Today's lesson, Racism. If you see something written here that you’ve said or done, use it as an opportunity. Take it as a wake up call and make the decision to grow, change and be conscious of your own privilege. Remember, I am not a speaker for the entirety of a people. Use this blog as a reference tool, not as the one and only view on the topic.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Happy Filipino American Heritage Month Everyone!
If you have a car and I want to drive it, I can ask you if you’ll let me borrow the keys or I can hot wire it and drive off. If I ask you for the keys and you give them to me, it’s “Sharing.” If I break in and hot wire, it’s stealing. In both cases, I can still “Admire and appreciate” the car. In both cases I can “Love the look of the car and feel the car itself is just right for me” but in only ONE of the scenarios is it actually okay that I’m behind the wheel.
Supposedly invented by the Chinese, there is an ancient form of torture that is nothing more than cold, tiny drops falling upon a person’s forehead.
On its own, a single drop is nothing. It falls upon the brow making a tiny splash. It doesn’t hurt. No real harm comes from it.
In multitudes, the drops are still fairly harmless. Other than a damp forehead, there really is no cause for concern.
The key to the torture is being restrained. You cannot move. You must feel each drop. You have lost all control over stopping these drops of water from splashing on your forehead.
It still doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. But person after person, time and time again—would completely unravel psychologically. They all had a breaking point where each drop turned into a horror. Building and building until all sense of sanity was completely lost.
"It was just a joke, quite being so sensitive."
"They used the wrong pronoun, big deal."
"So your parents don’t understand, it could be worse."
Day after day. Drop after drop. It builds up. A single instance on its own is no big deal. A few drops, not a problem. But when you are restrained, when you cannot escape the drops, when it is unending—these drops can be agony.
People aren’t sensitive because they can’t take a joke. Because they can’t take being misgendered one time. Because they lack a thick skin.
People are sensitive because the drops are unending and they have no escape from them.
You are only seeing the tiny, harmless, single drop hitting these so-called “sensitive” people. You are failing to see the thousands of drops endured before that. You are failing to see the restraints that make them inescapable.
Today, I had someone enter my fan mail asking if I’d be up for “Friendly debate.” I wrote back saying that I’ve never had a single person ask me that question and then be either “Friendly" or up for an actual "Debate" but if they were the exception, sure.
Their topic/next message:
Certainly. The topic? Cultural appropriation. I do acknowledge how it might be like removing the source from the post if I were to wear a native American headdress as an English native. However. I believe that culture is a magical thing which is to be shared. Like the magic penny. (Spend it lend it and you’ll have so many) I believe I should be able to engage in and be a part of any culture I wish. We are all humans and we are all (essentially) the same. I will always stay true to the culture so as it does not become and corrupted and lost. But culture dies out. And culture should be kept alive. Do you not think?
No, I do not think. I certainly wasn’t expecting this. Even within your comparison, it’s terribly frightening to see how easy it was for you to belittle something as serious as Cultural Appropriation.
Were you to remove a source, it would be rude, disrespectful and yes, even could be construed as stealing. However, removing a source would not add to negative stereotypes, encourage violence or belittle an entire race or population.
Next, let’s look at your wording. You state that you believe “Culture is a magical thing which should be shared.” How are you “Sharing” if you take things without permission? How are you “Sharing” if you aren’t given the item along with the okay to wear said item from the culture you claim you’d “Stay true to?”
Sharing culture is a beautiful thing but that’s just it, appropriation ISN’T sharing. It’s stealing.
You make your intent known with your words. This entire note included you saying things like, “I believe I should be able to engage in and be a part of any culture I wish.“ Who are you, who are any of us, to decide what we are to “Be a part of” when it comes to someone ELSE’S culture?
Being asked to share in someone else’s culture is lovely and should be treated with respect. Stealing from said culture and calling it “Sharing” is not only disgusting, it’s shameful.
If you have a car and I want to drive it, I can ask you if I can borrow the keys or I can hot wire it and drive off. If I ask you for the keys and you give them to me, it’s “Sharing.” If I break in and hot wire, it’s stealing. In both cases, I can still “Admire and appreciate” the car. In both cases I can “Love the look of the car and feel the car itself is just right for me” but in only ONE of the scenarios is it actually okay that I’m behind the wheel.
Their return reply:
For some reason I can’t see the rest of your argument (tumblr sucks) so I reply to what I can see. A. I do not see cultural appropriation as serious and as a result will treat it that way until convinced otherwise. B. Nature steals. Nature takes. It is life. Culture should be shared. Culture will never be preserved forever. So by integration into a dominative culture are you not saving it. Culture is part of humanity. Humanity is one group.
I wrote them back to say that I was disappointed that instead of trying to see what I had to say, to hear me out, to listen to my side of this so-called debate, they were doing exactly what I suspected they were doing….waiting for me to stop talking so they could tell me why they were right.
Is a person who says, “I do not see cultural appropriation as serious and as a result will not treat it that way until convinced otherwise" really here for debate on cultural appropriation?
I recently received the following Tumblr fan mail message and wanted to share it and my response in case anyone else had similar concerns.
Re: Your Mobile Tumblr Cover Photo:
Hey Ches. I absolutely live your videos. You’re doing great work and are fantastic.
However I’m an NDN. I’m métis and cree and coming from a place of privilege, being a white passing Native. I can’t help but notice your tumble mobile profile’s cover photo. Is reminiscent of the ‘Navajo designs’ present on many fashion line’s shirts and other content. Which are appropriative and in no way actually related to Navajo or other Pueblo/Diné/indigenous peoples in the Southern USA. I just wanted to inform you of that. It seems like a poor imitation and I won’t assume you don’t have Native ancestry, but it distresses me a bit to see such a wonderful personality like yourself have that there.
I don’t want to think of you when I think of casual native appropriation.
Thank you so much for your timeHey! Thanks so much for reaching out with your feedback. The artwork on my mobile theme comes from a designer based in the UK, who to my knowledge doesn’t identify as NDN or Native American (I’m not sure which is preferred, please let me know). I also don’t believe I have Native ancestry, but I can’t honestly say for sure. But as someone who tries to use my platform for social change, I take these issues extremely seriously and appreciate you bringing this to my attention.
I will most definitely be more cautious when supporting independent artists to make sure I’m not supporting anything that is appropriative. The artwork has since been removed and updated. Thanks again for bringing this to my attention so I can fix the oversight. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything or have any other concerns.
An admission of a mistake, a sincere apology and a removal of offensive material.
This is the correct way to react to criticisms of cultural appropriation.
Some of them aren’t necessarily “social justice” but just poc positive/empowering blogs.
I’m extremely honored to be included with such prestigious blogs/bloggers. Thank you so much for the vote of confidence!
((hug)) & *fist bump*
- On Aug. 15 (one week after the murder of Mike Brown): THE OFFICER WHO MURDERED MIKE BROWN WAS DARREN WILSON and he’s “devastated"
- Reports once again claim Mike Brown was involved in a robbery (he allegedly stole a box of Swisher Sweets) and that Darren Wilson was responding to that call. BUT if that’s true, why would you tell robbery suspects to “get on the sidewalk" and then start to drive away?
- Aug. 15 press Q&A: (x) Darren Wilson was not aware Brown was a robbery suspect when he approached him (x) (x) Brown was approached for jaywalking/”blocking traffic”. Darren Wilson did not write his own incident report.
- Pictures of Darren Wilson
- Darren Wilson will have to justify every single shot he fired at Mike Brown
- Grand jury will begin hearing evidence on Aug. 20 in murder of Mike Brown. Darren wilson will have opportunity to testify (x)
- Odds of Darren Wilson being arrested around 10%?
- Darren Wilson has a history of racial profiling
- About Darren Wilson
- Darren Wilson’s identity was concealed until all of his social media was deleted and he was moved out of state
- Riverfront Times seeks juvenile records for Darren Wilson
- Police say they haven’t talked to/don’t know where Darren Wilson is but one officer says “Darren Wilson is somewhere safe”
- Donations for Darren Wilson mysteriously halt after reaching over $400K. Darren Wilson Gofundme page officially shut down!!!
- Only way Darren Wilson’s gun could have been wrestled over is if he had it already pulled out (x)
- Still no explanation for why “Support Darren Wilson” page was shut down
- Darren Wilson roughed up man suspected of selling drugs in Feb. 2013 (Incident report)
- The grand jury in the killing of Mike Brown is only meeting once a week and are being treated as co-investigators. Also, legal experts say it’s unlikely that Darren Wilson will be charged with 1st degree murder. 2nd degree murder is possible but also unlikely if he argues that he feared for his life.
- Was it legal for Darren Wilson to shoot Mike Brown?
- 6 eyewitnesses say Mike Brown was shot with his hands up. DARREN WILSON IS STILL FREE.
- Bob McCulloch is VP of an organization that supports Darren Wilson? (x) McCulloch also won’t recommend charges against Darren Wilson to the grand jury. This is why a special prosecutor is needed.
- Ferguson’s massive cover-up: How police departments are protecting Darren Wilson
- Grand jury now has until JANUARY to decide whether to charge Darren Wilson (x) (x) (x) (x)
- Why Darren Wilson probably won’t go to jail
- McCulloch vows to release grand jury transcripts and recordings if Darren Wilson is not indicted
- DARREN WILSON TESTIFIED IN FRONT OF GRAND JURY
- Fundraising still stalled for Darren Wilson