Tim Wise and Historical Memory

Tim Wise on white folks and historical memory:

There is none so dangerous as the white American who waxes nostalgic about what he or she likes to call “the good old days.” Or, alternately, those “simpler” times, or the era of so-called “innocence” remembered from their childhoods, memorialized in a Norman Rockwell painting, or via televised re-runs of the Cleaver family, or Opie Taylor casting a line down at the ol’ fishin’ hole.

None so dangerous because such persons, through their lamentations about having lost the nation they so fondly remember, disregard as if they were a mere annoyance, unworthy of consideration, the lived experiences of millions of their fellow countrymen and women: peoples of color for whom so many of those days were anything but good, far from simple, and part of an era that can only be thought of as innocent by a people utterly inured to suffering, wholly incapable of even defining innocence, let alone identifying it, and unable, for reasons of their own racial narcissism, to stare truth in the face. In this case, the truth that their recollections are the very definition of selective memory. Perhaps worse, delusion itself.

Vimeo and closed captioning

Vimeo is not accessible for users with hearing impairments

Yesterday’s post on Vimeo, YouTube, accessibility and closed captioning was read, and commented on, by Blake Whitman, Director of Community at Vimeo. Please note that I do not have any ill will towards Vimeo. They make neat things. I just wish that they made them accessible…which really means that their “things” aren’t as neat as they could be.

According to Blake:

I thought I would respond here as I believe there may be a misunderstanding regarding our intentions. We care a great deal about closed captioning and we fully intend to provide such support as soon as we can assign developers to the project. While YouTube has large staff and ample resources, we are a small and dedicated team that works tirelessly to meet all of our users’ needs. We did not mean to offend you or anyone else who would like to see CC support on Vimeo, and we will develop a closed captioning system as soon as we are able to. We apologize for the wait.

Blake was responding to my comment on the lack of captioning technology for Vimeo videos. My comment was driven by a comment that Blake left on the Vimeo forums:

[Captioning] is a very big project and not something that can just happen overnight. We have a lot of higher priority features in the cue right now, and when we find the appropriate time, we will definitely look into offering CC support.

My question to Blake and the folks at Vimeo is how can you “care a great deal about closed captioning” while not actually actively supporting its development?

Continue reading Vimeo and closed captioning

Expanding Hate Crimes Definition

House Votes to Expand Hate Crimes Definition:

The House voted Thursday to expand the definition of violent federal hate crimes to those committed because of a victim’s sexual orientation, a step that would extend new protection to lesbian, gay and transgender people.

Under current federal law, hate crimes that fall under federal jurisdiction are defined as those motivated by the victim’s race, color, religion or national origin.

The new measure would broaden the definition to include those committed because of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. It was approved by the House right before a weekend when gay rights will be a focus in Washington, with a march to the Capitol and a speech by President Obama to the Human Rights Campaign.

via The New York Times

Adding captions to YouTube videos

I used to be a huge fan of Vimeo. Their user interface and HD video capability is top notch. Unfortunately, Vimeo has decided that accessibility is not a priority. 8 days ago on the Vimeo forums, the topic of accessibility via closed captions / subtitles was added to the Vimeo Community Forums – Feature Request section. Vimeo’s response to this request was extremely saddening:

We have a lot of higher priority features in the cue right now, and when we find the appropriate time, we will definitely look into offer CC support.

Vimeo is telling its community that users with hearing impairments do not matter.

Thankfully, YouTube has now made it very easy to add captions to videos. In fact, YouTube allows for HD uploads, accessible videos and better uptime than Vimeo.

It’s really easy to add captions / subtitles to a YouTube video using dotSUB:

Continue reading Adding captions to YouTube videos

U of North Dakota – perpetuating stereotypes

University of North Dakota

The hypocrites that make up the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education voted last week to allow the University of North Dakota to have more time to purchase the approval of a Sioux tribe regarding UND’s racist mascot.

The University of North Dakota’s controversial “Fighting Sioux” nickname got a 30-day reprieve today, as the state’s Board of Higher Education voted, 6 to 1, to extend until October 31 the deadline for the nickname’s demise unless a tribal council announces plans to hold a referendum on its use, according to the Grand Forks Herald. The university sued the NCAA in 2006, after the association declined to grant a waiver from a policy banning American Indian imagery in team nicknames and mascots, which the NCAA deemed offensive. In settling the suit, North Dakota agreed to drop the nickname unless it could win the approval of two Sioux tribes. One tribe has endorsed the nickname, but the other has refused to even schedule a vote. (via The Chronicle)

Why are the members of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education hypocrites? On May 14, 2009, the board approved a resolution to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo:

Continue reading U of North Dakota – perpetuating stereotypes

Yom Kippur and Oregon State University

Yom Kippur is the most sacred and solemn holy day in Judaism, and is typically observed from sundown to sundown. This year, Yom Kippur begins at sundown on September 27th and ends on the evening of Monday, September 28th.

The first day of classes at Oregon State University (OSU) begins on Monday, September 28th. Classes also begin on Monday, September 28th at Eastern Oregon University, Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, and Western Oregon University.

The only Oregon University System (OUS) institution that is not starting classes on September 28th is the University of Oregon. The first day of classes at the University of Oregon begins on Tuesday, September 29th — after Yom Kippur.

An email from the OSU administration informed the OSU community that faculty, staff and students could be absent for the first day of classes without penalty. I would argue that the penalty is a missed day of learning and/or work, and knowing that at least one OUS institution decided to modify their schedule while yours did not.

Continue reading Yom Kippur and Oregon State University

Tim Wise and Larry Wilmore

Tim Wise and Don Lemon break down “white racial resentment / white racial paranoia” that is occurring at town hall meetings and the inflammatory rhetoric (e.g. comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler) spewing out of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchannan et al.

Jon Stewart and Larry Wilmore, from the Daily Show, satirize “white fear.”

Glenn Beck – disingenuous idiocy

If a certain family member wonders why I stopped reading their blog, it is due to their defense of (and site link to) Glenn Beck. Rather than engage in a fruitless back-and-forth (like last time when my life experience was called into question), I will simply post these recent videos. Glenn Beck’s rhetoric is blatantly racist and disingenuous. The first clip is of Glenn Beck appearing on the pro-eugenics FOX & Friends. Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart once again provide commentary on the idiocy that is Glenn Beck.

Call on advertisers to drop sponsorship of Glenn Beck.

Iowa: the home for immigrants

From Iowa, the home for immigrants by the Iowa Board of Immigration:

Native American populations in Iowa were conveniently “reduced” to make room for white settlers according to the text in this Iowa immigration advertisement from 1870.

The lowas, next to the Sioux, were once the most numerous and powerful of all the tribes between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. But before leaving the “Beautiful Land” to join their fortunes with other remnants of their race beyond the Missouri, they were reduced by wars, whiskey, and small-pox, to about 1,300 souls.

Whiskey: A gift from the white man
Small-pox: A tactical tool for genocide
Wars: This is what happens when other populations of Native Americans are bumping into your nation because of territorial moves/flight due to white settlement, murder, rape, etc.

Perhaps it is time to re-frame what happened to Native American populations in Iowa. “Leaving” just sounds a bit like a lie when you know what really happened.

When we consider that Iowa is the youngest sister of the seven—that the moccasin marks of the Indian are scarcely yet obliterated from her soil—we can justly claim that the above comparison reflects great credit upon her, and that she has achieved an enviable rank among the great agricultural and stock-producing States of the Union.

Wow. They didn’t have any issue with saying that Native American populations were literally being “obliterated.”

I guess it should be no surprise that my hometown actively celebrates Columbus Day… especially when you grow up in a whitewashed system that frames Native genocide as “leaving”.

If you ever wonder why present day Iowa is made up predominantly of white people, look no further than this:

The present English edition of this pamphlet is 35,000 copies. We also print in German 15,000 copies; Norwegian, 6,000 copies; Swedish, 4,000 copies, and Holland 5,000 copies.

The Iowa Board of Immigration targeted people in predominantly white parts of the world. Iowa’s whiteness is not an accident. It is an institutionalized (by the state) system of privilege for white people that is at the core of present-day Iowa. A discussion about present-day Iowa that is devoid of this context is a discussion that is devoid of awareness and reality.

Iowa, the home for immigrants