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Calliea
01-26-2015, 04:35 AM
And thought I'd share.

I don't live in America, so these issues may be more distant to me, but what gives? Why are people getting mad about a 12 year old girl getting braids? I don't understand. I don't understand why anyone would ever be offended by someone else changing their hair or hairstyle. It was common here to have braids like this as kids, I'm shocked at this. And at people who think that blonde is white-exclusive as well? What?

http://www.lovebscott.com/news/12-year-old-white-girl-gets-harshly-criticized-for-showing-off-her-blonde-box-braids-on-social-media-photos

I wish everyone would just drop the hostility over such pointless issues :(

Brutal Mustang
01-26-2015, 04:41 AM
I agree. And those braids? Gorgeous.

Calliea
01-26-2015, 04:41 AM
Yea, I'm so jelly! My hair is nowhere near that thick :(

Neegh
01-26-2015, 04:49 AM
No one cares what kind of braids kids get. But then again you find people barking at one another on the net over anything...ignore them.

Lillith1991
01-26-2015, 04:50 AM
And thought I'd share.

I don't live in America, so these issues may be more distant to me, but what gives? Why are people getting mad about a 12 year old girl getting braids? I don't understand. I don't understand why anyone would ever be offended by someone else changing their hair or hairstyle. It was common here to have braids like this as kids, I'm shocked at this. And at people who think that blonde is white-exclusive as well? What?

http://www.lovebscott.com/news/12-year-old-white-girl-gets-harshly-criticized-for-showing-off-her-blonde-box-braids-on-social-media-photos

I wish everyone would just drop the hostility over such pointless issues :(

Her hair looks nice and I'm not particularly bothered one way or another by it‚ but I onject to the issue being called pointless. Hair is a huge part of Black culture in general no matter the location‚ and for African Americans at least is one of the few things we can call our own in a culture that tends to see us as lesser. It got over blown‚ but people werent wrong to point it out and educate the kid. What they were wrong about was calling her a racist when she is just a kid that didnt know better.

Brutal Mustang
01-26-2015, 05:04 AM
I have no problem with people adopting little things from other cultures. No one lives in a vacuum. We all absorb language, style, and customs from different places. It's how the world evolves. In this case, the girl thought the braids were pretty, and wore them. Really, this shouldn't be an issue.

Unimportant
01-26-2015, 05:09 AM
I have no problem with people adopting little things from other cultures. No one lives in a vacuum. We all absorb language, style, and customs from different places. It's how the world evolves. In this case, the girl thought the braids were pretty, and wore them. Really, this shouldn't be an issue.
It kinda depends on whether the people in that culture see it as a 'little thing' or not. And one person's 'I'm not offended" does not negate another person's "This is appropriation of my culture and it really upsets me" feelings.

Brutal Mustang
01-26-2015, 05:24 AM
It kinda depends on whether the people in that culture see it as a 'little thing' or not. And one person's 'I'm not offended" does not negate another person's "This is appropriation of my culture and it really upsets me" feelings.

Well, in this instance, it's not even an African-specific thing. Many cultures have worn braids. Like the tribes in northern Europe. Just the other day, I was reading how the vikings meticulously put their hair in many little braids, and about the many combs/instruments they used to do so.

I've viking and Apache in me. If I braid my hair in tiny braids or two braids, am I being culturally insensitive? Or am I getting in touch with my ancient roots?

Calliea
01-26-2015, 05:26 AM
Her hair looks nice and I'm not particularly bothered one way or another by it‚ but I onject to the issue being called pointless. Hair is a huge part of Black culture in general no matter the location‚ and for African Americans at least is one of the few things we can call our own in a culture that tends to see us as lesser. It got over blown‚ but people werent wrong to point it out and educate the kid. What they were wrong about was calling her a racist when she is just a kid that didnt know better.

But I don't understand why she should know better and not do it. She appreciated the style, liked it, wanted to share it. Never did she say it was her idea, tried to deny anyone any kind of invention/origin right, or did anything at all that could wrong anyone or do them harm that could make the hairstyle look like mockery or something offensive. Why doesn't it make people happy when others like their ideas so much they want to follow the trend and enjoy it together? :(

Lillith1991
01-26-2015, 05:34 AM
I have no problem with people adopting little things from other cultures. No one lives in a vacuum. We all absorb language, style, and customs from different places. It's how the world evolves. In this case, the girl thought the braids were pretty, and wore them. Really, this shouldn't be an issue.

I'm sorry, but it isn't quite as "little" as you make it out to be, and I explained why it isn't seen as little by some already. That in no way translates as people living in a vaccume. Yes it may be little to you, but it is little things that make a culture what it is. Take away those things and the culture is gone. Which is why I stand by the fact that it wasn't wrong to gently teach the kid about appropriation and why it may bother people. The ones who cussed out a random person's child calling the kid racist and other nasty things were wrong, but the ones who treated her as the kid she is and respected that aren't.

Her head, her hair. I don't care if she shaves it off or what else she does with it, I just don't like when people dimiss something as little or not worth freaking out over.

Brutal Mustang
01-26-2015, 05:37 AM
But I don't understand why she should know better and not do it.

Ditto. It's not like it's some specific tribal symbol. It's braids. Like I said above, many cultures, since the dawn of man, have braided their hair like this.

Unimportant
01-26-2015, 05:42 AM
Why doesn't it make people happy when others like their ideas so much they want to follow the trend and enjoy it together? :(
Because some people have spent long periods of their histories being enslaved, abused, occupied, imprisoned, downtrodden, and/or discriminated against. The only thing they had, the only way they could retain any identity, was through their culture. Even when aspects of it -- language, religion, and yes hair styles -- were made illegal. So they see those things as valuable, or meaningful to their people, or sacred, or something to be earned.

It's different, but similar, to how writers feel about their copyrights being breached, or their characters being appropriated, or their prose being plagiarised. Why isn't Anne Rice happy when fans write Lestat stories and plaster them on the internet?

Neegh
01-26-2015, 05:43 AM
Here in Cali both white and black people do their hair like that...so what?

Usher
01-26-2015, 05:45 AM
I guess it's an African American issue. We all wore braids like that as kids and I live near a new age foundation where a lot of people wear their hair in a variety of styles no matter what culture they originally come from.

Personally, I think the girl looks fabulous and if she was my twelve year old I would not have suggested she apologise for the braid -- if she wanted to she could apologise for any offence others may feel but if anyone is owed an apology it is the child who was bullied and abused on social media because she was blonde and her face didn't fit. The racism thrown in her direction is eye watering.

Cultures are shared all the time and it's fun to share a culture. Without the American market Scots culture wouldn't be able to continue. I figure more Americans, Canadians and Australians drink whisky, wear kilts, eat haggis and play bagpipes than we do in Scotland. (A culture that was also raped, pillaged and made illegal by a variety of races) But then that is the history of the United Kingdom going back into the mists of time. Culture does melt together, alter, change etc.

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 05:45 AM
I can understand why it could rub people the wrong way. I don't think she's wrong for wearing her hair that way, and calling her racist and other nasty things is definitely wrong, but I agree that calling the concerns "pointless" is rather diminutive.

For what it's worth, I think she looks cute. Though it did weird me out a little when my white friend had her hair done like that. It looked good though.

Lillith1991
01-26-2015, 05:46 AM
But I don't understand why she should know better and not do it. She appreciated the style, liked it, wanted to share it. Never did she say it was her idea, tried to deny anyone any kind of invention/origin right, or did anything at all that could wrong anyone or do them harm that could make the hairstyle look like mockery or something offensive. Why doesn't it make people happy when others like their ideas so much they want to follow the trend and enjoy it together? :(

I never said she should know better than to do it, because I don't honestly think it's an issue of know better. It's an issue of the perpetual underdog saying, "I'm tired of this crap." When you are constantly being made less because of something like skin and hair, you become aware of and sensative to this type of thing. Where you maybe would have thought that's nice in other circumstances, this one sends you over the edge because there's just so much you can't tolerate it all. That's why I think it was good there were resonable people in all this crap talking to this child about appropriation, but condem the ones who thought they had the right to cuss out anoth persons kid. Now she knows, and it isn't a bad thing for her to know. Better she make informed choices and stand by them than something like this happen again, whether that is to wear her hair this way again or not.

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 05:47 AM
Cultures are shared all the time and it's fun to share a culture.

Sharing implies something done with permission.

Lillith1991
01-26-2015, 05:52 AM
I can understand why it could rub people the wrong way. I don't think she's wrong for wearing her hair that way, and calling her racist and other nasty things is definitely wrong, but I agree that calling the concerns "pointless" is rather diminutive.

For what it's worth, I think she looks cute. Though it did weird me out a little when my white friend had her hair done like that. It looked good though.

Oh, I agree! She is utterly adorable in those braids. I'm not bothered by them in the least. But the idea it is just hair does tend to grate on me.

Unimportant
01-26-2015, 05:53 AM
I guess it's an American issue. We all wore braids like that as kids
Really, y'all had box braids as kids in Scotland? I never would've guessed! I don't think I ever saw them until Janet Jackson and some of the other black pop artists burst on the scene with them.

I had plaits as a (straight blond haired) kid, but cornrows and dreadlocks were very much an African-American thing. And at the time, schools and employers could kick out/fire people for those hairstyles. So I can see why black people, who may well have spent much of their lives being told that their natural hair was 'ugly', and their box braids or cornrows were 'too black', and their dreadlocks were 'too gangsterish', and that they should iron their hair and, well, look like white people, now feel they have a proprietary claim on those hairstyles and that it cheapens what they went through for others to appropriate them. Sure, the kid in this story probably had no idea, just saw them and thought they were pretty. She's been educated now. And she's probably learnt from it. Hopefully others will too.

Neegh
01-26-2015, 05:53 AM
Anyone remember the movie 10 ... Bo Derec runing all over the beach in the very same braids...?

That was an American movie made well over 20 years ago.

This is not an American issue. It's an asshole issue.

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 05:55 AM
Oh, I agree! She is utterly adorable in those braids. I'm not bothered by them in the least. But the idea it is just hair does tend to grate on me.

Absolutely. I have no problem with her wearing her hair like that, but the diminishing of cultural appropriation by many of those supporting her does bother me.

Unimportant
01-26-2015, 05:59 AM
This is not an American issue. It's an asshole issue.
Whoa there, tiger. Are you saying that everyone (here and elsewhere)who appreciates that some folks might have seen this incident as cultural appropriation is an asshole?

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 05:59 AM
One of my friends is finally letting her hair grow and starting to wear it naturally, and I can tell just by looking at her how transformative it's been for her personally. It's definitely a big deal.

Brutal Mustang
01-26-2015, 06:02 AM
Oh, I agree! She is utterly adorable in those braids. I'm not bothered by them in the least. But the idea it is just hair does tend to grate on me.

But in this instance it should be. Like I've said before in this thread, braids are universal. Their origins are not specifically African. And that's what I meant by 'little'. She's not borrowing a very intimate symbol of some tribe in the Pacific. She's doing something that many cultures have done for millennia. Yes, braids happen to be most closely associated to people of African descent in this day and age, but they aren't exclusive to them.

Neegh
01-26-2015, 06:10 AM
Whoa there, tiger. Are you saying that everyone (here and elsewhere)who appreciates that some folks might have seen this incident as cultural appropriation is an asshole?

Just the people that gave this 12 year old girl shit for doing something that has been going on for twice as long as she's been alive.

Unimportant
01-26-2015, 06:11 AM
Like I've said before in this thread, braids are universal.
Braids, yes. Box braids, no. It's like the difference between tattoos and moko.

Google "box braids" images and tell me what you see.
(https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=%22box+braids%22&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=1aHFVL6-Hcfx8gW2goHIDA&ved=0CB0QsAQ&biw=1920&bih=946)

Lillith1991
01-26-2015, 06:12 AM
Absolutely. I have no problem with her wearing her hair like that, but the diminishing of cultural appropriation by many of those supporting her does bother me.

Agreed. It bothers me just as much as people cussing her out for not knowing she was doing something potentially upsetting. Both are dead wrong far as I'm concerned.


One of my friends is finally letting her hair grow and starting to wear it naturally, and I can tell just by looking at her how transformative it's been for her personally. It's definitely a big deal.

Massive deal really when you've been told all your life that the hair which grows out of your head is ugly. I love my fro, even though care can be pretty involved since my hair is waist length but shrinks to my arm pits.

Unimportant
01-26-2015, 06:14 AM
Just the people that gave this 12 year old girl shit for doing something that has been going on for twice as long as she's been alive.
Define "giving her shit".

Calling her names and being cruel and hurtful: yes, that is wrong. Informing and educating her about cultural appropriation, and the history of box braids in African culture: how is that wrong? Esp since she's responded by thanking people who took the time to share their knowledge and feelings with her.

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 06:15 AM
Agreed. It bothers me just as much as people cussing her out for not knowing she was doing something potentially upsetting. Both are dead wrong far as I'm concerned.

Which makes it all the more tragic, IMO. I hope the girl manages to learn a good message from all this, but she's getting the wrong message from both sides.

I blame the Internet.

Brutal Mustang
01-26-2015, 06:19 AM
Braids, yes. Box braids, no. It's like the difference between tattoos and moko.

Google "box braids" images and tell me what you see.
(https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=%22box+braids%22&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=1aHFVL6-Hcfx8gW2goHIDA&ved=0CB0QsAQ&biw=1920&bih=946)

The vikings and wild tribes of northern Europe wore box braids and cornrows. And I'm sure since the dawn of time, little girls the world over have braided their friends' hair neatly out of boredom. I sure did, when I was a kid!

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 06:28 AM
The vikings and wild tribes of northern Europe wore box braids and cornrows. And I'm sure since the dawn of time, little girls the world over have braided their friends' hair neatly out of boredom. I sure did, when I was a kid!

Context is key. You don't see many vikings these days.

That's said, I'm not criticizing her for it.

Neegh
01-26-2015, 06:29 AM
Define "giving her shit".

Calling her names and being cruel and hurtful: yes, that is wrong. Informing and educating her about cultural appropriation, and the history of box braids in African culture: how is that wrong? Esp since she's responded by thanking people who took the time to share their knowledge and feelings with her.

This is a stupid discussion. White people have been braiding their hair like this for many years; why someone has now decided to make an issue of this at this point is beyond me.

What's next...telling white Rastafarians that they have to shave off their dreadlocks?

Chill...

mccardey
01-26-2015, 06:30 AM
:popcorn:

Let's see how this ends...

Lillith1991
01-26-2015, 06:34 AM
This is a stupid discussion. White people have been braiding their hair like this for many years; why someone has now decided to make an issue of this at this point is beyond me.

What's next...telling white Rastafarians that they have to shave off their dreadlocks?

Chill...

Wow. Just... I would give you a pass since you're apparently new, but I don't think so. Here's a newsflash, Black people have been complaining about this for as long as white people have been doing it. Get over it.

Neegh
01-26-2015, 06:36 AM
In tears most likely.

;P

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 06:36 AM
This is a stupid discussion. White people have been braiding their hair like this for many years; why someone has now decided to make an issue of this at this point is beyond me.

What's next...telling white Rastafarians that they have to shave off their dreadlocks?

Chill...

Discussing appropriation and cultural sensitivity is not stupid.

Chill.

mccardey
01-26-2015, 06:38 AM
In tears most likely.

;P

I hadn't realised how new you were, so I'm going to be slightly more helpful and suggest you read the stickies - esp the RYFW one. But I'm keeping the popcorn warm and buttery, because I don't see this ending well.

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 06:42 AM
A join date of 2013 isn't new.

Unimportant
01-26-2015, 06:42 AM
This is a stupid discussion.
It's not, because at least some people are finding it educational.

Neegh
01-26-2015, 06:42 AM
Wow. Just... I would give you a pass since you're apparently new, but I don't think so. Here's a newsflash, Black people have been complaining about this for as long as white people have been doing it. Get over it.

My girlfriend says if someone wants to sit and have someone pull at their hair for 3 or 4 hours then let them.

Resently she let her hair go natual...she looks so 70s

Brutal Mustang
01-26-2015, 06:43 AM
Context is key. You don't see many vikings these days.

Oh, we're around. :e2sven:


That's said, I'm not criticizing her for it.

But, inadvertently, it sounds like you and Lillith are saying, "I don't have a problem with it ... but it's wrong, she shouldn't do that again." You're contradicting yourselves.

Neegh
01-26-2015, 06:44 AM
I hadn't realised how new you were, so I'm going to be slightly more helpful and suggest you read the stickies - esp the RYFW one. But I'm keeping the popcorn warm and buttery, because I don't see this ending well.

Mmmm...buttery.

mccardey
01-26-2015, 06:49 AM
A join date of 2013 isn't new.

No, but the post-count of 40 to date (and the approach to discussions of cultural appropriation in the PoC thread) seems to suggest that maybe there hasn't been a lot of contact in the intervening months...

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 06:50 AM
But, inadvertently, it sounds like you and Lillith are saying, "I don't have a problem with it ... but it's wrong, she shouldn't do that again." You're contradicting yourselves.

Uhh nope.


I don't think she's wrong for wearing her hair that way

Please show me where I said otherwise.

I said I understand why it could rub people the wrong way, and I said hair is a big deal. Nowhere did I say she shouldn't wear her hair like that.

Thinking hair is a big deal doesn't mean I think she's wrong.

Lillith1991
01-26-2015, 06:51 AM
Oh, we're around. :e2sven:



But, inadvertently, it sounds like you and Lillith are saying, "I don't have a problem with it ... but it's wrong, she shouldn't do that again." You're contradicting yourselves.

Nope, I'm not contradicting myself and neither is Kuwi. I'm saying that I don't have a problem with it, but she should be aware others might take issue with it and for what reason whatever her choice in the future.

Unimportant
01-26-2015, 06:56 AM
But, inadvertently, it sounds like you and Lillith are saying, "I don't have a problem with it ... but it's wrong, she shouldn't do that again." You're contradicting yourselves.

I don't have a problem with the girl's hair: she's a child, she meant no harm or insult, she was wholly unaware of the recent history of such braided hairstyles, and I have no personal affiliation with the black/African culture and thus cannot experience any personal insult. However, I do have a problem with cultural appropriation in general, with the fact that a sector of the population have lived for decades with "it's ghetto and trashy when black women wear it, but it's chic and sexy when wihte women wear it", and then are further insulted and demonised by "it's meant as a compliment!" and "what's wrong with those people!" and "PC police gone mad!" and "I wouldn't feel offended, so they shouldn't either!" comments when discussions of cultural appropriation occur.

Ken
01-26-2015, 07:03 AM
Hotlinked image removed

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 07:04 AM
Now that does offend me.

Unimportant
01-26-2015, 07:07 AM
Free full beta read by yours truly,or a five dollar donation to AW, for anyone who can find a pic of a naked mole rat with cornrows or box braids.

(Yes, I'm probably grossly overvalueing my beta reading skills. So sue me.)

Neegh
01-26-2015, 07:13 AM
Free full beta read by yours truly,or a five dollar donation to AW, for anyone who can find a pic of a naked mole rat with cornrows or box braids.

(Yes, I'm probably grossly overvalueing my beta reading skills. So sue me.)

My freind has a sheepdog that his girlfriend did-all-up with dreadlocks.

Brutal Mustang
01-26-2015, 08:09 AM
Nope, I'm not contradicting myself and neither is Kuwi. I'm saying that I don't have a problem with it, but she should be aware others might take issue with it and for what reason whatever her choice in the future.

Okay. But that's not what you made it sound like in the beginning.

One thing this discussion has made me think on is how so many of us Americans feel we have no culture to call our own, which may make us inclined to be culturally 'grabby', and then feel hurt when other cultures don't want to share.

I am a typical American. My grandpa's folks came here on the boat from Norway. I'm at least 25% Native American, but probably a good deal more, judging by my appearance. Mostly Apache, but some other tribes are in me as well. One of my ancestors is Robert the Bruce, so there is Scottish. And I have a German last name. Do I have black in me? Maybe. Were any of my ancestors slave masters? Maybe. I don't know.

Point being, I have this colorful ancestry. But it's so mixed and obscure, I can't truly be a part of any of it. And that makes me freakin' sad, all the time. Because culture is awesome, and it's a strong human desire to have something to identify with. I've always been jealous of those who have unique little cultural things to call their own, since I was a small child.

Kitty27
01-26-2015, 08:16 AM
This is a stupid discussion. White people have been braiding their hair like this for many years; why someone has now decided to make an issue of this at this point is beyond me.

What's next...telling white Rastafarians that they have to shave off their dreadlocks?

Chill...

You are very close to violating the rules of both this forum and AW itself. I suggest you go over both.

It is not "stupid". Other AW'ers have politely explained about cultural appropriation. You are ignoring their POVs and insulting them as well. If you cannot listen and learn,then excuse yourself from this forum and this discussion can continue.

Privilege allows you to have this POV and dismiss others concerns. For Black women and the external views of our hair,it is very serious. Braids and other styles non Blacks think are " cute" are for us styles that are demonized,ghetto,unattractive and in some cases,seen as militant and threatening to Whites. Box braids were not created by anybody other than Blacks,as are many other hairstyles.

Yes,it is offensive to see styles we've worn our entire lives suddenly become"trendy" and "acceptable" because a White person wears them. There is nothing wrong with sharing culture. But for us,a people who have repeatedly seen elements of our culture be stolen and copied,yes it is a problem. The issue is that the creators are never acknowledged or given respect.

Now that I've said my two cents,hopefully this discussion can continue peacefully.

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 08:24 AM
One thing this discussion has made me think on is how so many of us Americans feel we have no culture to call our own, which may make us inclined to be culturally 'grabby', and then feel hurt when other cultures don't want to share.

I've always found people from other cultures are happy and eager to share their cultures.

But appropriation isn't sharing.

It's taking without respect or thought to how the people from that culture feel.

If you want people to share with you, then you have to approach them politely and respectfully.

(General you.)

mccardey
01-26-2015, 08:32 AM
One thing this discussion has made me think on is how so many of us Americans feel we have no culture to call our own, which may make us inclined to be culturally 'grabby', and then feel hurt when other cultures don't want to share.

This is something I might need to sit down and think about. From the outside, it often seems as though "American Culture" is in danger of swamping other, more fragile cultures. (I'm looking at you, Hollywood. I'm looking at you, American Constitution. I'm looking at you, American Rules of Spelling ;) )

Do you mean that many Americans feel that within that whole amorphous grab-bag of "American Culture" there is nothing that they feel is theirs? That's an interesting point of view.

Lillith1991
01-26-2015, 08:41 AM
This is something I might need to sit down and think about. From the outside, it often seems as though "American Culture" is in danger of swamping other, more fragile cultures. (I'm looking at you, Hollywood. I'm looking at you, American Constitution. I'm looking at you, American Rules of Spelling ;) )

Do you mean that many Americans feel that within that whole amorphous grab-bag of "American Culture" there is nothing that they feel is theirs? That's an interesting point of view.

It mostly seems to be felt by Americans who happen to be white and Christian. I've never heard any Jewish person say it, though somebody somewhere may have. A consequence of being seen as the default/standard. I know I consider myself as typical as mustang and most of my ancestors have been in the US since it was naught but a gaggle of colonies, both White and Black. Some where even here before then, and some were immagrants not 100 years ago. But because I am a visible minority I'm not seen as typical, but I know I am.

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 09:03 AM
Do you mean that many Americans feel that within that whole amorphous grab-bag of "American Culture" there is nothing that they feel is theirs? That's an interesting point of view.

I swear there is something practically pathological about whites' desire to "play Indian."

I'm sure there's enough there for a dissertation. Probably several.

Silenia
01-26-2015, 09:06 AM
It mostly seems to be felt by Americans who happen to be white and Christian. I've never heard any Jewish person say it, though somebody somewhere may have. A consequence of being seen as the default/standard. I know I consider myself as typical as mustang and most of my ancestors have been in the US since it was naught but a gaggle of colonies, both White and Black. Some where even here before then, and some were immagrants not 100 years ago. But because I am a visible minority I'm not seen as typical, but I know I am.
I can't say much about the American culture with any degree of certainty, what with me not being American.

However, I do know that being seen as 'default' or 'standard' does not quite necessarily lead to feeling a lack of culture--at least, outside the USA. (Just see, for example, Italy, where Italians definitely are seen as the standard. They don't feel as though they're lacking a culture to call theirs. Same with the Japanese in Japan, or the Greek in Greece.)

(As an outsider, I would say that the to me visible "American" culture is for a good part "define oneself by where the ancestors came from", and for far longer than would be the case in, for example, most of Europe. But when you try to define yourself by the origins of your ancestors, and part of that is Irish, part is Italian, part is German, part is British, throw in some Spanish, French, etc., none of those cultures are really "yours". Because you're more not-French than you're French, more not-Italian than you're Italian, etc.

(Here in the Netherlands, someone who calls themselves half-Italian means either "one of my parents came from Italy" or "two of my grandparents came from Italy". Not, "eight of my great-great-grandparents came from Italy" or "I have two grandparents who both were born here, as were their parents and possibly grandparents, but who can trace all their direct ancestors back to having descended from migrants from Italy"))

Brutal Mustang
01-26-2015, 09:06 AM
I've always found people from other cultures are happy and eager to share their cultures.

But appropriation isn't sharing.

It's taking without respect or thought to how the people from that culture feel.

If you want people to share with you, then you have to approach them politely and respectfully.

(General you.)

Who exactly does the sharing, Kuwi? One person? 100%? One of my friends, and the best welder I've ever known, is pure-blooded Navajo. If she says I may do/wear this, may I do it? But what if I do so, and other people from her reservation object? What percentage of her people have to give consent for it to be sharing vs. appropriation?

In the case of this girl, there are lots of comments in the article (http://www.lovebscott.com/news/12-year-old-white-girl-gets-harshly-criticized-for-showing-off-her-blonde-box-braids-on-social-media-photos) like this:


She looks super cute. And last I check black people didn't own braids. I'm a black women and I must say only a black insecure female would be mad. Signed by another black women Does this make it okay? Or does every black woman in the world have to say they're willing to share with this girl?

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 09:17 AM
Who exactly does the sharing, Kuwi? One person? 100%? One of my friends, and the best welder I've ever known, is pure-blooded Navajo. If she says I may do/wear this, may I do it? But what if I do so, and other people from her reservation object? What percentage of her people have to give consent for it to be sharing vs. appropriation?

It really depends, and there is no simple answer to that.

As I said before, context is key.

Did you have something specific in mind?

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 09:29 AM
There will never be perfect agreement over what counts as cultural appropriation, or what is offensive, or what is worth fighting for. Some people will always be offended, and some people will never give a fuck.

But you don't need to always get things right to be respectful and understanding of why these issues are such a big deal. Cultural sensitivity doesn't mean always knowing the right thing to do, or never offending anyone. It simply means exactly what it says: being sensitive to cultural concerns.

Doing something that's racist or offensive isn't the end of the world. If you hurt other people, you try to understand why they are hurt, rather than simply dismiss their feelings as unreasonable.

I don't think that's so much to ask.

Lillith1991
01-26-2015, 09:43 AM
I can't say much about the American culture with any degree of certainty, what with me not being American.

However, I do know that being seen as 'default' or 'standard' does not quite necessarily lead to feeling a lack of culture--at least, outside the USA. (Just see, for example, Italy, where Italians definitely are seen as the standard. They don't feel as though they're lacking a culture to call theirs. Same with the Japanese in Japan, or the Greek in Greece.)

(As an outsider, I would say that the to me visible "American" culture is for a good part "define oneself by where the ancestors came from", and for far longer than would be the case in, for example, most of Europe. But when you try to define yourself by the origins of your ancestors, and part of that is Irish, part is Italian, part is German, part is British, throw in some Spanish, French, etc., none of those cultures are really "yours". Because you're more not-French than you're French, more not-Italian than you're Italian, etc.

(Here in the Netherlands, someone who calls themselves half-Italian means either "one of my parents came from Italy" or "two of my grandparents came from Italy". Not, "eight of my great-great-grandparents came from Italy" or "I have two grandparents who both were born here, as were their parents and possibly grandparents, but who can trace all their direct ancestors back to having descended from migrants from Italy"))

That's why I focus on Americans, especially ones that are White and Christian, because it seems more a US issue than a general White issue.

Brutal Mustang
01-26-2015, 09:49 AM
Did you have something specific in mind?

Nope.

Neegh
01-26-2015, 09:52 AM
There is nothing wrong with sharing culture. But for us,a people who have repeatedly seen elements of our culture be stolen and copied,yes it is a problem. The issue is that the creators are never acknowledged or given respect.

.

Everybody deserves respect--and that is what we all should be teaching our children. And, the way we rid ourselves of race prejudice is by full emersion.

Yes, it can be very daunting watching all your great ideas copied by others but, that is the way it is: people mimic what they think is cool. All people do this. Form the beginning of time we have. That is how we have survived. How we climbed up to where we are now.

Eventually, we will see an end to prejudice and injustice—but we wont get there by clutching to what we may perceive as ours, but by giving more than we have so far: and then, by giving even more still.

Of course, it won’t go out with a bang. It will just not be around anymore.

On my street, we do have what Rev. King predicted: kids, playing together Black and White, Hispanic and Asian...and not thinking anything of it. Imagine how much better it will be when those kids have kids.

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 10:01 AM
Everybody deserves respect--and that is what we all should be teaching our children. And, the way we rid ourselves of race prejudice is by full emersion.

Yes, it can be very daunting watching all your great ideas copied by others but, that is the way it is: people mimic what they think is cool. All people do this. Form the beginning of time we have. That is how we have survived. How we climbed up to where we are now.

Eventually, we will see an end to prejudice and injustice—but we wont get there by clutching to what we may perceive as ours, but by giving more than we have so far: and then, by giving even more still.

Cultural appropriation does nothing to rid anyone of racial prejudice. Part of the reason it is so harmful is because it tends to promote racial and cultural stereotypes. It actively pushes us further away from the dream of a more egalitarian world. It does nothing to bring us closer to it.

No, we did not survive by letting our culture be stolen and erased. We survived by protecting it, in secret if we had to.

As for "what we may perceive as ours"? There is no perception about it.

A culture belongs to its people. Appropriation of it is theft. And we owe nothing to the people who tried to destroy us.

Brutal Mustang
01-26-2015, 10:02 AM
It mostly seems to be felt by Americans who happen to be white and Christian. I've never heard any Jewish person say it, though somebody somewhere may have.

Jewish is just that. Jewish.

'White' on the other hand can be Christian, atheist, half black, Scottish, Italian, and just about anything else. Some white people have a lot of culture. Others, like me, have none, and are labeled as white, even though we are of mixed race.

Same goes for being black, of course.

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 10:08 AM
Others, like me, have none, and are labeled as white, even though we are of mixed race.

How do you identify yourself? How do you want to?

Lillith1991
01-26-2015, 10:14 AM
Jewish is just that. Jewish.

'White' on the other hand can be Christian, atheist, half black, Scottish, Italian, and just about anything else. Some white people have a lot of culture. Others, like me, have none, and are labeled as white, even though we are of mixed race.

Same goes for being black, of course.

Here's the thing, most Jews in this country aren't Sephardic or Mizrahi. Most American Jews are European Jews, hence, most Jews in this country ARE white as the person who's both white and christian are. And I'm going to put in an objection right now, I may be half-white essentially. But that doesn't make me white, and I would say most people who are mixed white/any other group are not going to call themselves white unless they are able to pass as white. Acknowledging my mums ancestors are mainly white doesn't make me white myself, just makes her heritage a part of my own.

ETA: Also, what Kuwi said.

Brutal Mustang
01-26-2015, 10:20 AM
How do you identify yourself? How do you want to?

I identify as white, because that's what society says I am. I'd rather be identified as mixed, because that's what I am.

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 10:27 AM
I identify as white, because that's what society says I am. I'd rather be identified as mixed, because that's what I am.

Then identify as mixed. I'm mixed too.

I feel like a lot of people of mixed heritage struggle with how to identify, and settle on appropriating what they please.

Because appropriation is easy.

Actually owning an identity? That can be hard. And inconvenient.

It's easy to play in someone else's yard when they have to deal with the garbage that gets left behind, but if you want to share that yard, then you have to take responsibility for it.

Lillith1991
01-26-2015, 10:49 AM
I identify as white, because that's what society says I am. I'd rather be identified as mixed, because that's what I am.

Add me as another person who idenifies as mixed, though I idenify as Black just as much. If you want to identify as mixed then do so, whether society thinks you pass as white or not. The older two of my aunt's three half-cambodian kids look less Khmer than her youngest, but that doesn't stop them from identifying as mixed or half-cambodian. That's what they are heritage wise, and they're proud of it.

Brutal Mustang
01-26-2015, 11:18 AM
I do have strangers occasionally ask if I'm part Native American. So I often identify as mixed in those situations. On government forms? I just always check white, because that's what I've always done.

What's funny is, I spent much of my childhood in Central America. I speak fluent Spanish. Because of my Native American characteristics (high cheekbones, black eyes), many people mistake me for Latina. I've even had a few non-English speaking Mexicans swear I was Mexican. Why? Don't know. My accent in Spanish is central American. Maybe they figure I'm from Oaxaca, or something.

So to add to my identity confusion, I have lived awhile in a culture not my own, and can efficiently pass for a member of that culture.

Fruitbat
01-26-2015, 12:06 PM
Hair is complicated.

I worked at a youth home years ago, and the black workers did all the little girls' hair the same, whether the girl was black, white or hispanic. Various elaborate braids and lots of barrettes. One of the white workers would get furious at them doing the white girls' hair "black style."

And some of the white workers, myself included, washed all the little girls' hair when giving the daily baths. And then, I am too much all-thumbs to re-do any elaborate hair styling.

So they'd come back in thinking I/we had undone all the little girls' hair and redone it "white style" as retribution.

Which probably was true with my white co-worker mentioned above, but I just didn't know you weren't supposed to take out all the little bands and barrettes and wash the hair every day.

So it all went over my head. Until The Great Hair Fight of 1996. :Wha:

backslashbaby
01-26-2015, 12:06 PM
I think her braids are very cool, but I do hope she has a lot of Black friends (if possible wherever she lives). I hate it when folks take on something that is aesthetic and cool but don't relate to the main culture at all. If she has no way of knowing many Black folks, I'd give her a pass, personally (not that I'm Black, mind you, so that's only FWIW coming from me).

Native American appropriation (and other examples from most cultures) can be very different, btw. Don't wear stuff because it looks cool unless you buy it from Natives made for looks or you might end up wearing something roughly equivalent to the Pope's garb ;) Cool-looking doesn't get you out of that msitake! Same with Rastafarian stuff, etc.

I don't get my hackles up badly about true fashion appropriation -- just mho. Some are grey areas, like African-American women and hair, yeah. I wish it were less of an issue overall with the hair differences, so I would like to see a full melding of the cultures there.

Full disclosure: If I could sport a near-fro like my hair does naturally, I'd appreciate that a whole lot. There's not a chance in hell I'd get away with it, but I hate having to worry about the social unacceptability of my own stupid hair frizz all the time, really.

Actually, I do oil it like many curly-haired Natives used to do, and that works pretty well! Using AA hair products, naturally ;) If there is still NA hair oil around, I don't know about it.

mccardey
01-26-2015, 12:14 PM
The only thing I can think of along these lines was when my son was going to a British school in Malaysia, and they had National Costume Day. He (aged 10 or so) was thoroughly perplexed by this, and asked the teacher what he should wear. She thought a kangaroo skin and a boomerang would work well.

He didn't have a kangaroo skin, so I let him stay home. He could have worn cricket whites, I suppose, but he didn't have those either.

Or a hat with corks.

But this is a derail. Sorry. It's just that Fruitbat reminded me of one of those "Wha - ?" moments.

backslashbaby
01-26-2015, 12:36 PM
I like the cricket whites! That seems exotic enough to me ;) :D

Oh, I nearly got cornrows once myself, with friends who wore them agreeing that it would be a good look for me (except maybe a problem at work, but screw them). I only didn't because I was afraid I might have to cut my hair off later. It doesn't like anything rough at all, unfortunately.

I did get long extensions back when Lisa Bonet did :) That was a fun summer, but then they started bugging me too much (too long for our hot summers). Appropriation wasn't something discussed back then much among folks around here, so the big issue about my cornrows would probably have been the racism from the rednecks in the area. Screw them, too.

Literateparakeet
01-26-2015, 01:22 PM
It's not, because at least some people are finding it educational.

Yes. I'm one of those people.

Thanks Unimportant, Lillith and Kuwi.

Putputt
01-26-2015, 02:36 PM
One thing this discussion has made me think on is how so many of us Americans feel we have no culture to call our own, which may make us inclined to be culturally 'grabby', and then feel hurt when other cultures don't want to share.



I feel like it's not the other cultures' responsibility to share just because one culture feels that it has no culture to call its own and wants to be "grabby". If that's the argument for cultural appropriation, I think it's a crappy one. Grabbing part of a culture's identity just because "cool" or "trendy" or "I have no culture of my own, waaahh" isn't right.

That said, I don't think it makes this girl a racist, and I certainly don't approve of people bullying her and calling her names. What she's done is just a small cog in a giant, shit-spraying machine of cultural oppression and appropriation. She shouldn't get the brunt of the backlash because she's just one tiny part of this attitude of "We're going to oppress Black people and instill systemic and institutional racism which will screw them over every which way they can be screwed over, but hey, cool hair! Want!"

And no, it's NOT the same when it's the other way around, because then you're not taking into account history and colonization. I think this article (http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/5-things-white-people-cultural-appropriation/) on cultural appropriation says it a lot better than I could, and explains why I roll my eyes whenever I see white people donning a Bindi or dressing up as a Geisha. Maybe it's seen as "cool", but at the end of the day, people who are not from that culture
can take off their costume and return to everyday life without the discrimination or stigma commonly associated with those cultural expressions So no, it's not like you're gaining an insight into what it's REALLY like being part of that culture, you're wearing it like a Halloween costume as something "fun" and then discarding it when it gets tiring.

As for PoC who are not offended by it, that argument is such BS. I know Chinese people who aren't offended by the terms "chink" and "chinaman" (my brother being one of them. He regularly uses those terms to refer to us because he thinks they're funny). Does that make those terms any less offensive?

Brutal Mustang
01-26-2015, 05:01 PM
Putputt, it's not as simple as 'us versus them, and them'.

The one thing Kuwi, Lillith, and I do agree on, is that we are mixed. Though, someone would probably look at us and see a Native American man, a black woman, and a white woman. The vast majority of Americans are mixed like we are. And genes, they are a funny thing. I knew a blond girl whose biological dad was black, and I don't mean pale black. I've also known black people who were mostly white in their ancestry. So you can't tell by just looking at a person where they're from.

This girl, she could very well have black in her ancestry. If so, she's not allowed to wear braids because she's not black enough? Where is the line drawn?

This is what really bothers me about this whole thing. America is by and large a melting pot. Racial and cultural lines are blurring with each generation. We are all becoming one. So many Americans have a slice of America as a whole in their ancestry, regardless of what race they actually pass for. Why is a shit storm happening over box braids, which has roots in various ancient cultures? Heck, I've seen non-black Latinas wear box braids from time to time. More so when I lived down in Central America. I don't see anyone giving the Latinas hell for it.

I get respect for culture. But in this instance, the line is so blurred. What worries me, is that the only message this is sending to young people is, "Nope, you're not that similar to one another. Be conscious of it, kids!"

Usher
01-26-2015, 05:18 PM
Really, y'all had box braids as kids in Scotland? I never would've guessed! I don't think I ever saw them until Janet Jackson and some of the other black pop artists burst on the scene with them.

African Americans didn't invent them and they are not unique to their culture. Think it was my Jamaican friend's mum who did mine so she's not African or American -- and she would probably have objected to being called either. But then as a child my black friends had all started life in middle class homes in countries where their skin colours were the majority and racism was something they encountered later in their lives.

Just like dreadlocks are not just African. There isn't a single black culture would the people be up in arms if this little girl was from India or the Caribbean? or Black British? How white or blonde does your skin have to be before it become unacceptable? How do you know looking at that girl's picture that she doesn't have a recent African American ancestor or she just wanted to look like her best friend or favourite pop star?


Sure, the kid in this story probably had no idea, just saw them and thought they were pretty. She's been educated now. And she's probably learnt from it. Hopefully others will too.Sadly, yes - she's learned how to be a little more racist. It's no different to the idiots who say a black man can't wear a kilt or someone with an Arab name can't be British. It's ridiculous we've had black people in the UK since the 1200s at least and probably long before.

If she's anything like my eleven year old being racist probably wasn't even on her radar until people decided to teach her.

Yes the culture has been repressed but I live in a culture where the same is true -- lots of elements of Scottish culture were illegal and discouraged for periods of time. If we didn't share them in tacky gift shops we'd probably lose the culture - it's the interest of others that keeps a culture alive and reduces racism. But then I live in a country where sharing cultures is normal -- I only have to go three miles for a shop full of wonders from all around the world.

Putputt
01-26-2015, 05:47 PM
Putputt, it's not as simple as 'us versus them, and them'.


I don't think I ever said it was. Where are you getting that from?



The one thing Kuwi, Lillith, and I do agree on, is that we are mixed. Though, someone would probably look at us and see a Native American man, a black woman, and a white woman. The vast majority of Americans are mixed like we are. And genes, they are a funny thing. I knew a blond girl whose biological dad was black, and I don't mean pale black. I've also known black people who were mostly white in their ancestry. So you can't tell by just looking at a person where they're from.I'm not sure I follow the argument. Are you saying we're all mixed, therefore we have a right to help ourselves to any cultural identity we want to, because we might be 1/64th that culture or something?



This girl, she could very well have black in her ancestry. If so, she's not allowed to wear braids because she's not black enough? Where is the line drawn?Really, this is your argument? She COULD be Black, therefore why not let her appropriate Black cultural identities? But okay, let's say a smidgen of her IS Black, I still believe that if she's been raised white and, more importantly, identifies and is seen by everyone else as white and therefore does not have to deal with all the racism thrown at her for being Black, then she's white. Does she get paid less for the amount of work she does than white people do (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_wage_gap_in_the_United_States)? Is she less likely to get a job even with the same credentials as a white candidate might have (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/20/black-college-graduates_n_5358983.html)? All this burden comes with being a PoC, which is why it is so insulting to see a white person pick and choose parts of our cultures to put on and take off whenever they feel like it, just because, you know, "Waaahh, no culture of our own!"



This is what really bothers me about this whole thing. America is by and large a melting pot. Racial and cultural lines are blurring with each generation. We are all becoming one. So many Americans have a slice of America as a whole in their ancestry, regardless of what race they actually pass for. Why is a shit storm happening over box braids, which has roots in various ancient cultures? Heck, I've seen non-black Latinas wear box braids from time to time. More so when I lived down in Central America. I don't see anyone giving the Latinas hell for it.I guess you didn't read the article I linked to in my previous post, so Imma quote directly from it. Why does no one give Latinas hell when they wear box braids? Because, basically, history.



A Japanese teen wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the logo of a big American company is not the same as Madonna sporting a bindi as part of her latest reinvention. The difference is history and power. Colonization has made Western Anglo culture supreme–powerful and coveted. It is understood in its diversity (http://www.dailydot.com/tags/diversity) and nuance as other cultures can only hope to be. Ignorance of culture that is a burden to Asians, African, and indigenous peoples, is unknown to most European descendants or at least lacks the same negative impact.

I get respect for culture. But in this instance, the line is so blurred. I don't get what part of the line is blurred in this instance. It seems pretty clear to me.


What worries me, is that the only message this is sending to young people is, "Nope, you're not that similar to one another. Be conscious of it, kids!"Or rather, what I'm getting is, "Be aware of cultural appropriation, kids, and please be respectful of other cultures!"

If the aim really is to be a "melting pot" and to slowly eradicate racism, then getting box braids is not exactly the solution. I don't get how that's going to make the wearer gain any more understanding and acceptance of Black culture.

ETA:



Sadly, yes - she's learned how to be a little more racist. It's no different to the idiots who say a black man can't wear a kilt or someone with an Arab name can't be British. It's ridiculous we've had black people in the UK since the 1200s at least and probably long before.



See above. And again: History matters. Yes, it is different to people saying someone with an Arab name can't be British.

E again TA: I just saw this thread (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=302237) on AW, which, again, just goes to show the unbelievable amount of shit Black people in the States go through on a daily basis. It is kind of insulting to suggest that someone who NEVER has to go through the fear of being shot because of the color of your skin has rights to Black culture because oohh, box braids, cute!

Calliea
01-26-2015, 06:29 PM
I get respect for culture. But in this instance, the line is so blurred. What worries me, is that the only message this is sending to young people is, "Nope, you're not that similar to one another. Be conscious of it, kids!"

I was going to reply to this with agreement, but then Usher said:


Just like dreadlocks are not just African. There isn't a single black culture would the people be up in arms if this little girl was from India or the Caribbean? or Black British? How white or blonde does your skin have to be before it become unacceptable? How do you know looking at that girl's picture that she doesn't have a recent African American ancestor or she just wanted to look like her best friend or favourite pop star?

Sadly, yes - she's learned how to be a little more racist. It's no different to the idiots who say a black man can't wear a kilt or someone with an Arab name can't be British. It's ridiculous we've had black people in the UK since the 1200s at least and probably long before.

If she's anything like my eleven year old being racist probably wasn't even on her radar until people decided to teach her.

Like I said before, I'm not American, I can't speak from that perspective, but I can say how it looks like from where I stand (and many people I know in my life as well). I'm from Europe, from a country where it's not that common to see people of different nationalities.

We're not racist, not in the least. We are fascinated by people different than us, because that's how curious humans are. We admire other cultures, we want to get to know them, visit their country of origin (SO many people I know dream of going around Asia), and yes, oftentimes, copy them. Not to take their culture, or ridicule it or anything like that. But because we think it's awesome, and it doesn't even cross our mind we hurt anyone by saying "Hey, you're awesome! I wanna be like you!"

If anything, we're jealous, because the culture of my country doesn't interest anyone but few exceptions that are much into history. Heck, it doesn't interest majority of people living here unless they're very patriotic. It's mostly villagey of origin, and just, I don't know, not cool enough to do anything with it. And yes, those patriots and history buffs would rip my head off for saying it, but I very rarely meet someone proud of this culture. We're delighted when someone else notices it and thinks it's at all worth attention. "LOOK! There's a guy in that American movie who eats our food and even almost said the name of it! How amazing!" :P I might be exaggerating, but just a little.

But there's one thing that's different in the perception of other races that I see around (here, and often on the internet as well) - and I say that meaning no offense to anyone. When people don't try to see us as racist, don't throw limitations, get offended or outright threaten us for doing something they deem we shouldn't do, the racism disappears. Completely. I mean, people here stop seeing the race of others, period. I'm of course talking about the younger generation brought up in the world with the internet where we're used to people being different without a bunch of historical connotations - and yes, I know it's a more present background in the US.

But then something happens that makes the racism float back up. Because people from my generation and younger, we have never wronged anyone from a different race or country. We have considered all of those people as the same as us. If we made a French joke, we made a Greek joke, and English joke, and German and Russian joke, and any other joke including those about our country. None of them in mean spirit (or we'd be equally as mean to ourselves). And then suddenly someone tells us that we can't do this, or can't go there, or can't say that, because we're white. And that makes people defensive, and makes them go into hedgehog mode, makes them start noticing the races and - if they want to be sensitive - tiptoe around every issue. And sometimes not tiptoe, but get hostile. Or seek company of people they don't have to be careful an stressed around - hence excluding other races via racial prejudice that they never knew before.

And I think it's sad. And that's my right, I guess, as is the right of others to think differently. Because while history has it value and gives a right to have an opinion, so does the life we live now, and things we experience by ourselves. I believe that we'd be all better if we stopped noticing the race of other people (unless we were trying to pick good make-up or best fitting clothes). The new generation of people growing up is often blind to racism, especially those of us raised in environments where nobody pays attention to it. For us, it's a strange concept. And we'd be treating everyone completely equally, if not for people who will tell us we're being racist/should consider others racist if they do X/Y/Z despite their intentions/should not do X/Y/Z because it's offensive for reasons completely alien to us.

There's actually a very fun, and warm TV comedy I've discovered some time ago - it's called Black-ish. It's about a rich(ish ;) ) black family living in modern-day America. It was surely done by Americans, so maybe it nabs the issue on point. The family's head is a father, proud of his heritage, seeing the world with that dose of mistrust coming from history. And then there are his children, who are completely baffled by it. Last episode was especially on point - the father tried to teach his son about racism, and how they had to fight it, and keep pride of their history and heritage (in relation to Martin Luter King's day). And the son just wouldn't feel it. Until, in a bus, the driver said that snowboarders gotta go to the end of the bus leaving the front to skiers. And father was like "yep, they live in a different world, they can still fight, but for the issues that pertain to them." Of course the allegory is simple and silly, but was much more fun when being watched :)

I recommend the show, by the way. It's funny, with refreshing jokes (and that comes from someone who watches SO many sitcoms many of the family-oriented ones start to blur together) and leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling.

Like I said - this is all from a perspective from a girl, who doesn't GET racism. Knows about it, educates in it (because she's a writer and she doesn't want to inadvertently offend someone in her book regardless of whether she can understand it or not) but doesn't FEEL it, and wishes that others would be the same.

It will always remind me of this - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VifdBFp5pnw . I'm like those kids whenever I stumble upon issues like the one that started this thread. I hear your reasoning, I see where it comes from, and I don't have a wish to offend anyone, because I hate making people sad.

But I am sad that I can offend people by meaning no offense at all (or even meaning a compliment). And I'm sad that we can't all just live with each other without barriers.

That being said - I'm sorry for any sort of shit anyone goes because of their race. My worry is just that keeping the barriers alive, because of that, will only cause more of that. Maybe I'm wrong - I hope I am. But I worry nonetheless.

Putputt
01-26-2015, 07:57 PM
I was going to reply to this with agreement, but then Usher said:



Like I said before, I'm not American, I can't speak from that perspective, but I can say how it looks like from where I stand (and many people I know in my life as well). I'm from Europe, from a country where it's not that common to see people of different nationalities.

We're not racist, not in the least. We are fascinated by people different than us, because that's how curious humans are. We admire other cultures, we want to get to know them, visit their country of origin (SO many people I know dream of going around Asia), and yes, oftentimes, copy them. Not to take their culture, or ridicule it or anything like that. But because we think it's awesome, and it doesn't even cross our mind we hurt anyone by saying "Hey, you're awesome! I wanna be like you!"

If anything, we're jealous, because the culture of my country doesn't interest anyone but few exceptions that are much into history. Heck, it doesn't interest majority of people living here unless they're very patriotic. It's mostly villagey of origin, and just, I don't know, not cool enough to do anything with it. And yes, those patriots and history buffs would rip my head off for saying it, but I very rarely meet someone proud of this culture. We're delighted when someone else notices it and thinks it's at all worth attention. "LOOK! There's a guy in that American movie who eats our food and even almost said the name of it! How amazing!" :P I might be exaggerating, but just a little.

But there's one thing that's different in the perception of other races that I see around (here, and often on the internet as well) - and I say that meaning no offense to anyone. When people don't try to see us as racist, don't throw limitations, get offended or outright threaten us for doing something they deem we shouldn't do, the racism disappears. Completely. I mean, people here stop seeing the race of others, period. I'm of course talking about the younger generation brought up in the world with the internet where we're used to people being different without a bunch of historical connotations - and yes, I know it's a more present background in the US.

But then something happens that makes the racism float back up. Because people from my generation and younger, we have never wronged anyone from a different race or country. We have considered all of those people as the same as us. If we made a French joke, we made a Greek joke, and English joke, and German and Russian joke, and any other joke including those about our country. None of them in mean spirit (or we'd be equally as mean to ourselves). And then suddenly someone tells us that we can't do this, or can't go there, or can't say that, because we're white. And that makes people defensive, and makes them go into hedgehog mode, makes them start noticing the races and - if they want to be sensitive - tiptoe around every issue. And sometimes not tiptoe, but get hostile. Or seek company of people they don't have to be careful an stressed around - hence excluding other races via racial prejudice that they never knew before.

And I think it's sad. And that's my right, I guess, as is the right of others to think differently. Because while history has it value and gives a right to have an opinion, so does the life we live now, and things we experience by ourselves. I believe that we'd be all better if we stopped noticing the race of other people (unless we were trying to pick good make-up or best fitting clothes). The new generation of people growing up is often blind to racism, especially those of us raised in environments where nobody pays attention to it. For us, it's a strange concept. And we'd be treating everyone completely equally, if not for people who will tell us we're being racist/should consider others racist if they do X/Y/Z despite their intentions/should not do X/Y/Z because it's offensive for reasons completely alien to us.

There's actually a very fun, and warm TV comedy I've discovered some time ago - it's called Black-ish. It's about a rich(ish ;) ) black family living in modern-day America. It was surely done by Americans, so maybe it nabs the issue on point. The family's head is a father, proud of his heritage, seeing the world with that dose of mistrust coming from history. And then there are his children, who are completely baffled by it. Last episode was especially on point - the father tried to teach his son about racism, and how they had to fight it, and keep pride of their history and heritage (in relation to Martin Luter King's day). And the son just wouldn't feel it. Until, in a bus, the driver said that snowboarders gotta go to the end of the bus leaving the front to skiers. And father was like "yep, they live in a different world, they can still fight, but for the issues that pertain to them." Of course the allegory is simple and silly, but was much more fun when being watched :)

I recommend the show, by the way. It's funny, with refreshing jokes (and that comes from someone who watches SO many sitcoms many of the family-oriented ones start to blur together) and leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling.

Like I said - this is all from a perspective from a girl, who doesn't GET racism. Knows about it, educates in it (because she's a writer and she doesn't want to inadvertently offend someone in her book regardless of whether she can understand it or not) but doesn't FEEL it, and wishes that others would be the same.

It will always remind me of this - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VifdBFp5pnw . I'm like those kids whenever I stumble upon issues like the one that started this thread. I hear your reasoning, I see where it comes from, and I don't have a wish to offend anyone, because I hate making people sad.

But I am sad that I can offend people by meaning no offense at all (or even meaning a compliment). And I'm sad that we can't all just live with each other without barriers.

That being said - I'm sorry for any sort of shit anyone goes because of their race. My worry is just that keeping the barriers alive, because of that, will only cause more of that. Maybe I'm wrong - I hope I am. But I worry nonetheless.

I'm really sorry to burst your bubble, but there actually is racism in Switzerland (http://www.humanrights.ch/en/switzerland/internal-affairs/racism/studies/council-europe-publishes-racism-monitoring-report-switzerland), if that is indeed the place you're talking about. Maybe being part of the ethnic majority has protected you from it, but that doesn't keep it from existing.

Calliea
01-26-2015, 08:03 PM
I'm really sorry to burst your bubble, but there actually is racism in Switzerland (http://www.humanrights.ch/en/switzerland/internal-affairs/racism/studies/council-europe-publishes-racism-monitoring-report-switzerland), if that is indeed the place you're talking about. Maybe being part of the ethnic majority has protected you from it, but that doesn't keep it from existing.

Haha, I'm sorry for laughing in serious discussion, but I was like... why Switzerland? And then I realized it must be about my chocolate status and it made smile :) No, I'm not from Switzerland, I just love Lindt chocolate and in my dreamland, it grows on trees.

There is some kind of racism everywhere, but I was talking about the circles I live in both IRL and on-line (20-somethings from a city/nerds and gamers, folk like that). I can't speak for any country as a whole, because there are instances of everything everywhere, I'm sure.

Marian Perera
01-26-2015, 08:07 PM
We admire other cultures, we want to get to know them, visit their country of origin (SO many people I know dream of going around Asia), and yes, oftentimes, copy them. Not to take their culture, or ridicule it or anything like that. But because we think it's awesome, and it doesn't even cross our mind we hurt anyone by saying "Hey, you're awesome! I wanna be like you!"

It's great that you want to be like me!

This is how you can be a part of my culture. Your parents might want to have spent some time in an interment camp because of their ethnicity, though this would be safer than running into a mob which would put petrol-soaked tires around their necks.

Then you'd have to leave the country you were born in, and face racism abroad while you struggled to fit into a different culture. In school, you'd learn everything about British history, and nothing of your own.

Also, you'd be told by your immigration agent, the one you were paying thousands of dollars to, that you should bleach your face before your interview.

After that, you can wear a sari and a bindi and be just like me. :)

Calliea
01-26-2015, 08:41 PM
It's great that you want to be like me!

This is how you can be a part of my culture. Your parents might want to have spent some time in an interment camp because of their ethnicity, though this would be safer than running into a mob which would put petrol-soaked tires around their necks.

Then you'd have to leave the country you were born in, and face racism abroad while you struggled to fit into a different culture. In school, you'd learn everything about British history, and nothing of your own.

Also, you'd be told by your immigration agent, the one you were paying thousands of dollars to, that you should bleach your face before your interview.

After that, you can wear a sari and a bindi and be just like me. :)

Like I said - I see your reasoning, and I see your (and others' views). But since it's a discussion on a forum, I've written about how these things look from the other side, because that's what everyone here does. There's no reason for sarcasm.

And my ancestors have suffered from the hands of other nationalities, and they suffered badly, because while we may not have racial history and tragedies here, we sure have national ones. My country had been erased from the map entirely in the past.

Yet it wouldn't cross my mind for a second to hold that past against people born in the countries responsible for it. And I would be happy to see them enjoy what my country has to offer, because they never did us harm. And I would rather people let go of these animosities too, and stop channeling their history-borne hate/dislike/hostility towards new generations that want to live in peace and just drop the grudges. And it makes me sad when I see people hold onto them and prolong the cycle. That's what I think, that's how I am.

You may not agree with me, but I have not given anyone sarcastic replies, or tried to belittle anyone's opinions here in any way to make them seem petty or what not. And maybe it's just the way of text-conversation where I don't see your bodylanguage and tone of voice, but I feel like the underlying message in such posts I see is "don't speak, you priviledged child."

Ari Meermans
01-26-2015, 08:53 PM
Cultural appropriation isn't as clear-cut a matter as any of us would like. Clear-cut is simple, easy to understand, low effort. Cultural appropriation vs appreciation is, in fact, a delicate and complicated matter.

The little girl saw a hair style she in her innocence thought was pretty, and she wanted it. Children do that. What instances like this should be are opportunities for education, hopefully delivered with kindness, truth, and historical accuracy. A grown-assed woman not entitled to that hair style adopting it because it is perceived as cool, trendy, or edgy is offensive. And it's especially offensive to the person who is entitled to that cultural marker but is seen as somehow inferior for wearing it. It's offensive because it's theft, and worse it negates a history of oppression and the suppression of those very same cultural markers in an effort to force assimilation. While we all have the job of educating our children, we do not have the job of educating other adults. Ours is the responsibility for our own education.

Respect is another simple concept and it applies. But respect isn't all there is to it, either. Allies struggle with this. Their--"our" depending on whether we're talking gender, culture, or race--intent in adopting a cultural marker is to show solidarity yet they know that they themselves aren't entitled to it. It's something that can be taken off tomorrow. One can realize the historical significance, yet not fully understand what it means to those entitled to it. I think it's much better to show solidarity through active support. But, of course, that's just my opinion.

Then there are those of us of mixed heritage. A very complicated matter, this. And I think it wrong to make assumptions about who and what someone is because of the color of their skin or the texture and color of their hair or the color of their eyes. My family is predominately white, yet I look nothing like any of them except for the color of my skin. I have been deeply drawn to a part of my heritage from earliest memory and without knowing it was part of my heritage. I am white for I have enjoyed the benefits of white privilege my entire life. Should I continue to deny the part of my heritage that I most physically resemble, identify with, and feel the deepest hurt for because it would appear to someone else as appropriation and only proclaim that part of my heritage deemed acceptable to others because of the color of my skin and hair? I don't think so. Yet . . . yet, I can understand and accept my complete lack of entitlement because I have not lived that culture nor borne its burdens. So I am white.

Cultural appropriation vs appreciation is a delicate and complicated matter for which there are seldom easy answers. I think all of us on both sides of the divide and who really care need to at least recognize that complexity.

Marian Perera
01-26-2015, 08:55 PM
Like I said - I see your reasoning, and I see your (and others' views). But since it's a discussion on a forum, I've written about how these things look from the other side, because that's what everyone here does. There's no reason for sarcasm.

I didn't feel "Hey, you're awesome! I wanna be like you!" was entirely serious, so I responded in the same vein.


Yet it wouldn't cross my mind for a second to hold that past against people born in the countries responsible for it.I don't think I ever said that one's past or one's country's history should be held against people born in the countries responsible for it.

My point is, if anyone wanna be a part of my awesome culture, take it all. Not just the fun bits like the bindi. Because the things that might not be so cool are still a part of my culture.

Calliea
01-26-2015, 09:15 PM
I didn't feel "Hey, you're awesome! I wanna be like you!" was entirely serious, so I responded in the same vein.

I don't think I ever said that one's past or one's country's history should be held against people born in the countries responsible for it.

My point is, if anyone wanna be a part of my awesome culture, take it all. Not just the fun bits like the bindi. Because the things that might not be so cool are still a part of my culture.

My post was actually entirely serious, and the awesome part was in quotation marks, but it wasn't even a quote, it was what the underlying intention in the copying is - as in, not wanting to steal anything or take it as our own.

Here all children know how sari and bindi look like, and yes, they may even play a make-believe using them. Because they think it's awesome. They know where the symbols come from, and it's actually a way of learning about other cultures, being exposed to customs and diversity, different food, different clothes. Broadening the horizons without a sliver of bad intention either on the part of the children or adults that show them these things. And that, in turn, sometimes leads to expanding the interests and delving into the grim side of the history/contemporary state of the countries.

And I'm not saying you said the history should be held against someone, but it's kind of related in my eyes. Going back to the girl with box braids and arguments that followed saying that she shouldn't get them/should consider not getting them, because she is not black, and black people had been hurt by whites in the past, and that it's inappropriate. And is it really different from the case of countries where people might say that a person from country X shouldn't enjoy something from country Y, because country X has previously hurt country Y?

I think I simply have a different outlook on history and culture than many people in this thread, and different priorities when it comes to what's important to me in life.

And so I will have to agree to disagree and leave it at that :)

I'll excuse myself from this debate now, because I think I've said all I could say and there's no point talking in circles. Cheers and have a good day everyone.

Usher
01-26-2015, 09:22 PM
I

I'm not sure I follow the argument. Are you saying we're all mixed, therefore we have a right to help ourselves to any cultural identity we want to, because we might be 1/64th that culture or something?

Americans do it all the time with my culture and thanks to that we have an economy.



See above. And again: History matters. Yes, it is different to people saying someone with an Arab name can't be British.

No it's not. The racism involved is the same. Whilst anger and hatred is understandable -- I don't think it's right and certainly should never be aimed at a child of twelve. Teach her the history of the hairstyles but she certainly shouldn't be harmed or bullied for wearing one of them. Don't give non racist kids the baggage of the past. If she was my daughter I'd be furious - how would you feel if your daughter had a new hairstyle she was proud of and someone said she's too black to wear that or her face is too ugly or she's too fat and hounded her over social media for it.

My daughter and her friends are part of an interesting generation. A fair number of them in the UK just don't understand racism, homophobia etc they know it existed but don't really understand how or why. When I watch shows set in the 1960s with her she is disgusted. If my daughter wears braids or dreadlocks it's because they look good on her, same way she might wear a sari or a kimono or when I was a child I wore Chinese pyjamas to bed and played with incense money in my shop. On my bed is a doll made by a Chinese dissident who was exiled. The doll is beautiful. I often wear a kaftan because they are comfortable. No these things don't mean the same thing to me as someone from the culture but it also means I know a bit of their history, understand a bit more about them and find a person interesting rather than scary or strange. I make Sushi - it doesn't make me a sushi master and I lack training but it tastes good. My daughter has anime all over her walls. Tonight I'm making a curry. All very British activities.

If someone writes Scotch whiskey and says how much they enjoy it - should I lambast them or just simply explain Scotch is whisky and never whiskey ;)

Marian Perera
01-26-2015, 09:27 PM
My post was actually entirely serious, and the awesome part was in quotation marks, but it wasn't even a quote, it was what the underlying intention in the copying is - as in, not wanting to steal anything or take it as our own.

I'm sure that intention is nothing but good. But I also don't think good intentions are enough, or that all actions taken because of those intentions are good and should be accepted.

Also, if someone wants to discuss seriously why they would love to share parts of my culture, then I'll discuss it seriously too. But if they say, "Wow, it would be sooo cool to be Asian! I wanna be like that!" it sounds shallow to me. This is, IMO, not the best way to show one's interest in diversity and different customs.


I think I simply have a different outlook on history and culture than many people in this thread, and different priorities when it comes to what's important to me in life. Perhaps so. I find that sometimes, people of color do have a different outlook on history and culture, and different priorities. That outlook and those priorities are just as valid, and perhaps more so when it comes to those people's cultures.

Putputt
01-26-2015, 09:28 PM
Haha, I'm sorry for laughing in serious discussion, but I was like... why Switzerland? And then I realized it must be about my chocolate status and it made smile :) No, I'm not from Switzerland, I just love Lindt chocolate and in my dreamland, it grows on trees.

There is some kind of racism everywhere, but I was talking about the circles I live in both IRL and on-line (20-somethings from a city/nerds and gamers, folk like that). I can't speak for any country as a whole, because there are instances of everything everywhere, I'm sure.

Huh, interesting that you should say that you're not speaking for an entire country, because what you actually said was



I'm from Europe, from a country where it's not that common to see people of different nationalities.

We're not racist, not in the least.

which sounded to me like you were speaking for your entire country...my bad. In any case, I highly doubt that your society and circle of friends are completely above racism. This is nothing personal. Growing up in Singapore as someone ethnically Chinese, I was shocked to learn as a teenager that racism exists in Singapore. Why? Because as part of the racial majority, I never faced any of it. I only found out about it when I found my Indian friend crying because a teacher had suggested that she shouldn't swim with us because surely her dark skin would dirty the water. No one else knew about it. To the rest of us, Singapore was a utopia of racial and religious acceptance. We even celebrate multiple religious holidays! I guess you could say that aside from those inconvenient little minority groups, we are totally not racist.


Like I said - I see your reasoning, and I see your (and others' views). But since it's a discussion on a forum, I've written about how these things look from the other side, because that's what everyone here does. There's no reason for sarcasm.

And my ancestors have suffered from the hands of other nationalities, and they suffered badly, because while we may not have racial history and tragedies here, we sure have national ones. My country had been erased from the map entirely in the past.

Yet it wouldn't cross my mind for a second to hold that past against people born in the countries responsible for it. And I would be happy to see them enjoy what my country has to offer, because they never did us harm. And I would rather people let go of these animosities too, and stop channeling their history-borne hate/dislike/hostility towards new generations that want to live in peace and just drop the grudges. And it makes me sad when I see people hold onto them and prolong the cycle. That's what I think, that's how I am.

You may not agree with me, but I have not given anyone sarcastic replies, or tried to belittle anyone's opinions here in any way to make them seem petty or what not. And maybe it's just the way of text-conversation where I don't see your bodylanguage and tone of voice, but I feel like the underlying message in such posts I see is "don't speak, you priviledged child."

I think the difference here is that these things are still happening to us, and while your history has affected your ancestors, for PoC, the racism and violence and hate is still happening right this very moment. Just look at the fact that so many of us have tried to explain why cultural appropriation is wrong and why a small gesture such as wearing boxed braids or a Bindi is carries with it so much baggage and yet the response I've seen is "chill, sheesh".

I don't get why it's so hard to not appropriate other cultures, tbh. Why would not being able to wear boxed braids be such a horrible thing? Is it the fact that it doesn't belong to your culture (the you here is a general you, not directed at anyone in particular) that makes it so desirable? Is it the draw of looking different or exotic? Or maybe you just don't like to be told no?

Isn't telling the person whose culture you're appropriating to chill, you're just borrowing because you're so bored of your own culture the very definition of privilege?

And just for the record, I don't think we're arguing to cling on to hatred here. I'm arguing for a little respect towards other cultures, acknowledgment of history, and an understanding of why some things are offensive to other cultures.

Unimportant
01-26-2015, 10:17 PM
Country =/race =/ culture.

Of course white people are allowed to speak and discuss this stuff. But it's better if they also listen.

Hear what PoC are saying. Believe what they are saying. Recognise that if you say "I mean only good" and they say "but you are actually doing some harm" then they are right. When they say "This is cultural appropriation" and you say "But--", don't finish that sentence. Instead, google "white privilege" and spend half an hour educating yourself.

Tazlima
01-26-2015, 10:39 PM
The only thing I can think of along these lines was when my son was going to a British school in Malaysia, and they had National Costume Day. He (aged 10 or so) was thoroughly perplexed by this, and asked the teacher what he should wear. She thought a kangaroo skin and a boomerang would work well.

He didn't have a kangaroo skin, so I let him stay home. He could have worn cricket whites, I suppose, but he didn't have those either.

Or a hat with corks.

But this is a derail. Sorry. It's just that Fruitbat reminded me of one of those "Wha - ?" moments.

Actually it's not quite as much of a derail as you might think. You reminded me of an incident from my own childhood that illustrates the American's "lack of culture" which others have described here.

When I was in sixth grade, we had an event designed to celebrate each student's heritage. If your ancestors came from the land of X, then you brought in traditional food from the land of X.

Here's the thing. This event came with the caveat that "American" didn't count. Now I'm about as American-mongrel as they come. White skin, ancestry mostly lost to the mists of time and American as far back as we were able to trace (which wasn't very far). Well crap, what was I supposed to bring?

My father mentioned that he thought someone had once mentioned that he was 1/8th or 1/16th Cherokee and my mom knew a good recipe for Navajo Fry Bread (I know, right? Not even close). That was the best we could do so we went with it.

For those of us with no recent or strong ties to another country, this is a familiar conversation.


"Where are you from?"
"I'm American."
"Yeah, I know. But where are you really from?"
"Well, I grew up in Arizona."
"No, I mean, where are your ancestors from? Like, your great-great-grandparents?"
"As far as I know, they were American too."
"But where were their ancestors from?"
Etc.


I lived in Italy for several years and nobody once questioned my identity as "American." After all, we've had a few hundred years to develop a culture that's as distinctive as any other. I even cooked "American Food" for my friends on several occasions. I'm sure the recipes in question had other long-ago origins, but it was food I'd grown up with and that my Italian friends had never eaten. That was good enough for us.


Within the US border, however, "American" still doesn't count. When you think about it, it's really kind of bizarre. Instead of stating the most logical answer when asked where you're from, you're supposed to trace your family tree as far back as it takes to find something, anything else to claim. It doesn't matter if you and your living relatives don't speak the language, don't practice the traditions, and have never set foot there, it's still where you're "from."

Alpha Echo
01-26-2015, 11:16 PM
I totally understand why those PoCs would be offended if the same person who said, "Boxed braids worn by African Americans are trashy" turned around and, when the same braids are worn by a pretty white girl now said, "Those braids are awesome." To me, it seems pretty obvious that in that scenario, said person is being very racist. It's okay now only because the braids are worn by a white girl? No. Wrong. Very wrong.

However, there are many I would think, like myself, who never really thought of the braids as a possession of the African American culture. I think they look beautiful on those of color wearing them, and I think that little girl wearing them looks beautiful too.

I have very curly hair that was much thicker when I was younger. My girlfriends loved to put my hair in a bunch of tiny breads while my hair was wet, then take them out the next morning and brush my hair so that I had an afro. I'm as white-skinned as can be (with 1/4 Japanese being the most pure line of blood in my veins - everything else is a mix of many different things), but we didn't think of this as stealing something that belonged to someone else. Granted, we were children, but I just...I guess I don't understand.

I also understand the point that "American culture" really...isn't. We are such a young country, made up of so many different cultures and different mixes of cultures. It just isn't the same to me as growing up in an older country with an established history of the same culture nation-wide.

As for the Japanese part of me. My great-grandparents came to California with their children and were immediately put in internment camps. I don't know much about this time. My great-grandmother has long since passed (and was a little mentally out there while she was alive), and my grandmother either doesn't remember or doesn't care to discuss it. What I do know from her; however, is that she and her siblings grew up being taught American Ways and encouraged to act "American." They lived their lives to be seen as Americans because of the racism at the time. As a result, none of the Japanese culture was passed down, aside from a few recipes.

This often saddens me. I wish I knew more of my heritage than what I've learned in school or researched on my own. I wish I knew more of my ancestors and their lives. Other cultures fascinate me. I've learned more of the Japanese culture through my step-daughter who is half Japanese and in a Japanese Immersion program than I ever learned from my own family. It is so sad that my family was so compelled to "fit in" - perhaps even frightened not to - that our history was lost.

There are people who where kimonos. Many bathrobes are fashioned in that way. They are beautiful, and I don't begrudge anyone for wearing them, whether they are Japanese or American or any other culture. I guess maybe that's why I just don't understand the upset behind this girl's braids.

As I mentioned, I agree that people who think the braids are trashy on those of color but beautiful on a white girl are racist hypocrites, and that pisses me off too. But what of those who just think the braids are beautiful and want to see what it looks like on themselves?

When I went to Jamaica, there were black women who sat on the beach, and you could pay them to braid your hair. I will be honest - the white women who did that looked ridiculous. Their hair was too thin, and I thought it was ridiculous that they thought they...I don't know. I guess they thought it was cool to try to be like the natives. I thought it was more like a poor little girl trying to dress like the popular girls with fake name brands. Only worse in a way because they're adults. (I was that little girl, BTW).

I think it's much cooler to try to talk to the natives and get to know their culture through them. I always try to talk to people native to the city or country (not that I've been to many) because I am truly fascinated to learn how they live.

So...I just contradicted myself a little bit. But in the end...I agree with those who said it feels that drawing this racial divide could be more damaging in the end.

I have never heard before of cultural appropriation (I'm sure my white privilege is to blame) and can't seem to wrap my head around the idea of an entire culture telling the other cultures, "that's ours. You can't take it." It would be one thing of a white person was trying to claim your history, but...

Also, and this goes to my anecdote about Jamaica, I think that most white adults are not going to try to go for the braids. I think it's more of a young girl thing - girls during adolescence trying to figure out who they are and to separate themselves from other people. I think most white women understand that, all other cultural things aside, the braids just aren't going to work on us.

Alpha Echo
01-26-2015, 11:27 PM
Country =/race =/ culture.

Of course white people are allowed to speak and discuss this stuff. But it's better if they also listen.

Hear what PoC are saying. Believe what they are saying. Recognise that if you say "I mean only good" and they say "but you are actually doing some harm" then they are right. When they say "This is cultural appropriation" and you say "But--", don't finish that sentence. Instead, google "white privilege" and spend half an hour educating yourself.

I'm quoting this for myself and because I think this is something to keep in mind. I am white, white as can be. I don't understand much of this discussion. But just like no one can tell me, if I'm crying, that I cannot cry because I have no reason to, I also can't tell PoC that they are wrong. No one can see inside my heart to understand why I'm crying, and because of that no one has the right to tell me not to.

I can't see inside the life of PoC, so I have no right to tell them they can't possibly be right or what they're saying doesn't make sense.

It very well may not make sense. Just as my reason for crying may not make sense to you.

That doesn't make it any less right or true.

Thanks for this post.

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 11:28 PM
I'm from Europe, from a country where it's not that common to see people of different nationalities.

We're not racist, not in the least.

I'm sorry to inform you of this, but racism exists all over the world. Europe is by no means immune.

It's easy to dismiss if you come from a position of privilege.

It can even be easy to miss if you're a member of a minority group, because the shape of racism has changed. It's rarely the in-your-face discrimination that most people think of when they think of "racism". It's become more subtle. "Colorblindness" and cultural appropriation are a part of it. So are things like representation in higher education and the workplace.


We are fascinated by people different than us, because that's how curious humans are. We admire other cultures, we want to get to know them, visit their country of origin (SO many people I know dream of going around Asia), and yes, oftentimes, copy them. Not to take their culture, or ridicule it or anything like that. But because we think it's awesome, and it doesn't even cross our mind we hurt anyone by saying "Hey, you're awesome! I wanna be like you!"

I'm sorry, but the goodness or harmlessness of one's intentions really doesn't change anything.

When you hurt someone, saying you meant it for the best doesn't really take away the pain.


But there's one thing that's different in the perception of other races that I see around (here, and often on the internet as well) - and I say that meaning no offense to anyone. When people don't try to see us as racist, don't throw limitations, get offended or outright threaten us for doing something they deem we shouldn't do, the racism disappears. Completely. I mean, people here stop seeing the race of others, period. I'm of course talking about the younger generation brought up in the world with the internet where we're used to people being different without a bunch of historical connotations - and yes, I know it's a more present background in the US.

Holding one's tongue does not make racism go away. It only forces a group to suffer in silence.


But then something happens that makes the racism float back up. Because people from my generation and younger, we have never wronged anyone from a different race or country. We have considered all of those people as the same as us. If we made a French joke, we made a Greek joke, and English joke, and German and Russian joke, and any other joke including those about our country. None of them in mean spirit (or we'd be equally as mean to ourselves). And then suddenly someone tells us that we can't do this, or can't go there, or can't say that, because we're white. And that makes people defensive, and makes them go into hedgehog mode, makes them start noticing the races and - if they want to be sensitive - tiptoe around every issue. And sometimes not tiptoe, but get hostile. Or seek company of people they don't have to be careful an stressed around - hence excluding other races via racial prejudice that they never knew before.

People of color are always in hedgehog mode, because people keep hurting us, and refusing to acknowledge it when they do. They pretend they're complimenting us, or that their refusal to acknowledge our feelings is an example of treating us "equally".


And I think it's sad. And that's my right, I guess, as is the right of others to think differently. Because while history has it value and gives a right to have an opinion, so does the life we live now, and things we experience by ourselves. I believe that we'd be all better if we stopped noticing the race of other people (unless we were trying to pick good make-up or best fitting clothes). The new generation of people growing up is often blind to racism, especially those of us raised in environments where nobody pays attention to it. For us, it's a strange concept. And we'd be treating everyone completely equally, if not for people who will tell us we're being racist/should consider others racist if they do X/Y/Z despite their intentions/should not do X/Y/Z because it's offensive for reasons completely alien to us.

Blaming racism on the people calling out racist is probably one of the biggest copouts I've ever heard. "We wouldn't be racist if you just stopped pointing out our racism" is not a valid argument.

Blindness to race is not the same as equality. Colorblindness is simply another form of racism that refuses to acknowledge the cultural differences and concerns of those from another background.


There's actually a very fun, and warm TV comedy I've discovered some time ago - it's called Black-ish. It's about a rich(ish ;) ) black family living in modern-day America. It was surely done by Americans, so maybe it nabs the issue on point. The family's head is a father, proud of his heritage, seeing the world with that dose of mistrust coming from history. And then there are his children, who are completely baffled by it. Last episode was especially on point - the father tried to teach his son about racism, and how they had to fight it, and keep pride of their history and heritage (in relation to Martin Luter King's day). And the son just wouldn't feel it. Until, in a bus, the driver said that snowboarders gotta go to the end of the bus leaving the front to skiers. And father was like "yep, they live in a different world, they can still fight, but for the issues that pertain to them." Of course the allegory is simple and silly, but was much more fun when being watched :)

Yes, I was also fortunate enough to grow up in an environment where I didn't really have to deal with obvious racism. I'm half white and I grew up upper-middle class. Money creates privilege, and is a great insulator.

Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky, and members of my extended family did not grow up in similar privilege. They have to deal with the disadvantages created by history, and will have to overcome more than I ever did.

I didn't understand how simple jokes and stereotypes that didn't bother me when I was younger harmed other people like me, because I was insulated from the effect they had by virtue of my privilege. And I knew what other people like me were really like, so I didn't make the assumptions that people make when they don't know those stereotypes aren't true, and those assumptions can be very damaging.


I recommend the show, by the way. It's funny, with refreshing jokes (and that comes from someone who watches SO many sitcoms many of the family-oriented ones start to blur together) and leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling.

Like I said - this is all from a perspective from a girl, who doesn't GET racism. Knows about it, educates in it (because she's a writer and she doesn't want to inadvertently offend someone in her book regardless of whether she can understand it or not) but doesn't FEEL it, and wishes that others would be the same.

Oh, people of color wish they didn't have to feel racism, too. But when people insist that racism doesn't exist anymore, then it makes it difficult.


It will always remind me of this - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VifdBFp5pnw . I'm like those kids whenever I stumble upon issues like the one that started this thread. I hear your reasoning, I see where it comes from, and I don't have a wish to offend anyone, because I hate making people sad.

But I am sad that I can offend people by meaning no offense at all (or even meaning a compliment). And I'm sad that we can't all just live with each other without barriers.

So are we. But please understand that pretending racism and racial inequality doesn't exist doesn't actually get rid of it.


That being said - I'm sorry for any sort of shit anyone goes because of their race. My worry is just that keeping the barriers alive, because of that, will only cause more of that. Maybe I'm wrong - I hope I am. But I worry nonetheless.

It isn't a matter of barriers. It's a matter of respect for fellow humans. And sometimes respect means acknowledge other people are not like you, even if it would be simpler if they were.

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 11:32 PM
I think I simply have a different outlook on history and culture than many people in this thread, and different priorities when it comes to what's important to me in life.

And so I will have to agree to disagree and leave it at that :)

I'll excuse myself from this debate now, because I think I've said all I could say and there's no point talking in circles. Cheers and have a good day everyone.

And that is your privilege.

The rest of us are stuck in this for life, because who we are aren't costumes we can take off at the end of the day.

To quote from a poem I wrote recently:


"Okay," you say
and walk away
but I'm the one
who disappears.

Marian Perera
01-26-2015, 11:37 PM
I have never heard before of cultural appropriation (I'm sure my white privilege is to blame) and can't seem to wrap my head around the idea of an entire culture telling the other cultures, "that's ours. You can't take it."

I guess what I can't wrap my head around is the idea that something distinctive or precious or sacred to one culture should be available to anyone who wants to indulge in it, without criticism.

I also don't see "that's ours. You can't take it" as something bad, perhaps because I'm not sure what the alternative is. "Take anything you like"? They already did.

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 11:38 PM
This is what really bothers me about this whole thing. America is by and large a melting pot. Racial and cultural lines are blurring with each generation. We are all becoming one. So many Americans have a slice of America as a whole in their ancestry, regardless of what race they actually pass for. Why is a shit storm happening over box braids, which has roots in various ancient cultures? Heck, I've seen non-black Latinas wear box braids from time to time. More so when I lived down in Central America. I don't see anyone giving the Latinas hell for it.

I get respect for culture. But in this instance, the line is so blurred. What worries me, is that the only message this is sending to young people is, "Nope, you're not that similar to one another. Be conscious of it, kids!"

When you're mixed, you have a choice of identities. You can choose how to identify.

But choosing an identity comes with responsibilities. You have to own it. A racial and cultural identity isn't something you can walk away from at the end of the day, or discard when it becomes inconvenient. You have to own all of it.

I accept my identities as both white and Zuni. I accept that as a white person, I have privilege, and I do not take that for granted. I accept as a Zuni person, I have certain cultural responsibilities, including participating in my community and giving back to it.

I'm also part Polish, German, and Swedish. I don't participate in those communities, so I don't identify as those.

kuwisdelu
01-26-2015, 11:51 PM
To anyone who wishes other cultures would "share" their culture:

I personally invite you to come to Shalako in Zuni.

It is the beginning of our end-of-the-year ceremonies, around winter solstice. It usually takes place on the first weekend in December. The Shalako are six tall bird-like kachina dancers who come into the village to dance all night long, accompanied by other kachinas like the Shulawitsi (little fire god) who lights the first fire of the new year, and the Sayatasha (long horn) who brings new seeds to plant in the spring. They dance from midnight until dawn in six new houses around the village.

I will personally be your guide, and show you around the village, and the dances, as long as you are respectful and obey our tribal laws and religious guidelines.

I will personally take you to the artist co-op to buy authentic Zuni jewelry and arts and crafts directly from the artists.

I have friends who I am sure would be happy to take you to a powwow and invite you to take part in a social dance.

In return, I only ask that you please do not dress up as an Indian for Halloween. Please do not wear Indian head dresses or "war bonnets". Please do not "play Indian". Please be respectful of our attempts to protect our culture.

I will be happy to share my culture with you. I only ask that you please respect it.

Marian Perera
01-26-2015, 11:58 PM
In return, I only ask that you please do not dress up as an Indian for Halloween. Please do not wear Indian head dresses or "war bonnets".

But... but... you make me so sad by telling me I can't share this part of your culture! Like it's all yours or something.

Just kidding, kuwi. I'd love to take you up on the offer, if I were even remotely in the same geographical location. Just the mention of Zuni jewelry straight from the artists made me sigh.

kuwisdelu
01-27-2015, 12:06 AM
But... but... you make me so sad by telling me I can't share this part of your culture! Like it's all yours or something.

Lol, even I can't share that part of "my culture".


Just kidding, kuwi. I'd love to take you up on the offer, if I were even remotely in the same geographical location. Just the mention of Zuni jewelry straight from the artists made me sigh.

This December was the first time some of my friends finally flew out to Zuni for Shalako. It was pretty fun.

Like I've said, people are usually quite happy to share their culture.

Just don't take without asking. :tongue

Sophia
01-27-2015, 12:11 AM
Within the US border, however, "American" still doesn't count. When you think about it, it's really kind of bizarre. Instead of stating the most logical answer when asked where you're from, you're supposed to trace your family tree as far back as it takes to find something, anything else to claim. It doesn't matter if you and your living relatives don't speak the language, don't practice the traditions, and have never set foot there, it's still where you're "from."

I just wanted to say that this was particularly interesting to me. I hadn't understood why so many Americans identified themselves in part in terms of their ancestry, and this has put that in context. Thank you for sharing it.

Marian Perera
01-27-2015, 12:13 AM
Lol, even I can't share that part of "my culture".

IMO, there are some things in life that we don't all get to share, and this shouldn't be horrible or unjust unless the not-shared thing is basic to human rights or welfare.

As Putters said, "Why would not being able to wear boxed braids be such a horrible thing?"


Like I've said, people are usually quite happy to share their culture.

Just don't take without asking. :tongueExactly. And if they say, "no, you can't take this", please consider before showing disappointment in their lack of generosity or explaining how they're creating a divide.

Calliea
01-27-2015, 12:25 AM
To anyone who wishes other cultures would "share" their culture:

I personally invite you to come to Shalako in Zuni.

It is the beginning of our end-of-the-year ceremonies, around winter solstice. It usually takes place on the first weekend in December. The Shalako are six tall bird-like kachina dancers who come into the village to dance all night long, accompanied by other kachinas like the Shulawitsi (little fire god) who lights the first fire of the new year, and the Sayatasha (long horn) who brings new seeds to plant in the spring. They dance from midnight until dawn in six new houses around the village.

I will personally be your guide, and show you around the village, and the dances, as long as you are respectful and obey our tribal laws and religious guidelines.

I will personally take you to the artist co-op to buy authentic Zuni jewelry and arts and crafts directly from the artists.

I have friends who I am sure would be happy to take you to a powwow and invite you to take part in a social dance.

In return, I only ask that you please do not dress up as an Indian for Halloween. Please do not wear Indian head dresses or "war bonnets". Please do not "play Indian". Please be respectful of our attempts to protect our culture.

I will be happy to share my culture with you. I only ask that you please respect it.

I said I was out of this discussion and I mainly am, because I have no wish to upset anyone anymore with controversial views.

But I want to say few short things:

First, your offer sounds awesome, and had I any way to actually see and experience a culture so foreign to me - and yet seeming so inviting - I would jump on the occasion, because that sounds like priceless memories to be made :)

Second, afaik the war bonnets are actually of spiritual matter, and something held in high regard by the Indians - also rewarded for achievements, weren't they? I can see how wearing those for Halloween as a costume can be anything from hurtful to annoying.

But here's a thing - this post you made, great. I get your points, more so - I can agree with them, even though we're nothing alike. Your request at the end, awesome. I won't be dressing as an Indian if I ever celebrate Halloween (we don't have it here).

It's just that the way you phrased is just different than what some other posts here ringed with. It's not "We know best, you know nothing, you can talk, but you gotta listen to us, cause your opinion is less valid than mine." That kind of thing doesn't make most people want to listen. Quite the contrary.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's fine to ask people who don't understand your issues to not do X or Y if you explain why it hurts you instead of getting offended and telling them they're ignorants and should think twice about speaking, because they know nothing.

And that it would be great if while we priviledged whites try to be sensitive to people different from us, that the other side tried to understand that oftentimes there is no hostility involved. And maybe it would be better for both sides to meet half-way. A parent won't wear a war bonnet for Halloween because they understand that it's disrespectful (just an example, since I'm replying to your post, it can be anything), but their child won't be bullied/looked at wryly for dressing as Pocahontas to a school party because she just LOVED the Disney cartoon and want to be like their favorite princess.

And neither side will deny the other the right to their opinions, and the validity of those. Doing so, will only cause animosity, no matter how right one thinks they are. Telling people they're wrong, because they're white and their opinion on the subject is irrelevant will only breed hostility and deepen the divide. It rarely happens that one side holds 100% of the truth.

Some people are too insensitive, some are too sensitive, some are in the middle and have issues with both sides (me, probably :D) and while it may make it difficult for them not to get mad at each other/hurt one another, it doesn't mean any of them is dumb/evil/wrong.

Despite the results, I do believe that intention matters. A lot. There's a difference between someone telling an obese person, "Man, you gotta lose some weight,", because they believe obesity is harmful, a cause of diseases, and they genuinely care for the other's health. And when they say "Man, you gotta lose some weight," because they want to point out someone's fat and make them feel bad about themselves. Just to veer away from the racial examples ;)

~~ To people in this topic in general

I'll leave a link that I found interesting in the regard to this discussion. Perhaps it will help you build arguments in future talks of this kind that will help others understand you better and not go into hedgehog mode instead. http://astateoffreedomblog.blogspot.com/

Might come in handy when talking to people like me who are not religious, don't hold any sort of cultural/historical values as sacred, don't have any sort of identity they hold dear, and so are kind of impossible to offend on such grounds (and so have issues understanding the other side. I mean really understanding, not respecting the opinion out of the wish for peace).

Marian Perera
01-27-2015, 12:34 AM
I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's fine to ask people who don't understand your issues to not do X or Y if you explain why it hurts you instead of getting offended and telling them they're ignorants and should think twice about speaking, because they know nothing.

Did anyone on this thread say anything like, "you're ignorant and know nothing"?

I'm also not sure the onus should be on PoC to explain why it hurts them. To me, this is like saying PoCs have to give a particular reason why they might want to protect their culture.

IMO, if someone doesn't want to share their culture, they shouldn't have to justify that decision by explaining why it hurts them. It's great if they want to do so, to create understanding between themselves and people of other cultures. But this should not be a requirement.

When "no" becomes conditional (as in "it's fine to ask people who don't understand your issues to not do X or Y if you explain why it hurts you"), something is wrong, to me.


Despite the results, I do believe that intention matters. A lot. There's a difference between someone telling an obese person, "Man, you gotta lose some weight,", because they believe obesity is harmful, a cause of diseases, and they genuinely care for the other's health. And when they say "Man, you gotta lose some weight," because they want to point out someone's fat and make them feel bad about themselves. If the obese person isn't asking for anyone's opinion regarding their weight, why make this comment at all, regardless of the good intention behind it?

Hoplite
01-27-2015, 12:35 AM
Disclaimer: White American male talking. Ethnic background 75% northern European (mostly England/Scandinavia), 25% Middle Eastern (Lebanon, mostly).

I agree with others that there's a fine line between appropriation and appreciation of cultures, and it's easy to recognize bad cases of appropriation. Other times not so much. I try to be respectful of others cultures, and probably have and will offend some people unintentionally. I accept that I'm human and will screw up at some point. However, this won’t stop me from experiencing other cultures (i.e. traveling, learning their history, eating the food, etc.).

A few personal experiences (since I think this tells more than writing a lengthy essay could):

1) I love Middle East (ME) food. It's comfort food for me. My great-parents emigrated from Lebanon; my grandmother was born in Texas. She learned from her mother how to cook dishes from "back home", which she passed onto my mother, and from the two of them I've learned a bit about Middle East cooking. My wife and I make ME food fairly regularly and it's something I want to make and teach to our hypothetical kids. I also grew up in Saudi Arabia, so I've been around ME food for quite a while.

Never once have I felt I was appropriating ME culture, not even as I've gotten older and become more aware of cultural appropriations. Partly because I can trace recent ancestors to the region, partly because I grew up in and was immersed in the culture, but mostly because I don't hide or shed that part of me. I think that goes for one's interest as well as one's connections to a culture.

2) I have an interest in classical and ancient Greek history (if the name and avatar didn't give that away). I have since I was a teenager. It wasn't until about three years ago (well out of teenage years) that I learned (through my Lebanese grandmother) my family actually has some Greek ancestry (DNA tests). Up until that point I feel I could have been a case like the OP, where I was someone outside of a culture who nonetheless took interest in it. I may have been capable of (and may still be) causing offense since I would be identified as an American-northern-European.


To get back to the OP's article (I just looked at the picture, didn't bother to read the article) I thought the hairstyle itself looked nice, and looked on good on the girl. I'm not sure I would have identified that style as black if I hadn't read the thread beforehand.

kuwisdelu
01-27-2015, 12:40 AM
It's just that the way you phrased is just different than what some other posts here ringed with. It's not "We know best, you know nothing, you can talk, but you gotta listen to us, cause your opinion is less valid than mine." That kind of thing doesn't make most people want to listen. Quite the contrary.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's fine to ask people who don't understand your issues to not do X or Y if you explain why it hurts you instead of getting offended and telling them they're ignorants and should think twice about speaking, because they know nothing.

I think part of the problem was that this whole discussion started with an issue that no one here was really offended by. Some of us only said that we understand why others could be offended by it, and tried to explain that, and the significance of cultural appropriation in general. But I don't think any of the posters here were personally of the opinion that she shouldn't wear braids like that.


And that it would be great if while we priviledged whites try to be sensitive to people different from us, that the other side tried to understand that oftentimes there is no hostility involved. And maybe it would be better for both sides to meet half-way. A parent won't wear a war bonnet for Halloween because they understand that it's disrespectful (just an example, since I'm replying to your post, it can be anything), but their child won't be bullied/looked at wryly for dressing as Pocahontas to a school party because she just LOVED the Disney cartoon and want to be like their favorite princess.

Frankly, the Pocahontas costume would bother me. Well, Pocahontas bothers me a bit in the first place. But it doesn't bother me as much as other things.

Such as kids dressing up as Indians and Pilgrims on [American] Thanksgiving while teachers white-wash what actually happened. That needs to stop.

mirandashell
01-27-2015, 12:47 AM
If the obese person isn't asking for anyone's opinion regarding their weight, why make this comment at all, regardless of the good intention behind it?

Because if the doctor has just told your beloved wife or husband that if they don't lose soon they are going to die within a year? Would that warrant the comment?

Marian Perera
01-27-2015, 12:51 AM
Because if the doctor has just told your beloved wife or husband that if they don't lose soon they are going to die within a year? Would that warrant the comment?

To me, "you need to lose weight" coming from a doctor is quite different from "you need to lose weight" coming from some random person. From the random person, good vs. bad intentions might count; from the doctor (who has access to medical information that the random person doesn't), I'm guessing the intention is to act in a professional capacity to save your life.

The original comment said "someone" rather than specifying "a doctor" or "your spouse who has been told by the doctor that you will die within the year unless you lose weight".

kuwisdelu
01-27-2015, 12:53 AM
Despite the results, I do believe that intention matters. A lot. There's a difference between someone telling an obese person, "Man, you gotta lose some weight,", because they believe obesity is harmful, a cause of diseases, and they genuinely care for the other's health. And when they say "Man, you gotta lose some weight," because they want to point out someone's fat and make them feel bad about themselves. Just to veer away from the racial examples ;)

Intention only matters insomuch as the person is actually willing to understand and change.

For example, let's say [generic] you dressed up as an Indian for Halloween one year, with no intention to offend. I explain to you why you made a bad choice and why it matters.

Let's say you understand, won't do it again, and move on as a more educated and culturally sensitive person. Okay cool.

Let's say you dismiss my concerns, that you're honoring me, and say I shouldn't be offended. Not cool.

Intention doesn't really matter in the latter case.

mirandashell
01-27-2015, 12:58 AM
To me, "you need to lose weight" coming from a doctor is quite different from "you need to lose weight" coming from some random person. From the random person, good vs. bad intentions might count; from the doctor (who has access to medical information that the random person doesn't), I'm guessing the intention is to act in a professional capacity to save your life.

The original comment said "someone" rather than specifying "a doctor" or "your spouse who has been told by the doctor that you will die within the year unless you lose weight".

You didn't specify anyone either. You just assumed she meant random person when that wasn't what she actually said.

I'm not having a go, I'm just pointing out that a closer reading would have avoided the generalisation you made.

Marian Perera
01-27-2015, 01:01 AM
You didn't specify anyone either.

Why did I need to specify anyone?

In fact, the doctor example falls out of the boundaries of the answer I gave, because my answer was "If the obese person isn't asking for anyone's opinion regarding their weight". By going to a doctor, don't we (tacitly) ask for the doctor's professional opinion regarding our state of health, including our weight?


You just assumed she meant random person when that wasn't what she actually said. So what did she mean by "someone", then?


I'm not having a go, I'm just pointing out that a closer reading would have avoided the generalisation you made.Just like a closer reading of what I said would have avoided the mistake you made.

mirandashell
01-27-2015, 01:09 AM
I'm not talking about the doctor, I'm talking about the spouse.

Have to admit I'm finding it quite amusing that you are doing exactly what you have said other people are doing to you.

But what the hey, this is a derail and not very important. I just thought I'd point it out because you have been quite aggressive in your replies to Calla. Who has been very polite and calm through the debate.

Marian Perera
01-27-2015, 01:15 AM
I'm not talking about the doctor, I'm talking about the spouse.

OK. So a doctor tells your beloved spouse that if they don't lose weight, they will die within the year. Then you reiterate to them: "Man, you should lose weight".

Sadly, none of this was specified in the original example, so I'm not sure how I should have known to take it into consideration when I replied.


Have to admit I'm finding it quite amusing that you are doing exactly what you have said other people are doing to you. Glad to hear you're quite amused. I aim to please.


But what the hey, this is a derail and not very important. I just thought I'd point it out because you have been quite aggressive in your replies to Calla. Who has been very polite and calm through the debate.You might want to take that to the mods, then. I'm sure they'll handle it more appropriately.

kuwisdelu
01-27-2015, 01:16 AM
I'm not talking about the doctor

Your avatar suggests otherwise.

Calliea
01-27-2015, 01:54 AM
Did anyone on this thread say anything like, "you're ignorant and know nothing"?

There was an opinion saying that non-POC people's opinions on this topic are less valid, yes.

And there was a post saying we should just listen and reevaluate what we think. I'm not looking to bring anyone into argument, so I didn't quote either.


I'm also not sure the onus should be on PoC to explain why it hurts them. To me, this is like saying PoCs have to give a particular reason why they might want to protect their culture.

IMO, if someone doesn't want to share their culture, they shouldn't have to justify that decision by explaining why it hurts them. It's great if they want to do so, to create understanding between themselves and people of other cultures. But this should not be a requirement.

When "no" becomes conditional (as in "it's fine to ask people who don't understand your issues to not do X or Y if you explain why it hurts you"), something is wrong, to me.They don't want to be hurt by others. Of course they don't have to explain anything, but can they really expect other people to treat them the way they would feel good about if they don't? Perhaps in an idealistic world, yes, but if even someone trying to have a dialogue and keep and open mind has issues understanding some of the caveats, imagine how it is with people who don't want to make the effort, and go with their own beliefs and convictions - not meaning anything bad at all, but simply following different sensitivities.


If the obese person isn't asking for anyone's opinion regarding their weight, why make this comment at all, regardless of the good intention behind it?Because when you care about someone, you want them to be healthy, and you want to take care of them. Not tiptoe around issues you find problematic and dangerous. That's what I believe in, and when it comes to weight, I'm speaking from experience because it's an issue I'm familiar with and pertaining to my closest people.


Frankly, the Pocahontas costume would bother me. Well, Pocahontas bothers me a bit in the first place. But it doesn't bother me as much as other things.

Such as kids dressing up as Indians and Pilgrims on [American] Thanksgiving while teachers white-wash what actually happened. That needs to stop.

We'll agree to disagree - I'm sure Pocahontas has a completely different meaning to you and to me. And yes, I know the original story and how little it has to do with the fairytale. But in the context of children, Disney version is what I'd keep in mind.


Intention only matters insomuch as the person is actually willing to understand and change.

For example, let's say [generic] you dressed up as an Indian for Halloween one year, with no intention to offend. I explain to you why you made a bad choice and why it matters.

Let's say you understand, won't do it again, and move on as a more educated and culturally sensitive person. Okay cool.

Let's say you dismiss my concerns, that you're honoring me, and say I shouldn't be offended. Not cool.

Intention doesn't really matter in the latter case.

Now what I meant in the part where I spoke of intention, as it might've been unclear. And let's carry out your example is.

I dress up as an Indian for Halloween. You come to me, and ask me why I did that, I tell you about how I'm honoring you. You don't feel offended, you get my point of view. Then you tell me what it means to you and asks me, friend to friend/human to human, no to do it again.

I won't do it again. Because my intention was not hurt and offend you, and your understanding that, and not being patronizing/critical/viewing me from a pedestal of some sort is absolutely enough for me to honor your wish and not do it ever again. Because the intent was never to purposefully harm anyone, but it's acknowledging of that fact, and behaving accordingly that's the only thing I'd ask for. And in such case, it'd be a choice I'd be happy with, not feeling I'm being forced into it by political correctness going too far.

It reminds of me something my friend (Canadian) told me once. He was working at a museum, and two Indian girls came over to him for some sort of announcement (I can't remember the details). By the museum's rules, he wasn't allowed to say "Indian", he had to say "Native American", and it was the girls who looked at him weirdly and said that things are going too far. Cultural sensitivity is one thing, walking on needles around everyone non-white is another, and I'm not sure that's healthy. But I guess it is a natural order of things and society simply has to move at its own pace.

Viridian
01-27-2015, 01:54 AM
@Calliea: I know you said you're out of the discusison, but I felt the urge to respond anyway. Feel free to ignore me.

Telling people they're wrong, because they're white and their opinion on the subject is irrelevant will only breed hostility and deepen the divide.
I know that "your opinion doesn't matter because you're a [blank] person" is hard to hear. It's frustrating to be told that no matter what, your opinion is worthless just because you're this race or that.

But when it comes to this specific topic, POC have personal experience that white people do not. Because of that, their opinions are more important to the conversation. Just like women have more important opinions abortion. Men have more important opinions on male circumcision. Irish people have more relevant opinions on the British-Irish government debate. If you don't belong to a specific group, you don't get to decide what that group finds hurtful.

It's really frustrating for me when a man tells me for the upteenth time that women jokes aren't offensive; I imagine that POC people feel the same way when they get told for the upteenth time that cultural appropriation is not a big deal.

I do think that things should be discussed calmly and without a lot of anger. I'd ask oppressed groups to be patient with their oppressors, ridiculous as that may seem. But at the same time... it's not really up to us white folks to decide whether this little girl should be wearing box braids or not.

EDIT: as a white lady, I often don't understand why certain things are offensive. Like I have no fucking clue why wearing a bindi is racist. But I still choose not to do those things, because when POC says something is hurtful, you need to believe them. Just like I choose not to kick men in the crotch. I will never be able to fully grasp the pain of being kicked in the balls, but when men say it hurts, it's best to stop kicking them.

Fruitbat
01-27-2015, 02:04 AM
@Viridian Chick- I agree. The "men making jokes about women" thing is exactly what this whole issue reminded me of. When there's a discussion about a women's issue and some men want to come along and explain it to us when they don't get it at all and aren't listening.

Of course we can wear any hair style or clothes style we want and pick up anything else we want and do it. There is no law against it. But those whose culture it comes from may not like it, and with good reason.

Also, I don't know how anyone can look at those braids and say that isn't copying black culture. Oh, I'm sure I could look real hard and find examples of just about any style in some obscure time and place or other, but that is not the relevant context, afaik.

Marian Perera
01-27-2015, 02:08 AM
There was an opinion saying that non-POC people's opinions on this topic are less valid, yes.

To me, that's not the same as "you're ignorant and know nothing".

If someone tells me my opinion about, say, the problems young black men face is not as valid as a young black man's opinion about the problems he faces, that doesn't mean I'm being told to shut up. It does mean, though, that the young black man has personal experience I don't. So maybe if we have a difference of opinion, it might be a good idea for me to listen to him first.


And there was a post saying we should just listen and reevaluate what we think. Still not a claim that non-PoCs are ignorant.


They don't want to be hurt by others. Of course they don't have to explain anything, but can they really expect other people to treat them the way they would feel good about if they don't? Well, yes, I should think so.

If someone wants to borrow some personal belonging of mine I value very much, is it my responsibility to explain why I would be hurt if something happened to that belonging? If the someone in my example is a friend, sure, I would. But if the someone is a stranger, why am I expected to provide a reason for "no"?

Why, in other words, is the other person respecting my rights/treating me with basic decency contingent upon my explaining why I will feel hurt?


...imagine how it is with people who don't want to make the effort, and go with their own beliefs and convictions - not meaning anything bad at all, but simply following different sensitivities.I'm not sure people who don't want to make an effort will be convinced once PoCs explain why they are hurt.


Because when you care about someone, you want them to be healthy, and you want to take care of them. Not tiptoe around issues you find problematic and dangerous. Just for the purposes of this particular post, I'm going to make the assumption that the person saying "Man, you need to lose weight" is someone who cares about the obese person, but not the beloved spouse who has been told by the obese person's doctor that the obese person has a year or less to live unless they lose weight.

Obesity in and of itself doesn't necessarily indicate a dangerous medical problem. Also, many obese people are aware that they are obese, and generally don't need to be told that they need to lose weight. They hear it from the world every day.

It's wonderful that someone wants to take care of them, but I think it would be even better if the caretaking was provided in a more empowering way than "Man, you need to lose weight."

To me, that's like telling an abused woman, "Lady, you need to leave your husband". Because it's that easy, and she never thought of doing so herself. Even if the person telling her this does so with the best of intentions, I don't think it's a good way to help.


That's what I believe in, and when it comes to weight, I'm speaking from experience because it's an issue I'm familiar with and pertaining to my closest people.I'm familiar with weight issues too, because I was seriously underweight for some time. I know what it's like to have my weight commented on by anyone who felt like commenting on it. I didn't like these comments, and more to the point, the unsolicited opinions did not make me eat more or gain weight.

All those people may have said, "You're so thin! You need to gain weight!" with the best of intentions, but in the end, that made no difference other than to cause me to avoid the people who made those comments the most. So in the end, I don't believe good intentions necessarily equal good actions, or mean that hurtful actions should be excused.

mccardey
01-27-2015, 02:12 AM
EDIT: as a white lady, I often don't understand why certain things are offensive. Like I have no fucking clue why wearing a bindi is racist. But I still choose not to do those things, because when POC says something is hurtful, you need to believe them. Just like I choose not to kick men in the crotch. I will never be able to fully grasp the pain of being kicked in the balls, but when men say it hurts, it's best to stop kicking them.

Yeah, I like that.

It's not enough to say "But I don't believe it is racist, and I think you're making trouble for yourself" or to ask for certification that the person being hurt is sufficiently tied in to the culture in question to object. And if I come from a position of privilege, then my feelings on the matter don't really count, either.

If I stood on your foot, the first thing I need to do is get off your foot (http://www.metafilter.com/118736/Set-phasers-to-Hulk-Smash#4502835). Not stand and explain.

backslashbaby
01-27-2015, 02:18 AM
Calliea, I hope you also saw all the other views from Black women (and men) on Twitter. It's not like they all feel the same way about this :) It's important to understand the idea of cultural appropriation and to listen to the groups themselves, imho, but again people are just people and there is usually a range of views within groups as well.

I can't say 'Indian' around my brother, but with some other folks, that's the word they use and you'd sound silly (or something) not saying it too :) I like to err on the side of the least offensive way possible without knowing how someone feels, but I also listen to the actual people I'm dealing with, lol. You'll see that lots of Black folks are vehemently in support of this girl and her hair, so that means something, too, imho.

Calliea
01-27-2015, 02:20 AM
@Calliea: I know you said you're out of the discusison, but I felt the urge to respond anyway. Feel free to ignore me.

I know that "your opinion doesn't matter because you're a [blank] person" is hard to hear. It's frustrating to be told that no matter what, your opinion is worthless just because you're this race or that.

But when it comes to this specific topic, POC have personal experience that white people do not. Because of that, their opinions are more important to the conversation. Just like women have more important opinions abortion. Men have more important opinions on male circumcision. Irish people have more relevant opinions on the British-Irish government debate. If you don't belong to a specific group, you don't get to decide what that group finds hurtful.

It's really frustrating for me when a man tells me for the upteenth time that women jokes aren't offensive; I imagine that POC people feel the same way when they get told for the upteenth time that cultural appropriation is not a big deal.

I do think that things should be discussed calmly and without a lot of anger. I'd ask oppressed groups to be patient with their oppressors, ridiculous as that may seem. But at the same time... it's not really up to us white folks to decide whether this little girl should be wearing box braids or not.

EDIT: as a white lady, I often don't understand why certain things are offensive. Like I have no fucking clue why wearing a bindi is racist. But I still choose not to do those things, because when POC says something is hurtful, you need to believe them. Just like I choose not to kick men in the crotch. I will never be able to fully grasp the pain of being kicked in the balls, but when men say it hurts, it's best to stop kicking them.

Ah, I fell back into this I guess :P Though only partially.

I'll say that for me there's a difference between saying things and ordering things. I'll escape the racial debate, and grab onto the women topic, as I sure am one and can speak my mind without the fear of being chomped on/disregarded.

Jokes. I've never been actually offended at a woman joke, and I've heard plenty, many of them directed at me. I'm proud of being a woman, I'm fine with being a woman. If someone makes a joke about it, and it's a funny joke, I'll laugh, because I know it's a joke. And if I know that the joker does not want to actually offend me, I don't feel offended at all. I might roll my eyes and say I've heard that a hundred times already and to come up with something new. I mean, how many times can you listen about kitchen and sandwiches really? :)

Abortion, on the other hand, is a different matter. It's limiting woman's freedom to decide about her own body. And if a man tries to regulate it, it's absurd, I agree. And it will piss me off. But there are plenty of men who understand women, respect women, wouldn't deny them their rights to decide about their bodies or anything else, and yet would still make jokes about them. I don't mind those guys. Life's too short to spend it being mad at people and things who mean me no harm or offense.

And I'm grateful for everything feminists did for us over the years, but I see that nowadays some of them are damaging our relationships with men. I can see it in debates, I can see it in a new type of disregard that starts popping out in discussions towards women, because men are getting fed up with being pushed down and down and down. My friend, for example, didn't get a job he was perfect for, because he was a man. A less-qualified woman got it, just because of her sex. And the only thing that did was for other people to disregard her and treat her as worse and privileged. And that also reflect on other women who get their jobs based solely on their skills.

There's this whole Gamers Gate dispute as well I vaguely followed, that I think is just ridiculous and creating conflicts where there should be none.

Everything in moderation. And a dose of good faith. I know that history is harsh, and that some things can't just come at the snap of the fingers, but when it's my personal choice, I won't try to push the rock to the other side if I think it's best placed in the middle. Where it was supposed to be at the beginning of the struggle.


Calliea, I hope you also saw all the other views from Black women (and men) on Twitter. It's not like they all feel the same way about this :) It's important to understand the idea of cultural appropriation and to listen to the groups themselves, imho, but again people are just people and there is usually a range of views within groups as well.

I can't say 'Indian' around my brother, but with some other folks, that's the word they use and you'd sound silly (or something) not saying it too :) I like to err on the side of the least offensive way possible without knowing how someone feels, but I also listen to the actual people I'm dealing with, lol. You'll see that lots of Black folks are vehemently in support of this girl and her hair, so that means something, too, imho.

I did see those answers, and those gals sounded real nice, and I'm really glad that there are people who look at the bright side of things and put conflicts behind them. I guess I'd just feel better around people with that sort of approach to things, as it's closer to my own. And that's all. Can't agree with everyone, and can't make everyone happy. People are just too different.

~~

Thanks to those of you who are also open to reading how the issue looks from the other side. Because it takes two to argue, and these issues affect all of us, even if in diametrically different ways.

Ken
01-27-2015, 02:32 AM
Point being, I have this colorful ancestry. But it's so mixed and obscure, I can't truly be a part of any of it. And that makes me freakin' sad, all the time. Because culture is awesome, and it's a strong human desire to have something to identify with. I've always been jealous of those who have unique little cultural things to call their own, since I was a small child.

It's neat you have a lot in the mix. Your heritage is diverse: giving you a wealth of culture, which goes for others too with a similar lot. Not that I don't appreciate what you are saying here about wanting to be just one thing. That has its benefits, too. I've had friends who were more or less totally one thing. German; greek; russian, etc. Good things to everything !

kuwisdelu
01-27-2015, 02:37 AM
I did see those answers, and those gals sounded real nice, and I'm really glad that there are people who look at the bright side of things and put conflicts behind them. I guess I'd just feel better around people with that sort of approach to things, as it's closer to my own. And that's all. Can't agree with everyone, and can't make everyone happy. People are just too different.

~~

Thanks to those of you who are also open to reading how the issue looks from the other side. Because it takes two to argue, and these issues affect all of us, even if in diametrically different ways.

Frankly, it affects some people a lot more than it does other people. That's exactly what privilege means.

Honestly, it's a lot easier to let things go. It's a lot easier to avoid conflict and confrontation.

I don't like calling out things like cultural appropriation and racism.

But I feel like it's necessary to create a better, friendlier, more equal-opportunity, more egalitarian world.

You seem to be satisfied with the world as it is now. I'm not. I think we can do better.

I know we can do better, because there is still so much inequality and underrepresentation in our world.

Tazlima
01-27-2015, 02:42 AM
IMO, if someone doesn't want to share their culture, they shouldn't have to justify that decision by explaining why it hurts them. It's great if they want to do so, to create understanding between themselves and people of other cultures. But this should not be a requirement.

When "no" becomes conditional (as in "it's fine to ask people who don't understand your issues to not do X or Y if you explain why it hurts you"), something is wrong, to me.


You're absolutely right that nobody's obligated to explain the reasoning behind a request, but one is far more likely to obtain the desired result if s/he does.

It's asking your boss for a raise vs. asking your boss for a raise because the cost of living has increased, it's been a while since your last raise, and your job performance has been outstanding.

It's asking to cut in line vs. asking to cut in line because you're buying medicine for a sick child who's waiting at home.

It's asking a 12-year-old not to wear a particular hairstyle vs asking her not to wear it because it has a historical and cultural significance that she wasn't aware of.

It's saying, "Don't kick men in the balls," vs. "Don't kick men in the balls because it hurts them."

Requests or demands without explanation can come across as arbitrary or unreasonable. People generally don't like to comply with arbitrary or unreasonable demands. They seek to understand, and if you can make them understand, they'll not only change their own behavior, they may well become advocates for the issue and correct others they see making the same mistakes.

A bit of context can make all the difference in the world. As you said, it's not required, but I see no value in withholding it.

Marian Perera
01-27-2015, 02:50 AM
You're absolutely right that nobody's obligated to explain the reasoning behind a request, but one is far more likely to obtain the result they desire if they do.

Oh yeah, I remember the study when someone cut in line saying, "May I cut in line? I need to use the Xerox", when everyone else was waiting in line to use the Xerox too - and yet more people were fine after they got this explanation.

And you're right, especially when dealing with children old enough to understand, explaining the reasons behind a request or a choice are even more important. I just don't like the idea that the respect of the culture of others (and their right to share/not share that culture) is dependent on such an explanation. But I agree with what you said.

backslashbaby
01-27-2015, 02:50 AM
Frankly, it affects some people a lot more than it does other people. That's exactly what privilege means.

Honestly, it's a lot easier to let things go. It's a lot easier to avoid conflict and confrontation.

I don't like calling out things like cultural appropriation and racism.

But I feel like it's necessary to create a better, friendlier, more equal-opportunity, more egalitarian world.

You seem to be satisfied with the world as it is now. I'm not. I think we can do better.

I know we can do better, because there is still so much inequality and underrepresentation in our world.

I really don't think all those Black folks who think her braids are fine are more privileged than the other Black folks, though. And many are being quite confrontational about their views on that side. I really do think it's possible that most/some know their own minds and it's just a variety of opinions on the subject.

In any case, I'm not about to think that I know what they should think better than they do. I'm not saying you are doing that at all, but I saw more than one white SJW trying to tell Black people what to think about this girl's hair! Aaack!

kuwisdelu
01-27-2015, 02:57 AM
I really don't think all those Black folks who think her braids are fine are more privileged than the other Black folks, though.

That's not what I meant. It's possible to be affected by something even if it doesn't bother you.

And as always, context is key.

There are a number of things that I don't personally find offensive that I understand affect me and others like me nonetheless. And things that don't affect me personally that I understand affect others like me, or society as a whole.

When I was in elementary school, my class did the whole "dress up like Pilgrims and Indians and re-enact the first Thanksgiving" thing. In high school, I even played one of the Indians in a school production Peter Pan. None of that bothered me at the time. Mostly because it didn't really affect me personally.

But now I understand how those images and stereotypes affect Native Americans as a whole and impact the public's assumptions and associations when it comes to native peoples.

Brutal Mustang
01-27-2015, 03:00 AM
Why does no one give Latinas hell when they wear box braids? Because, basically, history.

What? You don't think the Spaniards in the Caribbean bought and sold African slaves? From my personal experience, racism against black people is a lot more open and socially acceptable in Latin America. I've heard people say the stupidest shit.

When I was fourteen, one of my classmates took a cloth baby doll out of the preschooler's toy box, along with a hard plastic figurine of a black character. He threw the baby doll on the floor, and said, "This is how tough white babies are." He then threw the black figurine on the floor so hard it shattered, and said, "That is how tough black men are." He sat down on a rickety wooden chair and smiled at me smugly.

I kicked the legs of his chair so hard, they cracked. He fell on his ass. HARD.

Of course, it was me, and not him, who served detention.

While in college, I had my first real black friend. A roommate. We were both working on a production of Big River. I was a set painter, she was an actress.

We had a lot of fun times together, but some days it felt like, at every small turn, she was reminding me how black she was, and how white I am. Because of it, I became self-conscious when around people of color. In a bad way. As in, sometimes I'd avoid interacting with them out of fear of doing or saying something embarrassing. I'm ashamed to say, it gave me a lot of social anxiety for years.

Fortunately, I eventually acquired a lifelong friend who happens to be black. Every Thanksgiving, she makes the long drive to where I live. And we feast for a couple of days. And laugh. And laugh. She's one of the few friends I've managed to hang on to through my times of extreme poverty. She's so down-to-Earth, and I never feel ashamed to be poor around her. Nor do I ever feel awkward about race around her.

My Navajo friend has helped a lot, too. We met on a job. She's a welder, I was a machine shop rat. Culturally, she's very Navajo. I've heard her on her cell speaking to family in Navajo a number of times. But I've never felt awkward around her, either. Together, we did face plenty of sexism on the job. We were both underpaid, while the men around us were paid more. She's expressed to me that she's faced more sexism in life then racism.

As a women who has worked a 'man' job for years, I've faced gutting sexism: low pay, snide remarks, fewer opportunities, and plenty of sex-based expectations. Over the past few years I've become a flaming feminist because of it.

But I try to be careful. Racism and sexism can be like pendulums. They swing back and forth both ways. Not equally, of course. The best I can do is try and stop the swinging on my end.

Well, I fear I have no more time for this thread. I got to get a sculpture sold, and some housework done.

kuwisdelu
01-27-2015, 03:06 AM
What? You don't think the Spaniards in the Caribbean bought and sold African slaves? From my personal experience, racism against black people is a lot more open and socially acceptable in Latin America. I've heard people say the stupidest shit.

I'm going to go out on a limb (not really) and suggest that's probably not what Putputt meant.

By the way, the rest of your post was interesting, and thank you for sharing, but if it was supposed to be in any way related to your first paragraph, I didn't get the connection.

backslashbaby
01-27-2015, 03:29 AM
That's not what I meant. It's possible to be affected by something even if it doesn't bother you.

And as always, context is key.

There are a number of things that I don't personally find offensive that I understand affect me and others like me nonetheless. And things that don't affect me personally that I understand affect others like me, or society as a whole.

When I was in elementary school, my class did the whole "dress up like Pilgrims and Indians and re-enact the first Thanksgiving" thing. In high school, I even played one of the Indians in a school production Peter Pan. None of that bothered me at the time. Mostly because it didn't really affect me personally.

But now I understand how those images and stereotypes affect Native Americans as a whole and impact the public's assumptions and associations when it comes to native peoples.

I got ya. I think those things are an in-group discussion, so that's between Black folk on the braids, imho. I definitely know I've debated women over their views on what is sexist and felt that some just weren't 'educated' enough that way, so I definitely know what you mean. Not all of them that I disagree with, though. There is going to be a fair range of views, I think, on most subjects.


Now y'all, have you heard that this 14-y-old girl's NUDES were leaked over this? I hope that's just a Twitter rumor! (But it's news that that's a rumor going around now, in any case).

Brutal Mustang
01-27-2015, 07:04 AM
I'm going to go out on a limb (not really) and suggest that's probably not what Putputt meant.

By the way, the rest of your post was interesting, and thank you for sharing, but if it was supposed to be in any way related to your first paragraph, I didn't get the connection.

I should have clarified that the class room incident happened in Latin America, where racism is less condemned than it is here. From there, I rambled on to college, and beyond. :D

Conte Remo
01-27-2015, 08:12 AM
Braids and dreads have long been worn by (predominantly white) people of various cultures, and even in recent history by (predominantly whites) who are members of subcultures such as metal heads (especially in Scandinavian countries) and those participating in alternative styles. As a metal fan, I know of many Scandinavian and European bands whose members wear dreadlocks, one of which is Korpiklaani (Finnish folk metal band). A lot of them are very embedded in the roots of their own cultures, particularly the viking metal bands. No culture has a patent on hairstyle, and in history many cultures influenced one another (IE the Celts traveled far and wide and had interactions with Indians and Asian peoples, and Celts and Indians influenced one anothers' cultures, as well as Norse, thus the similarities one can find between Celtic mythology, Norse, and Hinduism. Would you call Hinduism or Celtic and Norse belief systems appropriation? I could dig further and bring up the Bible's plagiarism of Pagan cultures, and the Quran's plagiarism of the Bible and Pagan cultures, but would you denounce that as unacceptable appropriation? Especially since those religions squashed out many of those same peoples they stole from.). Bear in mind that a lot of these countries where this style is present do not share America's history of race relations.

Lillith1991
01-27-2015, 08:31 AM
Braids and dreads have long been worn by (predominantly white) people of various cultures, and even in recent history by (predominantly whites) who are members of subcultures such as metal heads (especially in Scandinavian countries) and those participating in alternative styles. As a metal fan, I know of many Scandinavian and European bands whose members wear dreadlocks, one of which is Korpiklaani (Finnish folk metal band). A lot of them are very embedded in the roots of their own cultures, particularly the viking metal bands. No culture has a patent on hairstyle, and in history many cultures influenced one another (IE the Celts traveled far and wide and had interactions with Indians and Asian peoples, and Celts and Indians influenced one anothers' cultures, as well as Norse, thus the similarities one can find between Celtic mythology, Norse, and Hinduism. Would you call Hinduism or Celtic and Norse belief systems appropriation? I could dig further and bring up the Bible's plagiarism of Pagan cultures, and the Quran's plagiarism of the Bible and Pagan cultures, but would you denounce that as unacceptable appropriation? Especially since those religions squashed out many of those same peoples they stole from.). Bear in mind that a lot of these countries where this style is present do not share America's history of race relations.

Considering Hinduism is five millenia old, and one of the world's oldest faiths? No.

And I can't help but find this post very condescending, just like when people bring up that other groups wear various braided styles as well. In the US, braids of this nature ARE associated with people of African ancestry and generally not other cultures. And much like Northern Europe, Africa has an extremely rich and long history of braiding thank you very much. Maybe in Scandanavisn countries this would'nt be an issue because of the history, but that doesn't negate it as an issue here.

In short, what matters to this discussion most is the dynamic and associations from an American perspective because this was an American kid being cussed out by fellow Americans of a different race due to her hair. Others are more than welcome to add input, but answer that amount to I don't get it aren't helpful. Why it is an issue has been repeated more than once.

Conte Remo
01-27-2015, 08:37 AM
Also some Hindus and Buddhists will wear dreadlocks to show they have forsaken vanity, and in parts of South Asia only holy people can wear them.

Fruitbat
01-27-2015, 08:45 AM
This happened in the United States in 2015. Those who don't live in the U.S. may be missing the context and the point entirely. A history of braids all over the world is so not it.

Channy
01-27-2015, 09:19 AM
Free full beta read by yours truly,or a five dollar donation to AW, for anyone who can find a pic of a naked mole rat with cornrows or box braids.

(Yes, I'm probably grossly overvalueing my beta reading skills. So sue me.)
http://imgur.com/boFyJC1


EDIT: as a white lady, I often don't understand why certain things are offensive. Like I have no fucking clue why wearing a bindi is racist. But I still choose not to do those things, because when POC says something is hurtful, you need to believe them. Just like I choose not to kick men in the crotch. I will never be able to fully grasp the pain of being kicked in the balls, but when men say it hurts, it's best to stop kicking them.

Also as a white lady with little exposure to multi-racial cultures, I found this to be the best explanation for us/those in a similar situation. You might not get why some of these things are offensive (i.e. I don't) but you kinda just have to take people's word for it.

Lillith1991
01-27-2015, 11:23 AM
This happened in the United States in 2015. Those who don't live in the U.S. may be missing the context and the point entirely. A history of braids all over the world is so not it.

This, exactly this. Quite frankly, whether other cultures at other times have worn braids isn't the debate and isn't relevent. In the US, these types of braids and some other types are essentially a Black thing. It's cool that Europe, Africa, the Americas etc. all have their own braiding histories. But just because Vikings did something similar, and some of their descendants who are a part of a particular subculture still do it. That doesn't mean it is a white thing in the US, and it is foolish to act as if it is.

Usher
01-27-2015, 11:34 AM
This, exactly this. Quite frankly, whether other cultures at other times have worn braids isn't the debate and isn't relevent. In the US, these types of braids and some other types are essentially a Black thing. It's cool that Europe, Africa, the Americas etc. all have their own braiding histories. But just because Vikings did something similar, and some of their descendants who are a part of a particular subculture still do it. That doesn't mean it is a white thing in the US, and it is foolish to act as if it is.

And maybe that should change? Just because something is doesn't mean it should always be. Cultures change and mutate all the time and they should do. We should never retain the things that are bad and cause anger.

What if this girl had been Scandinavian? It's certainly possible that is her ancestry and Americans claim ancestry going back generations - my great, great, great, great, great grandfather was Scottish so I must wear a kilt - never minding they are a Victorian invention.

People misunderstand other cultures and it is fine to educate but some of the posts this twelve year old girl received were racially motivated bullying and that is wrong whoever is pedalling it. Fact is in a free country where people are free to be themselves and not be attacked for being themselves it's unacceptable. People will do things that offend other people but this girl in no way prevented you or anyone else from getting their hair braided. A polite explanation would have been enough.

It's a similar attitude to the one that resulted in the Charlie Hebdo murders. Just because that was in France does not make irrelevant. But I think I should also bow out. Clearly, my "European" attitude isn't relevant to this.

backslashbaby
01-27-2015, 11:51 AM
And sadly this is a very American attitude and part of what perpetuates the racism in the country. "Your culture doesn't matter - it's only mine that does." How many Americans call the UK - England or the Netherlands - Holland?

What if this girl had been Scandinavian? ...

Oh, she could have been part Black, or raised in a Black family, etc, too, the way the US is. But it's Twitter. You even see obviously Black folks get flak for not seeming Black enough in their avatars.

She didn't know she was wading into Black Twitter by posting those, and folks do feel bad that she had to deal with all that at such a tender age. It's rough and fun and things get heated, but it's not really supposed to affect kids. Most folks apologized for that! She got a ton of support, and I hope she ignored the haters (yet read up on cultural appropriation in a more appropriate format :) ).

Putputt
01-27-2015, 11:54 AM
http://imgur.com/boFyJC1



Also as a white lady with little exposure to multi-racial cultures, I found this to be the best explanation for us/those in a similar situation. You might not get why some of these things are offensive (i.e. I don't) but you kinda just have to take people's word for it.

This, so much.

I'm not Black. I can't speak for a Black person. I don't know what it's like to be Black and although I see to a certain extent why some things might offend a Black person, I don't know firsthand why they would be.

So what I DO NOT do is try to whitesplain to my Black friends why they should or should not find certain things offensive. There are things which will be beyond the scope of our understanding, simply because we have not experienced them. So, you know, if a Black person tells me, "This is problematic to me", I'm not going to say, "Really? Well, I don't find it problematic, plus this other Black person doesn't either, so you're wrong. CHILLAX, dude."

When I lived in England, I got into a debate with someone over the term "chinky", which is apparently used in England as a term to mean "Chinese takeout". I argued that the term is an offensive one, but the other person said it wasn't, because it's just a casual term and no one uses it in a racist way anymore, and plus so many Chinese people aren't offended by it. I Googled it and found out that it's actually an on-going issue and that there are plenty of Chinese people in England who DO find it offensive. So where do you draw the line? How many people have to find it offensive before it's accepted as an offensive term and weeded out of common usage? Or do we just tell those people who are offended that they're wrong, because other Chinese people don't find it offensive, so sit down and shut up?

backslashbaby
01-27-2015, 12:00 PM
^^^ I gravitate to folks who have my sense of humor, similar philosophies, who I'd be most likely to hang out with, where there is kind of a bond. Not if there are like only a handful, because that's cheating, lol. I mean if there is a clear, large divide like in this case. Life's too short to be all academic about everything, unless that's your thing, of course :)

Usher
01-27-2015, 12:00 PM
Oh, she could have been part Black, or raised in a Black family, etc, too, the way the US is. But it's Twitter. You even see obviously Black folks get flak for not seeming Black enough in their avatars.

.

To be honest I think it's more about US culture than African American culture.

It's hard to explain but when I lived in the US it felt like I was expected to live in this tightly controlled box and never step outside of it. I mean what kind of weirdo walks to the store just three blocks away or actually bakes a cake that doesn't come out of a box or grates their own cheese or speaks to the nice Hispanic family down the road or talk to the black man who was sitting next to you on the plane etc ... We have racism in the UK but I've never witnessed it like I have in the US.

Usher
01-27-2015, 12:02 PM
]

When I lived in England, I got into a debate with someone over the term "chinky", which is apparently used in England as a term to mean "Chinese takeout". I argued that the term is an offensive one, but the other person said it wasn't, because it's just a casual term and no one uses it in a racist way anymore, and plus so many Chinese people aren't offended by it. I Googled it and found out that it's actually an on-going issue and that there are plenty of Chinese people in England who DO find it offensive. So where do you draw the line? How many people have to find it offensive before it's accepted as an offensive term and weeded out of common usage? Or do we just tell those people who are offended that they're wrong, because other Chinese people don't find it offensive, so sit down and shut up?

It is offensive and racist in the UK as well a politician has just been rightly hounded for using the term. However, the way some treated the twelve year old girl because of her braids would also have been borderline illegal in Scotland.

But then using the term England to mean the UK is also offensive.

backslashbaby
01-27-2015, 12:08 PM
To be honest I think it's more about US culture than African American culture.

It's hard to explain but when I lived in the US it felt like I was expected to live in this tightly controlled box and never step outside of it. I mean what kind of weirdo walks to the store just three blocks away or actually bakes a cake that doesn't come out of a box or grates their own cheese or speaks to the nice Hispanic family down the road or talk to the black man who was sitting next to you on the plane etc ... We have racism in the UK but I've never witnessed it like I have in the US.

I have no doubt! But we're huge. You just need to find the right spots to find a culture more like you are used to that way. Maybe even just a different neighborhood. God knows my area runs the gamut.

Putputt
01-27-2015, 12:23 PM
It is offensive and racist in the UK as well a politician has just been rightly hounded for using the term. However, the way some treated the twelve year old girl because of her braids would also have been borderline illegal in Scotland.

But then using the term England to mean the UK is also offensive.

Did I use the term England to mean the UK? Because last I checked, I'm pretty sure I used it to mean England.

And I agree that bullying the fourteen-yo girl (she's 14, not 12) is not the right way to go about it. There is no need for pitchforks and name-calling, especially for something like this. A calm explanation of why it's problematic (like Lillith has done from the very beginning of the thread) is a more appropriate response to me.

kuwisdelu
01-27-2015, 09:36 PM
To be honest I think it's more about US culture than African American culture.

If it's about African American culture, wouldn't that automatically make it more about the US?

Unimportant
01-27-2015, 10:08 PM
http://i.imgur.com/boFyJC1.jpg
http://imgur.com/boFyJC1 (http://imgur.com/boFyJC1)

Un-flipping-believable. Channy for the win!

$5 to AW coming up, unless you have something you want me to crit, Channy?

kuwisdelu
01-27-2015, 11:08 PM
Un-flipping-believable. Channy for the win!

$5 to AW coming up, unless you have something you want me to crit, Channy?

This looks shopped. I can tell from some of the pixels and from seeing quite a few shops in my time.

Lillith1991
01-27-2015, 11:12 PM
And maybe that should change? Just because something is doesn't mean it should always be. Cultures change and mutate all the time and they should do. We should never retain the things that are bad and cause anger.

What if this girl had been Scandinavian? It's certainly possible that is her ancestry and Americans claim ancestry going back generations - my great, great, great, great, great grandfather was Scottish so I must wear a kilt - never minding they are a Victorian invention.

People misunderstand other cultures and it is fine to educate but some of the posts this twelve year old girl received were racially motivated bullying and that is wrong whoever is pedalling it. Fact is in a free country where people are free to be themselves and not be attacked for being themselves it's unacceptable. People will do things that offend other people but this girl in no way prevented you or anyone else from getting their hair braided. A polite explanation would have been enough.

It's a similar attitude to the one that resulted in the Charlie Hebdo murders. Just because that was in France does not make irrelevant. But I think I should also bow out. Clearly, my "European" attitude isn't relevant to this.

Ah, I love checking the forums and having something whitesplained to me. But you are right about two things, a) cultures do change over time, b) your view is less relevant in this matter. You would learn something if you sat back and actually listened to the people effected by this when we explain why it is problematic instead of explaining other peoples have/did similar styles as well. That is nothing more than a strawman, because it ISN'T relevant to where this incident occured.

Unimportant
01-28-2015, 12:48 AM
This looks shopped. I can tell from some of the pixels and from seeing quite a few shops in my time.
Of course it is, but anyone who goes to that much trouble ought to get rewarded! :D

Jcomp
01-28-2015, 02:40 AM
But I am sad that I can offend people by meaning no offense at all (or even meaning a compliment). And I'm sad that we can't all just live with each other without barriers.

I know I'm picking out just a couple of sentences in a rather lengthy post, but I feel like these two sentences summarize a thought process I A) don't understand and B) find a bit unrealistic.

For the first sentence, I mean, offending people when you don't intend to isn't just a race or culture or any other sort of socio-political thing, it's an anything. It isn't going to kill anyone to be thoughtful or mindful. On the flip side, it isn't going to kill anyone to be understanding if someone says something unintentionally offensive or hurtful.

Anecdote: I've stopped myself before making a humorous compliment regarding someone's massive, abrupt weight loss before because it crossed my mind that they might actually be gravely ill instead of just losing weight. Turned out my hunch was right. Wouldn't have been the end of the world if I'd went ahead and spoken and made my mistake, but biting my tongue saved me some embarrassment and the other person some offense.

Such is life. It's not that much to ask. (Of course, as I say that, in the context of this specific topic, it's pretty extreme and, to my mind, borderline ridiculous to expect a 14-year-old to get the concept of cultural appropriation.)

Regarding living without barriers... I mean, I like my barriers. Nobody's ever going to be 100% unique, contrary to what many of our grade school teachers might have told us once upon a time, but a lot of people (I dare say most) do have a desire to feel unique, even if they're nowhere near it. But barriers can help provide that illusion, which I don't think is an inherently bad thing, personally. In fact, I think it's healthy.

It can be bad, potentially, when people turn barriers into bunkers, and become needlessly hostile from behind barriers, but otherwise... historical context has turned "separation" into a four-letter word. That makes sense. But I think really rising above wouldn't mean we break down all barriers, but getting smart enough to recognize it's okay to let people have what's their own. Respecting what they wish to call their own, even if you do end up getting to engage in whatever it is. Freely enacted, mutually accepted separation can be a good thing. If a group wants to share, cool. If they don't, that's okay, I have my own cool shit too. We might meet up and compare cool shit, show appreciation for it, then go back to what we were doing or decide to combine our coolness as a joint effort. But this desire to turn the world into a big grab bag where everyone can take what they want and no one's supposed to get upset about feeling they have zero say in what items of theirs gets "shared" seems unreasonable, to me.

Jcomp
01-28-2015, 02:43 AM
Ah, I love checking the forums and having something whitesplained to me. But you are right about two things, a) cultures do change over time, b) your view is less relevant in this matter. You would learn something if you sat back and actually listened to the people effected by this when we explain why it is problematic instead of explaining other peoples have/did similar styles as well. That is nothing more than a strawman, because it ISN'T relevant to where this incident occured.

Ugh. Are y'all doing that in here? The gotdamn "whitesplained" thing? Does that shit actually help anything?

Ken
01-28-2015, 02:54 AM
"man-splaing" too ;-)

Not to say there is anything problematical with the terms.

There might be; and there might not be.

I am not about to take sides !

Ken, a mere spectator :-)

Unimportant
01-28-2015, 03:05 AM
Ugh. Are y'all doing that in here? The gotdamn "whitesplained" thing? Does that shit actually help anything?
Not sure what the prob is?

"Whitesplaining" is a perfectly valid term. It certainly helps, as an educational tool, to use the word in context if someone is doing it and isn't aware they're doing it and is open to being educated.

Lillith1991
01-28-2015, 03:51 AM
Ugh. Are y'all doing that in here? The gotdamn "whitesplained" thing? Does that shit actually help anything?

What exactly should I call it when someone repeatedly comes up with arguments that are strawmen, tells me that POC who are bothered by this have no reason to be bothered because "hey other cultures use braids too," and that person 99% of the time ends up being white? I've got no beef with someone who listens when someone says this is a problem for us as a group, only with those that go "but....." There are not buts in this, this is one of those things where the person should listen to the members of the group they don't belong to instead of trying to explain it away when they have the advantage of social privilage based on something like being white, straight, able bodied etc. Whatever the group, they don't need their views explained away and to enter a conversation and do so is absolutely disrespectful.

Viridian
01-28-2015, 04:15 AM
@Calliea: one of the things I see you saying a lot is "why are you offended if the speaker didn't mean to be offensive."

Intent matters, but intending to be nice does not make something nice. My grandmother once complimented a black guy by telling him, "Oh, you're going to college? Wow, I wouldn't have expected that. Good for you."

Now, she meant that as a compliment. She intended to be nice. But that doesn't change the fact that my dear sweet granny is the kind of racist old biddy who thinks black people are less intelligent.

Racism is not the same thing as hate. My granny does not hate black people. She has black friends. Her favorite hairdresser is black. But she truly, deeply, honestly believes that black people are liars and thieves. And she'll bring it up in conversation. She'll pull out graphs and bring up statistics.

No one sits around thinking, "Damn, I really hate black people."

I mean, why does intent matter that much? If someone told you they think women are incapable of writing good books, would it really matter to you whether or not they were trying to be mean? What if they just truly, honestly believed women are bad writers, and they weren't trying to be offensive? What if they said it as a compliment -- "Wow, your prose is so good that I never would've guessed you were a woman."

Calliea
01-28-2015, 05:29 AM
@Calliea: one of the things I see you saying a lot is "why are you offended if the speaker didn't mean to be offensive."

I mean, why does intent matter that much? If someone told you they think women are incapable of writing good books, would it really matter to you whether or not they were trying to be mean? What if they just truly, honestly believed women are bad writers, and they weren't trying to be offensive? What if they said it as a compliment -- "Wow, your prose is so good that I never would've guessed you were a woman."

I don't want to talk about anything race-related around these forums anymore. For several reasons.

But let's talk women.

You raise good points, and they're definitely not something I'd argue with. What I meant about intent is a different thing. Maybe I should've used another word, but I don't know which.

"Wow, your prose is so good that I never would've guessed you were a woman."

This means that the person saying that considers women inferior in some way. And it's not the case where intent matters. When it comes to jokes, jabs, even weird opinions, I will not get mad/feel offended if I know the "offender" doesn't consider me inferior in any way because of my sex. I've had strangest discussions with guys IRL and on-line about women-related things, and those same guys can tell very sexists jokes. But they mean no disrespect, and I know they feel we're equal, so why would I get mad? And in many cases of jokes directed at women, that I know offend some of them, the intent is not to hurt, but just joke, and most importantly, there's no underlying sense of superiority. I also tend to give people the benefit of a doubt, non-sexist until proven otherwise ;)

If there is such superiority though, then yea, I'd get offended. But not at the joke, I couldn't care less. It's exactly that underlying conviction that would be an affront to me. And I wouldn't give that dude a time of day, because I've no time to spare for people who think they're better than me for some predefined reason and so patronize me.

Sorry if the reply is disjointed. It's late, I'm going to sleep.

EDIT: Just as an afterthought. I was brushing my teeth and imagined those two comments.

1. "I loved it. You write really good for a woman."

and

2. "I loved it. You write so good I wouldn't think you were a woman."

And the 2nd one I wouldn't feel offended instantly actually. I'd be like "wait, what do you mean by that?" First one though, unless just an unfortunate phrasing, definitely not great.

Channy
01-28-2015, 05:30 AM
Un-flipping-believable. Channy for the win!

$5 to AW coming up, unless you have something you want me to crit, Channy?


This looks shopped. I can tell from some of the pixels and from seeing quite a few shops in my time.


Of course it is, but anyone who goes to that much trouble ought to get rewarded! :D

Hey, no one said it couldn't be shooped. :D

If you're serious, I'm reworking a the first chapter of my mss I'd like critted. But mostly I just like shooping hairdos on animals (like I need a reason. ;) )

backslashbaby
01-28-2015, 05:59 AM
I think cultural appropriation can be hard to understand, because the intent really is a compliment so much of the time. The person doing it absolutely might not consider the other culture inferior in any way. I think this little teen really did just love the hairdo.

But if you don't know a culture well enough to know what is big to their identity and what is not, maybe you shouldn't be borrowing from that culture until you know it better. Then when you know it better, you'd feel weird about picking something that is really a touchy point within the culture, as an outsider.

Or, you get accepted into it enough that the folks themselves want you to share it. I was happy to see so many Black women thinking the 14-year-old was being cute and hair is just hair (to them), but it also makes complete sense why it's not just hair to others.

It also matters that hair has been a dividing line between the cultures for ages in a racist way. The amount of grief Black folks have gotten from white (and other) folks over hair is immense. And that still happens frequently. So maybe some folks don't want to share until that's cleared up better!

Jcomp
01-28-2015, 06:14 AM
What exactly should I call it when someone repeatedly comes up with arguments that are strawmen, tells me that POC who are bothered by this have no reason to be bothered because "hey other cultures use braids too," and that person 99% of the time ends up being white? I've got no beef with someone who listens when someone says this is a problem for us as a group, only with those that go "but....." There are not buts in this, this is one of those things where the person should listen to the members of the group they don't belong to instead of trying to explain it away when they have the advantage of social privilage based on something like being white, straight, able bodied etc. Whatever the group, they don't need their views explained away and to enter a conversation and do so is absolutely disrespectful.

You don't have to "call it" anything. Just lay it out as it is here. Especially here, in a writer's board. In my own humble* view, "whitesplaining" and other terms don't help take anyone to task, they just tune people out. It comes across as dismissive shorthand. You break it down as you did here--which you ended up doing anyway, and rather well--it's thorough, it's honest, and it leaves no doubt that you're coming from a thoughtful, concerned, deliberated place, and it verifies you're not attempting to shut the conversation down with trendy netspeak.


*-opinions may not be as humble as advertised; feel free to disregard said opinions, which of course goes without saying

mccardey
01-28-2015, 06:42 AM
You don't have to "call it" anything. Just lay it out as it is here. Especially here, in a writer's board. In my own humble* view, "whitesplaining" and other terms don't help take anyone to task, they just tune people out. It comes across as dismissive shorthand. You break it down as you did here--which you ended up doing anyway, and rather well--it's thorough, it's honest, and it leaves no doubt that you're coming from a thoughtful, concerned, deliberated place, and it verifies you're not attempting to shut the conversation down with trendy netspeak.

I think you're not necessarily right about that. At least, I think that the fact that terms like "mansplaining" and "whitesplaining" tend towards "dismissive shorthand" is not necessarily a bad thing. It goes toward the argument that somehow the offended party has to take care of the splainer's feeling in order to keep the conversation happening for the education of the splainer. People have other things to do. Sometimes the splainer can just feel a little bit hurt, suck it up and look at why they get that response.

ETA: In any case, it is as you say a writers' board. So writers are going to use their own voices. I'm glad about that. I've always liked Lillith's voice.

Lillith1991
01-28-2015, 06:57 AM
You don't have to "call it" anything. Just lay it out as it is here. Especially here, in a writer's board. In my own humble* view, "whitesplaining" and other terms don't help take anyone to task, they just tune people out. It comes across as dismissive shorthand. You break it down as you did here--which you ended up doing anyway, and rather well--it's thorough, it's honest, and it leaves no doubt that you're coming from a thoughtful, concerned, deliberated place, and it verifies you're not attempting to shut the conversation down with trendy netspeak.


*-opinions may not be as humble as advertised; feel free to disregard said opinions, which of course goes without saying

I chose the word for a reason, as mccardey has appeared to have understood perfectly fine without having to be a POC. I and others have so far spent the thread explaining our feelings, the why's and wherefores over and over again. I myself have done so several times. If I choose to dimiss someone who only has come backs which ammount to the but response and refuse to actually listen to the POC in this thread saying why this is an issue, then that is my right as someone who deals with this frequently in real life as well. To put it in plainer terms: I've got no time for a man who wants to tell me what being a woman is like, or someone whose white or straight explaining being Black or Queer to me. I've got a life to live and better things to do than sit and listen to someone tell me how I should feel.

Jcomp
01-28-2015, 07:06 AM
I think you're not necessarily right about that. At least, I think that the fact that terms like "mansplaining" and "whitesplaining" tend towards "dismissive shorthand" is not necessarily a bad thing. It goes toward the argument that somehow the offended party has to take care of the splainer's feeling in order to keep the conversation happening for the education of the splainer. People have other things to do. Sometimes the splainer can just feel a little bit hurt, suck it up and look at why they get that response.

ETA: In any case, it is as you say a writers' board. So writers are going to use their own voices. I'm glad about that. I've always liked Lillith's voice.

I don't think it goes toward the "splainer's" feeling. But I'll grant that my mindset in an argument is different, particularly if I feel it's an important point to be made. I want to eviscerate the other party. I want to win. I want to eviscerate their argument, and then stomp that argument into The Smear Formerly Known as The Opposing Argument, and then add the smear to a Bloody Mary to savor for later.

I don't really think terms such as whitesplaining are even necessarily intended to hurt the other person's feelings, and I certainly don't think they're actually effective at it. Granted, I'm also pretty cynical about the people typically on the receiving end of those terms when they say they're offended by them, but maybe that's just me being an asshole. But to me that's not really what I'm getting at. I don't think dismissive responses are terribly effective overall; certainly not as effective as a calculated breakdown. When people have tried to get dismissive or take shortcuts with me in an argument, I notch that argument in the Win column. But that's me. I'm also notoriously wordy, so I probably have a bias in that regard.

And again, I grant that my arrogant opinion is nonetheless only an opinion. I can't keep anyone from using their own voice, obviously. I just offer my take, man.

Unimportant
01-28-2015, 07:37 AM
I don't want to talk about anything race-related around these forums anymore. For several reasons.

C, you're in the PoC subforum. What the heck do you think is going to get talked about here?

editing to add: You don't have to talk about anything you don't want to. If you don't want to talk about anything race related on AW, that's fine. But people hang out in the PoC subforum specifically to talk about race related stuff, just as they hang out in QUILTBAG to talk about queer issues.

If someone doesn't want to talk about queer issues, fine, just don't click on the QUILTBAG subforum. And if they do click on it and enter a discussion and get bored, they ca leave. But they need to be careful about saying 'I don't want to talk about queer stuff, let's talk about hair styles instead' because that can be taken as subtext for what's called 'shutting down the argument'.

It's quite understandable that folks who don't live day in and day out with homophobia aren't aware of what it entails. It's understandable that when they start to realise what it entails, it makes them uncomfortable. It's understandable that when they realise their own behavior or comfort zone may have to change if they don't want to actively or passively contribute to homophobia, that makes them even more uncomfortable. It's understandable that they want to change the subject so that they don't have to feel uncomfortable. But their discomfort is a mere bagatelle to what they're doing to the QUILTBAG members. They're saying "I am going to wipe out this safe space, where you can affirm your identity and share your troubles, and turn it into some place where I'm comfortable, even though the entire rest of the world is devoted to being a place where I feel comfortable, because my tittle of discomfort is more important than your shedload of misery." They're saying "If we stop talking about it, then it will stop existing for me, and I will let myself believe that by extension it will stop existing for you, and so I need do nothing to contribute to solving the problem." It's....not helpful.

Unimportant
01-28-2015, 07:38 AM
Hey, no one said it couldn't be shooped. :D

If you're serious, I'm reworking a the first chapter of my mss I'd like critted. But mostly I just like shooping hairdos on animals (like I need a reason. ;) )

Shooped is fine (and a great word!). Send me your chapter by PM and I'll crit it :D

Ken
01-28-2015, 03:41 PM
... the prob with mansplaining and whitesplaining is that they are stereotypes. "All men act like this; all whites act like this." There's that implication. Same as with other unsavory stereotypes.

Condemn individuals. Not entire groups of people. That is always wrong.

As mentioned upstream these two portmanteaus are net-words or whatnot. So many who use them just use them and aren't intending anything negative or broadsweeping by them, as surely the case here. Still good to reflect on words one uses, especially for writers.

My two cents !

Calliea
01-28-2015, 05:38 PM
C, you're in the PoC subforum. What the heck do you think is going to get talked about here?

editing to add: You don't have to talk about anything you don't want to. If you don't want to talk about anything race related on AW, that's fine. But people hang out in the PoC subforum specifically to talk about race related stuff, just as they hang out in QUILTBAG to talk about queer issues.

If someone doesn't want to talk about queer issues, fine, just don't click on the QUILTBAG subforum. And if they do click on it and enter a discussion and get bored, they ca leave. But they need to be careful about saying 'I don't want to talk about queer stuff, let's talk about hair styles instead' because that can be taken as subtext for what's called 'shutting down the argument'.

It's quite understandable that folks who don't live day in and day out with homophobia aren't aware of what it entails. It's understandable that when they start to realise what it entails, it makes them uncomfortable. It's understandable that when they realise their own behavior or comfort zone may have to change if they don't want to actively or passively contribute to homophobia, that makes them even more uncomfortable. It's understandable that they want to change the subject so that they don't have to feel uncomfortable. But their discomfort is a mere bagatelle to what they're doing to the QUILTBAG members. They're saying "I am going to wipe out this safe space, where you can affirm your identity and share your troubles, and turn it into some place where I'm comfortable, even though the entire rest of the world is devoted to being a place where I feel comfortable, because my tittle of discomfort is more important than your shedload of misery." They're saying "If we stop talking about it, then it will stop existing for me, and I will let myself believe that by extension it will stop existing for you, and so I need do nothing to contribute to solving the problem." It's....not helpful.

What Viridian Chick wrote was directed at me, so I wanted to reply to her, because that's what I do when someone talks to me. Topics on AW digress all the time, and her question digressed towards women issues, so I replied to that.

I'm not feeling uncomfortable with discussions about racism, I'm feeling uncomfortable with this one, and the direction it took, and I realized it was not good for me, and surely not helpful (with exceptions of some posts from both sides). So I removed myself from this conversation and simply noted to Viridian Chick why I only quoted and replied to half of her post, without giving specific reasons, because I seriously don't come here to fight, feel attacked, or attack anyone. I've tried very hard to avoid saying anything remotely fight-ish throughout the entire thread that could be perceived as an attack of any sort on anyone's beliefs and feelings. But regardless of what I said it was being misread/misunderstood/annoyed/hurt people, who in turn made me feel not welcome here with my opinion. Opinion, which was seriously not "stop your babbling and listen, this is how I think, this is how you gotta think" but a "here's how others, like me, see this issue". But it went as it went, and I simply don't see a point of continuing and bringing up negative emotions (in others, and in myself), because we have different ways of discussing things. I used to love joining a good forum drama, but nowadays I don't, I really don't. Like I said - I was finishing up a side-thread Viridian Chick replied to, and I'm gone.

And now that you basically dragged me out to say this, all I can do is hope that this won't spark another argument, because nobody needs it (aside of the guys with popcorn. Sorry folks).

That being said, if anyone feels like they would feel better if they replied to me with their point of view, or got a chance to explain something and talk it over in an open dialogue, just send me a private message. I wouldn't want anyone to feel like I'm shutting the discussion forcefully and gnaw on cables because they didn't get to say what they wanted to say yet :) I know I would, if someone thread-quit on me.

But yea. I'm thread-quitting.

@ViridianChick
If you want to reply to my previous post, please PM me as well. Thanks.

Lillith1991
01-28-2015, 07:35 PM
... the prob with mansplaining and whitesplaining is that they are stereotypes. "All men act like this; all whites act like this." There's that implication. Same as with other unsavory stereotypes.

Condemn individuals. Not entire groups of people. That is always wrong.

As mentioned upstream these two portmanteaus are net-words or whatnot. So many who use them just use them and aren't intending anything negative or broadsweeping by them, as surely the case here. Still good to reflect on words one uses, especially for writers.

My two cents !

Bullshit Ken. I really don't need to have it explained to me why I'm wrong for using the word I did because I used it for a very specific reason, and that is that I 100% meant to dismiss the person I directed it at. As I said before I really have no time for people who only want to go, "but what about me???" when it comes to discussions of womens issues, racial issues, and LGBT+ issues. If someone feels they have to explain some aspect of my life to me and they aren't speaking in a medical capacity, they can kick rocks.

backslashbaby
01-28-2015, 09:37 PM
... the prob with mansplaining and whitesplaining is that they are stereotypes. "All men act like this; all whites act like this." There's that implication. Same as with other unsavory stereotypes.

Condemn individuals. Not entire groups of people. That is always wrong.

As mentioned upstream these two portmanteaus are net-words or whatnot. So many who use them just use them and aren't intending anything negative or broadsweeping by them, as surely the case here. Still good to reflect on words one uses, especially for writers.

My two cents !

I don't think mansplaining is supposed to mean that all men do it. It's just what you call it when a man does do it, to a woman.

My partner ages ago did a huge one, for an example. I worked tech support and obviously he knew that. We had a hard drive to put in our computer and he said I could do it, and I said cool and did it. Then he said something about how now I knew how to install a drive like him. I was like, "What do you think I do at my job all night?" It was incredible!

He had installed one in his life, btw. Just crazy stuff. He usually was very good about sexism, but that was some bizarre blind spot that made him think that he was better/more experienced at something because he was a guy and I am a woman.

mccardey
01-28-2015, 11:02 PM
... the prob with mansplaining and whitesplaining is that they are stereotypes. "All men act like this; all whites act like this." There's that implication. <<snip>>
Still good to reflect on words one uses, especially for writers.

My two cents !

No, it doesn't meant that, Ken. The Urban Dictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Mansplain)definition of "mansplaining" is
to delighting in condescending, inaccurate explanations delivered with rock solid confidence of rightness and that slimy certainty that of course he is right, because he is the man in this conversation
"Even though he knew she had an advanced degree in neuroscience, he felt the need to mansplain "there are molecules in the brain called neurotransmitters"


The word “mansplain” can been traced to Rebecca Solnit, a writer whose 2008 essay “Men Explain Things to Me” laid out the mansplaining fundamentals (though the actual term only began croppping up on feminist blogs months later). In its early incarnation, it had a straightforward definition: when a man condescendingly lectures a woman on the basics of a topic about which he knows very little, under the mistaken assumption that she knows even less. In the piece, Solnit describes attending a party at which an oblivious male, “eyes fixed on the fuzzy far horizon of his own authority,” patronizingly attempts to tell her all about a new book on the photographer Eadweard Muybridge, which it turns out Solnit actually wrote. This all-too-typical experience of being unthinkingly talked down to, she writes, “trains [women] in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men’s unsupported overconfidence.”
http://www.salon.com/2014/10/20/rip_mansplaining_how_the_internet_killed_one_of_ou r_most_useful_words/


Whitesplaining is a similar thing but from a different perspective in a different conversation.

ETA: When I oldsplained to my kids that this sort of terminology was Just Bloody Impertinence! they youngsplained it all to me... ;)

backslashbaby
01-28-2015, 11:41 PM
As far as being shut down in a conversation about race when you are white and trying to keep explaining your views, it's customary in a forum like this to have that be true. Not all views are given equal weight, because the actual recipients of racism are simply more important to listen to. They know more about it, lol ;)

I'm 'white', btw. My skin is certainly quite white, and folks never guess my racial background with just my looks as a clue.

Ken
01-29-2015, 12:07 AM
... thnx for the insight, and link. Good knowing how others feel on issues, even if you stick with your own perspective. That's what exchanges like this are for. You get to know me; I you. And viceversa. And even if you disagree with someone you can still be like, "hey. that argument they presented is a good one," etc.

S. Eli
01-29-2015, 01:02 AM
Any one else read all of this and find they had nothing to add? Despite how the posters before me may feel, I think this is a pretty well represented argument on both sides--besides the occasional bouts of disregardception

M.N Thorne
01-29-2015, 04:52 AM
I would like to add my two cents on this matter when it comes to hair. A lot of Black americans were outrage by her hairstyle because they felt she was mocking their culture. Even if the 12 year old did not mean to offend anyone with her hairstyle. Many people believe she was mocking Black American culture due to how the more dominant society viewed our hair.However, Black Americans are not the only ones to be outraged by braids. For example, tons of white Americans in Fresno, California had rudely commented one of many hairstyles featuring blue braids featuring seashells. They would role their eyes and tell me that was an "punk look".

However, I took the style from a book about mermaids called "Mermaids and their kin". One of the page featured a painting of the mermaid goddess from Angola, Kianda, with blue braids and seashells. When I told them this hairstyle came from Ancient Africa, then they shut up. However, no one would have worn such an hairstyle but an goddess :) My point is that many people feel uncomfortable when people wanted to dress in more"tribal" ways. If this pre-teen girl would have argue that she is wearing braids like her European ancestors did, people would have still torn her apart because most humans demand complete cultural assimilation out of everyone. This girl was attacked because she wanted to be different and people felt she wanted to mock their culture.

M.N Thorne
01-29-2015, 04:58 AM
I would like to respond to you "Latinas wearing braids" comment. Maybe people did not give them hell because braiding hairstyles were worn in MesoAmerica thousands years before Europeans came. For example, I knew plenty of Mestizas would wore their hair in the same way their Native ancestors did before meeting their European ancestors. It is just a way of showing their love for their MesoAmerican blood. In fact, I knew tons of mestizos and pure Native American people would get the same body art as their MesoAmerican ancestors as well.






Putputt, it's not as simple as 'us versus them, and them'.

The one thing Kuwi, Lillith, and I do agree on, is that we are mixed. Though, someone would probably look at us and see a Native American man, a black woman, and a white woman. The vast majority of Americans are mixed like we are. And genes, they are a funny thing. I knew a blond girl whose biological dad was black, and I don't mean pale black. I've also known black people who were mostly white in their ancestry. So you can't tell by just looking at a person where they're from.

This girl, she could very well have black in her ancestry. If so, she's not allowed to wear braids because she's not black enough? Where is the line drawn?

This is what really bothers me about this whole thing. America is by and large a melting pot. Racial and cultural lines are blurring with each generation. We are all becoming one. So many Americans have a slice of America as a whole in their ancestry, regardless of what race they actually pass for. Why is a shit storm happening over box braids, which has roots in various ancient cultures? Heck, I've seen non-black Latinas wear box braids from time to time. More so when I lived down in Central America. I don't see anyone giving the Latinas hell for it.

I get respect for culture. But in this instance, the line is so blurred. What worries me, is that the only message this is sending to young people is, "Nope, you're not that similar to one another. Be conscious of it, kids!"

Roxxsmom
01-30-2015, 08:29 AM
Seems like getting mad about this kind of hairstyle being cultural appropriation is a bit like closing the barn door more than 30 years after the horses escaped, since the movie "10" made this hairdo quite popular with blond, white gals back in 1979 and up through the early 80s (I don't remember anyone complaining that it was cultural appropriation back then, but maybe I was just too young and stupid to be paying attention, since I was a kid).

I'm not telling anyone how they should feel here, and I know cultural appropriation is something that different people will have different takes on.

But it was my understanding that cultural appropriation is usually said to be an issue when symbols and traditions that have deep cultural or religious significance to a marginalized group of people are borrowed or used by members of the dominant cultural group in a way that shows no respect or understanding of their meaning, like say, Hopi Kachina figures being used as toys, or Dreamcatchers being hung from rear view mirrors, or traditional or ceremonial costumes being turned into trite and mocking Halloween get ups, or someone writing a novel set in India and presenting the religious beliefs or cultures of the people who live there in a trite or stereotyped way.

So I guess my question is, am I wrong in my definition, or does this hairstyle have a historical or religious significance that most white kids are unaware of?

Not trying to be argumentative, but I'm just trying to understand.



Massive deal really when you've been told all your life that the hair which grows out of your head is ugly. I love my fro, even though care can be pretty involved since my hair is waist length but shrinks to my arm pits.

And this does explain why some people are sensitive about it. It's not any of my business, but I've been alive long enough to remember how (back in the 70s) there was a move towards more natural black hairstyles, but by the late 1990s, it seems like most of the African American girls in my classes were straightening their hair, and most of the African American guys I knew were shaving their heads. I know there are tons of reasons for this besides hating one's own natural hair, so I'm not going to judge, but we still live in a world where black women in the US military are told that hairstyles that work best for their natural hair are not "regulation," even if they're neat and under control, and black kids are sometimes singled out at school for their hair styles.

I'm glad to see that more of the black students on the campus where I teach are wearing styles that are natural for their hair again. Actually, I'm glad to see white kids wearing a greater diversity of hair lengths and styles again too. Long, straight, and with no bangs looks great on some women, but not on everyone, and it's sad when someone has to choose between a style that works for their hair and face and being "in fashion."

Still, given that this is the situation, is there a way for a white girl or woman to wear these braids, or a similar style, without attracting ire? Is there a line that can be drawn that will make most people happy?

Neegh
01-30-2015, 08:55 AM
Seems like getting mad about this kind of hairstyle being cultural appropriation is a bit like closing the barn door more than 30 years after the horses escaped, since the movie "10" made this hairdo quite popular with blond, white gals back in 1979 and up through the early 80s (I don't remember anyone complaining that it was cultural appropriation back then, but maybe I was just too young and stupid to be paying attention, since I was a kid).

That's what I said on page 1


Anyone remember the movie 10 ... Bo Derec runing all over the beach in the very same braids...?

By the way, every black woman I asked about this, over the last two days, thinks the whole situation has been blow out of proportion.

aruna
01-30-2015, 09:25 AM
Storm in a teacup.

Roxxsmom
01-30-2015, 09:29 AM
By the way, every black woman I asked about this, over the last two days, thinks the whole situation has been blow out of proportion.

Be careful with this kind of argument, though, because it sounds a bit like the old standby, "My black (or Jewish, or female, or gay, or Native American or whatever) friend doesn't care about [insert x] so you shouldn't either."

No one is a hive mind on these matters. And of course, groups of friends tend to consist of people who have a similar perspective to us on some things, plus there's confirmation bias. We tend to remember or notice attitudes that reinforce or reflect our existing ones.

Having said this, I'm pretty sure I've seen other white women with this hairdo over the years, in everyday life and in the media, where no one seems to have minded. It seems strange that the incident that boiled over involves a 12 year old kid. But it's possible that earlier controversies either slipped under my radar, or else there was some difference of circumstance with this girl's case that I fail to grasp.

Neegh
01-30-2015, 09:30 AM
Storm in a teacup.

Hey! I take offince to that!


:tongue

Lillith1991
01-30-2015, 09:31 AM
That's what I said on page 1



By the way, every black woman I asked about this, over the last two days, thinks the whole situation has been blow out of proportion.

Including this one. But just because it was blown out of proportion re: people thinking it's Ok to cuss out another person's child. That does not however mean it isn't an issue at all for in the eyes of the Black population here. It is.

Neegh
01-30-2015, 09:40 AM
Be careful with this kind of argument, though, because it sounds a bit like the old standby, "My black (or Jewish, or female, or gay, or Native American or whatever) friend doesn't care about [insert x] so you shouldn't either."

.


I actually did ask people about this (white, black, Asian, and Native American). Now I have gone as far as I am gong to go here: be cause to go further means that have divulge more info about myself than I believe smart at this point.

Later.

kuwisdelu
01-30-2015, 10:01 AM
By the way, every black woman I asked about this, over the last two days, thinks the whole situation has been blow out of proportion.


Including this one. But just because it was blown out of proportion re: people thinking it's Ok to cuss out another person's child. That does not however mean it isn't an issue at all for in the eyes of the Black population here. It is.

Yes.

There is a huge difference between "it's okay to cuss out a 12-year-old and call her racist for something she probably had no idea about" and "cultural appropriation is no big deal."

I don't personally know anyone who supports the former. Unfortunately, I've interacted with far too many people who support the latter.

Everyone I know who has taken offense at this issue have been far more offended by all of the people "defending" her who argue cultural appropriation is no big deal.

Them's fightin' words.

An innocent 12-year-old? Not so much.

Channy
01-30-2015, 10:54 AM
Having said this, I'm pretty sure I've seen other white women with this hairdo over the years, in everyday life and in the media, where no one seems to have minded. It seems strange that the incident that boiled over involves a 12 year old kid. But it's possible that earlier controversies either slipped under my radar, or else there was some difference of circumstance with this girl's case that I fail to grasp.

Christina Aguilera went through a phase with the box braids. But I didn't say anything earlier because I wasn't sure how relevant it would be, picking one person out of a handful of white women who have had them. (Although to be fair, she's mixed I think?)

http://cdn.hiphopwired.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/1260900832_christina_2.jpg

Lillith1991
01-30-2015, 11:11 AM
Christina Aguilera went through a phase with the box braids. But I didn't say anything earlier because I wasn't sure how relevant it would be, picking one person out of a handful of white women who have had them. (Although to be fair, she's mixed I think?)

http://cdn.hiphopwired.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/1260900832_christina_2.jpg

She's latina, though she also happens to be mixed.

M.N Thorne
01-30-2015, 02:07 PM
Roxxsmom,

Frankly, that is quite a difficult question but I do not believe in cultural appropriation overall. It often fuels a dangerous mix of exoticism and fetishism amongst people. Even if that person mean no harm, tons of people will bashed them anyways. Plus, Bo Derek only wore her hair like that for a movie not in real life. Her character wore that type of hairstyle in "10" in order to be daring.She went down to Watts and got a South Central hairdresser to do it. She did not wear such a hairstyle in real life for good reason. The same thing goes with white rapper Brooke Candy wearing pink and blue box braids. She is an artist and people allow her to get away with more. However, many black people are outraged when they see "their" hairstyles, culture, music, and art used as some sort of fetish. Yet if they wear box braids then they are ghetto and low-class. Often, I wonder what school does she go to? For example, if that girl would have worn those braids during my junior high school days....the minority/ white girls would have broke her nose in the bathroom. They would have yelled that she was trying to be black and jumped on her. Now,people just bully on social media :(




Seems like getting mad about this kind of hairstyle being cultural appropriation is a bit like closing the barn door more than 30 years after the horses escaped, since the movie "10" made this hairdo quite popular with blond, white gals back in 1979 and up through the early 80s (I don't remember anyone complaining that it was cultural appropriation back then, but maybe I was just too young and stupid to be paying attention, since I was a kid).

I'm not telling anyone how they should feel here, and I know cultural appropriation is something that different people will have different takes on.

But it was my understanding that cultural appropriation is usually said to be an issue when symbols and traditions that have deep cultural or religious significance to a marginalized group of people are borrowed or used by members of the dominant cultural group in a way that shows no respect or understanding of their meaning, like say, Hopi Kachina figures being used as toys, or Dreamcatchers being hung from rear view mirrors, or traditional or ceremonial costumes being turned into trite and mocking Halloween get ups, or someone writing a novel set in India and presenting the religious beliefs or cultures of the people who live there in a trite or stereotyped way.

So I guess my question is, am I wrong in my definition, or does this hairstyle have a historical or religious significance that most white kids are unaware of?

Not trying to be argumentative, but I'm just trying to understand.



And this does explain why some people are sensitive about it. It's not any of my business, but I've been alive long enough to remember how (back in the 70s) there was a move towards more natural black hairstyles, but by the late 1990s, it seems like most of the African American girls in my classes were straightening their hair, and most of the African American guys I knew were shaving their heads. I know there are tons of reasons for this besides hating one's own natural hair, so I'm not going to judge, but we still live in a world where black women in the US military are told that hairstyles that work best for their natural hair are not "regulation," even if they're neat and under control, and black kids are sometimes singled out at school for their hair styles.

I'm glad to see that more of the black students on the campus where I teach are wearing styles that are natural for their hair again. Actually, I'm glad to see white kids wearing a greater diversity of hair lengths and styles again too. Long, straight, and with no bangs looks great on some women, but not on everyone, and it's sad when someone has to choose between a style that works for their hair and face and being "in fashion."

Still, given that this is the situation, is there a way for a white girl or woman to wear these braids, or a similar style, without attracting ire? Is there a line that can be drawn that will make most people happy?

M.N Thorne
01-30-2015, 02:37 PM
Christina Aguilera is a very light-skinned latina famous singer. People really let her get a pass because she was an singer. However, I am glad that you brought this subject up. Back in high school, there was my very light-skinned, green-eyed, and very blond Mexican-American classmate and her Native American boyfriend was jumped by teenage Neo-nazis because had those box braids like Christina Aguilera. They said " They wanted to teach a wigger to have white pride." They pulled all her braids out. A week later, she went on television to say that both her parents were "Puro Mexicano" and then she found our school first Anti-racism club. After that, she worn nothing but Jalisco dress to school So I did not mean to threadjack but it was just something on my mind after reading your post.


Christina Aguilera went through a phase with the box braids. But I didn't say anything earlier because I wasn't sure how relevant it would be, picking one person out of a handful of white women who have had them. (Although to be fair, she's mixed I think?)

http://cdn.hiphopwired.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/1260900832_christina_2.jpg

Roxxsmom
01-30-2015, 03:49 PM
I actually did ask people about this (white, black, Asian, and Native American). Now I have gone as far as I am gong to go here: be cause to go further means that have divulge more info about myself than I believe smart at this point.

Later.

My point is that people from any demographic aren't all necessarily going to feel the same way about this. None of us has the ability to poll everyone of every background and culture about their feelings on these matters.

My own feeling is that some people took it way too far, and that it's never appropriate to lash out at kids. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have conversations about cultural appropriation and what it means in different contexts.

Usher
01-30-2015, 04:00 PM
My point is that people from any demographic aren't all necessarily going to feel the same way about this. None of us has the ability to poll everyone of every background and culture about their feelings on these matters.

My own feeling is that some people took it way too far, and that it's never appropriate to lash out at kids. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have conversations about cultural appropriation and what it means in different contexts.

Including whether or not it is right or appropriate in the first place. Or whether or not the idea of cultural appropriation is actually racism and segregation by another name and dressed up to be something more noble. Kind of like calling murder an "honour" killing or abuse "bullying"

M.N Thorne
01-30-2015, 10:38 PM
Roxxsmom,
I am going to have to disagree with your statements about cultural appropriation. Frankly, cultural appropriation often leads to problems like that little girl had. In addition, I feel that often cultural appropriation is mainly one-sided when it comes to minorities and whites. If a minority openly practices European cultural appropriation they are accused of being whitewashed or losing their roots. Black women are often victims of this type abuse. Many times, minorities must conform to social standards even when it comes to hair. Thus, many minorities feel like straighten their hair, bleaching their skin, and talking different will get them accept.However, many people openly celebrate when whites use "cultural appropriation" because it shows them being "open-minded" and "liberal". I feel that many people only show support to this girl because they felt she was being unique and liberal. Meanwhile, no one is talking to girl on why minorities feel this way. At least, her school, family, and friends are supportive.:)


My point is that people from any demographic aren't all necessarily going to feel the same way about this. None of us has the ability to poll everyone of every background and culture about their feelings on these matters.

My own feeling is that some people took it way too far, and that it's never appropriate to lash out at kids. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have conversations about cultural appropriation and what it means in different contexts.

M.N Thorne
01-30-2015, 11:05 PM
Actually, cultural appropriation means something different to everyone.Tons of people like that idea but I never did. I believe that cultural appropriation often leads along the lines of "going native" to feel unique and exotic. A way of exoticized one's self in order to feel like less racist than one actually is. Just like all of those Suburban white teenagers listening to rap music but thinking that all blacks are savages. Just like tons of preppy minority/jewish women on tumblr engaging in raceplay/Nazi fetish with White Christian men because they wanted to live out their "Aryan God/Nazi Superman" fantasy. Many times, these women culturally appropriated themselves into preppydom yet they will never be WASPs.Often, these women sexualized their resentment and rage towards the idea male beauty. The idea male beauty often times is the white Christian man.


Including whether or not it is right or appropriate in the first place. Or whether or not the idea of cultural appropriation is actually racism and segregation by another name and dressed up to be something more noble. Kind of like calling murder an "honour" killing or abuse "bullying"

Usher
01-30-2015, 11:59 PM
Actually, cultural appropriation means something different to everyone.Tons of people like that idea but I never did. I believe that cultural appropriation often leads along the lines of "going native" to feel unique and exotic. .

Of course "going native" or listening to world music is exotic. Anything that is not your own culture is "exotic".

I love Afrika Bambaataa because it creates exotic and exiting images in my mind. Wil-i-am is on my freebie five not because he's black but because he's kind of cute and he's stark raving bonkers - his music well leaves something to be desired but maybe I'm the wrong era. It's the same reason I studied archaeology -- the Picts are exotic, unique and interesting. And when I dip into other cultures I will never get it quite right. I had a friend with a Burkha so one day I borrowed one and went out with her - for me it was a blast there were issues but to quote from one of my favourite songs:

"Common People" by Pulp
"But still you'll never get it right
'cos when you're laid in bed at night watching roaches climb the wall
If you call your Dad he could stop it all."

Ultimately it isn't my culture but the best way to learn is to try it out -- it will never be quite right but it's closer to an understanding. To stop people trying out stops the best way of understanding. As an archaeologist in order to understand the past we'd try it out as close as we could.

People who are racist will be racist whether or not they appropriate. They don't care. People who are not racist are not racist whether or not they appropriate they just think "That's niice" (in the style of Agnes Brown to appropriate a bit of Irish culture)

kuwisdelu
01-31-2015, 01:38 AM
Culture is intellectual property.

It is communally owned by the people of that culture.

Culture appropriation is theft of intellectual property.

Just as Fair Use exists in IP law, I think it's certainly possible to draw inspiration from another culture, or even use aspects of that culture directly, without appropriating. I usually call this "respectful use".

Likewise, if someone from another culture shares part of their culture with you, that is now appropriation. However, if you use it in a way that is disrespectful or they did not intend, then that is appropriation.

Why is it not appropriation to copy Western, Euro-American, or "white" culture? Because it was forced upon us. It was not simply shared, but we were told "this is the way you have to be." As the saying goes, "Kill the Indian, save the [white] man." Kind of became public domain after that...

Cultural IP doesn't have to be religious. And the fact that a significant number of people from a culture are hurt and insulted when other people steal something of theirs kind of implies it has "deep cultural significance."

Yes, some of us feel strongly about hair.

Hair is significant in many cultures. And when a huge part of the imperial colonization of your people involved shaming you for your native hair style and forcing you to adopt their own hair style, hair can be a huge way of reclaiming your cultural identity. And the majority culture turning around and stealing the very thing they once stole from you all over again? However innocent the intention, that's rubbing salt in open wounds.

I bear no ill will toward this girl, nor do I blame her. She has my sympathy for the out-of-line and over-the-top reactions she received.

None of that means cultural appropriation is okay. I wish her the best.

Thank you.

Fruitbat
01-31-2015, 02:49 AM
You can copy anything you want but many people from that traditionally oppressed culture won't like it.

People from the mainstream culture arguing that people from the oppressed culture actually should like it, that it has been copied before, that other unrelated cultures throughout time and space also had the copied thing, that oppressed cultures have also taken on things from the culture that oppressed them, that you know someone from that culture who doesn't care, etcetera, don't change that at all.

Neither does this specific incident or the ignorant comments some anonymous people made to the young girl involved, in the online news comments sections.

Learning that something offends and why is reason enough that I, personally, won't do it. But I don't guess I don't understand what there is to debate...

You can copy anything you want but many people from that traditionally oppressed culture won't like it. That's it. Right?

Or are people arguing that it's not offensive, although those from that culture have said it is and explained why?

kuwisdelu
01-31-2015, 02:59 AM
You can copy anything you want but many people from that traditionally oppressed culture won't like it. That's it. Right?

It's not simply that people from that culture won't like it.

It's that it's wrong. It is theft of intellectual property.

No less than uploading and file sharing a fellow writer's novel without their permission.

Fruitbat
01-31-2015, 03:04 AM
It's not simply that people from that culture won't like it.

It's that it's wrong. It is theft of intellectual property.

No less than uploading and file sharing a fellow writer's novel without their permission.

I understand what you're saying and as I said in my post (sorry I edit so much, it's a bad habit), I wouldn't do it, for that reason. However, unlike the novel example you posted, it's not illegal. So if people are going to say, "I heard what people from that culture said but I'm going to do it anyway," then I guess they can, whatever we think of it. I'm trying to clarify if that is what they're actually saying or if I'm missing something...

kuwisdelu
01-31-2015, 03:10 AM
However, unlike the novel example you posted, it's not illegal.

Sometimes it is. For example, it is illegal to sell "Native American jewelry" if it actually isn't.


So if people are going to say, "I heard what people from that culture said but I'm going to do it anyway," then I guess they can, whatever we think of it.

Well, sure. People can do lots of things and get away with it. Legal or not. Doesn't make it right.

M.N Thorne
01-31-2015, 09:30 AM
Usher,
I believe you must be of oppressed culture to understand what I was trying to tell you. I do not think that you understand what I am saying. That is okay:)




Of course "going native" or listening to world music is exotic. Anything that is not your own culture is "exotic".

I love Afrika Bambaataa because it creates exotic and exiting images in my mind. Wil-i-am is on my freebie five not because he's black but because he's kind of cute and he's stark raving bonkers - his music well leaves something to be desired but maybe I'm the wrong era. It's the same reason I studied archaeology -- the Picts are exotic, unique and interesting. And when I dip into other cultures I will never get it quite right. I had a friend with a Burkha so one day I borrowed one and went out with her - for me it was a blast there were issues but to quote from one of my favourite songs:

"Common People" by Pulp
"But still you'll never get it right
'cos when you're laid in bed at night watching roaches climb the wall
If you call your Dad he could stop it all."

Ultimately it isn't my culture but the best way to learn is to try it out -- it will never be quite right but it's closer to an understanding. To stop people trying out stops the best way of understanding. As an archaeologist in order to understand the past we'd try it out as close as we could.

People who are racist will be racist whether or not they appropriate. They don't care. People who are not racist are not racist whether or not they appropriate they just think "That's niice" (in the style of Agnes Brown to appropriate a bit of Irish culture)

aruna
01-31-2015, 09:39 AM
I don't see my culture as intellectual property. I just happen to be born into it; it's not "mine" or "ours". I'm happy for non-Guyanese to come to my country and integrate themselves as much as possible, doing the things we do, speaking the way we speak. I know several people who married foreigners who subsequently adapted completely, to become more Guyanese than the Guyanese!

Similarly, when I first went to India in 1973 I "became" Indian. I lived, moved and had my being as an Indian, and when a very highly respected Indian woman gave me a sari, I wore nothing but saris for rest of my year there. If not for my hair, which is very non-Indian, I could easily have "passed". Now, when I go to India, (next week! yay!) I shall wear a salwar kameez every day and adapt myself completely to the Hindu life of the ashram I shall be staying in. I'm so glad that Indians don't consider that I am stealing their heritage!!!
There are different perspectives to the issue. This is mine.

Neegh
01-31-2015, 09:44 AM
I hope you have fun.

kuwisdelu
01-31-2015, 10:02 AM
I don't see my culture as intellectual property. I just happen to be born into it; it's not "mine" or "ours". I'm happy for non-Guyanese to come to my country and integrate themselves as much as possible, doing the things we do, speaking the way we speak. I know several people who married foreigners who subsequently adapted completely, to become more Guyanese than the Guyanese!

Similarly, when I first went to India in 1973 I "became" Indian. I lived, moved and had my being as an Indian, and when a very highly respected Indian woman gave me a sari, I wore nothing but saris for rest of my year there. If not for my hair, which is very non-Indian, I could easily have "passed". Now, when I go to India, (next week! yay!) I shall wear a salwar kameez every day and adapt myself completely to the Hindu life of the ashram I shall be staying in. I'm so glad that Indians don't consider that I am stealing their heritage!!!
There are different perspectives to the issue. This is mine.

I feel like you (and others) are misunderstanding me.

I am fully supportive of sharing cultures. See my earlier post:


To anyone who wishes other cultures would "share" their culture:

I personally invite you to come to Shalako in Zuni.

It is the beginning of our end-of-the-year ceremonies, around winter solstice. It usually takes place on the first weekend in December. The Shalako are six tall bird-like kachina dancers who come into the village to dance all night long, accompanied by other kachinas like the Shulawitsi (little fire god) who lights the first fire of the new year, and the Sayatasha (long horn) who brings new seeds to plant in the spring. They dance from midnight until dawn in six new houses around the village.

I will personally be your guide, and show you around the village, and the dances, as long as you are respectful and obey our tribal laws and religious guidelines.

I will personally take you to the artist co-op to buy authentic Zuni jewelry and arts and crafts directly from the artists.

I have friends who I am sure would be happy to take you to a powwow and invite you to take part in a social dance.

In return, I only ask that you please do not dress up as an Indian for Halloween. Please do not wear Indian head dresses or "war bonnets". Please do not "play Indian". Please be respectful of our attempts to protect our culture.

I will be happy to share my culture with you. I only ask that you please respect it.

In a more polite and egalitarian society, I feel like I wouldn't have to think of culture as intellectual property.

But Western society is not polite. It takes and it takes and it takes, until you have nothing left, and so we have had to adapt to Western society's ways of doing things to protect what we have left.

For a while back in the 90s, we actually banned non-Indians from attending Shalako, because too many non-Indians were acting disrespectfully and treated it as entertainment or a tourist attraction rather than a serious religious ritual. We didn't want to do that, but we had to protect our culture. Outsiders are welcome again, and I see more non-Indians every year. I'm totally happy with that (except when they hog the good seats and views).

In the past, we have even initiated outsiders into our kivas, dancing societies, and priesthoods. (Although it is rare.) For example, Frank Hamilton Cushing, was initiated into the Bow Priesthood. One of my uncles even offered to initiate my white father into his kiva. (My father turned down the offer.)

This is sharing of culture.

It is very different from appropriation, which is done without permission, without respect, and without regard to the feelings of the people from that culture.

I love you aruna, and I would love for you to visit sometime and share my culture. I would have my mother gift you a shawl to wear to the dances.

I see that kind of sharing of culture as being miles away from, for example, appropriating ceremonial regalia as hipster fashion statements (http://nativeappropriations.com/2010/04/but-why-cant-i-wear-a-hipster-headdress.html), factually, historically, and culturally misrepresenting our stories as children's fairy tales (https://www.csun.edu/~bashforth/305_PDF/305_FinalProj/305FP_Race/NativeAmFolktales_Caution_Jan07_LA.pdf), or hijacking our very likeness as stereotyped sports mascots (http://nativeappropriations.com/2013/12/10-examples-of-indian-mascots-honoring-native-peoples.html).

Lillith1991
01-31-2015, 10:13 AM
I don't see my culture as intellectual property. I just happen to be born into it; it's not "mine" or "ours". I'm happy for non-Guyanese to come to my country and integrate themselves as much as possible, doing the things we do, speaking the way we speak. I know several people who married foreigners who subsequently adapted completely, to become more Guyanese than the Guyanese!

Similarly, when I first went to India in 1973 I "became" Indian. I lived, moved and had my being as an Indian, and when a very highly respected Indian woman gave me a sari, I wore nothing but saris for rest of my year there. If not for my hair, which is very non-Indian, I could easily have "passed". Now, when I go to India, (next week! yay!) I shall wear a salwar kameez every day and adapt myself completely to the Hindu life of the ashram I shall be staying in. I'm so glad that Indians don't consider that I am stealing their heritage!!!
There are different perspectives to the issue. This is mine.

I think that what you're describing is different from swiping something from another culture just because it's cool. Mainly because it takes great respect to adapt to another culture so fully and not some passing cool factor. It's like why I call my cousins grandmother Yiey and my own grandmothers were/are Nana. Yiey is Yiey because she is as good as my own grandmother in my eyes and that is Khmer for grandmother. It's like how I ate the same food, celebrated the same holidays, listened to the same music and watched the same shows as my Kurdish friend when I was in middle school. She was my friend and I respected her and her culture enough to immerse myself in it when at her house instead of demanding it change because I was there.

Putputt
01-31-2015, 11:11 AM
I feel like you (and others) are misunderstanding me.

I am fully supportive of sharing cultures. See my earlier post:



In a more polite and egalitarian society, I feel like I wouldn't have to think of culture as intellectual property.

But Western society is not polite. It takes and it takes and it takes, until you have nothing left, and so we have had to adapt to Western society's ways of doing things to protect what we have left.

For a while back in the 90s, we actually banned non-Indians from attending Shalako, because too many non-Indians were acting disrespectfully and treated it as entertainment or a tourist attraction rather than a serious religious ritual. We didn't want to do that, but we had to protect our culture. Outsiders are welcome again, and I see more non-Indians every year. I'm totally happy with that (except when they hog the good seats and views).

In the past, we have even initiated outsiders into our kivas, dancing societies, and priesthoods. (Although it is rare.) For example, Frank Hamilton Cushing, was initiated into the Bow Priesthood. One of my uncles even offered to initiate my white father into his kiva. (My father turned down the offer.)

This is sharing of culture.

It is very different from appropriation, which is done without permission, without respect, and without regard to the feelings of the people from that culture.

I love you aruna, and I would love for you to visit sometime and share my culture. I would have my mother gift you a shawl to wear to the dances.

I see that kind of sharing of culture as being miles away from, for example, appropriating ceremonial regalia as hipster fashion statements (http://nativeappropriations.com/2010/04/but-why-cant-i-wear-a-hipster-headdress.html), factually, historically, and culturally misrepresenting our stories as children's fairy tales (https://www.csun.edu/~bashforth/305_PDF/305_FinalProj/305FP_Race/NativeAmFolktales_Caution_Jan07_LA.pdf), or hijacking our very likeness as stereotyped sports mascots (http://nativeappropriations.com/2013/12/10-examples-of-indian-mascots-honoring-native-peoples.html).

Yea, I think there's a big difference in being invited to share in something vs just taking without care or respect or gratitude. When one of my best friends got married, she had a traditional Sikh wedding and got a sari for me to wear as her bridesmaid. During the ceremony, those of us who aren't familiar with the tradition made sure to remain respectful and not disrupt anything. Afterwards, the priest thanked us for not being rowdy or taking pictures and generally treating the ceremony with respect. I see that as different from donning a sari and Bindi for funsies and going, "don't I look exotic and cute with this on you guys?!"

aruna
01-31-2015, 11:33 AM
One day I'll take you up on that offer, Kuwi!!!! Don't forget!

LeighAnderson
01-31-2015, 01:58 PM
I live part of the year in FL and because of the heat and humidity, lots of people of every race get braids because it's just an easy way to keep your hair under control.

Lhowling
01-31-2015, 06:13 PM
Her braids are beautiful! And the blonde color highlights the detail.

And hair can definitely be a hot button issue for some people. I wish it wasn't. I wear my hair in a big afro most days. When I lived in Manhattan, I passed by the huge Virgin Store in Union Sq where a black guy was up on a milk crate selling some of the CDs he produced. As I passed by in a sea of people, not caring much about what he had to sell, he immediately pointed me out. "C'mon, Angela Davis, my proud sista, help another brotha out." I either ignored him or plainly said no, to which he responded. "You don't even deserve to be wearing that afro." WTF. Like that comment was gonna make me pick up his CD. And he couldn't have been a few years older than me. C'mon, bro, what do you know about Angela Davis? She was more than a hairstyle.

Another fun episode: I used to work at an interior design firm that catered to high end clientele, one of which was a famous interior designer and his manservant, whom carried around the designer's portable dog on a satin pillow (not even joking). When he first saw me, he put the dog down on his floor, approached and placed his head on my fro. "Like a pillow," he said. Talk about invasion of privacy!

Quite honestly, though, I take those moments and appreciate them. I'd rather the face to face awkwardness than thousands of strangers tweeting about my hair... that seems like a whole other level of weirdo. But, because we've legitimized what appears to be a virtual milk crate to stand on, its somehow newsworthy to talk about... I guess.

mirandashell
01-31-2015, 06:24 PM
Kuwi, can I please ask you a question?

You know there is this meme about how Native American mothers name their children after the first thing the mother sees after giving birth? Is there any actual truth in that?

The reason I ask is someone on another board told a very offensive joke based on that idea (offensive to women rather than your culture) and I pretty much ripped his head off. Part of his defence was that all but one of the names were taken from Dances with Wolves. 'Indians really do that!' was his statement. I was about to rip his other head off when I suddenly thought 'hang on..... I don't know if they do and it's been corrupted or if they don't do it at all.'
So I thought I would ask. Is there any tribe that does this?

kuwisdelu
01-31-2015, 06:36 PM
Kuwi, can I please ask you a question?

Please.


You know there is this meme about how Native American mothers name their children after the first thing the mother sees after giving birth? Is there any actual truth in that?

I've never of heard it.

Of course, there are hundreds of tribes with different customs, but it sounds very invented to me.


The reason I ask is someone on another board told a very offensive joke based on that idea (offensive to women rather than your culture) and I pretty much ripped his head off. Part of his defence was that all but one of the names were taken from Dances with Wolves. 'Indians really do that!' was his statement. I was about to rip his other head off when I suddenly thought 'hang on..... I don't know if they do and it's been corrupted or if they don't do it at all.'

Oy. Never trust Hollywood Indians. It's all invented.

Edit: Actually, never trust Hollywood full stop.

Commence head ripping.

mirandashell
01-31-2015, 08:40 PM
Thank you, I will.

Unimportant
02-01-2015, 12:00 AM
I've never of heard it.

Ack. Yes, I've heard it, many times, in an incredibly offensive "joke". (Which I will not repeat here, tho if Kuwi wants to hear it I will PM it to him.)

backslashbaby
02-01-2015, 12:28 AM
On the horrible joke:
Terry Pratchett used it in Reaper Man!!! I didn't know that :(
It was also in the movie Silkwood.

http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=2834

Most jokes about races and how they name their babies are complete trash.

mirandashell
02-01-2015, 12:43 AM
Ah no, to be fair to TP, the joke I'm talking about is way way way more offensive than the One Man Bucket joke.

But yeah, it's not often PTerry fails in understanding but he did there.

Viridian
02-01-2015, 01:54 AM
Another fun episode: I used to work at an interior design firm that catered to high end clientele, one of which was a famous interior designer and his manservant, whom carried around the designer's portable dog on a satin pillow (not even joking). When he first saw me, he put the dog down on his floor, approached and placed his head on my fro. "Like a pillow," he said. Talk about invasion of privacy!
Wow. There are no words for how uncomfortable this sounds. Hearing about it makes my skin crawl.

snafu1056
02-01-2015, 06:01 PM
Yeah, this is ridiculous. No one culture can claim ownership of something countless cultures have been doing since the dawn of time. If you see that hairstyle and think "black woman", all that shows is that you have an extremely limited sense of culture-- your own and everyone else's. Hair braiding is almost universal on planet earth. It's one of the basic things human beings do with their hair. It has been for thousands of years (yes, even in white European cultures). We're all "allowed" to braid our hair (men too!). It's just a human thing.

Lillith1991
02-01-2015, 06:19 PM
Yeah, this is ridiculous. No one culture can claim ownership of something countless cultures have been doing since the dawn of time. If you see that hairstyle and think "black woman", all that shows is that you have an extremely limited sense of culture-- your own and everyone else's. Hair braiding is almost universal on planet earth. It's one of the basic things human beings do with their hair. It has been for thousands of years (yes, even in white European cultures). We're all "allowed" to braid our hair (men too!). It's just a human thing.

Have you even bothered to read the entire thread before spouting something so hyperbolic? If not, then I feel the need to inform you, just because another culture in a different time and place does something doesn't mean that here and now in the US such braids aren't mainly a Black thing. Try another stratergy if you really want someone to change their mind, because your current one is extremely ineffective.

snafu1056
02-01-2015, 09:09 PM
Have you even bothered to read the entire thread before spouting something so hyperbolic? If not, then I feel the need to inform you, just because another culture in a different time and place does something doesn't mean that here and now in the US such braids aren't mainly a Black thing. Try another stratergy if you really want someone to change their mind, because your current one is extremely ineffective.

I'll give any culture all the leeway in the world to fight for things that truly are theirs. But in this case I'm just not buying the claim of ownership (and so I disagree that this little girl is appropriating anything). I don't accept braids as the cultural property of any one group. And I certainly don't see it as a "black" hairstyle because it's only one of many diverse hair styles black women (like any other kind of women) wear. I'm not arguing that black Americans dont have their own unique hairstyles that are their cultural inventions, I just don't buy this one as being one of them. No matter what the perception is.

Viridian
02-01-2015, 09:46 PM
@snafu: every culture has braids, sure. But inside the US, box braids are specifically a black thing, and denying that is pretty unusual.

Type "box braids" into google images. The first page of search results is, like, twenty black women and two pictures of the same white girl.

Lhowling
02-02-2015, 12:24 AM
Wow. There are no words for how uncomfortable this sounds. Hearing about it makes my skin crawl.

It always amazes me how people act or think. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't particularly traumatizing. I was just like, "Um... usually a dinner and movie precedes this type of intimacy." But he was gay so I guess that wasn't an option *shrugs*

And maybe because I don't use twitter; but honestly I'd rather that type of response than thousands of people tweeting over something that's so dumb and not worth the time of day. It's hair, people, not a statement.

Kaidonni
02-02-2015, 01:31 AM
I'll give any culture all the leeway in the world to fight for things that truly are theirs. But in this case I'm just not buying the claim of ownership (and so I disagree that this little girl is appropriating anything). I don't accept braids as the cultural property of any one group. And I certainly don't see it as a "black" hairstyle because it's only one of many diverse hair styles black women (like any other kind of women) wear. I'm not arguing that black Americans dont have their own unique hairstyles that are their cultural inventions, I just don't buy this one as being one of them. No matter what the perception is.

From what I've read - and certainly from ViridianChick's reponse - in the US this type of braiding is uniquely African American. Sure, there are people who braid their hair in other cultures in other parts of the world - and they may well be White - but not necessarily the same way African Americans do. There will be certain ways of doing things that are unique to a specific group of people, and it's the appropriation of that specific method/style that is the main issue here. The issue isn't about braiding hair itself, but the appropriation of a style unique to African Americans who have often been called out on wearing that hairstyle, for being different.

The way it usually goes is White people don't bat an eyelid at this girl or any other White person wearing that hairstyle - or various other hairstyles - but they don't afford the same tolerance towards African Americans or other PoC. That is why some things are off-limits unless the culture that created it - in this case, African American culture - says otherwise. This is well illustrated in Kuwisdelu's post:


To anyone who wishes other cultures would "share" their culture:

I personally invite you to come to Shalako in Zuni.

It is the beginning of our end-of-the-year ceremonies, around winter solstice. It usually takes place on the first weekend in December. The Shalako are six tall bird-like kachina dancers who come into the village to dance all night long, accompanied by other kachinas like the Shulawitsi (little fire god) who lights the first fire of the new year, and the Sayatasha (long horn) who brings new seeds to plant in the spring. They dance from midnight until dawn in six new houses around the village.

I will personally be your guide, and show you around the village, and the dances, as long as you are respectful and obey our tribal laws and religious guidelines.

I will personally take you to the artist co-op to buy authentic Zuni jewelry and arts and crafts directly from the artists.

I have friends who I am sure would be happy to take you to a powwow and invite you to take part in a social dance.

In return, I only ask that you please do not dress up as an Indian for Halloween. Please do not wear Indian head dresses or "war bonnets". Please do not "play Indian". Please be respectful of our attempts to protect our culture.

I will be happy to share my culture with you. I only ask that you please respect it.

He has openly invited people to share in his culture, and after White people were banned from that for a time. Things change, but it depends upon the behaviour of outsiders. Why would anyone openly invite people who disrespect them into their own homes, their own lives? Especially people who expect respect for their own culture, but then commercialise and trivialise others?

There may be a time when White people can wear this type of braiding without it ever being an issue, but that time isn't here yet - first it has to not be an issue when an African American wears it. I'm a White person, but I will say it - if a PoC can't wear it or practice it without being discriminated against in some manner, a White person certainly has no right in doing it; it's double-standards, do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do.*

It'd be a completely different story if this girl had been from one of those Scandinavian countries with the metal bands and rich Viking heritage, and she'd styled her hair on their braids (or as an American if she was a big fan of those bands) - but those aren't the reasons behind her hair being braided.

*I'm not excusing the abuse this girl received - I haven't read the link, but based on past events that have been in the news, I can easily imagine the sheer idiocy and nastiness of people on Twitter and the internet in general. I agree she could have been taken to one side and educated about the issues in a polite and informative way; children do the silliest stuff, and don't always understand the consequences of their actions. Once they understand the issues at hand they'll probably feel right plonkers.

Roxxsmom
02-02-2015, 02:20 AM
No, it doesn't meant that, Ken. The Urban Dictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Mansplain)definition of "mansplaining" is


Whitesplaining is a similar thing but from a different perspective in a different conversation.

ETA: When I oldsplained to my kids that this sort of terminology was Just Bloody Impertinence! they youngsplained it all to me... ;)

And mansplaining these days often comes in the form of "explaining" how many of the negative experiences women (same for other underrepresented groups) have in society--rape not being taken seriously by police, courts or universities; lower wages; less representation in government or managerial positions; female authors' books being reviewed less often; being talked about less frequently by bloggers, the leaky pipeline in STEM professions; sexual harassment or what have you--all of these things either are just paranoid delusions, or really women's own faults, or simply just an inevitable consequence of biology or human nature that really isn't a problem (sucks to be you, ladies, but it's a man's world).

Sometimes it's well meant--there are a huge number of men (and women) who really want sexism and racism to be things of the past, so they'll tend to notice the things that are better than they once were, or to search for other explanations that are less sinister that arguably give women or PoC more control than they always have (if you really wanted to be engineers and scientists, you wouldn't leave the profession). People aren't categorically jerks just because of their race or gender.

But we tend to see things differently when they don't affect us directly, or if we personally haven't run into a particular roadblock.

Hence the hair thing. To me, a white person who grew up in a very white-dominated, affluent community, it never even occurred to me that what seems to me to be a common hairstyle could be a point of cultural identity. But that doesn't mean I'm incapable of learning why it might be for some people, or that I should "whitesplain" to someone why it shouldn't be.

backslashbaby
02-02-2015, 08:40 AM
Halftime for the Superbowl had something funny/ironic (or clueless) in my Twitter feed regarding cultural appropriation:

-- Various comments about Katy Perry focused on her bad outfit (agreed here!) and the cool lion (yeah :) ).

-- Missy comes on and it's all excitement (agreed here!)

-- White SJW (whom I do usually like, btw!) tweets about how this must be the cultural appropriation portion of the show.

What? No! It's MISSY. Wtf?

Did she mean why was Katy still standing there? I don't think anybody cared, because she was way upstaged at that part if that's the only 'problem'.

Please don't tell me she just doesn't recognize Missy Elliott while calling out rap cultural appropriation :ROFL:

How is rap at the Superbowl cultural appropriation, though? I don't think I get it unless she really didn't recognize her.

kuwisdelu
02-02-2015, 09:01 AM
One of my friends commented on her tiger-skin outfit in the commercials, but I don't know what could've been the issue with the halftime show itself.

Though when Missy came out and Katy Perry was trying to keep up, I did shake my head and think "just stop, Katy, you're embarrassing yourself". :tongue

The rest was great. Gotta love Lenny Kravitz. :heart:

Ken
02-02-2015, 05:03 PM
And mansplaining these days often comes in the form of "explaining" how many of the negative experiences women (same for other underrepresented groups) have in society--rape not being taken seriously by police, courts or universities; lower wages; less representation in government or managerial positions; female authors' books being reviewed less often; being talked about less frequently by bloggers, the leaky pipeline in STEM professions; sexual harassment or what have you--all of these things either are just paranoid delusions, or really women's own faults, or simply just an inevitable consequence of biology or human nature that really isn't a problem (sucks to be you, ladies, but it's a man's world).

Sometimes it's well meant--there are a huge number of men (and women) who really want sexism and racism to be things of the past, so they'll tend to notice the things that are better than they once were, or to search for other explanations that are less sinister that arguably give women or PoC more control than they always have (if you really wanted to be engineers and scientists, you wouldn't leave the profession). People aren't categorically jerks just because of their race or gender.

But we tend to see things differently when they don't affect us directly, or if we personally haven't run into a particular roadblock.

Hence the hair thing. To me, a white person who grew up in a very white-dominated, affluent community, it never even occurred to me that what seems to me to be a common hairstyle could be a point of cultural identity. But that doesn't mean I'm incapable of learning why it might be for some people, or that I should "whitesplain" to someone why it shouldn't be.

... though we disagree, to an extent, I admire your advocacy :-)

Lillith1991
02-02-2015, 11:51 PM
... though we disagree, to an extent, I admire your advocacy :-)

At risk of sounding overly grumpy. Ken, this isn't about whether you disagree or not and even with the smile your post came across as patronizing to me. Women and POC do tend to experience people who can't and haven't lived their lives explain the things that bother them away, because it isn't fathomable to the other person how truly different their experiences are, that something as simple as gender or skin can impact a person so profoundly. Fact of the matter is that it most certainly can and most often does than not. Words like whitesplain and mansplain serve a purpose, and some of it does lead to the majority group being dismissed if they continue to press their point without listening. Is that so bad though, to be a woman or POC and use a word that clearly states you're tired of people thinking they've the right to tell you about something they honestly have no right trying to "educate" you about? I don't think it is. In a conversation like this, the opions of women or POC matter more because they're who actually deal the issue in question.

Even someone of the group having a descenting opion matters more, contrary what some may think. Why? Because they are coming at it from the perspective of an insider.

kuwisdelu
02-03-2015, 12:19 AM
To give an example:

1. Woman describes her experience of childbirth.
2. Man explains that childbirth shouldn't feel that way.
3. ???

Brutal Mustang
02-03-2015, 12:37 AM
Words like whitesplain and mansplain serve a purpose, and some of it does lead to the majority group being dismissed if they continue to press their point without listening.

I think, to a degree, white women and men of color have a duel perspective. They've both faced discrimination. And they've both been told they're whitesplaining/mansplaining. Quite frankly, experiencing both these things suck.

Oftentimes people accused of 'splaining' ARE listening, but not necessarily agreeing due to their individual life perspective. For instance, most of the people of color in my life have been richer than me, better-looking than me, and way more popular than me; that is my personal life perspective. When I'm involved in discussions such as these, I inadvertently carry this perspective with me. I suppose the same is true for some men, who feel they are surrounded by women who are far more successful than them. To such men, the concept of gender discrimination is a difficult thing to grasp ... they've heard women out in the world have a tough time, but haven't witnessed it first hand.

As such, despite being a raging feminist, I try to be understanding. I'd never tell a man that he's mansplaining. I'd much rather just tell him my personal experiences with sexism. Doing so can actually change his perspective a little. Suddenly he knows a woman who 'this' and 'that' happened to. Then, next time he's in a discussion about gender discrimination, he'll be carrying my experiences with him.

BTW, I love your avatar, Lillith! Been a long time since I've seen that show.

Lillith1991
02-03-2015, 01:02 AM
I think, to a degree, white women and men of color have a duel perspective. They've both faced discrimination. And they've both been told they're whitesplaining/mansplaining. Quite frankly, experiencing both these things suck.

Oftentimes people accused of 'splaining' ARE listening, but not necessarily agreeing due to their individual life perspective. For instance, most of the people of color in my life have been richer than me, better-looking than me, and way more popular than me; that is my personal life perspective. When I'm involved in discussions such as these, I inadvertently carry this perspective with me. I suppose the same is true for some men, who feel they are surrounded by women who are far more successful than them. To such men, the concept of gender discrimination is a difficult thing to grasp ... they've heard women out in the world have a tough time, but haven't witnessed it first hand.

As such, despite being a raging feminist, I try to be understanding. I'd never tell a man that he's mansplaining. I'd much rather just tell him my personal experiences with sexism. Doing so can actually change his perspective a little. Suddenly he knows a woman who 'this' and 'that' happened to. Then, next time he's in a discussion about gender discrimination, he'll be carrying my experiences with him.

BTW, I love your avatar, Lillith! Been a long time since I've seen that show.

I don't agree. When someone continues to say "but....insert something about how gay men face a similar issue or how another group has a similar style" no matter how harshly or gently someone from said group explains something to them, they can't in my eyes be said to be listening. In conversations such as these, the "but..." type answer tends to signal that someone is in fact not listening. The "but..." isn't actually relevant to the discussion, only the perception of the time and place is. And most of the people in this thread who disagree with what me, Kitty, and Kuwi have said used "but..." Not I don't get it like Roxx did and listening until she started to get it, but continual mentions of how much the person didn't get it and so we had to be wrong.

Maybe this is one way you're better than me, but I don't have the patience for continually explaining something to someone who is just going to come up with another excuse not to understand me in my experiences. There's too much else I want to do instead.


On a happier note! I absolutely love Enterprise. Favorite fandom pairing is Hoshi/T'Pol, but I won't knock Trip/T'Pol when done right. Nor will I knock any slash pairing if done well or just a gen/assamble type story either. Read a good story with a G rating about one of Pholx's daughters, and it was extremely enjoyable.

Brutal Mustang
02-03-2015, 01:17 AM
On a happier note! I absolutely love Enterprise. Favorite fandom pairing is Hoshi/T'Pol, but I won't knock Trip/T'Pol when done right. Nor will I knock any slash pairing if done well or just a gen/assamble type story either. Read a good story with a G rating about one of Pholx's daughters, and it was extremely enjoyable.

This is on Netflix, isn't it? Maybe I'll start re-watching it. I miss T'pol. And Hoshi. And Trip. And Archer.

Lillith1991
02-03-2015, 01:29 AM
This is on Netflix, isn't it? Maybe I'll start re-watching it. I miss T'pol. And Hoshi. And Trip. And Archer.

Yes. Be warned, the two part first episode "Broken Bow" is one continual episode on netflix.

mccardey
02-03-2015, 01:30 AM
As such, despite being a raging feminist, I try to be understanding. I'd never tell a man that he's mansplaining.

I would :evil (But it wouldn't help).


I'd much rather just tell him my personal experiences with sexism. Doing so can actually change his perspective a little. Suddenly he knows a woman who 'this' and 'that' happened to. Then, next time he's in a discussion about gender discrimination, he'll be carrying my experiences with him.


I would do that, too.

The problem with 'splainers though, is that the conversation doesn't usually allow that second interaction. A 'splainer is too busy Telling You Why You Don't Get It.

Kuwi talks about women being told how their childbirth experience felt or should feel. I've had that happen. I've had a man tell me that labour doesn't hurt as much as women think it does, and use that premise to "prove" that I was wrong in suggesting ways to cope with contractions. He walked away convinced that he was correct, that the room had agreed with him, and that i had once again proved that women just don't understand childbirth because they're not good with science.

Classic mansplaining, that.

ETA: Only we didn't have a word for it in those days, and so I found it very very hard to accept my feelings that he'd been wrong even though he'd been so knowledgeable and patient with me, and I'd felt so immature and frustrated beside him. Which is why I'm so pro the 'splaining word. If it is another little balance redresser when trying to talk to Privilege, it's a useful thing :) I don't have to use it at him - but I can alert myself to what's going on, and deal with it on my terms instead of on his.

Ken
02-03-2015, 02:21 AM
At risk of sounding overly grumpy. Ken, this isn't about whether you disagree or not and even with the smile your post came across as patronizing to me. Women and POC do tend to experience people who can't and haven't lived their lives explain the things that bother them away, because it isn't fathomable to the other person how truly different their experiences are, that something as simple as gender or skin can impact a person so profoundly. Fact of the matter is that it most certainly can and most often does than not. Words like whitesplain and mansplain serve a purpose, and some of it does lead to the majority group being dismissed if they continue to press their point without listening. Is that so bad though, to be a woman or POC and use a word that clearly states you're tired of people thinking they've the right to tell you about something they honestly have no right trying to "educate" you about? I don't think it is. In a conversation like this, the opions of women or POC matter more because they're who actually deal the issue in question.

Even someone of the group having a descenting opion matters more, contrary what some may think. Why? Because they are coming at it from the perspective of an insider.

Not sure what to say, other than I sincerely meant that I admire you all for supporting and championing equal rights and fair treatment. That's cool. Plain and simple. We disagree about some words like those above, but that doesn't stop me from admiring the care and concern inspiring them if that makes sense.

Kaidonni
02-03-2015, 02:25 AM
I'm a White person, but I will say it - if a PoC can't wear it or practice it without being discriminated against in some manner, a White person certainly has no right in doing it; it's double-standards, do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do.

You know, looking back on this, I don't know if it came out sounding completely different to what I meant (I blame my abuse of the semi-colon). I hope it didn't come out wrong...

In case it did, though, I actually meant that when a White person is allowed to do anything a PoC is discriminated against for doing, it's double standards at the bare minimum. Or perhaps even worse at the bare minimum - I'll let a PoC decide that one.

I do hope I didn't offend anyone in my earlier post, I was trying to get my understanding of the situation across to Snafu.

Lillith1991
02-03-2015, 02:44 AM
You know, looking back on this, I don't know if it came out sounding completely different to what I meant (I blame my abuse of the semi-colon). I hope it didn't come out wrong...

In case it did, though, I actually meant that when a White person is allowed to do anything a PoC is discriminated against for doing, it's double standards at the bare minimum. Or perhaps even worse at the bare minimum - I'll let a PoC decide that one.

I do hope I didn't offend anyone in my earlier post, I was trying to get my understanding of the situation across to Snafu.

I don't think you offended anyone. Not me at least. I appreciate the genuine effort you, Roxx, and others are making to understand the views of those for whom this is an issue. More people should make such efforts in this type of conversation.

Marian Perera
02-03-2015, 03:12 AM
I've had a man tell me that labour doesn't hurt as much as women think it does, and use that premise to "prove" that I was wrong in suggesting ways to cope with contractions.

On a discussion board way back when, a man once told me that physically speaking, being raped was like being punched in the face. Either way, there's soft tissue damage and you just have to heal from it in time, that's all. Unfortunately our culture made it seem like rape was such a terrible thing all laden down with emotional baggage. No wonder women reacted so much worse to it than they did to the face-punch.

I wish I'd known the word "mansplaining" back then. Though IIRC I came up with some other choice words in response.

Brutal Mustang
02-03-2015, 04:22 AM
Yes. Be warned, the two part first episode "Broken Bow" is one continual episode on netflix.

I don't think I ever saw much of the last season. I think at the time, I was at Kent State working on the set of Steel Magnolias and Big River.



The problem with 'splainers though, is that the conversation doesn't usually allow that second interaction. A 'splainer is too busy Telling You Why You Don't Get It.

On one hand, I get this. It's like when I tell people I'm so broke, I hardly have friends because maintaining friendships require money, and they say, "Impossible! Friends should stay true no matter what."

Or hell, when last week, my wealthy neighbor was 'richsplaining' to me why I need to be more responsible, and pay my HOA dues on time. And she refused to listen to my POV. She lives off her husband's money, while I work 16 hours a day and still can't make ends meet. :rant:

But I'm reluctant to throw that at people unless they truly deserve it. For example, I've explained many aspects of my life to another neighbor, and she's become a lot more understanding as a result. If I'd just told her, "Your 'richsplaining', and not explained my life to her, we would stand on different ground right now. But because I showed instead of telled, she has even stood up to the other neighbor for me.

mccardey
02-03-2015, 04:37 AM
If I'd just told her, "Your 'richsplaining', and not explained my life to her, we would stand on different ground right now. But because I showed instead of telled, she has even stood up to the other neighbor for me.

Yes, you don't have to throw the word at the person doing it - yanno, unless it makes you feel better... ;) But I think it helps as a way to name it to yourself, or to other people.

Brutal Mustang
02-03-2015, 04:41 AM
But I think it helps as a way to name it to yourself, or to other people.

I see.

Ken
02-03-2015, 04:51 AM
Or hell, when last week, my wealthy neighbor was 'richsplaining' to me why I need to be more responsible, and pay my HOA dues on time. And she refused to listen to my POV. She lives off her husband's money, while I work 16 hours a day and still can't make ends meet. :rant:

... maybe jerksplaining would be a better fit ;-)

Brutal Mustang
02-03-2015, 06:32 AM
... maybe jerksplaining would be a better fit ;-)

Don't get me started on this lady, Ken! The only reason she got elected as HOA president is because she's the only one in my remote 'colony' willing to do the job.

Channy
02-03-2015, 08:52 AM
-- White SJW (whom I do usually like, btw!) tweets about how this must be the cultural appropriation portion of the show.

What? No! It's MISSY. Wtf?

Did she mean why was Katy still standing there? I don't think anybody cared, because she was way upstaged at that part if that's the only 'problem'.

Please don't tell me she just doesn't recognize Missy Elliott while calling out rap cultural appropriation :ROFL:

How is rap at the Superbowl cultural appropriation, though? I don't think I get it unless she really didn't recognize her.

I don't think that they really recognized her... I mean, I had to do a double take because A.) It's 2015, is Missy Elliot still relevant? :P And B.) She lost a lot of weight, and didn't look too much like herself.

Ken
02-03-2015, 04:32 PM
Don't get me started on this lady, Ken! The only reason she got elected as HOA president is because she's the only one in my remote 'colony' willing to do the job.

"Remote." Unpopulated. :-)
Cool, petty tyrant aside.

backslashbaby
02-03-2015, 09:04 PM
I don't think that they really recognized her... I mean, I had to do a double take because A.) It's 2015, is Missy Elliot still relevant? :P And B.) She lost a lot of weight, and didn't look too much like herself.

It's Missy! She's always relevant! :D Actually her sales increased by like 800% or something after her performance, so those who didn't recognize her sure liked her.

There was no follow-up or anything on that Tweet, but I take it the girl is probably still cringing if she thought Missy Misdemeanor Elliott was part of appropriating rap :ROFL:Eta: She is young, btw.


Shout out to Lenny Kravitz, too, yeah Kuwi. I always love him. I even thought I Kissed a Girl was his song for a brief moment there with him playing it, lol!

mccardey
02-05-2015, 11:30 AM
Here's a Thing: "mansplaining" was just announced as Macquarie Dictionary's Word of the Year. (http://junkee.com/mansplain-was-just-announced-as-macquarie-dictionarys-word-of-the-year/50481)

kuwisdelu
02-05-2015, 11:45 AM
Eta: She is young, btw.

To be fair, I wouldn't have even recognized Katy Perry if her name hadn't been all over the ads. :tongue

/old at 25

backslashbaby
02-05-2015, 10:10 PM
:D I think it took me till 30 to get out of touch with the whole current music scene, lol. Now I'm pretty hopeless and random with it! But hey, whatever works for ya ;)

kuwisdelu
02-05-2015, 10:33 PM
:D I think it took me till 30 to get out of touch with the whole current music scene, lol. Now I'm pretty hopeless and random with it! But hey, whatever works for ya ;)

Oh, I'm still in touch with the music scene. Just not the popular music scene. :tongue

mirandashell
02-05-2015, 11:49 PM
Here's a Thing: "mansplaining" was just announced as Macquarie Dictionary's Word of the Year. (http://junkee.com/mansplain-was-just-announced-as-macquarie-dictionarys-word-of-the-year/50481)

It is a very clever word.

Kaidonni
02-06-2015, 12:20 AM
:D I think it took me till 30 to get out of touch with the whole current music scene, lol. Now I'm pretty hopeless and random with it! But hey, whatever works for ya ;)


Oh, I'm still in touch with the music scene. Just not the popular music scene. :tongue

If it isn't by John Powell or Joe Hisaishi, chances are I won't like it. Or I'll like it, but just won't bother going out of my way to get it and listen to it again and again. :D