- The growing, unavoidable toxicity of Twitter – Sunita’s post about some Twitter users’ less-than-helpful ways of showing support for Jane really reminded me of my STGRB ordeal in 2012. Every time people linked to a post about STGRB it signal-boosted my personal info posted on the site and led to people debating if we deserved it. People watching this unfold also took it upon themselves to antagonize the fool running the site, ensuring it didn’t fade into obscurity. When I objected to that, I was told that it was bigger than just me and I didn’t get to dictate the discussion. And I’m seeing this dynamic playing out again with EC vs. DA. People playing with the egg Twitter account would be a prime example. Amusing yourself with a troll who is doing real harm to a real person is not “support.” People really need to remember that this “drama” is a real life ordeal for the people involved.
The world feels especially shitty these days, what with endless war, data surveillance, race and privilege arguments, and people in the town I live in getting shot almost daily and way too often by the police. This weekend there is a major protest planned for Ferguson, and last night’s fatal shooting of an 18-year-old kid is not going to improve prospects for a peaceful demonstration.
And Romland is no refuge. The EC/DA suit is proceeding, it’s taking time and energy from (and adding all kinds of uncertainty about the future to) the principals, and Romance Twitter can’t stop gawking at it as if it were a reality TV show. It’s Romance Survivor! Will the publisher or the blogger prevail? Choose your side and tweet away! Call people names! Point to signs of the apocalypse! Above all, keep the rubber-necking going! It’s as if there isn’t an actual, real-life lawsuit going on, one that costs a shit ton of money to prosecute and defend, presided over by someone who is very unlikely to read romance or hang out in social media. And no, I don’t think contributing to Jane’s defense fund gives people the right to say whatever they want, whenever they want, about Jane or the EC group. Actually, they have that right regardless and I have the right to think it’s overkill and unhelpful. The donations are orthogonal to that.
- Trouble at the Koolaid Point – Kathy Sierra’s essay on how the trolls ruin their targets’ lives is absolutely breathtaking. It’s not at all light reading, but it’s an important accounting of the real damage trolling does.
I now believe the most dangerous time for a woman with online visibility is the point at which others are seen to be listening, “following”, “liking”, “favoriting”, retweeting. In other words, the point at which her readers have (in the troll’s mind) “drunk the Koolaid”. Apparently, that just can’t be allowed.
From the hater’s POV, you (the Koolaid server) do not “deserve” that attention. You are “stealing” an audience. From their angry, frustrated point of view, the idea that others listen to you is insanity. From their emotion-fueled view you don’t have readers you have cult followers. That just can’t be allowed.
- Why Queer Romance Is Important – Lesbian romance author Amy Dunne shares her story of discovering queer romance as a young college graduate smothered by Catholic guilt.
Back at home, it was suggested that I stay on the straight and narrow. I should get a job, make new friends, and look for a nice boyfriend. It was a horrible time and I don’t think I’d ever felt so alone. After coming to terms with who I was and finding the courage to come out at university, I was forced back into the closet. I questioned everything. Was I really a lesbian? Perhaps I’d just fallen for a woman this one time? It might not ever happen again. Plus, there was no way I could go through another relationship like the one I’d just been in. My confidence was in shreds. Maybe my family were right? Maybe I just needed to look for a nice boyfriend…the only problem was, that stressed me out and felt very wrong.
One night, I was buying books online and came across the LGBTQ section. With my heart pounding and adrenaline coursing through my veins, I secretly ordered a book. Curious Wine by Katherine V. Forrest. I waited for it to arrive with trepidation and the burden of heavy Catholic guilt. I found the perfect hiding place for it and planned to read only a few chapters every night. Seven hours later, I’d finished the book. It was like my eyes had finally been opened. I remember feeling excited, liberated, and hopeful. I’d read about two women who had faced the odds together and had come out the other side even stronger. For the first time, I’d read a story with two main protagonists with whom I could relate. I desperately wanted them to be happy. I recognised their fears, hopes, and dreams, because they weren’t dissimilar to my own. I felt represented in the pages. It finally all made sense. I was a lesbian! It was time for me to accept it and go out and live the life I deserved.
- When It Comes to Police Brutality, Seeing Isn’t Always Believing – This post at Reality Check explores implicit/explicit bias and the role it’s played in the murders of unarmed black men by the authorities.
As a Black woman, as I watched the video of Jones, I saw a young man who was doing what he was told, the way I believe my 32-year-old brother or younger nephews would. Where I see a man who is innocent until proven guilty, however, a person like Groubert sees a gun-toting Black bogeyman.
It’s absurd when you think about it, except that hundreds of Black people are dying each year at the hands of police officers because our society isn’t acknowledging the reality of implicit bias. That scares me. I fear for my family, and my future family, because of how law enforcement acts out their fears.
- Foxhall police encounter caught on video and the interaction is fascinating – This is the fascinating flip-side to the previous story. A white woman CEO sees the cops accusing a black man of robbery and marches right out there and reads them the riot act before telling them to leave. The cops calmly defer to her and leave.
If the police were on your front lawn, questioning someone you know about a call they received, what would you do? If you’re Jody Westby, you defend your people. And you do it sternly, with an air of authority only reserved for people who perceive themselves as having as much power as the police.
It’s all on display in the above video, in which Westby comes to the aid of an elderly black man who has been stopped by a pair of police officers. The level of comfort with which she communicates with the officers due to her knowledge of the law and lack of fear of retribution offers a lesson about how the intersection of race, class and privilege can impact the interactions between police officers and some residents.
- Origins of The N.O.C.: Year One – I ran across The Nerds of Color site for the first time today, and it looks pretty cool. It has a huge, diverse group writing for it
Believe it or not, today marks the one year anniversary of the official launch of this blog. (While we reposted Bao’s article that inspired the website on August 1, we didn’t officially kick off the site until this post on the 12th.)
A year later, we’ve grown exponentially across our various social media platforms thanks to all of you loyal readers, followers, subscribers, and likers. To mark the occasion, we’re going to look back at the secret origins of all of the NOCs who contributed this past year. Fortunately, our roster continues to grow, so you can keep track of future origin stories by following this tag.