Saturday, January 2, 2021

Vicious by V.E. Schwab Review

Photo credit: Amazon.com.

Note: This review has some spoilers, but most of the important details are left vague.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab is a superhero story about Victor Vale and Eli Cardale, two people who ostensibly have it all—both are handsome, financially secure, white, geniuses who have garnered enough intellectual respect that their professors draw on their expertise. In reality, however, they are tortured by their desire to test the limits of reality. As Cardale and Vale discover as part of an undergraduate thesis, superpowers do exist, and the key to unlocking them is to die, albeit not permanently. They of course succeed in their quest to attain powers for themselves, but things go drastically wrong, and former friends Victor and Eli become mortal enemies who seek to exact vengeance on the other. 

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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Impressions — Save Your Money


World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is not worth your money. While its opening sequence is strong, it quickly loses steam and becomes a boring slog I felt compelled to complete. Its biggest flaws are particularly glaring because they are usually WoW's strengths: quest design, lore, and combat.

Monday, July 27, 2020

On Structural Racism



Structural racism, also known as systemic or societal racism, is more deeply entrenched in our working culture than you think.

A quick google search on the definition of structural racism gives us the following:

"A system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity. It identifies dimensions of our history and culture that have allowed privileges associated with 'whiteness' and disadvantages associated with 'color' to endure and adapt over time. Structural racism is not something that a few people or institutions choose to practice. Instead it has been a feature of the social, economic and political systems in which we all exist." [1]

This brings us to the point of this article: we need a revised definition for structural racism—one that hones in on what it is and how it affects people of color. While the above definition is effective in broadly describing structural racism, it suffers from lack of specificity. What "public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms" are most damaging in terms of perpetuating whiteness in working spaces?

Monday, May 18, 2020

Fragile Rights: The History of Voting in the United States


This story was originally published by the Davis Humanities Institute on May 1st, 2017, but is no longer hosted there after a website update. I am re-posting it here for that reason. 

In 2013, the Shelby v. Holder U.S. Supreme Court decision gave states permission to change their election laws without needing advance clearance from the Department of Justice. This decision invalidated a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which required preclearance with the DoJ to protect voters of color. Most people might ask: How did we get to this point?

But Professor of History Greg Downs is not interested in asking “how did we get here?” In fact, he sees this as the wrong question. The United States, he argues, has never been a country where the government guaranteed the right to vote. Indeed, the United States is a country with a tradition of disenfranchisement, rather than enfranchisement.

The White Woman's Slave Market: Black Wet Nurses and Reproductive Violence


This story was originally published by the Davis Humanities Institute on November 13th, 2017, but is no longer hosted there after a website update. Additionally, the original article was unfortunately plagiarized (albeit in a way that mangled its content) by a website I won't repeat here. Therefore I am re-publishing it here as it was meant to be. 

On Wednesday, November 8th, Assistant Professor of History Stephanie Jones-Rogers of UC Berkeley brought to light the market for enslaved wet nurses in nineteenth-century America in a talk hosted by the DHI Research Cluster Women and Gender in the World.

In a talk entitled “‘She could spare one ample breast for the profit of her owner’: White Mothers and Enslaved Wet Nurses’ Invisible Labor in American Slave Markets,” Jones-Rogers argued that studying enslaved wet nurses reveals white women’s complicity in expanding slavery in the south and demonstrates how white mothers were at the forefront of these market transactions. White southern women had created a “niche sector of the slave market” dedicated to providing them with the specific maternal labor that they sought from bondswomen.

Jones-Rogers emphasized that we cannot forget about the reproductive and maternal violence white women perpetrated against black bondswomen. Indeed, the commodification of slave mothers provides an important example of the disturbing “quotidian” horrors of slavery.