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What Do You Think Cultural Appropriation Is?

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12 hours ago, TrueMetis said:

 malicious ignorance.

"Malignorance" has a nice ring to it. It's what I imagine the name of a Disney movie about an angst-ridden adolescent tumor would be called. Maybe a sequel to Inside Out. Excuse me, I have to make some calls...

Edited by Let's Get Kraken

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25 minutes ago, Let's Get Kraken said:

"Malignorance" has a nice ring to it. It's what I imagine the name of a Disney movie about an angst-ridden adolescent tumor would be called. Maybe a sequel to Inside Out. Excuse me, I have to make some calls...

Sounds to me like Donald Trump's personal cologne brand. Smells great to you, smells like swamp rot to everyone around you.

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5 hours ago, Soylent Brown said:

Man, I remember when I first joined the board. There were some threads with people talking about dragons and woofs and stuff, but of course I went straight to gen chat and made a beeline for the nearest controversial thread to buddy up with the biggest racist arsegoblin I could find. Good times!

(Only kidding - My first post was in the sockpuppet thread.)

Aha!  The prodigal son returns!

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17 hours ago, DanteGabriel said:

Sounds to me like Donald Trump's personal cologne brand. Smells great to you, smells like swamp rot to everyone around you.

:thumbsup:

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10 minutes ago, Zorral said:

The price for showin' sans respect that culture over there that ain't yours, and that you can't go and just beat up for objecting to your objectification for your own profit, ease or 'joke':

ttps://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/23/fashion/dolce-gabbana-china-disaster-backlash.html?

Isn't this really more of a story about being basically insulting towards a culture? If you are going to insinuate that all chinese people would be too stupid to use a fork, or that they eat dogs.. then what do you expect. 

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18 hours ago, Zorral said:

The price for showin' sans respect that culture over there that ain't yours, and that you can't go and just beat up for objecting to your objectification for your own profit, ease or 'joke':

ttps://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/23/fashion/dolce-gabbana-china-disaster-backlash.html?

There are a couple of other cases mentioned in the link you posted that are actually relevant to the conversation about CA.

For instance Dior being castigated for using Jennifer Lawrence in an advert for a Mexican inspired fashion line. The actual criticism seems to centre around why the used a white, non mexican actress , and also maybe why shoot it in California and not Mexico.
I'm interested to know what people think about this case, do they find it offensive? 

What about Chanel making a luxury Boomerang? 

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On 11/22/2018 at 7:57 AM, Heartofice said:

Thanks Butterbumps for your post. I think I've been pretty clear up till this point, but really I've just been responding to what has been put in front of me.

I think there are a number of issues around the topic:

- CA clearly exists in some form
- CA has many historic factors to take into account and has been used in the past in quite unpleasant ways.

- Reactions to CA in the most publicised cases often appear to be huge over reactions and are unhelpful.
- There are genuine cases where CA has had real world consequences for communities.

If you believe the bolded, then why do you seem to downplaying CA in favor of choosing to focus all your energy on what you consider overreactions?  It comes across like you believe "overreactions" are A. the exclusive response to CA, and B. more harmful than CA itself.   

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I think my main difficulty with CA is the concept of culture and who owns it and who isn't allowed to own it. As someone who is of mixed heritage and who could easily be mistaken for white / indian / mixed race depending on who I am talking to, I find the binary nature of the discussion really oppressive. 

I used the example of hiphop culture previously because essentially nobody I knew had any real right to claim that culture, but some people might be considered more accepted than others based purely on their subjective appearance. 

Also maybe its because I'm from the UK and we don't have much of the same history, but I don't consider the 'dominant' culture to be purely 'white culture'. I consider it to be western capitalist and you see it now almost globally, and it takes from all cultures in which money can be made. Thats not to say its not predominantly aimed at white people currently, clearly there are still issues there. I also think it is changing. I think almost all cultures are being monetised and replaced by one big global homogeny. 

I'm not talking about some globalist, capitalist hegemony.   In the US, we have a particularly ugly history when it comes to our treatment of Native peoples and Black people.   As a country, we are super racist, but we are especially anti-Black.  For us, the concept of whiteness was constructed as something to set up as superior to blackness, because in order to be comfortable enslaving people, it's easier to convince yourself that they are inferior to you, aren't fully human to begin with, and that they deserve it.   Blackness has been dehumanized, set against "superior" whiteness as a point of contrast, and kept out of white culture throughout our history.  Other ethnicities and races that had been disliked and hated have been able to be accepted into white culture here by virtue of their also being able to define themselves as not black.  That's what someone from the US typically means when we say "dominant white culture."  It's the culture of "whiteness," expanded over time to include pretty much most people who simply are not black. 

We also have an incredibly shitty history with the Native population.  Additionally to the genocides and forced relocations, we've also engaged in things like forced separation of Native children from their parents for "education," by which that means "assimilating" them into western culture by keeping them from practicing or knowing about their own culture.  At the same time, though, we've fetishized that same culture, taking particularly sacred symbols and turning them into cheap commodities stripped of their meaning, and turning to the most tired stereotypes when representing them and teaching kids about their culture.  We've literally kept Native people from having their culture (in outrageously inhumane ways, I may add), but commodified their most sacred symbols into accessories for non-Native people to wear to Coachella, as well as basically every elementary-aged kid learning about "the First Thanksgiving" (which is totally made up) in school with their paper headbands.  

I think your context is different, and would feature more colonialism instead.

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But yes, the issue for me is that its very difficult to discern who actually owns a culture, and I am very uncomfortable with putting groups of people into neat little boxes.. black people over here.. white people over here. If you are mixed, if you don't fit in those boxes, where do you sit? Maybe its because I know so many people from different cultures and we don't put ourselves in boxes. We are British and Western.. we just look a bit different to each other. 

No one's getting put in boxes when calling out CA.  That's just it.  In the US, we are already in boxes that frequently limit opportunity, success and even the ability to live simply because of who we are and what we look like!   That is what racism looks like!   This is what systematic discrimination is!  The boxes are already there!

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Your example of a dominant culture never giving back to the people its taking from is interesting, but then my question is who are they paying it back to? The answer isn't very simple. If for instance as a chef I make millions from a Mexican recipe ( a bad example but lets just go with it), how do I give that success back to the mexican community? Do I pay Mexico? Do I make some worthy PR gesture to latino communities. Do only Mexican people own the right to mexican food, and is it ALL Mexican people? What about Spanish people? Other Latin american countries. 

I get the point though, you have for instance your Eminem and Elvis examples of someone getting success by virtue of being white and other black artists being ignored. 

I think it depends on the situation, and there's no one formula.  But the operative issue is that they endeavor to make it so that people of that culture can break into the field if structural barriers to doing so exist.   They don't have to solve every problem a community might face, but putting forth a real effort to make it so that anyone might have access to make that food for profit strikes me as the right thing to do.  Even simply calling attention to those barriers is a good place to start.  Coming at it with the attitude of "hey, I was able to open a restaurant and do all this because I have privileges not afforded to X.  We need to change this by doing the following..." is probably a good start I think.

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I'm essentially calling for caution because I cannot see what positive outcome can come about by concentrating on what I view as side issues to the real problem. If certain communities lack opportunity, are being sidelined or oppressed, then lets talk about that and how we can fix the problems. Much of the talk of CA does however focus on trivialities and distractions, and the only result is to push moderate people further away and make them less sympathetic. 

What do you think "focusing on the real problems" looks like, out of curiosity?   Like the disproportionate killing of black people by police- that's a pretty non-trivial issue, right?  So like bringing attention to that issue through peaceful protest during the national anthem at athletic games?   Because that's been accused of "pushing moderates away" too.  Anything that points out whiteness to white people "pushes away the moderates," it would seem.  

You seem to think that CA is somehow separate from "the real issues" of racism.  I think some of what you and others might be reacting against might not be true appropriation.  But I think in its true form, CA falls into the category of the everyday, pernicious, insidious type of racism, which is really the more prevalent, as most people don't actually hold animus toward other races and cultures, but rather implicit biases. 

 

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Thanks again for your well written post. Appreciated.

so yes let me start by stating that obviously there are cases where cultural symbols are used inappropriately, in an almost insulting fashion. Where this is a direct, ignorant understanding or caricature of a culture then it’s clearly very unhelpful and deserves censure. However this fits into a very leftist view of people as oppressed and oppressors. In the above ‘example’ of a company appropriating Chinese culture does it still fit if Chinese is the more dominant culture?

Anyway Im not American and I come from mixed heritage so this gives me a different perspective on this. Hopefully you won’t simply wandwave my opinion as others have. 

My point on the global culture I think still stands. American western culture is now global, you basically see it in almost every country on the planet.. even China. The differences between cultures is now a lot smaller than it used to be. We are all drinking Coke, watching netflix and wearing Nikes. There are some small holdouts and differences but I expect them all the disappear and  new subcultures to arrive as time goes by.

So when you talk about Native American cultural abuses in the past it’s clearly atrocious but what exactly is the culture of the people in those groups right now? You say people are prevented from having their own culture but really we are all sharing the same culture these days, that is really the nature of a global society. We are all being pushed out by the machine of capitalism and forced to behave in certain ways.  You can try and disconnect from that but I think it’s a losing battle.

As someone from a multicultural background  I’m constantly perplexed by being told I need to know more about my own culture. Which one is my culture. Is it English? Is it Indian? Kenyan? Because I feel English, my life revolves around western ideals, I wear western clothes and  enjoy western culture. I don’t feel any real affinity to my mothers culture , I didn’t grow up in it. People tell me I need to be Indian because of the colour of my skin , but I’m not. So again, it comes down to who actually owns a culture and who doesn’t. What right do I have to certain cultures that others don’t, and is it only available to be via my genes? If I have played zero part in creating and perpetuating a culture, is it still mine?  So who is Indian , who is African, Native American , who is American or english?

You say that people are already being put in boxes, and maybe they are. But that is EXACTLY what I’m trying to get away from, because the boxes create a sense of the other. I don’t know what box I fit in and the same applies to people I grew up with, and for me that only is a positive. 

So if you want to stop people being put into boxes, why keep putting people in boxes? What is the benefit of doing that? Someone up thread tried to incorrectly put me in a box, saying I was ‘behaving white’. Now how is that helpful? How is that not also racist. Does the colour of my skin determine what I think and do? All these historic issues you mentioned can only be fixed by not seeing people as ‘other’

And I think that more and better integration and less separation is the real answer to our problems, not constantly talking to people as if their race is the primary attribute on which all others hang.  

If there are issues around race then let’s deal with them. Better education, more housing, more opportunities for those who are lagging behind. I don’t see life in the same zero sum way as some others do. If someone opens a Mexican restaurant does that stop someone else doing it or doing it better for instance. But if you  claim there are barriers to a Mexican person opening a restaurant then  identify those barrier and help to bring them down. I doubt the real issue was a poor Chipotle rip off. 

I think a lot of the talk around CA rarely gets to the actual cause of the problem, and it just creates more division and difference. It focusses on everyone being different and needing to revel in their differences. 

Focus on the real problem, that some communities have been left behind and need help. These issues all become less important if everyone is starting on a more level playing field. CA is mostly offensive because of the perceived power imbalances, so break down those imbalances through better policing and housing and education. Not through telling people what food they can and cannot cook, what they can wear or what they can sell.

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It's genuinely become hard to remember which are the troll accounts. That being said, I do think it's worth denouncing the overreactions to cultural appropriation. If only because it is the kind of nonsense that gets used to poison the well regarding the public discourse on the matter. People need to hear educated voices speaking against cultural appropriation that also distinguish themselves from the crazies. 

Edited by Let's Get Kraken

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2 hours ago, Heartofice said:

Thanks again for your well written post. Appreciated.

so yes let me start by stating that obviously there are cases where cultural symbols are used inappropriately, in an almost insulting fashion. Where this is a direct, ignorant understanding or caricature of a culture then it’s clearly very unhelpful and deserves censure. However this fits into a very leftist view of people as oppressed and oppressors. In the above ‘example’ of a company appropriating Chinese culture does it still fit if Chinese is the more dominant culture?

Can we start with this?   Why don't you give a few examples of the bolded, from your point of view.   Please offer examples of CA that you feel comfortable calling CA.

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Anyway Im not American and I come from mixed heritage so this gives me a different perspective on this. Hopefully you won’t simply wandwave my opinion as others have. 

My point on the global culture I think still stands. American western culture is now global, you basically see it in almost every country on the planet.. even China. The differences between cultures is now a lot smaller than it used to be. We are all drinking Coke, watching netflix and wearing Nikes. There are some small holdouts and differences but I expect them all the disappear and  new subcultures to arrive as time goes by.

 

This is a really terrible look.  You ask not to be summarily handwaved, yet you keep handwaving away all of the descriptions and explanations of American racism we keep offering.  I'm not trying to tell you what your experience with racism is personally, or what race relations are like in London, or even outside of the US context.  It would benefit you to slow down and consider what people are talking about in terms of the US context and history of racism, and not be so quick to conflate it with the phenomenon of globalism.

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If there are issues around race then let’s deal with them. Better education, more housing, more opportunities for those who are lagging behind. I don’t see life in the same zero sum way as some others do. If someone opens a Mexican restaurant does that stop someone else doing it or doing it better for instance. But if you  claim there are barriers to a Mexican person opening a restaurant then  identify those barrier and help to bring them down. I doubt the real issue was a poor Chipotle rip off. 

oh wow, you mean like what those who call out CA are doing?  Like you realize that's what calling out CA is supposed to be about, right?   Like pointing out "hey, this person is using something from X culture to turn a profit for themselves, but X culture has structural barriers that impedes their being able to make a profit on it themselves, so maybe that person turning a profit for themselves should help the community they're borrowing from."  The mere act of identifying CA  helps bring identification to, and awareness of those structural barriers.

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I think a lot of the talk around CA rarely gets to the actual cause of the problem, and it just creates more division and difference. It focusses on everyone being different and needing to revel in their differences. 

Focus on the real problem, that some communities have been left behind and need help. These issues all become less important if everyone is starting on a more level playing field. CA is mostly offensive because of the perceived power imbalances, so break down those imbalances through better policing and housing and education.

what a great idea!   how do you think that happens?   By not having conversations about race, power structures and discrimination?

2 hours ago, Heartofice said:

You say that people are already being put in boxes, and maybe they are. But that is EXACTLY what I’m trying to get away from, because the boxes create a sense of the other. I don’t know what box I fit in and the same applies to people I grew up with, and for me that only is a positive. 

So if you want to stop people being put into boxes, why keep putting people in boxes? What is the benefit of doing that? Someone up thread tried to incorrectly put me in a box, saying I was ‘behaving white’. Now how is that helpful? How is that not also racist. Does the colour of my skin determine what I think and do? All these historic issues you mentioned can only be fixed by not seeing people as ‘other’

And I think that more and better integration and less separation is the real answer to our problems, not constantly talking to people as if their race is the primary attribute on which all others hang.  

So you advocate the avoidance technique-- that by avoiding the problem it will get better?  What problems typically improve by pretending they don't exist?   Your argument on this-- that talking about race/ racism creates and perpetuates more racism is like saying that your broken leg won't heal because you keep complaining about it healing.   Better not identify and address that cancer directly, otherwise it won't get better!

 

Edited by butterbumps!

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56 minutes ago, butterbumps! said:

Can we start with this?   Why don't you give a few examples of the bolded, from your point of view.   Please offer examples of CA that you feel comfortable calling CA.

Hmm. Ok I will put up a couple of examples of CA that I think are probably quite damaging and racist, but then I will list some which I think are probably trivial and not helping the discussion on racism.

- Historical use of Native American imagery, Redskins etc, to the point of caricature is pretty offensive. However my issue with this is more around the stereotyping of a race and giving it a certain characteristic, rather than white people setting up lodges etc. 

- Same goes for use of aboriginal art works, say in Australia. The problematic part of its centres more around the ignorance of the cultural meaning of the art than anything else. There are definitely times where, as I previously mentioned, cultural / religious artifacts are mistreated and trivialised by other cultures which is offensive to people who might hold those artifacts as sacred.

Now, is this the same as Miley Cyrus twerking, My culture is not your prom dress, Kim K wearing cornrows? I'd definitely put those in the totally trivial camp. But then what about Jennifer Lawrence wearing Mexican inspired outfits?

So for me, the real issues around CA centre around insulting and mis-appropropriating a culture through sheer ignorance. That definitely happens. But there are also many examples where the outrage centres around 'the wrong type of person' wearing or doing something, and this is definitely something I push back against.

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This is a really terrible look.  You ask not to be summarily handwaved, yet you keep handwaving away all of the descriptions and explanations of American racism we keep offering.  I'm not trying to tell you what your experience with racism is personally, or what race relations are like in London, or even outside of the US context.  It would benefit you to slow down and consider what people are talking about in terms of the US context and history of racism, and not be so quick to conflate it with the phenomenon of globalism.

Well OK, but America isn't the world, the world is a big place. Try to look outside your borders and see how other countries do things, its helpful. America has it's own racial history, and I'm not denying it. Its perfectly possible to accept that racism exists in the world whilst debating the validity of many claims of CA, and the value of them. Its not helpful to suggest someone is denying racism exits, its akin to calling them a racist.

Either way, I don't think I'm wrong here. Culture is essentially fluid and changing and nobody really owns it. We are all becoming global, whether you like it or not. Culture is constantly mixing and evolving and being shared, and you can't just trademark a hairstyle or a pair of trousers. As long as you are not being deliberately disrespectful of something sacred then who's to say what you can and can't do.

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   Like pointing out "hey, this person is using something from X culture to turn a profit for themselves, but X culture has structural barriers that impedes their being able to make a profit on it themselves, so maybe that person turning a profit for themselves should help the community they're borrowing from."  The mere act of identifying CA  helps bring identification to, and awareness of those structural barriers.

This view of reality is so binary and problematic that when you try and fit it into real world examples everything goes haywire. It makes zero sense. 
Another example. I open an Indian Restaurant and make a ton of money from it. Is that ok? Ok what if my white friend does it? Am I more entitled to Indian culture or is he? Why? Should he help me out to make reparations for taking advantage of Indian Culture. Should he pay people in India?
(this example is very interesting as the national dish of England is Curry, and many variations were invented in England, for a white British audience.. so who owns that?) That is the issue, Again. Nobody owns that culture.

But your real issue seems to be that people are simply unaware of the power imbalances that exist in society. Either way, yes people could do with being more aware of the actual issues that hold back certain elements of society. My argument is that such discussions on CA rarely achieve that, and have the exact opposite effect by focusing the conversation on the most trivial elements of discrimination and avoiding the harder topics. Thus it pushes moderates away by making the race issue appear to be 'a bit of nothing'

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So you advocate the avoidance technique-- that by avoiding the problem it will get better? 

I'm not sure if you are purposely strawmanning me here or you just missed what I said or are confusing what i said with something Sweetpea said
. I said we deal with the real issues, which are rarely to do with who makes what recipe and who wears what hairstyle. If you want to raise awareness about structural barriers then why not talk about that directly? If Mexican people are stuck in poverty then the solution is to do things to pull them out of poverty, Talk about how to bring education and jobs to areas with large Latino population etc. Why would a solution be to prevent people opening restaurants or hiring white people in them, unless you believe life is a zero sum game where races are in a battle with each other?

 

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45 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

'

I'm not sure if you are purposely strawmanning me here or you just missed what I said or are confusing what i said with something Sweetpea said
. I said we deal with the real issues, which are rarely to do with who makes what recipe and who wears what hairstyle. If you want to raise awareness about structural barriers then why not talk about that directly? If Mexican people are stuck in poverty then the solution is to do things to pull them out of poverty, Talk about how to bring education and jobs to areas with large Latino population etc. Why would a solution be to prevent people opening restaurants or hiring white people in them, unless you believe life is a zero sum game where races are in a battle with each other?

 

Kind of weird that you won't consider hairstyles to be a real issue or a structural barrier when there is a long history of them being and continuing to be exactly that.

And if you want to talk about strawman arguments no one here has said that white people shouldn't work in Mexican restaurants.  And no one is talking about education or jobs on a policy level because this is a thread about cultural appropriation so the dicsussion has been focused - just because no one is linking their entire platform for social justice on every single policy doesnt mean that this thread is the extent of opinion on a broader discussion of social justice and equality.

And you keep harping on the strawman idea that certain people being prevented from wearing certain clothes or listening to certain music based on their race - which isn't something that's happened here.  If you think Miley Cyrus twerking is trivial - fine - no one here has argued that it's serious or cited it as cultural appropriation.  That entire wall of text was just ignoring everything people are saying and ranting at a bunch of strawmen while tone policing and concern trolling.  

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10 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

Kind of weird that you won't consider hairstyles to be a real issue or a structural barrier when there is a long history of them being and continuing to be exactly that.

 

In what way are you talking about here? Which hairstyles? Are we talking about braids or dreadlocks? You understand that I would probably not get a job if I had those hairstyles too. Plus there is the secondary point that those Hairstyles do not belong to any one ethnic group. Your issue around racism has little to do with hairstyles and that’s what I’m getting at here. If there are race issues then they run far deeper than hairstyles , and that the argument is so problematic really tarnishes the discussion.

Btw The Mexican restaurant example came from Butterbumps. 

But possibly you aren’t understanding my point here, or you don’t want to. 

So you deny that certain people have been prevented from wearing clothes due to their race? What about the numerous examples I’ve mentioned and have been ignored? What about the white person who was abused publically for having dreadlocks? That was a pretty public incident. 

 

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14 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Aren’t braids a hairstyle worn in Northern European cultures as well as First Nations independent of one another?

Correct. Dreadlocks have also been used by different cultures throughout the world for thousands of years. 

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Braids in general are pretty common, but different areas use different styles. Thing is they, and indeed plenty of other hairstyles, can symbolize a lot. And that needs to be taken into account. In fact I think I may remember the incident heart is referencing. Bunch of people on the internet got made at a white teenager who wore cornrows. At the time I remember thinking that everyone was overreacting completely, and that this was a complete non-issue. I may have even brought up the "hairstyle's don't belong to a race" point. Which while true is overly simplistic. Now however I've made the connection between Native people being forced to cut their hair to help take away their culture, and black slaves having the same thing happen to them for the same reason. So while yeah some people on the internet were assholes and she should be allowed to wear what she wants, there should be some acknowledgement about the historical context, and how even no a black person wearing cornrows is looked at differently than a white person doing the same.

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21 minutes ago, TrueMetis said:

Braids in general are pretty common, but different areas use different styles. Thing is they, and indeed plenty of other hairstyles, can symbolize a lot. And that needs to be taken into account. In fact I think I may remember the incident heart is referencing. Bunch of people on the internet got made at a white teenager who wore cornrows. At the time I remember thinking that everyone was overreacting completely, and that this was a complete non-issue. I may have even brought up the "hairstyle's don't belong to a race" point. Which while true is overly simplistic. Now however I've made the connection between Native people being forced to cut their hair to help take away their culture, and black slaves having the same thing happen to them for the same reason. So while yeah some people on the internet were assholes and she should be allowed to wear what she wants, there should be some acknowledgement about the historical context, and how even no a black person wearing cornrows is looked at differently than a white person doing the same.

That is an actually interesting point regarding the cornrows. But the question then is about the context of why people are wearing certain hairstyles. Is a black persons with cornrows doing it to demonstrate freedom from slavery .. or because it looks cool and is in fashion? In which case would they be appropriating culture as well by trivialising a hairstyle? I’m still asking whether they would have the right to wear that hairstyle if they had no connection to slavery? What about a black person from another country with no history of slavery in their family? 

 

Edit . Sorry just realised you acknowledged the asshatterty of the people involved there. Agree that history is important, but it’s debatable how relevant in these circumstances if most people are unaware of a hairstyles potential connotations 

Edited by Heartofice

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9 minutes ago, TrueMetis said:

Braids in general are pretty common, but different areas use different styles. Thing is they, and indeed plenty of other hairstyles, can symbolize a lot. And that needs to be taken into account. In fact I think I may remember the incident heart is referencing. Bunch of people on the internet got made at a white teenager who wore cornrows. At the time I remember thinking that everyone was overreacting completely, and that this was a complete non-issue. I may have even brought up the "hairstyle's don't belong to a race" point. Which while true is overly simplistic. Now however I've made the connection between Native people being forced to cut their hair to help take away their culture, and black slaves having the same thing happen to them for the same reason. So while yeah some people on the internet were assholes and she should be allowed to wear what she wants, there should be some acknowledgement about the historical context, and how even no a black person wearing cornrows is looked at differently than a white person doing the same.

Was the braiding issue in specific references to cornrows?  In most contexts, someone not wearing garb that associates the braids with a particular culture, isn’t it hard to say if a braid is actually Cultural Appropriation?

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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4 hours ago, Heartofice said:

Hmm. Ok I will put up a couple of examples of CA that I think are probably quite damaging and racist, but then I will list some which I think are probably trivial and not helping the discussion on racism.

- Historical use of Native American imagery, Redskins etc, to the point of caricature is pretty offensive. However my issue with this is more around the stereotyping of a race and giving it a certain characteristic, rather than white people setting up lodges etc. 

- Same goes for use of aboriginal art works, say in Australia. The problematic part of its centres more around the ignorance of the cultural meaning of the art than anything else. There are definitely times where, as I previously mentioned, cultural / religious artifacts are mistreated and trivialised by other cultures which is offensive to people who might hold those artifacts as sacred.

Now, is this the same as Miley Cyrus twerking, My culture is not your prom dress, Kim K wearing cornrows? I'd definitely put those in the totally trivial camp. But then what about Jennifer Lawrence wearing Mexican inspired outfits?

So for me, the real issues around CA centre around insulting and mis-appropropriating a culture through sheer ignorance. That definitely happens. But there are also many examples where the outrage centres around 'the wrong type of person' wearing or doing something, and this is definitely something I push back against.

What do you mean by "use of Aboriginal art?"  Like you say that the problem arises from ignorance of the cultural meaning.   What exactly are you describing?   Are you talking about non-Aboriginal people selling inauthentic Aboriginal style art?  Can you explain this more?

And I guess why are you very quick to dismiss and push back against the bolded?  If a style of dance or a certain type of braid is imbued with special meaning and identity to a certain culture, why are you dismissing it as unnecessary outrage?   Please note that I'm not arguing that we should be outraged about these things; you're kind of all over the place and I'm trying to discern the logic behind your views.   If people don't realize that a certain style of something comes from a certain culture, why wouldn't that fall under your view that they are appropriating that culture through ignorance and should be addressed for it?

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Well OK, but America isn't the world, the world is a big place. Try to look outside your borders and see how other countries do things, its helpful. America has it's own racial history, and I'm not denying it. Its perfectly possible to accept that racism exists in the world whilst debating the validity of many claims of CA, and the value of them. Its not helpful to suggest someone is denying racism exits, its akin to calling them a racist.

Is this for real? 

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Either way, I don't think I'm wrong here. Culture is essentially fluid and changing and nobody really owns it. We are all becoming global, whether you like it or not. Culture is constantly mixing and evolving and being shared, and you can't just trademark a hairstyle or a pair of trousers. As long as you are not being deliberately disrespectful of something sacred then who's to say what you can and can't do.

I'm not sure what I think about whether a culture should be "owned."  Obviously it wouldn't be in some legal sense, like copyrighting or the trademarking you bring up.  I read something a while back that puts the issue into more personal terms.  It was something to the effect of how the much-celebrated idea of cultural exchange being like having a bunch of people show up to your house, telling you that you can share what they've brought, but then taking with them with your family's heirlooms without asking, or even doing so anyway despite your protests.   This feels pretty monstrous on a personal level; is it ok on a larger societal scale?  

Even when it comes to something like legal ownership, it's not like you can't use copyrighted property; you have to get permission and appropriately compensate the owner.   I think that the view of those exhibiting outrage over instances of CA are mainly doing so when the person doing the appropriating seems, ignorant, disrespectful, clueless, and like a cultural tourist.   I don't think most reasonable people say that X person cannot do/ enjoy/ make money off of/ or wear parts of another culture.  The key issue is that respect is paid.  Whether that takes the form of acknowledgement, activism, some kind of sponsorship, whatever the case may be.   There's endless ways to do this.   

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This view of reality is so binary and problematic that when you try and fit it into real world examples everything goes haywire. It makes zero sense. 
Another example. I open an Indian Restaurant and make a ton of money from it. Is that ok? Ok what if my white friend does it? Am I more entitled to Indian culture or is he? Why? Should he help me out to make reparations for taking advantage of Indian Culture. Should he pay people in India?
(this example is very interesting as the national dish of England is Curry, and many variations were invented in England, for a white British audience.. so who owns that?) That is the issue, Again. Nobody owns that culture.

I have no idea-- I don't know the racial interplay in the UK and its colonialist legacy intimately enough to presume to lecture you about it.

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But your real issue seems to be that people are simply unaware of the power imbalances that exist in society. Either way, yes people could do with being more aware of the actual issues that hold back certain elements of society. My argument is that such discussions on CA rarely achieve that, and have the exact opposite effect by focusing the conversation on the most trivial elements of discrimination and avoiding the harder topics. Thus it pushes moderates away by making the race issue appear to be 'a bit of nothing'

Yea, you keep telling me that discussions of CA push moderates away.  Again, I ask: what do you seriously suggest should be brought up in terms of race and power imbalance that won't push fragile moderates away?   Everything race related upsets those with a vested interest in upholding those power structures.   Anything you say will be met with defensiveness and denial.

What "harder topics" about racism do you suggest be discussed instead?   CA is inextricably linked to issues like race and power structures, but CA is kind of a tangible manifestation of those things in mundane life.   So it actually seems like a fairly reasonable and accessible launching point for larger discussions of race and persistent oppressions and the like.   I mentioned this before, but most manifestations of racism are by good intentioned people who think of themselves as good people, who don't secretly want to lynch black people or directly harm any particular set of people.   It's the quiet, insidious biases and blase dehumanizations and objectifications that constitute most racism.   

3 hours ago, Heartofice said:

In what way are you talking about here? Which hairstyles? Are we talking about braids or dreadlocks? You understand that I would probably not get a job if I had those hairstyles too. Plus there is the secondary point that those Hairstyles do not belong to any one ethnic group. Your issue around racism has little to do with hairstyles and that’s what I’m getting at here. If there are race issues then they run far deeper than hairstyles , and that the argument is so problematic really tarnishes the discussion.

What are you endeavoring to prove here?   If the issue is that a POC would have a harder time getting hired with certain styles of hair and dress than a white person, then what is bringing up the fact that you would also struggle to get hired with dreads doing for your argument to prove that white people would also struggle?  Or did you forget you spent every other post this thread bringing up how you're a POC?

Edited by butterbumps!

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