Ze rants

An amalgamation of things I think or find interesting to think about.

Results may vary.

Side effects may include: Increased awareness, increased knowledge, reduced closed-mindedness, occasional mind blowage, the shimmies, and the shakes.

Anonymous asked: Hi! I'm sorry to bother, but I have a question. I have a friend who looks white (blonde, light skin, green eyes) but was actually born and raised in India by her Hindu parents. She practices Hinduism and only recently moved to the states. She still wears traditional clothing, but the other day she posted a picture of herself in her traditional clothes and got a lot of hate for it, people saying it was cultural appropriation. She's bummed out about it and is now questioning her ethnicity. Help?

yungbrowngawd:

pendere:

stirringwind:

1. All those people screaming cultural appropriation at her are ignoramuses who are basically saying, “Wow, you don’t look like my ill-informed, narrow-minded stereotype of what people from this region actually look like!” and “I actually subscribe to horrible, reductionist stereotypes that Indian people can only have dark hair, skin and eyes. Light hair? Green eyes? European (origin) only!” 

This is gonna be a tad long, because it’s gonna delve into biology and history- and it’s because I hope people realise how artificial the US paradigm of race is. It’s woefully incompetent at understanding the biological diversity of our species because it is a social construct. Modern scientists and historians generally refuse to categorise people on the amount of melanin they have because it’s just reductionist and oversimplistic- what they do is classify people by their geographic origin, linguistic and cultural ties. 

2. India is an EXTREMELY diverse continent. It’s so genetically diverse that the only place more genetically diverse is the African continent, aka, the birthplace of humanity. And this is a big deal. I’ll explain why.

image

Surprise! People inhabiting an extremely large country that has more than 2000 ethnic groups, members of all the world’s religions, been the site of multiple ancient civilisations, been on the major crossroads of human migration and trade for thousands of years come in multiple colours!

  • Presently, the most widely-accepted theory of our origins is the Recent African Origin, or Out of Africa TheoryThis holds that originally, humans first appeared in Africa, thus all of us have African ancestors. All modern non-Africans are descended from much smaller groups of people who migrated out of Africa, anytime from 65,000 to 125,000 years ago. How do scientists know this? By looking at our DNA, in addition to fossil and archaeological records. They discovered that the differences in the DNA of non-African peoples like say, a German a Japanese and a New Zealand Maori was far less than the genetic differences between people from different African ethnic groups. (Somali, Dinka, Yoruba, San, Kikuyu, Luo etc- I’m BARELY scratching the surface)
  • What this meant was that Africa had to be the original, diverse genetic pool where modern humans first appeared. Everybody else outside of Africa today is descended from much smaller groups of people who left Africa at various times- and that ancestral genetic “bottleneck” is why people who appear to have very different heritage (e.g European vs East Asian) actually have far less genetic variation than the various African peoples.
  • So, India being the second most genetically diverse place on this planet is a big deal- it’s basically second only to THE CRADLE OF HUMANITY. That’s why I’m pretty convinced your friend can have blonde hair and green eyes and still be 100% Made in India.

3. Now, the genetics of India itself.

Genetic studies have shown that if you take a modern Indian from any part of India, no matter how dark or fair they are, his or her lineage will consist of mixing from two main ancestral groups. One is the Ancestral Northern Indians (ANI), and the other the Ancestral Southern Indians (ASI). You may have heard of the ancient Indian caste system which put a lot of social pressure that prohibited marrying outside your caste. Caste discrimination is banned today, but old attitudes do persist. However, even this caste rigidity wasn’t so 4000- 2000 years ago. ANI people married ASI pretty freely, so that’s why every modern Indian has heredity from both groups. So, already to start off, you got quite a fair bit of diversity hidden in people’s genes. 

  • And the next interesting part to explain why it IS possible for Indians to have features stereotyped as “European” is because while the ASI seemed to be genetically unique to the Indian subcontinent, the ANI people are genetically related to Middle-Easterns, Europeans and Caucasians (and I mean this not in the sense of “white” as often used in the US, but the actual region of Caucasus, which borders Europe and Asia).
  • You mentioned she looks “white”- and the American-understanding of “white” being hurled at her by those people screaming cultural appropriation are actually ignorantly treating “white” as synonymous with “European-origin”. In reality, it’s completely useless in the realm of biology. Biologically, there is actually no real dichotomy where “European” suddenly ends and “Asia” begins. 

image

  • As I earlier pointed out, well, we’re all kinda related. And it’s not at all earth-shattering that some people from India look like they’re of “European-origin”. Because modern Europeans, Central Asians and the Ancestral Northern Indians are all believed to be descendants of a group of people called the Proto-Indo-Europeans. It’s believed they lived around 6000-7000 years ago. Some modern people that are descended from the Proto-Indo-Europeans are French, Germans, Iranians and Pashtuns (a major ethnic group in Afghanistan).  It’s even been found that Europeans and Indians shared a gene for fair skin from a common ancestor- which is why there ARE people who look like your friend. Naturally, fair skin is just relatively rarer in India vs Europe because more parts of India are located in hotter regions. Therefore, there’s more selection pressure for darker skin which has more melanin to protect from the sun- making fair skin rarer, but still possible. 

image

(This is a map of the Kurgan Hypothesis, which is currently the most popular theory for how the Proto-Indo-Europeans migrated from their homeland to settle Europe, Central Asia, Iran, India and Turkey etc)

  • Saying Indians are descendants of the Proto-Indo-Europeans is NOT the same as saying they’re of “European origin”. For example, think of the Proto-Indo-Europeans as like the “mother” of Europeans, Central Asians and the Ancestral Northern Indians- they’re like “sibling” groups, not descendants. The original Indo-Europeans were not “European” in the modern sense. I am clarifying this because plenty of colonial-era scientific racism tried to attribute ancient India’s achievements to “European who left Europe for India”- you might have heard the phrase “Aryan” thrown around in Nazi Germany, which was used to mean “blonde hair, blue eyes”. Nazi scientists and historians also abused it to explain away the sophistication of non-European civilisations in Ancient Egypt and India. In reality, ”Aryan” is derived from the ancient Sanskrit word “Arya" which means "noble". Sanskrit is an ancient language still used in classical Indian texts, and is of Proto-Indo-European origin. For example, the name of the country “Iran” actually means “land of the Aryans”- it was the names ancient Iranians (another people descended from the Proto-Indo-Europeans) gave to what others called the Persian Empire for more than a thousand years before the Third Reich. 

image(Sanskrit manuscript)

  • Furthermore, many languages we often separate as “European” and “Asian” like German, English, French, Italian vs. Hindi, Farsi (Persian), Gujarati, Punjabi, Pashto, Sanskrit etc are ALL classified by linguists as belonging to the same Indo-European language family- which all evolved from the original language the Proto-Indo-Europeans spoke. See how artificial the Europe/Asia dichotomy really is, in terms of human genetics and origin of cultures? 

4. Finally- there’s plenty of modern proof that the region we call Europe today does NOT have a monopoly on producing people with blonde hair, fair skin and green eyes.

This is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, a popular Indian Bollywood actress who is also known for her striking blue-green eyes. She’s 100% Indian- she was born in Mangalore, India to Indian parents. 

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This is a couple at their wedding- the lady on the left is Indian, from the Southern Indian city of Hyderabad. Her husband is Ethiopian.image

This is a photo of a boy and a woman who is likely his mother, taken in Turkey.

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This is a girl from Darfur, Sudan- an area that has more than 30 ethnic groups.

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This is a Nuristani girl. The Nuristani people are an ethnic group from Afghanistan. 

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5. And in the first place, what makes up a person’s identity IS NOT JUST HOW MUCH or HOW LITTLE MELANIN THEY HAVE.

  • Tell your friend she is 100% Indian, because what makes up her identity is not just how she looks. Identity is what feels most natural to her, and if that identity is indeed very intertwined with major aspects of Indian culture- then well, she IS Indian and noone can say otherwise. 
  • Those people had no right to make her feel awful and “not-Indian enough” because it’s clear she identifies as such due to actually being born there and also practising major aspects of Indian culture. The best example I can think of to explain this is how in the US, people sometimes use the term “Latino” as a race category, with the stereotype that all latinos must have tanned skin and dark hair. In reality, it’s more of a cultural identity. The are fair haired-latinos and darker-skinned latinos whose ancestors included the African slaves brought to the Americas four hundred years ago. But what really makes them “Latino” or “Hispanic” is their upbringing- growing up in the environment of Latin America, which is culturally a syncretic fusion of Amerindian, African, Spanish, Portuguese and other European influences. 

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(This is the Brazilian football team that won the 1970 World Cup- you can see Pelé- second from the bottom right. He is an Afro-Brazilian. If you look at his teammates, you can see how latinos come in ALL COLOURS.)

6. Your friend should not be questioning her identity, but those people attacking her should be questioning their utterly myopic worldview. The history of human genetics and migrations makes it abundantly clear how DIVERSE India is- so it’s perfectly possible for her to be Indian but have blonde hair and green eyes, even if it may be less common. 

7. On a more general note, I cannot stress this enough to everyone- DO NOT GO AROUND ATTACKING PEOPLE for “cultural appropriation” when you are NOT even from that culture in question and/or don’t actually know in detail the history and genetics of that region.

  • If you suspect cultural appropriation: DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST or ASK SOMEBODY you know who actually belongs to that group. You may be attacking mixed-race people or people like the anon’s friend, who simply has features that are less genetically dominant- blonde hair shows up less easily in countries with a bigger pool of people with dark hair because dark hair is dominant. Even if her parents had dark hair, it’s possible they both carried a recessive gene for blonde hair that was suppressed by their dark-hair gene. Their child would be blonde if she happened to get both copies of the blonde gene instead of the dark hair gene.
  • Also, even if you think the person isn’t of that group, please bear in mind they might have been invited to dress in that clothing by a friend, or because they’re at an event. (I.e let’s say, at an Indian wedding)
  • I can’t stress how infuriating this “white knight” complex is. Speaking as someone pretty familiar with colonialism, I’ve had people who didn’t grow up in my culture condescendingly insist that if I’m okay with somebody doing something from my culture, it’s “self-internalised oppression”. I’ve studied African colonial literature, and the way people insist on defining what people should be alright with is very reminiscent of 19th century imperialists high-handedly saying, “oh, we have to bring the light of civilisation to save those backwards colonial subjects from themselves!”

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This is Reese Witherspoon, wearing a kimono in Japan, where she is being taught by JAPANESE people how to perform the traditional tea ceremony. This is not reducing a culture to a caricature because she’s actually learning stuff respectfully and wearing a bona fide kimono.

  • Fighting against cultural appropriation is to prevent cultures from being cheapened, made into jokes, sexual fetishes or ugly caricatures. Part of returning power to people to define themselves is ALSO by allowing them to set the parameters of what they want to share with others- and many cultures are perfectly willing to share aspects that are non-sacred or do not have to be earned. So, for example, do not go around insisting a Japanese person should not be allowed to teach non-Japanese people to wear a kimono- because a kimono, unlike a Navajo war bonnet (akin to veteran’s medals), is something anybody can wear. Recognise this difference.

Know the difference.

Very long p cool post

misandrist:

transstudent:

Singular “they” is a correct gender-neutral pronoun! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Learn more. Click here to retweet. Click here to share on Facebook.

Yes. But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter if it’s deemed “grammatically correct;” if someone wants to use it, that’s their choice and you should respect that.

misandrist:

transstudent:

Singular “they” is a correct gender-neutral pronoun! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Learn moreClick here to retweet. Click here to share on Facebook.

Yes. But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter if it’s deemed “grammatically correct;” if someone wants to use it, that’s their choice and you should respect that.

(via theselfmademen)

: When PoC say they don't mind your racist shit:

traumachu:

I used to be the one who said, “I don’t mind.”

”I’m Asian and I don’t mind”

"I’m a woman and I don’t mind"

"I’m queer and I don’t mind"

- So why don’t the rest of you just lighten the fuck up.

In fact, I’m Asian and I think it’s funny.

It’s just a joke.

You say it because there is a…

THIS.

sexmind:

hellstobetsy:

mischievouslittlepixie:

laughingfish:

aunymoons:

sexmind:

MCALC the first Gender Neutral Menstruation Calculator.

Mcalc started off as an idea to create a menstruation calculator app that could be used by anyone regardless of their gender, this way our app keeps the trans* and genderqueer community in mind so they can enjoy the features without being constantly misgendered (as with other apps).

Our new app is still in BETA so we appreciate any feedback you can give us at info.sexmind@gmail.com, we try to solve as many bugs as possible in as little time as we can so please, let us know if anything is not working properly.

What is Mcalc?

Mcalc is a new menstruation calculator app, it tracks your period and keeps you updated on your current status and any upcoming important events of your menstrual cycle

How does it work?

Simple! just provide the app with some basic information about you and your cycle, Mcalc will calculate the rest, taking your personal context into consideration. Afterwards you can set alarms and even log relevant events.

What features does it have?

-Neutrality Guaranteed: We understand that sex and gender identity are not the same, because of this, we designed our app so it can be used by almost everyone. Mcalc is 100% gender neutral and it won’t assume anything from you while using it.

-Notifications: Mcalc will keep you updated on the important dates of your menstrual cycle, it’s built in alarm system will allow you to set notifications you care about.

-Adaptation: We all have different needs, and Mcalc can suit them accordingly, it will only display the information relevant to your purposes and won’t nag you with irrelevant data. Using Mcalc on “sex mode” will help you reduce your risks of getting pregnant when having sex for fun, while setting it on “baby mode” will help you increase your chances of getting pregnant when planning one.

-Tracking: Mcalc lets you keep a log of your activity for later reference, it’s as simple as tapping a date in our calendar and tick the events that happened that day to save them for further reference.

-Information: Discover new things about menstrual cycles by using Mcalc’s informative pages.

You can learn more about mcalc by visiting our website:

http://sexmind.com/mcalc-en/index.html

Or you can go to the app store and download it here:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Sexmind.Calculator

GET MCALC TODAY!

QR-code-android

Guys we worked like hell to get this to be a thing, we are just a bunch of 20 something year old nerdy gay guys who want to do something cool for the LGBT community tech-wise, so please even if you are not gonna download it at least reblog it, we don’t have any investors on this so we rely on mere tumblr and social media support.

Please share! all the earnings will go to fund new sexpedia articles and pay our collaborators in this project.

THIS IS THE COOLEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN.

Kinda wanna bring this up for our next case study, (it’s a mobile app development class). Maybe teach will lemme do my report on this one.

I like how the App is trying to get brownie points for being gender-friendly. I know there are trans* people etc etc etc. but what would the alternative be? What, the app’s going to be judgmental? How would it even know? “You’re pressing against the touchscreen too hard, I’m suspicious you’re really a woman”?

A 28 day menstrual cycle (the average) is the same length as two 14-day paycheck cycles. I would expect that if I want to use this as a really weird way of keeping track of my monthly budget, I wouldn’t expect the app to give me shit for it. How would it fucking know? Are there other menstrual calenders that are all “no, fuck you” to trans* people?

Like, if it actually wasn’t Trans* friendly for some reason, I’d be pretty angry at it for its bigotry, but there’s not a single thing on my desk that provides any challenges for LGBT people. No one sells an “LGBT-friendly” gel pen, that doesn’t make sense.

I mean, I’m sure it’s a good app, and the line was placed there in good faith, but it’s a little like cereal selling itself as “asbestos-free”.

Hello there! Thanks for the comment, just for all to know, the reason why we made the app like we did was because most apps on the market are always targeted for cis womenwho want to have a child, yeah sure, you can be a trans*man and use them, but it can be triggering to some people to be constantly misgendered by their own phone, the idea was to create an app that wouldnt assume that you are a cis woman, and all messages, alarms, and/or texts are written the most gender neutral way possible so that it reduces these triggering scenarios.

We only wanted to present an alternative to the trans and genderqueer community that can also be used by cis people :)

(via sexmind)

chescaleigh:

reverseracism:


Hoping to get this boosted, because maybe it can save someone from hard times and get them a job at whatever establishment this racist ass manager is at.  (this was on NYT FB article posting about a (Black) mother Google searching her unborn child’s name to see what connotations and future it could hold for him)

And then you have people justifying this action. But a meritocracy exists right?

Andrew Moskowitz works for The Cotton Warehouse* Monore Cotton Mills (how ironic), which is an event space in Atlanta Georgia. His supervisors Paul Rosenthal and Dawn Page, can be reached on Monday, 9/23 at (877) 305-6455. Thank you to @WeSeeRace and @HolzmanTweed for tracking down this info, verifying that he is employed there and also getting screen caps of previous racist Facebook statuses. Andrew, I hope you realize the error in your ways when you realize how difficult it is to find a new job because your racism has been exposed online for the entire world to see. 
*edited to add: the company name was previously incorrect. apparently there are TWO event spaces in Atlanta that are former cotton factories. The number is still correct, as was confirmed this morning.

chescaleigh:

reverseracism:

Hoping to get this boosted, because maybe it can save someone from hard times and get them a job at whatever establishment this racist ass manager is at. 

(this was on NYT FB article posting about a (Black) mother Google searching her unborn child’s name to see what connotations and future it could hold for him)

And then you have people justifying this action. But a meritocracy exists right?

Andrew Moskowitz works for The Cotton Warehouse* Monore Cotton Mills (how ironic), which is an event space in Atlanta Georgia. His supervisors Paul Rosenthal and Dawn Page, can be reached on Monday, 9/23 at (877) 305-6455. Thank you to @WeSeeRace and @HolzmanTweed for tracking down this info, verifying that he is employed there and also getting screen caps of previous racist Facebook statuses. Andrew, I hope you realize the error in your ways when you realize how difficult it is to find a new job because your racism has been exposed online for the entire world to see.

*edited to add: the company name was previously incorrect. apparently there are TWO event spaces in Atlanta that are former cotton factories. The number is still correct, as was confirmed this morning.

Kody's Tumblr: Are You Being Ableist? You Might Be Surprised

kodykeplinger:

So I had a really unpleasant experience on Saturday night - a woman harassed me in a movie theater because of my guide dog and her perceived notion of “blindness.” I was going to blog on it, and I still might, but the whole issue got me thinking about something related that deserves discussion.