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  1. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    "Cultural Appropriation"?

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Oscar Leigh, Aug 2, 2016.

    Okay, so you know (probably) I'm all left-wing and everything. But I actually think this a rather silly idea. I'd' love to hear a good defense. Let me break it down;
    First, we are deciding what culture is appropriate for a person based on race. Isn't that segregation? And it seems to imply something about the relationship with the culture. It kind of enforces stereotyping everyone in that group with that culture. At least to me. By claiming ownership you're connecting it. Even though the same people will complain about being stereotyped as a culture.
    Secondly, we already do this and nobody complains. A Youtuber I found, who is a terrible racist btw, who promotes cultural onwership, calls herself Philogynoir for her profile. And you know what that is? Ancient Greek academic term (incorrectly) and French word for black (mispronounced by her, it's not nee-waar). If you want more remember that all Abrahamic religion comes from the Middle East. Do you see Jerusalem's people claiming ownership of Christianity? What about when black use "white" hair styles, isn't that the most obvious hypocrisy? Oh wait, no it's about a power narrative of course! :rolleyes: Even though there are lots of other groups of people who also get some societal shit and none of them act like it creates a double standard. Depressed people mocking others for being positive would still be rude. Homeless people don't claim ownership of their cultural influence. And there are certainly exceptions, you think every white person is rich? What about the people in those groups? What about the racial prejudice between north and south in America? There's still a bit of that.
    Thirdly, why do you need this cultural ownership at all? Why do you care? Can you not see others using it as a flattery, that they think it's cool? The gay scene is usually attributed with modern leather culture, but I've never heard of any gay person feeling ownership. They may or not have some feelings about it, but the culture is clearly open for any person who enjoys that stuff.
    In conclusion, I see no justification in segregating culture by race, ignoring countless other examples of cultural exchange, and needing ownership of something which just isn't property anyway.
    What do you guys think?
     
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  2. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, if you're of the opinion you're part of an oppressed minority X, it feels rude to you that the majority who are oppressing you wear "your" hairstyle or clothes. But since the whole thing is nuanced and complex, some people simply choose to label everything offensive, such as white female MMA fighters wearing cornrows. The offendees must know it's pretty much the best way to keep the hair out of the way, but it doesn't change their reaction, still offended.

    I think it's natural to get protective over something that's part of your culture, but while an average person who doesn't live and breathe social justice theories would maybe crack a joke and leave it that, some people go way overboard and make mountains out of molehills. I mean, if I see a sauna outside of Finland, especially in the US, my reaction is to shake my head because you're doing it so completely wrong, just don't even bother, stop appropriating and making diluted sissy versions of our invention. It's supposed to give you first degree burns and sear your lungs when you breathe in there!

    So where an average person would share components from their culture and have fun braiding their white friend's thin pale hair into zigzagging rows, some people react as if it's the Taliban oppressing them.

    What I've also heard is that especially with black culture, certain hairstyles -- when they wear them -- cause a negative reaction in other people while when whites wear them, it's perceived positively. So again, kinda shitty. Makes you want to vlog about it.
     
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  3. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    You seem to have a few different things going on here. Before I jump in, let me first admit that I come from all the privilege: straight, white, cis, raised in a Christian household in a very Christian town (although I'm far from both of those now), but generally lefty these past fifteen years or so.

     
  4. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I seriously can't tell if you're for or against. You start off like you're defending the notion, but then it just becomes confusing. It seems like you're kind of taking an in-between stance?
     
  5. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    @Iain Aschendale I'm pretty your friends only do that because homophobes make a hilarious squeaking noise when you irritate them. :p
     
  6. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I react on a case-by-case basis because I believe there are legitimate grievances, but I also think sometimes people go overboard. There are many things that affect the gravity of the offense. For example, I could wear the headdress of the Sami people ("our" native Americans or Australian aboriginals), but some people -- Sami and Finn alike -- would protest because the government of Finland is treating them like shit and denying them their rights. I'm one of the Assholes even though I haven't personally bulldozed a bill after bill that'd secure them more rights. So I can understand why I'd receive a negative reaction from some people.

    However, I do think some forms of "appropriation" can have a positive effect and bring people together, help them learn about each others' cultures. I would love to host a Scandinavian party where people ate raw salty fish, ran around in the woods half-naked (I swear, this was what one Norwegian guy thought Finns do) and then went to the sauna buck-naked, and watched movies where no one talks while drinking watery beer, but I wouldn't mind diluting the experience a bit: people'd be allowed to wear towels to the sauna, I'd bring less watery beer, and we could watch a movie that has some dialogue. Sure, I'm kind of appropriating the experience to the non-Scandinavian target audience, but hey, it's still good fun. And I wouldn't mind if it was a non-Finn doing that, by the way, because I can understand why the appropriation happened.

    Then, of course, there's the question of ownership. Who can claim it? Do dreads belong to blacks, Jamaicans, Egyptians, hippies, neanderthals, Max Cavalera...? Where do you draw the line? Did Black Sabbath appropriate blacks because they turned blues into heavy metal? Why does that street vendor in New York claim he's selling Belgian waffles if they haven't even been made in Belgium? And what is culture anyway? Could Buzzfeed Yellow Americans please stop hogging the term "white culture" 'cause there are whites effing everywhere, okay, and the rest of us aren't as Americanized as people may think.

    So it's a complex issue, like I said, and it's okay to feel hurt if it seems others are treating your culture flippantly, but instead of making it all about the negativity, I wish people were more welcoming to the idea of sharing, learning, and having fun instead of assaulting people for wearing dreadlocks. Also, before that negative, vitriolic reaction surges out, it might be a good idea to stop and think whether the reason you believe something belongs to you is due to your lack of understanding of the variety of cultures in the world, and if, indeed, you're actually the one borrowing and appropriating.
     
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  7. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I think we need to make a clear distinction between sharing each other's cultures (because that's what we do as humans) and taking bits and pieces of someone else's culture and saying you're now ‘one of them’.

    For example, suppose I listen to rap made by black artists (ie, Biz Markie) or I read Japanese manga. I can listen to rap and read manga all I want, but that doesn't make me black/Asian. It just means I'm a white guy who likes to listen to black rap and read Japanese manga.

    Now for the other side, as in the side feeling offended: they do have the right to be upset, but they should ask themselves whether or not the alleged offense committed by the person they're mad at is real or not. Outrage tends to make a huge kerfluffle over something relatively harmless. This is something I think people do far too easily these days. Not everything is a personal attack on you as a human being, people and society in general.

    I don't consider myself a minority, but I am hearing-impaired if that counts (deaf culture and all of that.) I'm not going flip my shit much if a person with two working ears wants to learn sign language or wear a fake hearing aid/tattoo a hearing aid on their ear for reasons only they know. Apparently there are non-disabled people who like to pretend they're disabled (I heard about this from the Tommy Edison XP YouTube video, the guy's blind so yah.) I guess if you consider ‘disabled culture’ (if you're OK with the term), I guess it would really just depend on the individual person. Some might care, others wouldn't.
     
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  8. Earp
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    Excellent example. I also don't hear much from African-American music artists complaining about white kids 'culturally appropriating' their music and making the artists rich in the process.
     
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  9. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    True, but there is a pushback against white rappers, who are (potentially) taking money that would otherwise be earned by black artists.
     
  10. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    That's more of a money issue, don't you think? The black rappers are (generally speaking) all, "You're stealing our audience and potentially the money we would get from them!!"

    Now, I'm sure there are black artists who are miffed that white people would enjoy their music but the majority of them probably don't care. The more people (of any color) listen to their stuff, the more money they make. It's basic business 101.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016
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  11. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, but that's like me saying you're potentially taking money that would otherwise be earned by a woman writer (me!). My voice is underrepresented while all these white cis het men are everywhere, so I wish they wouldn't be taking so much space and stealing my audience (I mean, there are too many white cis het sci-fi writers, so they are potentially stealing my audience -- and I deserve that audience and opportunity. Because vagina.)

    Except saying that is just cringey and makes me feel like a jerk and in actuality I wish the best of luck to every white cis het male SF/F author. May the best writer win.
     
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  12. Earp
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    Am I a 'cis het'?
     
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  13. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    To be honest, I don't know how it works with bears.
     
  14. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Oh yes, certainly people who think they're one of a group when they have not spent that much time with them and only take baits of their culture. Like Weeabos. Goddamn Weeabos man.
    Also, I like your perspective.
     
  15. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Well, if you're what could be called "straight" as many people are, and experience the same gender as you're sex (biological gender) then yes, you're cisgendered heterosexual, like many people. Nothing wrong with it. Don't let any minority haters make you feel wrong. But I wouldn't say "cis het" because then you sound like one of those Tumblr SJWs. "Cis white male scum" has literally been said. Bad apples on every tree.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
  16. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    I think I want to change my status thingy to "cis white male scum" now :)
     
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  17. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I'd just like to make it clear I'm not saying every use is good. The Washington Redskins is obviously in poor taste, given little to none are Indian, "redskin" is a derogatory misnomer, and it's in place of what is normally animals which gives you the exotic pet condescending notion people give as the problem with cultural appropriation. I'm just questioning why in general things like me using a word can be racist or not depending on my race, isn't that judging me on the basis of race?
     
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  18. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    YEEESSSH! That is a beautiful idea!
    [​IMG]
     
  19. Earp
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    Oh, yeah. New pronouns, the goofiest part of GenderMania.
     
  20. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    (Sigh) Don't let the bad parts get to you. The movements of civil rights against discrimination are still at their core good, and always had flaws. Cis isn't a pronoun, it's a noun term for someone with a normal gender. Because you may as well have a word. It's really not a big deal.
    Also, die you het scum! You dare question the LGBT rights movement?!:supermad:
    ;)
     
  21. Iain Aschendale
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    Yes, but in the case of rap, it grew from a specific ethnic/economic background after the blues had already been co-opted into rock and country & western. Not to put down female SF writers of the past, but I think that SF really got its start as a cis/het/white male thing (Yes, I know, Mary Shelley. Perhaps SF was appropriated from the beginning). If SF was a primarily female thing in its early days and through the period when it became more popular, and then it got "taken over" by a whole bunch of OWD (Old White Dudes) who were seen as parroting the conventions established by the "Founding Mothers", you'd be right. Concern that women/POC/sexual minorities etc* are underrepresented in SF (or any other field of human endeavor) is valid, but separate from the question of appropriation.

    *even saying "etc" has me a little gunshy, walking on eggshells in this discussion. Nice, clean, shiny, white eggshells, but eggshells nonetheless. :)
     
  22. Earp
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    I wear my het-ness (hetity?) proudly, but see no reason for a new word, that's all. 'Man' works fine for me., and I think the LGBTQPA etc. thing has gone off the rails in the quest to subdivide sexuality into increasingly smaller groups in a futile effort to include every possible pretension, to the point where we will eventually each have our own letter combination. I love my LGBT brethren and cistern (not sure about those A people), but I think, as I said, the whole thing has gone goofy, and the movement will never attract the (necessary) support of the 'regular' people who can't understand what you're talking about.
     
  23. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    Couldn't find one lit up like a rainbow, but here's the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul with some rather... festive... bubble-thingies in it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  24. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The reason why I don't see it separate in this situation is that at least for me even with your justification I can't get behind the idea that it'd be acceptable to ignore/dismiss white rap artists based on their skin color for fear of potentially stealing Kanye's and Nicki's money, or whoever will be the next best thing. Of course, I guess white American rappers could emigrate to Europe and sign with a European label... :D
     
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  25. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Well yeah, I mean you're European. :p If you wanted to rap, you would likely not get mean looks from some folks thinking you're some rich white lady stealing their music. Here in America? Different story. :D:p
     
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