As a former tumblrite, Cultural Appropriation is an issue near and not-so-dear to me. As a microblogging platform primarily utilized by the teenage set to share photographs, many of them fashion and trend related, it is a pretty obvious stage for this issue, giving rise to blogs such as My Culture Is Not A Trend and many others.
First of all, let’s give a little rundown of what Cultural Appropriation is from the folks over here.
Now, most of this I agree with. For example, I’m sick of seeing pictures like this every time I go online:
Seriously. Drew, I love you, but you look like a dumbass. Sorry. Headdresses are like Purple Hearts, in a way. You don’t just wear it as a fashion statement. It’s an honour and it is worthy of respect, not something to wear to a drunken hipster party.
My problem is not with the concept of Cultural Appropriation. It’s definitely a worthy effort. The struggles of the past as well as the current struggles of various minority communities need to be remember, learned about, and changed.
However, as usual, Social Justice is not about helping people. It’s about loss of free speech and the idea of a stepping-on-eggshells society where the idea of being offended by ANYTHING is legitimate, and the only people who disagree are obviously bad whities who want to control everyone.
A few quick looks through the tumblr ‘cultural appropriation’ tag, and you’ll find this image:
As usual, instead of dealing with the problem through education and reasonable action, SJ does what it usually does: finds a villain, 99 times out of 100 a white person.
THE GIRLS IN THIS PORTRAYAL ARE NOT BAD PEOPLE.
As I posted to my tumblr (of course, after I was bombarded with hate as per usual xD):
“God this fucking picture. SICK OF SEEING IT.
Yes, because first of all every white person has ivory skin and blonde hair and light eyes. None of us are different and unique, or anything.
Second of all. Those girls? Maybe their ancestors weren’t in America at the time? Cuz, you know, MOST WHITE PEOPLE IMMIGRATED AT ONE POINT, not all at the same motherfucking time.
I get that wearing a culture as a costume to a party is rude. It’s disrespectful. Don’t do it. I would never do that.
But you know what? Be mad about that. Don’t act like a fucking silly high school girl making a dumb decision is actually making an attack on your race in any way.
Or, you know, SAYING HER ANCESTORS WITH ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR KILLING YOUR ANCESTORS.
Also, even if her ancestors DID do that, or my ancestors, for that matter (which they didn’t. They were all in Greece…), I FUCKING DIDN’T. My parents didn’t. My friends didn’t.
NO ONE ALIVE TODAY ACTUALLY PARTICIPATED PHYSICALLY IN KILLING AMERICAN INDIANS.
Most decent people think it was fucking disgusting. I sure do. I will never say it was okay or excusable. But every white person the world over didn’t do it….”
I stand by all of it. White people are not all the same. Just like you guys want us to see various minorities as unique and different people, white people want and deserve the same thing. Equality is never going to happen as long as we keep picking a racial villain for everything that happens. But this post isn’t even about that.
Yes, as usual, the bullshittery just gets deeper.
I give you, a list of things I’ve heard described as appropriation if the person is white. If they’re a POC, it’s promptly ignored in 99% of cases because POC have political correct immunity:
- Tattoos in other languages
- Any tattoo representing anything construed as stereotypical
- Football teams with Native themed mascots (agree, but it’s not changing.. Get over it.)
- Any print that can be regarded as indigenous
- Ear Stretching
- ‘Bollywood’ garb
- Irish stereotypes
- Tribal tattoos
- Other religious symbols
- Paper cranes
- Most other shit you do, to be honest.
Note, this does not take into account whether or not you care and know a lot about this culture, it was given to you as a gift, etc. Nope. Your intent, apparently, never matters. Of course, exempt from this list is anything that can be construed as ‘white’, supposedly due to the white privilege in this society. But of course, actually hypocritical.
That said, I’m getting sick of being told ‘research your own culture!’
‘White people’ – the pale skinned, blue eyed, controlling, evil, rootless and heritageless don’t have any fucking culture. What is the inherent ‘WHITE’ culture?
Redneck trucks? Monster energy drinks? American flags? Christianity? Beer pong? Hollywood? Diets?
Oh. Could you perhaps be talking about a more british-esque culture?
Tea and crumpets? Sweater vests?
Of course, our culture doesn’t matter, because since we’re white our culture must all be the same. Especially annoying for those of us who come from ‘darker’ countries who don’t fit the pale white ideal. For example, I’m half Greek. I’m white as white could be, but that doesn’t change the fact that most of my ancestors had darker olive skin than I did. That’s not to say Greek people aren’t white, but guess what? My culture is not a ‘british-esque’ one, either.
Where is my culture?
Oh fucking wait.
It’s everywhere. Greek people have had a huge influence. Hear yourself speaking? I bet you use thousands of Greek-based English words every single day. But guess what? If a fucking Greek person complained about the use of the Greek alphabet in Sororities, I’d laugh in their face.
Because it DOES. NOT. MATTER.
Culture is appropriated no matter what. It’s something I love about the world, and I’m getting pretty fucking sick of being called a racist because I enjoy other cultures. Every time I disagree with the idea that anything the supposed ‘oppressed’ culture decides to be offensive must be so, I get called a racist. Which is a surefire way to make me want to smack you. Or at least get balls mad.
So, to those of you complaining about 99% of ‘cultural appropriation’, I give you the solution:
Shut the fuck up, stop whining, educate people about your culture, and move on.
You mad? Stay mad. You’re not helping anything at all but reinforcing the bitchiness of Social Justice.
What are your thoughts? Where is the line when it comes to Cultural Appropriations?