“I don’t expect gay people to prove to me, a straight person, that there’s actually homophobia. I don’t expect poor people to prove to me, a Harvard grad, that hunger and poverty are widespread problems. And if someone asked me, as an Asian person, to “prove” to them that racism exists, I would laugh all the way back to Chinatown. Marginalized groups are not responsible for explaining their marginalization to you. If you are actually concerned, you would take the initiative to do some research yourself instead of showing up at some oppressed group’s door step demanding a list of citations for things (racism, sexism, etc.) that are proven time and time again in the real world.”—WORD (via holzers)
“All white women in this nation know that their status is different from that of black women/women of color. They know this from the time they are little girls watching television and seeing only their images. They know that the only reason nonwhites are absent/invisible is because they are not white. All white women in this nation know that whiteness is a privileged category. The fact that white females may choose to repress or deny this knowledge does not mean they are ignorant: it means that they are in denial.”—bell hooks (via riversofgold)
“When feminists can see the problem with all male panels but can’t see the problem with all white television programmes, it’s worth questioning who they’re really fighting for.”—Reni Eddo-Lodge (via difference-is-happy)
“‘There’s a point, around age twenty,’ [he] said, ‘when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life, or to make a virtue of your peculiarities.’”—Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed. (via booksnippets)
“I think we were at a place where a non-white actor can be the lead in a television series a long time ago – I just think that people have failed to cast the actors they should have been casting.”—Shonda Rhimes, who always has an awesome response to concern-troll questions about whether or not “America is ready.” (via racebending)
Salon.com:How much pride do you take in the fact that your casts are much more racially diverse than most other shows?
Shonda Rhimes:I don’t take pride in it at all. I think it’s sad, and weird, and strange that it’s still a thing, nine years after we did “Grey’s,” that it’s still a thing. It’s creepy to me that it’s still an issue, that there aren’t enough people of color on television. Why is that still happening? It’s 2013. Somebody else needs to get their act together. And oh, by the way it works. Ratings-wise, it works. People like to see it. I don’t understand why people don’t understand that the world of TV should look like the world outside of TV. Like, why is there an assumption of whiteness on television? It’s very weird to me. I think there are some people who work really hard at it. I think J.J. Abrams really goes out of his way to try to make television look diverse. I think it’s happening. And I think that some people just assume whiteness, because that’s what they see. It’s weird.
Salon:Do you feel like that’s because it is mostly white guys making TV?
SR:I don’t think it’s about that. I really don’t. J.J. Abrams is a white guy, he does it. Norman Lear, years and years and years and years ago, did it. I think it’s ridiculous, that the networks don’t demand it more. I think it’s crazy that the person who everybody asks this question of is me. Everyone always says to me, “Why aren’t there more people of color on television?” I’m like, “Why don’t you ask a bunch of people who aren’t putting people of color on television why there aren’t more people of color on television.”
Salon:You’re right. But you know why we’re asking, it’s not because you’re not doing it.
SR:But, you know what I mean? Like, but I can’t tell you why. I don’t know why the white guys aren’t putting people of color on television, maybe we should ask them. And if you ask them all the time, after a while they might start thinking about putting people of color on television.
“”I am not ‘half Japanese’ and ‘half Lithuanian Jewish.” When I’m singing a Japanese folk song, I don’t sing with half my voice, but with my whole voice. When I’m taping together my grandparents’ Jewish marriage contract, worn by time but still resilient, it’s not half of my heart that is moved, but my whole heart. I am complete, and I embody layers of identities that belong together. I am made of layers, not fractions.”— Yumi Thomas (via queergiftedblack)
“I find many adults are put off when young children pose scientific questions. Why is the Moon round? the children ask. Why is grass green? What is a dream? How deep can you dig a hole? When is the world’s birthday? Why do we have toes? Too many teachers and parents answer with irritation or ridicule, or quickly move on to something else: ‘What did you expect the Moon to be, square?’ Children soon recognize that somehow this kind of question annoys the grown-ups. A few more experiences like it, and another child has been lost to science. Why adults should pretend to omniscience before 6-year-olds, I can’t for the life of me understand. What’s wrong with admitting that we don’t know something? Is our self-esteem so fragile?”—Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (via fornicating)
I thought about how to answer this question for a while, anon. I thought about scratch-resistant glasses, and how their coating was first developed by NASA to protect astronaut helmet visors. I thought about ear thermometers, and how NASA’s Jet Propulsion lab helped adapt the same infrared technology they use to gauge the heat of stars to tell you if your child had a fever. I thought about the 200 communication satellites orbiting the Earth, and how NASA was responsible for the first. I thought about smoke detectors, water filters, LED lights, freeze dried food, solar energy, invisaline braces, safety grooves on the curbs of the highway, memory foam, baby food, the dustbuster…
Space travel, facing unique challenges, comes up with unique solutions. It is a shining example of innovation, of creative problem-solving, and how the ripple effects of such endeavors can benefit society as a whole.
But for me, this utilitarian argument isn’t truly satisfying. If space travel did nothing but took us into space, I would still consider it important, vital, worth doing. And it took a while for me to understand why.
I think my answer, the romantic answer, is “wanderlust.” Because 60,000 years ago, a small population of Homo sapiens crossed the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait from Africa into the Arabian Peninsula. Only 10,000 years later, Homo sapiens had reached Southeast Asia and Australia, mostly by island-hopping and hugging coastlines. 15,000 years ago, they braved massive ice shelves to travel across the Asian-Americas land bridge and down into Mesoamerica. Each generation moved a little further into the unknown—the profoundly unknown, untouched by any sort of humanity—and stayed. And the next generation moved a little further than that. Gene maps show that people went back as well as moving forward; that there was sailing and trade much earlier than anyone would ever have thought.
There is something in humanity that looks at a horizon and wants.
And then—well, then we looked up and saw the sky, we looked down and saw the depths of the ocean. Places no human being had ever been, never seen, never really known. But we had no way of going, and so we wrote stories about what was there, because imagination isn’t constrained by physics. (Don’t tell me that Icarus and Captain Nemo aren’t the same person; they typify the same human desire, to reach for something just beyond reach.) I don’t know whether the stories inspired the real-life inventors, or they were simply symptomatic of the same desire—I’m not sure it matters. Because we developed sonar and submarines and scuba diving, and descended to the deepest points of the ocean; we took to the sky on wings of steel.
And then we realized that there was a place beyond sky, that we still hadn’t quite reached the stars. So we built rockets and rovers, and we went. We wandered the surface of the moon, and sent satellites to be out eyes in the very distant corners of space. We could not see beyond our own solar system, and so we built better eyes—to see in every spectra, undreamed-of distances. Through them, we gazed at planets and nebulae and supernovae, we saw the universe without ever leaving our own tiny blue-and-green marble.
We stood in awe of the immensity of the universe, and never questioned that we had a place within it.
I am not trying to argue that space travel is some kind of manifest destiny. Only there are some things we do because we are human. Make art. Fall in love. Hunger for answers. Yearn for horizons. Asking why these things are important can be fruitless, because we do these things for themselves; the reason for art is ultimately art. For me, space exploration is the same, important because it is an expression of our humanity, because we have been wondering wanderers since the origin of our species, and show no signs of stopping.
Because space is there, vast and unknowable, and humanity has always loved a challenge.