Race & Culture

An examination of the racial and cultural lenses through which we experience our favorite geeky pastimes and the different perspectives that shape our interpretations.

How to Avoid Problematic Shows and Enjoy TV and Movies This Fall

It’s that time of year again: autumn is in the air! Time to break out the sweaters and scarves, coordinate apple-picking trips, and indulge your annual proclivity for pumpkin-spice lattes. (Or your annual proclivity for making fun of people who dig pumpkin-spice lattes. But really, the only thing more eye-roll inducing than an overzealous affinity for pumpkin-spiced libations is an overzealous affinity for mocking those with an affinity for pumpkin-spiced libations. Seriously, you can call me “basic” if you...

How Can Writers of Color Reconcile H. P. Lovecraft’s Influence with His Racist Legacy?

August 20, 2018, marks the 128th birthday of the polarizing American writer H. P. Lovecraft. A resident of Providence, Rhode Island, he is best known in fandom for his interconnected stories collectively referred to as the Cthulhu mythos—or Yog-Sothothery, as he is said to have preferred. A consistent joke is that the list of things he wasn’t afraid of was shorter than the list of things he was, and that is clearly reflected in his writing. He’s one of...

5 More Things Not to Do When Meeting Cosplayers of Color

I’m a cosplayer of color (as you can see in the photo below) who attends quite a few cons every season. Over the years, I’ve developed somewhat of a thick skin when running into people who do any of the following, but it still takes away from the overall positivity of the con experience. Last year, I offered five tips for interacting with POC cosplayers. While I received a handful of snarky rebuttals, from what I could tell, the...

One Woman’s Journey from Refugee Camp to Minnesota Medical School

In August of this year, the University of Minnesota Medical School will welcome a new class of medical students. Among the individuals who were accepted into the school this year is a young woman by the name of Hodan Abdi. Abdi’s admission into one of the world’s top ranked medical schools is particularly notable as it was just five years ago that she and her family made their way to the United States from the Sheder refugee camp in Ethiopia....

Local Writers Show A Good Time for the Truth about Race Is Right Now

What makes Minnesota the state it is today? If you asked that question to a room of 50 people, I bet you would get at least 50 different responses. Some might mention the sports, the food, the winter (?) . . . others might mention a little thing called “Minnesota Nice.” Many consider the term as one of endearment—a sign of our good nature toward others and comfort in our neighborhoods. To others, however, it may ultimately lead to...

Black Lightning Weaves Together Family, Community, and Real-World Issues

“Justice, like lightning, should ever appear to some men hope, to other men fear.” Jefferson Pierce They say that lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but that is the very premise of the latest addition to DC Comics’ stable of television shows that avoid its flagship characters. Perhaps that is the key for DC, because its TV shows are a damn sight better than it movies. (Other than Wonder Woman, that is, which single-handedly revived the failing DC...

How Gamifying Everyday Tasks Turns Challenges into Fun

Earlier this spring, a member of the Twin Cities Geeks discussion group on Facebook posted a request: “Could I possibly commission a music geek to make me a personal fanfare/level up jingle to play when I accomplish a trying task? This is a serious request and part of an experiment to see if an auditory reward can help with executive dysfunction.” Lyd is an artist who makes abstract art using charcoal and oils. They are also an herbalist, a witch,...

Your Native American Cosplay Is Racist AF

Every spring, as Coachella wraps up, I breathe a quick little sigh of relief knowing that it’ll be a while before my Twitter feed fills up again with white kids in Urban Outfitters headdresses, Party City chokers, buckskin bikini tops, and Revlon war paint. You know, redface. Also known as cultural appropriation. And sure, that might not be the biggest problem you can think of right now—after all, you might think that of all the kinds of genocide out...

Erik Killmonger Isn’t a Villain—He’s an Indictment of America

Black Panther spoilers ahead. Every superhero movie has a supervillain. The archenemy who is the counter to the hero. They’re supposed to make you hate them and love the hero; to create the tension that you’ll be relieved to see resolved; to give you a shadow that the hero can shine brightly against. They’re not generally made to make you think. And usually, it’s the acting range, costume and makeup, or catchy one-liners of the actor playing them that...

Bingo Love for the Win

Writer Tee Franklin, artist Jenn St-Onge, and colorist Joy San give us Bingo Love, the story of two pivotal bingo games, decades apart, that bring unexpected love and second chances. Young Hazel Johnson’s new classmate, Mari McCray, is a “tall, beautiful . . . honey glazed goddess,” recently moved from California. Mari gives Hazel a glamorous new nickname: Elle. The two girls spend the afternoon together, and when Mari kisses her cheek goodbye, Hazel can’t help but imagine their...
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