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  1. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    Cultural appropriation as an excuse to be an asshole

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Witchymama, Mar 31, 2016.

    I am normally pretty laid back and easy going, but I just stumbled across an article out of California. It showcased a video taken on a college campus in which a young black girl and guy had a young white guy cornered in a hallway/ stairwell. She is telling him he doesn't have the right to wear his hair in dread locks because it is her culture. She blocks his path, refusing to let him leave the confrontation even though it is obvious he doesn't want any trouble, and had been minding his own business. At one point she even asks her crony if he has any scissors, because she intended to cut this kids hair. Then she sees that the whole thing is being filmed and gets physical with yet another student, by apparently knocking his phone out of his hand to stop the recording.

    At what point did her actions cross the line?

    To me her civil rights, and concerns about cultural appropriation ended when she approached him with the intention of harassing him about his hair.

    What are your thoughts? Here's a link to a need story with the video.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-sf-state-dreadlocks-20160329-story.html
     
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  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Cultural appropriation is mostly bollocks. This confrontation was entirely uncalled for.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, at the point where she blocked him, they became criminal actions, and that's well across the line. Whether she had a right to complain about his hair choice might be debatable; there's no supportable debate about physical bullying.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    When this contrived insult first entered her mind.

    It seems to be a minor fad, trying to remember where I saw this recently but it was just as silly. Wait, I know, it was over the right to practice Yoga as if 'culturally appropriating' Yoga without being an Indian Swami or something was disrespectful.

    I do hope this silliness passes soon.

    By the way, do all blacks own dreads or just Jamaicans?
     
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  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Since when do certain cultures own certain hairstyles? Does she hassle Eric Clapton because he's white and plays blues music? Does she own blues music? Maybe Eric Clapton should hassle Buddy Guy for playing the blues on a guitar - the guitar was invented by white people. Am I allowed to eat spaghetti even though I'm not Italian? Am I allowed to eat sushi even though I'm not Japanese?

    At what point does "cultural appropriation" cease to have any meaning at all? The industrialized world is a huge melting pot of cultures. That's a good thing. Trying to withhold your culture from melting in the pot (stretching the metaphor a bit) is simply silly.

    In my Humble Opinion, of course. :)
     
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  6. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    Truthfully, I think dreads occur whenever grooming does not. I have known people of all races who wore them, especially in the 90s, when the grunge movement was so big. But I seem to recall watching the Woodstock movie, and a good many white folks had them then too.
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    Well you have to admit, suddenly deciding something that has been used/seen/practiced cross culturally for decades is appropriating said culture is very far-fetched.

    Like as said, just which culture owns said dreads? Which culture owns Yoga? What else can we apply this nonsense to?

    At what point do I need to respect said person's delusion that blacks own dreads? May I not say, that's crap? Or is that too disrespectful? How about, "I'm sorry you feel that way but I had '23 and Me' run my DNA and I'm part African."

    :p
     
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  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Uh...I don't think that makes a whole lot of sense. It also seems pretty insulting of people with dreads.
     
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  9. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    Aren't we all?
     
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  10. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    Generally the process to put dreads in hair involves not washing your hair and intentionally creating and then maintaining snarls and tangles in it. I didn't intend to say that the people who wear them are dirty in general, but the hair is intentionally not groomed. Usually when white people decide they are done wearing them it involves cutting most or all of the hair off, because of the amount of "icky" that accumulates in there.

    I am not talking about braids.
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not saying that she or anyone else has a right to enforce non-dread-wearing-without-cultural-justification. I'm thinking, more, of when a person expressing their free speech right is exceeding all rational etiquette, and when they're not.

    But the physical blocking takes this well past free speech.
     
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  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would call the intentional creation of the snarls and tangles, in a specific orderly structure, grooming. Sometime last year when I went in to get my hair cut, a woman was leaving after several hours of having her dreadlocks established, and she was going to come back for several more hours later in the week.
     
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  13. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    She was being an asshole, plain and simple. He ought to sue her. Maybe she should even be expelled? Or is that going too overboard?
     
  14. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it's assault. I don't really think expulsion is overboard--assuming that all OTHER instances of similar assaults, of course including whites bullying and cornering blacks, also lead to expulsion. I don't know if bullying is rampant on that campus or not.
     
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  15. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    The kid did a rebuttal video after this took place and he was saying in it that dreads were a part of all cultures, and went on to explain that they occurred naturally when washing and grooming was not practiced. He cited Celts, Vikings and others, with the point being that when these groups couldn't groom they wore dreads, like when on long war matches.

    My very best friend is a barber and she has told me some horror stories of dreads wearers in her chair. I am not casting judgment, only relating what I have observed and had related to me.
     
  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you Google "how to maintain dreadlocks" I they're that the idea that they're just a result of not-grooming will be eliminated. Page after page, special shampoos, waxes, instructions for various elements of maintenance....
     
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  17. Witchymama
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    I have been trying to edit that last post and not able to, so I will just say it here. @ChickenFreak , I do see what you are saying, and I have seen the lists you refer to. I have a bad habit of not clearly stating what I am thinking on this forum.
    There were also some pretty questionable videos on making and keeping dreads, too.

    This kid looks to me like his are more of the variety like what the lady in your salon was doing. He didn't look "grungy" or dirty, although I think he might be trying to look that way.
    Taking his appearance whole as far as dress and hairstyle, it looks very intentional. He has the right to do that. Regardless of his race, creed, etc. She and her friend initiated this encounter, and I think you might have nailed it as a bully issue, but there's a bigger issue going on there too.

    Entitlement? Maybe she sees her actions as a kind of activism?
     
  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, I think she does. There is, IMO, a tremendous amount of cultural appropriation; I won't get into details and debate, but I've seen a variety of articles that make perfect sense to me, of cultural creativity that suddenly became popular and profitable when it was picked up by a member of the dominant culture, and was credited to that member of the dominant culture. In some cases, apparently the original creators were expected to feel complimented that their work was good enough to be stolen by the dominant culture.

    I could easily see lots of anger and frustration. But she can't drive people into a corner. Blog, tweet, carry signs, invite speakers, throw rallies? Sure. Physical bullying? Nope.
     
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  19. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    But does it really matter? Who gives a crap how someone wants to style their hair? It's a friggin' hairstyle.
     
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  20. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Imagine that your family/culture created something. Imagine that it was a big part of your childhood, it was part of you, part of your family.

    Imagine that someone completely unrelated to your culture picked up that thing, made it a big deal, now it's in TV commercials and rock videos, and friends outside your culture were telling you about this great "new" thing, and trying to explain it to you and correct you about it, about this thing that you know inside out, far better than they do.

    Imagine, to add to that, that your culture and your people are treated as being of little value. And imagine that this happens to a very large portion of your cultural heritage.

    Does that make any sense? I'm explaining it as if I understand it, and I really don't, but I'm under the illusion that that's the kind of thing that we're talking about.
     
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  21. Lea`Brooks
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    Just wanted to point out, because I don't think it's been said.

    Dread locks are in no way a creation of that rude woman's culture. They've been documented, as far as I've read, as far back as ancient Egyptian times.
     
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  22. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    Well @Link the Writer, that's entirely the issue. Why should anyone care? So the kid wants to wear dreads and a skirt. Big whoop. Maybe, to him he is honoring an ancestral culture. Maybe the Celts and Vikings he mentions. I will have to google that.
     
  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    As well as among the Spartans I believe.
     
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  24. Link the Writer
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    Well, I certainly wouldn't bully that person and harass them for wearing what I thought was special to me. I'd just smile and let them continue doing whatever it is they're doing. The moment you start bullying someone else, any sympathy I have is immediately out the window.
     
  25. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, I'm not arguing in favor of the bullying. I thought we were moving on to a discussion of whether she had any grounds to be angry in any context, including appropriate contexts for expressing political views.
     
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