Who says North is up?
Upside Down maps (also known as South-Up or Reversed maps) offer a completely different perspective of the world we live in.
Technically speaking, even referring to the earth with words like “up” or “down” or comparing places with words “above” or “below” is flawed, considering that the earth is a spherical body (it’s actually slightly “fatter” at the equator) and flying through 3 dimensional space with no reference of up or down. However, the issue of “up” and “down” does become an issue when viewing the surface of the earth projected onto a flat piece of paper (a map). And the effect of the orientation of a map is more significant than you might realize.
As all maps require orientation for reference, the issue of how to layout the map orientation is as old as maps themselves. As map orientation is completely arbitrary, it is not surprising that they differed throughout time periods and regions.
The convention of North-up is usually attributed to the Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy (90-168 AD). Justifications for his north-up approach vary. In the middle ages, East was often placed at top. This is the origin of the term “The Orient” to refer to East Asia. During the age of exploration, European cartographers again followed the north-up convention…perhaps because the North Star was their fixed reference point for navigation, or because they wanted (subconsciously or otherwise) to ensure Europe’s claim at the top of the world.
In modern times, reversed maps are made as a learning device or to illustrate Northern Hemisphere bias. Different from simply turning a north-up map upside down, a reversed map has the text oriented to be read with south up.
The famous “Blue Marble” photograph of the Earth taken from on board Apollo 17 was originally oriented with the south pole at the top, with the island of Madagascar visible just left of center, and the continent of Africa at its right. However, the image was turned upside-down to fit the traditional view.
While the orientation of a map might seem harmless, it can have a significant effect on one’s perception of the world, and the relative importance of the different place in it.
In speech, we often refer to places being “above” or “below” others. Think of how you would say you’re about to travel to the state or country to your north or south (to go “down” to Kentucky from Indiana, or “up” to Canada from the US). Without even mentioning geography, ask any grade school student whether Mexico is “above” or “below” the United States. We’re all familiar with the “land down under”. As we often correlate importance to relative height (think how a citizens of a country will fly their flag higher than all other flags), the north-up convention reinforces the idea that northern bodies are more important than their southern neighbors. Suddenly, traveling “down” to the South might have an inference much deeper than geographic location.
After looking at the map more closely, you may realize that the South-Up orientation may change your perception of the relative status of different places. For example, South America suddenly looks to have more prominence, and Africa and the Middle East completely dwarf Europe. Likewise, tucking Northern Europe, Canada, and Russia away at the bottom of the map, subconsciously takes away their status.
I just happened to be discussing this with one group of sixth graders today on “How do we know that north is north?” One boy in the back row just looked at me, nodded his head in agreement, and did the hand signal for his mind being blown.
I do the signal regularly, so they’re getting it.
I have a map like this. My favorite is when people ask me why it’s upside down and get to play elitist -“who said north was up?”
this is freaking me out
I would love a printed out version, either like this or any other way than with Europe as the center top.
Triggers are supposedly when you are very suddenly pulled into a flashback, crawl into a corner and start sobbing like a baby/screaming/some OUT THERE!!!!! and obvious reaction that everyone can see.
This is wrong.
This is wrong because different people have different panic responses. Discomfort isn’t being triggered for sure, but becoming unable to function? By that I mean things like being able to read signs and navigate your way around your neighborhood and suddenly becoming unable to. I mean suddenly being unable to eat. For an entire day or days. Having a LATENT reaction where you don’t flip out until you’re in private. Becoming manic.
All of these things are trigger reactions, and on TOP of that, one’s life circumstances and experiences DETERMINE what sort of trigger reaction a person is prone to.
How likely do you think a person who knows that a single bad reaction at work will lose them their job and their livelihood will allow their triggers to be obvious in public? Do you really think that just because a person has been forced to figure out how to hold it in for an extra hour, or to find other ways that don’t threaten their entire lives, they’re less triggered than others?
On the contrary, the only people who are allowed to do heinous, egregious shit in public with little to no long-term effect are FUCKING WHITE PEOPLE. So it’s really fucking smooth that the only triggers that are real are triggers that WHITE PEOPLE are the only ones likely to actually display.
That’s not even going into the racist ass psychiatry that will say that a PoC who DOES flip out is just “overexaggerating” anyway.
Bewarey of people claiming triggers? Yes. Especially in situations where they did something that could’ve triggered others and got rightfully yelled at. But that’s a completely different situation.
Like when people at work would think it was funny or playful to “sneak up” behind me to try and scare me, or put their cold hands on the back of my neck. When I’m in “work mode”, all normal startle reaction are completely and preemptively suppressed; I don’t react at all except to freeze and my face goes completely blank. They can’t see that my entire body is being flooded with stress and panic hormones, and it’s a survival mechanism to go motionless until I can understand what’s happening.
I’ve actually injured myself from the muscular tension in the way i carry myself in situations where something like that can conceivably happen. Even if I’m not injured by it I still come home feeling quite literally like I’ve been beaten by a sack of potatoes, and endure muscle spasms in my shoulders, legs, face, and neck (esp hate the face ones).
On the plus side my lack of reaction usually causes people to stop doing that, which is probably why it developed in the first lace. People used to grab me all the time because my reactions were so “funny” to them.
TW: racism/white supremacy in the video
Just a reminder: the European Union, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today, produced this ad about the threat posed by PoC.
What in the eternal fuck did I just watch…
O__O see, you can keep europe & it’s non bathing people
What the holy fuck is this!? Yet another reason for not wanting my country to join the EU.. seriously, how did anyone think that this would be okay!?
“These incidents may appear small, banal and trivial, but we’re beginning to find they assail the mental health of recipients.”
-Sue et. al , 2007
If white people would even admit any of the stuff on this list was racist my life would be easier.
I’m white and not only do acknowledge that all those things are racist but also super fucking douchy.
I’ve experienced…all of these. Wow.
Same, multiple times, since I can remember. Honestly, especially when I was in school, I experienced at least one of these things almost daily.
=(. i’ve experienced just about all of these too, including this first one as an alien in our own land. i know so many Black people who are asked where they are from regularly by white people who for some reason can’t fathom we were born in the U.S. even tho many of our families have been here longer.
as for the criminality one, it would happen to me and my brother a lot, even when young. and we used to get so annoyed, we started doing shit like seeing old white ladies while we were in the car waiting for our mom, and lock the door really fast like we were scared and stuff. get back at em lol.
of a white woman who came to the group for Women of Color
her grief cut us into guilt while we clutched the straw
of this tiny square inch we have which we need
so desperately when we need so much more
We talked her into leaving
which took 10 minutes of our precious 60
Those legion white Lesbians whose feelings are hurt
because we have a Lesbians of Color Potluck
once a month for 2 hours
Those tears of the straight woman
because we kicked out her boyfriend at the Lesbians only
poetry reading where no microphone was provided
& the room was much too small for all of us
shouting that we were imperialists
though I had spent 8 minutes trying to explain
to her that an oppressed people
cannot oppress their oppressor
She ignored me
charged into the room weeping & storming
taking up 9 minutes of our precious tiny square inch
Ah those tears
which could be jails, graves, rapists, thieves, thugs
those tears which are so puffed up with inappropriate grief
Those women who are used to having their tears work
rage at us
when they don’t
We are not real Feminists they say
We do not love women
I yell back with a wet face
_Where are our jobs? Our apartments?_
_Our voices in parliament or congress?_
_Where is our safety from beatings, from murder?_
_You cannot even respect us to allow us_
_60 uninterrupted minutes for ourselves_
Your tears are chains
Feminism is the right of each woman
to claim her own life her own time
her own interrupted 60 hours
No matter how sensitive you are
if you are white
No matter how sensitive you are
if you are a man
We who are not allowed to speak have the right
to define our terms our turf
These facts are not debatable
Give us our inch
& we’ll hand you a hanky
They’ll insist that it was just another isolated incident— rather than terrorism. And certainly not at all reflective of a White Culture of Violence.
- (In a conference on the GWOT, 9/11 and "Islamic ideology", I was in the speaking panel)
- Young British man in the crowd asks me: Are you apologetic about 9/11?
- Me: No. I don't apologize for 9/11. Why should I? I had nothing to do with it. I'm only sorry about the lives lost - regardless of who they were. But I am NOT a spokesperson for Al-Qaeda. No sensible Muslim is. Do I ask British people to apologize to me for colonizing my country back then, taking the rights of the masses away, ending freedom of speech, creating problematic borders that led to bloodshed, sexually assaulting the women of my land, westernizing the entire pedagogues in the subcontinent, turning my culture and my identity into a mystical subject for orientalist authors to go capitalize on? Have I asked you to say sorry to me?
- Him: (remains silent)
[Two smiling people at a table. One is saying “I’m so happy we live in a world without slavery and imperialism.” There are boxes pointing to various objects around and on the people. They read:
COTTON: Picked in Uzbekistan where 2 million children as young as 7 are forced to pick cotton for 3p a kilo.
APPLES: Picked in California by Mexican migrant workers, not being paid minimum wage nor provided housing.
LAPTOP: Made in China by adults working 18 hours a day at 32p an hour. The laptop will end up back in China’s landfills, where children will dismantle it for its valuable metals including lead.
MOBILE PHONE: Gold, tantalum, tin, and tungsten mined in Congo in abysmal working conditions, causing disease and the regional conflict responsible for the deaths of over 5 million people and systematic rape of women.
ORANGE JUICE: Picked in Chile by women working 60 hours a week, below minimum wage.
FACE: Detoxed with Dead Sea salts sourced in occupied West Bank; land stolen by Israel from Palestinians, who are subject to continual and severe human rights violations.
COFFEE: Picked in Guatemala where entire families with children as young as 6 are forced to pick a 100-pound quota in order to get the minimum wage of less than £2/day
SHIRT: Sewn in India under forced labour conditions by people earning less than 25p an hour, for 16 hours a day, while being unable to send their children to school.
DIAMOND: Mined in Sierra Leone by children as young as 7, working in dangerous conditions for 10p an hour, six days a week.]
this needs a million notes
You’re all a bunch of White Supremacists feigning intelligence, masturbating with your own feels because you read some Tolstoy or Shakespeare and feel triumphant about it.
I will read whatever the heck I like, thank you very much. I don’t have to read “The Classics” because they’re “The Classics”. What could Charlotte Brontë have to say that I find so much more compelling than the works of Chinua Achebe? Why do I have to put myself through the unbending torture of Nathaniel Hawthorne? Why? Because they’re deceased, famous and White? Sounds about right to me. Why is it so hard for you to comprehend that I enjoy Oscar Wilde and Toni Morrison?
That Langston Hughes, Staceyann Chin, Paulo Coelho, Amy Tan, Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia Butler and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are just as bad-ass as “The Greats”.
That I don’t believe Dostoyevsky is superior to Sandra Cisneros?
That”When I Was Puerto Rican”by Esmeralda Santiago has more relevance to my life than Chaucer?
That, yes, the works of Frederick Douglass and Phyllis Wheatley mean more to me that 19th Century British literature?
I like Jane Austen, yes.
I also like Shakespeare, yes.
I stan for Walt Whitman, yes.
But Dead White People aren’t the only ones who write things. Stop pretending to like a genre of literature simply because it’s old and held in high esteem by The Snob Police.
perfect post is perfect!!!