Its Called Cultural Appropriation, FOOL!!

Its Called Cultural Appropriation, FOOL!!

Cultural appropriation From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: “Cultural appropriation is the adoption of some specific elements of one culture by a different cultural group. It denotes acculturation, but often connotes a negative view towards acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture.[1][2] It can include the introduction of forms of dress or personal adornment, music and art, religion, language, or social behavior. These elements, once removed from their indigenous cultural contexts, may take on meanings that are significantly divergent from, or merely less nuanced than, those they originally held. Or, they may be stripped of meaning altogether.”

In the dreads/cultural appropriation post recently, several of the white commentators, sought to muddy the water and confuse the issue by removing the context: “…connotes a negative view towards acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture. To deemphasize the fact that we live in a white supremacist/racist culture, these apologists for cultural rape seek to make an A/B comparison between whites wearing dreads and, say, black Americans wearing clothes from the Gap. I submit that, one is cultural appropriation; the other is borrowing from the available tools in the toolbox. One person is a member of the dominant group that controls every aspect of the society; the other is a member of an oppressed group that controls nothing.

Another tactic that they use is to identify the “origin” of a practice to indicate that it has been appropriated/borrowed “by many others” for centuries before white folks got around to pilfering it. So dreads being worn in Asia or Ireland long predates the Rastafarian movement (the fact that most dread wearing whites have only seen ‘locks in “The Harder They Come” or Bob Marley videos notwithstanding).

Here’s where the fun begins. The cunning white chess playa shovels out a coupla… “Red herrings, introducing irrelevant material to the issue being discussed, so that everyone’s attention is diverted away from the points made, towards a different conclusion.” OR “Straw men where they misrepresent someone else’s position so that it can be attacked more easily, knock down that misrepresented position, then conclude that the original position has been demolished. It’s a fallacy because it fails to deal with the actual arguments that have been made.”

Examples include: “Personally, I don’t think encouraging White people to stay in their White bubble and only partake in “white” hairstyles is going to solve racism.” OR “Where do we draw the line….white people should not eat okra soup, white people should not learn aboriginal languages, white people should not wear baggy pants (as a previous poster said). And while we’re at it, “blacks should not play golf,” “nobody but American Indians should play lacrosse,” “only Americans can play basketball.” These are classic examples of using logical fallacies to torpedo serious conversations about racism/white supremacy. Rather than listening, listening some more and listening HARDER still until you actually comprehend what’s being said; the white person assigns themselves the “expert” position. The fact that R/WS might fatally compromise their ability to analyze their privilege and blind them to their complicity and perpetrator status in CA is not considered.

“I eat granola, pump Jimmy Cliff and am on my 15th pair of Birkenstocks. My veggie turds stinketh NOT!”

The conversation that the “enlightened” comments were made on was not about SOLVING racism through white folks “only partaking in white hairstyles.” Here’s what the conversation was REALLY about: “The traditions of people of color/non-white people (that) are still under attack across the planet. Appropriating our traditions and ways of dressing/presenting is a further attack on our communities. AND “Appropriating other cultures means you neglect looking at your own ethnic roots and traditions.” {How many niggas have heard a white person say (whiny, nasal voice), “gee, fella, we don’t have any culture”? Probably because your sunburnt nose is strapped to the grindstone stealing other people’s cultures. Where would white folk find the time to even begin looking at their own culture?}

AND that conversation was also about: “The struggle against racism is more than just not saying racist comments or knowing that the United States was built by slave labor. It is also a struggle to recognize and understand the ways racism/white supremacy are woven into every aspect of life. One of the ways racism plays out which is often ignored or not seen by white people is through appropriation, “the act of taking or making use of without authority or right.” Appropriation ignores the lives and struggles of oppressed communities, and instead takes what is seen as interesting, useful or beautiful, disregarding our cultures and lives. In the US and other countries, appropriation is part of long histories of racism and genocide. Colonial governments and peoples appropriated the homelands of First Nations/Native people. Europeans appropriated the bodies and labor of African peoples during slavery.”

But these white folks don’t want to deal with HOW “racism/white supremacy is woven into every aspect of life.” They want to know if they’ll have to stop eating okra soup. ‘Where is the line,’ they cry, the line between what niggas’ll surrender by intimidation or coercion and what white folks’ll have to send the military in for later. “Appropriation ignores the lives and struggles of oppressed communities” and when discussing it, cultural appropriators ignore anything that interferes with their “having” everything. Actually seeing how CA operates? Hah. Boil it down to okra and basketball; absurdify the proceedings and maintain a death grip on your ‘White Card; don’t leave home without it!’

“Among progressive/radical white people, the problem of appropriation continues to damage communities of color. Mohawks and dreadlocks worn by non-Native/non-African people is one form of appropriation that often goes unnoticed and unchallenged and is often misunderstood. Healing the legacy and current reality of racism and colonization means looking closely at the ways we perpetuate these forms of violence. It means, in part, letting go of cultural symbols that are appropriated from people of color/non-white people and instead looking deeply at the complex issues that surround race and racism.

But these people who act as if culture appropriation is their birthright (which it has been) aren’t really interested in OUR healing. They aren’t concerned about the damage and violence done us by cultural appropriation. They pretend not to recognize that dreads and Mohawks are but “one form” of cultural thievery. These Left-Right white folks aren’t interested in ending racism/white supremacy – if it means having to give up okra, or white privilege. Nope, as long as its painless, costless and seamless, these white folks are all for social change. If they were actually interested in our liberation, they’d be riveted on understanding the affect of racism/white supremacy on non-white people, instead of leaping, IMMEDIATELY, to what THEY will lose and how we are simplemindedly taking it away from them. This is pure selfish entitlement. Fuck your swing and your mojo: I ain’t your muthafuckin’ Bagger Vance!

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