“Twitter is weird. A huge amount of what’s written there is metatextual commentary on other tweets intended for a knowing audience reading in a specific moment. It’s an ephemeral, self-referential mode of discourse that is unfortunately not ephemeral or tied to reference points at all — in fact, it’s designed to be broadcast, archived, searched, and embedded by anyone, in any context, at any point in the future.” – Ezra Klein from Vox
Everyone wants to build their own special brand. They want to be someone unique, while being controversial enough to push just the right buttons and step outside boundaries by inches to stand out in a crowded online world. Provocation = profit. A few make a living and following by doing this and the rest don’t. You can be a self-made man and be your own boss! Basically you self-brand.
We of course have a bit of familiarity with those who make it and can ACTUALLY freelance and pay their bills because they did just that. That “fame” and newly acquired online rep comes at a price though; you can go from self-made and having made it to zero quite fast.
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 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. “
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.
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.”