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Invisibility Blues: Help open up the conversation about race in games

"We want to open up a conversation about race in video games," write Dr. Samantha Blackmon and Alisha Karabinus in a Kickstarter video for Invisibility Blues, a proposed video series exploring racial representation in the world of gaming. It's an issue that comes up often at Offworld, but as the video notes:

Writers, critics, academics, and journalists have been talking about race in video games for years, and yet the representation of people of color in gaming hardly seems to improve. When PoC are presented, many lack nuance. Sometimes, they are completely missing from game worlds, or, if present, are relegated to background roles. We want to create a video series exploring the best examples of diverse characterizations, the worst, and the whole spectrum between.

Blackmon, an Associate Professor of English at Purdue University, and Karabinus, Purdue PhD student, are also writers for Not Your Mama’s Gamer, a diversity-focused games website founded by Blackmon that features analysis from numerous female academics. Although they've created videos for the website before, they want to launch Invisibility Blue as a dedicated series, with five episodes in mind:

--Character Generation Engines and Representation
--Reactions to Games Critics on Representation
--Women of Color and Intersectionality
--Indigenous Populations in North America
--Race and Fantasy Games

They hope to raise $4,500 to help cover production costs, their research and analysis, and stipends for the consultants and academics whose voices they wish to include. Currently, the campaign is a bit over the halfway mark, with only eight days to go.

Database: Old newspaper ads searching for loved ones lost to slavery


The Southwestern Christian Advocate ran its "Lost Friends" page from 1877 until "well into the first decade of the twentieth century."

The Historic New Orleans Collection has scanned 330 of these ads and made them available in a searchable database. They're not only an indispensable geneological and historical tool; they're also a powerful reminder of the bloody racial history of America.

Two dollars in 1880 bought a yearlong subscription to the Southwestern Christian Advocate, a newspaper published in New Orleans by the Methodist Book Concern and distributed to nearly five hundred preachers, eight hundred post offices, and more than four thousand subscribers in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. The "Lost Friends" column, which ran from the paper's 1877 inception well into the first decade of the twentieth century, featured messages from individuals searching for loved ones lost in slavery.

This searchable database provides access to more than 330 advertisements that appeared in the Southwestern Christian Advocate between November 1879 and December 1880. Digital reproductions of the Lost Friends ads are courtesy of Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University Libraries.

Lost Friends: Advertisements from the Southwestern Christian Advocate [Historic New Orleans Collection]

(via Making Light)

Trump says he'll win the Latino vote

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Trump today: “I’ll win the Latino vote because I’ll create jobs. I’ll create jobs and the Latinos will have jobs they didn’t have, I’ll do better on that vote than anybody, I will win that vote."

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McKinney, TX wants $79K to retreive emails of the cop who tackled bikini-clad teen


McKinney is Texas's worst-ranked city for open records requests, and says that it will have to hire a programmer to write entirely new code to search its old, "unsearchable" email system for the emails of Officer Eric Casebolt, who made headlines by tackling a young black girl in a bikini at a pool party and threatening her with his gun.

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How we developed a black woman protagonist who mattered

Diverse characters are important, even in mobile shooters and other surprising genresRead the rest

Why parents in Cincinnati camp out for 16 days to get a kindergarten spot


Scarce kindergarten places at magnet schools like the Fairview-Clifton German Language School are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis to parents who camp out for weeks, clearing their tents every morning so the kids won't be disturbed by the tent-city on the school's lawn.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Rachel Dolezal, Isaac Hayes, and Al Jolson

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"As far as Dolezal is concerned, technically, since there is no such thing as race, she’s merely selected a cultural preference of which cultural group she most identifies with. Who can blame her? Anyone who listens to the Isaac Hayes song, “Shaft,” wants to be black—for a little while anyway," writes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in a terrific essay about Dolezal, race, and personal identity.

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CVS security guards sue: "they made us tail black and Latino customers"

Four former CVS security employees in NYC have sued the company for making them enforce a "shopping while black" policy that had them tailing black and Latino customers around the store, watching them for theft.

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danah boyd explains student privacy bills

"The conversation is constructed as being about student privacy, but it’s really about who has the right to monitor which youth".

Citizen journo who videod Eric Garner's murder now hounded by NYPD


Ramsey Orta was hounded, framed, beaten and jailed by cops who also beat his disabled mother -- and he's not the only citizen journalist who faced reprisals for recording the NYPD's public execution of Eric Garner.

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Oh, cops.


California: Marshal with a rifle attacks woman recording an arrest, smashing her phone.

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Internet.org: delivering poor Internet to poor people


Mark Zuckerberg's Internet.org project bribes corrupt, non-neutral carriers in poor countries to exempt Facebook and other services of its choosing from their data-caps, giving the world's poorest an Internet that's been radically pruned to a sliver of what the rest of the world gets for free.

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Annotated "Eyes on the Prize"

Glen Chiacchieri's produced a heavily annotated version of Eyes on the Prize, the brilliant video documentary series on the history of the Civil Rights movement that was rescued from copyright oblivion by a civil disobedience campaign.

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YA, graphic novels, books by people of color are most challenged in America's libraries

The ALA's new State of America’s Libraries Report [PDF] shows American public and school libraries are being challenged most often over graphic novels like Saga and YA novels and books by people of color like The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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Here's the TSA's stupid, secret list of behavioral terrorism tells


The ACLU is suing the TSA to get the details of its billion-dollar junk-science "behavioral detection" program, but in the meantime, here's the leaked 92-point checklist the TSA's psychic warriors use to spot bad guys.

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Woman medicated in a psychiatric ward until she said Obama didn't follow her on Twitter

Kam Brock's car was seized by the NYPD in a bogus drug bust (they found no drugs, seized it anyway) and then they arrested her because she got upset and took her to a mental hospital. She tried to tell the doc that she was a good person, and cited the (true) fact that Obama followed her on Twitter.

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