Boosting Representation for Ace PoC (or other underrepresented groups)

I originally wrote this in response to this discussion, but I think it’s generally good advice that’s worth sharing here too. Although this post was specifically written about Ace PoC representation, it stems from my experiences with asexuality and aromanticism more generally, so really I think it’s good advice for any underrepresented group that’s looking for practical ways to seek out more representation. Would love to hear any additional suggestions in the comments below.

Some miscellaneous thoughts for the specific issue of boosting ace POC representation – I’m overloaded with projects atm, but if someone wanted to take a stab at any of these I’d be happy to try and provide advice. I’m not really well connected with ace PoC for various reasons (including the weirdness of being mixed in PoC spaces), but there have been some similar questions of tools for representation for aromantic aces or asexuality in general that I’m more familiar with that are probably applicable here too.

1. PoC content aggregation. Sometimes the problem isn’t that there are no PoC aces writing about being PoC, it’s that there’s no way to easily find them since those posts get mixed in with all the other non-PoC related ace discourse (especially considering how threads and forum posts get quickly buried over time). Therefore, creating things like linkspams and “weekly roundup” type blogs are one way to make that content more prominent and easier to find for people who aren’t already well connected with ace PoC.

2. PoC blogger aggregation. One of the other reasons that is seems like there’s so little PoC ace discourse is because you can’t see the face of the person you’re talking to on the internet, and people are typically assumed white until proven otherwise. One idea to counter this would be to create something like a PoC-centered group blog; another idea would be something like an RSS feed package of specifically PoC Ace bloggers or a PoC Ace Blogger network or webring where blogs could link to and promo each other. This also has the advantage of making it easier to find PoC perspectives on topics that aren’t necessarily directly about race.

3. Ace PoC activist orgs. I’m admittedly out of the loop here, so I don’t know if there is something like this already, but while I’ve seen several individual bloggers who are trying to promote Ace PoC representation, I don’t think I’ve seen any collective organizational attempts? Having something like an organized group with say, a single org name and a centralized webpage for linkspams and resources is more powerful than an individual, and (cynically/practically speaking) will have more credibility in the eyes of the media or other activist organizations in terms of being taken seriously.

4. Ace PoC social spaces. Again, totally out of the loop here, but so far the only big attempts at ace PoC community creation that I’ve seen have been on tumblr, which is not a great interface for having casual conversations with multiple people. A good step would be things like Ace PoC forums, or chat groups, or skype groups, or facebook groups, or mailing lists, etc…things that are more social than blogging oriented can help build more concrete communities that can work together on bigger projects as they grow.

5. Ace PoC Media Kits. One of the bigs things to know about news media representation is that the easier you make it for them, the more they’ll represent you. In particular, collecting and making available high resolution images, quotable soundbites/quotes, and contact lists of aces willing to be interviewed or photographed makes reporters much more interested. If someone starts a project like this, it would also be good to reach out to larger sites like AVEN or Asexuality Archive, or to big names aces like David Jay or SwankIvy, so that they can also link to the kit when they get media requests.

4. Static Content. While there’s a lot of representation in blog posts and tumblr posts, they tend to disappear quickly and can be hard to find. Having static, nonchanging content like the AVEN front pages or the AsexualityArchive pages would make Ace PoC resources like linkspams or media kits or whatever easier to find.

6. Proactive outreach. This is takes a lot more work and nerve, so it can be harder especially for new activists, and might be something to grow into, but the effect can be really significant. Being ready and having resources available for attempts to include ace PoC is important, it only goes so far. While many spaces may not think to include PoC on their own, if you reach out to them and offer to do much of the groundwork to set things up, they will often be open to the idea. This is especially true if you have a pre-made workshops/press-releases/etc. that don’t require them to do much more than say yes and give you a time slot or some pages space. (For example, in my experience with general ace conference representation – if you just write and vaguely request ace representation, there’s not much most places can/will do – but if you can offer to come and perform a workshop yourself if they give you space, most places will jump on it).


About Sennkestra

I'm an aromantic asexual and a bit of an [a]sexuality nerd, recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in linguistics. When I'm not reading stuff on the internet I like to cook fancy food, watch anime, and make costumes and other arts and crafts projects.
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6 Responses to Boosting Representation for Ace PoC (or other underrepresented groups)

  1. elainexe says:

    How about hashtags? Though, those don’t tend to live forever…But, if you did have a specific site, or blog or something, perhaps periodically hashtag events could be suggested.
    I’ve been trying to think of these things lately myself. I’m white but I’ve had some similar thoughts as a Muslim, and I’d like to get together other Muslim aces. Lately I’ve been watching these videos of panels about race and racism in the Muslim community. And I was thinking I could perhaps do something like that on Skype, though with just IMing and not video. I would make it an event rather than a continuing group because I’m afraid it would just fizzle out as there aren’t enough Muslim aces to sustain it on a continuous basis.
    There are more ace POCs than ace Muslims (though, of course, most Muslims are POC). Maybe a POC ace Skype group could keep on without losing steam? I don’t know.

    • Sennkestra says:

      Yeah, I think hashtags can be good for short, intense events – especially if you get lucky and can make one go viral. It’s probably also good for people who use twitter a lot, I am just not well versed in the art of hashtags use so I don’t know much about strategy for that (see: the fact that I rarely even remember to tag things on my own blog).

      As for skype, it’s not necessarily numbers that matter, but how many really active people you have – I’ve been in some great chat groups that were only 3-4 people, but they were great groups because those people talked a lot. In some ways small groups are nicer because you can actually keep track of who everyone is.

      For panels specifically, Google hangouts on-air can be a good platform. (Also, panels in general are a great way to get representation into things like conferences – 4 panelists are innately more diverse than a single presenter)

      • Unboxing Identities says:

        I’d love to do something like this (the Google Hangouts on-air) once my YouTube channel picks up subscribers and I get through my 101 videos! I’m hoping to talk about how x identity interacts with x identity. As an ace myself, I was hoping to start with asexuality and talk about its intersection. This could be a good way to make that happen if I can round people up!

  2. Siggy says:

    A low-investment idea: Make a list of well-known aces who are PoC. Make a colorful icon that says “The Ace PoC list” and encourage people on the list to put it on their blog sidebars. (You’d also need to think about how to deal with people outside the US.)

    • Sennkestra says:

      yeah, that’s a good suggestion!

      And yeah, how to deal with things like people from non-US racial contexts and mixed people etc. are things for people making such resources to think about.

      (It’s probably also worth thinking about the representation within Ace PoC resources – for example, a “PoC” resource that’s mostly lots of asian americans is not going to be very relevent to say, a black british person, and vice versa. PoC can be a convenient umbrella term but sometimes it also helps to be more specific)

  3. Pingback: Linkspam: July 24th, 2015 | The Asexual Agenda

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