Linden Lab’s statement against the hateful bigotry of the US President is a good thing.

trumpistan_800px
In the face of the US National Security Council being headed by a Klansman, and the creature in the White House being a Russian puppet with ties to White Supremacists, things are pretty bleak in the USA.

Statements like this are why I choose to live not just in California, but in the Silicon Valley:
https://www.lindenlab.com/releases/linden-lab-statement-on-trumps-executive-order-on-immigration

We at Linden Lab are extremely disappointed in and adamantly opposed to Trump’s recent executive order on immigration. We reject racism, intolerance, and xenophobia.

We are proud to include immigrants among our leadership, colleagues, and customers, as well as our families, friends, and communities. We value diversity, compassion, and understanding, and we are proud that our products enable people to come together and form meaningful connections regardless of differences in their offline lives.

Trump’s order is counter to what we value and antithetical to American ideals. We join the many voices calling on the US government to remove this restriction as quickly as possible and to refrain from imposing additional barriers that threaten opportunities for immigrants, under-represented minorities, and women.

It is only here that I can remind myself that it is not the entire white race that is full of hate. Something my rational mind knows, but which experience anytime I leave this area, works very hard to counter.

Linden Lab’s statement is not just a press release, not just a bandwagon, not just ‘getting in politics’. It is a statement against hate. It is a reminder to me and those like me that we are family, we are friends, we matter, and we will be protected. If not by our own government, then at least by allies among the people.

To the people who say “we don’t want politics here” in Second Life… As a person of color it’s been a lifelong experience that the people who say that will shove racist policy at me all day long, and then use that line when I object…

Conservatives and racist have a basic notion that their politics are just fine, but when somebody doesn’t like it: that suddenly is being too political…

And if you think I’m just some “cartoon cat person who posts a lot of stuff about nudity in SL”, I am a veteran, with one of my  degrees in political science in addition to working in technology. I’ve spent my life, as a person of color, keeping a keen eye on hate movements and learning to counter them, as a matter of survival.

2017-01-28_-_protest_at_jfk_81017

On January 28, 2017, thousands of people gathered at various airports in the United States to protest President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13769

It is never wrong to stand up against hate. No matter how small your actions, any action against hate is a worthwhile action to take. Never give up the fight, never step back from the frontlines. The enemy is always waiting to pounce – as we saw in the USA in this last election, the slightest relaxing of the guard and they have shoved the Klan all the way into the White House.

In my personal life ‘outside of online’ I am able to meet and deal with many people who share the mindset Linden Labs expresses above. They provide that hopeful counter message to what I see in the news or encounter in travels and online from those outside this region.

A great comment I heard recently is that the USA is like an empty head with two ears that listen: on the coasts. Everything in-between is a dark incurious mess of ignorance and bigotry. Of course this misses things like what you see in maps like this one:

Each Dot On This Map Is A Place Where A Person Of Color Was Lynched

Each Dot On This Map Is A Place Where A Person Of Color Was Lynched

That Southern Coast is pretty bad. Southern culture as a whole is a toxic thing based on centuries of abuse by a people who have never had to face any justice or recognition of their actions.

The USA never had a Truth and Reconciliation moment, so it has never grappled with the current of hate broiling through it’s culture. We get taught about Southern culture as gentile, refined, graceful. We don’t get taught about lynchings, mass rape of slave women, brutalized families, Jim Crow, plantations, share cropping, beatings, killings, white terrorists like the Klan, and so many other things – evil things, that we must face head on, acknowledge, and work to stamp out, or they will keep coming back, and as we see – even make it into the White House. Trump is a northern Yankee, sure – but his worldview is a product of that legacy.

So when I see people stand up against hate, even in small announcements – every chip put into the armor of hate matters. And when I see it from a place I frequent, it matters even more. I can feel more comfort, less defensiveness, if I know someone has my back.

Of course it is worth noting that the tech industry didn’t have much to say about Trump until he started directly threatening their workforce. His immigrant bans and plans to attack H1B visas have people in tech very scared. Tech didn’t seem to have much to say when it was just racism and sexism. But now he’s woken them up. Whatever it takes though, to get the libertarian tech world to realize social justice matters.

America is supposed to be a place of inclusion and diversity, and in times like these, we need to fight to keep that. And we need to wake more segments of society up, not just the Tech sector. Everybody needs to realize fascism hurts us all; Trump must be stopped.
greater_than_fear

I’ve put the above image and 4 more from it’s series into SL, for anyone to copy:
we_the_people_sign_in_sl

The source says you can copy, print, give away – but not sell. Respect that. Click the image to go to it’s website, and the sign inworld will also take you there. Also put it up free (as required) on SL Marketplace.

There’s also now a flickr group for ‘Avatars Against Trump’ for those of us in virtual worlds to comment through:

https://www.flickr.com/groups/avatarsagainsttrump

Covered here: http://strawberrysingh.com/2017/02/03/avatars-against-trump/

I will leave you something to consider from one of the USA’s political prisoners, released not long before the US put him away:

Take a look at me, tell me what do you see
You don’t have to love me, but I’m not your enemy
And I’m not amused, by your verbal abuse
You think you’re clever, what a sorry excuse
Playing with the minds of people, dangerous games they play
Man if you are not careful they lead you a stray
Protect your soul by any means necessary
Take nothing for granted, you may be sorry, oh
One life you’ve got to live
Come on let’s us live it right
If you’re in bed with the devil
Then you ‘ave made your choice, because

We’ve been battered and bruised (battered and bruised)
We still nursing wounds (aah)
Battered and bruised, yah, still nursing wounds, well
Battered and bruised (battered and bruised)
Still nursing my wounds (aah)
Battered and bruised, yah, still nursing wounds, oh

We face all form of human segregation
Who are used to ask me where I am from
They brought us here in shackles and chain
And throughout the centuries, it’s nothing but pain, Lord

White America wants me out.

Mad as I can get today…

38% of America’s white population believe non-whites are less-evolved. Make no mistake, last night in the USA was a whitelash. White Power is back in vogue in the USA. Yes both Candidates were white – but this was a rebuke of Obama as much as Clinton, and it was an embracing of a Racial Supremacist as President.

It is white America telling the rest of us they’d rather we were dead. That’s not why everyone voted the way they did – but it is why those who voted for Trump did it. It is all over his message. You either embraced that hate, or you cared so little for people of color that that hate didn’t matter to you – which is the same thing.

These racist crackers don’t want the rest of us around. I’m just about fed up with them.

Their racism was so strong, that a majority of white women voted for a man who’s proud of his history of sexual assault, just to send a message to us. They sold us out.

This issue, whether you’re Black, Asian, Native American, LatinX, or a Mulatto mix of all of these like me; has put a target on all of us.

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This BTW, is set to take a copy. copy/no-mod/trans

Racism, misogyny and religious intolerance have now been given a green light, and you need to understand that you will be under attack. You will be under attack from government policy. You will be under attack from the courts. You will be under attack from the police. You will be under attack on high school and college campuses. You will be under attack everywhere. Make no mistake: Donald Trump is as close to a strong-man fascist president as we’ve seen in our lifetime. And strong men don’t look for the middle; they demand everything they want.” – The Root

Solidarity is the key, if we’re ever going to stop them. It will take hard work even just to slow them down.

But don’t you dare try to tell me everything will work out and be OK, because it won’t;

“The upsetting part about last night wasn’t that democracy “died.” It’s that democracy worked. And the results showed that an overwhelming part of America does not want minorities here. This isn’t just another cyclical political party swing. It’s a loud and resounding message from white people telling minorities that we shouldn’t get too comfortable here. So yeah, we’re scared. And if you’re white, you don’t have to be. But please stop telling us that everything is going to be okay, because all signs point to “not okay.”

 

Must Read article: “I, Racist”

My post today has nothing to do with Second Life, except that everything in the article is even more strongly re-enforced in SL’s absurdly over-white presence than in ‘real life’.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-metta/i-racist_b_7770652.html
True for brown as well as black – we think in terms of we because we are not allowed to think in terms of ‘I’.

Black people think in terms of we because we live in a society where the social and political structures interact with us as Black people.

White people do not think in terms of we. White people have the privilege to interact with the social and political structures of our society as individuals. You are “you,” I am “one of them.”

[whites are] unable to differentiate [their] participation within a racist system (upwardly mobile, not racially profiled, able to move to White suburbs, etc.) from an accusation that [they], individually, [are] a racist. Without being able to make that differentiation, White people in general decide to vigorously defend their own personal non-racism, or point out that it doesn’t exist because they don’t see it.

. . .

Living every single day with institutionalized racism and then having to argue its very existence, is tiring, and saddening, and angering. Yet if we express any emotion while talking about it, we’re tone policed, told we’re being angry. In fact, a key element in any racial argument in America is the Angry Black person, and racial discussions shut down when that person speaks. The Angry Black person invalidates any arguments about racism because they are “just being overly sensitive,” or “too emotional,” or- playing the race card. Or even worse, we’re told that we are being racist (Does any intelligent person actually believe a systematically oppressed demographic has the ability to oppress those in power?)

But here is the irony, here’s the thing that all the angry Black people know, and no calmly debating White people want to admit: The entire discussion of race in America centers around the protection of White feelings.

Ask any Black person and they’ll tell you the same thing. The reality of thousands of innocent people raped, shot, imprisoned, and systematically disenfranchised are less important than the suggestion that a single White person might be complicit in a racist system.

This is the country we live in. Millions of Black lives are valued less than a single White person’s hurt feelings.

As a Mulato with an African avatar, I’ve seen this dynamic all my life, and recreated inside of SL – where I get ‘grouped’ one way if I note that I am Mulato, and yet another if people just see the black avatar; but neither as an individual. And as the article notes, it is impossible to talk about race with whites because they are conditioned into denial.

They named a Kink & D/s sim for my Real Life religion – offensive?

RastaSim.png

Location of this pic:

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Rasta/116/99/22

Consider this analogy:

Says it is D/s inspired. If I got a sim and named it ‘Jew’ and made it a place for Southern Biker gang RP, would that be offensive? Yes. But would it be offensive enough to get pulled? Think on that.

I use that analogy because ‘Southern Biker Gang RP’ is not offensive by itself. D/s and Kink people are perfectly legitimate roleplays in Second Life. I don’t get them or agree with them, but I accept them and accept that people should have a space to self explore themes of importance to them as long as it is not hateful to others.

It is the mix I am trying to get across in that analogy… If you took a theme that is way out of step with a real world faith community, and named it after that community… isn’t that crossing a line?

Let alone that if you names a sim ‘Jew’ or ‘Muslim’ or ‘Catholic’ it would and should get heightened scrutiny…

How should I act over this. I know how I feel over it.

This is not what Rasta is about. In fact its pretty much in opposition to what Rasta is.

Now for contrast look at this sim:

RastasSim_001
Not only do I not mind this one, I kind of want to get a Linden Home here. Except it turns out this is just a park sim and the homes in the background there are all just across the sim border.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Rastas/96/38/41

Why the difference? This second place is neutral in tone. No reference to any theme in the sim itself. And as a park sim, a place that is named for a real world religious community cannot get ‘messed with’ by people with bad intent or lack of knowledge.

I could actually feel a sense of comfort if I won the Linden Home lottery and got a spot bordering there.

 

And yes I know that as I am a sometimes SL Nudist people will wonder why I am objecting to a sim with the above mixed themes. But again I’m not objecting to the themes – I’m objecting to them being placed within the specific context of a sim named for my religion.

PS: Comments from random bigots pointing out how they could ‘find anything to get offended about’ will be deleted for the bigoted spam that they are…

Changes over the years… Journeying through myself.

How has your look changed over the years? What does this mean for you, and what has driven the choices you’ve made in expressing yourself in Second Life?

For me this has all been about a journey through sensuality, spirituality, and self-identity.

I went looking, and found some of the first images I took of my avatar in Second Life. I’ve put one here next to an image I took over the weekend of my avatar on a new spot of land I’ve got:
2009to2016
I am actually still wearing one item in common in both of these… fangs. I’m probably the only neko that wears fangs, and one of the few that uses whiskers. And as far as I know… it is still the same pair of them after all these years. Just about everything else has changed though.

Originally I wanted dark skin for my avatar, like I now have. But in 2009 the shade you see on the left was the darkest tone I could find, as a newbie.

Self identity changes over time, and I find it very interesting to look back at the journey of self exploration.

I’m a very introspective person – I self analyze a lot. For me that is a big part of being alive. But its also something I’ve been tossed into by the nature of my existence as a multi-racial person born before that was common or acceptable in the USA. My parents where married the same year as the Loving v. Virginia case and my eldest sibling was born right after the decision in that case came down. There actually was a judicial action to prevent my parents from being together on the grounds of miscegenation (race mixing), and I very much owe my existence to the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr‘s civil right’s movement – which had changed the minds of the right people, including those who helped my parents overcome the challenge that was actually brought by my grandparents…

So thinking on who and what I am has been critical to my sense of self from the beginning.

As is known, I am not ‘African American’, yet my avatar is African. But there is a funny footnote to this because I recently found through DNA that I am in fact part African. Yet I grew up under the perception that I was an Asian / Amazon Indian / Caucasian / Cherokee mix. In place of Cherokee, I instead have a number of things from West and North Africa, and the Caucasian turned out to be different parts of Europe than family history had said. So one side of my family has a complete falsehood for every aspect of its ancestry.

Genealogical exploration is a pretty common thing for Americans to get into. We often find surprises. So that’s not the real trigger for me in being introspective. Rather being what Americans consider mixed-race has been the trigger.

I belong to no ethnic group.

When you don’t belong to any of them, all of their various members are very keen to point this out to you on many occasions in your life. It one thing to be the ‘other’ from that other tribe… but when you are the racial equivalent of a ‘stateless‘ person – you have no place to ‘escape back to’. There is no tribe standing around waiting to help me form an identity… I had to carve it out myself through some very rough experiences – some as recent as experiences I have had in some Second Life forum communities. No matter what I state as my ethnicity, I can be called out as a Rachel Dolezal – and I’ve been getting that accusation since I was 5 years old and my mother was trying to put me in Kindergarten… Every action, every thought, every preference gets judged by hostile mono-ethnic people seeking to hold on to their territory.

I am an eternal fake, and because of this I have to get very real.

Most people take for granted the vast bulk of their identity, cultural, belief system, even appearance. I have no such luxury. A person gets very introspective very fast in this situation.

So Second Life has been a blessing for me as a place where I can literally put on a skin, and explore an identity. Through that I learn so much about myself. I find where I stand on issues, how I can shape my sense of sense, and I can stake out an identity that people cannot take away from me and tell me I don’t have a right to because I’m not enough of their kind or another kind of blood for their liking.

And it has been a long and well worthwhile ride.

I didn’t come to Second Life to explore myself. I actually came here to get some goodies for the Poser 7 Launch event, and found out to my disappointment that the goodies were just goodies for a Second Life avatar. That is why my first attempt at Second Life only lasted 2 days in 2006.

One day in 2009 I was bored, and I was browsing or reading something that mentioned Second Life. So I wondered if it would load on my then computer. I looked through my files and found my old avatar’s name, guessed the password (or the forget password stuff, I don’t remember) and logged in. I spent a few days wandering around.

About_Day_3_in_SL.png

Close to day 3 of my return to SL. I got by, barely. I think its funny that I had a newbie prop on down below… Even back then I was keenly aware of how lacking the SL Avatar is.

The 2009 image above is actually my 2006 avatar and not Pussycat. Pussycat was born about 10 days later, because I very strongly didn’t like the avatar name I had.

On coming back in, I had randomly clicked something and found myself wearing a Neko avatar. It was a very crude free one – but it clicked right away.

I had found myself. Now I needed to name myself. I tried a dozen variations on neko, cat, pussy (erm…), kitty, catnip, calico, even koyangi (Korean for cat) and gato (yeah, gato made it into my mind but not as far as they keyboard because that is just way too manly), kittylicious (yeah… /fail) and yes, pussycat.

Somehow even though Pussycat was taken with a few other last names, it was not taken yet with ‘Catnap’… So off I went. I’m glad I ended up with this name… its very fitting for how my personality in SL wavers in different directions. Saying just parts of my name, or where you put the emphasis, can lead to very different meanings. Some people like to just call me ‘PC’ or ‘Cat’ because typing it all out makes them a little nervous I guess. Actually its a handy name for seeing how someone else is seeing you…

So I began in 2009 in SL looking for the sensual side of things. The image I used to start this blog was not the first one I took, the first one was a bit more… intense and unclothed. The 2016 image I used is unclothed, but is a normal pose.

Dancing_SexyNudeBeach

You can see the beginnings of some of my current style. There are my teeth, my eye color, and a lighter shade of red hair. And the face is actually not far off from the dials I use now. I used to love that little video game remote, and kept it on every outfit for a good year.

I spent a few months exploring that scene. I think a lot of people who come to SL have to go through that and they either stay with it or move on. I more or less moved on. But in the journey I also realized that I really like the idea of being clothes free, minus the weird politics of naturists.

I even tried exploring the adult erotic side of Second Life. But I quickly learned this was not me. In part due to encounters with S/m people. It took me some time to be able to relate to people from the S/m community because I am very militant about Equal Rights and even a roleplayed expression of submission or dominance bothers me. That has not changed, and will not change. What changed for me over time was learning that these people truly feel their relations are equal, so I accept them for themselves while recognizing that I am on a very different path.

However a major break for me on the erotic side of Second Life was just realizing I found these little cartoons engaged in ‘the act’ to be comedy, while others were trying to truly express themselves or have an experience in those moments. I felt it would be rude of me to be laughing while the others were feeling something more.

After a time I started to try and expand my perspective. I think finding the shop Bare Rose was key here – it was and is a Cosplay place, so there were all kinds of outfits in radically different styles, and they were cheap. At the time usually 150-250L for a full outfit. So each time I bought one, I could put it on, run around, and see if it felt like I’d found a new me. After I went premium most of my weekly money went to this shop throughout much of 2009.

Proportionstesting

Here you can see that even by July 15, 2009 I was already obsessed with fixing the bad proportions of the SL avatar.

I went premium about a month and a half back into SL. That really changes things. Premium is a commitment. Its not just renting a spot somewhere, once you’re premium you can see the bank statement, you’ve “subscribed” to this “free to play MMO” and there’s some land out there somewhere that you now have the privilege to buy, and once you… you’ve got to make sure you got your money’s worth out of it. So once you have your own land you end up spending a lot of time on it, and that time is often alone.

FirstSLHome_July21

I didn’t know at the time that it was my own trees there that caused this home to be super laggy at ground level. This was taken on July 21, 2009. Probably a few days into owning the place. I remember being so proud of my build, and that I had managed to find a rare roadside spot. Back then not much land was abandoned… The unpaved road is actually the bottom right corner of the top image – diagonally butting up against where I put plants.

Wandering through various Second Life clubs led me down the path of a spiritual awakening. Reading a random notecard left outside a Reggae Club got me curious. It was a card about Rastafarians, but it wasn’t very thorough. When you’re introspective the simple answers never work for you – so I went off to read more, and came back realizing I was always Rasta. Now Rasta is very much a leftist movement, not a liberal one. There is a marked difference that many people don’t understand. But it is also militantly non-violent, unlike your usual leftist movement – and that can lead many to mistake it for a liberal movement.

But I’m not exactly on the same page as the Rastafari in every aspect. I’m more fond of the sensual, and I take the Equal Rights and Justice angle to mean such for everyone. So as Apple Gabriel says, Give them Love.

Rasta is not a unified doctrine, unlike many organized religions. Each of us finds our path within that core concept of Equal Rights and Justice and the recognition of Yeshua Christ, Ras Tafari (Haile Selassie), and the holy land of Ethiopia – home of the oldest branch of Christianity, that predates the Catholics.

ExploringFurry

I didn’t start with cats for Furry. No, I made an alt just to get a furry look, and started with this.

After a journey through ‘am a furry’, I moved away from nudity. This was some time after finding Rasta, but before I was openly talking Rasta everywhere I went in Second Life.

Furry is interesting to me, in that I see the spiritual nature of an anthropomorphic self. A sort of ‘totem animal spirit’ if you will. In that regard I enjoy furry avatars a lot. But I’m not a part of furry culture at all. It baffles me, and I humor it. No opinions either negative or positive though.

Furries are very often gender ambiguous though (hermaphrodite avatars), and that is something I don’t relate well to at all. It is a common theme in Second Life, and I am accustomed to accepting it, but I don’t relate to it. I’m a leftist, but I’m not exactly a liberal.

PussycatCatnap_Egyptian

Now there’s a riot of themes.

I tried using Second Life to explore Rasta. I made a club, I wandered through events and other clubs, I made groups, and so on. Nothing really ever clicked here. There are a lot of people wandering around in SL with Rasta themes lightly in their look or venue – but they’re closer to what Rasta calls a Rentafari. A Rentafari is a male prostitute with dreadlocks who services white tourist women…

So yeah, that is an insult. What I found in SL was a bunch of people who equated Rasta with a black version of Cheech and Chong, for white people. Go to Reggae clubs, and they are usually run by white women, or Rentafari men.
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So I kinda pulled back a bit from Second Life as my journey through Rasta kicked off.

Some might see me as appropriating by having a black avatar, or even in that my religion is Rastafari. But you should look to a person’s intentions, words, and deeds before going down that path. Snoop Lion is a black man who has been rightfully called out as appropriating Black Culture, while Jah Sun is a white man who is very real in where he stands.

When I go down a path, I go deep. As an introspective person I can’t just grab the surface of something. The Rentafari experience will not do for me because I see it as fake and that spoils it. I may love running around as a naked avatar, but I also have a very deep sense of the spiritual – and using religion to sell sex rubs me wrong. Even if I at the same time embrace the sensual in the spiritual.

Its a bit like the difference between Leftist and Liberal (think Malcolm X vs. Martin Luther King Jr). You might not see it, but its there, and pretty concrete. The sensual and spiritual go together naturally, but to use one to sell the other is a perversion of both.

So when I came back around to being active with Second Life, I started toning myself down a bit. That’s more or less where my break with nudity first occurred. In part also driven by the virulent racism I encountered on the SLU forums. I decided to stop engaging in some circles, and to alter my image a bit.

MeditationBuild

That’s about when I started calling my supposed shop in SL ‘Zion Kitty’, as a way to announce that I was looking at things spiritually now.

Rastafari Building in SeconfLife
Not too long after I even put up a Rasta ‘Church’ build based on a temple in Ethiopia. Churches as a building / location is not a Rasta thing, and that is why I eventually took that place down. People should gather anywhere to be spiritual, and without leaders. Pastors, Rabbis, Imams, and Priests are all mankind’s method of stealing spirituality from one in order to give political power to another.
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That is something I’ve always known, and had to remind myself of.

Second Life has been a very useful tool for me in exploring identities, and in finding my spiritual self. It has also re-affirmed for me the notion that the spiritual is not in conflict with the sensual unless one is used to sell the other.
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And that is a bit of why I have returned to being openly nude in Second Life. I see nothing wrong with this and my spiritual side. And whereas I have a lifetime of people challenging me for my mere existence in my real life, in my SL I can stand up and say that and hold to it. It is me, it is how I genuinely intuit my reality.

Reggae_SpiritualandSensual

As I recently noted in my post about Nudity in Second Life:

For me, nudity, even public nudity, is a spiritual thing. I suspect that confuses a lot of people. We are born nude, we are created nude, we return to a natural state when this life ends.
. . .
For me, the nude form is a spiritual form. Yes it is also a sensual, in fact erotic form. And these are all by intent, by design. By Jah will. We are made to love each other, to strive for community, caring, and an appreciation of the beauty of life and the beauty within each other and ourselves.

And while that is not necessarily something I learned in Second Life, it is something I hold firm to. And it is something that Second Life is perfectly suited for letting me express.

Fake non-person with no ‘branded identity’ who belongs to none of your ethnicities that I am, I come here to get real.

This is a part of my journey.


So where are you headed?

 

 

 

I should be offended – but I’m (mostly) not. Amazon ‘adult content’ sim in SL

I’ve been sitting on this post for a few months now… because it might really annoy some people who don’t get what I’m trying to say…
Amazon River Sim

As some know, while my avatar in Second Life is African, I am actually part Amazonian Indian. I describe myself as Asian-Mulatto these days, but for most of my life I presumed one half of my heritage was Andes Mountain Amazonian and Native North American. DNA has recently shown my North American heritage is actually North and West African (from roughly where the Kaje or Berom people are) – quite a shock that raises some questions about family stories.

But as to the Amazonian heritage…

One of the first things I did when I first came to second life was search for terms like Amazon and Inca (yes, quite a bit of Peru is in the Amazon, and Inca are a cousin ethnicity). This is how I discovered SL was somewhat obsessed with Gor and misogynistic styles of eroticism (as opposed to a more balanced approach). If you look for those terms in SL, you will go down a strange journey of explicit venues that have all of nothing to do with either Amazonian people, Inca, or even the Amazon legends of ancient Greece. Well, it often does blend in small bits of the first and third, and then casts it into a Gorean angle of a world where women are highly exploited, explored as if this was a virtue.

So…

I’m always getting ready to cringe when I look up such places.

Here’s the latest one I’ve found, and then I’ll note why it doesn’t bother me so much. Though in some ways – it really should.
Amazon River Sim
Amazon River – Eight regions – one river!

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Glint/214/26/22

“volcano experience keys seamless quest puzzle game challenge conquer adventure tribe primal partner couple sex naked nude bare clothing optional capture roleplay”

(etc. It appears in SL Search in a couple of languages:
“ilha selva tropical tribo floresta indígena inca asteca da chuva paraíso atol Mama Allpa Praia de nudismo nadar divertimento armadilhas RLV raider mar carpa perdeu caça ao tesouro busca naturista fauna costa rica costa cachoeira de praia roupas nuas ”
– Google says that’s Portuguese. But Google also thinks it has something to do with Aztecs and March so… OK. I feel like I want to point out to somebody that Aztecs and the Amazon is like Vikings in Jerusalem. Sure its the same “so called race”, but the ethnicity/culture is VERY different).
Amazon River Sim in Fog
So if you explore this place you’ll find a beautifully made river region with a few connected sims. It seems to be growing as time goes on. There are a medium number of people there everytime I look at it on the map, spread around the sims.
Amazon River Sim
The venue is actually quite beautifully made. And nearly all mesh of a style that is very forgiving on my graphics card (experts know Mesh regions are either very easy on graphics, or very horrid. Some places just crash my machine on rezzing in, others make me feel like somebody put butter on my bandwidth to make it smoother. This place… has the butter. Or did when I went. The roleplayers there are tasked with filling it, so things can change, but I have an alt in their groups and the admins seem active and trying to keep it going well according to their goals).

A lot of them are nude, Well… most of them are nude. There is a good dose of ‘poseball furnishings’. And there is a general “Amazonians are naked tree hugger hippies and / or primitives” thing going on.

So it is the kind of place that will make militantly conservative rednecks freak out and start spewing racism about how Native People are all cannibals that exist to kill white people… (which is the reaction I got the first time I combined mentioning my Amazonian ancestry with a post about “my idea of an ideal civilization” – before I could even get to the details… the redneck was in there on the attack about how evil my DNA was. And from there it descended into arguments that made me look irrational because well… when you get your very right to exist attacked, you get irrational… and I guess that was the goal of my attacker anyway: to get something they could forever cart out over the years to show their notion of me as a “crazy colored freak”.
– Such people tend to feel that any mentions of other ethnicities have to come with a full list of caveats stating all bad things people of that ethnicity have ever done… as if it could not just be obvious that all human beings are human and have both good and bad people among them… and as if it was not obvious that a comment about one’s heritage was not an attack on theirs…)
– I’m using the term ‘redneck’ here as a shorthand for a certain worldview. And yes… I know people of the worldview I’m referring to always feel a need to attack when you try to use any term to describe them that isn’t 101 pages long and uses no nouns…

I suppose it doesn’t help that I actually AM a tree-hugger left wing feminist ‘social justice warrior’…
Amazon River Sim
Anyway… back to the sim Amazon – There’s a whole flickr for it (has nudity):

https://www.flickr.com/groups/amazon-river-in-sl/

So yeah. It is patronizing. And that is where one would normally think my reaction ought to be to take offense. And I will get back to why in a moment.

But…

Lets take a look at the real Amazon Rainforest today, or more precisely what is going on there.

The governments around our forest are selling it off to international corporations, who have been clear cutting the place. For labor, they use the very people who once lived there, after those people have first been forced into poverty and desperation in shanty towns set up in places like Lima Peru or the many slums of Brazil.

People are often forced to work, victims of human trafficking. Those who don’t end up in these labor camps, risk being sterilized by ‘patronizing governments’ such as Peru’s that seek to ‘contain the number of savages’… Much like how American conservatives argue that they solution to poverty is to sterilize poor inner-city Blacks and Latinas, reservation Native Americans and trailer-park White women (so-called welfare moms – which is why I have phrased with “inner-city” and “trailer-park”, the terms that help them “sell” these ideas)…

(Those same Conservatives work very hard to keep up the race-wars between those lower class whites and the other groups, to keep everyone from noticing the money trail…)

This is what life is like in today’s Amazon:

trois-images-prises-par-satellite-de-la-foret-amazonienne-acquises-respectivement-en-1986-1998-et-2005-la-serie-illustre-limportance-de-la-deforestation-c2a9-cnes-distribution-sp

2000, 2005, 2010 – the same location.

slavery-learn

– A real life slave laborer in charcoal ‘factory’.

1278972760-amazon-deforestation_22213

– I don’t have details on this image. It appears to be charcoal ovens in the background.

Burnt river bed in height of forest fires, Amazon, Brazil

– Not at all just a human tragedy.

So things are not going well at all for my distant real life kin. In a world where our forest is being destroyed for profit and life is being wasted in exploitation…

Anything that shines a positive light on the value of preserving such a world is something I will accept. The people who make fantasies of an idyllic life among the rivers and trees. A fantasy where you can be nude, joyous, and live in simple harmony with nature…

… Well that is not far from how people in the Amazon seek to live. Yes we all know reality is not perfect, and I know full well every time a person of color describes anything about their people, their culture, or their history in anything but a negative light, an army of white people will line up to remind them how horrible various aspects of their heritage are or to claim they are attacking white culture by not slandering their own culture

Sadly in the wake of politicians like Trump, and pretty much the entire GOP – white racism is on the rise and has become acceptable again in mainstream America.

And places like this, which let’s face it, are white fantasies… they can be a mixed bag.

I have commented many times on the blaxploitation sims and ‘inter-racial’ sims in SL… that do negative portrayals of people of the African diaspora. I’ve been writing about that for years before I knew I had ancestry from that region, and from before I found SL because that issue is not unique to SL. And, as noted above… my first searches in SL led me to places with exploitation angles on my Amazonian heritage.

So my gut reaction to a sim like this is to flinch. But its not bothering me this time… because there is no attempt in here at all to paint it as some sort of ‘savages and the strapping western hero’ angle (you can roleplay CARP here, as that ‘western hero’… but its not the angle they go for. They just allow it).

This place could very easily have gone horribly wrong in a ‘native-xploitation’ kind of way because its right there on the ‘exotic sexy other people’ line…
Amazon River Sim
The sim makes no attempt to be true to Amazonian cultures. It wouldn’t be as ‘fun’ to roleplay in if it did because yes – reality is more complex than fantasy and the rules of various cultures would mire these people in endless amateur anthropologist debates that would probably result in something offensive

So what we then have here is the ‘naked jungle fantasy’ angle… with the exploitation / appropriation part scrubbed off… and left intact is the ‘patronizing view of rainforest people as nature freaks’…

– Which is a view that can be very helpful is getting people to sympathize with the value of the Amazon rainforest, and the real people that live within it.

So yes… I am going to use your patrionizing stereotype of my kin to their advantage. And yes, that is NOT playing fair. Don’t like it? Too bad.

As to how that could have gone wrong… Imagine if it instead went down the road of Cannibals and slavery. Like the movie an image from which was used to attack me in SL circles some years back (which was not originally credited as from a movie… so my reaction to seeing what looked like an image of a horribly murdered person was rightfully intense), or like Mel Gibson’s Aztec movie… Native Xploitation Flick genre…

But it you want to go pretend that Amazonians are a bunch of naked people running around in a giant orgy… there’s the sim for you. But when you do… please remember there is a real Amazon out there, its people want to just live their lives, and the place is dying because the visitors to it do NOT share in any idealistic fantasies about it, nor even any realistic ones… they just want to fill their coffers with green-gold ($$$)…

I do wonder how the Brazilian & Peruvian SL communities see a place like this. Are they from the wealthy ‘Spanish Identifying’ set, or do they represent the masses of Poor Spanish, Mulato, Mestizo, and Indigenous people that are on the frontlines of both sides of the Amazon conflict (and I have kin on both sides of this)?
Amazon River Sim - Sunset
I wonder if they are some of the very people roleplaying there. If so, I hope they take home the idea that all that green in their real life backyard is precious – even if it takes something silly like this to see it.

Disaster in Wisconsin – prelude to the end of the USA as a first world nation

Today’s blog is -NOT- about Second Life. This blog is usually a “Second Life” commentary and fan blog, but not today. If you got here from some source outside of Second Life, you can probably ignore the posts after this one. This one relates to real world recent political events, with an historical perspective on why I feel these events are a prelude to disaster.

People have no sense of history. So they doom themselves to repeat its worst excesses.

We’re rolling ourselves back to the Robber Barons of the 1890s. No… we’ve already done that.

Two facts that have shaken America to its core on an economic level;

  1. The ruling that corporations can spend in unlimited amounts on elections. In the USA, a corporation is considered a human being. Well, not really; it has more rights than a human being. Human beings can only spend in limited amounts. Human beings can be imprisoned. Human beings can be put to death. Corps are immune to all of these sanctions. Human beings have free speech. Corps have extra free speech. Corps are allowed to speak for others – using their money against their will to spend on behalf of the corps owners. Corps can blacklist human beings that work for them and have dissenting opinions…
  2. Unions used to have these same powers. That gave people the ability to organize and gain an ability to speak back. Unions have been getting rapidly stripped of said powers. Wisconsin is now leading the charge in stripping unions down into nothing – in an effort to remove the voice of the middle and working classes.

We are back to union busting. Every American who has graduated high school should know this story… Of the days when Pinkerton guards were sent out in death squads to kill unionists. Wait… that’s what’s going on today among farm workers. But they’re migrants so no one cares…

We need to remember the late 19th century here. Well, we need to remember the entire Industrial Revolution, right up until the end of WWII.

It was a time of mass exploitation. A time when the North moved past the South because paying people -less- than a living wage for more profitable than keeping slaves. Gains were made for some, but at great costs to others – a process that led right into the Great Depression. All because the ‘job creator’ class was let lose to exploit and steal from the rest of us. They don’t make jobs; they destroy opportunity. We need to remember that America was -NOT- a first world power in those days. It was a wannabe nation, the lesser to its betters in Europe, Japan, and Ethiopia.

It was only when Europe tore itself apart over these same concerns that America had its chance. With exploitation in Europe reaching to the same levels as the US, revolutions and wars ripped the continent apart. America’s robber barons only got involved in these messes when they had to. In both of the great wars of that age; we had to be pushed into action.

America’s rise to greatness came out of World War II’s end, but our middle class, and the stability we got from them; came as a direct result of empowering unions and the GI Bill so that the working class; the exploited classes, could rise up rather than revolt. Unions saved us from following Russia’s path of revolution. Look back to that era, and radical movements of communists were very active. The elites, Babylon; feared unions – and tried very hard to bust them on a claim that they were somehow communist.

But what is a union? Its an exercise of people coming together to say that a person should be fairly paid for their work, have proper representation in the machine of their labor, and be well off enough to be able to participate as consumers in the marketplace.

Unions are the most Capitalist thing you can think of.

A tool to convert workers from ‘workers’ into market actors by… giving them the power to make money off of their labor. This is why in every communist revolution, the first thing they do is seize control over these organizations and make them arms of the state – left alone, Unions will subvert, devour, and destroy Communist systems by creating individual wealth among the workers.

They do that simply because empowering common people destroys -ANY- tool of power and exploitation.

Including Babylon’s; the Robber Barons, Bankers, the 1%ers.

We need to recall how after WWII, when unions became as common as Wonder Bread and Saturday morning cartoons – incomes rose. Common working class people once content to live in barios and work in harsh factories gained the power to own homes, buy goods, get educated, and move -UP-.

And that led to the rise of America as a power to be taken seriously. The so-called American century.

Destroy the unions, and you break the back of the “common man”.

The ripping apart of Unions by such forces of Babylon as Governor Walker is directly aimed at removing the voice of the masses. Follow the trendline. Empowering corporate speech – unlimited funding into political sources, because these demonic things with no corporeal body are somehow ‘people’… coupled with removing the rights of people to organize on their own, because their barely living wage is somehow too high… well those organization the people make… they are made to give them political voice. Voice that will fall silent.

That’s a path right into darkness. Back to an age when the people exist for no purpose other than to be exploited by the wealthy. Its a fool’s journey, even for those 1%. They too quickly forget how well they have benefited from empowering their ‘peasants’. Our wealth, our labor, our inventiveness; has been trickling -UP- to them for half a century to give them amazing benefits. But they are greedy, shallow, empty creatures. Like the scorpion crossing the river on the frog’s back; they are willing to kill everything for just another $1 of greed.

And the fools in Wisconsin have fallen for it… empowered them further by keeping this hydra of Babylon in place. Given a chance to remove the monster, they have instead chosen to fall over and destroy their futures for him. Sooner or later though, people are going to find themselves in utter desperation again.

I come out of the ghetto; I know what happens when people have nowhere to turn, no chances, and sense no future. They get violent… destructive… ruinous…

We should know this. We only have to look at how high crime rates used to be in harder times…

Is this the way they want us to live?

Yes… it is…

Go back to your Robber Baron era again… they used to even speak openly about this. Creating violent ghettos kept the people distracted from paying attention to the real problems. The only problem was a fear of those masses having enough free time to start talking to each other. Opposition to unions began there. As did opposition to shorter work days, birth control, and easy education. If the peasants got too smart, if they could control their families, if they had free time… they’d surely revolt rather than live in such conditions.
– And today we see pushes to ramp up production and hours, remove family planning, strip education, and kill organizing…

But you know… everything has a breaking point.

The last time we went down this path, while half the world went into revolution, the USA had a change of heart and stopped busting unions, and managed to keep things cool. But everywhere else…

well…

Do we really want to go there?

I hope not, but I can’t help thinking of that everytime I think of those occupy folks… Sooner or later, its going to get rough:

(watch the footage and the 2nd interview that cuts in at 2:00, moreso than the song.)

In times like this, we could really use some leaders, some inspiration; to stop these folks.

Rastafari is very much an answer for many, on a personal level; to this exploitation of politricks. Its a rejection of Babylon’s game through spirituality and biblical wisdom; after all Jesus came from the suferah class, and was very much opposed to the exploitation of common people by the wealthy. But its a hard path, to get Babylon to see sense.

The alternative is a nation wracked by internal strife as the 1% isolate themselves into walled off camps and force the rest of us to struggle in ghettos and prey upon each other. If you think that’s fanciful, you have only to look at what the elites in Jamaica – the former slave holding plantation class – did there after the British crown left, and to the situation in much of central America. That’s where Walker and the Tea Party types will take us.

So, a final comment:

Do no evil.

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