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.
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1-Spiritual or Religious affiliation. By taking something from a culture that is a symbol of spiritual or religious belief and using it as fashion or “Decoration” you are not only belittling the culture and the importance of said item, you are also shrinking something culturally viable down to mere window dressing. A fad. Something to be taken up and then thrown away at will. No one’s culture should ever be treated so callously. It’s blatantly disrespectful but also, shows a sign of your belief in your own superiority over the group. Taking a precious symbol and reducing it to fashion is anything but showing respect for a culture. A culture of human beings should never be reduced to items in your closet.
2-Reinforcing negative stereotypes. People outside of a culture love to tell people within a culture what does and doesn’t hurt them. Non-Natives seem to live to tell Natives what causes harm to them as people, as a culture and as living human beings. Images like this, this, this and this are chalked up to girls just having fun or worse, girls who “Adore” the culture and want to support it. Except, there is no adoration in sexualizing an entire population. There is no respect, care or even humanity in these images as they directly related to this. One is not separate from the other. In fact, one is very much a justification for the other. By sexualizing a group of people, those people become…wait for it….wait for it…SEXUALIZED. These items that you call “Pretty” and “Fashion” and “Adoration of a culture,” are the very items, attached to your hyper sexual image, that allows such pain. To you, it’s “Fashion.” To the group that you are contributing vile and unforgivable stereotypes to, it is a matter of life and death. That’s not how “Respect for a culture” works. Unless, by “Respect” you mean, hate them so much that you go out of your way to cause as much pain as humanly possible.
3-We Make, You Profit. Those that steal from other cultures never seem to see a problem with it. They call it “Blending” and talk about how their thievery brings “Us” closer together. Nothing says “Togetherness” like taking something that isn’t yours, amirite? Many issues that stem from anger over cultural appropriation comes from those that get recognized for their work. One group does something as part of their culture. Someone from another group, usually a majority group, likes it, takes it and then makes a profit off of it. The recognition of someone doing something that another group was first ridiculed for, is common parlance of cultural appropriation. Those that see nothing wrong with cultural appropriation also see nothing wrong with one group doing the work and then another group profiting from it. It’s to bad the “Blending of cultures” that they are talking about never “Blend” the recognition OR the pay checks. Still, pro-cultural thievery people will talk about how “Good” it is to steal. Of course, they don’t see it as stealing. It’s blending. Ya know, how you work hard and pay for your house and then I walk in and take it without giving you a dime. Then, when you get upset that I just stole your house, I say…”I didn’t steal, I blended.” Yeah, it’s like that. The difference here is, with things like Headdresses, dance moves and bindis, they have a deep and long history with their respective cultures. Your house, has likely only been in your history for 30 years or less. Yet, “Blending” someone’s house would be a crime. “Blending” someone’s culture, is free form for the majority. As it has been for hundreds of years.