Is it Cultural Appropriation? Or Perpetual Fake Outrage?

Wait, You Still Are Racist!

Nothing can destroy your career, cost you Facebook friends, and present many other life-enduring difficulties such as people believing that you are racist or have done something racist.  Being declared as a racist is almost like being labeled a heretic in the 14th century, except you might not be burned at the stake… yet.

“Cultural appropriation” is just the newest frontier in the fight against racism – a struggle that looks like it will never be overcome, not even in the most luscious of utopias.  It is also a cleverly designed tactic by certain folks to not only stop “racism”, but to make sure that it continues to endure and spread.    You can shout cultural appropriation when a member of a different race, culture, ethnicity, ect does something similar to your own.   Once they stop, you can then shout, “Non-inclusive environments and ingrained structural racism is preventing them from appreciating the unique aspects of our culture in society!”   It’s a brilliant Catch-22 and a way to always have something “ethno-centric and racial-centric” to criticize.   Page views over controversial headlines anyone?

Now,  I’m half-white and I can play the “genocide” card, so luckily when I enter into specific left-wing conversations and “internet spaces”, nothing I do can be racist because there is no such thing as reverse racism, members of the oppressing class can’t be oppressed ect.    Sweeping labels and generalizations really are a wondrous thing.

I came across this article on XoJane by Dianca London,  “UNPOPULAR OPINION: I Can’t Love Taylor Swift Anymore Because Yes, “Shake It Off” Is Still Racist”.    Quite a claim.   So how was it and Taylor Swift being racist?

“I felt nothing but frustration and anger watching Swift’s quirky twerk and even more anger as I watched her crawl on her knees beneath a line of twerking bodies. The coy look on her face as she stared at the bodies above her made me sick. It wasn’t just problematic. It was racist.”

She ends this article with a stern warning about the effects of  cultural appropriation.

“Cultural appropriation might be a current hot topic for bloggers and those who consider themselves to be allies of women of color, but for women of color like me, it’s another reminder of all the ways in which my identity is constantly being devalued, mocked, and trivialized by the media and its stars. “

So how does one go about determining what exactly is culture appropriation?

Well damn.

Remember the white girl who donned some lengthy braids a few weeks back? She was eviscerated on social media, because apparently people of African descent own braids.   Apparently, there are many styles, foods, ideas, ect owned by certain cultures and those of us not in those particular cultures are left in stark and utter confusion as to whether we can make their food, listen to their music, or become Hindus.   At this point, we might as well throw Eminem to the dogs because “rap” is clearly owned by black folks.

I sense a disturbance in the Force.

But Multiculturalism?!?!

There seems to be this fine line between “appropriating minority culture” and embracing someone’s cultural ideas, styles, ect.  Can it happen in the reverse? Is all of history simply “cultural appropriation”?   Tumblr of course tells us that cultural appropriation can only happen one way, specifically when concerned with “White supremacy, white privilege, entitlement, colonialism, ect.”   There is a GIGANTIC elephant in the “cultural appropriation” room. It’s called multiculturalism – a deeply held value by many of those who also hold onto the idea of “cultural appropriation

It is very disturbing that in one breath people can rage about about society not being “inclusive” and then in the next use phrases like cultural appropriation?   The entire idea of cultural appropriation seems to be a direct contradiction in the embracing of the values of multiculturalism.   Or we can embrace the segregation of cultures with concepts like, “cultural appropriation” and then rage as to why racism and cultural conflict is “still” on the never-ending rise.

Wherever this “line” is, I’m still not sure.

A sneaking suspicion arises in my mind.  Those who claim “cultural appropriation” and offense from are desperate to find something to label, “racist”, so that people will pay attention to them.  Rising to the number one slot in the “Oppression Olympics” is far more important than real racism, because in order for the country to supposedly conquer racism, there must always be perpetual outrage concerning the subject, even if no racism is witnessed in one’s daily life.

Simply put, if you can’t find racism in someone’s actions or words, find something new to insinuate as “racist”.  I am however starting to not care about claims of cultural appropriation, whether someone else commits them or I do.

If you do want to call out and maintain a consistent platform that prohibits “Cultural Appropriation”, here are some great places to think about and start!

“1. Eating at Chinese restaurants by white Americans and other majority non-Chinese should be looked down upon, as it entails the physical ingestion of Chinese culture.

2. Anyone who suffers a serious but non-permanent physically debilitating injury shouldn’t be allowed the use of a wheelchair, as this is an ableist appropriation of differently abled culture.

3. Members of the privileged and oppressive white majority should never, under any circumstances, expose themselves to black entertainment or express an appreciation for it. Jay Z is for black men and women only and the producers of 12 Years a Slave should give back the film’s Best Picture Oscar in the name of making a direct statement against appropriation. The same goes for Latino entertainment. Production on Machete Kills in Space by Open Road Films should be halted immediately.

4. Under no circumstances should members of the privileged class give their children ethnic names without the express written consent of a majority of that culture or a dual ruling from the staff of Salon.com and that woman who runs Shakesville. Anglo Americans specifically should be required to research proposed names for their children to ensure that the meaning of each name has no ethnic connotation going back at least four generations. Also, no Biblical names unless one is Jewish or otherwise related by blood to the cultures of the Middle East and holy land.

5. Heterosexuals or members of the heteronormative patriarchy may not, during karaoke, perform the version of Willkommen made famous by Alan Cumming in the 1998 Broadway revival of Cabaret, as that would be an immeasurable appropriation of gay and bisexual culture. Likewise, no one outside of the LGBT, specifically the trans, community should be allowed to watch and enjoy RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Doubting The Faith, But Demanding A Purpose

For those of you who don’t know, I was raised as a Christian.  In fact, I still retain many elements of a Christian worldview.  However, it would be disingenuous to call myself one considering I am not practicing nor embracing key parts of the faith.  I am still highly sympathetic to the overall Christian community

To be honest, I’m not completely sure what I believe.   Most of those who leave the faith usually do for reasons of outright rebellion. It is fair to say that I am in a rebellion of sorts, but I still don’t see it as a enough of a reason to completely throw out my worldview.

My “deviation” from the faith has taken place within the last year or so and has been for mostly carnal reasons – engaging in pre-marital sex and a kind of enjoyable narcissism – yet I remain very conflicted.    I enjoy my current life of sinful pleasure, to the point of willful rebellion, but I am fully aware of it.

My father raised me with a Christian worldview, specifically one that deals.  heavily with presuppositional thinking – something that I filter every idea through.   It has caused me to become somewhat of a philosopher at heart.   I’ve looked for alternatives to the faith, but I have not found any viable ones.  I know I am not alone in this predicament.

Most of my friends who became Atheists, Agnostics, or whatever else did so for the reason as to be absolved of responsibility to a specific moral authority.   They are essentially advocates of a moral relativism that allows them to do whatever they wish at this particular time.   I see why they do this and it is an easy route.  I however feel that is shallow.

At my core, I am desperate for a worldview that isn’t dependent on human reason for it’s moral standards, its tenants, and its suggested purpose of life.  Because of this, I find the concept of appealing to human reason through human reason to be circular logic and foolish.

The problem for me is that if I ditch religion, science can’t actually provide me with answers to the major questions of reality, not to mention that science is totally useless on moral questions.  One person pointed this idea out on a comment thread:

“Science, properly defined and understood, explicitly refuses to even get involved in the most important questions. Life, the Universe, Everything. Science stops with a firm thud at the Big Bang, saying nothing at all about what came before or even if that question is even a meaningful one. Science can’t come to grips with Why.

Currently I am at this odd crossroads of depressing philosophical thought:  If there is no absolute truth of any kind – might makes right.  Influence, power, and money make right.  The implication is too scary for me to accept.   Instead I suggest like the X-Files says, “The Truth Is Out There.”  I really hope it is.

I have come to ponder upon the idea that life is short.  I could die tomorrow.  Any of us could.

I am not daft however.


What To Do?

I don’t want to live as a hedonistic narcissist because of this acknowledgment, but I also want to enjoy every last second I have – while still planning and anticipating the future.  Yes, I feel as if I am consumed by cognitive dissonance.

In the Bible, the first chapter of Ecclesiastes covers the concept of vanity, something that has created in me a philosophical mood and outlook that is seriously and worryingly quite pessimistic.

16 I said in my heart, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind.

18 For in much wisdom is much vexation,
    and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

Hate the Bible or not, this is a valid and important point.  The more “knowledge” we acquire, the more despondent and pessimistic we become.    Getting that college degree, large house with a white picket fence, a family and children, ect seems almost useless and vain.  What’s the point? Shouldn’t I just become a complete hedonist and live every moment like it’s my last?

We all die at some point. Nothing can go with us, and we have no idea if there is any kind of afterlife or not.

This disturbs me because the idea of an afterlife is often the only thing that inspires people to be “good” – and I shudder at how relative the idea of what is “good” has become in modern society.   In the modern world, “good” is simply determined by who has the biggest megaphone on social media and who is driving the current accepted cultural narrative of “good.”   That is comforting, and yes, anyone with a brain can see that the assertion I just made is correct.

People mention we are progressing in concern to humanity and what is “good”, but no one seems to have a destination in mind as to exactly where we are progressing.   I.E. -” Like in art when a work is described as ‘significant’ – Significant of what?”  

If good is as relative as everyone these days insist it is – because absolute truth is such a dangerous concept – then what is there to stop us from evil besides the threat of punishment from a government for whatever is accepted as “evil” in our current time?

Quintus Curtius from the manosphere brings up an important point about this:

Man cannot be exhorted to do good by words alone; he must be held in the grip of terror by a religion that promises damnation if he misbehaves. Religion provides the backing to a moral code that rises above man; the myths, fables , and stories of religion are there for a purpose, and that purpose is to impart a moral code that can keep man’s baser instincts in check.

Curtius, Quintus (2014-09-05). Thirty Seven: Essays On Life, Wisdom, And Masculinity (p. 27).

“He also needs myths to sustain him, to console him in his bereavements, to provide a code to anchor his life, and to impart a sense of meaning to this mortal existence. Snatch away his mythos, rob him of his ideal, and you banish his spirit to a rudderless drifting in life’s drama. It is a cruel fate, and one that is far too common. But for some men, the myth is strong. And it is the last thing to die.”

– Curtius, Quintus (2014-09-05). Thirty Seven: Essays On Life, Wisdom, And Masculinity (p. 25).

As the great Christian thinker and philosopher Francis Schaeffer would say, “How then should we live?” Like Shaeffer, I desire an absolute of some kind – in his case the Bible – as to which I can conduct my life and evaluate society.    There is an interesting point about Schaeffer’s interpretation of the moral quandary impacting modern society in his, “How Then Should We Live” series:

“When we base society on humanism, which he defines as “a value system rooted in the belief that man is his own measure, that man is autonomous, totally independent”,[6] all values are relative and we have no way to distinguish right from wrong except for utilitarianism.[7] Because we disagree on what is best for which group, this leads to fragmentation of thought,[8] which has led us to the despair and alienation so prevalent in society today.

I am feeling this despair.  I don’t know honestly know how to solve it, but I fear that the longer I go without an answer, the more worried I become about my future.   I want to retain the Christian faith that I had, but the “faith” part is lacking.

I am eagerly exploring “alternatives”, but there seems to be no worldview out there which doesn’t require a fundamental leap of faith at its core to begin it’s particular journey.   Yes, science can give us facts, but it can’t answer metaphysical issues nor these two questions which pop into my head every day:

What is my purpose in this life? How should I live my life knowing that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed?

In fact, where do I go from here? What do I do?  How should I live?   Is there any conclusion whatsoever that isn’t fallible and based on the assumption of humanity? I have become stuck in a circular spacial vacuum of uncertainty and I don’t like it.

Why is Catcalling Bad?

We are often told in life that many things are “bad”.     Some are obvious – theft, rape, murder, ect.  Others such as “cat-calling” are not.   I ran into this article on XoJane in which this smoking hot babe was catcalled. Determined to do something about it, she confronted every last one of them.  Either there were only 3 encounters worth mentioning, or she was only catcalled three times – group encounter for one of those – in a week.

Something that kept popping up in my mind: Why actually is catcalling bad? Most men – and I use that concept sparingly – know that it often doesn’t work, hence it usually is employed as more of a “I’m messing with you” kind of interaction.   Well these days, almost any kind of interaction can become undesirable, offensive, and even become capable of being defined as harassment.

Catcalling has been a bullet point for most of today’s modern first-world feminists. We know they don’t like it, but they never have really set up a “doctrinal statement” with all the trimmings as to why catcalling is offensive.   (1) “I’m offended”, is not an actual valid argument.  Why should we care? Just to get the cycle rolling, perhaps we are offended that they are offended.   (2) Just because certain women are offended by it does not actually make it offensive.  (3) Interactions that make you uncomfortable aren’t inherently wrong.

Her main “argument” against catcalling seemed to be that it makes women feel afraid:

How can you explain to a stranger that a compliment makes us feel afraid? That words like gorgeous and beautiful sound like threats when we hear them whispered to us on an empty street late at night? That we feel uneasy, objectified, and uncomfortable when you say this to us while we’re going about our normal routine, not asking to be judged on our appearance out loud? That this thing they do for fun is at the expense of our peace of mind?

So if something makes someone afraid, we shouldn’t say it? Where exactly is the line drawn? So what if it causes fear? What if this women actually causes fear just by the sound of her voice?

That’s not a quick chat you can have with a stranger on a street corner. It needs to be part of a bigger conversation, earlier on, by the people who are in charge of shaping you into a respectable human. When we’re being taught as young women not to respond to this kind of attention, we need to also be teaching our young men not to engage in this behavior in the first place.

Until she and the rest of these radical 3rd wave feminists provide a thorough methodology as well as a strong philosophical foundation for why young men shouldn’t cat call,   we should ignore and dismiss her demands as illogical and irrational.  In fact, I’ve talked to girls who claim they like and enjoy cat-calling.  While it is a somewhat mundane form of validation, why should I encourage others to acquiesce to the demands of this writer vs these other girls I’ve talked to? It’s also not just the ladies I’ve talked to but ladies online, including self-identifying feminists.   Decisions, decisions.

I very much dislike in today’s polarized and vitriolic climate.  I also take issue with the constant refusal and automatic dismissal of people based on what they identify with as well as the labels others give them – yes that includes radical feminists and all other “labels” I disprove of.   We should never become these irate walking narcissists who will only associate with others who think as we do.   However, we must be careful as well.

In the end, if a woman confronts you about “catcalling” its an immediate, glaring, and vibrant red flag that you should ignore her and refuse to converse with her any further. Walk away, and if she refuses to stop following you, threaten to call the police.  The chances are high she could be a radical feminists who has a score to settle with the male half of our species and defining your words as “harassment” is her logical next step.   When you run into the Jezebels of the world, it’s best to avoid them, or face their wrath in which the ends always justify the means.

Happy Conversing.

Is Money In Politics Bad?

This always depends on whose money the “political party” and advocates are receiving. Ultimately, it is it’s own time held tradition of American hypocrisy that can be summed up as, “It’s wrong when you do it, but okay when I do.”

I came across this article in The Washington Post detailing a list for 2014 revealing the donors for the Center for American Progress.  CAP finally decided to do this after taking some criticism for a lack of transparency from fellow progressives as well as conservatives only too eager to point out flaws in their opponents.

Notable top donors include Walmart, financial giant Citigroup, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and some large biotech and pharma firms.  Walmart is actually particular shocking, considering unions’s attitude toward them and their top-dog status as a progressive punching bag.  This however, is not what what we should apparently be paying attention to.

“We’re proud of our donors,” CAP president Neera Tanden said in an interview. “We’re very diversified. We have a very low percentage of corporate donors. We have a wide panoply of individual and foundation supporters.

In political campaign financing and lobbying, there seems to be this odd disconnect between who you should take money from and why.  Most progressives will insist that money in politics is bad, but won’t hesitate to ask and accept plenty of it in order to win political races and advance certain agenda’s.  It was not too long ago when Michelle Obama decried the influence of money in politics, only to request campaign donations in the same speech only minutes before.

The irony of this hasn’t been lost on those on the left. This was brought up by The Atlantic in an article a few months back, “Is Philanthropy Bad for Democracy?”  in which Gara Lamarche made this point about his fellow progressives:

Why are they are not more concerned about the undemocratic and largely unaccountable nature of philanthropy? Why are we—since I too have failed, for years, to ask these big questions—hypersensitive to the dangers of big money in politics, and the way it perpetuates advantage and inequality, but blind, it seems, to the dangers of big philanthropy in the public sphere?

A prevailing question that continues to remain is as to why money from “corporations” is dangerous, but money from huge political PACs, non-profit organizations, ect are not.   The CAP president emphasized the variety of donors and foundations contributing money as somehow not as “bad” as receiving money from more “acceptable” sources. Why?

The fundamental question we must ask is rather simple: Do the end’s justify the means in regards to where the cash comes from?  There is no gray area.  Either money in politics is bad or it is not.  People with strong political involvements are willing to make all sorts of exceptions about where they get their money from while condemning others for doing the exact same thing.

At some point, there must be some consistency or the whole argument breaks down into what it has become now; decrying others for doing the exact same thing that you are doing.  While you may be right about the destructive influence of “their” money in politics, it doesn’t make your identical actions any less destructive.

Either we get rid of money from politics all-together, or we quit pointing fingers at people getting funding from places, people, and worldviews we don’t like.   This of course brings up another issue: Is money free speech?   That is another debacle with it’s own mess.