To writer Jenny Zhang, candid and subversive humour is an important ingredient in writing about marginalised groups. Women and people of colour, she explains, must have the opportunity to tell stories that deal not only with struggle, but with absurdity and joy. In conversation with Brodie Lancaster, Zhang talks about physicality, forging a fresh path as a writer and woman of…
The Wheeler Centre
To writer Jenny Zhang, candid and subversive humour is an important ingredient in writing about marginalised groups. Women and people of colour, she explains, must have the opportunity to tell stories that deal not only with struggle, but with absurdity and joy. In conversation with Brodie Lancaster, Zhang talks about physicality, forging a fresh path as a writer and woman of colour, and the complexity of autobiographical readings of her fiction.
Brodie Lancaster and Jenny Zhang — Photo: Jon Tjhia
Her essays and poems were already earning accolades from Rookie readers, but Zhang thought she was being catfished when Lena Dunham tweeted to say she loved her work. She wasn’t.
Dunham – the real Dunham – wanted Zhang to write the first book published by her new Random House imprint. The result, 2017’s Sour Heart, is a collection of short stories about Chinese-American girls and young women growing up in New York – the daughters of artists who fled the chaos of Mao’s China, only to wind up struggling to survive in a new country. Her stories traverse generations and continents, from public school in Queens to the streets of Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution.
The Wheeler Centre
Not Racist, But …: Why Are We Afraid of Being Called Racist?
Beverley Wang, Oishee Alam, Helen Ngo and Luke Pearson
How can we have constructive conversations about racism when everyone is so defensive? Are laws enough to tackle racism? And what’s the deal with identity politics? In this panel – the first in a series of four talks curated by Santilla Chingaipe – Beverley Wang, Luke Pearson, Helen Ngo and Oishee Alam explore definitions of racism, looking not just at overt examples but also implicit bias and systemic racism, with examples from Australian history.
The Wheeler Centre
Black Lives Matter: In Conversation
In February 2012, an unarmed African-American high-school student, Trayvon Martin, was shot dead in Sanford, Florida. His death was a flashpoint in American race relations, sparking protests across the United States and the beginning of a totally new kind of civil-rights movement: #blacklivesmatter.
Left to right: Jack Latimore, Patrisse Cullors and Rodney Diverlus — Photo: Jon Tjhia
The movement – founded by Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza – fights for justice and dignity for black people. Diffuse, inclusive and multifaceted, #blacklivesmatter has built momentum online and, crucially, on the ground. Its activists have enjoyed wins in court rooms, in the media, on the streets and in Barack Obama’s White House. The message has resonated across the globe, with large turnouts for rallies not just across the US but also in Brazil, Australia, South Africa and other countries.
In Australia to collect the Sydney Peace Prize, two of Black Lives Matter’s founders and leaders – Cullors, and Toronto BLM Chapter co-founder Rodney Diverlus – talk with Jack Latimore about the achievements and broader goals of #blacklivesmatter … and how we can translate the lessons of the movement to face and fight entrenched inequality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia (with whom they've spent significant amounts of time ahead of this conversation).
Among other topics, they discuss the importance of sustained activism, inclusive and nuanced ideas of 'blackness', and an empowering movement unconstrained by national borders or charismatic leadership.
(Note: This podcast episode contains a discussion of online abuse, which includes strong language.)Alicia Garza on Black Lives Matter Watch
Due to illness, Alicia Garza was unable to join us for this event. In lieu of her appearance, she recorded a short video message covering some of her thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement, and explaining why looking after one's health is important to organisers.
Photo: Jon Tjhia
New News by the Centre for Advancing Journalism
Straight White Men’s News
News is still dominated by straight white men. Would genuine diversity – in senior as well as junior positions – change the news we report, and how we report it? Are we seeing recruitment of diverse junior journalists – and are the attitudes of experienced reporters changing when it comes to representation?
Chaired by Jo Chandler, with Adolfo Aranjuez, Gautam…
Anything and everything in Diversity from across our archives.
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