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JonCole, August 25, 2014 in Idle Banter
Not sure if I'm partially what you are looking for, but I'm Korean 1st gen immigrant. But as previously stated, my opinions and view are like, my own so which is a culmination of my life experience (which is not too far from middle class American life) so :/
That and Korea, like few other east asian 'tiger economy' nations, are pretty up there in terms of opportunity and standard of living and like other ethnically homogenous cultures, have way more blatant racism present so I'm just like eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh most of the time.
Maybe you should start listening to more voices from other races? The Spawn On Me podcast is rad and they do frequently pull white people aside and explain why they or other black people might find certain current events or perspectives weird. They regularly visit other podcasts too. Like I found out about them after a Justice Points episode.
I'm just saying that if you want more perspectives its likely easier to start widening what media you consume than finding a similar forum with a super diverse cultural/racial mix. I'm likely just super ignorant though. There's probably forums like that.
As for being multiracial or cultural. I'm mostly an NZ Pakeha but I'm also of Maori descent. However I was mostly raised within a white conservative context because of an implicit bias against prioritising that heritage as something that mattered. Any talk of family heritage centred around Scottish highlands, English nobles, and ancient Greenland.
Heck I didn't even know about it until a cousin from the 'rowdy' (well okay they were legit rowdy at times, as much as the other side was WASPY) side of my family told me.
Anyway a super clear example of appropriation for me would be that due to the social and spiritual connotations surrounding Pounamu (NZ Greenstone/Jade) It's understood as something that you Do Not buy for yourself and that it's always to be given as a gift. It's an item that establishes a person's Mana which means a mix of authority, integrity, and respect which means that to be legitimate it must be given by another.
However that might not be obvious given how often you see greenstone around gift shops or market stalls next to other pieces of stone carving. Now a lot of people do their best to educate others about the cultural contexts around having Pounamu but that doesn't mean someone can't just buy it for themselves because they choose to ignore or don't understand what it means. Plus its a limited supply of pounamu that is heavily regulated and the places where Maori go out and collect them are guarded secrets. Heck the old tribes from the North Island (where most Maori settled) would actually go on their open sea waka through one of the roughest straits in the world (The Cook Strait) just to go down South and collect pounamu.
Anyway my point is that buying a piece of it for yourself given all that feels callous. Like a Maori would only really get it the traditional way but coming in from another culture you can choose to ignore all of that and just buy the damn thing with no one the wiser for it.
To add a tiny note to the massive discussion, I have to just say again. Is it really worth taking an element of a culture when it is potentially harmful? Just like with saying potentially offensive words, wouldn't you rather just not do it when you have so many other options?
I agree. Most people agree that hipster headdresses are cultural appropriation in a bad way, because it reduces a set of deeply spiritual symbols that were worn as badges of honor for members of the plains tribes of North America to a set of aesthetics for white kids who want to look wild and free at music festivals, but drawing a line between that and something "harmless" like dreadlocks comes off as much more arbitrary than any possible line between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange. Are all religious objects off limits or only those that are specifically profaned by inappropriate use? Are important and unique objects without specific spiritual significance fair game? What about objects or features that signify certain personal or social statuses in that culture, is it offensive to pretend to them by implication? If an object wouldn't be permissible for its originators to use or wear in a certain type of space or situation, is it disrespectful to put privilege to use to make it permissible for oneself?
I don't know, this feels like most complaints about being expected to exert a muscular empathy (it seems difficult, complicated, unclear, embarrassing, thankless, etc). How about just not using oppressed peoples as a shopping catalog for how you look and act? Best case scenario, you luck into it and don't offend anyone, because it's not like any person of color is going to be thanking you for wearing dreads in a way that glorifies black culture.
I guess I'm asking how do I make black friends? Is that a super dick thing to say?
Go up and say hi. Problem solved.
Brown and black people aren't unapproachable and you're thinking way too deeply about this.
Unless you're in an area that's heavily, heavily white, then I can see that as an issue.
hmm, just the phrase, " How do I make black friends," is fucking irking me. As if they're something different than a white friend.
I believe he has mentioned that that is the case?
I was actually going to go back and edit that.
I am planning on tackling the question because that question like that, while seeming innocent and hopeful, makes us PoC seem like others; there is an underlining feeling of tokenism behind that type of thought, doesn't matter how diverse you want to be.
I can definitely feel why it would rile you, but also as someone who doesn't make friends of any sort easily I also sympathize with the problem. I think maybe it's just generally good to try to push oneself out of ones comfort zone, which as a natural consequence would entail meeting people of different backgrounds, but saying that kind of makes me a hypocrite because I totally don't do that.
An extremely cursory search of Google with the string "how is cultural appropriation harmful" produces this very helpful video that's quite specific with examples and differentiates cultural appropriation from cultural exchange -
That video spends a bunch of time defining cultural appropriation, but only the last thirty seconds or so seem to discuss how it's harmful: Cultural appropriation perpetuates stereotypes, stereotypes are harmful. It doesn't establish how cultural appropriation perpetuates stereotypes though. It implies that dressing up in a sacred headdress promotes stereotypes, and while I can see how it's disrespectful to native traditions (and bad for that reason), I don't see any kind of stereotype there. To go to a specific example from earlier in this thread, what stereotype is being perpetuated by a white person with an afro?
Here's another good link: http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/06/cultural-appropriation-wrong/
Or, from the same site and written by the same author, It’s Not Just Kylie: 7 Reasons Why White People Should Not Wear Black Hairstyles
Or, from another black writer, 5 Reasons Cultural Appropriation Pisses Me Off as a Black Woman
If you want more primary sources, let me know and I'll keep Googling. Cultural appropriation is not an issue manufactured by white activists (not directed at you, Ninety-Three, this last bit is for megaspel).
I agree but id like to say that legit dreads are not unfeasible for white people. I've know a few white people who's hair curls tightly and will naturally dread(tightly) if left long and uncombed(but still clean). I get thats not the point though.
So is cultural appropriation mostly limited to appearance, or does the appropriation of ideas count too? I get the point about cultural appropriation being an issue when done for self promotion, profit, or the degradation of spirituality, but is that where it stops?A point was brought up earlier about gay culture stealing from black culture, though to my knowledge both of these cultures have been historically oppressed. The idea of a power dynamic has been established as one of the elements of cultural appropriation, so is this an issue in this case?Why can't a person or their larger choose to borrow something from another culture? I know this will seem like privilege at work here, but it seems weird that we don't let people choose their culture but we encourage them choose everything else about their identity. Why must things belong to one culture or another? Cultures borrow from each other all the time, and things that we see as belonging to one culture or another were very likely at one point taken from another. Take Christianity for example, almost all of the rituals and celebretory days were taken from pagan cultures, but since those aren't around as much anymore we see these things as part of a Christian culture. What about when similar cultures borrow from one another?
Not that I mind one way or the other, but there is a thread at least tangentially related to Cultural Appropriation.
I think it's really dangerous when people stop doing something just because it could be potentially harmful. Obviously think about it first, but I don't think people should be so scared of being racist that they avoid black people all together. I think it's worth experimenting and trying new things, and if you offend someone, you can apolgise and grow from that experience. But if you never try things, and just assume it's all going to be offensive to someone, you're cutting yourself of from a lot of things, since not 100% of things you think are offensive will be offensive. I think everyone is 1% right, 99% wrong, even me, we don't know everything, so we have to try stuff out.
The other side of that coin is that it's hard to provide tangible proof for how this stuff affects people (especially if you chalk up individual accounts to subjective experience (and consider subjective experience irrelevant)) because there's not really a clear line from one event to one result here. Discrimination is generally the work of many hands or various interconnected systems. The media they're exposed to and the experineces they make have a cumulative effect on one person's socialization and attitudes, and then in a group or a company or in a society the attitudes of everybody involved also start affecting each other. It doesn't mean that nothing is true and everything is permitted, just that thinking about these things takes a more holistic perspective.
That's why people in social justice usually talk about the context in which something takes place (for instance, in the Feminism thread we recently talked about #killallmen and how it's maybe not a great thing to say in the context of feminism's history of ignoring queer, trans and race issues, all of which also affect men, and stuff like white MRAs killing men of color with the stated intention of protecting white women) and why they generally consider it wrongheaded to ask if an individual act is harmful in isolation. It's the same principle as that hypothetical where people try to claim double standards by asking if the situation would be different if a woman did that to a man or some such. Context is key, and if you either ignore it or completely change it, well then obviously the situation is going to look different.
To drill down on this a little deeper, this aspect is also what leads to the application, or at least the labeling, of something to be based on someone's perception of events. This tends to happen in conservative circles and anti-conservative circles, where ideologies are conflated based on who holds them. Because racist groups like the KKK tend to be conservative, it is acceptable to label conservatives as racist, or because militant liberal groups exist and liberal groups tend to support gay rights, we suddenly get the term militant gays. This kind of points to a weird situation where the idea of cultural appropriation is based on a subjective understanding, but only one such understanding is the right one. It's one of those problems unique to social concepts due to the lack of some standard (for example the scientific method linking sciences or the system of logic linking philosophies).
Why can't a person or their larger choose to borrow something from another culture? I know this will seem like privilege at work here, but it seems weird that we don't let people choose their cultuanotherway we encourage them choose everything else about their identity. Why must things belong to one culture or another? Cultures borrow from each other all the time, and things that we see as belonging to one culture or another were very likely at one point taken from another. Take Christianity for example, almost all of the rituals and celebretory days were taken from pagan cultures, but since those aren't around as much anymore we see these things as part of a Christian culture. What about when similar cultures borrow from one another?
I think you missed the part where Christianity coopted pagan rituals to destroy the uniqueness of those religions and supplant them in the public mindshare, not to mention how extraordinarily successful it was in that agenda. Cultural appropriation has always existed as the dark side of cultural exchange, throughout history, but it's most often been used by dominant or ascendant cultures to suppress and destroy others by taking the special features that form the backbone of a culture as their own and marking the rest as "dirty" or "ignorant." That's how rock 'n' roll and jazz have come to be considered hardly even black, thanks to the appropriations of performers like Elvis Presley, while hip-hop was ignored for decades as "just noise" until white people decided that they wanted that, too.
I guess what I should have asked is, "how do I find black friends on the internet". I was just trying to be a jovial with my word choices, but I can see now I should stop doing that. I'm not looking for tips on how to interact with people, I'm just looking for ways that the people I talk to aren't 100% white, who don't all roughly share my own personal experiences.
You have the internet in your hands, you don't have to seek out interaction--tho it's nice--to get different experiences. You have numerous ways to watch, hear, and read different experiences online. If you're locked in an area that's mostly white, that may be your best bet.
It's cool that you're seeking it out, but I'm feeling a fetishizing here.
Also, just because they're PoC doesn't mean they're going to drop some deep-ass cultural knowledge of where they're from or educate you on what it's like not to be white. You'd be surprised how how not different we are. There some PoC who have a "white" experience and may never deal with racism and may have the same life experience as you. Then what? Huh?!
Another also, it's not up to us to educate you on our struggles we might face and what it's like not to be white. It shouldn't be own us to educate white folks on that "black and brown trauma" because that shit is tiring and most of it goes over people's heads. To further enforce what I said a paragraph before, some of us never face that.
Yeah that's what I was afraid of and I apologise. That's why I shared my story about my mate, was it wrong that I became friends with him initally because he was black and I thought that was cool and different?
Yeah, it is. He's human not a fucking exotic artifact for you to deconstruct.
I know positive sterotypes like "all black men have big willies" are still just as harmful as the negative ones, so that's sorta what I'm trying to get a gauge on. I just don't want all my friends to be my friends because they look like me, I guess I'm saying I want to be less racist.
Good, now use google to help you.
Read some Baldwin and ta-nehisi coates