Friday, June 18, 2010

endlessly tweak their blog layouts

Just a random, Friday-type note here -- my thanks to those readers who have commented on swpd's new layout. I hope it's a refreshing change for most of you.

I'm still considering one more change -- what do you think?

(If you're one of the two or three people in the world who doesn't get the reference, go here.)

Actually, what I'm really trying to say is -- we haven't had an Open Thread here in a long time.

Feel free to use this post's comments for your current race-related thoughts, questions, ideas, etc. Self-linking is entirely welcome and encouraged too.


  1. Still not in love with the new layout. It doesn't seem as ... serious as the original. Or as professional.

  2. yes all bloggers continuously tweak their blog layouts

  3. don't have time right now
    but your colours are conflicting, the yellow/gold hyperlinks are not working.

    you have about 5 diff. font sizes over the blog in a very bold colour.
    Its too much, everything is fighting.

    Why don't you say what you are trying to achieve, what you are trying to highlight and maybe your community can help you?.

    p.s. I love greeen.. but why? any particular reason?

  4. the blog-layout is SWEET, I also like the green tones. the banner (with the transparent map) is GREAT.

    Re: Open Thread--

    I'm angry and disgusted with right wing American bigots who is talking shit about the World Cup just because many of the world's best footballers happen to be non-white. Did you guys hear about that?

    Soccer wasn't created by "South American Indians." It was created in England by the English.

  5. I will take the open-thread opportunity to say macon, don't you dare add that annoying sound to your page. I've had to deal with it for damn near 15 years of my life (residing in South Africa). The rest of the world has only been exposed to it for 7 days and already you've had enough!

    Can you feel a black woman's pain now? I'm just not "strong" enough for these horns, man!

  6. Thanks for the suggestions, soul and Longtime Lurker, and I'm glad you like the change, DIMA!

    I too like green -- no other reason to choose it. I like the world-map background (which I chose from Blogger, rather than creating it) because it suggests, to me anyway, the global reach of de facto white supremacy.

    What am I trying to accomplish with a change? Hmmm. Just a refreshing change, mostly, and Blogger's recent offering of more templates prompted me to switch. Now it seems that I can't get the old template back, which is okay, because I wasn't happy with it. It looked old to me, and I especially didn't like how inflexible it was, including the way I couldn't widen the column the posts were in.

    So, I'm hoping for something appealing, and not necessarily "professional" (though relatively "serious" would be good).

    One problem for me is that I'm partially colorblind (ironically enough!). I've asked some friends who are artists what they think of these colors -- thumbs up so far.

    Finally, I'm looking for something easy to read. Black print on a white background might be best for that, but I find it boring (my first change was to white print on a dark-brown background, but I switched when five different readers said that was hard to read).

    So far, some seem to like this layout, and some don't. If anyone else has suggestions, I'll take them into account, since, like all bloggers, I'll be endlessly tweaking my blog's layout.

    And don't worry, Ms Sheeba Ctrl-T -- I wasn't serious about turning swpd into a horny blog.

  7. I like the new layout, and find it easy to read. No complaints here.

  8. It would be nice to have a longer comments section, if only to keep track of conversations that might otherwise get buried when the number of comments suddenly spikes.

  9. I'm always a bit iffy when layouts change. It looks nice, but gotta get used to it first. Except...the cream color is hard to read...tiring on the eyes.

  10. I changed my layout by accident because I was tempted to check out our new layouts invite on Blogger. Does that count? Critiques welcome. :-)

  11. I like green too, but I sort of fall into a dreamy state while reading all these serious posts. It does have a calming effect, but I want my senses sharpened when I'm discussing racism hehehe.

    My only real complaint is the font size... im blind as a bat and with your other layout i was always using the largest font display size. This layout doesnt respond to that adjustment. *sigh*... Maybe there is some tweaking I can still do on my end to override that tho.

  12. honestly, I feel a little thrown off by the new layout but I'm sure it'll just take some time to get used to

  13. Everyone seems to be changing their layout. Did I miss the memo? I can say that this one is a lot better than the brown. I actually got a headache after reading the material that day.

  14. I'm a fan of the color green also,I just changed my layout and colors,so check it out for ideals.

  15. I like the layout. Then again, I like new.

    I've been trying to write a post that might be featured on swpd in response to this article, but I REALLY can't get my brain to function.

    Now, that's either because everytime I go to analyze what I read there I get mad or because I'm tired.

    I think it's a combo of both.

    So... how about we just discuss amongst ourselves here and see what happens?

  16. I like the color scheme from an aesthetic standpoint, but I find the black-on-medium-green a little hard to read. What about a lighter green or cream for the text body background? That would give a little more contrast.

    I think the World Cup overlays are fun, but web sites that play unsolicited audio are EVIL.

  17. I've been thinking a lot about (and writing up a guest post for SWPD) the suicide of this 11 year-old girl in my area, Celina Okwuone. I haven't heard anything about this child-suicide, other than the local news reporting that it happened, and I get the feeling it's because she was Black/Hispanic. Yet a 13 year-old white girl and an 18 year-old make it to the Today show and MSNBC. Celina, like these 2 white girls, was bullied. But Celina, UNlike the 2 white girls, did nothing but black in a predominately white Catholic school to become a target for the endless harassment. In fact, her race was a factor in what she was being bullied about sometimes. The police finding no crime here disgusts me. So I've been doing research on Florida laws. I'm really bothered by the ball-dropping going on.

  18. I loved the first, brown layout. It had an "old world" feel to it ( Or, I guess what I would consider "old world" imagery).

    But this is nice! Keep it up!! The older one looked cookie cutter.

  19. @ A. Smith,

    I almost posted something along those lines on the "hyper-aggressive" thread! (I decided it would be too derailing). I was thinking--maybe one of the reasons Obama gets a lot of *personal*, not just political, criticism is that he doesn't fit into any of the neat little racist boxes we have. Not Angry Black Man, Black and Nerdy, Magical Negro, etc. I mean, we've talked about this a *lot* on SWPD--many white people truly don't realize that POC are equally complex, equally individual, equally 3-dimensional as WP.

    I suspect this is also the same reason the press focuses on Michelle Obama's clothing, of all things. She won't stay in any of the Black Woman hexagons, so the white-dominated press tries to box her out of meaningful topics and confine her to 'trivial' ones.

    (P.S. If Obama isn't angry enough, think of Bush: when he was told about the World Trade Center, he wasn't even angry enough to stop reading My Pet Goat).

  20. If you could incorporate the map header with the old style it would be perfect.

  21. The new color scheme is not working for me, maybe it's the newness. At this moment the colors combination detract from my easy reading. To compound matters, visually impaired as I'm, the fonts size are not working either. I know this is not customize to any particular reader, just saying, if I’m giving up font size then I need a background or colors that will enhance the small font. If colors are to be featured, then the font have to increase in size so as not to be drowned out. Really, the colors I can probably adjust to, but the font size is of significance.

    I visit this site to read (not so much the articles, mostly the responses), learn and on some occasions contribute. Not much into the bells and whistles, I’m very comfortable with the basics, read boring. So, this recent change is like putting a slice of onion in my morning coffee, a WTF moment. Well, maybe not that bad, but definitely caused a double take. mi 2 cents.

  22. Willow said...
    "I suspect this is also the same reason the press focuses on Michelle Obama's clothing, of all things. She won't stay in any of the Black Woman hexagons, so the white-dominated press tries to box her out of meaningful topics and confine her to 'trivial' ones."

    I concur:
    The media’s inability to accept the entirety of Michelle Obama, opting instead for a stripped-down version is of no surprise. Here we have a highly intelligent- competent black woman, dexterous on multiple levels- cast as anti-damsel in the media’s eyes. The question some media outlets grapple with is how to render her palatable to the white mainstream without offending their sensibilities. Feeling it easier to underscore her "fashion sense" than to concede she has a brain.

    When the candidate Sarah Palin was introduced to the world the white media could not praise her enough on her beauty, her folksiness; her aesthetic lines and the genuine charm she conveyed. They didn’t give a damn whether she was smart or not. Michelle however identifies primarily as the “racial other” and has been thrust into prominence along with her black spouse. Whites could only draw from their racist instincts whenever Michelle’s name or image came up. On a daily show segment some years back- one elderly Jewish woman likened her to a horse. Some whites couldn’t recognize their racism, even if it bit them on the ass.

    "Some of the same people crying for Obama to show more emotion would have voted against him if he had displayed anger during his presidential run, says William Jelani Cobb, author of "The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress."

    This is a direct quote from Chris Matthews: “If President Obama does what many people want him to do, and show some real anger about the gulf oil spill, does he risk being attacked as an "Angry Black Man?"

    As in any crisis we want a president who's cool under pressure; but with Obama, whites are angry with him chiefly because, well… he's cool under pressure. He's not angry enough his critics lament. Course should he really get angry there will be comparisons to Jeremiah Wright, another angry black male who didn't fare too well in white eyes...

  23. Make it stop! The vuvuzela, that is! The layout change is nice. It freshens things up a bit to change from time to time. Although perhaps the other format, as one reader commented, looked more serious, but I think I like the novelty.

  24. @Victoria. Oh my god, an eleven year old committed suicide? That breaks my heart. Her poor family. The poor girl. What she must have suffered. That is such a tragedy. She was bullied and some of it because of her race? That makes me so sad. When I was young I went to an all white school. I was about five. This was back in the seventies. People pointed at me, called me names I didn't understand because I hadn't heard them before. At the swimming pool the teacher mistreated me, I had no idea why. It makes me sad that this sort of thing continues today. That poor child. This happens because the adults don't know what to do, they fall down on the job. Or in my case, they condoned this behavior because of their own attitudes and those of the society at large. I hope you do keep on top of it. It needs attention. If this child was bullied to the point of suicide, similarly to the child in Boston who took her own life, there should be a criminal investigation.

  25. On Huffington Post there was a short piece on the police arresting some girls for jaywalking.

    I thought it was shocking to see a girl being hit by a man with a closed fist (in the face, mind you!), absolutely. I couldn't believe my eyes. Now granted the girl should not have intervened in what the police officer was doing, but I thought there were better more professional ways of subduing a suspect or whatever.

    That was shocking enough, but the comments by the readers blew my mind. So many people seemed to think that this girl got what she deserved and sided with the police officer! Of course, the girl and the other students involved had brown skin.

    I went to an elite university. There was an incident with some white students, who in a drunken fury, overturned someone's car! Can you imagine? That's pretty serious wanton behavior, yet there was a sentiment on the part of a lot of people, oh they made a mistake. They were drunk, they've got their futures ahead of them (instead of vandalizing people's cars, they could go on to vandalizing entire economies on Wall Street, I guess) They should get a pass. I think in the end nothing much happened to them.

    I thought about how these young, black folks probably were talking trash and probably were being really obnoxious or whatever, but no one was going to give these kids a pass, "oh they're just adolescents acting up, give them a break." For instance, I noticed that the girl was seventeen, yet they referred to her as a woman! There was also quite a lot of news coverage afterwards about how these were "bad girls" anyway. They had records, this sort of thing. I wonder how much of that was media campaign, how much of that was true. But anyway, even if every word of it was true, what about the rule of law? The police officer has many resources at his disposal for dealing with a young girl with a record and I don't think he had to resort to punching a seventeen year old (girl!) in the face.

    It made me reflect upon how if you're black, you'd better be super extraordinary and on your best behavior all the time, because you are not going to get many benefits of the doubt. I wondered if these kids, had they been white and jaywalking and acting trashy, would there have been a police detail there to make sure they weren't "endangering" drivers in the first place? It's a curious world we live in once you start looking at it harder.

    I think this blog is important for making people question what's put in front of them in society. That incident took place in Seattle, I believe, if anyone wants to look into it further.

  26. How do I get an account on here?

    I cannot believe the conservative media barrage against the world cup! Come on man! You have got to be kidding me! There should be a post here under the heading "white xenophobia". Soccer is being promoted in elementary schools by liberals because of the browning of America?? Crazy stuff. Soccer was invented by Indians (??) and they used the head of their enemies as a ball??? What? I thought it was a British game. Maybe it was the English who used the head of some poor Catholic in the first games. Yeah. That's what happened.

  27. Ober Jean,

    This blog doesn't have accounts. Your best bet is to open the drop box below the commenting box and choose Name/URL -- you don't need to enter anything in the URL line.

  28. For what it is worth, if anything, change is good. But, the older layout was familiar, which to my eyes equaled a name brand. At present, the layout is a distraction from the great content.

    Coke rarely if ever changes their trademark and layout on their cans of soda. I am a traditionalist who thinks you should not either.

    Great site as always, just a fan of what was, and not of changing things if not broken.

  29. For this red-green colorblind guy the color scheme is fine although it comes across as muddy to my eyes. Then again I would prefer if the format was in vuvuzela primary colors or at least all in shades of blue :)

    Keep up the good work Macon.

  30. I think the hardest thing for a white person to do is see a Person of Color as a human being.

    Yeah thats been on my mind for a while.

  31. Sergarka,
    Yes, she was just 11 :( They called her "fat," "bitch" and "blacky". BLACKY!?! Her parents had contacted the school about it, and they did nothing to help. The police feel that the bullying wasn't a contributing factor - she wrote of it all in her diary. In fact the police said it was "cruel, but not a crime." Honestly, I feel like the bullying over the course of 2 years was THE main factor.

    Right now I'm looking at other cases involving children of color and comparing them to white children. And I really think the school is culpable in many ways, so I'm looking at exactly how.

  32. Willow (b/c who else would do this?)June 19, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    OH! Everyone. Remember GeoCities? Remember GeoCities in 1997?

    Make new, improved SWPD look like a GeoCities page from 1997

    Be sure to scroll down to the bottom for the full effect!

  33. @ Chef Tali,
    >> "I went to an elite university. There was an incident with some white students, who in a drunken fury, overturned someone's car!...[T]here was a sentiment on the part of a lot of people, oh they made a mistake."

    Have you read Tim Wise's take on this? SO worth it.

    "[T]here is very little in the way of law enforcement response when white college students riot on their campuses, as they have done over 150 times in the past 15 years...because of the outcomes of sporting events or crackdowns on underage drinking. White folks, you see, get pissed when you interrupt our right to party."

  34. Oh, thank you Willow!

    It's so . . . beautiful!!


  35. I'd also be interested to hear what you guys think about the effect of big sporting events like the World Cup on race relations. Can events like the World Cup really foster understanding between people from different cultures (not just the players, but the fans as well), or do they just call attention to existing tensions?

    Personally, I think that the World Cup is unique among sporting events because it's played at such a high level by people of color, and a lot of white people are threatened by that. In contrast, some of the Olympic sporting events are still dominated pretty exclusively by white people for various reasons.

    Maybe someone from Europe could help me out here: do you get the same kind of xenophobic coverage of the world cup that Ober Jean and Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist were talking about, or is it worse in America because soccer isn't as popular there?

  36. The big plus to the current layout over the old one is that it is easier to read in the comment-posting view. I have weaker opinions about everything else.

  37. @Willow-

    I'm late. Forgive me. I love that you mention Bush. His response to 9/11 was not angry and if there was something to be mad about, that was it. It wasn't angry because anger wasn't going to get us anywhere. Same with this situation.

    I'm so over these people it's not even funny. Would you PLEASE let this man do his damn job.

    Meanwhile, wp are acting like they can't fathom why they want him to get angry. See, there's something to that...

    People keep talking about why he can't get angry but what I wanna know is why people want him to be angry in the first place. It's not, ftr, because there's a huge ridiculous life-altering oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Not completely anyway. There's a real misconception wp have that when black people get angry things happen... apparently in a way that doesn't happen when wp get mad (I point you to the story of Emmitt Till, offhand, as proof of that being wrong).

  38. Everything that's yellow on the light green is hard to read. May I suggest purple or orange for your headers and links as they compliment green on the color wheel.

  39. Thanks Jason, I switched those colors, hope the post titles and links are easier to read now (though now it seems like the ones on the right are harder to read than before? I can only change all the links to one color).

  40. Hey Macon,

    Since you encouraged self-linking, I thought I'd point you towards my blog that I'm working on currently, I'm a college student who occupies just about every position of privilege, but currently I'm working at a school for very poor children in Trujillo, Peru. It's been an interesting crash course on the problematic intersections of theory and practice, especially regarding issues like social imperialism and paternalism. I've read your blog for about a year now and it is one of the sources which inspired me the most to delve into these issues personally. Check out the article entitled ''Judgment and Paternalism'' as an example, if you're interested. Thanks!



  41. @macon..
    for links try: #840000

    ask your colour-blind audience to test for you. (as this colour is a shade of red)

    For the future:
    Why not set up a seperate blog, put up a new-layout on the new blog and direct your audience to it for testing purposes.

  42. @Willow: Okay, that Geocities link made me laugh out loud (really). Ah, nostalgia.

    On topic, I think I've finally found a kid's show that makes me happy regarding race. For a long time I've been disgruntled with children's television because when PoC are shown, they're almost always shown in an Othering way - i.e., primarily as a representative of their ethnicity and/or race. For example, Dora the Explorer is a Spanish representative (she'll teach you Spanish!) as is Handy Manny. Nihao Kai-Lan is exactly the same, except Chinese (she'll teach you Chinese!). When PoC-as-representative the *only* representation, I find that Othering because it suggests that PoC are not like the white kids watching it - they're always Ethnic and Exotic and Speak in Other Languages, and that's really the only important thing about them.

    So with that in mind, I'd like to give props to SuperWhy.

    You see that character on the end? That's Princess Pea. Not only is she a black girl, she's a princess (feminine), has hair that doesn't look straight, she's a primary character that gets as much screen time as the other characters, and she isn't constantly dropping words from other languages or speaking in an accent. In short - she's an Americanized character who shows that skin color doesn't necessarily mean you're any different from the white audience. (And although I have no evidence for this because I haven't done a poll of little black girls, I'd also like to believe that American/Canadian black girls who watch the show would find her someone they can identify with.) Yay PBS!

    (Just to be clear, I don't have a problem with characters that are representations of their cultures - as long as those aren't the only representations. The issue is when the ONLY way PoC are shown is as representatives of their culture, that's going to continue to promote the cultural idea that PoC are not like white people, they're Other. If there's plenty of representations of, say, Latin@ characters who speak unaccented English and don't use Spanish, *along with* the Doras and Handy Mannys, that's great, because that reflects real life; some Latin@ people speak Spanish, some don't, some share the same cultural traditions as many white kids, some have different cultural traditions, etc. Having a variety of representations makes it clear that it isn't *only* their ethnicity and/or race that's important.)

    Anybody have any other suggestions for kid's shows that are good with race? Sesame Street is pretty obvious. Max and Ruby, while it's about bunnies, shows the bunnies in a variety of fur tones (although the main bunnies, Max and Ruby, are white bunnies; but at least Ruby's friends are multi-colored, and her Bunny Scout leader is brown).

  43. Oh, and as for the new look: I'm totally down.
    It was jarring at first (aaaugh! change!!), but when I saw that the comments column was wider, that was all I needed to know. Love the header, too. Classy.

    PS: I use Safari, and the font is actually quite large for me. (Which I don't mind at all.) Maybe there's been an adjustment since others complained; dunno.


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