minor diversions

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Teruyo is a restauranteur in Tokyo and activist from the Ainu culture, an indigenous community of northern Japan. She’s fighting for the survival of her mother tongue, which is spoken at varying levels of fluency by an unknown number of people. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Ainu speakers faced harsh persecution by the state, with legislation forbidding their language’s use in the public sphere, including education. As a consequence, only 10 native speakers remain. 

However, while the Ainu language was pushed to the brink of extinction, the Ainu people have since launched a lively revivalist movement, especially among younger generations. As a result, L2 speakers are on the rise, and an Ainu-language magazine has been in circulation since 1997. Nonetheless, the movement receives little support from the Japanese government.

Today, there are more than 3,000 language communities facing a similarly precarious future, pushing back against centuries of repression and marginalization. We’re building tools to help language activists like Teruyo document, share, and sustain their ways of speaking.

Here’s how you can help:

1) Share this post with your friends and family.

2) Pledge any amount on Kickstarter, and we’ll match your contribution.

3) Get 10 friends to join you in pledging.

Thank you, tangkyu, 御拝ど, takk fyri, +7000 more :)

thatlethalsoul  asked:

I have a huge group of mercenaries that I'm building up to write about for a Team Fortress inspired writing, but I'm super conserned on how to make my "sneaky and shifty" spy character of the team. What races/ethnicities would you guys reccomend I avoid putting into this role to avoid the worst negative stereotyping?

Avoiding Stereotypes by Avoiding Tokenism

If you only have one of any particular ethnicity on a team, none of them will avoid negative repercussions. 

We’ve spoken about tokenism before, and this is a prime example of why you should avoid it. Having only one member of any ethnicity on a team means all of their traits are representative of their ethnicity, so you’ll be enforcing the worst of the behaviour.

On the flipside, avoiding having the Token PoC be any sort of “meaty” role in fear of avoiding stereotypes denies them their humanity. Part of good representation is letting us be the messy people we are— which includes sometimes doing stuff that fits stereotypes, even if they’re negative. The problem isn’t the “they have negative traits.” The problem is “there’s only one of them of that ethnicity.“ 

By having 2+ of any one ethnicity, you give people the room to be themselves because there’s another member of the team not like that. It breaks down the unconscious associations between the character’s ethnicity and the negative traits, by removing “of course [character]’s behaving like that, they’re [ethnicity]!” with “but [other character] doesn’t do that, and they’re [ethnicity], too.” 

(You will always get people insisting the one who doesn’t behave in the morally reprehensible way is just “one of the good ones”, but this helps cut them down— also why it’s important to have a diverse background cast with similar variety in personality types, jobs, and moral alignments)

Fear and Representation
I’m going to talk about a deeper issue I see here, which is fear of messing up. You don’t want to hurt people by doing it wrong, don’t want to be yelled at for reinforcing negative things.

This fear hurts you more than it helps you.

We get a lot of “how do I avoid stereotypes” questions. We get a lot of “how do I not hurt people” questions. We don’t answer the majority of them because if you write from a place of fear, you will not represent PoC well.

Writing good representation is not handling a bomb that’s about to explode if you press it wrong. Writing good representation is about a curiosity, love, and respect for people not like yourself. You’re curious about their stories and are invested in telling them. You love them as people, as their genuine reality. And you respect them enough to want to do them justice in your writing.

If you approach writing diversity with fear, you will not let us be human. Because by fearing writing us, you end up creating model minorities because you just can’t let them be evil, that’s bad. You other us even further by not letting us have the same internal lives and same shades of experience as white people.

People mess up. People have complex morality. Not letting us mess up or have other moral alignments than goodie two shoes strips us of our personhood.
Put all types of us into your stories. Some things you Don’t Do— like Jewish blood mages and Natives who are so much simpler but so much happier because of it— but if you approach us like people with different backgrounds, you’re at least on the right track. And if you make it that multiple people of the same ethnicity exist, then you don’t have to worry about one character being the be all end all of representation.

The thing about these types of questions— “what stereotypes do I avoid"— is you’re not really asking What Do I Not Do. You’re asking "can you tell me what to do so I don’t get yelled at for it”, as if there are magic lists of 100% Safe Traits for different ethnicities.

Safe Traits are not people. Until you ease down your fear of being Safe, of Not Reinforcing Bad Things With One Character, you will not be able to truly tackle representation in your work. The work you have to do is much deeper than putting in “acceptable representation.” 

You have to redefine “acceptable representation” in your mind. It cannot mean “a character who is safe to write without hurting anybody.” What it can mean, however, is “showing the diversity of humanity by displaying multiple people having worthwhile, nuanced, dynamic, and messy stories to tell that reflect their lived reality.”

~Mod Lesya 

>>  I’m super conserned on how to make my “sneaky and shifty” spy character of the team. What races/ethnicities would you guys reccomend I avoid putting into this role to avoid the worst negative stereotyping?

I’d especially stay away from making this character Jewish since that’s already a stereotype for us, and East Asian since there’s a negative trope about East Asians being “inscrutable” (i.e. “you can’t tell what they’re thinking so they could totes be plotting bad stuff!”)

Standard disclaimer that if you have a cast of many many Jewish characters or many many East Asian characters you can make one of them sneaky because the rest of them will show that it’s not an inherently Jewish (or East Asian) trait, but it sounded like you wanted a variety of ethnicities for this project so probably best just to stay away from making the Spy either of those two groups.

–Shira

“One of my big pet peeves about this industry is that it operates under such clandestine circumstances sometimes, like “oh, this is a secret.” We don’t know what’s going on. I think authors deserve to know how their careers are going to be handled and what’s going on, how are things going to function. There’s a lot of secrecy that things operate, and we all have to rely on things like notice boards and Absolute Write. It’s just like who knows who has a personal vendetta with someone and is just spreading stuff about them.” –Saba Sulaiman

On the latest episode, I spoke with literary agent Saba Sulaiman, about the apparent secrecy within publishing. Withheld information as well as the issues of a lack of transparency. I agree with Saba, “authors deserve to know what’s going on.”

The one thing that I learned from environmental sciences is that diversity gives stability to (eco)systems. If everyone thinks the same everyone will make the same thinking errors.
—  growingupdifferently
Endangered langblrs #1

As announced in the last post I want to introduce you from time to time to some endangered langblrs here on tumblr. I also hope that these posts will inspire you to send more langblrs in that deal with endangered, regional, minority, lesser-used and extinct etc. languages. 

Low Saxon

An endangered language in Northern Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark. The mother tongue of my humble self.

@lingumaniac (My own blog.)
@plattkant
@platt-lehren

Greenlandic

It is not really endangered, but since this blog also deals with smaller and lesser-used languages I include it here, too.

@learngreenlandic (also a blog of me)

Maltese

Also a lesser-used language but still worth to be included here.

@maltese-boy

American Sign Language (ASL)

@signinggifs
@asl-americansignlanguage

Miskito

An endangered language in Nicaragua and Honduras.

@learning-miskito

Navajo

An indigenous language in the US and Mexico.

@thatonelangblr
@navajowotd

Irish (Gaeilge)

A Celtic language spoken in Ireland.

@thar-cionn
@scottieglot
@scottasgaeilge
@langue-etrangere

Scottish-Gaelic (Gàidhlig)

A Celtic language spoken in Scotland.

@sgribhisg
@ambi-alba

Welsh (Cymraeg)

A Celtic language spoken in Wales.

@langue-etrangere

Northern Sami

A Sami language that is spoken in Finland, Sweden and Norwegian.

@teacupful-of-languages

Wikitongues.org

The blog of the Wikitongues project, providing videos of people speaking all the languages in the world.

@wikitongues

This is so far a rather short list. I hope there will be more people sending in blogs that write about anything other than majority languages. In order to get that call and message around, please reblog this post as much as you can. ;)

supernaturallymike  asked:

I am white, but I want the main character of my story to be black because I'm tired of never seeing representation for minorities or oppressed groups. The problem is that I don't know if I should do it: should I leave it to black people? Am I stepping the line? I want representation, but I know that there are things I haven't experienced and I probably can't understand. What should I do?

Fantastic! Okay so representation is really important. As a writer it is awesome that you understand that and can see that misrepresentation is the other side of that coin. Don’t be afraid to include people of colour in your writing. If your main character is black, that’s who they are. My advice for you is empathy and research. Talk to people in the culture you want to represent. Make friends with people who have shared experiences with your character. I am white and I don’t think you will overstep any lines by having equality and kindness within your representation. Remember that your character is an individual,  they will have multiple facets to their personality. The main part of representation for anyone from any minority, is to be seen as people, as full characters with their own attributes and flaws and humanity. 

This is a super interesting concept and I would love to hear from my followers about this -  Should we leave representation of minorities to the minorities? Personally I don’t think so. I think all writers should write diversely and with empathy. 

I feel like one of the (very many) things Wonder Woman got right was its minor characters?? Etta, Sameer, Charlie, the Chief, Antiope, Hippolyta - even Sir Patrick was fleshed out enough for me to feel mildly betrayed when he turned out to be Ares. At a time when so many movies put special and visual effects before characterisation, having so many well-rounded, diverse, interesting minor characters was hugely refreshing. 

In Remembrance of Israeli Minority Soldiers

Reminder that on Yom Hazikaron we must remember non-Jewish Israelis who died protecting the nation alongside their Jewish brothers and sisters-in-arms. We must remember every Druze, Bedouin, Christian, Muslim, and other religious/ethnic minorities who lost their lives in service of the country.
Diversity is strength, not weakness, and we must remember ALL who serve.

Sometimes I go through short periods where I forget that Trini is actually gay and when my brain goes “Trini is gay!!” I get the biggest smile and honestly it just makes me so happy Or I remember that Billy is autistic and they never joke about it and he’s represented correctly just makes me so happy. Also Zack and Kimberly are there and have representation of Asians and Indians but don’t fall into stereotypes. (I’m pretty sure that Jason is disabled from his leg and that’s important rep too but people seem to think that being a ranger healed his leg for good) It just makes me so happy that the Power Rangers had a chance to start breaking down barriers of minorities and diversity in films and took it.

Do you know what makes me mad?

I am almost twenty. I am on the verge of real adulthood. I am in college, I am preparing for the rest of my life, I am being exposed to the world.

And I live in a world that hates me.

This is especially relevant to this website– I love tumblr and I have met some of the closest friends I have on here, but this site has also shown me how much the culture I am surrounded by wants to purge me and people like me from it. Let’s make a list:

1. I am a middle-class, well-off white girl in a beautiful neighborhood.
2. I am genetically a girl, and I identify as a girl, and I am straight.
3. I am pro-life, and I support citizens having guns.
4. I am Christian; I don’t cuss, I won’t have sex until I am married, and I don’t like when I see sex or extreme language in film.
5. I support gay rights and gay people because God tells me to show grace and love to everyone, but that part doesn’t matter to anyone because, at the heart of the matter, I believe that sex is between a man and a woman.
6. If you haven’t guessed, I am a Republican.

And there’s the rub. I am a straight white well-off Christian girl in a head spinningly, overwhelmingly liberal world. But Cas, you say, the whole world isn’t liberal! Of course it’s not. But the only people who are allowed to speak are those who lean left. In my experience, which I will admit is limited, but not naive, any opinion that does not fall in line with liberality is crushed and anyone who does not also fall in line is also crushed, and shamed, and cast out, and laughed at.

The world, television, and tumblr especially, have this interesting paradox in which I am told to 1) Express myself and love who I am, and love everyone despite our differences, but also to 2) Conform, or die. Is it only me who can see how glaringly hypocritical this is? “We love everyone no matter what you believe– unless it’s ______.” What does it say about the world we live in that this is acceptable, and even normal? We spend countless hours representing diverse minority groups and rallying and protesting and showing love, but we can’t also take care of those who disagree with us? How does that make sense to anyone at all?

And here we come to the issue of equality, which is the most laughable phrase ever to exist in modern times. Equality used to mean that both sides were equal. Both sides were the same color, the same number, the same amount or quality or anything. 2017 tells us a different story. Equal now means minority groups have the same rights, but their rights are inherently better than the majority’s because we are common, unimpressive, normal, and because they are a minority group and we are not, we are automatically despicable people, if not for real, active discrimination, which is the real thing that should be destroyed, then for simply existing in a greater volume. “Pride, pride, pride”– until it’s straight pride. “Nationalism, patriotism”– until it’s Republican. “Faith, loyalty”– until it’s conservative Christian. We need to shift the meaning of equality back to where it should have always stayed: Both sides stand out equally, and both are loved and accepted equally.

In no way am I saying that I hate gay people or liberals or think that people should have unequal rights. If you have come to that conclusion, please re-read everything before this before continuing.

Oppression is an absolutely terrible thing, and from some of the things that I told you at the beginning of this post, one could assume that I have never experienced oppression before. You would be completely wrong. Do you know how many Trump jokes I’ve heard over the course of my freshman year of college? Do you know how many times I’ve felt insulted, put down, and silenced by my classmates? And do you know how many times someone has defended Trump or any Republican policy in response? You can guess the answer, and it’s definitely not the answer a “privileged” straight white girl would be “expected” to give.

So what do you do about this problem? You say you stand for love, and I’ve just told you that I am being hated– what are you going to do about it? Will our difference of opinion be a wall between two human beings supporting each other? Do you see the problems? Do you see that the other side of the coin is struggling as well? Every building that gets burned down or looted, every anti-Trump, anti-Republican protest, rally, post, sentiment– it has an affect. This isn’t to say, of course, that constructive debate is bad, or that protesting is a bad thing all the time, or that any kind of criticism should be forbidden– my hope is that no one reads this that way. What I am trying to do is to make the world realize that there are more people out there than liberals, that there are people who do support Trump, who do strive to obey God, and who love their country, AND THESE PEOPLE HAVE FEELINGS, JUST LIKE YOU.

So scratch that. This isn’t something that makes me mad, it’s something that infuriates me. The hypocrisy and hatred in this world is overwhelming, and the love that is supposed to connect every human being is corrupt beyond recognition. How do we survive? How do we come out of this on top? The only way to turn this around is love, but it feels like such a far-fetched idea in this culture that I worry for humanity’s safety. I’m struggling not to lose sight of the  glimmer of hope in a population that is blinded by their own sense of righteousness and contempt, but it’s getting dark out there. The world seems to be breaking into nothing more than a cynical series of tactical maneuvers in the biggest civil war the world has ever seen– that of humanity against itself.

If you want to criticize some artist who made an oc with a stereotyping personality or background bc of the oc’s culture

You should:

- Tell them politely it isn’t like that or ask why it is for that character (it can be the oc’s personality or attitude)

- Send them true resources about how the culture is

- Tell them other ways the culture is identified with.

You shouldn’t:

- Insult the artist bc of their decisions

- Say how shitty is the oc’s to be like that

- Say “WHAT THE FUCK? THIS STEREOTYPE BULLSHIT IS ALWAYS ON US. YOU DONT KNOWS US. LEAVE MY PPL ALONE”

Yes, when ppl stereotype cultures is shit and it may be annoying  but unless artists are making fun of it you shouldn’t be a total piece of shit to them bc they didn’t know how rly a certain culture is or works, specially if the oc may be only a minor character.

“What the disabled are really asking from employers is that they should be thinking of some of those less important requirements. If the job requires somebody to make copies, for example, and that person is a wheelchair user or even a cane or walker user, because when I’m walking with a cane I have one hand, I do not have two. So, if you’re asking somebody to make copies and they’re using a wheelchair they’re not necessarily going to be able to use the copier, those things are made at abled bodied height, they’re made at standing height. You need to ask yourself as an employer is it really important that this person can make copies. It is it really important to the job or is it more important that this person really is a skilled editor who has years of experience? Is it more important that this person brings passion to the job as a social media manager? It’s all about what is an essential function of the job.” –Alaina Leary

In the latest episode, I spoke with publicist and writer Alaina Leary about accessibility and also recognition of a lack of accessibility in the workplace looks like and how employers need to be more considerate of the issues that can be seen ahead of time for disabled job candidates and employees.

““You know, and for me, I don’t know that writer’s block is the same for everyone, but for me what I eventually realized was, what the block was really about was about fear, and it was about doubt. And it was about sort of a loss of faith of myself in myself as a writer. And, you know, the thing that actually really helped me was, and I know a lot of people love this book: Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.” –Rahul Mehta

Writers block is real folks. It is not a fallacy. In the latest episode with author Rahul Mehta we discussed how he was able to push through this block as he wrote his new novel, No Other World. 

Things that make no sense

So when white people take roles traditionally played by other races, like black people or asians, it makes people all angry and stuff.


But then those same people want Marvel to have black people or women play traditionally white male superheroes, like Spiderman and Thor.


What?

anonymous asked:

(1/2) Do you ever concern about representation in your writing? I love diversity & strong female leads - basically characters representative of our modern time - so for my current project I'm getting bogged down with that it may not tick those boxes. e.g. It's set in historic Scandinavia so is white-washed and hetero & the female mc who strives to be strong chickens out when she needs to step up. The latter to me explores real human flaws (which fascinates me),

which are def not gender exclusive!, but considering the demand (and rightfully so) for feminist writings I’m conscious of potential perceivements. Simultaneously, weakness is a crucial plot point, additionally if I start changing settings, eras etc just to make it more diverse, I don’t think it works. Also, I like the current story I visualise in my head. Basically is it backwards to want to write something not diverse? Do you ever think about such things?

Do I have concerns about it? Sure. I think most writers do. If you write a book that’s exclusively populated by straight white people, readers are going to notice that and many of them will not like it. But I also think there’s a danger to treating writing like a game of bingo where you have to check specific boxes to make sure you’re representing everyone, because if you’re just writing a character to tick a box anyway, that’s not really diversity. That’s pandering, and readers will see through it. (I.e., You can’t just stick minority characters in a story with no real role to play and call that diversity.) There’s also the reality that no matter what you do, some people aren’t going to like it. For instance: I’ve already seen several reviews of people complaining that even though a number of LGBTQ characters appear in Villains, and appear in such a way that it’s impossible to read them as anything else, nowhere in the story are they actually given specific labels. The reason for this isn’t because I didn’t want to come out and say “So-and-so’s bisexual.” It’s because So-and-so doesn’t know what his own label is yet and isn’t comfortable using one; that’s actually kind of important to the story. Some people have picked up on the importance of that ambiguity; others are upset that nobody got canonically ‘labeled’. Point is, trying to write a story to make readers happy doesn’t work because all readers are different and they’re going to disagree no matter what you do. In your case, if you write a cast of all white heterosexual people, some readers are going to object. If you do choose to diversify, you’re going to get backlash from people who think it’s not historically accurate. And then there will be more people who object to the argument that it’s not historically accurate because it’s fiction, so it doesn’t have to be historically accurate, and diversity is more important than the historical percentage of people of color in Stockholm in 1745 (or whatever). And then more people will probably arrive to provide historical examples of people of color who did live in Stockholm in 1745, nullifying the argument that it’s not historically accurate in the first place. The point I’m getting at is: You have to decide how to write the story, and trying to accommodate every possible reader reaction simply isn’t going to work. 

So, what should you do? I don’t know, but I don’t think just ignoring the issue is an option. If history is what you’re worried about, you can include minority characters and address the fact that they are minorities and possibly unusual or even uncomfortable in the majority community. In the WIP I just finished the first draft of I was writing about groups of people in several occupations and areas which, in 1977 (when the story takes place), were dominated by straight white men. So I wrote a few straight white men but also a gay woman of color and didn’t gloss the fact that that was unusual. I put another gay woman and two men of color in positions of power and let some of the straight white characters struggle with being bossed around by them. I let a mixed-race family talk about the issues of living in an all-white Midwestern neighborhood. I let characters comment on the irony that an artistic industry dominated by white Englishmen had its roots in African American culture. I let characters talk about their industry fetishizing homosexuality. If minority characters would be in a difficult spot in your world, don’t ignore that. Don’t victimize them, but don’t eliminate or minimize their problems, either. Is this a perfect solution? No. But it might be better than ignoring minorities completely or playing Diversity Bingo.

As for the issue of feminism: Feminism doesn’t mean writing women who never have a moment of weakness. Feminism means writing fictional women who are as complex and diverse as real women. Feminism does not preclude writing women who are traditionally feminine. So I wouldn’t worry about that. Make sure that the women you’re writing are real, three-dimensional people. Make sure you aren’t using history as a scapegoat for a lack of female agency. So long as you do that, you should be fine.

Lastly: Remember that none of this is easy. It’s going to be difficult, no matter how you slice it. There probably is no such thing as perfect diversity in fiction, because again, no two readers are going to read it the same way. So worry about the story, worry about writing real people of every color, gender, and credence, and if you need help, ask for it. Find POC and LGBTQ beta readers. Check in with people like @writingwithcolor if you’re not sure about something. And then, do your best. That’s the best you can do.

“So network, seek information, and then always never let the work itself come secondary either because that is one thing that is a challenge for artists in this age is promoting your artwork is like a full-time job in itself. So there’s definitely a balance that you need to find especially if you don’t have the funds or the means to have somebody promote your art for you. Just don’t let your work suffer in your efforts to get it out there into the world. You have to find a balance as far as being a creator as well.” –Marcus Kwame Anderson

Let’s repeat: NEVER let the work come secondary, folks!