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moof's prattling


November 11th, 2004

Kill Whitey! @ 01:11 am

Current Mood: pensive pensive

I've already blabbed about this on IRC, but....

I posted elsewhere about my Halloween costume, which I described as a sorta-Evil Geisha - and I promptly got flamed by Canuckistani teenagers for 'culturally appropriating' and being racist. A choice quote below:

this is not about censorship (in response to the thought police comment below), it is about power and racism. white people have a huge amount of power. it is not okay for us to go around stealing other people's customs, styles of dress, etcetera because we think they're cool. they do not belong to us and we have stolen so very very much already.
I'm still pretty incredulous about it all. It makes me wonder if, were I Hispanic, it would have been OK in their eyes.
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Date:November 11th, 2004 09:28 am (UTC)
woah. read the link.

what the crap? it doesn't even make any sense.

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Date:November 11th, 2004 10:57 am (UTC)


Sheesh. It is my belief that there are some words people toss around far too often. Harrassment... traumatised... racist... I had someone once tell me I was racist because I say the word 'gal' because it supposedly is a slave term.
Date:November 11th, 2004 12:59 pm (UTC)
read the link and disagreed with what the young man was saying to you. There's a *huge* difference between your costume, and say someone dressing up like someone from a Black Minstrial band for Halloween :p which is a racist stereotype of Black people.

It does begger the question of if you had been Hispanic or Native or African American, if his reaction would have been the same or not.

Racism is racism, and does not only arise from people who are caucasian.

And to the best of my knowledge I don't believe for a second you were culturally appropriating the culture of "sorta-Evil Geisha's" ;D if anything they'd welcome you to their unholy army of d00m! \m/\m/

/flippancy ;D

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Date:November 11th, 2004 01:17 pm (UTC)
My advice is to ignore these people. Though their hearts are in the right place, they are obviously young. Things seems some much more serious when you're young. There are so many worse things out there, why don't they go work on those things?
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Date:November 11th, 2004 02:10 pm (UTC)
I'm rather amused myself.

While I'm sure that they have the best of intentions, their implementation is terrible. If they're really interested in a level playing field, they should be promoting general understanding and respect for all cultures, rather than trying to adopt a "don't touch it if it's not from whitey" routine.

Define 'whitey'. Do they mean people of celtic stock? nordic stock? slavic stock? albinos? arayans? How
'white' do you have to be to be 'white'? Is 10% "brown or yellow" enough? 25%? Something based on the
albedo of the skin tone?

It's discrimination plain and simple to say "people who look like that aren't allowed to do this".

Take the phrase:

it is racist for a white person to dress up as a person of colour. period.

Well - almost. It's racist to say that a white person can't dress up as a "person of colour".

Eliminating racism (and prejudice) isn't about elevating different groups, or treating them differently. It's about treating everybody the same way, whatever they look like.

*sigh* I can hope that the world will shake this particular delusion out of those young'ns. I think the world's had quite enough 'noble savages', 'wronged people of colour' and 'inscrutable asiatics'. Pfeh.
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Date:November 11th, 2004 03:01 pm (UTC)
Amazingly well-put.

I once witnessed an incredible episode of doublethink, in which a South Asian woman (who, minutes before, had been swilling Guinness and affecting a bad Irish accent) yelled at me and the people who cooked with me for MAKING CURRY FOR DINNER the week before. Because even daring to make curry was an instance of cultural appropriation and insensitivity; apparently, preparing a delicious and time-consuming curry is racist to do for a special dinner, because calling curry 'special' entails exotifying the curry, hence the culture that the curry is originally a part of.
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Date:November 11th, 2004 03:14 pm (UTC)
I have a problem with the very term "appropriating" in this context. What makes people think they have exclusive ownership of their culture? That the notion of ownership is even applicable?

All cultures are blended and evolved from prior ones. Everyone has "appropriated" from each other. It's not racism. Get over it.
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Date:November 11th, 2004 03:20 pm (UTC)
jebus. silly little agry bois. so selfrighteous.

most people seemd to be pretty reasonable, thankfully.
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Date:November 11th, 2004 04:43 pm (UTC)
That comment made me so mad I just responded to the idiot in the other community. Sheesh, fucktards abound.

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Date:November 11th, 2004 09:17 pm (UTC)
I'd also note the irony of claiming racism in a community that's supposed to be about the blurring of other sorts of identities and eliminating false dichotomies...
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Date:November 11th, 2004 05:16 pm (UTC)
Not to be a crank, but I'll stop respectfully appropriating other cultures when little oversensitive punks stop lumping me in with "whitey". You can run around Renfaire in a blanket yelling "frreeeeeeeeeeeedom!!!!", or make a total drunken ass of yourself on St. Patrick's Day, but you can't wear a Chinese dress?

Bull. I think someone is a little oversensitive. I don't see anything wrong with the costume-- If you were running around yelling "two-dollar-sucky-sucky! me love you long time!", then while I won't go so far as to yell racism, it would be seriously insensitive and tactless, and you'd deserve a swift kick in the ass. But you weren't.. there's a big difference between acting out a cartoonish stereotype, and just playing dressup.

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Date:November 11th, 2004 05:21 pm (UTC)
cleary, it's because you said geisha's are SORTA EVIL
at least that's as far as i got trying to rationalize wtf that kid was talking about
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Date:November 11th, 2004 06:31 pm (UTC)
"It is not okay for us to go around stealing other people's customs, styles of dress, etcetera because we think they're cool. they do not belong to us and we have stolen so very very much already."

I think this is singularly the most riduculous stricture of the whole thread. Cultural exchange is a two-way street. Yes, the flow of information and money (read: power) often goes from the US/Western Europe outward more than it comes in, but it still comes in. Personally, anything seen as 'cool' enough to adopt - from chopsticks at dinner to saris for a special occasion - probably leads people to investigate and think about the role they play in their original culture.

Can cultural appropriation be disrespectful? Sure. Is it disrespectful by definition? Hell no.

Also, given that mass transportation and mass communication are only making the world a more accessible place, the person who holds tightly to this definition as a code of ethics is going to find him/herself in a sad place, because cultural exchanges are only going to increase, and the Chinese aren't likely to give up their buckets of chicken and Prada - and we're not going to give up dim sum or pretty qipao.

Heavy-handed ideas like this are why we end up with conservative stereotypes about political-correctness fanatics, and only feed into other stereotypes about blue-state intellectuals that cause us to go down in flames during presidential elections.

Also, I haven't gotten any RCs or Moonpies yet, but now I want Chinese food.
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Date:November 11th, 2004 06:54 pm (UTC)
i'll be your token hispanic and say no... maybe.

i'm just shocked he can't seem to differentiate between indifferent or honoring feelings towards a culture ("acting black") than disrespectful behavior (walking around in black face). it seems like he's holding a lot of white guilt and i thought i was still very pc. not after this. no way.

sometimes, i really feel that those who are quick to call racism on something are merely in the midset of a racist and assume everyone else is. kinda makes you wonder why they continuously see things in that manner. could they themselves be supporting and continuing those stereotypes they claim to be trying to breakdown?

all i know is that can spend 50 cents in a candy machine and get a "homies series 6" figure. that seems like a far more institutionalized rascist statement than overdone makeup on a guy in dress any day.
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Date:November 11th, 2004 08:03 pm (UTC)

You're clearly abusing the incredible power and control that genderqueers have in our society

Wow. It must be fun to be young and righteous, and recklessly swing the word "racist" around willy-nilly.

I also love the use of the term "steal."
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Date:November 11th, 2004 11:06 pm (UTC)
i replied. because i am a bad person.

and a racist!
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Date:November 12th, 2004 12:10 am (UTC)

moof's prattling