Sunday, July 12, 2015

Part I - Cultural Appropriation

Note: This is a four five part piece that I've been working on for several days. I have no idea if anyone will be able to follow my train of thought, muddled as it always is, but it's one of those things I had to get out of my head and onto paper. Er, pixels, I guess. 

I do hope you read all of it and that it gives you pause to think. Agree or disagree with me, I just hope it gives you some things to think about.

I've been doing a bit of reading recently about a thing called Cultural Appropriation.

Some of it I totally get... I understand why others might find it offensive.

Having said that, however... when you're going so far as to say I can't eat Mexican food because I'm not Mexican, well seriously, fuck you because tacos are delicious.
No, really... sorry for that. But let me try my best as a white chick to explain my feelings.

I don't consider myself an American. It's not how I define me. I don't consider myself white. It's not how I define me. No... actually that's not right at all. I am American and I am white. It's not about considering or defining anything- it just is.

But there is a much bigger picture- I consider myself a human. An earthling. A child of the universe even.

Earth is my culture. All of it. As it it yours, too. Foods from all cultures and ethnicities are delicious and should be shared by all. Same with clothing. Hairstyles. They're just things. Perhaps they have some greater significance to you than they do to me, and in very different ways, but so what? This planet should be a melting pot.

We have to celebrate our differences, and our samenesses. We should want others to experience our individual cultures. How else are we ever going to get to a place where we are all equal?

It's a fear of change that holds us back from being everything we can be as humans. "That's different so I don't like it." "This is mine and it's always been mine and you can't be part of it."
A human is a human is a human is a human. And all these folks screaming about being oppressed because a white chick wears a kimono need to get the fuck over it. You are not being oppressed. You are being celebrated.

Mixing is not a bad thing, damn it. We should all be encouraged to live outside our lines. How is my wearing a bindi offensive? It's beautiful. Instead of shaming me, maybe teach me. Take the opportunity to share with me the significance and importance.

Teach me about you.

We're sharing this planet. I hate borders and boundaries and think they should all be abolished and we should all be free to travel to any point on this planet we wish, at any time, and be welcomed.

We should learn and know each other... our lives and our histories and we should absolutely respect it. Our children should be taught to see color, to see religion, to see sexuality, and race and ethnicity and any of the other 7.2 billion things that set us each apart in our unique ways- see it and rejoice in it and celebrate it and SHARE it.

We've come such a long way in our quest to overcome racism and sexism and all the other 'isms' out there but it seems like in many ways we're now taking steps backwards. Different groups of people who share something, like race, or sex, are hording. They don't want to share and any attempt by others to "infiltrate" are being met with shouts of racism or sexism or whatever.
Curiosity isn't racism. The desire to learn and be educated and share isn't racism. It's the opposite. It isn't oppression or repression. It's a melting together of all that we are into becoming the Human Race.

And it doesn't mean that your history is unimportant. It's vitally important to know and celebrate and acknowledge where we've all come from. There are things we can each learn from every culture.

As we learn, and accept, and share... it becomes our culture. A culture of humans, living together, respecting each other, caring for each other. How is this a bad thing? How?

People have got to stop looking for ways to be offended. And this is not excusing the asshats of the world who go out of their way to be offensive as fuck. I'm all for calling out those jackasses and shaming them back to the stone age, but holy crap.

C'mon, people. Just stop it. Instead of looking for ways to keep each other back, why not seek opportunities to move each other forward, together?

There isn't one damn thing I can do about the color of my skin, or the place I was born. I cannot change my sexual orientation- it is what it is. I am who I am. Just as you are who you are.

I read these things- people getting mad about this, that and the other. Don't eat the food, don't wear the clothes, don't do this, don't do that. Why the fuck not? What the ever-living fuck am I supposed to do?

Why should I be deprived of anything? Exactly the same as why should you be deprived of anything?
Because of my "white privilege" you say. Again, tell me what the fuck I'm supposed to do to change it? Seriously, tell me. Or am I just supposed to live with my lot in life? Do you know how ridiculous that sounds? It wasn't right when the white folks tried to force other cultures, races, etc., to live with their lot in life and it isn't right when you try to do it, either.

It's pithy to say, but two wrongs don't make a right.

I want to know your life- your history, your culture and your experiences. And yes, I do want to experience some of those things for myself. And you are more than welcome to experience my things, too, though honestly, being a fat, middle-aged, poor white chick ain't all it's cracked up to be but if you want to give it a go, go for it.

Am I privileged? Yes. Is there any way I can really understand what it feels like to be black, or Asian, or gay, or whatever? No, there isn't. I know that. There are things that I am aware of that I simply cannot comprehend, through no fault of my own.

No fault of my own.

Read that again... No fault of my own.

So why are you punishing me?

I would rather die than punish another human being for being different from me. For being a different skin color, or religion, or sexuality, or ethnicity, or height, or weight, or having better hearing, or being blind, or any of the other billion things that separate us.

So why is it okay for you to punish me for being me?

I just don't get it.

Part II to come... Examining the flip side.

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