White People Talking About Black People Talking About White Peop

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Classic
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White People Talking About Black People Talking About White Peop

Postby Classic » Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:04 am

Not quite the same thing, but I am currently telling everyone I know and their mothers about http://medievalpoc.tumblr.com/.

EDIT:
I don't actually think any of you are going to find that URL mysterious, but it links to a tumblr about Medieval People of Color, usually as seen in/through the lens of historical artwork.

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MarsDragon
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Re: Fun Facts

Postby MarsDragon » Sun Mar 23, 2014 6:19 pm

They also don't really do any sort of historical research and in fact are actively misleading in many cases.

Basically treat it as a way to see medieval art, NOT as any sort of citable article.

Same goes for the entirety of tumblr, actually. Treat it as an entire site of chain mails.

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Mongrel
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Re: Fun Facts

Postby Mongrel » Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:17 pm

They're not doing research themselves, and some of this sort of thing CAN fall into the trap of overcompensating a bit (for instance, you often see the same twenty or thirty guys mentioned as examples of a black aristocratic presence in Europe... but that's twenty or thirty guys over more than a thousand years or the rather fanciful claims of entire Chinese Imperial dynasties being black), but of the blogs I linked, they do in turn link to credible wiki articles or valid original research for a pretty fair number of references.

To be fair, the lack of a black presence in Europe in the middle ages really isn't an issue of discrimination* so much as it is an effect of low average mobility. There are exceptions to this though, such as the Portuguese connection to Africa, and in turn the Portuguese connection to England, which accounts for some of England's small historical black population.

Medieval and early modern blacks in Europe were probably more mild curiosities than anything. What's important is that something being rare or at least uncommon (we may really never know what the true percentage was with any degree of accuracy) is a hell of a lot different from something never happening at all. A summary like "There weren't too many blacks in medieval or early modern Europe, but they were definitely present and at all levels of society." seems reasonable.

*The whole notion of modern racism is pretty well-documented as being the result of quite modern pseudoscience, which was used to justify slavery after moral arguments in favour of it had collapsed and after it had become racially segregated.
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Grath
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Re: Fun Facts

Postby Grath » Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:45 pm

MarsDragon wrote:They also don't really do any sort of historical research and in fact are actively misleading in many cases.

Basically treat it as a way to see medieval art, NOT as any sort of citable article.

Same goes for the entirety of tumblr, actually. Treat it as an entire site of chain mails.


Chain mails and naked people. Aaaand some nutjobs.

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Classic
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Re: Fun Facts

Postby Classic » Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:16 am

Mongrel wrote:the lack of a black presence in Europe in the middle ages really isn't an issue of discrimination*

*The whole notion of modern racism is pretty well-documented as being the result of quite modern pseudoscience, which was used to justify slavery after moral arguments in favour of it had collapsed and after it had become racially segregated.

The "theme" I took medieval PoC to follow is "combating the revisionist whitewashing of history". I don't think I'm disagreeing with anything either of you are saying, but...

MarsDragon wrote:They also don't really do any sort of historical research and in fact are actively misleading in many cases.

I'm having a lot of trouble being critical of medieval PoC and tumblrs as though they are the same thing as the people and art that parrots the above whitewashing. Especially because the lazy, historical fiction that these blogs are trying to undermine is buoyed by at least as much confirmation bias-based conclusions and incomplete scholarship.

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MarsDragon
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Re: Fun Facts

Postby MarsDragon » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:14 pm

Classic, let me verify if you're saying what I think you're saying. You are saying that it is all right (or at least not really worthy of criticism) to base your thesis on "confirmation bias-based conclusions and incomplete scholarship" if you are saying the right thing. Yes/no?

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zaratustra
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Re: Fun Facts

Postby zaratustra » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:25 pm

I think we should at least give some consideration to my tumblr where I posit the theory that medieval europe was entirely populated by giant flightless birds

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Re: Fun Facts

Postby Mongrel » Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:12 pm

MarsDragon wrote:Classic, let me verify if you're saying what I think you're saying. You are saying that it is all right (or at least not really worthy of criticism) to base your thesis on "confirmation bias-based conclusions and incomplete scholarship" if you are saying the right thing. Yes/no?


I read his point as giving a pass to poor scholars who are rebutting far worse "scholars". Which is far from ideal but at least sort of understandable.
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Classic
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Re: Fun Facts

Postby Classic » Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:29 pm

Mostly? Sorta? "Scholars" here should be read as equal parts scholars and educators pursuing an agenda that focuses on the narratives of white people of state-recognized political power, and the incurious people who've internalized these skewed visions of history.
Your inept-at-fact-checking tumblr parrot is different from the latter group (and surely, they do overlap) in that these tumblr parrots are at least trying to campaign for a more complete picture of history (though, maybe they'd be better served by campaigning for less racist pedagogical standards. Fuck you Texas).



EDIT: Here's the original long-scrawl!
MarsDragon wrote:Classic, let me verify if you're saying what I think you're saying. You are saying that it is all right (or at least not really worthy of criticism) to base your thesis on "confirmation bias-based conclusions and incomplete scholarship" if you are saying the right thing. Yes/no?

No. I'm saying that you can launch the same criticisms of what non-historians (and probably even some historians) consider historical facts about PoC and their presence in Europe and Eurasia in general. I'm saying that the historical misconception that causes idiots to justify not having people of color in their medieval-y games and stories with the excuse of "pursuing historical accuracy" is at least as bad as the complaints I've read about these blogs.

To put it another way:
I don't think you're actually suggesting that these blogs have less value because their scholarship is sometimes incomplete, incorrect, or overzealous (because all historians have their own foibles). But when you're bringing this point up when we're talking about how these blogs are trying to undo the whitewashing of history you're implicitly absolving that whitewashing of these same problems.

Does that make sense?

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François
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Re: Fun Facts

Postby François » Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:06 pm

Crappy scholarship is a horrifying plague and using it to support even the noblest causes is a great disservice. These blogs are devalued by poor research. We can't have double standards for our allies just because we agree with their goals. Truth and accuracy are the greatest weapons we have. We're the ones who don't have to make stuff up, so let's not.

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Classic
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Re: Fun Facts

Postby Classic » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:46 pm

François wrote:We can't have double standards for our allies just because we agree with their goals.

You see, as far as I can tell, the demand for inerrant scholarship is the double standard that's put on these blogs/scholars/academic outlets and the end result is silencing them.

In the abstract, I agree with you.
And medievalPoC agrees with you. They (gender neutral they. The blog is run by one person) is pretty up-front about the limits of their scholarship.
But when it becomes a question of double standards and arguing that the blog is less or isn't valuable because it contains errors...

I mean... Here:
http://medievalpoc.tumblr.com/post/80164127726/maarnayeri-shoutout-to-black-and-brown
I'm not going to ask you to agree with that sentiment, or argue that it would excuse errors if medievalPoC (seemed or) was dedicated to perpetuating them (I feel they acquit themselves of this accusation well), but let's at least recognize that the historians and educators who ignore presence and contributions of PoC to history obviously aren't being held to the standard we'd like them to be held to (in spite of having access to a great deal more wealth and readily available prior research).

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François
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Re: Fun Facts

Postby François » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:38 pm

Classic wrote:the historians and educators who ignore presence and contributions of PoC to history obviously aren't being held to the standard we'd like them to be held to


I know I hold them to the same standards.

There were PoC in medieval Europe. That fact must be explored and disseminated, not because it's an inclusive outlook or because it's a nice thing to do for underrepresented minorities or even to make bigots shit bricks (though these are all excellent standalone goals in other contexts), but because it is actual historical reality. Opening people's eyes is all well and good but I don't believe that's a good enough reason to employ methods even remotely similar to the methods of those who would rather sew them shut. If someone thinks telling the rigorous truth isn't enough to get their point across then they're part of the bigger problem no matter what side of the issue they're on.

I do believe the blogs in question have value. What it comes down to, is that if telling someone "say only true things" is functionally equivalent to silencing them (which would certainly not be the case here), then they need to work on their stuff. Are these people doing good work? Yes, definitely, on the average. But every time a fact is fudged, every time something must be assumed or taken on faith, that's one more bullet in the guns of our enemies, one more way in which we become ever so slightly more like them.

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TA
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Re: Fun Facts

Postby TA » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:58 pm

I disagree on that last bit. If they're making shit up at all, then they lose all credibility, and are not doing good work.
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Re: Fun Facts

Postby Mongrel » Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:26 pm

Making shit up whole cloth is 100% counterproductive, yeah.
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Classic
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Re: Fun Facts

Postby Classic » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:45 am

I think we've veered more than a little off the rails of this tangent. Nobody's going to suggest allowing baseless conjecture or raw hypotheses as history. Except, you know, the Texas State Board of Education. How about that intelligent creationism fellas?

François wrote:
Classic wrote:the historians and educators who ignore presence and contributions of PoC to history obviously aren't being held to the standard we'd like them to be held to


I know I hold them to the same standards.

That's great!
And yet, somehow, we (at least in the US) have a popular historical conception that downplays the presence and contributions of PoC to history. Including mythmaking that's misleading at best.

And part of that (a small, small part), I think, is that when people are introduced to unfamiliar or threatening ideas, they're given red herring concerns (e.g. its focus is only on exactly what it sets out to discuss) or valid concerns and criticisms that also apply to the research that has informed the reader's current historical conception (e.g. it sometimes contains errors and should be read critically/thoughtfully), which I have seen used as an excuse to discount them entirely.

François wrote:If someone thinks telling the rigorous truth isn't enough to get their point across then they're part of the bigger problem no matter what side of the issue they're on.... our enemies, one more way in which we become ever so slightly more like them.

As an aside:
While I'm pretty skeptical about the agendas of some institutions, I don't think that the shape of history as a science (Is science still used that way?) has been made by people interested in propping up falsehood as fact. At least, no more than any other body of thinkers or researchers has plied apologetics to their worldview or been the victim of confirmation bias to support some heinous shit.
It is less a battle between enemies as it is seeing problematic ideas bolstered by intellectual (or emotional) inertia. The "enemy" if there has to be one, is apathy and the ease with which those comfortable in their ideas find excuses to remain in that comfort zone.
As a double aside:
History is a work in progress (cheesy-apple pun intended). Presumably, we're trending toward a more accurate, more inclusive understanding of the past and (again, presumably) our pedagogy will evolve to reflect that, with the inaccurate assumptions or impressions of history (e.g. no PoC in medieval Europe) becoming fewer and incorrect for more interesting, nuanced reasons (or at least fucking change). Part of that process is conjecture that doesn't hold up.

The real problem with most blogs, and really all social media today, is that it blurs the line between professional and personal assertions of fact. I consume a lot of voodoo supplements in the pursuit of better health. The statement, "I think it helps." takes on very different meanings in colloquial and professional contexts. I feel like research blogs are more personal (because, let's face it, research is personal to the person doing it) than the bloggers intend.

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Joxam
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Re: White People Talking About Black People Talking About Wh

Postby Joxam » Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:44 am

Arg, the topic limit ruined my shitty topic name joke :(
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Classic
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Re: White People Talking About Black People Talking About Wh

Postby Classic » Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:17 am

If it's any consolation,I didn't notice anything was lost!

EDIT:
Fuck. Phrasing.
I meant I think I still got the joke.

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Mongrel
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Re: White People Talking About Black People Talking About Wh

Postby Mongrel » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:14 am

Just change all the instances of 'people' to 'peeps'. :hurfdurf:
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sei
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Re: White People Talking About Black People Talking About Wh

Postby sei » Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:36 pm

Joxam wrote:Arg, the topic limit ruined my shitty topic name joke :(

I'd argue that it made your topic name; the sudden termination suggests infinite recurrence.
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Joxam
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Re: White People Talking About Black People Talking About Wh

Postby Joxam » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:29 am

It was supposed to be White People Talking About Black People Talking About White People Not Talking About Race, which, like I said, is a shitty joke topic that plays off of this topic's subject AND our last race topic on the other boards. However, the infinite recurrence that this one implies is probably the better joke.
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