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Week six in ephemera.

On slaves in the White House.

I try to stay away from current affairs because keeping a legit news reading list would be a full-time job. Buuuuuuut, everybody was talking about Michelle Obama’s explicit naming of the fact that slaves built the White House. Why would she do that? If we talk about American history in full, we have to talk about everybody’s history, from multiple perspectives not just the (literally) white-washed dominant narrative. And the image of her two black daughters playing on the lawn of the house that black slaves built is a powerful, monumental message. If you’d like to read some historically astute responses to claims that the First Lady was “over the top” or (ugh!) race-baiting, here you go: interview with Jesse J. Holland, the author of a recently published history of African American slaves in the white house; Julie Hirschfeld Davis factchecks for the NYT; and Peter Holley tracks the glitterati of Twitter on the topic.

#BlackLivesMatter in Canada, as we need to be reminded over and over again. A recent incident in Ottawa, not far from where I grew up, had (white) people in Canada shocked that police brutality against black people happens (for more information about what I’m referring to, check the #JusticeForAbdi hashtag on social media). It should not be shocking, but angering, galvanizing, even. Our strange, seemingly passive, national pride built on mutations of British politeness is dangerous, and it needs to change (and the narrative of who Canadians are, and indigenous folks are, for example needs to change). A #BlackLivesMatter in Canada reading list has been compiled. Lets check ourselves before we wreck ourselves.

Marjorie Liu, the creator of Monstress, a bitching comic series I mentioned last week, talks to NPR about how rejection shaped her work. You’ll find the transcript button under the “play” button for the recording. And, as my friend Sabrina says, it’s amazing. Do yourself a favour and read Monstress!

More on the comics front, a list of top comics to read at the beach this summer, courtesy of some comic creators (including the aforementioned Marjorie Liu). I am obsessed with Paper Girls! It’s not an exhaustive list so if you want to turn some folks onto something new, leave a comment!

A few weeks back I referenced and shared an article on how the net is not neutral because algorithms are overwhelmingly developed by white dudes. Further news on this front: WikiLeaks is losing the plot (perhaps never really had it in the first place) in terms of being on the pious vanguard of radical net activism. Speaking of how we get our information and who we trust, the NYT Magazine has a big piece on what’s going on for journalism right now, including several first-person interviews with folks from standard print publications and newer digital publications.

Speaking of pious, how about these holy Sisters of Twitter, eh?

I’m getting ahead of myself here so I’m going to wrap up with something personal. Outside on the beauty of silence when you run (no music, no podcasts, no conversation, just let the ambient sounds of your immediate environs wash over you). Of course, when I run, it’s in near absolute silence, as hearing aids like to fuck shit up when they get humid or damp and that’s no fun for me. And I love intentional, dedicated allotments of silence.

I’ll leave you here this week. The bike photo is from my route to the swim spot I frequent as often as possible. It was abandoned in the twilight, in the middle of a park. Twilight makes everything beautiful, to me.

Week three in ephemera.

Actually, I wish that all that’s been happening (or what I’m aware of of all that’s been happening) were actually ephemeral. I mean, I wish that state violence against POC, this week black and brown people in America, would just end. I wish it wasn’t generations upon generations of trauma revisited every day, and reenacted all the time. You know the saying, “if wishes were horses”? Yeah, me too. But I wish it anyway.

My social media is glutted with first-person accounts, including the videos of black people dying, in real time, at the hands of police officers, which I have not watched. It includes footage of the Black Lives Matter – Toronto taking a much needed stand against the consistent tokenism and erasure of queer POC in Pride festivities year after year. It also includes the latest bombing by ISIS in Baghdad (ISIS is not representative of Islam, and people need to get that, like, immediately). And, competing for space in my feeds is the continued violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

But, there are many things to read and educate ourselves with, particularly if we’re white:

This is what white people can do to learn about and support Black Lives Matter. A letter to well-meaning white friends in a similar vein (we need to read it again and again and go beyond).

The common narrative I’ve read in western coverage of ISIS is that recruits or volunteers are poor, disenfranchised, and looking for escape. This could be wrong, or changing very fast.

Even the way we access the internet is off because of racism.

Yesterday was AltPride in Victoria/Lkwungen and WSANEC territories (so great to see the snail trail getting dropped in my neighbourhood). Today is “regular” Pride. Much respect, love, anger, and solidarity to the queerlings in my life.

It’s been a week. I have more to say, so please do check back. Much gratitude to Lin-Manuel Miranda for the pithy, loving tweet this week.