Sunday, July 15, 2018

Cultural boxes

In his comment to my post We can't just take what we want, Dustin Vinland Jarl writes,

So you don't think it should be the law, but that it should be angry online mobs that ensure that nobody strays from their prescribed "cultural box" into another "cultural box" for which they don't have "ownership"?

I will repeat my first response: "Mobs? This is the usual characterization of the people by anti-democratic elitists," but I want to add more.

We literally live in boxes — houses, apartments, etc. — about which we assert all sorts of ownership rights. The point is not to make sure that you never leave your own box and enter mine; the point is that you have to respect my ownership rights, and I yours. It's not that you can't come over and visit, it's that you need to ask permission or be invited: you need to respect my ownership. And if you have a history of breaking in by unannounced, and worse yet shitting all over my bed, I'm going to refuse permission for what I might otherwise grant it: I'm sorry you've become homeless, but no, you can't crash on my couch. Why? Because you've shown yourself to be a jackass.

So yes, I'm asserting that people in these "cultural box[es]" — boxes that I yet again note were constructed by white colonialists to dehumanize and exploit those they put in those boxes — are asserting ownership and demanding that we respect that ownership.

Do I think cultural exchange important? Of course I do. Should we engage in cultural exchange in a respectful manner, cognizant of the abominable history of colonialism? Absolutely.

If you disagree with the latter, why? Why should cultural exchange necessarily require abandonment of notions of ordinary respect and consideration?


  1. So how exactly is permission to enter another cultural box going to be granted under your system? Do I stand out on a street corner and gather enough signatures from Chinese people as to whether I can wear a Chinese dress, for instance?

  2. Please, Dustin, try not to be a barracks lawyer.

    It works the way things work right now: if you act like an entitled asshole, then people call you an entitled asshole.

    To be honest, I'm getting increasingly impatient with your obtuse attitude. Maybe this is a good time to take a break from commenting here for a while.

  3. Your comment seems reminiscent of the standard MRA complaint, "But how exactly is consent granted? Do I have to have a signed release to have sex?" If you're that fucking obtuse about consent, you probably do.

  4. The bigger idea is that we don't have to have absolutely rigorous procedures to be kind, decent, respectful human beings. If you're the kind of person who cannot understand kindness, decency, and respect without absolutely rigorous procedures that precisely specify what those qualities are, then you're probably a lost cause.


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