faces implementation challenges in terms of both labor and time, and so I want to make these suggestions while acknowledging that the system we have now did not appear out of thin air.

    Maybe a comment that is flagged as "Harmful" by enough people might have its priority in the comments section reduced, or even deleted. Or perhaps we could create a label called "Concern" which gives a user space to report a comment to moderation and explain why they feel it should be the target of moderation. I should also note that "moderation" doesn't have to mean deleting a comment. We can be creative and think of other interventions that allow for comments to remain while the underlying conflict is resolved.

    Something else of note is Darius Kazemi's How to run a small social network site for your friends which was previously discussed on Tildes. He suggests in his guide that communities that exceed the threshold of 50-100 people reach a point where there will necessarily be members of the community who are both meaningfully invested and incredibly unhappy with the direction of the site. I don't know how we would apply Kazemi's framework to this particular challenge, but it has been useful for me in processing what's been going on.

    I want to say that I understand that Deimos is just one person, who is very busy and cannot drop everything to address the social dynamics on the site. I am not expecting the potential solutions to this problem to come from just him, especially since the implementation of any community moderation system or reforms to the structure of the site would be incredibly complex and would require coordination from all of our members. As I mentioned before, highly relevant to such a project is the knowledge and labor of programming these changes into the site itself, and again, the last thing I want to do is suggest that this should fall all on Deimos' shoulders. I don't have any conclusive answers, but just want to provide some thoughts that could foster discussion so we can move forward.

    25 votes
  19. Comment on Hurricane China: How to prepare in ~misc

    chrysanth
    Link Parent
    Already responded to a few others but @psi has the gist of it. I've spent a disproportionate amount of time on this thread and I'm not going to persist in doing so by writing a comment explaining...

    Already responded to a few others but @psi has the gist of it. I've spent a disproportionate amount of time on this thread and I'm not going to persist in doing so by writing a comment explaining how the model minority myth is damaging. I mean this in the best way: If you'd like to know more, look up "model minority myth" with your favorite search engine, find articles written by Asian American authors, and get their different perspectives. I can't be that person in this thread for you right now who will explain it, it's just too much to give in a comment and I want to enjoy my weekend instead of writing an essay for Tildes to understand why this article is problematic.

    3 votes