- Question: Can you explain why Europeans were much more technologically advanced than the indigenous populations of Africa? I mean, these cultures hadn't even invented sewage systems, which is something the Romans were able to design and implement in 800-735 BC (a long fucking time before "the white man" colonized it)... I mean fuck, without "the white man", they would probably still be in the fucking bronze age. - Anonymous
I don’t really know what kind of history books bigots like you read.
The Great Libraries of Timbuktu? The steel metallurgy of the Haya? Dentistry? Caesarean section? Premature neonatal care? Mathematics, architecture, engineering?
I know it’s hard for a racist like you who imagines “technological advancement” to be some kind of end-all-be-all, or proof of some “inherent intelligence”. I know, I know. It’s hard to imagine, but Europeans have been drawing knowledge from everyone around them since the dawn of time. What did you think ended the Dark Ages?
Your magical (read: white supremacist) idea of a purely 'white' Rome never existed.
The Minoan culture on the island of Crete between 1500-1700 B.C.E. had a highly developed waste management system. They had very advanced plumbing and designed places to dispose of organic wastes. Knossos, the capital city, had a central courtyard with baths that were filled and emptied using terra-cotta pipes. This piping system is similar to techniques used today. They had large sewers built of stone.”
In case you needed further clarification, neither the Minoans nor other (later) Greeks were ethnically uniform. They also had the first flush toilets, dating back to 18th century B.C.E. They had flushing toilets, with wooden seats and an overhead reservoir. The Minoan royals were the last group to use flushing toilets until the re-development of that technology in 1596.
Oh, and look the Mayans had indoor plumbing, acqueducts, and pressurized water too. I mean, you can ignore that the area Mayans lived in had little to few rivers, no lakes or standing water, nor other sources of running water, while simultaneously dealing with monsoons and flooding due to one of the heaviest yearly rainfalls in the Americas.
Classic Maya even used household water filters using locally abundant limestone carved into a porous cylinder, made so as to work in a manner strikingly similar to modern ceramic water filters.
Of course, by this time millenia later none of your precious “white people” had developed any methods besides shitting in pots.Continuing, the earliest archaeological record of an advanced system of drainage comes from the Indus Valley Civilization from around 3100 B.C.E in what is now Pakistan and North India. By 2500 B.C.E (almost 5,000 years ago), highly developed drainage system where wastewater from each house flowed into the main drain.All houses in the major cities of Harappa and Mohenjo−daro had access to water and drainage facilities. Waste water was directed to covered drains which lined the major streets directed to covered drains, which lined the major streets. Each home had its own private drinking well and its own private bathroom. The mains that carried wastewater to a cesspit were tall enough for people to walk through. Reservoirs, a central drainage system, fresh water pumped into the homes. Pools. Baths.It was made from bricks smoothened and joined together seamlessly. The expert masonry kept the sewer watertight. Drops at regular intervals acted like an automatic cleaning device.
Filters for solid waste.Sorry, what were the British doing up until like, 200 years ago? Shitting in the streets? Oh yeah.I mean, I could get into how by the Shang Dynasty (roughly 1600 B.C.E.), China had sophisticated plumbing including pressure inverted siphons.Or into the city of Amarna, Ancient Egypt. Or Persepolis, Persia and the Achaemenids in 600 B.C.E.But, I mean, it sounds like the only one still in the Bronze Age is you.
- 23 hours ago
Dear white people,
I don’t think you’re getting the joke. The joke is that white people don’t, in fact, get described like that. White skin gets described with terms like “tanned” and “pale,” terms that in this context are understood to just refer to the range of skin colors of white people. These descriptors are self-referential and rely on people understanding what white skin looks like, instead of scrabbling for comparisons to objects the readers are familiar with. All terms for describing white skin boil down to “it’s this specific subtype of white person skin color”. As I showed in my last post, none of the actual objects that light skin is compared to are literal matches for skin color, and nobody seems very interested in hunting down exact matches for white people’s skin color. And that’s if authors even bother to describe white people’s skin in the first place. White skin is often assumed to be the default, and race or skin color is only noted when it deviates from the “default”.
The skin of people of color is often described in excruciating detail, and as N.K. Jemisin points out, is often "described in terms of the goods that drove, and still drive, the slave trade - coffee, chocolate, brown sugar". I’ve seen books where the authors barely mention that most of their characters are white, let alone describe their specific skin tones, but lavishly describe skin of their characters of color, making sure to specify the exact shade of brown by comparing them to inanimate objects. Wood. Earth. Spices. Chocolate. Coffee.
There are no words to describe dark skin as skin itself, just as there are no words to describe light skin as objects. The skin of characters of color can be described with elaborate coffee order descriptions specifying the amount of milk, the flavor of coffee, the exact spices sprinkled on top, detailing their skin color so thoroughly you can practically go out and buy a bucket of paint in that exact shade, and readers don’t even blink. People read a description of a white person’s skin as “tanned” and consider that accurate enough. People read my description of eggshell-colored white skin and giggle.
Sure, it’s a funny post, but there’s a reason it’s funny. It’s not an earnest list of writing recommendations, nor is it racism against white people. It’s mocking a widespread inequality in the descriptions of white people and people of color. Part of the point of my post was providing a vocabulary for describing white skin, so everyone can indulge in silly descriptions as a form of revenge against the ubiquitous invisibility of whiteness in writing. And part of my point was that there isn’t a vocabulary for describing white skin, and that it isn’t described. And let’s think about why it isn’t described. White skin is unmarked. White skin is default. White skin is invisible.
White people, I think you’re missing the point of the exercise here. The point isn’t to give you cute, special new names to describe your skin color. The point is to show you that your skin doesn’t even have a vocabulary to describe its color because it is considered the standard color for skin. It’s an exercise in white privilege to read that post and go “wow, I’m glad we have this vocabulary too!” instead of “shit, we get described very differently from brown people, don’t we?” Sure, it’s a funny post. But it has a point.
And now, for a random example off my bookshelf, to drive the point home: Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine. Not that it’s particularly egregious or a bad book, but it’s a pretty good example of how this shit works.
Descriptions of white people’s skin:
"You looked like a china doll, with a white ribbon in your black hair, and your cheeks red from excitement."
"They each had tawny curls and swarthy skin."
"Her face was a pasty white with twin spots of rouge on the cheeks."
Descriptions of the skin of people of color:
"Her skin was the color of cinnamon with a tint of raspberry in her cheeks."
P.S. You should probably read the rest of the posts on describing characters of color in N.K. Jemisin’s sidebar. They’re really good, and struck a chord with a lot of people.
To make it clear, this post is referring to a previous post here.Source: summer-of-supervillainy
- 1 day ago
I work at a chocolate shop. Yesterday a woman came in and talked herself into buying a bigger box of chocolate than she planned to. I made some lame joke about treating herself, and then she said:
"Actually, I just bought bath bomb from LUSH so I’m going to go home and eat chocolate in the tub. Then I’m going to put on a unicorn onesie and watch Netflix."
I told her she was living the dream, and I meant it.
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What You Don’t Know About Beauty and the Beast:
Some backstory: due to this little discussion, I was considering writing a continuation/expansion of Beauty and the Beast. I read up on it and found out everything I thought I knew about it was wrong.
-It was created by one, singular, female author in 1740: Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
-It is not a retelling of a pervasive folklore like Perrault’s Cinderella, for example. It was influenced by folklore but is an original story and is very “post” the fairy tales you might be familiar with. The story is also influenced by women who gathered together and told each other revisions of fairy tales in Parisian salons.
-It’s over 100 pages long
-Though written simply and in a straightforward manner, the characters have personalities and are much more complex in their emotions than a normal folkloric tale. They behave in a diverse and fairly realistic manner to their situations. The Beast’s mother in particular is a complex woman, protective of her son and a capable military leader but not progressive in her attitude towards marrying below your station.
-Women are overwhelmingly the masters of the plot and outnumber the men in number and priority.
Female players include:
A nice Fairy
A jerk Fairy (called Mother of the Seasons)
The Queen of the Fairies
A Fairy-who-is-a-Queen (these are different)
A Queen/the Beast’s mother
Belle’s shallow (though fairly realistically so) sisters who are treated as a collective
-It contains considerable world-building. Fairy language, Fairy law, Fairy influence over monarchies, Fairy hierarchy, Fairy magic are all things she depicts. (eat your heart out, Tolkien fans).
-The curse is broken halfway through the book. The rest is devoted to comments on class, monarchy, marrying for love vs. status, appropriate conditions for love, and marrying below your station among other things.
-The Beast is cursed to punish his mother.
-The book’s plot turns out to be entirely due to the machinations of The Mother of the Seasons and the long-game trap/revenge story orchestrated by the Nice Fairy to defeat The Mother of the Seasons Fairy.
-The book takes place in a specific time period rather than in a nebulous “before-time”, somewhere, as I figure, between 1669 to the early 1700s. It might even be contemporaneous to when it was published. It references the age piracy, revolutions, the merchant class, the presence of slavery, Belle watching comedies, operas, and plays the Fair of St. Germain, and a Janissary battle.
-The Beast’s Queen mother led troops into battle for several years, put down a revolt and defeated an encroaching enemy monarch.
And this is only a partial list.
If you’d like to read the original version by Madame de Villeneuve, it’s collected in a book by J. R. Blanche.
It’s available for free:
Archive.org (they don’t mention her name in the author list but it’s there)
(via thebiscuiteternal)Source: missveryvery