The Repeater is a feature in which important discussions are highlighted and linked from other authors to help the information get around to as many eyes and ears as possible. Relevant to video games? Maybe. Relevant to gamers? Definitely. Let these be your food for thought. (Image Source: http://www.devcom.com/)
Colonizing the Mind
Some I was sent a link to an older article that I’d never seen with so many important words and ideas that I’m still soaking in all its meaning and importance. Great work has no expiration date. It was written by an Indian teacher who is also a writer and fiction fan. I think the article is an important read for any of us interested in the ways that cultural colonization impacts the way we see the world in America and how that colonization infects entire nations and stifles their creative development.
And just to make it absolutely clear—the Western publishing advantage was derived from the economic wealth those nations enjoyed by virtue of stripping the resources and talents of other peoples. I do not consider it an accident of fate that it is in America that the art of children’s picture books evolved (which I consider one of America’s most exquisite cultural gifts to the world). These books, printed in China on paper from Brazil—they cost (when they are imported at all) more than a full length Penguin Classic in an Indian bookstore. The books available in one fourth grade classroom at a low-income Minneapolis charter school where I have worked outnumber the entirety of books my private primary school in Delhi made available to me (And I reiterate, I am nothing but privileged in India). Remember on whose backs the resources for your public libraries were built.
It’s so very easy to forget in America that we haven’t created all of this in a vacuum; our wealth, our libraries, our streets, our farms …exist because entire cultures were plundered of their best resources, their wealth exported for our benefit. It’s easy to forget because we are surrounded by so much wealth (overflowing water fountains while there are places of the world experiencing famine and drought, etc — it’s the equivalent of swimming pools full of money) that it seems to us these things are a given. Yet if the plugs were pulled on third world factories and refineries, America would cease to have clothes, shoes, books, and games — not to mention our lights would go out and our cars would become useless. All of these things come from places other than here. But there’s more to cultural colonization according to the author:
What I resent is the implication of accessibility. That it is as easy to understand people of different ethnicities and cultures as it is to understand the diverse experiences within the identities you share with people. Yes, writing about Indian-Americans or Korean-Canadians or Sengalese-Britishers implies a certain shared national experience. But hyphenated identities are not the only manifestations of a culture, and as someone who identifies as Indian, I want to say–No. It is not that easy to understand me, or my experience, or to accurately represent it. You don’t see Native Americans writers going around claiming familiarity with Australian aboriginals on the basis of some shared philosophies, or Chinua Achebe writing about Afro-Caribbeans like an extension of his own world. – READ MORE
Emphasis mine. This is one of the most important paragraphs to me because it so brilliantly captures the definition of colonization without even using the word. The last sentence says it all: Western writers write from a position of inherent privilege, able to extend their culture to parts of the world they know nothing about (“we are all human” / other cultural appropriation in the name of “shared human experience”).
Respecting Sex Work
A courageous young woman from Duke University wrote a generous, insightful and powerful essay for XO Jane about being a Freshman and a professional sex worker (she works in the porn industry). Of course, the interent is full of (largely) angry males who condemn women who aren’t saving their bodies exclusively for them and they have acted out accordingly. But this young woman has been brave and intelligent enough to speak for herself, saying poignantly that: “if people are going to talk about you, you might as well control the conversation and use it to start a dialogue, which in this case is about the abuses we inflict on sex workers.” Nail on the head.
The most striking view I was indoctrinated with was that sex is something women “have,” but that they shouldn’t “give it away” too soon -– as though there’s only so much sex in any one woman, and sex is something she does for a man that necessarily requires losing something of herself, and so she should be really careful who she “gives” it to.
The prevailing societal brainwashing dictates that sexuality and sex “reduce” women, whereas men are merely innocent actors on the receiving end. By extension, our virginity or abstinence has a bearing on who we are as people — as good people or bad people, as nice women or bad women.
Women’s ability to be moral actors is wholly dependent on their sexuality. It is, honestly, insane. – READ MORE
I used to watch more pornography than I do now. In my home, we still enjoy it but a lot less these days. Why? Because how can I become aware of the abuses in the industry and in the next morning fork over my money to “enjoy” porn? It’s a dilemma I think many people face when the ugly truths about the porn industry are revealed to us.
Yet we still enjoy porn. Sex work is work. I think there’s a lot of hypocrisy that goes into consuming porn and then condemning the sex workers for the work they do. It’s more that hypocrisy; the cognitive dissonance required to hold these competing beliefs is immense. We can’t both enjoy porn and condemn the workers. But we do this all over the country, don’t we? We love McDonald’s but damn if those workers deserve a living wage! We can’t have it both ways: either these are valuable services or the workers are worthless and deserve no consideration.
I’ll close this one on an up note. I present to you the Kesh Angels, a motorbike gang in Marrakesh. Apparently there’s a thriving motorbike culture there that women participate in (contrary to western belief!). Coolest thing I’ve seen all week.
Scree Tags: #therepeater #sexwork #colonialism