This post can also be subtitled “Why certain things aren’t problematic when certain races say them.”
(SN: This post is meant to be informative.)
As a black American woman (of caribbean descent) who has lived in three countries, nothing bothers me more than getting on tumblr to see things from my culture being used to label celebrities as problematic and guilty of cultural appropriation, or a prominent black celebrity’s words being labelled as problematic when given the culture we ourselves come from and the understanding behind it, they are more helpful to who she was speaking than harmful (referring here to the post on Tyra).
To start with the Tyra thing, the danger of running a blog where you are criticizing celebrities for the harmful things they say/do is that when encountering a culture you’re not familiar with it is easy to misconstrue their meaning as something bad, when it is in effect the opposite. When Tyra told the contestant “I don’t want another black bitch” (and I remember that episode; I watched it), she wasn’t saying something racist. She was referring to the stereotype of the “black bitch” that is seen throughout all of America. It’s an extremely harmful stereotype, and it does nothing to help the women who perpetuate it succeed. Tyra has to be hard on the black contestants because of the nature of the industry they are trying to enter. It is not her job to challenge the industry, rather to help these young women gain a foothold, and there are certain things that people—especially black people—have to conform to in order to work in American society. When Tyra tells Danielle to change her accent, its not about condemning her Southern accent as wrong. It is that certain black accents really are not seen as acceptable. It is almost impossible to get a job as a black person if you speak with certain accents. This is just how society works.
But beyond that. Most celebrities listed here are being accused of cultural appropriation, and while some are blatant cases of what is most definitely a bad thing, one has to remember that “cutural appropriation” in and of itself is not a bad thing. Sure, the connotation associated with it is largely negative, but in actuality it has more to do with the transfer of cultures as we interact with each other. Culture isn’t cut and dry, we’re next to each other but completely separate. There are overlaps always. And the society we live in today is a globalised society. Every culture from around the world interacts with each other; we are not as separated as we have been in the past. And this always leads to cultural appropriation. When someone gets a tattoo of a Chinese, Japanese, or Arabic word that is cultural appropriation in a way, but it is not the negative stereotype of cultural appropriation. That is merely an example of globalisation. Would you call it cultural appropriation still if someone got a french word tattooed on them? More than people from that particular culture speak the language. People all over the world learn different languages every day. I myself have spent time studying French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and Mandarin. That is a form of cultural appropriation. But it’s not negative. Partaking in anime? Also cultural appropriation. But also just the sharing of cultures.
When I see you accusing, say, Christina Aguilera as having participated in cultural appropriation because of her cornrows/do-rag, I feel that you are missing the point of what makes cultural appropriation problematic. Hairstyles are not generally a negative cultural appropriation. I myself proudly rock a frohawk somedays—which is an appropriated form of a mohawk. Many a white person goes and gets corn rows/locs done, and the only issue I have with it is that they look stupid half the time because their hair is not the right texture for the style. But if a white person can rock the locs, then more power to them. It’s a hairstyle.
Generally, I like what you’re attempting to do here. But I feel that you need to narrow down your range of what is “cultural appropriation” because not everything you have listed is entirely problematic, and running a blog like this means that people will accept you as an authority on these things, whether you know what you’re talking about or are just winging it.
So my point here is, cultural appropriation in its truest form happens around us on a daily basis. Other cultures participate in it, too. Eastern cultures using things that are decidedly Western in nature, and not just because of imperialism. Because they look cool. There is a whole subculture in Japan dedicated to people who want to be black and try and act like what they think “black” is. This is a natural occurrence when cultures come together, and our world is one big, giant melting pot of cultures at the moment. What the issue should be here is picking out the parts that are problematic. And you do that here. It’s just the flip sie of the coin, the appropriate cultural appropriation, that needs to be recognized.
(Oh, and for the record, black face is okay in historical movies/shows if portrayed properly and in such a way as not to be glorified because it is part of our history and we can’t just wipe that away with a “it’s problematic so it should never be portrayed ever because it requires people to do blackface”.)
I understand if you don’t post this because it’s about the content of the blog, rather than adding a new submission in line with what this blog is portraying, but at least read this and if you want to respond to what I have to say, please do so. My ask is always open.
Mod Note: not sure I agree with this, but it’s important to have multiple perspectives on here
This would have been more meaningful if it had come from someone besides the straight, white man. You know, like the lady two people over.
Seriously? Seriously, people? Shut the fuck up. Because he is a white straight man making an effort to gather support for equal rights he is unworthy? That his support is nothing? Or that it’s not good enough for him to support equal rights? Get your slick stinky underwear out of your ass crack and stop being so stupid. I’ve heard macklemore get so much shit today for FUCKING SUPPORTING equal rights! He is a straight white man using his privilege in a correct and respectful way and people seem to have a problem with that?! You’re fucking kidding me. So if he just decided to suck someone’s dick the day before, would his support finally mean something?! Man, shut the hell up people. This is support right here, and in the mainstream media.
/end motherfucking rant
|—||Isaac Asimov (via tartantambourine)|
More Macklemore, less Robin Thicke.
And yet a huge percentage of Tumblr hates him. Not trying to be confrontational, but could someone please explain to me why this is?
Because he is a straight white guy and Tumblr isn’t always right.
oh my god if i have to see this post on my dashboard one more time
all right, okay. let’s talk.
last year on a slow day in law/society class, my teacher showed us a movie where charlize theron was one of the only female workers in a mine in minnesota. she experienced a fuckload of sexual harassment, ofc; it was when she started daring to complain about the sexual harassment that shit got really bad.
i remember watching charlize theron go through all these awful things, and i remember getting vaguely invested in her as a heroine; yeah, you go charlize theron, you continue to work despite these harassment and assaults, you stand up for yourself when people shun you in the community, etc
and there was this climactic scene where the miners’ union was having a meeting, and charlize theron was going up to complain about something or tell people she was suing the company or smth, i can’t remember, and she stood there in front of this huge crowd of angry men who were booing her and catcalling her and shouting the worst things at her and she’s getting really miserable
and then her father, who also works at the mine, goes up and says “hey, you’re all jerks, think of your mothers & daughters, would you treat them this way,” and the miners are like “oh wow charlize theron totally does deserve our support etc” and then the movie continues
but all i could think was— what, so they’ll listen to a man but not to the woman who’s actually affected? why doesn’t charlize theron get to save the day and be the hero? in a conversation about sexism, why is his voice more important than hers?
we’re not mad at macklemore. or— well, we are mad at macklemore, but we’re more mad at the system that prioritizes macklemore over actual queer rappers, over actual rappers of color, who have been saying exactly the same shit for decades and been ignored.
we’re mad at the system that gives more attention to straight allies than queer activists.
we’re mad at the system that only supports queer rights when they are quiet and polite and have cute graphics.
we’re mad at the system that makes macklemore a hero of of the queer struggle but doesn’t know marsha p. johnson’s name.
we’re mad at the system that will listen to macklemore when he comes to defend us— but won’t listen to us.
we’re mad at the system that has constructed itself to make damn certain that only straight cis white boys can be heroes.
it’s fuckin’ great that macklemore thought he was gay in third grade. but the system would rather give his third grade gay freakout the spotlight than our actual whole-life queer experiences— and that’s not okay.
Yep, we’re mad at the system, and we’re mad at him for not acknowledging how much he benefits from it in any meaningful way (before anyone says a damn thing: yes, we know he wrote a song about white privilege. We don’t care. It wasn’t good enough).
When people say “the first rapper to ever make such a stance about marriage equality!” when introducing him, he could at least have the common damn decency to say “Thank you, but I’m actually nowhere near the first one. Between queer artists of color rapping about their own experiences, and some bigger straight names than me talking about their support for marriage equality and other queer causes, there’s actually a lot more acceptance in the rap game than people think. But there could always be more.” And then he could rap his shitty Same Love song.
We - or at least I, can’t speak for all his critics here - wouldn’t have nearly as much of a problem with him if THAT’S how he approached it. But he doesn’t. He lets the “straight savior of the queers” narrative stand untouched because IT IS MAKING HIM RICH AND FAMOUS. How completely shitty is that? How could you NOT be pissed at this dude?
So if it’s not perfect it’s not worth it then? because that is what you just said. Seriously, it’s never good enough, it seems half of tumblr won’t accept anything less than “I am scum because I am a white male who likes women, I beg for your forgiveness” even then I doubt tumblr would be okay with him, they would still find reasons to dislike him because of who he is. I mean seriously, look at this fucking sentence: “before anyone says a damn thing: yes, we know he wrote a song about white privilege. We don’t care. It wasn’t good enough” so because he doesn’t acknowledge his privilege constantly, because he only did it in a song, because he isn’t fucking grovelling at your feet, begging for forgiveness for having the horrible misfortune to be born a straight white male, because he dared accept money for his OWN FUCKING ART WORK he is trash in your book? His activism means less than nothing? you’re angry at HIM because he succeeded where others have failed? That is some grade ‘A’ bullshit.
First of all I don’t think most people think Macklemore is the first person EVER to rap about equality issues, if you truly think that you’re an idiot, but he IS the first person to make it mainstream and cool. and to be honest, it shouldn’t matter WHO he is. What’s important is that its actually being done. It seems incredibly assholey to basically be saying “oh well we want marriage equality to become something that is cool and talked about but we don’t want *him* to be the one to make that happen”.
So yeah I’m NOT mad at Macklemore, because he is doing more for the cause of marriage equality than any celebrity personality in the fucking country right now. let that soak in, and then tell me again how Macklemore is a bad person? because he doesn’t give others credit for his work? because he has the audacity not to be gay? Go ahead and be mad at the system if you want, but don’t try to put down those who are attempting to game the system to your advantage. Because that is exactly what Macklemore is doing, and everyone hates him for it.
torrid, “white skull with headdress tee,” $28.50
this shirt is great because native americans are often depicted wearing headdresses like that, and the skeleton reminds you that white people attempted to obliterate them and killed thousands of them and we still treat them like shit and…
(Non-sliced version here.)
that’s how it’s done
This tiny blessed sphere…called Earth.
Silver Surfer #1, August 1968
John Buscema and Stan Lee
He’s really more of a cat person…
sonic themed traditional marrige pictures will never stop being comedy gold to me because my headcanon sexuality for sonic (yea i have sexuality headcanons for cartoon animals wanna fite me over it) is that he will literally enter a casual relationship with basically anything with a pulse, but has a preference for dudes
and I keep seeing all these people who draw sonic as a staunch supporter of Christian Family Values and just
laugh a lot
I was watching the Two Best Friends play-through of that new Bionic Commando game and this idea was actually discussed. The theory Woolie posited made a disturbing amount of sense.
That theory being that, for a lot of the people who make art like that, they were brought up in strict Christian households and therefore did not have a lot of access to the traditionally cooler cartoons and video games and movies because of the presence of violence and cusses and whatnot. So, no Batman, no Robocop, no Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, no Ren and Stimpy, no Simpsons, etc. And Sonic, who was the coolest of the two between him and Mario in the early 90’s, didn’t have any violence or cussing or blood or scantily clad women. Sonic was like the coolest thing you could get your hands on if you were in that kind of environment.
Thus there is an entire generation of young adults who were raised in very conservative religious families who grew up with Sonic being the absolute coolest thing they had access to, and they latched onto it and project their own religious views onto him for… validation that they are cool by extension from a fictional blue hedgehog I guess.
Whatever the reason is I will never stop loving religious Sonic the Hedgehog fanart. It feels as though it channels the very essence of internet without bringing porn into the mix.