Friday, July 13, 2018

Cultural appropriation

I'm almost completely unsympathetic to Claire Lehmann's argument in The Evils of Cultural Appropriation. Lehmann mentions two cases, the furor over a young white woman's Chinese-themed prom dress and Yassmin Abdel-Magied's outrage over Lionel Shriver’s defense of cultural appropriation. The boundaries of cultural appropriation are fuzzy, but just because they're fuzzy doesn't mean they don't exist.

We — white people, men, straight people, cis people — made this bed, and we seem shocked! shocked I say! to have to lie in it. For centuries, white people have been colossal dicks to people of color, men have been colossal dicks to women, straight people colossal dicks to gay people, and cis people colossal dicks to trans people. Ok, history, yadda yadda, but the thing is that we're still being colossal dicks. We have been literally victimizing people of color, etc., and now we're surprised that they're using their victimization? Seriously: grow up. Actions have consequences. We've been bullying the world for the better part of a millennium (and women for several millennia); we have no business complaining that they're fighting back in ways we disapprove of. You can't bully someone, and when they fight back, say, "Hey! Why can't we all just get along?"

I don't always agree with how people of color, women, gay people, trans people, etc. fight their oppression. But so what? I don't have to live with what they have to live with. I'm a straight white cis middle-class man. I don't have to fight any kind of oppression. All I can do is try not to be a colossal dick.

When people of color start getting their share of the awards and book deals, maybe then we can start talking about whether or not white writers get to write about people of color. Until then, let's stop trying to be colossal dicks about the whole thing.

3 comments:

  1. So do you think that people should be segregated into what clothing they are allowed to wear? If and when your communist revolution takes power here in the USA, is this going to be enforced by law? Will people be jailed if they do not follow this law? Sent to labor camps?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What the fuck, Dustin? Have you completely lost your mind?

      Delete
  2. So do you think that people should be segregated into what clothing they are allowed to wear?

    No. Why would you ask such a stupid question?

    If and when your communist revolution takes power here in the USA, is this going to be enforced by law?

    No. Why would you ask such a stupid question?

    Will people be jailed if they do not follow this law? Sent to labor camps?

    No, and no. Why would you ask such stupid questions?

    ReplyDelete

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