This body of work is an exploration of the extent of cultural appropriation and encourages a discussion about it. I give the appropriator and the appropriated the opportunity to defend themselves and create a dialogue between them, while maintaining a neutral stance myself. I am not attacking those who appropriate, merely educating and creating awareness. I’m also exploring appropriation myself, and discovering the carying degrees of it within this visual conversation.
I’d like to make this a long term exploration, with a lot more participants as a form of generation-wide debate. If you’d like to be photographed to add your point of view, please do not hesitate to pop me a message here or an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we could work something out!
eating a polish food at a polish restaurant ran by a polish owners = cultural exchange.
wearing ceremonial japanese robes for a fashion shoot and calling it an asian dress = cultural appropriation.
buying a handmade dreamcatcher from an ojibwe artisan to support indigenous artists = cultural exchange
buying a fake mass-produced ‘dreamcatcher’ and ‘dreamcatcher jewelry’ from urban outfitters = cultural appropriation
accepting and wearing a sari as a gift from a close desi friend = cultural exchange
wearing saris, kameez and bindis to ‘appreciate’ our culture = cultural appropriation
basically, it isn’t hard to tell the difference. at all. if you think it is, you’ve got some learning to do.
I find it slightly ethnocentric that whenever Japanese appropriate some aspect of Euro-American body aesthetics, foreigners assume that it reflects their burning desire to become something other than Japanese, but when Americans, for instance, borrow things like nose piercing or dreadlocks from other cultures, it is seen as evidence of their creativeness and tolerance.
Beauty Up: Exploring Contemporary Japanese Body Aesthetics (via homoarigato)
It strikes me as waaaay more than slightly ethnocentric… think about what idiots would say to a Japanese person who had dreads; that they “shouldn’t try to be something they are not,” when, in fact, that person is not obligated to be anybody’s stereotyped image of what a Japanese person should look like. Folks who say that and are then okay with white people adopting the same practices are outright saying that it’s okay, we white people are the default, so when we try something it’s just for fun, but POC are not allowed to break out of our little box of who we imagine you to be; we equate who you are with the little specialized cultural boxes we put you in. You can’t do anything except what we (moronically) expect, because we get confused and that’s ultimately what matters.
And the hippies are jingling, jangling, blowing smoke all over Haight Ashbury, and they were letting their hair grow long. To the male Indian, this was a phenomenon, because for an Indian to grow his hair long was a violation of federal policy of 1906. According to the 1906 policy, food was withheld until compliance—in other words (by terms of this policy), we could be starved to death until we cut our hair.
Adam Fortunate Eagle (Red Lake Chippewa)
‘Cause there are some people who need reminding of the huge disparity between the disenfranchised natives and the hippies who continue to appropriate native cultures without a care.
Hippies (or hipsters) nowadays aren’t even creating any social change by doing this. It’s just gross cultural appropriation.
Wow…. the above posts make me fucking ashamed to be any color in this country. When white people try to show support, they are told they have no opinion because they are white. Yet the black and other minorities are here telling US we don’t belong with them, we can’t stand with them, our support and opinions are meaningless…. yet you blame us for separating ourselves from you. When will EVERYONE realize that the only way to conquer racism, fear, and stereotyping is to stand together and not separate ourselves into colors and groups.
We are all Trayvon Martin, we are all discriminated against for what we are somewhere. I am a white woman. While being white and wearing a hoodie may not get me stares… what about being a woman? There are still places in the world that a woman has no voice, some that can’t even walk down a street without a male escort, places where women and children are still sold into sexual slavery. My female ancestors fought for the right to vote, the right to be heard, the right to have a voice, fair pay, and to be recognized as an equal person with the white males.
Don’t think for one moment that black men in hoodies are the only group that faces discrimination in this country. We all do, for one reason or another, in all parts of the world.
I believe in order to honor this boy, his family, and human beings as a whole, we should stop drawing a line in the sand and deciding who gets to stand on which side and support which cause based on the color of their skin!
I am WHITE.
I am a FEMALE.
I AM TRAYVON MARTIN.
you’re a stupid white cunt is what you are
have a lovely day, you racist fuck
Wait, are you saying white people can’t take a stand against racism?
We sure can’t take a stand against racism by indulging in it. We can’t take a stand against racism if we’re not aware enough of where we’re standing and where racism is in relation to us. I mean, to invoke a visual metaphor, imagine you’re out there holding a sign that says “DOWN WITH RACISM!” but you’re standing there with your back to the actual problem and you’re chanting your slogans at the other people who are protesting it… kind of counter to the purpose, isn’t it?
When the poster above says that Black men in hoodies aren’t the only group that faces discrimination and asserts that as a white woman her problems put her on the same level as Trayvon Martin, tha’s not a stand against racism. It’s a statement that anti-Black racism is no worse than anything she faces and not worth being addressed in and of itself.
She’s protesting people who want to address anti-Black racism.
Why would you want to support that?
I can understand both perspectives. As a white person in this country I believe we should be aware of the fact that we are privileged and may not fully understand the struggles that others may face because they are not white. I feel like that goes for any minority, unless you are a part of that group you may not fully understand what it feels like to deal with the issues they have to deal with. I’m not saying any one group has it worse or that being a part of a minority group means that you understand what another group deals with or that any groups struggles invalidate another groups struggles.
But I think it’s wrong to alienate the people who are standing with you on an issue. I feel that calling her a “stupid white cunt” is a hypocritical attack that just breeds more racism within a group that is supposed to be against it. If you have an issue with what she is saying or feel that she is incorrect in some way then, using your own visual metaphor, why don’t you help her by turning her around so that she can face the problem with a new perspective?
Well, I’m saying that one group has it worse. I’m saying that Black men have it worse than white women. You want to put that to the test? Get one to point their finger at the other and scream an accusation, and then see which person dies.
Refusing to acknowledge the historical (in the sense that it’s demonstrable throughout history, not in the sense that it’s in the past and done with) power imbalance between two groups isn’t being reasonable or fair-minded. It’s leaving reason and fairness in the dust so that one group can (quite unfairly) feel good about ourselves.
Sure, you can say to me “Why don’t you calmly and politely take the time to turn her around.” And I could. It would cost me very little to make that effort, because I’m not affected negatively by her stance. She’s not chanting slogans in my face while demanding credit for standing up for me.
But if she’s aligned herself with anti-Blackness (even out of smug ignorance rather than any other motivation)… why should a person she’s aligned herself against take the time to recognize that she in particular is worth their patience, worth their limited time and emotional energy? It’s not like she’s the only one to take this stance and use this tactic, which means we run into the problem of trying to hold back the tide by politely entreating individual drops, and also… well, again. Time and emotional resources are limited. Why does she in particular merit more of them from folks she’s already taxing?
(And if your response to that is any variation of “because she’s human and we all deserve a chance”, you can kindly unfollow me and never say another word to me again. The question is why her, of all humans?)
Well, on what I believe is an unrelated note, I think your blog is pretty cool so I see no reason to unfollow just because we may not agree on an issue.
Like I said, I’m not trying to say any group has it worse than any other. Your opinion is valid in the context of those 2 groups in this country (black men vs. white women) and I never disagreed with that.
So you ask, why is this one person worth your time and effort?
Despite her ignorance, she does take a stance against discrimination. That’s the first step. But she doesn’t have all of the knowledge she needs. You could help her with that. This isn’t just for her. Once she learns what she was doing wrong she can correct others, who may correct others and so on. This is what happened to me with trans issues. As a cis person I used to be pretty ignorant, until I learned and cleared up a lot of misconceptions. Now I have the tools that help me correct other people who didn’t even realize they were being offensive or transphobic, who will hopefully also pass it on. This is just an example of how it would be better if she were corrected instead of attacked for her opinion. Yes it’s slow, but I’m on of those people that believe just changing one mind is worth it
I’m not saying you in particular have to teach her and all that. But you could point out what she was wrong about without stooping to insults and aggressiveness. That’s all. And really, this is just an opinion. My mind is always open to differing opinions.
Yeah… this is going to be a frustrating experience for me, so I’m blocking you now.
My reaction to this post:
“Oh my god those little boys are breaking my he—-wait what the fuck is this thread”
Your’s was more touching because upon seeing this photo my reaction was humming “One of these things is not like that other~ One of these things just doesn’t belong~~~”
The sole argument proponents have is that these mascots honor us by keeping our history alive. We cannot have such low standards for educating our youth. Right now, could any student name five tribes? Name the President that killed the most Native Americans in the largest mass hanging in this country’s history? Or name one boarding school? Native mascots don’t teach that history, so let’s stop using that argument.
You’re an asshole.
A bigot and an asshole.
You and your white hipster ass can fuck off.
What the hell is wrong with people? The word gypsy is racist, your comment was racist. You are racist.
WHY is it so hard for people to understand that:
- Gypsies are real people. The word applies to a group of ethnicities and it is pejorative and racist.
- If you use the word and are called out on it, don’t blame US the people who find the word offensive since, you know, it’s been used against us for hundreds of years.
- If you live in Europe the word is racist. If you live in the US the word is racist. The meaning has not and cannot change. White people don’t get to decide for us.
I am so tired of dealing with this every day.
Why is it SO FUCKING HARD for you white hipster kids to UNDERSTAND that it’s not your word, it’s not your right, and intentions don’t matter???
Really? Fuck you.
this is my hijab, I will never remove.
LMAO WTH IS THIS SHIZ.
1. I search the hijab tag to see my lovely sisters, in their hijabs. Not some ignorant pink haired brat with her bra strap hanging.
2. You need some proper dancing classes.
3. THAT AIN’T NO HIJAB HOME GIRL. Come here so I can wrap it up proper tight around you.
Damn, it’s two thousand flipping twelve, grow the hell out of ignorance ffs.
uhh…ok. is she mocking hijabis?! ruuuude and does she even blink. wtf
Congratulations, you just made yourself look like an idiot.
[TW: Talk of sexual assault, physical assault, violence and antiziganism.]
I’ve sat here, combating the ignorance individually. I’m done with that. I’m done trying to reach you on a one on one level. You continuously ignore anything from me, you ignore the people I talk to on here who are Roma. You say we’re “Being too sensitive,” that “Gypsy is just a word,” that it stands for “Being free spirited, moving from place to place,” and the best, “I’m APPRECIATING your culture.”
First, gypsy is a slur. No matter what you think, it has been a slur for centuries. It’s where the term “gypped” comes from. It was believed that the Roma would rip gadje (non-Roma) off for money. Roma who escaped the fate of death at the hands of the SS and their dogs, the ones who weren’t killed right away, were branded with a “Z”, which stood for Zigeuner, the German word for “Gypsy”. They were shipped to death camps, where barely any suvived.
It is a slur still used today. Roma are called “Gyppos” while being beaten, forced out of their settlements, forced to move. They are called this when they are assaulted and even raped. They are victims of forced sterilization, forcible eviction of settlements, harassment by both law enforcement and citizens, fingerprinting simply because they are Roma, they are often ecxluded from schools.
I want you to look at this:
This is from 2009. This is a Roma woman being assaulted WHILE CARRYING HER CHILD in Dublin! This is what the word “Gypsy” stands for.
This is Natalka Kudrikova. She is a little girl who was severely burned when antiziganists threw molotov cocktails into her family’s home:
This is also what the word “Gypsy” stands for. This happened in 2010. Systemic violence against a culture, an ethnicity, that just wants to be treated equally, to not have their way of life treated horribly. You can be sure, as these acts were going on, the word “GYPSY!” was being screamed in a way meant to incite fear and terror in those hearing it.
You dress up in flowy clothing, half-naked or naked except for a shawl. Do you have any idea how insulting that is? It contributes to the fetishization and sexualization of the Roma. Women are assaulted physically and sexually, because of this type of thing. They are raped, simply because they are believed to be “Easy” because of these “Positive stereotypes” you’re so quick to buy into.
It’s damaging to the culture when you treat it as a costume. Do you know the meaning behind the long skirts, or the “head scarves” that you’re so fond of donning? Do you know why the Roma wear these? It’s not for fucking fashion.
When you wear these things without a a care, you take away the meaning of these items. You take away the deep cultural roots the have. The skirt is worn because the lower half of the body is traditionally seen as “unclean” due to marime, or the code that’s followed. That “scarf” is known as a diklo, worn by women when they are married.
When you dress like this, you are spitting in the face of that culture, these people that are treated like they’re less than garbage TODAY. Not centuries ago, this is STILL HAPPENING.
So, before you tag that picture as “Gypsy” or say you want to “Lead a gypsy lifestyle,” look back on this post. Think about what that word means, and what you’re saying. Think about how fucking disrespectful it is. Think about the racism involved with that word. And realize that you are contributing to the ignorance that allows violence like these 2 out of countless incidents that occur. You are turning the Roma into a trope. This positive stereotype allows people to ignore the violence and hatred that Roma are still facing, because everyone thinks that being a “gypsy” is all about freedom, when really, they face oppression daily!
You’re not cool when you do this, you’re contributing to racism and violence.
This says everything I’ve said before, and more.
This says everything I just don’t have the energy to say anymore.
This says everything I …. You know when I first posted that picture of the Rroma woman being attacked in Dublin I received so much hate-mail, even death threats. But, that doesn’t change the fact that this is something Rroma (especially women) face.
I’m actually crying, again. Thank you for taking the time to write this post.
Please spread the word, everyone. This is important. Also, goddammit.
Lakota Indians Block ‘Keystone XL Pipeline’ Trucks in Six-Hour Standoff
“Five Lakotas on Pine Ridge Indian land in South Dakota were arrested Monday after attempting to block two tarsands pipeline trucks from entering their land. According to the Lakota activist the six-hour standoff started when the trucks refused to turn around claiming they had “corporate rights that supersede any other law.”
Corporate rights that supersede any other law.
FUCK everything and everyone. You strip us of EVERYTHING and give us tiny parcels of land AFTER we have to fight you to get you to recognize a treaty that YOU MADE WITH US, and after all that?
LOL, THAT DON’T COUNT WHEN WE WANT THE LAND! CORPORATIONS RULE!
GO AMERICA! MANIFEST DESTINY THAT SHIT.
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