Blogging against racism: the power of activist intersectional geeks

It’s International Blog Against Racism Week, number three. I seem to see the event listed more widely every year it goes on, but I’m not sure whether that’s just because my own blog reading extends more widely.

My own participation and even reading is going to be thoroughly curtailed because this is my last week in the UK, and before I fly back to California on Tuesday I have a lot of people to see and goodbyes to say.

But I wanted to draw attention to it on this my public blog because IBARW is one of many great examples of the radical politics that reside within subsections of geek cultures. It was started, I believe (and I hope someone will correct me if I am wrong) by science fiction and media fans of colo(u)r who wanted to encourage more people to participate in the work they were doing against racism and white privilege in their communities. It certainly has a strong impact in the online sf-based and media fan communities in which I participate; it significantly ups the level of intersection in the topics of discussion with the radical political blogs I read every year, and I feel that there is a small slide in that direction for the rest of the year too.

This year the theme is intersectionality, and there have been some great posts already. That is barely scratching the surface, just a couple of the many posts I have open in tabs that I’ve actually managed to read; others are here and recommended posts from the last three years are here.

IBARW itself is a great example of some fertile intersections, though: between antiracist activism, science fiction and the world of online community (in particular the LiveJournal fan, science fiction and women of color blogospheres). That intersection at which the bloggers who started IBARW live can become a tool of education and consciousness raising for others.

That doesn’t, of course, come without a risk – of interminable ‘white guilt’ posts, of the idea that this is the one week in the year when bloggers should think about race, et cetera – but I still think it’s a rather wonderful example of the way online community creates mobile sites of theorizing and activism that don’t necessarily rely on established networks or on the academy. And the most interesting thinking, especially on LiveJournal where the site’s architecture encourages it, often takes place in comments – in conversation, not on soapboxes.

There are lots of blog carnivals and so forth that also encourage people who don’t see themselves as primarily political bloggers to get involved in writing about and against oppressive structures, lack of representation, etc. If you want to read more about geek culture’s intersectional discussions of race, the People of Color in SF carnival (and the blogs of its contributors and organizers) is a good place to start.

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