Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations. If you've been on the blog, you know how this Tumblr works, too. Including the moderation policy.
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If you haven’t seen this incredible Tumblrite on your dash, then I’m guessing you’re new around these parts or you just haven’t been properly introduced or the folks you do follow just don’t follow her. 
Let me rectify all of these thing for you, and I’m going to say it like this: let me introduce to some—and present to others—rosasparks, our Crush Of The Week (pictured above). 
Why is she so loved up?
Have you read her brilliant-ass Tumblr?
If not, go ahead and do so, then swing by the main blog for the first part of the interview, and come back here for the rest of it. Here, rosasparks talks about how writing at Tumblr made her “more comfortable with speaking [her] mind,” how the Internet gives voice to marginalized people, and why she <3s Mad Men.

Having written on Tumblr for about 3 years, do you think your opinions have changed over time? If so, on which issues and how? That’s interesting, I’ve never really thought about this, until right now. I’m not sure I’ve changed my opinions, per se, but gotten more comfortable with speaking my mind. I wasn’t sure about what I could and could not say on my blog when I started. Not that I was timid, but just finding a way to express myself, without a guide seemed daunting and weird. Then I just started blurting everything out, whenever, and I’ve tried to temper that a bit. Now I think I have a decent balance between silly, serious and whatever is floating around that I want to talk about. I used to want to argue more or get into it, but now I find it unsettling and really upsetting. Now if I feel when a conversation gets too heated, I remove myself completely and look at owl pictures and videos. (I am obsessed with owls.) I welcome respectful disagreement and honest discussions, but I can’t fight with someone over an issue on the internet. It’s ridiculous, stressful and weird. If you don’t agree with someone on the internet, okey doke. If someone doesn’t like something you do, it’s not a recrimination. It’s one thing to point out someone saying something overtly racist or misogynistic or hateful, it’s another to shout in all caps at someone because they don’t like the same TV show or author you do.

I think that, even with the stereotyping representations of women of color in the news, dramas, reality TV, comedies, the ‘net does offers a far more fuller fuller idea of the interior (and exterior) lives of WoCs because we are writing/broadcasting—even when we’re accused of, well, fulfilling stereotypes (I’m thinking of the pushback I see on Tumblr when folks want to start hollering about our “tone” or call us “angry” when we’re calling out an issue and/or a person for posting/saying/doing something foul). Your thoughts? I think blogging, in general, has given voice to so many people who speak honestly about themselves; be it queer, trans*, of color and all of the above. We are either grossly misrepresented, or not represented at all, in the traditional forms of media. With the opening of these worlds and the fantastic conversations being had on the Internet, you get a significant amount of pushback because no one wants to admit they’ve been inaccurate in their portrayals, discussions, and personal belief systems. Also, the traditional media outlets don’t want to be replaced or erased. It isn’t just about the superior format winning, it’s about commerce. The disenfranchised have the opportunity to set tone and spit truths. When we call someone out on their fuckery, we are accused of being angry because that can undercut us or invalidate our complaints. What better way to shut down our voices than to accuse us of being irrational and illogical? Well, we are angry about how we’re inaccurately represented. We’ve been angry and continue to be angry. But being angry doesn’t negate our feelings, it emphasizes them. If you’re only ever portrayed as a mammy, maid, sassy best friend or an unattractive, non sexual being, you’re fucking pissed. And if the world-at-large continues to perpetuate that mess, then we will angrily and gleefully cut through that bullshit with the actualities of our lives. The Internet has allowed for that. Is it reaching a broad audience? I don’t know, but I can only hope so.

I remember your mentioning that you lived in NYC for a while, you mom came from Queens, and you and your fam now live in New England. Are you originally from NYC?  I moved to New York after college to see something completely new and different than my West Coast/Alaskan upbringing. I definitely did! Throughout her life, my ma was back and forth between the city and upstate and went to college on Long Island. My parents met during college and lived in the city for a bit, as well. My connection to NYC goes pretty deep. I doubt I’ll ever move back, but I love to visit and all of my friends live there and so I always have a couch to sleep on and the best times whenever I’m there.

These are more fun/silly questions: who are your favorite writers (online/offline)? Favorite musical performers? Knowing that you dig Mad Men, fave character? (I dig the show, too. And I’m down with Don and with Joan. And actor John Slattery makes me sexyhappy!) Your favorite ride at Six Flags?
Online writers? Not to be that person but I adore all of you on Racialicious. I fangurl over every post on Racialicious. I love Redlightpolitics. I love Garland Grey and Sady Doyle over at Tiger Beatdown. I love reading Michael K on Dlisted. He is hysterical and when he eviscerates someone, it is a beautiful thing. I always check Political Wire several times a day. And of course, I love everyone I follow on Tumblr. That is my crew!
Offline writers?
My favorites include bell hooks, Toni Morrison, David Sedaris, Colson Whitehead, Jeanette Winterson and Barbara Ehrenreich. I am getting into Jeffrey Eugenides. I am late to the game, I know, but I’m currently reading Middlesex and I love it, so far. I’m excited to read Girls to the Front, by Sara Marcus. I got it over the holidays and put it to the side to read a bunch of other stuff, but it’s queued up and I’m ready. I am incapable of reading one thing at a time. I read books, my Kindle and everything all the time. Reading is my favorite thing to do, ever. I am never allowed to take out the paper recycling because I always end up standing in the yard or by the bins reading the contents.
Favorite musical performers?
I love Usher, The Roots, Kanye, Jay-Z, Lupe Fiasco, Big Boi, and Cee-Lo. But I also love Beirut and The Black Keys. Erykah Badu is my queen, as is Janelle Monae. David Bowie is my EVERYTHING and I have loved Michael Jackson for my ENTIRE life. I’m looking forward to seeing what Azalea Banks does. I also love a great deal of pop. I will never get enough of ABBA and Donna Summer. I made a playlist of 90s slow jams the other day and had the best day at work, ever. Dru Hill, 112, and Carl Thomas had me humming all day long.
My daughter listens to an obscene amount of Justin Bieber and I have grown to like him. I don’t even know anymore. I find myself humming Selena Gomez songs, without warning. I blame my daughter. It’s her damn fault I know all the words to ‘I Love You Like a Love Song’. By the way, if anyone knows what the hell that song is about, they should call me. It is the catchiest piece of nonsense.
I love Mad Men. That show makes me so happy, I get giggly just thinking about it. This season has been infuriating and really, REALLY good. No one is really doing particularly well, which seems to mirror the breakdown of everything in the world. As a character, no one will ever be as great as Joan and Christina Hendricks gives her a life that is larger than the universe. But a lot of the acting work is so incredible, I feel bad saying I hate Pete Campbell, even though I have never taken so much pleasure in watching a person get fake-punched in the face. Vincent Kartheiser needs to win all the awards. So does John Slattery as Roger Sterling, even though he is basically the world’s smoothest dirtbag. Mad Mendoes something that few shows do for me right now; it makes me laugh hysterically and makes my brain work overtime.
My favorite ride at Six Flags is the walk to Ben and Jerry’s for a cone. I’m a wuss and my daughter is a daredevil. She likes to ride all the roller coasters and I’d rather hang out.


Tumblr Staff: A New Policy Against Self-Harm Blogs


One of the great things about Tumblr is that people use it for just about every conceivable kind of expression. People being people, though, that means that Tumblr sometimes gets used for things that are just wrong. We are deeply committed to supporting and defending our users’ freedom of speech,…

now if you guys could do this for blogs that are blatatly racist, homophobic, transphobic, or are dummy accounts set up to harass individual folks, that would be great.

Signal boost!!


Tumblr has removed some of the blogs in question, and has stated their position:

First of all, I would like to thank you for your email. I’m sure that sounds a little strange, perhaps ingenuous, but if there’s a perception of unfair treatment, then it’s best that we be made aware of it and perhaps get to explain.

The fact is, we investigate what blogs are emailed in to us for hate speech and other issues. Having searched, it seems no one has actually emailed in about the blogs you mentioned. As you gave me blogs to look into, I did and I have suspended several of them. Of those I haven’t suspended, I have either removed content (in the case of [redacted] ) and warned the blogger or the blog itself did not seem to be using the term for hate speech or oppression. In one case, they seem to have been saving the URL to prevent others from using it. As for some of the others, their blogs did not seem to have any hateful content. While the word itself is and can be considered hate speech, there are some cases where it is not considered hate speech, such as when used by those it was used to oppress. As we don’t require ID for setting up a blog, we have no way of knowing if someone is a part of that group or not before hand and can only judge by the remainder of their actions whether or not they’re using the term in an offensive manner.

Previously, we have suspended blogs similarly only to be emailed back and told that the blogger was trying to make a point, reclaim a word, or otherwise post what would have been violating content in the context of pointing out it’s offensiveness and the nature of racism in the US. As such, we try to take a more careful hand on such cases.

Particularly in the case of ‘deathtoallwhitepeople’, I do not actually see a record for this blog. If we had suspended it, we would see the blog and see that it was suspended; I do not in this case. This would mean that the blog had been deleted, which is only done by the owner of the blog or someone with access to the blog’s information. As such, that would mean that we had no hand in the disappearance of ‘deathtoallwhitepeople’ in the first place.

I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about our process and our priorities.

Tumblr Support

In response to their email, I sent:

I am happy that you are finally taking our reactions seriously, as this is certainly a serious matter. Additionally, the list shown was a representation of the blogs that are allowed to remain, not necessarily a list of blogs that had been reported, or that needed to be deleted/removed. But I do happen to know that several of them were actually reported since my post, and I am happy to know that some of them have been removed.

However, I hope you are aware that this is indicative of a larger problem. In the past, blogs like those have been reported, and those reports were met with the “freedom of speech” excuse. Death threats have been sent, and reported en masse, each report being met with the same lack of reason. There are screenshots and emails recording this. And while this is certainly not your problem, personally, it is still a problem.

I want to you to be aware that the use of that word by anyone other than a Black person is hate speech, period. There is no reason for anyone else to use the term, ever. Any time it is used, specifically when used outside the Black/Afrolatino community, the denigration of Black people spreads, our humanity is diminished, and the wide perception of our very existence is diminished, debased, and reduced to a caricature, as it has been for far too long. There is no way it can be used and not refer to a Black person in some way. There is no way it can be used, and not be hurtful. That is the history of it, and that is the fact of it. It is abominable.

I don’t profess to speak for the entirety of Blackness, but you must understand that this is a struggle that we’ve been in for centuries. The eradication of the lackadaisical attitude of a nation is at stake, and that is why it is so important. 

I realize that Tumblr is not responsible for the flood of this negativity, but every ripple begins with a single drop. Tumblr has a unique opportunity to stop this at its core — to halt the proliferation of these hateful ideas sitewide. Please consider a general announcement regarding your position against this sort of hate speech, as you did with the SOPA situation (though perhaps not as invasive), as well as a more accessible link to the Terms of Service, as most people haven’t even read them, and couldn’t find them if asked. Even a post on the staff blog would be helpful in making your position known. 

Thank you again for your consideration, and for your responses and actions in this matter. Your help is appreciated by so very many people.

Again, thank you to everyone who reblogged the initial post in support of this action. Your support means more than you know. To Racialicious, thank you for your support as well. I was hesitant to send that to you, and perhaps should have done so earlier, but I am quite glad that I did. Thank you for being willing to address the situation publicly.

To those who reblogged my initial post with hate or contempt in your hearts, you have shown your true colors. We see you. We know you. We won’t forget you.

And finally, thank you to all my friends in TheBlackout. You guys are the shit. I love all of you.

Congrats to you, deliciouskaek, for mobilizing all of us to get active about this issue. We’re glad to have helped in our small way, and thanks for the update!




I’m about to write an post, as well as a guest post to a well-known external blog about this, and if need be, I will submit it to my local news organization for review, and I need for you to understand that before I proceed. This is not something you will be able to explain away or cover up. There is already a blog post that is spreading across tumblr about this, so it’s not like no one is going to hear about it. It’s already out there. Your staff has made a mistake.

You recently removed a blog titled deathtoallwhitepeople from your servers. This is understandable, and was expected, as the entire reason it was created was to point out the hypocrisy in how certain users are well-treated at the expense of others. However, you appear to have missed all of the following blogs:

These blog titles are equally reprehensible, equally offensive, and violate your Terms of Service in the same way. I can’t imagine why they are all allowed to remain.

I also need to point out that the 1st Amendment protects private citizens against governmental censorship. It does not provide protections against the actions of a private company, like yours. You  have the option — the power — to do something about this, to stop such hateful terms from being used against a group of people who are being harmed and oppressed by them. You’ve already chosen to use that power, and therein lies the hypocrisy: you didn’t protect the free speech of the person or persons who started the deathtoallwhitepeople blog, or protect other people of color from the death threats they reported to you.

In doing what you have done, you let all of the people who were involved, along with anyone who is reading and reblogging the related posts, know that you care for the so-called 1st Amendment rights of white persons, but none for the rights of people of color.

I am disgusted by your actions, and ask that you treat your members the same — that you remove blogs that use the word “nigger” in their title, and do not allow anyone to use it in their URLs in the future.

I look forward to your prompt response.

Everybody, please, reblog the shit out of this.

Reblogging again.

Signal boost with commentary to follow.

(via the-goddamazon)