MC's blog

Gathering Review1

Title: Papeando sobre IDENTIDADES ASIÁTICO BRASILEIRAS Duration: 2 hours Location/platform: Twitch

This live convo was done by a content creator/(journalist???? now that people have platforms by doing podcasts et. al I'm not sure how to call them) Leo Hwan who I follow on twitter. He is part of the collective Perigo Amarelo Nos Dias Atuais which is a Brazil-based group of east asian Brazilian's that organizes with other racial justice movements. Having grown up frequenting mostly PWI's, with my main exposure to my ethnic identity being confined to church and family, spaces that were nominally "apolitical" and discussions about identity, power, and inequality never took place, when I moved back to Brazil in 2019 I came in really hoping to find a community with which I could bond over these experiences and get involved with the larger activist/leftist community in São Paulo. Alas, the pandemic hit too soon and since then I have been confined to following/stalking all these great people on social media. I'm giving this background because when they announced that they were doing this live, I immediately marked my calendar, freed up my saturday, and spent the entire week waiting for the live to happen. I realized that I was really thirsting for a sense of community with asian-brazilians like this, even if I was just going to join as a viewer.

This event invited three other members of the community. They were engineers, chefs, content creators -- non-acadmic people talking about their experiences under a critical lens, which i really appreciated. The beginning was structured around intros and pre-written discussion questions, but as more people joined the event, the chat started blowing up, and Leo (the moderator) took a lot of care to make everyone in the chat feel listened to and as involved as possible, going through the lengths of reading through the comments and relaying the questions people asked in the chat to the speakers.

The mood/tone of the gathering was light and very open, it seemed like a lot of the people in the audience already knew the speakers and were comfortable participating in the chat, and because it was a casual conversation where the speakers made it very clear this was meant to be a friendly, group discussion, I really began to feel like... I was part of it? The really intense involvement we see by audiences on twitch/discord/lives really started making more sense now. And for me, the main reason why was because I was in a "room" with people I have been dying to (but physically unable to) be in community with (Asian-Brazilian leftists) all my life, and I given the engagement and questions being given by the audience, I could tell that it wasn't just me.

This made me think a lot about other internet communities such as communist twitter and trans twitter that become homes for people who oftentimes feel isolated in their own physical environments.

The written purpose of this gathering was to discuss Asian-Brazilian identities and intersectionalities, but I think that in practice, it was to build bridges and community for people with similar values and identities who felt isolated for them. The gathering was successful as in it made me, at least, feel engaged the entire time and really tempted to hit the speakers up on instagram DM's because I want friends. I think that it would have been difficult to improve that specific meeting in any significant way, given the limiations of twitch as a platform, but I think it would have been really great to 1) have saved the livestreamed video and uploaded it online so that people can watch even if its just for the learned content, and 2) have made this a continuous series, where we can continue building community and perhaps find other ways to also meet and discuss synchronously a well.

- 1 toast