Fiverr, the world’s largest marketplace for creative and professional services alike, has teamed up with non-profit organization Code/Interactive (C/I), Ad Age, and Internet Week to create one of the years most exciting creative contests.
I did this set of spots for an AD AGE guide to buying “programmatic ads.” These were for a glossary section defining the terms of the trade. (Namely: “AD FRAUD,” when advertising sellers use bots to rack up click rates, “GEO TARGETING,” “USER/DEVICE ID’s,” two ways advertisers use our information to target a specific demographic.) Thanks to Jesper Goransson for the assignment!
the Inquisitor getting drunk and refusing to call Cassandra anything other than Cassandra Allegra Portia Calogera Filomena Pentaghast, but being too drunk to say Cassandra Allegra Portia Calogera Filomena Pentaghast
Bruce Banner in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015): It’s a word in an African dialect meaning ‘thief’… in a much less friendly way.
Phil Coulson in Thor (2011): Get somebody from linguistics down here.
As excited as I was back in 2011 to learn that S.H.I.E.L.D. has a linguistics division, I was equally upset in 2015 to learn that Marvel does not. So here we go: Wakandan may be fictional, but it is not an “African dialect.” That’s because there’s no such thing as an African dialect! Dialects are minor variations of a common language, and as Africa is a huge continent with many diverse peoples, nations, and cultures, there is no single African language that they all share. Rather, there are thousands of different African languages that are not mutually intelligible with one another.
Africa is home to six or more language families, and each of those families contains as much linguistic diversity as the Indo-European family that English, Spanish, Russian, Sanskrit, and Greek (among many others) are all a part of. Based on Wakanda’s supposed location in the Marvel Cinematic Universe near real-life Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya, the Wakandan language is probably in the Afroasiatic language family. But that’s still a family with over 300 distinct languages in it.
Some Afro-Asiatic languages have multiple dialects, but Age of Ultron didn’t call Wakandan a dialect of a real language like Oromo (a plausible candidate, given the region). It didn’t even call it Afroasiatic. Instead, this line in a blockbuster with a budget of over two-hundred-million dollars called Wakandan “an African dialect.”
Why does this matter? Because referring to a dialect of a continent implies that that continent is home to a single common language, as Africa is most certainly not. Because Africa is not monolithic, although it’s often treated that way in Western cinema. Because Marvel is owned by Disney, who spent hundreds of millions of dollars perfecting this film, but didn’t think it was a priority to spend any of that money on a consultant who knew anything about Africa. Because Africa itself was so obviously not a priority here.
This was a small line in a major motion picture, mainly included to set up the connection to the fictional country of Wakanda for future Marvel projects like Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Black Panther (2018). But I really hope that Marvel is taking more care with how it discusses Africa in those properties than it did here.
#RespectYourElders is a poster series from The 519, an LGBTQ community center in Toronto, and its anti-defamation campaign Hear It Stop It. The 519 is working to create more safe spaces for LGBTQ elders, who are less likely to seek healthcare, and more likely to experience negative health outcomes and social isolation, than their straight and cisgender peers.
The 519 Education and Training Team offer workshops and resources that support safe, welcoming and inclusive care environments for LGBTQ older people. The training supports organizations and individuals to understand the needs of LGBTQ adults. Workshops will help participants to:
- identify and discuss reasons an older LGBTQ person may be distrustful of the health or social care systems and/or reluctant to seek the care they need
- demonstrate and share an empathetic understanding of the barriers faced by older LGBTQ people
- make appropriate use of pronouns
- propose ways to foster a safe and LGBTQ-inclusive care environment for older people, their friends and chosen families
Learn more about the program here. This is so great.