This Mess We’re In: A Vision of the Web after White Supremacy

A logo and an AOL-messenger-figure is pictured at the entrance of the AOL office in Hamburg on January 12, 2010. US Internet company AOL announced on January 12 that it intends to close its French and German offices as part of a worldwide round of job cuts. In Germany, AOL will close its offices in Hamburg, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich, cutting 140 jobs, a spokesman said. AFP PHOTO DDP / PHILIPP GUELLAND GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read PHILIPP GUELLAND/AFP/Getty Images)

By: Cayden Mak

In 1998, when I was 11, we got the internet at home. My mom, a public school teacher, thought it’d be useful for me and my little sister to do our homework. She has always been very forward-thinking about technology, and computers were a part of our home life for most of my memory, thanks in no small part to the deep discounts educators used to get on Apple machines.

I remember the first time I knew that the internet was going to change everything. A couple years after we first got online, I somehow found my way to an AOL message board about philosophy — I thought of myself as a serious intellectual even as a kid — and had my mind blown by a group of users discussing feminist theory. Although the ideas they discussed were fascinating, that’s not what really blew my mind.

The real game-changer was discovering that there were people out there in the world who wanted to talk about the things I so desperately wanted to discuss. Why did I feel so different from my peers? Is there anybody else out there who is like me? How can we live together as human beings?

The internet became a critical lifeline to the world outside my isolated, extremely white suburban surroundings. I learned about ideas and people I would never have encountered — and learned about people I had encountered in a new light. It was in communities online that I learned the language to describe my experience as a queer person of color; as an Asian American; as a mixed race person.

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Reappropriate: The Podcast – Ep. 8 | Twitter Activism as a Decolonial Project

The newest episode of Reappropriate: The Podcast is now available, and it’s one of my favourite episodes yet! In this episode, guest Cayden Mak (@cayden, 18millionrising.org) is back for another discussion on digital activism. In this episode, we specifically tackle the power and peril of Twitter as a tool for social change, and we discuss whether or not the use of Twitter could or should be considered radical and decolonial.

You can view the episode by streaming it through YouTube above or by listening or downloading the audio only version using the mp3 player at the bottom of the post. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel or subscribe to the podcast in the iTunes Store.

Next episode: I’m excited to announce a joint podcast between myself and the podcasters of the Ladies of the Round Table (@LadiesADRadio), recording next week on October 13, 9pm EST / 6pm PST! We will be talking about feminism, sexism and nerd/gamer culture so please RSVP now!

Reappropriate: The Podcast – Ep. 6 | Is Digital Activism “Real” Activism?

Episode 6 of Reappropriate: The Podcast is now live! This episode features a great conversation between myself and Cayden Mak (@Cayden) of 18MillionRising. We talk identity formation in an increasingly digital age, as well as digital tools as one of several tools in an activist toolbox. We briefly touch on the Stephen Salaita controversy in relation to the perils of when digital activism crosses over into the real-world.

You can stream the video and audio of episode 6 using YouTube above (subscribe to my channel to be notified of new episodes), listen to just the audio using the mp3 player below, or download the podcast for your iPod or iPhone through the iTunes Store.

Next episode: Please join me in two weeks’ time when I hope to have a conversation about the third rail in AAPI politics: interracial dating. Guests are still being scheduled, so episode time and link are TBA.

Audio Only: