Back in the summer, the British government was going through a particularly and visibly authoritarian phase. Trucks displaying posters instructing illegal immigrants to “GO HOME OR FACE ARREST” were driven around parts of London. The Home Office Twitter account featured photos of people suspected of working illegally being bundled into the backs of vans. Scary Daily Mail-pandering talking points were pushed out through the government’s social media channels.
On the one hand, I can see that it’s a good idea to use Twitter et al like this. It’s what anyone with a clue about the internet would advise — go where your audience is and talk to them in a native format, hashtags and all.
On the other hand, it’s terrifying. These brief messages reduce complex issues to a handful of words, a succession of slogans, more minimal even than a carefully-phrased TV soundbite. Seeing the government and the security services relentlessly announcing their bold new initiatives in the same medium that people chat about X-Factor is unsettling. Seeing them link to photos of people bundled into vans in the same way your friends link to funny snaps of their cats seems very wrong.
Although social media are a conversational, discursive form (the clue’s in the name) they are, of course, often used as a place for announcements, very much a top-down, one-to-many form of address. Even if a Twitter account replies to individuals, as a follower of it you’ll generally only see the messages going out to everyone. And so these official Twitter accounts, announcing the Prime Minister launching robust schemes, or the military showing off new hardware, seem oddly relentless. A constant stream of digestible views from those in power to those they rule.
This reminded me, as is often inevitable, of George Orwell’s 1984 and its telescreens […]
I imagined that a 2013 version of a telescreen would constantly display Tweets from our masters and mistresses. Having thought of the terrible “twelescreen” pun, and found the domain was available, I had to make Twelescreen.com.
Anonymous asked: Re: the little girl case. Apparently the two accused Roma gave entirely conflicting reports. The lady also claimed to have birthed 6 children in 10 months. Obviously anti-roma racism played a part in the investigation taking place at all, but it seems odd for you to have just immediately assumed that it's all an anti roma conspiracy.
That is allegedly according to the news reports (the press release handed to each news outlet has been almost exactly the same). The little girl is being interviewed using SIGN LANGUAGE (they try to sign to ask her things and she tries to sign back), because they don’t have any one who can speak Romani language.
She’s stolen but fluent in Romani language? It doesn’t add up.
Nor does the fact that the Greek police are doing little to provide access to translators or other help. That was something the police said - the claim about 6 children in 10 months - whether it’s true or not is another thing entirely. Of course, there has been little to no support for either the adults or the child. Maybe they aren’t fluent in Greek but have not been offered translators and so they confused words with one another? Perhaps she spoke mistakenly, after all, the child was ripped from her by over 40 police and she was taken in handcuffs and interviewed under duress.
The Greek police have been regularly harassing Roma camps, the camp where the girl was found included. They used the girl’s fear and confusion as an indicator at the parents guilt. Though if I was pulled from where I was hiding by more than 40 armed police, I think I’d be afraid and confused too.
Basically, they said they pulled the kid because she was pale and blonde - therefore delegitimizing all pale and blonde Roma in the world. And there are many.
And making them fear for their safety and their families.
The mother said she was given the girl because her mother couldn’t take care of her - a common thing in Roma groups is to take in waif and stray children and raise them - either because they are on the street or because their parents can’t cope. But, all the news reports focus on the fact that she was not related by DNA and that the mother allegedly said she gave birth to 6 kids in 10 months.
It’s disgusting and inflammatory reporting aimed at making people scared of us. It’s rehashing the age old stereotype of Roma as child baby-stealers.
Everyone knows the prevalence of the Golden Dawn and the rise of neo-Fascist agendas in Greece, they cry out over and over about the abuse of (white) LGBTQ in Russia, but something like this? A gross abuse of the rights of Roma people?
Naw, they MUST be guilty right? They deserve the repeated and often violent raids of police. They deserve to have their children ripped away from them because they aren’t fluent in Greek or the kid “doesn’t resemble them”…
It isn’t odd for me to immediately assume it’s an anti-Roma conspiracy - IT IS AN ANTI-ROMA CONSPIRACY.
The news is becoming more and more targeted at “Roma Gypsy” communities. Alleged crime rings and human trafficking and drugs and baby-stealers.
Because there is a change in law coming up in Europe that will allow people more freedom of movement between Romania and Bulgaria and the rest of Europe. The news has been increasing the closer we get to final deadlines and decisions and changes. Roma thieves will swamp Europe. Gypsies from their “Native” Romania (which is just fucking stupid reporting) and Bulgaria will come and take all the benefits. We’ll arrive like a plague of locusts. I’ve read it and seen the news reports.
This is just the latest in a string of ridiculously racist reports. No one has the health of the girl in mind (I mean they haven’t even provided someone who speaks her language for christ’s sake).
Whether or not the girl has been legitimately taken in to the family, they have been declared guilty. The media and police have declared that there is no way a blonde girl can be Roma (despite the fact that she looks Roma and the fact that she speaks Romanes). The media have decided to spout the rhetoric and sensationalize the report - therefore building support for right wing neo-Fascist groups (such as the Golden Dawn) and xenophobic, racist, colonialist governments who say that this is what we Roma do, this is why we should be beaten and burned, and this is why we should be removed from their countries, by force.
Don’t believe everything you read just because some reporter spewed out some racist press release.
Recently I had the idea to go back and look at some emails from 2009, after the CouchDB talk incident at GoGaRuCo. It reminded me how focused we were on bringing more women into the Ruby community—at that point the gender ratios were so abysmal, it was an obvious starting point.
Guess what? It didn’t magically fix the underlying problems. Now we have a Ruby community with more women, but many community leaders still do not prioritize diversity or ending expressions of sexism and discrimination. In fact, the way this is dismissed in the face of continued abuses leads some advocates to wonder why they’re encouraging new participants at all.
I’m ready for a new strategy. I want to do what we need to in order to keep the women who are here now safe and able to continue working in this field. Weekend workshops and code schools are great, but no substitute for addressing the current hostile environment. We need allies to speak up and show their support for a Ruby community that is welcoming to all participants, not only the privileged majority.
COMING OUT TO MY MOTHER
Happy Coming Out Day! In celebration, here’s a short story I wrote recently that documents my coming out to my very religious mother. I hope to write some more coming out stories in the future (including some that involve sexy times), but time is the key factor there. Working full time really takes it out of you.
Computer. Computer ? Computer :-( Now you understand.
Let's go to computer anonymous.
This Wednesday a friend lamented that they felt alienated from their programming community. They had the temerity to ask to be called a woman rather than a girl, or more accurately, asking to be called…
SPECIAL NOTE FOR ABUSERS OR THOSE ACCUSED OF ABUSE/OPPRESSION
1) Take accountability. Regardless of intention or motivation, your attitudes and actions have had a negative impact on someone else.
You are responsible for the consequences. Not intending to hurt someone (if you feel you did not have this intention) does not excuse you from the impact of your attitudes and/or behaviors.
2) Understand the negative impact of your attitudes or actions on the individual(s), organization and movement. Your attitudes and actions have hurt another person within your organization or movement. They have also hurt your organization, community and movement. Understand the widespread impact of gender oppression and abuse and take accountability.
3) Understand that evading accountability has a further cost on the person you have hurt/offended, the organization, constituents, community and movement.
4) Support for you means support to take accountability, not support to defend yourself from accountability. If you have friends, family, co-workers, comrades whom you trust, ask them to help you to take accountability, not to help you avoid accountability.
5) Take accountability for full reparations. Consider what you need to do to take accountability including full public apology, offering resources (including money) to the survivor/organization to help with healing/reparations for the abuse, counseling, leaving the organization (temporary or permanent), involving yourself in political education for yourself and others.
6) Understand gender oppression/abuse and
accountability as fundamental issues of social justice.
SPECIAL NOTE FOR SUPPORTERS OF ABUSERS OR THOSE ACCUSED OF ABUSE/OPPRESSION
1) Support them to take accountability. Taking accountability is the right thing to do for the survivor/victim, for the community, for
the movement, for the abuser or person accused of oppression/abuse. The best way to support them is not to enable them to make excuses but to take full accountability.
2) Support their transformation. If you are involved in the process of accountability, advocate for a process which fully educates
the abuser on the nature of the oppression/abuse, the consequences on the survivor, the organization, and the movement, and which asks for full reparations.
3) Support ongoing political education. Support ongoing political education on patriarchy/gender education on patriarchy/gender
oppression for the organization, constituents and movement.
From COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY WITHIN THE PEOPLE OF COLOR PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT, The Revolution Starts at Home
I’ve been thinking for a while about communities and justice, handling incidents within an organization, what accountability looks like. I particularly like "Support for you means support to take accountability, not support to defend yourself from accountability." It’s hard to admit we’ve hurt someone, whether the harm caused is slight or enormous. What would a community that fully supported accountability look like?
"An Alaskan airport has closed an aircraft access route because of a flaw with Apple’s Maps app. Fairbanks International Airport told a local newspaper that in the past three weeks two motorists had driven along the taxiway and across one of its runways. Apple’s app directs users along the taxiway but does not specifically tell them to drive on to the runway."
BBC News - Apple Maps flaw results in drivers crossing airport runway, via Honor H, Liam Y.
I ran into the same map data error in Birmingham AL, but we were lucky there was a fence and gate already there.
Enjoy playing spot the sloth?
Then maybe you should buy A LITTLE BOOK OF SLOTH. Now available on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-little-book-of-sloth/id449868299?mt=11
I have been feeling some burnout this year as a programmer. It’s not coming from my job, which I enjoy and is a great balance of challenging and supportive. No, it’s the rest of it. The community. The part that in theory is optional, but in reality helps build the relationships and knowledge that…