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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?

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.

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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. 

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  • 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. 

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(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.

Filed under Social Justice cultural appropriation Tumblr is bad at social justice

325 notes

Up to 150 gaming journalists representing multiple game publications are part of a secret mailing list on which they discuss what to cover, what to ignore, and what approach their coverage should take to breaking news.

get-the-gringo:

diarrheaworldstarhiphop:

thespectacularspider-girl:

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/09/18/The-emails-that-prove-video-games-journalism-must-be-reformed

————————————————

I’m well aware of this but everyone else should too.  It is absolutely disgusting.  In short, game journalists have a google group and email group that they use to collude and ‘get their stories straight’ with one another.

>breitbart

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/09/17/Exposed-the-secret-mailing-list-of-the-gaming-journalism-elite

I’ve held off posting about the breitbart article until an additional source or more reputable article came out and I’m happy to say that that day has come

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One of the journalists involved with the mailing list came forward and publicly apologized for his involvement in the alleged secret journalist mailing list

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/09/addressing-allegations-of-collusion-among-gaming-journalists/

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With this confession and apology, these emails are pretty much confirmed authentic. This is the smoking gun, pretty much.

Even if you side with and agree with these reporters statements, that doesn’t invalidate the fact that at least 150 journalists representing different publications, part of a mailing list titled “GameJournoPros”, secretly made plans over and discussed how to spin narrative to protect a subject of controversy. While I’m sure much of the discussion within the group is rather unimpressive, discussion made in secret among a large group of privileged individuals is certainly likely to lead to some level of conspiracy and groupthink.

Here is some of the emails shared regarding gamergate

I had a thought. Maybe a bad one. You tell me: I remember a few years back when Patrick Klepek hit on some tough circumstances we all pitched in to get him a “feel better” gift. Anybody think something like that could be appropriate to address the circumstances that have been forced upon Zoe? Even if it’s not monetary. Maybe a signed, joint letter of support from the Game Journo Pros. I know she’s not a member of the group like Patrick was, but I do know that this is part of a broader theme of the industry losing talent to the toxic culture. And that’s our business. In my mind, it’s a joint show of solidarity to match the trolls’ joint show of force … The last thing I think we want is Zoe thinking she’s under attack *alone.* The brain has a way of convincing you that silent people are against you.
— Andrew Groen, WIRED contributor

As the person I’m going to assume is the most irrationally optimistic person here, I like this idea. Small bits of kindness can do a lot, even when found in oceans of shit.
— Dan Starkey, Eurogamer, GameSpot, Joystiq, Kotaku

This is barely a game-industry story, no matter how some people want to frame it. This is a story about a person who happens to be in the game industry and their personal relationships (no matter how it may weave back into “the industry” and however poor the person’s judgments may have been) and public expose of private materials by that person’s partner as revenge, so I don’t think we, as games press, should support furthering the story by commenting, editorializing or even allowing others to ruminate on it.
Andy Eddy

Who here hasn’t slept with a PR person or game developer? #AMIRITE
— William O’Neal, editor-in-chief, TechRadar.com

I like the signed letter of support idea. Even better if we can get some developers in on that. Anyone want to volunteer to draft something?
— 
Kyle Orland, Ars Technica 

I’d also suggest that - if others think the letter is a good idea - we should do this entirely under the radar, organizing it through word-of-mouth and email rather than Twitter. I made the mistake earlier of publicly voicing support and in doing so drawing more attention to the issue. I’d rather not make that mistake again.
— Andrew GroenWIRED contributor

As sympathetic as I am to the horrible harassment Zoe faced, I think this incident has raised enough questions about the incestuous relationship between press and developers already.
— Jason Schreier, Kotaku

Silver lining: Quinn is getting a bunch of new Patreon patrons today, apparently.
— 
Kyle Orland, Ars Technica 

I would prefer not to be associated with this. It feels wrong to me. I think it feels very off to reach across the fence from journalist to subject in this way. I prefer professional distance, especially given the accusations being levied at us from outside. 
— Mike Futter, Game Informer

Shout out to Mike Futter of Game Informer for choosing to remain objective in the face of this unlike these other “GameJournoPros”.

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oh god it’s really real

Filed under GamerGate Games Journalism Kotaku Polygon Journalism

146,151 notes

Biology’s cruel joke goes something like this: As a teenage body goes through puberty, its circadian rhythm essentially shifts three hours backward. Suddenly, going to bed at nine or ten o’clock at night isn’t just a drag, but close to a biological impossibility. Studies of teenagers around the globe have found that adolescent brains do not start releasing melatonin until around eleven o’clock at night and keep pumping out the hormone well past sunrise. Adults, meanwhile, have little-to-no melatonin in their bodies when they wake up. With all that melatonin surging through their bloodstream, teenagers who are forced to be awake before eight in the morning are often barely alert and want nothing more than to give in to their body’s demands and fall back asleep. Because of the shift in their circadian rhythm, asking a teenager to perform well in a classroom during the early morning is like asking them to fly across the country and instantly adjust to the new time zone — and then do the same thing every night, for four years.

Sleep and the teenage brain (via explore-blog)

This is why you have every right to be tired.  

(via lookrainbows)

Researchers now see sleep problems as a cause, and not a side effect, of teenage depression.” - from the artcle! 

(via scruffyshezza)

(Source: explore-blog, via knoxyjohnville)

170 notes

5 Things I Learned as the Internet's Most Hated Person

wonderfulworldofmichaelford:

That’s it.

Cracked is dead.

They let Zoe Quinn publish an article on their website, one whose opening contains a link so you can download her ‘game’ (which is pretty shameless and pathetic). The comments seem to either be saying the whole “Gamergate” scandal as pointless or getting pissed off at ‘women-hating douces’ and what have you.

Here is one commenter who had it right:

This article likes to paint Quinn as some kind of hero or martyr for standing up to “misogynistic gamers” but makes no mention anywhere of the fact that she torpedoed a women’s gaming charity because she didn’t like them, or of the fact that these supposedly misogynistic 4chan users donated thousands of dollars to the same organization to repair the damage that Zoe Quinn did to them. Zoe Quinn is not a victim of misogyny, she is someone who got caught doing something wrong and cried misogyny to protect herself. Unfortunately, sites like Cracked seemed to do no research beyond the sexism angle that Quin likes to claim. They show misogynistic tweets from Gamergate advocates that are supposed to prove that the entire movement is hateful (though there are far more tweets, such as #notyourshield, that would show that the movement is more concerned with Quinn’s actions than her gender) yet don’t show the abusive tweets that her supporters have sent out, such as one that told a woman that she had a “cavernous” vagina when she criticized Quinn on Twitter. Very disappointed that Cracked ran this with no consideration whatsoever toward the truth.” - sdcrocks

This piece right here is a response to the article and is much better and based in actual facts, and doesn’t try and whitewash the whole thing as a misogynistic conspiracy against women.

It just seriously disappoints me that Cracked.com, once one of the funniest and most educational websites you could find, would let someone publish this before doing research… though Cracked does that an awful lot, so why am I even surprised?

(via mn9archive)

Filed under Gamergate Zoe Quinn Cracked Feminism Gaming Journalism