Wiki-thon: fixing biases in Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a source that has constantly been biased towards many topics. There are many systemic forms of discrimiantion including gender and racial biases. Because Wikipedia is a crowdsourced site, as long as someone has an account, they have the ability to edit any page, which sometimes can result in a clear perceptual bias of the issue, person, or event. So, the ideology of the editors can influence the final product. So, I’ve uploaded a video about how to edit a Wikipedia page (that I made two years ago while trying to adress the gender bias). It is important that we start to make these sources more reliable and representative of factual things, rather than representing personal biases of editors. As someone who has participated in many Wiki-thons, I believe it is extremely important to begin to erase these biases from Wikipedia. Personal biases represent your own identity and put a slant on the information that others receive.
Passport Creation Reflection
How do we define citizenship? Why do we, as an international community, allow a piece of paper to give us an identity and meaning in life? For me, making the passport was a thought-provoking experience. Before this, I had never really given my own legalization a thought, since it is already so ingrained in my life. When I came into the activity, being stateless was probably the last thought I had on my mind, but shockingly that’s the legal status I received. The only time I’ve ever really thought about being stateless was hearing about the refugee swimmer who competed in the Olympics, because usually my mind doesn’t associate refugee status to statelessness. This was an extremely eye-opening experience because my individual’s story was engaging,and brought a new awareness surrounding legalization, and the injustice of obtaining legal documents. Although my character technically was from Norway, her legal struggles were about the citizenship of her two sons, who she had adopted through a surrogate mother in India. Because her name was on the birth certificate, and the DNA didn’t match her own, Norway wouldn’t accept her sons as citizens, putting the newly formed family in legal limbo. This highlighted the struggles of becoming a citizen, and also the human instincts to care for those we love. Although there wasn’t a specific passport that fit my characters’ legal situation, I was given a travel document that’s given to refugees from Syria, which furthermore highlighted the legal difficulties that refugees face everyday. This activity also highlighted a certain ignorance in my own thought process and how exactly I approached this experience. For example, while everyone else got to decorate their passports, I was stuck staring blankly at my stateless story. Feeling left out and left behind, I wanted to leave since it felt like there was no point in my being there. To me, this is symbolic of how stateless people feel in today’s current politics, since it feels as though no one cares enough to help them.
Anna Lidia Vega Serova commentary
El evento con la autora Anna fue muy interesante. Para empezar, ella tiene una identidad muy interesante con muchos aspectos interesantes. Ella nació en cuba y ella dijo que sintió muchísima de cuba y su cultura vibrante. Ella hable mucho sobre la música, el sol, y la felicidad de las personas. Pero, cuando ella mude a la unión soviética, necesito ajustar a una vida muy diferente y autotratio. Entonces, ella tiene un crisis en su vida: tiene dos identidades muy diferentes y no puede vivir como una persona de cuba o una persona de la unión soviética. Ella tambien hable mucho de el proceso de ser humano. Ella tiene muchos problemas con la distancia entre sus dos identidades en su vida. Fue muy difícil obtener amigos y las otras chicas no quieren hablar con ella y también hay un gran separación entre la lengua. Además, ella hable muchisima sobre el gobiernos porque vive en países que tiene un gobierno socialista y uno que tiene un gobierno autoritaria. Una tema que ella hable sobre fue la libertad y la igualdad. Cuando vive en cuba, ella fue una testiga de la igualdad en realidad porque todas las personas son iguales y los leyes les tratan con igualdad. No había una separación económica muy grande y la vida esta mucha mejor. Este parte del lectura fue muy interesante porque la vida en los estados unidos es muy diferente y no yo se mucha de las vidas de personas en un gobierno más estricta
I decided to write this commentary in Spanish because that is how the event originally was. It was a small discussion with Cuban writer Anna Serova, who spent many years in Russia as well. We were given opportunities to ask her questions and discuss her life story. What I was most interested in was her competing identities. So, this event commentary is about how one’s identity impacts how they are able to live their lives. In this talk with the author, she believed she had two unique identities and struggled because she didn’t fit into each identity neatly; she felt like she was on the margins. Labeled as the ‘other’ by both identity groups, she attempted to reconcile this with herself. In this case, social construction of reality limited how she learned to grapple with both distinct identities and the unique experiences she had because of this. Furthermore, not only was she not accepted by those around her, but there was a physical obstacle through language, so she could not express her identity to others, instead facing their harsh judgements of who she was.
Furthemore, how is one’s racial identity different from their other identities? Anna is a Cuban woman but was raised in Russia, representing a constant struggle with her Cuban identity because many people in Russia did not understand her. Her writing manages to encompass both these identities and explore them fully because they make her who she truly is: both Cuban and Russian.