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Dear Wendy

Cultural appropriation

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This topic contains 63 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by avatar LisforLeslie 1 month ago.

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  • #805186 Reply
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    keyblade
    Member

    If we are assuming Howdy Wiley and her daughter are both white and Cleopatra Jones is black, I think Cleopatra answered the appropriation question probably from a much more knowledgeable place about black American women’s hair and what might be appropriation.

    My comment was about being verbally accosted because of what your three year old is wearing. I’m not speaking about black people, indigenous people, and other cultural group’s own inside discussions about what may or not be cultural appropriation. I don’t feel like my opinion should have anything to do with telling other ethnic or racially categorized people what is or is not social appropriation or demand they consider it in good taste.

    But I think there is no cause to scream at a three year old in public, with very few exceptions.

    One of the issues I see with P.C. culture is that reasonable people who do care about at least trying to be thoughtful about others end up carrying the weight for the rest of society. It seems unlikely that Howdy would intentionally steal or mock other people through her daughter. I think the grievance is real, but I doubt Howdy Wiley’s three year old is culpable for all of it, nor should she be expected to take on that adult’s frustration with issues she can’t even mentally comprehend, yet.

    Howdy Wiley, I think you sound like someone who would go out of your way to consider another person’s feelings and perspective. I can’t speak to hair appropriation with any level of expertise, but I do think you shouldn’t take someone who would behave so rudely to a stranger to heart. It isn’t as though you were walking around with an Adolf mustache.

    #805269 Reply
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    Sarah

    First it was not appropriate for that stranger to yell at your child. The hairstyle you describe doesn’t sound like it is a traditionally black hair style like cornrows.

    Reading a lot of these responses … yikes. I assume the people writing how it doesn’t matter, culture is to be consumed by everyone, melting pot, blah blah blah are white.

    Cultural appropriation is about POWER DYNAMICS. It’s the dominant culture (white, Eurocentric, COLONIAL) taking and using parts of a culture that has less power.

    On this topic it’s NOT OK to wear head-dresses to coachella, it’s not ok to wear to dress up as Pocahontas for Halloween, it’s not ok to Build a teepee in your backyard and throw a birthday party for your white, NON-NATIVE toddler Etc. Etc.

    #805270 Reply
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    Sarah

    Cultural appropriation is real. Unless you’ve experienced seeing a white person borrow something for your culture and get praised for it, get credit, it’s suddenly the coolest thing, whatever and you do that very same thing that your ancestors have been doing/wearing/practicing forever and you get ridiculed for it or it’s weird or tied to some other negative association then maybe you can’t understand.

    It seems a lot of folks here are struggling to comprehend why cultural appropriation is not ok.

    #805272 Reply
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    Oracle

    Let me see if I understand this correctly. If you are non white, anything from your culture if off limits. But anything from white, Eurocentric culture is far game. As an example, a white child should not be able to learn an Indian dance, but a hispanic, asian or black child should be able to lean ballet. And if they are good enough make a living from dancing. This is just racist and oh so double standard. No one better yell at some child for “cultural appropriation” in front of me.

    #805275 Reply
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    Sarah

    No oracle, you’re not understanding it correctly.

    The forum won’t let me post a link but I recommend going to the Native Appropriations blog and searching for posts on cultural appropriation.

    #805277 Reply
    bittergaymark
    Bittergaymark

    Much Madonna’s epic Ray Of Light era is something she would be ripped to shreds for today…
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    Exhibit A) Nothing Really Matters Video.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cAVx9RKaLPU
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    Exhibit B) The whole fabulous Far East Goddess look.
    .
    Call me old school. But I don’t get it. Madonna never clsimed to have invented any of this — it was all part of get everchanging image.

    #805278 Reply
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    Oracle

    BGM, you are “getting it” because your not buying into the sociology school of propaganda.

    #805281 Reply
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    ron

    And what makes this total b.s. is the disproportion of outrage for wearing a native American costume for Halloween — a horrendous collegiate crime in relation to what the real crime was.

    The United States as a nation committed genocide against the native Americans. The native Americans weren’t harmed by white men wearing replica head dresses. They were murdered — men, women, and children. They were deliberately exposed to plagues. They were cheated in treaties, which our nation then failed to uphold. They were dispossessed of their land and marched a thousand miles to new reservations. Sometimes, when Americans of European descent wanted the new land of the reservation, they were relocated again.

    We didn’t hang our heads in sorrowful repentence. I’m in my 70s. When I was a child and when my father was a child, Westerns were among the most popular entertainment on TV and at the movies. It often featured cowboys and Indians. The Indians were always the villains. They would have raped and scalped every white woman west of the Ohio river if the valiant cowboys and cavalry handed stepped in to kill them and save the virtuous pioneer women. The Indians savagely attacked settlers’ wagon trains, intent on slaughter. That was how repentant America was. Bad enough in the time of my father’s childhood. By the time of my childhood, we had defeated the Nazis, liberated their Concentration camps, learned that 6 million Jews had been slaughtered in the genocide of the Holocaust. And yet Hollywood still celebrated our own holocaust.

    It didn’t end there. The money for oil and gas leases on the land we ultimately allowed the Native Americans to keep (previously regarded as pretty much worthless) wasn’t managed by the Native American tribes. It was held in trust by the U.S. Treasury and the Dept. of the Interior. They cheated the Native Americans. They destroyed enough records that the total amount of the cheating couldn’t be determined. A lawsuit Cobell vs Kempthorne dragged on for over a decade. When it was finally settled in 2009, the Native Americans received $3.4 billion. I think most observers thought that was a small fraction of what was owed, but it was probably as much $ as Congress would cough up.

    This, not a birthday party featuring a wigwam or a Pocahontas Halloween costume is the real crime. So, if, as a white person, you want to atone for something, atone for something real and important, not the collegiate shibboleth of cultural appropriation. We never atoned for this genocide, just as we never atoned for slavery. Even long after slavery was over, black farmers did not receive the federal aid during and after the New Deal, which white farmers received — especially in the South. This allowed white farmers to buy out black farmers at a pittance. Push your government for just compensation. There are real, big issues involved in the history of white America and its relation to minorities.

    #805282 Reply
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    Sarah

    Thanks for whitesplainig what the problem is to me Ron.

    #805284 Reply
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    Keyblade

    I enjoyed your response, Ron.

    #805286 Reply
    bittergaymark
    Bittergaymark

    No, no, no. Thank you, Sarah, for holierthanthousplaining. Really. Truly. We all so appreciate it.

    #805300 Reply
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    Kate

    Ron, I skimmed, but I think that’s the point of cultural appropriation – that white people perpetrated these unspeakable crimes on Native Americans and Africans in the past. And now, today, we obliviously steal their culture for gain, like Karlie Kloss wearing a chief’s headdress in the VS fashion show. Even as we continue to fuck over Native Americans. It really is kind of gross. It’s also gross to me that white people are telling the people whose culture they’re appropriating that they’re wrong and stupid and crazy to feel that way.

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