Color Outside the Lines

Hello! Welcome to Color Outside the Lines, a discussion space for people of color. Posted the first 3 Wednesdays of the month.

Thread Rules

  1. We ask that only those who identify as people of color participate in this discussion. White Avocados, while valued members of this community, should remain in ‘lurk’ mode.
  2. Shaming and hateful speech are unacceptable.
  3. Please keep potentially traumatic content safely behind spoiler tags.
  4. Nobody on this thread is more or less a person of color than anyone else. (We will not set clearly delineated boundaries on who qualifies as a ‘person of color.’ As a starting point, this thread uses the definition of ‘non-European heritage of sufficient prominence to affect one’s navigation of a society built on white normativity.’ However, we recognize that there are identities which skirt either side of the divide. If people feel that they meaningfully experience the identity of being a person of color, then they are welcome to participate.)

Marginalized Media

Hello PoC, and lurking community members! HP in the building guesting for today’s Color Inside the Lines. I had a few ideas kicking around for a topic today, but settled on something I hope is whatever you’d like it to be- political, funny, informative, etc. I’ll start with some Avocado-related context, since this came up in the PT recently. As you may have read in the news, WNBA athlete Britney Griner was arrested in Russia (where she plays basketball in another league, common for many professional female athletes given lower salaries relative to their male counterparts) for suspected cannabis possession. She was tried, convicted, and sentenced to 9 ½ years in prison.

There is little debate about the injustice of this situation; the US state department has called the situation a miscarriage of justice, and many others, including Griner’s teammates, have expressed their alarm and support. In the weeks leading up to her trial, the US government indicated that they would be willing to swap a Russian prisoner to secure Griner’s release.

‘But’, began some of the discourse in response to this story as it developed over the past few months, ‘there are plenty of US prisoners in foreign prisons that are wrongfully detained. Why should they go out of their way for this ‘famous’ person?’ Of course, these arguments ignore the fact of Britney Griner’s identity, prioritizing her ‘fame’ over her Blackness and queerness. While this is hardly surprising, it remains frustrating, an example of the ways in which marginalized people are subject to someone else’s prioritization of their identities to serve various ends. So Britney Griner is a queer Black woman when she is undoubtedly subject to online abuse, as most Black female athletes are online (I’m sure you’re aware of the horrific abuse Serena and Venus Williams have endured, for years, being likened to animals, their gender in question), but she is merely a ‘famous’ person when the US government confirms its efforts to bring her home. Suddenly her race or sexuality doesn’t matter, isn’t a factor, isn’t part of the narrative.

Here is the well-written CNN article about the situation, published earlier this month:

On the same day, I found two stories on Britney Griner at The Grio. The site’s banner reads, in part, ‘Black America’s Breaking News’. They’re owned by MSNBC, so it’s not as though it’s an independent news site; their coverage of the Griner situation was something I posted in the PT, as seen here: . (here is a direct link to the article: ) I noted that this article discusses her case by foregrounding her identity and contextualizing her circumstances in light of the treatment of Black people in America. It is an entirely different, and yet important, aspect of this story; this was one of the few stories I saw that began from this place.

I don’t point this out to bemoan anything that we as marginalized people don’t already understand about journalism, the media, and online discourse, but rather to ask you all about what I’ll call ‘Marginalized Media’. I thought it would be interesting to share and talk about any news sites, etc that you go to in order to contextualize the general discourse on a news story, a media artifact (a movie, a TV show, etc) in terms of your subject position. I don’t visit The Grio daily, but I do go there occasionally to see if there’s any ‘Black News’ I should be aware of, or even to get another side to a story I’ve seen elsewhere. For example, I saw a post on social media from the New York City Ballet (love me some neo-classical ballet, y’all) announcing that Solange will be composing some music for a work they’re performing in the fall; it’s interesting to see what I thought of as kind of niche press release material front and center at The Grio.

So share away, PoC community! Where do you go for discussion, reading, pop culture, etc when you want to have context from your subject position? Are there any Twitter people or YouTubers that you follow for this specific reason? I’m not a Twitter person, but I do tend to look in on a few Black women on Twitter (Roxane Gay, for example) because I find value in hearing what other Black women think about certain issues. They approach issues in ways that are immediately legible to me, and I find that comforting in moments when the general discourse about an issue is confusing/frustrating (the conversation around the Will Smith Slap is an example of that, for me). And sometimes I will look for Black women freelance writers whom I like on sites like Vulture, etc.

Who do you read when you want that specific perspective? And why do you find it valuable? How did you find it?