Blog #2 Showcase! and more

Posts are due this week on Wed, Feb 10 at 7:00 PM (giving you all those evening hours for reading and commenting by 9:30 am the next day!).

This week I’d like you to use some of your blog to discuss the materials you (as a class) produced and demonstrated in the Archives Project Showcase. What I’m looking for is not simply what you liked, but a discussion of what made a particular project or project particularly effective for you. ETA: You don’t need to discuss your own project, but can reflect on others’. Ideally, you’ll link this discussion seamlessly into whatever topic you want to take up this week: your own archives work, archives in general, and Diamond Grill are still up for discussion, and we’ve ventured into new terrain with our work on Jiwani & Young. You could take up the blog posts I’d assigned for Thursday’s class but then did not ask you to read because of the Geography midterm (“When the Media Treats White Suspects” & “I am Not Your Wife…” ). You might be interested in this analysis of media coverage following the Charleston shootings, showing “how the media covers white terrorism,” with similar findings to the other readings. If you’re working ahead, you could also go ahead and post your analysis of Through a Blue Lens, the documentary you’ll need to watch for Thursday’s class, or take up the work of looking at media treatment of celebrity overdoses (on our schedule for Thursday but not required as homework). I’ll be asking you to connect it to Jiwani & Young for our class discussion and of course in whatever you post about, I’ll be looking for you to extend your analysis by engaging with scholars and other voices.


  1. Seana: I found your linkage of what we did in our projects and the general class discussion we had about Jiwani and Young’s article very insightful. The group’s information graph I found to be very useful and its illustrations made me want to keep on reading. Something about the use of colorful graphics on info graphic compels (at least for me) to read further into what is being described. But nonetheless, it seems the public appreciates hard statistical evidence. If Jiwani and Young’s stats in their paper were done in an info graphic, I think there would be a night and day difference in awareness and people’s understanding of how dehumanized the media has made these victimized Aboriginal woman. Great post, and I never thought of info graphics being as persuasive. I think if info graphics can provide a counter frame for badly dehumanized and skewed ideas of a certain demographic such as the Aboriginal woman who reside in the East Side of Vancouver, it could serve justice elsewhere too.

    Tanvi: You’re absolutely right about how the media tends to skew profiles of perpetrator or victims in news stories. It is ridiculous to see the stark contrast of crimes where the perpetrator is white compared to that of an African American. Even locally here in Vancouver, although not as bad we never really go into the shootings Surrey where a young South Asian or African Canadian gangster dies at least once a week. I am appalled that news coverage does not include the hidden potential of these males that also, like white people who are covered in the media (perpetrator or victim) did indeed have untapped potential. Your ending remarks I interpreted as meaning that sometimes news agencies can encourage and instigate prejudice towards the groups that were either the perpetrators or the victim who is sometimes reported to have been inviting of the crime. I personally believe race needs to be taken out of the equation of how crime is analyzed if there is any hope of removing news-invoked prejudices.

    Zoey: Great analysis of Tumblr! When I saw the group present their findings, I was impressed to see they went with something a little different to present the findings. Social media has become useful for more than just selfies and funny cat videos. I completely agree with the analysis presented by Katie Anderson about how Tumblr is like an accessible library of sorts. The tool of reblogging and sharing through the vast array of media platforms can make archival findings on a Tumblr blog much easier to find for those interested in bits of history such as the Internment narratives by Will, Jewel, Rachel and Tima. It will be interesting to see how social media will further become a platform to present archival material. Facebook has done a good job at archiving and categorizing our footprint on their site, let’s see if it’ll extend further.

  2. will:
    As I watched Through The Blue Lense, I scrolled down to read the comments on the Youtube video and was interested to see that most people shared the same type of amazement I had. The policemen in the documentary exhibited amazing amounts of empathy and handled most of the people they encountered with the utmost respect. A lot of the time the Police force can be included in the process of marginalization but in this case, the police men seemed to be the only people checking in with these people. Now, this is not to say that the police force is not part of the problem, as pointed out by Jiwani and Young, they mishandled multiple investigations of the missing and murdered woman. It was just nice to see in this one instance that these policemen were attempting to treat people with empathy and respect.

    I thought the point you brought up about the perpetrators of crimes being represented differently by the media according to their race was very astute. I remember when there was the shooting in Charleston, North Carolina the perpetrator was a white male and he was called a “troubled teen”. Someone on twitter even went as far as to make a picture set of him commenting that he was “so hot”. This picture set went viral and was met with extreme back lash but it doesn’t change the fact that someone still thought that was acceptable behaviour. It makes me so upset that in this day and age the media is looking acts of (in my opinion) evil and continually make excuses for them. I think its important to remain vigilant of how the media chooses to portray certain perpetrators and which ones they make excuses for.

    I think the reflection you did on your groups project was extremely thoughtful and smart. Group projects are hard, especially when we are tasked with such delicate issue, like someone own personal history. Once we feel comfortable with someones history then it is equally as important to identify which silences they want to be filled and which ones the archives seem to be okay with leaving alone. Then on top of that, a group has to take each persons style of work into account and filter the archives through that. I think that is something we must keep in mind whenever we are reading through a documentation of an archival document. The person that was documenting the archives have their own style and judgments on what they think are important. With this group project we got to feel what it is like to be tasked with trying to be as impartial as possible and give the best representation of the work.

  3. Response to Will: The theme of marginalization is definitely there throughout our studies of archival materials to Whitlock’s Soft Weapons. Its really interesting to see this same topic through different perspectives, contexts, and text types as we can really dig deep when analyzing a passage or an article in class. I feel like the knowledge we gained through studying these different mediums for the theme of marginalization has really taught me to look at things from the marginalized perspective, applying this experience and channeling it towards ASTU and other courses.

    Response to Jodie: You bring up a great point in the topic of modern media coverage: racial norms are constantly perpetuated through the media. It was startling to see the stats on the arrests of African-Americans compared to the media coverage of African-American crimes as it truly shows how skewed the society is in terms of the violent portrayals and stereotypes of different races. This problem of unfair media coverage naturally creates a massive divide in society in which we live in. It’s crazy to know that in the 21st century, racism is still a thing. And that we’re encouraged by the media to keep it going.

    Response to Seana: It would be so cool to see Jiwani and Young’s article as an infographic! It would definitely help raise awareness on the unfair media coverage of the marginalized people. I feel that the infographic as a text type would reach the biggest audience when it comes to raising awareness: it could be digitally shared on social media, it could be printed out as posters, and as the presentation group mentioned it could also be a brochure. If awareness was increased in this topic, people can definitely recognize the “dominant frame” and build a strong “counter frame” against it.

  4. In response to Colleen’s blog: I agree with Colleen that the infographic provided by Anna, Mishal, Emily and Emma was an extremely useful, clear and effective tool to teach high school children and others who are interested about the topic of discrimination of Chinese immigrants in Canada. As Colleen pointed point a key theme this year has been marginalization and I was shocked at myself at how quick I was to previously accept the dominant views that feature in the media, literature and society. I know for certain I am now much more critical of what I read but I do still question how many “unnatural” and “natural” silences I have overlooked in the past.

    In response to Melissa’s blog: When initially watching the “react” videos linked in Melissa’s blog, I too was focused on the male’s reaction to the cat-calling. It was only after I continued reading the blog post that I began to consider how videos such as this reinforce the rhetoric that Jwani and Young speak of, describing women as “good” based on their relations to others. It amazes me that though we have moved so far from the oppression of women in previous centuries, in many cases, we still imply social norms of women being possessions to males.

    In response to Anna’s blog: Anna explains the lack of information provided about Aboriginal people in the film Through a Blue Lens. She describes the dominate feature of white subjects and the focus on the variety of backgrounds and previous lives of these addicts showing that anyone can have an addictive personality which may lead to drug addiction. I very much agree with Anna’s claims and after doing some investigation to the film it became clear that one of the women briefly featured in the film was in fact of Aboriginal origin and went missing from the Downtown Eastside. I was appalled at how, despite one of the women featured going missing, still nothing was done to mention the link to Aboriginal women.

  5. Mishal:
    It’s so disappointing to me when I hear things about how it’s the woman’s fault when they get harassed. They’re clothes are inappropriate, who wouldn’t do that to them when they look like that, they were asking for it, the list goes on and, frankly, it’s sickening. The fact that people think that “bad” women deserve to be raped or harassed because they’re not “good” and that the men need to “teach them a lesson” as you said. Reading your blog made me think of some of the people that were interviewed on Through a Blue Lens, and their use of prostitution as a means of money. Being seemingly white, there wasn’t much said about it, yet I wonder how the officers in the film would have reacted if they were Aboriginal, or any other race. The most key thing to remember, however, is that it is NEVER the victim’s fault.

    Your blog posts always make me think, and this one was definitely no exception. I really enjoyed how you took a step back from what the more popular view of the video was, and analyzed the situation without the judgment others might have of seeing the police as the “good guys” and the addicts the, for lack of a better word, “bad guys.” After watching the video and then reading you blog, I was able to think back to certain points in the movie while keeping what you said in mind, and I found that I was a little bit ashamed of myself for not even thinking about how intrusive this really is on some of their lives. So, thank you.

    It was interesting for me to compare your perspective and Anna’s because they both take on different perspectives, but they are focused on essentially the same principles. Both of you mention how the police are given more credit than they actually deserve, by skirting around the issue at hand, both by not looking fully into the missing women cases and by not “enforcing the law” fully while working in the Downtown East Side. I found it thought provoking because you talk about how the police don’t do quite enough, while Anna mentioned how they were doing too much by invading the lives of the people that they were focusing on. Both ideas have different truths, and it would beneficial to people who are trying to better understand the circumstances of that area by putting those two ideas together to make a stronger argument and analysis of the entirety of the situation.

  6. In response to Anna’s blog:

    I found your critical analysis of “Through a Blue Lens” very enlightening. It wasn’t until reading your blog that I realized the subjects represented in the film were all middle-aged white people, and given the diversity of Downtown Eastside at the time, there should have been a wider range. With the mention of Jiwani and Young I followed up by researching the city’s approach to the Downtown Eastside and the marginalized groups- notably Aboriginals. I was pleased to find that the “Local Area Profile 2012” recognizes the overrepresentation of Aboriginal women in sex trade work given their low percentage in the overall population. Also, the statistics portion noted its underrepresentation of “low-income and homeless individuals, due to the challenge of surveying these populations.”

    Additionally, your point about the policemen believing themselves to be superior was something I noticed as well. I noted two instances in which one of the policeman called those who inhabit the Downtown Eastside “pathetic, wasted lives”. Another said they were a “waste of society’s moneys and taxpayer’s dollars,” although these were usually followed by a statement about how the lifestyle wasn’t chosen and is a result of poor decisions.

    In response to Mishal’s blog:

    It’s interesting how the article by Sylvia Path condemned the very thing that Vancouver policemen in the film “Through a Blue Lens” were doing. Her rejection that women are only valuable in their relation to men as wives, sisters, daughters, or mothers is the exactly what many policemen filmed used in order to relate to inhabitants of the Downtown Eastside. In the documentary it was stated a few times that it wasn’t until some policemen were informed of an individual’s past or saw some family photo album that they were able to see them more as people. It’s a relatively simple practice of connecting people with others, but that which it suggests about individuals needing connections with other people to be valuable is disheartening. It certainly wasn’t an observation made when this movie was analyzed in my high school.

    In response to Rachel’s blog:

    I also grew up and was educated in British Columbia, and I was surprised by how little I knew about Japanese Internment. The only information I had been taught about discrimination or oppression of Asian immigrants was the Head Tax and the Chinese immigrant role in the railway. Given that this was a locally relevant piece of Canadian history I’m surprised it wasn’t mentioned. There was a focus on Aboriginal oppression in every year of high school and a unit on the Holocaust. I’m wondering how the school board decides which histories are worth educating about. Is it about the number that are involved or the range of effects? Histories that are directly relevant on a global scale? Or those that are national? Which marginalized groups are the most important to represent? Anna’s blog mentioned that in the documentary “Through a Blue Lens” (a film studied in many BC high schools) the Downtown Eastside subjects studied were all white. Does the rapidly growing Asian population in British Columbia mean that the curriculum should change to reflect that?

  7. In response to Melissa:
    I thought your blog did a good job of pointing out how the narrative about “good” or “respectable” women can be dangerous. I think a lot of people use the question of “would you do this to your wife/mother/daughter?” to discourage men from doing things like catcalling or committing acts of sexual violence, as a way of making it more personal to them. This strategy, however, feeds into a dominant patriarchal structure in which women are only valuable if they fall into those categories. It is important to take a closer look at how we talk about women as we make more and more strides towards gender equality, and make sure the actions we take don’t feed greater frameworks of oppression.
    In response to Blakely:
    We both talked about similar issues in our blogs, but your comment about the hypervisibility of the past mistakes of black victims made me wonder how much media representation of black victims in police-related violence effects future acts of violence. Lately, it’s seemed as if there’s always a new news story about police brutality, and another death of an unarmed (usually black) victim. Does the media representation of black men as criminals factor into that? If the police, like the rest of the public, are constantly exposed to negative portrayals of black men in the news, does that make them more likely to presume guilt? Obviously, I don’t have the answer to these questions, I would be interested to learn more about what direct effects media representation can have.
    In response to Anna:
    Your criticisms of Through a Blue Lens put a lot of what felt off to me when watching the documentary into words. Your post reminded me of Whitlock’s Protection and conversations about who gets to speak. What would a documentary where people from the downtown eastside had full control over content and the final product look like? Unlike PARI, which aims to make sure the speakers and subjects are at the center of all content, Through a Blue Lens focuses on the police officers and their message, using the people in the documentary almost as props. I’d be curious to see how the narrative we were told would have changed if the filmmakers had brought in a wider range of people in the downtown eastside and let them tell their own story.

  8. Blakely:
    Your question about how the situation would have been if it was a black cop and white victim really intrigued me. For one thing, the situation probably would have been a lot different: it probably wouldn’t have even occurred. This is probably because we still live in a white dominant society that still portrays black people as more violent, and many, even the black cop would just assume that they were his children. However, it’s not just that that intrigued me, but also the fact that I have never heard of black cops in the news (although I know that they exist), and I wonder if it’s because in this case, them being the hero is invisible because of racism still ingrained in our society, or just because I don’t pay enough attention to the news.

    I found that your extended research on the apology for discrimination against Chinese immigration really made me happy, but at the same time wondered if just an apology and a collection of records was enough. After all, you can’t erase the history and pain that these immigrants had to go through. In addition to that, just because the government has changed its mind to become more progressive, I wonder if it reflects the society in general or just a select number. Despite that, I think that just a few people trying to make a difference can and will have huge results.

    I found it really interesting when you brought up our sociological discussion that talks about how race needs to have discrimination. I agree that acknowledging the problem is a good first step, I wonder, considering race is now a huge foundation in our society, how close we can get to closing the gap between discrimination for the minorities and rewards for the white people, before no more progress can be made. Is there a way to eradicate racism all together without completely changing our society? Will we even be able to? After all, once a mindset such as racism becomes dominant in the dominant group it is extremely hard to eradicate the entire ideology, even if the dominant group is trying to. After all, it is true that sometimes the dominant group isn’t aware of all the luxuries that they posses, and will they be willing to give up all those advantages they have become accustomed to?

  9. In response to Seana: I want to take this opportunity to thank you for appreciating our project and I couldn’t agree more with your idea of an info graphic showing the information in Jiwani and Young’s article. Also just as our info graphic showed the dominant perspective on one side and the marginalized on the other, the Jiwani and young infographic could have the representation of white missing and murdered women on one side and the misrepresentation of women of colour and aboriginal victims on the other. I agree with your point that this would allow such information to reach a wider audience such as our youth, and it is the Youth that needs to be gain more awareness of such crucial matters.

    In response to Tanvi: I found your blog post quite interesting because it makes me ponder that where have we progressed to as a society. We all know about the era of colonialism, and slavery and the extreme racial discriminations that people of colour had to face at the hand of the superior white race. While some may argue that we have evolved from that age of intolerance and pride, I think its worse than before and the reason I think so is because at least back in that time period all the discrimination and prejudice was out in the open and more upfront, where as nowadays it is still there but hidden under layers of pretence and false hopes and promises. Misrepresentation in media and lack of representation in historical records have not helped make things any better. Young minds are easily affected by what they see on TV and internet and thus it is important to address these issues head on or else this issue will get more and more worse over time.

    In response to Rachel: Your blog post reminded me of my journey through the archives at RBSC. Before starting our project on the Chung collection, I had little or no information about Chinese Canadians or their history. After reading Fred Wah’s family memoir, Diamond Grill I was intrigued to know more about the history of Chinese Canadians. Thus we decided to look into the Chung collection and the records and documents we found there were really thought provoking and made us think about marginal silences in the archives. That inspired us to work to fill the knowledge gaps by linking the events and their effects in a chronological order, so that it would help us spread the information to a wider audience, which includes international students like me who didn’t know much about Canadian history to begin with.

  10. In response to Rachel’s blog:
    I realized how little I know when I was doing the archive project as well. Archives are definitely a place for us to acknowledge history and remember the past. I agree with you that schools often fail to include a certain piece of history, especially those that are unfavorable to them, such as Japanese-Canadian Internment in BC. This again raises the question as who can decide what to be known by the public and whose history can be widely recognized. Speaking of Through a Blue Lens, though I agree that it is a record of “real” events, it doesn’t mean that it is impartial. As mentioned in Anna’s blog, the documentary put police in a more superior position while devaluing drug addicts. This may reinforce the stereotype on drug addicts in Downtown East Side and discourage society from helping them.

    In response to Kaz’s blog:
    I like how you compare media coverage in the past and present and your idea that the lack of attention from the media creates a knowledge gap! In addition to that, I think selective reporting can also be a source of knowledge gap in media representation. Some media outlet may be biased as they only advocate for their own positions. They may deliberately choose the report on issues or from the perspective that are in accordance with their own agenda. For example in my group project on the discrimination against Chinese immigrants in BC, I found that most of the news articles at that time presented the opinions of the dominant group only. The voices of Chinese immigrants were ignored and this created an “unnatural silence.”

    In response to Mishal’s group:
    Indeed, women should not be raped because they are someone’s mother, daughter, or wife; but simply because they are human who deserve to be treated with respect. I guess one of the reasons behind such media representation is that by reducing the value of women, the act of raping and society’s inability to solve this problem can be justified. Besides, this can be linked to Through a Blue Lens. In the documentary, a police officer mentioned that some of the drug addicts were born in a healthy family and have father and mother who love them, that’s why we should give them care and accept them too. This again falls into the trap that emphasizes the relationship of drug addicts and other, but fails to recognize them as human who deserve our attention.

  11. In response to Nana:
    Through this blog post I’m really starting to notice the links between what we are now doing in ASTU, and how it goes with what we are learning currently in Sociology also. It’s insane how much media coverage is carefully calculated and monitored to create the theory about “framing.” It’s ridiculous how society is ushered so much to fit all the specific roles in order to keep the marginalized where they are and idolize the majority. What is so wrong about telling the truth? At least with social media such as your example Twitter, it is inspiring in the way that it is opening up new areas of communication and virtual conglomerations of people who are willing to spread/seek the truth and work together to diffuse the media’s repression. It seems to be a very useful and moving means that yields lot of positive results. However on that note, perhaps the social media can also worsen the situation as news coverage is also heavily circulated around the social sphere which could potentially douse the positive action. Thanks for the detailed post, super interesting.

    In response to Zoey:
    I guess for a start, thank you for showing interest in our presentation method, I’m glad that you found it effective!
    I hadn’t realized how much Tumblr was opening up as a space for archival materials to be shared but I definitely agree that it is an effective tool to conduct information. I wonder if due to this growing use, Tumblr will gain more credibility and develop more to be used as a source to conduct more scholarly and/or archival affairs (or just gear to a more serious and sophisticated means of social media blogging).

    In response to Melissa:
    The rhetoric of “mothers, daughters, and sisters,” is super enlightening. How can we as a human race justify dehumanizing human beings? To see this rhetoric of these terms having the connotation ownership has never occurred to me before, so it is quite interesting to see it from this new angle. I feel that in our modernizing world we hear a lot about positive change and how discrimination and inequality is becoming less of a problem, however there is so much more ground breaking to do. This is especially for women’s rights, as you explain. Interesting how the only two viable options for women is to be labelled into two categories; the rhetoric in which you are seen as a possession or nothing, where you are seen to have no value or worth whatsoever. I wonder what direction we’ll go in to actually finally find equality for all women. I watched a couple of the catcalling react videos and I see where you are coming from. I understand that they were potentially trying to do good and help people understand however it does definitely does highlight the hegemonic man and brings more notice to how they feel about their mother, daughter, sister (ahem, possession), being catcalled and doesn’t address the catcalling itself as a legitimate problem, but simply something that happens.

  12. Response to Melissa’s Blog Post- Do you think that even videos like these “React” ones create this environment for social change? The point I’m getting at is that I wholeheartedly agree with your statement. I agree that in order to reduce the current damage we’ve done as a society toward women is to teach their worth as a human being rather than somebody’s possession. History over time has become more progressive through social change and I believe that the change regarding this view of women will occur faster due to technology. Technology sends thoughts, ideas and feelings across the globe at an ever accelerating rate, and the adoption of ideas takes place even faster. This adoption of ideas is seen in the global use of the car, computers and even civil rights ideology toward African Americans. I believe that with today’s world as a progressive, growing system of ideas, this idea that definitely should be common knowledge to everyone, will be adopted by all. Do you think that even videos like these “React” ones create this environment for social change?
    Response to Jewel’s Blog Post- As someone who experiences living on the hyphen daily, I fully acknowledge my heritage of both sides of my descent. However, in order to do that, it requires the acceptance that on one side of my heritage, my ancestors did engage in those discriminatory attacks on the other side of my heritage, as Sarkowsky mentioned. I believe this stems mainly from the hegemonic ideas already produced by society that require one to identify strictly as one or the other in regards to race, or better yet, in gender. In Jiwani and Young, the two discuss the hegemony and the frameworks that continue to make it relevant in society, however, it’s constantly reinforced through ourselves as individuals who live on the hyphen for example. It’s internalized discrimination that has been taught to us by society that causes one to think “I need to be one or the other, not both” or “My lifestyle is wrong and I shouldn’t do that”. The hegemonic principles are present in ourselves, which in turn breed it in society through our own actions. I don’t know the best way to eradicate this way of thinking, but I think it requires sitting down with ourselves and finding a way to live on the hyphen.

    Response to Emma’s Blog Post-It seems a common theme in many of my lectures right now is racism, provided that it is either an underlying tone in the conversation, or is like our sociology course and is fairly overt. The marginalized in every society since the beginning of civilization have had some degree of racism; just look at America in the 1960’s, Canada in the 1940’s, and even the Romans in 500 BC. Racism worked as a way to continue to reinforce the status quo and many dominant ideas about society, though the pushing down of another social class. One of the things that was surprisingly absent from our sociology lecture, was the basis of why we have racism, not just how it works. Racism is continually present, and the marginalization continues to shift from one group to another over time with no real end in sight. You’re absolutely correct that we shouldn’t allow our cultures to reflect how others are treated in society, but I think a hard truth is that we as a society have allowed it to become such a part of our lives that we cannot imagine a system without any form of inequality.

  13. Seana: As we have learned in ASTU, identifying an audience is a key component to a good project, presentation or paper. The article by Jiwani and Young was very clearly targeted for a scholarly audience, however I wonder if their message would get across better through a different medium. Moreover, I wonder if the mode of presentation changed, how the content would change. It is hard to tell what would be included and left out if the information they were presenting was put into the form of an info-graph for example. I would imagine that the key abstractions of racism, sexism, and discrimination would remain prominent but the low-level details would likely change to suit the level of the targeted audience. I believe that putting information out in multiple forms is an important component when trying to spread a message as different audiences are exposed to different mediums of information.

    Jewel: I thought it was a very interesting connection you made between the hybridity in Diamond Grill and Jiwani and Young’s article. I believe that in our globalized world where it is easy to move across the planet and make connections from almost anywhere in the world to almost anywhere else, hybridity is going to be a very prominent part of many lives. Now that there has been such a drastic increase in global flows, it is going to not only be more common to have a very complex and tangled ancestry but might also become less of an issue. As with many unique traits, when they become more common fear of being different and standing out fades away and so does the prejudice attached to the trait.

    Nana: I think it is very important for an individual to recognize how they are being treated based on or in relation to racism in order for changes to be made. However, as you point out in your blog, the role the media plays in enforcing, imposing and perpetuating racism is pivotal. We live in a society that could be described as dependant on the media. News channels tell us what is important in the world, entertainment news defines how the ideal lifestyle should be lived, and movies define our collective values. Yet as we learned in Political Science last term, there is no such thing as unbiased media. Therefore I think another major component in fighting against a racist society is understanding the bias of the media and listening and watching for silences whether they be unnatural or natural.

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