Best Practices of Mobile Web Design by Grace Kim

One of the first articles I ever wrote. Written for Warp 9 Inc. back in 2014.

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by Grace Kim

Here at Warp 9, we know that there are endless benefits to having a mobile optimized site for your business. The design and layout of mobile optimized sites play a crucial role in customer loyalty and satisfaction and amount of revenue generated from the mobile sites. Even the slightest changes, such as font size or the shape of a button can make a difference in the likelihood of customers making purchases through mobile sites. That’s why Warp 9 decided to put some of the tried and true practices of mobile web design in the following list:

1) Don’t include tons of images

No one wants to read a large wall of text, but it’s equally frustrating to open a browser on a tiny iphone screen and be bombarded by massive images that are unhelpful and irrelevant to what the customer is looking for. Include enough images that the customer can get a visual of what it is that you’re advertising to them, but refrain from turning your mobile site into a newspaper collage of cluttered images rather than a useful platform for your business.

2) Create versatile designs for multiple screen sizes

You’ll never know whether your customer is opening your mobile site on an iphone, a galaxy, or an HTC. That’s why it’s a smart move to design your mobile site to fit multiple size screens. 320px is the standard size for most smartphone screens, but 128px, 176px, 240px, 320px, and 360px are also popular sizes to consider when designing your mobile site.

3) Don’t get fancy with fonts

Try to stick to the system fonts of your mobile platforms when designing your site. This ensures consistency and custom fonts can slow down page loading time or not even be supported by the web browser being used. Remember that mobile sites don’t always have to be flashy, as long as it’s clean and simple and can quickly direct customers to what they want.  

While there are endless techniques and tactics to creating an excellent mobile optimized website, these few tips will give you a solid start to your perfect mobile site. One tip you shouldn't forego, however, is trusting in Warp 9 to build your e-commerce platform.

Warp 9 Inc. takes on the heat by Grace Kim

A fun article written for the "Life at Warp 9" segment in 2014.

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By Grace Kim and Ryan Wittler

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The Amgen Tour made it’s annual stop in Santa Barbara this week and the Warp 9 team decided to take a break from the heat, grab a Slurpee, and watch the cyclists fly by. The Amgen Tour is a Tour de France style road race along California’s scenic coast with the Santa Barbara leg stretching from Pismo Beach to the finish line across from the Santa Barbara Harbor.

Here at Warp 9,  we take work very seriously, but we also like to have fun by taking advantage of the unique experiences Santa Barbara has to offer. We also value opportunities like these to spend time with each other and create a friendly environment in the workplace. Taking time out for leisure allows us to wind down and refresh our minds and ultimately serve our customers better. 

The Downsides of F-Commerce by Grace Kim

An article I wrote back in 2014 with Warp 9 Inc. about the downsides of F-commerce (Facebook as an e-commerce platform). 

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by: Grace Kim

As the most visited website in the world, Facebook’s popularity has grown exponentially since its founding in 2004. The social media network has made a number of developments to the site throughout its history, such as Facebook apps, adding a “like” button, and sending virtual gifts to friends. The conception of social commerce, however, is one of the most noteworthy among these advancements. Popularly known as F-commerce, the ability for retailers to create online stores, termed “storefronts”, and process transactions within Facebook itself would presumably alter the nature of e-commerce forever. The use of Facebook as a direct avenue for sales merges the popularity of social networking with the growth of online shopping.

Facebook’s attempt as an e-commerce platform was met with an underwhelming response. Gap, Nordstrom’s, and JCPenny removed their Facebook storefronts after a short time to turn their attention back to their own company’s ecommerce stores. The downfall of the once promising sales platform has brought about a consensus among retailers and businesses of other ecommerce platform’s superiority. We investigated a number of downsides to f-commerce that brought about its inferiority to other e-commerce websites for selling merchandise.

  • Lack of Space and Customization

Businesses can tailor their online stores to meet the look of their company and brand. In Facebook storefronts, retailers are limited to the general look of a Facebook page. F-commerce users have cited difficulty in finding the store within a page, as well as a confusing checking out process. With individual E-commerce websites, companies work to make each customer’s shopping experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.

Lady Gaga's social storefront

Lady Gaga's social storefront

  • Audience Goals in Social Media Use

A seemingly obvious but crucial point to make is that most users log onto social networking sites for the purpose of, well, social networking. Most users do not use Facebook for the purpose of shopping and are unlikely to even take a look at the online storefronts available. Even if there is a potential customer on Facebook, he or she will want to compare products, prices, and various styles across multiple different stores and are not likely to seek out the social storefronts, but rather direct websites for the brand or popular online shopping sites where much larger selections of products and descriptions are available.

  • Lack of Customer Loyalty

A customer who purchases something directly off of the Macy’s website and is happy with their product and shopping experience is more likely to return to the site for their online shopping needs. Purchasing a product off of Facebook, however, doesn’t create the same connection to the brand that customers feel when purchasing through a direct website. Many large brands and companies try to overcome this factor by accumulating Facebook “likes” but there are some issues that arise with this tactic. For one, liking a page or company on Facebook requires very little effort on the user’s part, meaning most people who like something on Facebook won’t actually take the time to look through the storefront or page. Most Facebook users are aware of this, and this knowledge leads to yet another problem, which is that users don’t actually care how many likes a Facebook page has, and that the number of likes is rarely ever taken as an indicator of how trustworthy and efficient a brand or product is.  

All in all, businesses are better off staying away from f-commerce (for now, at least) and establishing a strong e-commerce platform for their direct websites where they can create and develop their distinct identities for their brands and products. And as always, Warp 9 is there for all its clients to aid in that process.

Interview w/ Pacifica Hotels' Adam Marquis on the importance of an online presence by Grace Kim

Another article from 2014 that I did at Warp 9 Inc. with a partner, Ryan Wittler. For the article, we interviewed with Adam Marquis, VP of Development at Pacifica Hotels, on the rising importance of an online presence and mobile optimized platforms. 

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By: Grace Kim and Ryan Wittler

Pacifica Hotels is a hotel management company that specializes in managing high-quality properties in premier coastal destinations. Founded in 1995, their mission is to provide exceptional hospitality and unique lodging experiences for their guests.

This week we sat down with Pacifica’s Vice President of Development, Adam Marquis, and he shared with us just how important ecommerce (specifically mobile) is to the success of the company.

Q: What is the value of developing a strong online presence for your company?

A: It’s important because you want to show up high on the first pages of search engines like Google and Yahoo and having a strong online presence is vital to that.

Q: How important is the website to the success of the company?

A: Very, 35-40% of our revenue is generated through online reservations through the site. The website also helps us portray to people what we are. From the images that are on there to our branding, it’s really become the identity of your hotel.

Q: When did Pacifica implement a mobile optimized site?

A: The new one rolled out in December.

Q: In what ways does the mobile optimized site contribute to your company?

A: With an online presence, you really want to be everywhere, especially with the younger generations. I mean, the last five hotel reservations I’ve made have been through my phone. It’s hard to do, but with a good mobile site, it can be done.

Q: Have you ever considered creating a mobile app versus only having a mobile optimized version of the website?

A: It’s definitely something we’ve considered but not something that seems worth the investment in terms of costs. We also have to keep in mind that we have an older demographic that stay at our hotels and we have to refrain from getting too digitalized on them.  

Pacifica Hotels recognizes the importance of a strong online presence in the hotel industry and the value of a good mobile optimized site. They understand the growth of mobile commerce in today’s business world and the value that companies like Warp 9 have in making it their mission to help clients grow in this ever changing world of ecommerce.

Social Media as an emerging platform for ecommerce by Grace Kim

One of my first articles that I wrote back in 2014 for an ecommerce company called Warp 9 Inc.

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In recent years, social media has blown up as a source of entertainment, news, and marketing. From February 2005 to August 2006, the usage of social networking sites in young adults increased from 9% to 49% in a little over a year. Since then, all internet user age groups have experienced exponential increases in social media use. While it’s original and foremost objective was to create and connect large networks, in doing so, social media has essentially gathered individuals into one public forum and created a vast marketplace for online businesses.   

With the option to share promotions on your timeline or directly send a pinned product to your friends, social media sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram allow businesses to utilize one of the best ways to market to a large audience: the audience itself. With a click of a button, online users can rapidly promote products and sales in a way that’s more efficient than, yet just as effective, as word of mouth. 

Many brands and companies have already begun to take advantage of this new, painless advertising. Large name brands like Nike and Starbucks post consistently onto facebook pages, sharing promotions, upcoming sales, and introductions to new products and providing direct links to their websites. Smaller businesses, specifically with target audience of young adults aged 18-34, gain production recognition through giveaways and promotional campaigns on smaller social networking apps such as Instagram and Twitter. It is much more likely for a potential consumer to be drawn to a product on his or her newsfeed and actually view the product online than it is likely that he or she go directly to the product website of his or her own accord. Moreover, potential consumers spend a vast amount of time on their personal social networking sites, with the majority of Facebook and Instagram users exhibiting daily usage. 

In short, there is an enormous marketplace of consumers that can be reached through social media. To the next entrepreneur or business, this means staying up to date with what is trending and appealing to these audiences and utilizing them to further expand the marketplace for ecommerce. And of course, you can trust Warp9 in making that expansion happen. 

Sources: http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/

http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/12/30/social-media-update-2013/

URCA Grant Abstract and Proposal by Grace Kim

In the fall of 2016, I wrote a brief abstract and grant proposal for the URCA (Undergraduate research and creative activities) grant at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I received the full award amount of $750 to go towards funding the art department for my film, Albino Black Sheep

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ABSTRACT

The project seeking funding via the URCA grant is a surrealist art film titled Albino Black Sheep. Albino Black Sheep is a student-produced film organized through the UCSB Film and Media Studies department. Over the course of fall and winter quarter, a crew composed entirely of student filmmakers will go through the pre-production, production, and post-production phases of creating Albino Black Sheep. The film is both an educational and creative endeavor. It will serve as a learning platform for students to experience and mimic firsthand the logistics of creating a short film as done in the professional world. It will also expose students to the incredibly collaborative nature of filmmaking and the process of sharing an artistic vision and transferring it from script to screen. From this project, we hope not only to benefit as individuals working on the film, but to present a thoughtful, provocative, and visually fresh approach to existentialist themes.

PROPOSAL & PROJECT PLAN

Albino Black Sheep is an entirely student-funded, student-produced short film that is being produced through courses Filmst 106A and 106B at the Film and Media Studies Department. It is a surrealist art film that explores the contradictory nature of human beings and their desire to function within social parameters whilst holding onto the idea of free will-- a modern day The Exterminating Angel meets Waiting for Godot. The synopsis is this: Four men find themselves stuck on a rooftop even though the door is unlocked and they can leave at any time they wish. They have no real physical barrier that is hindering them from leaving, other than their unwillingness to be the black sheep of the group. The illogical discord between their desire to leave but inability to do so drive them to extremes, and we see how the various characters behave when confronted with the paradox of individual will and social expectations. The goal of Albino Black Sheep, and the goal of film overall in the views of the director, is to leave its audience with a fresh, thoughtful, and provocative perspective on subjects they know to be true in their own lives.

Pre-production for the film has been underway since late September. Pre-production encompasses everything necessary before filming. This means preparation for the script, cast, storyboard, art, props, costumes, set design, shot list, locations, permits and insurance, and budget for the film prior to the actual shoot days. Production (filming days) is scheduled for Veteran’s Day weekend in November, and three consecutive weekends in the month of January. Post-production is the process where the film is stitched together to form a narrative via editing and sound mixing and composing. It will commence as soon as the shoot days wrap, from the beginning of February, until March 17th, 2017 when the final product must be delivered to the class. The film is set to premiere at the Pollock Theater on March 24th, 2017.

Film is a visual medium. This film in particular is an incredibly abstract and visually expressive piece, where the most is said in scenes with little to no dialogue and rely solely on the picture to convey complex ideas. Thus, a sizable portion of the Albino Black Sheep budget is devoted to the art department. The film itself has a projected budget of $6,000, all of which must be self-funded via the students’ efforts. Of that sum, $1500 is devoted to the art department, meaning it will be used for the props, costumes, and various art items on set to achieve the particular visuals that this film requires.

The set pieces, props, backdrops, etc. are vital to Albino Black Sheep. The story itself is set in the late 90’s, thus the art department requires acute attention to detail to make the story setting seem real and accurate of the time period. The particular visuals are what drive the surrealist and philosophical aspects of the film, and our film’s unique look and feel requires a wide range of different art. Some of the unorthodox costumes and props include a full-size adult sheep costume, a Rambo-esque military outfit, a biblical shepherd costume, a life-size cutout of the Monopoly Man, a wooden staff, a prop machine gun, a surplus of raw eggs, and many other quirky items that allow the film to realize its artistic vision. These items have significant and symbolic meaning to the narrative and having a well funded art department will allow the crew to produce high quality work that is parallel to the high standards they hold themselves to. The URCA grant is crucial in this aspect, as it meets half the budget for art, significantly lightening the burden of financing the art department off the shoulders of the individual students so that they can focus their efforts on the production and the quality of the film.

The Albino Black Sheep crew is comprised of talented and driven individuals at UCSB with diverse backgrounds and passions in filmmaking. For these students, Albino Black Sheep provides them the opportunity and space to learn, experience, and mimic the filmmaking process as it would be done in the film industry. It is the ultimate learning platform and it is one that fills the gap for most students at UCSB who are interested in film, as the department of Film and Media Studies maintains its focus on film criticism and theory rather than film production. Currently, the crew is made of up 30 students at UCSB, and Albino Black Sheep is an enormous step forward towards their career goals in filmmaking. The director and writer, Grace Kim, is an English major with a passion for literature and storytelling, who also has internship experience in media and post-production and has directed a variety of her own small video projects. Suna Gedik, the head producer, is a Film and Media Studies major with a wide variety of production experience, including but not limited to TVSB, Reel Loud Film Festival, and other student films . Andrew Han, the associate producer, is also a Film and Media Studies major who has worked on numerous sets and has directed the Reel Loud Film Festival for the past two years. AJ Martinez, the Director of Photography, has a strong and diverse background in camerawork, and most recently worked as the DP of a documentary film set in Tanzania called Kipawa.

Filmst 106 has a highly competitive and selective process where a tribunal of working industry members of the film industry select the most promising scripts to be worked on during the school year. The members of the crew were carefully and thoughtfully considered and recruited on the basis of their previous experience and enthusiasm to work and learn alongside others. The crew members themselves were not selected by professors, but by the Producers and Director, all of whom are students. While the class gives some structure to Albino Black Sheep, the professors provide overall guidance and general concerns and do not take any part in the actual production of the films. Thus, the crews are given free reign in the production of the film, meaning that all scheduling, logistics, funding, and marketing are done solely by the crew members. This underscores the passion, drive, and motivation that the Albino Black Sheep crew has displayed and continues to be fueled by in the production of the film. To each of these individuals, Albino Black Sheep provides them with an unique learning opportunity to experience firsthand what filmmaking can be and what the process is like in the professional world.

Albino Black Sheep is a conglomerate of varied fields. It combines art, film, music, philosophy, literature, history, and psychology into a beautiful and visually and metaphysically enticing final product. It speaks of what groundbreaking works can be done and what the creative process can produce when individuals come together to work towards a shared vision.

Sons for the Return Home and the post-colonial legacy of guilt by Grace Kim

The following is a critical essay that I wrote for a class on indigenous literature in the fall of 2016. The finished essay won the William Frost Memorial Award for academic excellence and best critical or scholarly essay and was awarded a $700 prize by the English department at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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The complexities surrounding environmental and racial policy, especially within the context of Indigenous communities, are layered and pervasive. A long history of colonization and its onslaught of open racism, anthropogenic climate and landscape change, racially-biased policy, imposition of Western standards of progress and economy and bureaucratic processes has left behind a racially prejudiced system, with an obscene disparity in the lifestyles of those who are favored by the system and those who are marginalized by it. But indigenous studies has not been shy about delving into the controversies of colonialist rule, and enlightened by the mistakes of the past, there are now visible efforts being made to tackle the issues fostered by the oppressive system left behind. However, while the acknowledgment and recognition of the oppressive colonialist past is a necessary start to a solution, it does not in of itself necessarily mean for better policies and relations afterward. In fact, extensive study and awareness of such history has led to the strange phenomenon of a post-colonial legacy of guilt. This post-colonial guilt is an emotionally charged misconception of current racial identities, relationships, and policies. It places emphasis on the individual that experiences the guilt from benefiting from these injustices, rather than on the individuals and communities that have actually suffered from colonialist policies. While it seeks to remedy the injustices inherited from the colonialist past, it is counterintuitively rooted in a philosophy of ‘othering’ that only furthers oppression. Albert Wendt portrays this legacy of guilt and how it unfolds in interpersonal relationships through the romance between a Samoan boy and European New Zealander girl. We see how this guilt also persists in a contemporary context, looking at policy-making and systemic oppression in the case of Maori-Crown relations, and media portrayals of racial relationships in the U.S. By examining the expansive presence of post-colonial guilt, it becomes evident that it not only pervades but also hinders progress towards a resolution and equality at both macro (systemic) and micro (interpersonal) levels.  

The problem with trying to alleviate the past wrongs of colonialism at a systemic level is that post-colonial guilt is not fueled by a genuine understanding of the cultural identities that have been marginalized. Rather, perpetrators of post-colonial guilt seek an efficient and speedy remedy to absolve its inherited guilt by simply ‘flipping the switch’ and implementing facile strategies that tend to overlook and oversimplify the dynamics of evolving cultures and peoples. Rather than breaking down previous stereotypes, they merely rewrite the definitions to impose a different kind of frigid political identity. We see this imposition of identity on indigenous communities in the case of New Zealand treaty-based policies between the Crown and the Maori people. While policies were intended to recognize indigenous rights and aid the Maori, who have had a long and tumultuous history with European colonists, they ultimately ended up excluding a large portion of the Maori community. The New Zealand government mandated that “only traditional kin-based iwi [or ‘tribes] were their Treaty partners” despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Maori resided in urban areas and no longer carried affiliation with iwi (Barcham, 141-142). Consequently, the Treaty-based partnership between the Crown and only Maori who actively belonged to iwi “effectively excluded and delegitimized other forms of Maori community”, thus merely shifting the borders of exclusion rather than eradicating them (Barcham 141). Colonial guilt plays its part in that the Treaty policies stemmed out of a desire to aid the very peoples that were injured by colonial policies, and thus were only willing to identify Maori who looked and organized in the way that fit the Western projection of what Maori looked like in colonial times. Thus, Maoris became subject to “recognition of difference only in the maintenance of a prior identity”, the prior identity being organization via tribal units such as iwi (Barcham 137). This inflexible construct of Maori identity, aside from being historically inaccurate, “fails to recognize the possibilities of alternate forms of community identity”, particularly the identity of urbanized Maori (Barcham 139). The post-colonial guilt that motivates these flawed policies are rooted in the psychology of othering, as it creates a dichotomy between the Western majority and indigenous minority, where the latter is identified only in its difference from the former. Urban Maori, in the context of this binary, occupy a liminal space between the urban majority and indigenous minority that are affiliated with iwi, and because of shared characteristics with the majority, urban Maori are suddenly stripped of their indigenous identity. This parochial definition of Maori identity has created two mutually exclusive spheres between European and indigenous and ultimately resulted in Treaty policies that did little to achieve their goal of aiding and protecting Maori rights.

This inherited guilt is not restricted to the structural sphere; it trickles down to pervade even the intimacies of interpersonal relationships, as poignantly drawn by Albert Wendt in Sons for the Return Home. In the relationship between a Samoan boy and a European New Zealander girl, we see how the “ongoing dynamic” of “indigenous-settler relations” permeate their romance (Barcham 137). When the couple embark on a road trip around New Zealand, the boy wakes up one morning to see a live hawk for the first time. He is captivated and moved at the sight of the bird in flight, but the trance is quickly disrupted when the bird is shot and killed by the girl. Furious with her, he yells, “Your lily-white ancestors ate everything that was worth eating in this fucken area. Now you even want to kill the bloody scavengers you brought with you!” (Wendt 95). Despite the fact that they are partners in a deep and intimate relationship, the two struggle to overcome the rift they’ve inherited from a colonial past. He finds it impossible to see her as an entity discrete from her “lily-white ancestors” and the alienating white majority in New Zealand. The girl also participates in a similar struggle, as she tries to distance herself as far as possible from her colonial inheritance of “blood and lies and fears and nightmares” from the “uncivilised, uncouth savages who came here from England” (Wendt 142). She is no stranger to the cruelties of her ancestors, and the particular language she uses to describe the New Zealand landscape to the boy reflects her uneasy conscience. “I have a history too, though it’s not as old as yours or the Maoris’ who owned the plain before we robbed them of it” (Wendt 86). Aware of the means by which her ancestors came to own the land, she is unable to make claim to it or her own history, knowing that the beginning of her ancestor’s ownership marked the end of the indigenous peoples’. Her speech is thus riddled with guilt and passive apologies. She puts forth a disclaimer, “though it’s not as old as yours or the Maoris,’” and addresses her ancestors’ “robb[ing] them” of their land, to indicate that she views her and her ancestors’ claim to the land as illegitimate. This sentiment becomes all the more transparent in her vehement outburst at her father, when she yells that her “grandfather was a thief” and the “superstitions you call ‘truths’ - such as decency, respectability, progress, money, white racial superiority [are] all bull-shit” (Wendt 142). Yet, this guilt does little to bring her and the boy closer. Instead, it widens the rift between them and it is apparent how deep the paradigm of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ is ingrained in her for she can only appease her guilt by condemning her own history.  She is unable to find a place that can hold both her and the boy as equals without one being the victim and the other being the perpetrator. Her language serves as an attempt to assure the boy and herself that they are ‘on the same side’, but ‘sides’ can only exist in opposition to each other. Her colonial guilt only reinforces the divide between their history and race, and works to temporarily place her, at least in her mind, on the victim’s (the boy) side of the divide.

The greatest logical fallacy that fuels post-colonial guilt is the misconception that racial injustices occur due to race itself, rather than our perceptions of race, identity, and stereotypes. After a racially charged encounter at the Samoan church, the girl says to the boy, “It’s a shame we’re not like those lizards that can change colour to fit their surroundings” (Wendt 64). He responds, “a shame we aren’t all purple”, as if the problem of oppression lies in the unchangeable quality of race itself, rather than in our skewed perceptions and speculations of race and identity (Wendt 64). While his remark about being purple is not serious, and thrown for the sake of comedic relief in a tension-filled atmosphere, it speaks volumes about both his and the girl’s perception of race as unavoidable and rigid identities. Just as ‘flipping the switch’ in government policies from persecution to federal aid does not alleviate the issues and concerns of contemporary indigenous communities, neither does turning a blind eye to race. We see similar sentiments being echoed in other post-colonial and racial contexts that are not limited to the Maori experience in New Zealand. In the popular American television series, Girls, we see an absurd yet not unrealistic depiction of contemporary racial relationships. Hannah, a white Liberal female in her twenties, begins a relationship with Sandy, a black Republican male. The two find themselves in the midst of a breakup and Hannah begins to attack his political beliefs, yelling “I would also love to know how you feel about the fact that two out of three people on death row are black men” to which he responds sarcastically, “"Wow, Hannah. I didn't know that. Thank you for enlightening me that things are tougher for minorities”. When Sandy then accuses her of exoticizing him, she responds, “Joke’s on you because you know what? I’ve never thought about the fact that you were black once”. He responds with incredulity, “That’s insane. You should, because that’s what I am”. Hannah “claims not to see race because she’s in denial about her own prejudices”, emphasizing the way by which post-colonial guilt manifests in her absurd attempt to assuage it and in her skewed perceptions of how race and racial identity should be approached (Berman). The issue with post-colonial guilt is that while the sentiment is understandable, it is not a solution in of itself. Apart from the fact that it is motivated by self-interest, it is an oversimplified approach to the convoluted, multi-layered issue of racial dynamics and systematic oppression. It is just as naive to claim to not see race, a major component of one’s political and cultural identity, as it is to largely condemn one race for the oppression of another, even if the condemnor belongs to the former. Contrary to what Hannah, the boy, and the girl may think, the core of interracial conflicts in a society that still largely functions within a white supremacist framework is not race in of itself. It is how individuals and institutions approach differences in race and how it pertains to individual and group identities.

In the U.S., Chun, Lipsitz, and Shin explore the utility and rationale of intersectionality as a tool for marginalized individuals to reconceive their racial, political, and gender identities. As they intersectionality and its applications in pursuit of labor policy reform for Asian female, low-income, undocumented immigrant workers, they emphasize intersectionality as a paradigm by which workers can see the system of oppression in place working in various spheres to undermine them (Chun et al. 920). By expanding beyond single-axis identities, the women are able to see the need for social justice as it pertains to all marginalized groups, and to understand how abuses of power are carried out at different levels. While Chun et al. discuss the practicality of intersectionality as a strategy for social justice and mobilization, we can deconstruct intersectionality to its most basic principle and define identity as being fluid and expansive, reaching out and dipping its fingers into multiple spheres. As Sandy points out, Hannah’s claim not to see race is a refusal to see him for what he is. But what he is imploring her to do is not to see just his race. He expresses his frustration at the countless women that date him, then “can’t deal with who I am” once they realize that he does not fit neatly into their preconceptions of a black man. Hannah’s remark about the statistics of black men on death row indicate her narrow assumption that black interests are universal and that being black encompasses the entirety of Sandy’s identity. His sarcastic response is indicative of a lived everyday experience where having such a rigid racial identity forced upon him is not unfamiliar. The driving principle of intersectionality is the rejection of a singular identity, as “no individual lives every aspect of his or her existence within a single identity category” and “there has never been one way to be a man or a woman, straight or gay, white or not white.” (Chun et al. 923, 937).

Taking this principle to the context of indigenous communities and post-colonial interactions, the boundaries of identity can be pushed further, past the constructs of political identities such as race, gender, and class. The way to begin addressing and remedying the legacy of guilt and consequent ‘othering’ is not in becoming ‘all purple’ but in understanding the richness and intricacies of different identities that encompass not only ethnicity but also culture, politics, spirituality, morality, and environmentalism. Efforts to manage settler-indigenous relationships at both a structural and interrelational level has sought a universal, cookie-cutter solution that can be applied to all contexts of racial relationships. But just as there are no singular, all-encompassing lived experiences, there cannot be singular approaches to the interactions and understanding of such experiences. Instead, a move towards a racially just future requires that we break down these dichotomies. The borders of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ that seem so rigid on paper are overwhelmingly fluid in our lives and relationships, and the liminal space between the two is a far broader valley than we could ever hope to confine. Thus what we need now is not a hasty call to action, but a call to understand the deep and intricate layers of what makes up not only indigenous but all identities, and the subsequent end to ‘othering’.

 

 

Bibliography

Barcham, Manuhuia. “Deconstructing the Politics of Indigeneity.” Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Eds. Duncan Ivision, Paul Patton, and Will Sanders. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2000. 137-151. Press.  

Wendt, Albert. Sons for the Return Home. Auckland, N.Z.: Longman Paul, 1973. Print. 

Berman, Judy. "'I'm a White Girl': Why 'Girls' Won't Ever Overcome Its Racial Problem." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 22 Jan. 2013. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.

Chun, Jennifer Jihye, George Lipsitz, and Young Shin. "Intersectionality as a Social Movement Strategy: Asian Immigrant Women Advocates." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 38.4 (2013): 917-40. Web. 1 Dec. 2016.

“I get ideas.” Girls, written by Jenni Konner, directed by Lena Dunham, Home Box Office, Inc, 2013.