so you’re telling me there’s an alien who regenerates into a completely random form, that he cannot control or determine himself, and who understandably could take millions of different appearances, but who all 13 times just turned into a different skinny white guy
This is a resource post for all the Good White Person™s out there. You know, the ones who say things like “It’s not my fault I’m white! Don’t generalize white people!”, or “I’m appreciating your culture! You should be proud!”, or “Why do you hate all white people, look I’m a special snowflake who’s not racist give me an award for meeting the minimum requirements for being a decent human being”.
Well, if you are actually interested in understanding racism and how it ties into cultural appropriation, please read instead of endlessly badgering PoCs on tumblr with your cliched, unoriginal arguments and repeating the same questions over and over.
On White Privilege
aka don’t blame me just because I’m white:
- It’s Not My Fault I Was Born White: Basics of White Privilege x
- Racial Divide x
- Endless Examples of White Privilege x
- You Cannot Know What It’s Like To Be A Racial Minority x
- Intersectional Feminism x
- White Privilege Does Not Mean White People Have Perfect Lives x
- White Privilege and White Supremacy: A Presentation x
- You Will Never Experience Racism x
- Understanding White Privilege x
- White Privilege and Double Standards x
- Systematic White Ignorance x
- The Invisibility of White Privilege x
- The Luxury of White Privilege x
- White Privilege: The Harry Potter Analogy x
- Privilege Denial Bingo x
- Privilege and Cost x
- Check Your Privilege 101 x
- Whiteness x
- Whiteness is Not A Culture x
- White Privilege and Racism x
- Deeply Embarrassed White People Talk About Race x
- When White Anti Racists Talk About ~Their Struggle~ x
- White Privilege As A System x
On Reverse Racism
aka you are being racist against white people:
- Are White People Racially Oppressed x
- White People, the new Racial Minority x
- People Don’t Value Pale Skin!! x
- There Is No Such Thing As Reverse Racism x
- Racism vs. Not Racism x
- But White People Are Discriminated Against In Foreign Countries x
- The Myth of Reverse Racism: Why Cracker is Not N**** x
- Satire: A Step Wise Guide on Being Reverse Racist x
- Racism Against White People vs. Racism Against POCs x
On Cultural Appropriation
aka I’m just appreciating your culture:
- The Basics x
- Identifying Appropriation x
- But When We Wear It … x
- Why Can’t I Wear It (Hipster Headdresses) x
- Not Yours x
- If You Take The Bindi x
- White People Do It Better x
- Multiculturalism and Appropriation x
- Cultural Appropriation and Portrayals In Print Media x
- Diminishing the Cultural Significance of the Bindi x
- The Cultural Appropriation Bingo x
- Why We’re Fed Up of Your Responses x
- Identities Are Not Costumes x
- Hinduism And Appropriation x
- Religion and Privilege x
- Bindis Are Cool x
- Exotic India x
- What’s Wrong With Cultural Appropriation x
- Racism, Bindis and Ganesh Tattoos x
- BUT YOU’RE SPEAKING ENGLISH! x
- Cultural Appropriation Trolls x
- Guide to Being An Appropriating Douchefuck x
- New Age ~Culture Mixing~ x
- In case you’re tired of the prose, here’s poetry x
- Why You Shouldn’t Wear A Bindi x
- Appropriating and Sharing x
- Our Culture is A Punchline Until It’s a Trend x
- Homage Or Insult x
- Tattoos and Appropriation x
- Bollywood is Not Synonymous With Indian x
- College Party Costumes and Stereotypes x
- Dotheads x
- Bindis and Racist Humour x
- Hindu Iconography x
- Misuse of Hindu Iconography x
- Your Appreciation Doesn’t Help Us x
Assorted Vials of White Tears and Miscellaneous Antidotes
aka I can’t change that I’m white/not all whites are racist/we are all humans:
- Unoriginal Arguments Refuted x
- Quick Checklist: You Might Be Racist If x
- Your Opinion Isn’t Necessary x
- I’m Not Responsible For My Ancestors x
- The Kumbayah Myth x
- Proud to Be White x
- Good White Person x
- We Don’t Hate White People x
- Brutality of Colonialism And Why You Can’t Tell Us To Forget the Past x
- People Who Claim Not To See Race Are More Likely to Be Racist x
- All Races are Beautiful Said the White Girl x
- Race Blindness Is A Luxury x
- Well, You’re Racist For Calling Me Racist x
- I’ve Read About Its Significance, I Know What It Means
- Angry Because Someone Called You Racist x
- We’re Not All Like That x
- People Only Care About This Trivial Shit On The Internet x
- I Can’t Apologize for Being Born White, It’s Not My Fault x
- Why Can’t You Tell Me What I’m Doing Wrong x
- It’s Easy to Be Color Blind When You’re White x
- A Diagrammatic Guide To White Tears x
- Conversations I’m Sick Of Having With White People x
- Why Do You Hate White People x
- I’m Trying To Be Cultured x
- Sisyphean Conundrum x
- What is Your Problem x
- We Are All Human, We All Bleed Red x
- It’s Just A Bindi x
- How Not To Respond To Accusations of Racism x
- I’m Italian And 0.009% Native American x
- What White People Think Racism Means: A Venn Diagram x
- White Guilt x
- White Pride!!!111!!! x
- I Like *Insert Foreign Country* I Want To Live There x
- You Have So Much Hate, Fighting Fire With Fire Won’t Help x
- BooHoo, Don’t Call Me Racist x
- Not Everything Ended With Your Ancestors x
- The Racist Reaction x
- I Don’t See Why That Is Racist x
- Crummy Apologies x
Okay. I agree. I’ve been socially conditioned not to notice racism and recognize my privilege. What can I do?
I don’t care about this bullshit; you’re making a big deal out of nothing, go home and delete your blog:
To be honest, I’m not the go-to source for questions of appropriation, an agony column for you to feel better about things. But since you asked so verynicely :)
Not everything white people do is appropriation by default, it’s how they do it. Now, I don’t know how your interaction with [desi] culture is going to pan out specifically, & nor shall my word absolve you if you do cross the line.
1) Is it marketed to you as an object/custom from a marginalised culture without any context? If yes/unsure, don’t do it.
2) What are your reasons? Are you appreciating it because you feel bored, or because it’s cool, or you think it’s aesthetically pleasing (“exotic”)? If the answer to any of these is yes/unsure, then don’t do it.
3) What is the history/meaning of objects/languages/rituals in the culture? Are you aware of the meanings/history of these things? Will you be using them in a way that misrepresents them, or diminishes their power? If yes/unsure, don’t do it.
4) Are you comfortable with the understanding that as someone benefiting from imperialism, even if your local history does not have any, you may be contributing to the suppression of others’ cultural symbols, & that by your actions there is a strong possibility of further oppression? Are you willing to work through the nuances of privilege that occur when the question of cultural appropriation is brought up? If your answer to the second is no, and to the first is yes, then don’t do it.
5) If someone from calls you out on appropriation/racism, are you going defend your perceived right to appreciate their heritage, & how they shouldn’t be offended? If the answer is yes/unsure, you definitely shouldn’t do it.
As for your question on desi cultures specifically, what is your view? Does India exist to impart wisdom & for you to ~discover yourself~? Is every dusty person Serene, Vegetarian, & Contemplating Their Place In The Universe? (Hint: they’re not). If you can see that, then ok, cool.
I have a lot to say about this,I’m not too sure if this was about something specific or not but i’ll use this as a chance to say it all.First, What do you mean by ‘i’m promoting orientalism’? It comes across as if promoting Asian culture is a negative?The subject of white people wearing bindis-for some reason there has been a lot of debate about people that are not Hindu wearing bindis, people saying that it’s racist for a white person to wear them, which i think is ridiculous.I think it could even be the opposite and reduce the racism surrounding hindu women who do wear bindis.how is racism going to be solved and eradicated by separating cultures like this and setting boundaries and rules for who can and cannot wear this based on their race etc. wouldn’t it be better if we all intertwined in some way or at least were able to experience each others’s cultures? It’s like a person who doesn’t know anything about Chinese culture or language getting a tattoo of Chinese characters. Non Christian or Catholics wearing a cross necklace. Tattoos or jewellery of the Egyptian Ank. They don’t mean any harm. They just think it’s beautiful and it usually means that they like/admire the culture or even just appreciate the artistic design. I don’t suppose you’ve ever had henna done? same thing, and yet henna is perfectly accepted among western culture and no one seems to be having the same debates about whether or not it is ‘offensive’ to Hindu’s.Especially now i feel as if because of globalisation everyone is being exposed to different things, including culture and religion and i think it’s perfectly fine for them to explore them. I don’t know you and you don’t know me and i don’t think you should make such a judgemental statement about a complete stranger for all you know i could have been brought up by Hindu parents.What do you have to say about the whole ‘cross’ trend? Christianity is a religion and it’s hard to not see someone wearing something with a cross on it, or the ‘Aztec prints’, ‘Wicca symbols’ or ‘tribal bracelets’? We incorporate things from different cultures and make it our own or it becomes fashion and that’s ok.bindis have been worn by people from western culture as a style statement for years, look at Gwen Stefani in the 90’s.My mum used to wear beautifully decorated Bindis when I was a kid and i’ve been wearing them on and off for years, it’s only lately that it has been seen as a sort of ‘trend’ that i have to defend my reasons for wearing them.The subject of people that aren’t hindu and Ganesh-i’d like to say i agree with the qualities that ganesh symbolises.i like what the image of ganesh stands for. I don’t necessarily have to be hindu to appreciate a religion. I have many ornaments in my house belonging to different cultures/religions and i think most households do as well.
okay, i genuinely think yr really lovely and very intelligent. but in that i also don’t want to just have this left here and not say anything about it. please understand that this is not a personal attack, but more of trying to help in understanding why this is problematic.
firstly; orientalism and Asian cultures are two very different things. Orientalism refers to stereotypes,misconceptions, fetishes and fantasies about the “Eastern world” (in particular Asia and the Middle-east), which was created and has been sustained by British imperialism. It reduces the diversity of culture and heritage of people into commodofiable fantasies of erotic harems and submissive women- a ‘dark, mysterious’ racial Other.
Now onto appropriation and the bindi. The attitude that people’s cultures exist to be shared like that is not okay- to wear parts of people’s cultures and believe it’s fair and okay like that is not ok. it’s not appreciation, it’s cultural appropriation. The idea that cultures exist to be shared and that racism cannot be eradicated if people don’t share is very problematic in that it is an unquestioned sense of entitlement to all cultures- something directly rooted to imperialism/colonialism. Appropriation is not an example of sharing on a level field. We do not have universal access to all POC and cultures.
On a white person the bindi is more likely seen as fashionable/bold/new, and yet on a desi woman it can be seen as a failure to assimilate into whiteness and a mark of ‘otherness’. It doesn’t make it easier for South Asian women to wear- because with white privilege there is an automatic acceptance while WOC have to fight for that.
Often with appropriation, there is a tendency to assume that history does not impact the present and that the setting we live in is multicultural thus people’s culture exists to to be shared and tried on by everyone.
Cultural appropriation exists because of centuries of racism, exoticism (justifying objectification and commodification), colonisation, imperialism (cultural imperialism- one culture dominating another), capitalism, power, oppression, orientalism, the unawareness of privilege (misunderstanding of entitlement, exoticism, racism and power dynamics), and entitlement (thinking that oppressed people’s culture or spirituality is for anyone’s taking). It’s harmful because it invalidates oppressed people and their culture, reinforces stereotypes which reinforces oppression and racism, tradition gets distorted into offensive and inaccurate caricatures, exoticises people, commodifies and homogenizes.
It wasn’t okay when Gwen Stefani did it in the 90’s and it’s not okay now.
A person does not have to know you personally to call you out on something problematic. It wasn’t a judgmental statement. The person who sent you the ask wasn’t attempting to make a personal attack on you, but rather bring attention to problematic behaviour. It’s understandable to have a defensive response, but it’s rejecting any possibility of “Hey, I could be wrong on this, maybe I should listen and look into it” and people do make mistakes and make bad decisions and offend other people. The follow up is to try and understand and repair that if possible.
I’d strongly suggest reading these two posts:
this post explains the line between appreciation and appropriation
and this post, “it’s hard to see racism when you’re white”, contains a lot of links regarding cultural appropriation and more.
racism ties into cultural appropriation, and understanding that is important. cultural appropriation will not end racism- it goes hand in hand with it.
friends can’t just stand on the sidelines and agree on everything even if something you’ve said or done is potentially offensive/harmful. friends call each other out on things- not to make the other feel bad, but to let them know when something isn’t okay.
hi im a woman living in a post apocalyptic environment/desert island on a tv show and i have the smoothest armpits u have ever seen
hi im a woman in medieval times and my eyebrows r perfect and I have no leg hair
hello im a viking woman in a movie and i have a thin and trim waist and a huge rack and perfect eyeliner
Hi I’m a woman in a world without power and I wake up with perfect curled hair
"Africa" - Toto
But what if I cover this.