1. Minority Support: Indigenous and Minority Writers Online

    Luke Pearson (@lukelpearson), Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana) and I had a chat during the Digital Writers Festival about how the internet is helping minority writers build communities and support networks to foster their ideas, and what we need to do to get more diverse voices out there.

     
     
  2. (Source: arzitekt, via brocklesnitch)

     

  3. I wrote a piece at Comment is free at the start of the year about what I’ll be reading this year.

    There was a bit of stir, which I’ve addressed here, and I’ve just posted my reviews of the first two books of the year: Americanah and Another Country.

     

  4. I’ve started contributing to a group blog to discuss feminism from different perspectives. Here’s my first post.

    It’s about “solidarity” in a reaction to all those who say “intersectionality” is divisive.

    For me, it’s the exact opposite.

    As a woman from a migrant background raised in the West, my understanding about oppression and ways to address it have been strengthened by learning from the work of Black American feminists, Indigenous feminists from Australia and overseas, queer feminists and trans* feminists, and many other perspectives (such as the approaches of disability activists like Stella Young).

    I feel pretty damn lucky that a bunch of amazing women invited me to share my thoughts on this. There’s a lot more of this stuff to talk about so follow @intersectoz for more.

     

  5. Books To Read

    Last week I started reading the most recent Booker winner The Luminaries and quickly got bored of reading about the pioneer gold-rush in New Zealand from the persecutive of people who refer to “Chinamen”, “Natives” and “whores”.

    Here’s the thing: while I understand it’s set in a particular time and will use language in a certain way, I am not interested in reading stories written from the point of view of those who are always part of the dominant narrative.

    Been there; studied all that in English lit; want more.

    So here’s my new year’s resolution: I will only read novels written by people of colour either from non-Western countries or those who tell stories from minority perspectives within Western societies.

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  6. I have had the honour of meeting Jessie Taylor and getting to hug her and call her and email her when I need help and guidance about “Human Rights Lawyering” and she is just wonderful.

    Whenever something in my new life here in Indonesia has been overwhelming or stressful or just plain exhausting, I take a deep breath and somehow, every time, find myself thinking back to the shots of Jessie in Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea talking to desperate asylum seekers.

    That will probably creep her out but honestly, that actually happens, and it gives me the courage and energy to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    Above is a brilliant talk that Jessie gave about being a human rights advocate that gave me warm fuzzies.

    Jessie’s talk has stacks of encouragement and advice - and in this gig you just cannot have enough of that because, as Jessie says, it is bloody hard to be doing this stuff.

    Since I am a nerd I took notes. Here are my takeaways:

    - advocacy is about human communications - human stories and making human connections

    - you need the “the ability to take a hundred knocks and get up a hundred and one times”

    - you cannot wait for it to be easier to do this work, or to be less scared to do it - you need to do it now

    - “don’t let people use your youth [and idealism] against you” and “don’t let anyone put fear into you”

    - “take criticism, take encouragement, take advice and wisdom from mentors and people you trust”

    Thank you, Jessie :)

     

    *sorry for lack of posts - I have this day job and so I have just been SO BUSY. Like. I’ve barely had time to tweet. Crazy.

     
     

  7. "I think it’s indicative of something wider…the way Julia Gillard is spoken about and the fact that such sexist material is even thought by people to be funny, I think that we have to have an absolutely zero tolerance approach and, you know, be very, very clear that it’s not acceptable."
    — 

    Mia Freedman, speaking on ABC’s 7.30, goes *batshit crazy* over just a harmless sexist joke.

    No seriously though this is a bloody good point.

    They were my sentiments exactly over the “small Asian female doctor” thing a while ago, and I repeat those sentiments often because this shit absolutely unacceptable. I just wonder if she will ever realise the irony of her saying this given her comments about racist jokes. (I doubt it.)

     

  8. Fuck The Master’s Tools

    There’re a lot of thinkers and writers I respect, but recently I’ve been getting super pumped up by the work of Audre Lorde - an American, black, lesbian poet and academic who is one of the key people in Intersectionalist discourse.

    One of her seminal papers is “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House”, in which she discusses the racism and homophobia of conventional feminism. 

    Lorde’s metaphor here was in terms of the idea that the opressor will use infighting among the oppressed (white women hating women of colour, heterosexuals hating homosexuals, etc) to retain their hold on power. Go google the essay and read it — it’s brilliant.

    A different tangent on the idea of the “Master’s Tools” strikes me every time I get told off when I am ranting and raving about various forms of injustice — whether it be racism, gender discrimination, or the awful things that happen to asylum seekers because of woeful Australian government policy, an Anglo bloke 100% of the time will tell me to stop being so oversensitive or, worst of the worst, *nasty* when I rage about the perpetrators.

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  9. I wrote a bitterly sarcastic satire about Abbott’s comments at the Honourary Citizenship ceremony for Raoul Wallenberg last month, but here is an actual thing that the lovely people at “The Shake” published.

    I wish more people would see the cognitive dissonance involved here. *goes looking for spare jar of fairy dust& 

     

  10. How to Stop the “Stop the Boats”

    When Western Sydney backbencher Laurie Ferguson spoke out about what Labor must do to address the Coalition’s dominance in opinion polls, his focus was on the boats. According to Ferguson, everything would be much better if “the Prime Minister personally engages the electorate around the question of boats.”

    The problem for Labor is that the Prime Minister already has personally engaged with electorate on the issue, way back in her very first major speech as Prime Minister.

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