Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Slow. Or Absent.

"It appears that the recognition, even among social scientists, that age can serve as a potent attribute from which psychological and social benefit or harm can radiate has been slow in coming."
Levy & Banaji (2002)



"Recently, the literature has blossomed with definitions, commentary and research about microaggressions. The term microaggresion has been expanded to include broader social disparities in society such as sexism and heterosexism. However, ageism in relation to microaggresion is glaringly absent."
Gendron et al. (2015)

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- Gendron, T. L., Welleford, E. A., Inker, J., & White, J. T. (2015). The Language of Ageism: Why We Need to Use Words Carefully. The Gerontologist, 56(6), DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnv066
- Levy, B. R. & Banaji, M. R. (2002). Implicit Ageism. In T. D. Nelson (ed.) Ageism: Stereotyping and Prejudice against Older Persons (49-75). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
- photograph by the amazing Vivian Maier via

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Quoting Stellan Skarsgård

"I was lucky to have smart parents. What they were interested in they’d talk about at home, so topics like the civil rights movement were common currency at the dinner table. From an early age we talked about black history and the Holocaust. It was a humanistic upbringing. I’ve tried to give my children a similar existence."
Stellan Skarsgård



photograph via

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

You Are Not Alone

"The value of a brand could be greater by creating real empathy with the youth, instead of going and selling them a Sprite. We got out of the habitual marketing tone, and out of what we are supposed to do and we ran away from the target clichés."
Maxi Itzkoff, creative director of campaign



The campaign was launched by Sprite Argentina (part of the Coca-Cola company) in November 2019.



image via

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Nothing Beats A Londoner

Here we go, Nike celebrating diversity again, London's diversity.



"The new Cannes Social & Influencer Lions has its first Grand Prix winner: Nike’s “Nothing Beats a Londoner” from Wieden+Kennedy, London. A key component of the campaign is a short film--directed by the Megaforce collective and produced by Riff Raff Films--which centers on enterprising, fiercely competitive, young Londoners who shape sport and culture in the metropolis around them." (via)



image via

Saturday, 11 January 2020

F You (Lily Allen, 2009)

Look inside
Look inside your tiny mind
Now look a bit harder
'Cause we're so uninspired, so sick and tired of all the hatred you harbor



So you say
It's not okay to be gay
Well I think you're just evil
You're just some racist who can't tie my laces
Your point of view is medieval



F you F you very, very much
'Cause we hate what you do
And we hate your whole crew
So please don't stay in touch

F you F you very, very much
'Cause your words don't translate
And it's getting quite late
So please don't stay in touch

Do you get
Do you get a little kick out of being slow-minded?
You want to be like your father
It's approval you're after
Well that's not how you find it

Do you
Do you really enjoy living a life that's so hateful?
'Cause there's a hole where your soul should be
You're losing control of it and it's really distasteful ...

lyrics via

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More Lily Allen on YouTube:

::: The Fear: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Smile: LISTEN/WATCH
::: Not Fair: LISTEN/WATCH
::: As Long As I Got You: LISTEN/WATCH

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image via

Thursday, 9 January 2020

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Martin Luther King's Letter from Jefferson County Jail

16 April 1963
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. (...) I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in." (...)



(...) more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. (...) Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. (...)
Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation. (...)
You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue. (...)



We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. (...)
I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection. (...)
(...) I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.
When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.
In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed. (...)
Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers? (...)
Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,
Martin Luther King, Jr.

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photographs via (Rev. Abernathiy, left, and Rev. King leading demonstrators as they attempt to march on Birmingham City Hall, 12 April 1963; AP Photo/Horace Cort) and via and via

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Disability + Job Application

According to an Opinium survey, disabled people have to apply for 60% more jobs than non-disabled people. While 69% of non-disabled applicants are invited to a job interview, only 51% of applications from disabled people result in a job interview. Since two in five are not confident about finding a job and 27% believe they are less likely to be hired due to their disability, more than half of disabled people apply for jobs they are overqualified for feeling their disability would make them a less attractive candidate (via).



photograph "504 sit-in, Anthony Tusler, 1977, from the collection of American Association of People with Disabilities" via

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Skiing's Whiteness

According to Clifford, downhill skiing is the "whitest and least integrated popular sport in America" although Black American ski organisations have been promoting Black people skiing for decades. In 2003, Black Americans made up only 2% of the American skiing market. A survey of articles in Skiing magazine (1993-2010) came to the conclusion that there were articles dealing with disabled skiing, gay skiing, skiing in Africa, but none dedicated to "African American skiing".


Here I argue that, in addition to specific structural constraints typically used to explain Black underrepresentation in skiing, there are powerful symbolic forces which work to define and maintain skiing and its associated social spaces as essentially White. As an arena of both sports and leisure tourism (...), the discourses surrounding skiing’s all-White imagery range from residual scientific racialism regarding body types and essential differences to exclusionary tactics utilized in managing residential communities.
Harrison (2013:316)
According to Harrison (2013), Black people's underrepresentation cannot fully be explained by skiing's high costs. Washburn's alternative explanation is that Black people shy from sports they perceive as White. A cultural explanation highlights the structures and points out that skiing is usually passed down from partents to children producing patterned behaviours.
By examining the racialized construction of downhill skiing, we can better understand the processes through which exclusionary geographies are secured outside of urban areas as well as within them — for it can reasonably be argued that ski resorts seek to reclaim the appeal of the urban experience in all White. Based on the current skiing landscape, we might join Philipp (2000) in pondering the extent to which leisure spaces function as mechanisms for preserving, rather than eroding, social segregation. The boundaries of Whiteness serve as the chief barrier through which racial stratification has been maintained in U.S. society. As one of the most racially exclusive leisure activities in America, skiing offers a spectacular view of the (mountainous) spaces where the preservation of Whiteness has been most successful.
Harrison (2013:333)


- Harrison, A. K. (2013). Black Skiing, Everyday Racism, and the Racial Spatiality of Whiteness. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 37(4), 315-339.
- photographs taken in Snowmass Village, 1972 via and in Cortina d'Ampezzo, 1962, by Slim Aarons (1916-2006) via

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Farewell 2019

May the year to come bless us with patience, tolerance, and a sense of humour to deal with the passionately misinformed and with haters, with incorrigible racists, short-sighted ageists, ignorant ableists, inveterate sexists, narrow-minded homophobes, and islamophobes. Live long and prosper, dear subscribers, I wish you all the best for 2020!

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Photographing Freaks: Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus (1923-1971) was a US-American photographer known for capturing "the grand mélange of humanity" (via), for photographing "people on the fringes of society" (via). Since she became famous, her gaze has been celebrated and criticised: sideshow performers, nudists, dwarfs, transgender sex workers were the subjects she felt drawn to.



"But Arbus’s images in “Untitled” are, at first glance, unsettling. Why did she choose to train her lens repeatedly on people who were so vulnerable? There’s baggage to the work, knowing that she often proclaimed her love for photographing “freaks”—a caustic word to use today, though Arbus seemed to do so with affection. Critic Susan Sontag famously railed against Arbus’s practice in her 1977 collection of essays, On Photography, saying her work was “based on distance, on privilege, on a feeling that what the viewer is asked to look at is really other.”
“Othering” is a term we are especially cautious about today. Arbus did come from privilege—she was the middle child in a well-to-do Manhattan family that earned its wealth from her grandfather’s luxury department store. “One of the things I felt I suffered from as a kid was I never felt adversity,” Arbus herself once said. She sought out people with unusual stories, and titled them as such: Mexican Dwarf in his Hotel Room, N.Y.C 1970, and A Jewish Giant at Home with his Parents, in the Bronx, N.Y., 1970. Even in her portraits of people who were not marginalized, such as her widely known picture of twin girls, Identical twins, Roselle, N.J. (1966), she emphasized their strangeness. (...)
It wasn’t until a 2003 retrospective of Arbus’s work that many of her images, letters, and journal entries were made public. They clarified that she was empathetic, not voyeuristic, a word that continues to trail her legacy. (...)
Though there is always a power hierarchy between photographer and subject—a photographer is seeking honesty and vulnerability when the camera is raised—there is a difference between a photographer who takes the shot and leaves, and one who stays. Arbus was one to stay, giving her time and respect, and building a rapport with the people she photographed. She met Eddie Carmel, the Jewish giant, a decade before she snapped the now-famous image of him and his parents; she was invited to celebrate the birthday of a prostitute whom she photographed in bed, in front of a cake. And, late in her life, she returned to the residences of “Untitled” again and again, taking portraits that suggested friendship and closeness between her and her subjects."
Jacqui Palumbo

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photograph by Diane Arbus via