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I am just so happy I live where I live.  The way to get over race is to talk with people over race. It is to see people as individuals and not as representatives of a race or ethnicity.  

 

As to systemic racism and advantages our ancestors got for their race--- well, mine got none.  My parents didn't have a mortgage so no advantage there and in Europe, they were imprisoned due to their ethnicity.  No advantage their either.  THey individually were one of a very small percentage that survived the gulag.  But I have experienced racism and scary racism at that.  My first experience was on a bus as the only white person and the bus driver decided not to let me off.  A black woman saw me ringing the bell with no response and she got up and rang the bell and he finally stopped.  She was not getting out but I was able to leave.  I was 13 and had no power at all. 

 

I totally reject the definition of racism on the part of all white people against everyone else here in the US.  I have seen blacks be racist against other blacks-  I was in a theater with a mostly black audience for the James Bond movie with Grace Jones (a beautiful very dark black woman).  There were loud shots of eewww and how could he kiss her-= she is so dark when he kisses her in the movie.  I was shocked by it.   Then in work situations, I heard racism by blacks against Hispanics and the other way around.  Also Asians against blacks and blacks against Asians.  

 

I think it would be very wise for everyone to stop talking about cultural appropriation.  Getting the best from different cultures and combining in new ways is a specialty of the US.  I think we need to step back.

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When my oldest was 6 she was best friends with the little girl next door, whose family were Chinese immigrants. They decided together that they wanted to be Chinese princesses for Halloween, so I took

This is all so utterly ridiculous. Why don’t we just separate into our different ethnicities and not interact lest we somehow offend one another. No, actually, it’s just we white folks that have t

I have seen quite a number of videos showing people of color making demands of white people with ranting/cursing/racial slurs galore. Attacking whites both verbally and physically. Reminiscent of the nasty behavior shown by whites in videos during the civil rirights movement and desegregation. They were definitely NOT calling for equality by any stretch of the imagination. They declared the superiority of their race and demanded their turn “on topâ€. That’s racism, pure and simple.

As several posters have already mentioned, the difference is the power and authority afforded to each group. These videos you've seen make no difference. They are not a threat. The people posting the videos aren't gaining political or legal power because of them. They don't have widespread support.

 

But we have seen, this very year, white supremacists marching and calling for whites to remain "on top" and they are being called fine people by very powerful politicians. The power differential is clear, or at least to me it is.

Edited by Amira
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In the context of 'what should people do, in general, to be respectful and kind in a culture that has overall racial issues' -- racism is only one way: from those who are or have been widely dominant, towards those that are or have been sometimes dominated.

 

Cultural appropriation is a race-based offence that is only relevant in that kind of context, and is only possible in one direction.

 

Cultural appropriation is something that should be avoided by all members of only one side of this issue: whether they hold racist ideas or not. It is one of the things people should do, in general, to be respectful and kind in a culture that has overall racial issues.

 

Being a racist bigot who mistreats other people just because they are 'other' than their own race can run in a lot of directions. This is conceptually different from the 'general population' ideas if how to be respectful and kind towards others in general. A bigot who is willing to discriminate and mistreat people has no interest in being helped to see and try more respectful public behaviour.

 

Discrimination and mistreatment serious, and it is racist, no matter which individual does it, no matter who the target is. The more power the person has, the more serious it is.

 

Where the two concepts are both in play is this: discrimination is 'more serious' when it runs in line with existing systemic racism. The system adds power to the individual, and the system is strengthened overall by the individual's actions.

 

You can fight both -- if you are a bigot (and would rather not be) or if you know and can influence people who a tivey discriminate against anyone. If you aren't faced with active individual discrimination and mistreatment, you can still fight systemic racism by hearing the message about what's offensive (other than outright discrimination and mistreatment) and choosing kind, respectful public behaviour.

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“To the New Culture Cops Everything is Cultural Appropriation†in the Washington Post. Interesting.

No, I do not and will not consider it a raced based offence. Welcome to America. The Melting Pot.

 

Maybe some are offended that illegal immigrants come to the United States and misappropriate things that are not theirs. do you support that? Oh, wait. I forgot again. Those darn white people don’t have rights.

 

In the context of 'what should people do, in general, to be respectful and kind in a culture that has overall racial issues' -- racism is only one way: from those who are or have been widely dominant, towards those that are or have been sometimes dominated.

 

Cultural appropriation is a race-based offence that is only relevant in that kind of context, and is only possible in one direction.

 

Cultural appropriation is something that should be avoided by all members of only one side of this issue: whether they hold racist ideas or not. It is one of the things people should do, in general, to be respectful and kind in a culture that has overall racial issues.

 

Being a racist bigot who mistreats other people just because they are 'other' than their own race can run in a lot of directions. This is conceptually different from the 'general population' ideas if how to be respectful and kind towards others in general. A bigot who is willing to discriminate and mistreat people has no interest in being helped to see and try more respectful public behaviour.

 

Discrimination and mistreatment serious, and it is racist, no matter which individual does it, no matter who the target is. The more power the person has, the more serious it is.

 

Where the two concepts are both in play is this: discrimination is 'more serious' when it runs in line with existing systemic racism. The system adds power to the individual, and the system is strengthened overall by the individual's actions.

 

You can fight both -- if you are a bigot (and would rather not be) or if you know and can influence people who a tivey discriminate against anyone. If you aren't faced with active individual discrimination and mistreatment, you can still fight systemic racism by hearing the message about what's offensive (other than outright discrimination and mistreatment) and choosing kind, respectful public behaviour.

Edited by Cindy in FL.
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I don't think it's exclusively one or the other. In some cases it's just virtue signaling.

 

Which should disgust everyone--it's a user mentality, which is still dehumanizing.  Except now we can all feel warm and fuzzy about it.  That's one of several reasons why the way these conversations unfold gets really deep under my skin.

 

 

 

 

bolt., how widespread is the understanding you're expressing on this thread?  Could I go to any minority individual and expect them to agree with what you've said?  The question goes doubly for if/when we get down to brass tacks about what specifically falls into cultural appropriation and what doesn't. 

 

I mean can we at least acknowledge that every minority community is made up of actual individuals who may or may not agree with either their spokesmen or the non-minorities who think they're doing anyone a favor by speaking for said community?  Because though it's not really the same in my mind, I don't appreciate getting lumped into the "what women want" soapbox speeches.  Unless the speaker asked me, they aren't speaking for me and I might vehemently disagree with whatever it is they're spouting.  and I thoroughly do not appreciate being told I'm deficient in my womanliness for having a different opinion.  That's super arrogant.  I would hope not to show such arrogance to someone regarding their ethnicity, nationality, religion, etc.  And I have in the past--out of ignorance, not malevolence.  My view doesn't make me any less prone to stupidity.  But it does make me less receptive to all this broad-brushed stuff.  I just can't be.  To me it denies nuance, autonomy, and drowns out individual voices.  Too much boxing in and pigeon-holing; that's what we're trying to get away from, right?

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And the people for whom some are offended - did anyone consider that it may be offensive to assume that?

 

My friend from India may not appreciate the assumption of our JW friends that they should witness to her in Hindi (with or without a non-Indian accent).  They did not ask her.  Her everyday language is English.  She does not ever speak, read, or write Hindi except to interact with people in India who use it for their first language.  Nor does she wear traditional Indian clothes except to attend ethnic parties.  But she is not offended by others who enjoy trying to learn Indian languages or wear traditional Indian clothes.

 

My kids don't appreciate the assumption that every person from a Latin American background speaks Spanish at home.  Or eats Mexican food.

 

My Honduran nanny does not like being considered a "person of color" but considers herself and her family "white."  (Some of them are darker than our last president.)

 

My friend whose parents are from Ukraine, the whitest of them all, is probably the most attached to her ethnic roots.  Speaks the language, wears the clothes, plays the traditional instrument to sing the traditional songs, mourns the historical abuses, promotes the political agenda, etc.  Where do her feelings fit into this kind of discussion?

Edited by SKL
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“To the New Culture Cops Everything is Cultural Appropriation†in the Washington Post. Interesting.

No, I do not and will not consider it a raced based offence. Welcome to America. The Melting Pot.

 

Maybe some are offended that illegal immigrants come to the United States and misappropriate things that are not theirs. do you support that? Oh, wait. I forgot again. Those darn white people don’t have rights.

 

 

I fully support the rights of various countries to have and enforce immigration laws. I don't get how "offended" is the best category for people's feelings about the flaws their immigration system and the behaviour of those who take advantage of it. I'm also not sure how one "supports" or "doesn't" support those folks.

 

I'm pretty sure that Americans have a charter of human rights? Don't you? Most countries do. Those are the rights of white people -- they are many, and they are revolutionary. No one is suggesting that white people have no rights.

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Which should disgust everyone--it's a user mentality, which is still dehumanizing. Except now we can all feel warm and fuzzy about it. That's one of several reasons why the way these conversations unfold gets really deep under my skin.

 

 

 

 

bolt., how widespread is the understanding you're expressing on this thread? Could I go to any minority individual and expect them to agree with what you've said? The question goes doubly for if/when we get down to brass tacks about what specifically falls into cultural appropriation and what doesn't.

 

I mean can we at least acknowledge that every minority community is made up of actual individuals who may or may not agree with either their spokesmen or the non-minorities who think they're doing anyone a favor by speaking for said community? Because though it's not really the same in my mind, I don't appreciate getting lumped into the "what women want" soapbox speeches. Unless the speaker asked me, they aren't speaking for me and I might vehemently disagree with whatever it is they're spouting. and I thoroughly do not appreciate being told I'm deficient in my womanliness for having a different opinion. That's super arrogant. I would hope not to show such arrogance to someone regarding their ethnicity, nationality, religion, etc. And I have in the past--out of ignorance, not malevolence. My view doesn't make me any less prone to stupidity. But it does make me less receptive to all this broad-brushed stuff. I just can't be. To me it denies nuance, autonomy, and drowns out individual voices. Too much boxing in and pigeon-holing; that's what we're trying to get away from, right?

The understanding I'm expressing is widely held by sociologists: people who study and provide vocabulary for the functioning of societies. (Subject, of course, to my casual and amateur method of trying to explain them -- which is likely to be imperfect in many ways.) Sociologists define racism, systemic racism and cultural appropriation very clearly, so that any culture can see where and how that language applies to their society.

 

The idea that 'we should not' engage in cultural appropriation is a value statement (not a sociological statement). In fact, sociologists studiously avoid 'should' as a foundational concept within their professional work. Sociologists don't care if societies are 'good' or 'bad' -- they just want accuracy in disctioptions of what happens and why, which things cause which other things.

 

It is likely that many people would recognize this vocabulary as a useful tool to examine the real situation of various minorities. I have no idea how widely understood it would be by any given individual -- but it is a discription of what is happening. It's like people who use grammar reasonably well but don't know what a participle is. They live it, but they might or might not know the technical terms to discribe it.

 

Sociologists aren't interested in individuals -- just groups. When they study individuals, they learn as much from exceptions as they do from 'rules'; but their job is to seek and understand 'rules'.

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I’m sorry, but the outcry of “you’ve offended me†has risen to levels which simply cannot be explained by what you and others are saying on this thread. We could always have global desegregation and even out the ethnic groups so that no one has the majority culture.

 

I’m not going to spend my life overthinking every single word that comes out of my mouth to the point that I am unable to interact with anyone lest I offend them. Frankly, there is a lot that goes on in my country that offends me, but I don’t go around complaining about it all the time, or suing people, or calling 911 because someone hurt my feelings. Oh, I forgot. I’m white so I have no right to be offended about anything.

 

 

 

Interesting. I haven't had one personal experience of someone saying "You've offended me" that has been grating. I have had people of color whom I knew well, including some at the church, who shared things from their hearts that were painful to them. They weren't going around with some chip on their shoulder , ready to take offense just because it's fun. From their sharing, I've had my eyes open to things I couldn't possibly have seen before. I am very grateful for it. What really opened my eyes, though, was being a foster mother to a black daughter. Nothing like being mama bear to help you see what's threatening your cub. 

 

Are your experiences of people saying "You've offended me!" personal ones, or ones you've been exposed to from media, or friends or other? I think other perspectives are useful, but it would be helpful to know where you are coming from. 

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That said, my kid requesting a ninja costume is not racism. My allowing her to wear one is not racism. This would be true whether my kid's skin was brown or white.

 

I do understand the concern about not using actual ethnic clothes or spiritual symbols in insensitive ways. Regardless of the skin color of whatever original people used said clothes / symbols. Rather than say "you are white so you don't get to copy that style," it would make more sense to say "Hey, those are religious / spiritual symbols - let's learn some more about them. They are to be taken very seriously and not in play on Halloween."

SKL, if your daughter wants to be a ninja aka mercenary, go right on ahead. Do your thing!

 

If you want to learn some of the context behind the costume:

Japanese kimono and martial arts uniforms including ninja were/are worn a very specific way. The way the lapels are arranged and even the way the knots of the belts are tied if done in the opposite way usually signify that the person wearing it is dead. Would I bat an eye if I saw a kid wearing a generic ninja costume on Halloween...probably not. Would I take pause if I were dressing my own kid in ninja uniform...absolutely. I wouldn’t want my kid walking around wearing the wrong cultural symbol saying she was dead because I am aware that there is a cultural significance to it. Of course, not many people would realize there was so much meaning in these details. On Halloween, it’s just a costume meant for fun. Some people might care and some people won’t care. It would be up to you if you wanted to learn the history behind your costume.

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If someone approached me and told me my costume was offensive, I would be super embarrassed and make sure to rectify it as much as possible. I would want to be as respectful as possible and try to widen my knowledge about a culture I don’t fully understand. If I showed up to a mosque in Istanbul with my hair uncovered while wearing muddy shoes and someone chastised me, I wouldn’t say, “How dare you?! You’re wrong!†Sometimes costumes have a cultural and/or racial aspect that have been mocked over time for the sake of Halloween or disregarded and their significance gets watered down. I wouldn’t be upset if someone asked me to refrain from wearing such costumes. I don’t think that is unreasonable.

 

And I don’t think people are looking to be offended here. If you look at a lot of Halloween stores, so many of their costumes are caricatures of stereotypes. It’s probably just a time when people are getting their voice to pipe up and say, “Hey, this isn’t so cool after all.â€

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I think that line of thinking is totally overstepping a very clear line of decency. In my mind, there is nothing wrong with a child (or anyone for that matter) dressing up as a fictional character that is of a different race or cultural background as long as there isn't attempt to alter one's skin color. That's 100000000% not that same thing as going as a "Native American Princess." One is intended to show your appreciation for a character, the other is trivializing someone else's race and culture.

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“To the New Culture Cops Everything is Cultural Appropriation†in the Washington Post. Interesting.

No, I do not and will not consider it a raced based offence. Welcome to America. The Melting Pot.

 

Maybe some are offended that illegal immigrants come to the United States and misappropriate things that are not theirs. do you support that? Oh, wait. I forgot again. Those darn white people don’t have rights.

 

 

I feel ya. So let's say we succeed at abolishing all cultural appropriation and everyone who has a power differential doesn't partake of any other cultural identities. At some point the prediction is the US will become less and less white until white is the minority. Then what? Now that white is the minority will they look back and start believing this is the time they were repressed by other people? Will they feel the decades their ancestors spent having marks against their college application for being too white, for not being able to dress as Moana while everyone else could, that their mother had her Mexican food restaurant shut down because she was too white to make the food...will this all one day be seen as systemic racism once whites are the minority? Then what? Will they be allowed then to partake of others cultures and we will reverse the tide?

 

This just all seems...to use a Maui term, coockidukes to me. The sharing and merging of cultural ideas is what has gotten us here to begin within. Innovation, ingenuity, improving upon ideas...you name it. What about me, a white girl more comfortable within a Hispanic culture because I grew up that way. Am I appropriating? What about that girl raised in a black community to feels more comfortable in cornrows. Is she?

 

How about how it effects writers? I found this fascinating...

 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/13/lionel-shrivers-full-speech-i-hope-the-concept-of-cultural-appropriation-is-a-passing-fad

 

Can you imagine what literature we wouldn't have if we gave ourselves anxiety about this constantly?

Edited by nixpix5
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I will not tell a 3, 4, 5, or even a 6 or 7 yr old that they cannot dress as their favorite character simply because other people are offended she wants to BE that character.  Characters, be they Shrek or Moana, or Tiana, or whoever....are people my kids have been exposed to.  They want to be these characters because they see them on the big screen.  That's not the same thing as an 11 yr old, a 14yr old, an adult, wanting to be a "sexy nun" or "sexy Pocahontas."  My kid isn't being exposed to generic "sexy" characters.  For my 7yr old DD, being Moana would be no different than being Anna, or Nemo.

 

Except of course, DD7, she hasn't even SEEN Moana.  Guess who she doesn't want to be for Halloween.  She HAS seen Frozen.  Which is why she is Anna.  And, even better, DD(almost)9, is going to be Elsa.  Why....because they have seen Frozen a million times, and because they are sisters too.  It's SO COOL to be just like the characters you see on TV and in the movies.  SO COOL. 

 

And, I don't like the idea of telling KIDS that they can't be the characters they see on TV that they thing are SO COOL......just because they don't look like those characters. 

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So is DD's vintage dress, NASA badge, and a black wig a bad idea? The badge has Katherine Johnson's name and photo.

 

 

I think that where KJ is a person your dd looks to as a role model this is excellent!!!!  

 

(Myself, I'd not even be against some darkening powder make-up for skin tone, so long as it were not a stereotypical wearing of blackface to poke fun at blacks type thing.  )

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If a non white girl wanted to dress up as Cinderella, I would not call it racist. We are not assigned our princesses by race. The mere fact that a child would want to dress up as someone not their own race shows that the child is not concerned with race, which is a good thing. If people want to break the race barriers, they need to stop telling kids they can only play pretend of their own race. My daughter has dolls of all races. And she loves Tiana and has a tiana costume. And this is OK.

:iagree:

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I guess I sort of feel like it's more racist to tell a little white girl who wants to be Moana, no you can't be that princess because she's Polynesian, than it would be just to let her be whichever princess she wants and not see the race. It feels like it's teaching the child to think of people by their race or ethnicity and personally I've always taught my kids that people are all the same and have different skin colors just like people have different eye or hair color. I wouldn't teach my kids to discriminate in that way.

 

But people aren't all the same, and teaching children to be color blind is not the same as teaching them not to be racist.

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Personally, I don’t have a problem as any kid dressing up as a Disney princess et al because it’s a very specific character with specific storylines and props. They are being marketed across all multicultural lines. My DD loves Moana (as do I) and Elena. When she was younger she was enamored with the Disney version of Cinderella and I once saw her pretending to “put in her blue eyes†in order to complete her being Cinderella. It kind of broke my heart that she thought she equated having blue eyes meant being a true princess. Representation matters. I think it’s great that so many girls of different races get to emulate their favorite characters regardless, whether it’s Cinderella or Tiana or Moana.

 

I do, however, remind my DD that there is more to a culture than just the face of one princess.

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I'm pretty sure it was more insane when people were busy owning each other, committing genocide, kidnapping and incarcerating children, claiming land by violence, and supporting the clear eugenic supeiority of the white race.

 

"Those people" are clearly just looking for reasons to be offended? Should "they" just be good enough to forget the past grand injustices, ignore the present everyday injustices, and convincingly pretend that they feel nothing when white parents fail to see any reason to discourage their children from making fun-times out of their non-white appearance and caricatured culture?

First of all, back when slavery in America existed, specifically slavery of black people, no white child ever would have wanted to have dressed up as a black person because they felt the black person was a princess, beautiful, and wonderful. Never would have happened.

 

Second of all, it is important that all races have been held as slaves at some point and all races have had slaves. And it still goes on today..... no one can blame one race for slavery. http://www.theclever.com/15-countries-where-slavery-is-still-legal/

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First of all, back when slavery in America existed, specifically slavery of black people, no white child ever would have wanted to have dressed up as a black person because they felt the black person was a princess, beautiful, and wonderful. Never would have happened.

 

Second of all, it is important that all races have been held as slaves at some point and all races have had slaves. And it still goes on today..... no one can blame one race for slavery. http://www.theclever.com/15-countries-where-slavery-is-still-legal/

No one blames one race for slavery.

 

I only said that the conduct I described was "more insane" than the sensitivity being requested and granted between people of good will and minorities in many western white-majority countries.

 

Sensitivity is not appalling. Racism is appalling.

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Yeah, I disagree with the article.  Moana is fine.  Moana is not "mocking someone else's culture" or "reducing it to a stereotype".  I think it's awesome that little girls want to be Moana.  All types of girls.

 

 

And, it is the opposite of mocking.   

 

I think the cross-cultural costumes should be encouraged not discouraged.   If you emulate Moana, for example, one Halloween and you get coo'ed over and told how wonderful you look.   Then a couple of years later, a girl joins your school that looks a bit like Moana, won't you be more likely to think that she was pretty and neat and maybe a desirable friend?   

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No one blames one race for slavery.

 

I only said that the conduct I described was "more insane" than the sensitivity being requested and granted between people of good will and minorities in many western white-majority countries.

 

Sensitivity is not appalling. Racism is appalling.

A 4-year-old dressing up as a beloved cartoon character is not appalling.

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First of all, back when slavery in America existed, specifically slavery of black people, no white child ever would have wanted to have dressed up as a black person because they felt the black person was a princess, beautiful, and wonderful. Never would have happened.

 

Second of all, it is important that all races have been held as slaves at some point and all races have had slaves. And it still goes on today..... no one can blame one race for slavery. http://www.theclever.com/15-countries-where-slavery-is-still-legal/

Uhh...how do you explain blackface then? White kids didn’t want to dress up like black people but theatrical actors did anyway? People were imitating black skin for theatrical relief since the 1830s. And the blackface characters were always portrayed in comedic or subhuman tropes, never as the “strong, beautiful, and wonderful princesses.â€

 

And also, you don’t need slavery to exist today to be able to recognize that systemic racism still exists. Slavery may have been abolished but there is still a huge power imbalance between majority and minority race.

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A 4-year-old dressing up as a beloved cartoon character is not appalling.

It's not appalling, and it's not usually even disrespectful, and mostly people don't mind a character-specific costume when it is thoughtfully and sensitively done.

 

It begins to be somewhat disrespectful if she is permitted to make the costume more accurate by changing her skin tone, or if she uses religious symbolism or other cultural symbols of deep significance to complete the look.

 

The appalling acts of racism I was referring to were the ones quoted: slavery, genocide, etc. I do not consider costuming appalling even if it is of the disrespectful sort. I just mean that no one should be more bothered by current sensitivity requests than by past horrors committed in the name of race. People can be bothered by both, I suppose, but there's got to be some sense of scale.

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Just a few more thoughts about appropriation ....

 

How much % of blood heritage must one have to be allowed to "appropriate" something from the relevant culture?  After all a high % of Americans have mixed heritage.

 

Does it matter if you've never actually lived that culture but just have some blood tie to it?

 

What if you were adopted into, say, a Jewish family from a Latino Catholic birthplace?

 

What if you married into a culture?

 

If being married or adopted into a culture counts, what about just being someone's best friend?  Close co-worker?  Neighbor?  Where is the line drawn?  Who draws the line?  (FTR I wear Indian clothes when I attend parties thrown by Indian friends.  Said clothes were gifts from Indian friends.)
 

My kids are most likely descended from Mayans.  They could pass for various Native American, South Asian, or even East Asian people.  Since they wouldn't have to color their face to fake these origins, is it somehow less wrong for them (vs. a white girl) to dress up like Pocahontas?  I mean Pocahontas wasn't Mayan, and even if she had been, my kids weren't raised as Mayans.  Maybe my kids shouldn't even be allowed to wear Mayan garb because that isn't the culture they were raised in.  And what about the kaftans they bought in Morocco, which the Moroccan merchant so carefully chose for them?  Should they not be allowed to use those?  Or is it all OK because they arguably represent some minority group, and "cultural appropriation" only applies to white people?

 

What do all these limitations really accomplish?

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Try telling him that the tattoos have meaning -- like badges from swimming lessons, or scouting, or trophies from soccer (or anything that is familiar to him). He might be able to understand that he can't wear them because he hasn't had the cultural experiences that 'earn' them and make them real. They aren't his, the same way his scouting badges don't belong to his friends. We respect the meaning of the tattoos by not wearing them as a costume, because 'for fun' isn't as important as their real meaning.

 

But people do wear symbols of accomplishments as costumes - they wear doctors' scrubs, or police badges, or a military uniform (like their dad's, maybe, if they are little kids with fathers in the military) with ribbons.  Heck, they might even dress up as a boy scout for Halloween!

 

Halloween is all about appropriating a person and identity and experience that you don't have.  

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Personally, I don’t have a problem as any kid dressing up as a Disney princess et al because it’s a very specific character with specific storylines and props. They are being marketed across all multicultural lines. My DD loves Moana (as do I) and Elena. When she was younger she was enamored with the Disney version of Cinderella and I once saw her pretending to “put in her blue eyes†in order to complete her being Cinderella. It kind of broke my heart that she thought she equated having blue eyes meant being a true princess. Representation matters. I think it’s great that so many girls of different races get to emulate their favorite characters regardless, whether it’s Cinderella or Tiana or Moana.

 

I do, however, remind my DD that there is more to a culture than just the face of one princess.

 

But Cinderella in the representation she saw, the Disney one, does have blue eyes. If she were dressing up like Belle or Snow White or Tiana, she'd have completed the look with brown eyes.

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*sigh* My veeeeery pale daughter adores Moana and goes around telling everyone she IS Moana (I've told her she has to be herself when she leaves the house because I got tired of telling stranger my three year old is obsessed with Disney's latest princess.) She's not going as Moana for Halloween (it's too cold here!) but come on. Who could possibly tell a child that age she can't be Moana because she's white and Moana isn't. :(

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My dad is from Mexico, my mom is from Long Island (Irish, English, French). So I'm half white, half Mexican, but all my life people have thought I'm Hawaiian. My husband is Japanese but looks hapa (Japanese slang for half) at best. My kids are half-Japanese, quarter-Mexican, quarter-white. My middle daughter is blonde, blue eyes, with peaches and cream skin; my youngest has black hair, practically black eyes, and deep tan skin. My in laws are constantly telling my youngest that's she "just like Mona" but when my middle, who loves Moana, says she wants to be like Moana too, they tell she can't because she's too light. I tell her she can be brave like Moana and that she loves the ocean like Moana and that it doesn't matter so much what she looks like... but apparently it does based on what I'm reading here.

 

So do mixed race people just pick the one they look the most like and forget the rest of their heritage because of their skin, eye, and hair color?

 

I guess my point is you can't even always tell someone's ethnicity from their looks .... all my kids have the same DNA, it just expressed differently. I love the diversity of my kids looks and it makes me sad that people think they can't embrace all who they are because of how they look.

 

 

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Just a few more thoughts about appropriation ....

 

How much % of blood heritage must one have to be allowed to "appropriate" something from the relevant culture? After all a high % of Americans have mixed heritage.

 

Does it matter if you've never actually lived that culture but just have some blood tie to it?

 

What if you were adopted into, say, a Jewish family from a Latino Catholic birthplace?

 

What if you married into a culture?

 

If being married or adopted into a culture counts, what about just being someone's best friend? Close co-worker? Neighbor? Where is the line drawn? Who draws the line? (FTR I wear Indian clothes when I attend parties thrown by Indian friends. Said clothes were gifts from Indian friends.)

 

My kids are most likely descended from Mayans. They could pass for various Native American, South Asian, or even East Asian people. Since they wouldn't have to color their face to fake these origins, is it somehow less wrong for them (vs. a white girl) to dress up like Pocahontas? I mean Pocahontas wasn't Mayan, and even if she had been, my kids weren't raised as Mayans. Maybe my kids shouldn't even be allowed to wear Mayan garb because that isn't the culture they were raised in. And what about the kaftans they bought in Morocco, which the Moroccan merchant so carefully chose for them? Should they not be allowed to use those? Or is it all OK because they arguably represent some minority group, and "cultural appropriation" only applies to white people?

 

What do all these limitations really accomplish?

I don’t think anyone should dress like Pochontas for Halloween, regardless of race. I know I mentioned earlier I was ok with the Disney princesses but I should have excluded Pocahontas. Some of the Native American community have spoken out against this and even if not all people are bothered by it, one complaint is enough for me to not ever pursue it. Same would apply for Maui and his tattoos. The tattoos have significant value and it would be wrong for me to exploit them for a superficial costume. If someone else complained about other costumes I would listen. There are a million other costume ideas to choose from. I can look at Native American history of genocide and realize it is not too much to relent in giving some of their dignity back when they ask for it. African Americans too have a pretty painful history here in America. Their ancestors were kidnapped, beaten, raped, enslaved and stripped of their heritage and language. They lost their original family cultures in a brutal and forced way and that is very sad. I do not think it is unreasonable at all for people to respect their wishes of not wearing blackface or dressing up like a “thug†or “hip hop gangster†or any other stereotype of being black. Doing so perpetuates the systemic racial imbalance that we still have and marginalizes minority groups.

 

Going to Morocco and wearing kaftan or wearing sari because you were gifted them have a different context. You were invited into the culture by the community to participate and you’re not wearing it in a way to mock the culture (like say, for Halloween). Most different cultures would probably warmly welcome “foreigners†who are sincere in learning more. I know some people who would be thrilled to dress them up and feed them all kinds of their specialty foods. I highly encourage that actually. Learn about someone else’s culture, their ethnic background, someone not of your own race. This is very different than slapping on a feather headdress and claiming to be “Indian†for one night of partying.

 

As for having partial ties or bloodlines to the community, I don’t know exactly what to say to this. Nixpix5 mentioned earlier that as a white female she identified with Hispanic heritage since that is what she grew up with. I empathize because all too often I have heard in my own experience and in others that we were “too X race to belong in Y group†but at the same time “too Y race to be X group.†And it hurts. You don’t know quite where to fit in because your skin color or your upbringing are different from another group’s experience. I do hope that because the population is becoming more multiracial that we won’t have to check any more boxes because we don’t fit in just one box anymore.

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But Cinderella in the representation she saw, the Disney one, does have blue eyes. If she were dressing up like Belle or Snow White or Tiana, she'd have completed the look with brown eyes.

In my case, DD asked specifically why she couldn’t have blue eyes and that she wanted me to get her blue eyes. I had to explain to her that she was born with brown eyes and that she could still be Cinderella (or whatever character) she wanted. I don’t refute that’s Disney Cinderella has blue eyes. I was bothered because she was asking to change something she was born with to, in her mind, fit an ideal.

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.... You were invited into the culture by the community to participate and you’re not wearing it in a way to mock the culture (like say, for Halloween). 

 

Kids don't dress up on Halloween to mock whatever it is they are dressing up as. The pick their costumes based on whatever they think the most.awesome.thing.ever at the moment. No kid dresses up as Pocahontas because they think she's ridiculous. They do it because they want to be like her.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

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Kids don't dress up on Halloween to mock whatever it is they are dressing up as. The pick their costumes based on whatever they think the most.awesome.thing.ever at the moment. No kid dresses up as Pocahontas because they think she's ridiculous. They do it because they want to be like her. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

I understand. Kids pick whatever that they love at the moment. And I completely understand not wanting to dash their hopes or ruin their fun. I also agree that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

 

But I am an adult who has been well made aware that Disney Pocahontas is quite different than actual real Pocahontas. Powhatan natives and historians have disputed Disney’s glamorous love story, name, her age, etc. I don’t want to misrepresent who she was by wearing her Disney costume.

 

Moana is a little different because she became this fictional character amalgamation of different cultures (same with Elena) and Disney hired a group of people to culture check the movie. They tried harder with this one. If you want to dress up as Moana, please do go ahead. We love Moana too. I’m not trying to shun anyone’s choice in thoughtful costuming. I am just saying why I think I or DD wouldn’t wear certain things or why I would take pause to think about it if someone called me out for being culturally insensitive. Use Moana as a springboard to learn more about Polynesian cultures (there are so many different groups!). Take a sailing trip, learn Hula or Tahitian or Samoan or Tonga, etc. DD fell in love with so many aspects of Moana that we get to explore cultures beyond just her costume.

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My (white) daughter is going as Princess Elena this Halloween. [emoji4]

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

 

My blonde, white 4-year-old wants an Elena birthday party next year (for now—mermaids or fairies may win). She has 3 Elena shirts/dresses, socks, and underwear and desperately wants a costume dress. She was Doc McStuffins for Halloween at 2.

Edited by AndyJoy
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I fully support the rights of various countries to have and enforce immigration laws. I don't get how "offended" is the best category for people's feelings about the flaws their immigration system and the behaviour of those who take advantage of it. I'm also not sure how one "supports" or "doesn't" support those folks.

 

I'm pretty sure that Americans have a charter of human rights? Don't you? Most countries do. Those are the rights of white people -- they are many, and they are revolutionary. No one is suggesting that white people have no rights.

What ever human rights are in any sort of charter are the rights of all Americans, not just the white ones! Edited by MotherGoose
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There are costumes that would be racist, or rude and unkind.  I tend not to like any of the ones that depict a group as a kind of negative stereotype.  

 

I think skin lightening and darkening is probably not a great idea because it upsets people - I actually don't think it's intrinsically different than wearring a wig, unless it's done in very specific ways like blackface, that fall afoul of the first issue.

 

It's generally a good idea to stay away from religious symbols, if you aren't pretty familiar with the context to know it would be ok.

 

But as far as wearing cultural costumes - yeah, I don't think it's racist.  I don't think it helps any individual, or systemic racism, to avoid it.

 

But then, I don't really believe in cultural appropriation or intellectual property.  I think they are kind of a created things, and generally more dangerous than helpful.

 

I kind of hate my kids being Disney Princesses though, mainly because ithey are experts in a kind of economic appropriation that I think is pretty ugly.

 

 

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I do think there's an extra layer (or is it one less layer?) when it comes to young children and costumes.  The layer is pretty irrelevant though, when you accept that parents are the ones making the actual choice to buy/create the costume.  I mean, I talked my 6yo out of the $60 piece of junk costume he had his heart set on with an offer to create his second choice at home, but he settled for a $15 piece of junk and now we're all happy!

 

Last year, my very brown nephew dressed up as Elsa. The idea that he or we were trying to appropriate white culture is beyond ludicrous.  Living in the US, especially with all white people raising him in an overwhelmingly white town, he has no other option than to BE white culture regardless of his heritage or skin tone.  To accuse him (or the family that supported the costume choice) of being racist or otherwise offensive to white people because of some imaginary two way street is, in my opinion, intentional feigned ignorance.

 

Princess Tiana, on the other hand, wouldn't have flown for any of our white or Latinx kids.  And why would it need to?  There are countless vanilla princesses for our kids to choose from. It isn't as if we're at a loss for options.  I did, however, see white Princess Tianas, and I didn't hate on any of them, but I do judge their parents in my head.  I don't hate kids who want to run with the Moanas, either.  I just don't understand why their parents can't be bothered to point their little pumpkins in a different direction.  Is a short pout really too big a price to pay for respecting underrepresented peoples?

 

Of course the kids themselves don't understand the social complexities.  They're innocent.  But they're learning, so why not be mindful of what we're teaching?  Why does any white person want Halloween costumes to be the hill to die on?

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Pretty much only applies to white people.

 

Just a few more thoughts about appropriation ....

 

How much % of blood heritage must one have to be allowed to "appropriate" something from the relevant culture? After all a high % of Americans have mixed heritage.

 

Does it matter if you've never actually lived that culture but just have some blood tie to it?

 

What if you were adopted into, say, a Jewish family from a Latino Catholic birthplace?

 

What if you married into a culture?

 

If being married or adopted into a culture counts, what about just being someone's best friend? Close co-worker? Neighbor? Where is the line drawn? Who draws the line? (FTR I wear Indian clothes when I attend parties thrown by Indian friends. Said clothes were gifts from Indian friends.)

 

My kids are most likely descended from Mayans. They could pass for various Native American, South Asian, or even East Asian people. Since they wouldn't have to color their face to fake these origins, is it somehow less wrong for them (vs. a white girl) to dress up like Pocahontas? I mean Pocahontas wasn't Mayan, and even if she had been, my kids weren't raised as Mayans. Maybe my kids shouldn't even be allowed to wear Mayan garb because that isn't the culture they were raised in. And what about the kaftans they bought in Morocco, which the Moroccan merchant so carefully chose for them? Should they not be allowed to use those? Or is it all OK because they arguably represent some minority group, and "cultural appropriation" only applies to white people?

 

What do all these limitations really accomplish?

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Why should they need to be pointed in another direction. A little white kid dressing up as Moana or another ethnicity harms no one. A disservice is done to everyone if we tell them it does.

 

I do think there's an extra layer (or is it one less layer?) when it comes to young children and costumes. The layer is pretty irrelevant though, when you accept that parents are the ones making the actual choice to buy/create the costume. I mean, I talked my 6yo out of the $60 piece of junk costume he had his heart set on with an offer to create his second choice at home, but he settled for a $15 piece of junk and now we're all happy!

 

Last year, my very brown nephew dressed up as Elsa. The idea that he or we were trying to appropriate white culture is beyond ludicrous. Living in the US, especially with all white people raising him in an overwhelmingly white town, he has no other option than to BE white culture regardless of his heritage or skin tone. To accuse him (or the family that supported the costume choice) of being racist or otherwise offensive to white people because of some imaginary two way street is, in my opinion, intentional feigned ignorance.

 

Princess Tiana, on the other hand, wouldn't have flown for any of our white or Latinx kids. And why would it need to? There are countless vanilla princesses for our kids to choose from. It isn't as if we're at a loss for options. I did, however, see white Princess Tianas, and I didn't hate on any of them, but I do judge their parents in my head. I don't hate kids who want to run with the Moanas, either. I just don't understand why their parents can't be bothered to point their little pumpkins in a different direction. Is a short pout really too big a price to pay for respecting underrepresented peoples?

 

Of course the kids themselves don't understand the social complexities. They're innocent. But they're learning, so why not be mindful of what we're teaching? Why does any white person want Halloween costumes to be the hill to die on?

Edited by Cindy in FL.
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Why should they need to be pointed in another direction. A little white kid dressing up as Moana or another ethnicity harms no one. A disservice is done to everyone if we tell them it does.

 

 

People of other colors and ethnicities are telling us that it does harm them.  Where do we get off calling them liars?

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How does it harm them?

 

Harm: physically injure.

"the villains didn't harm him"

synonyms: injure, hurt, wound, lay a finger on, maltreat, mistreat, misuse, ill-treat, ill-use, abuse, molest

"he's never harmed anybody in his life"

 

I fail to see how a white kid dressed as a different ethnicity for Halloween does that.

 

If it was a lawsuit, it would be thrown out as frivolous. Why don’t we put the brakes on the victim mentality that is flourishing in our country.

 

People of other colors and ethnicities are telling us that it does harm them. Where do we get off calling them liars?

Edited by Cindy in FL.
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How does it harm them?

 

Harm: physically injure.

"the villains didn't harm him"

synonyms: injure, hurt, wound, lay a finger on, maltreat, mistreat, misuse, ill-treat, ill-use, abuse, molest

"he's never harmed anybody in his life"

 

I fail to see how a white kid dressed as a different ethnicity for Halloween does that.

 

If it was a lawsuit, it would be thrown out as frivolous. Why don’t we put the brakes on the victim mentality that is flourishing in our country.

 

 

I'm at a loss for words.

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Princess Tiana, on the other hand, wouldn't have flown for any of our white or Latinx kids.  And why would it need to?  There are countless vanilla princesses for our kids to choose from. It isn't as if we're at a loss for options.  I did, however, see white Princess Tianas, and I didn't hate on any of them, but I do judge their parents in my head.  I don't hate kids who want to run with the Moanas, either.  I just don't understand why their parents can't be bothered to point their little pumpkins in a different direction.  Is a short pout really too big a price to pay for respecting underrepresented peoples?

 

Of course the kids themselves don't understand the social complexities.  They're innocent.  But they're learning, so why not be mindful of what we're teaching?  Why does any white person want Halloween costumes to be the hill to die on?

 

Well now I'm confused.  If AA people are concerned about underrepresentation in certain areas (we hear about it a lot in entertainment) - if in fact the existence of Princess Tiana was a response to concern about the underrepresentation of AA in the Disney Princess population (and it was) - then what is so wonderful about underrepresented AA in Halloween costumes due to one-way race restrictions?

 

Is it really helpful for young black girls to live in a world where white kids don't think Tiana is pretty or cool enough to want to dress up like her?

 

I've never heard of any AA person complaining about white kids dressing as Tiana.  If you have, well, OK, but they don't speak for the entire group.  Just like white people who complain about racial diversity don't speak for the rest of us and don't need to be catered to.  (I mean other than the obvious fact that white people have no right to an opinion on racial issues.)

Edited by SKL
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Princess Tiana, on the other hand, wouldn't have flown for any of our white or Latinx kids. And why would it need to? There are countless vanilla princesses for our kids to choose from. It isn't as if we're at a loss for options. I did, however, see white Princess Tianas, and I didn't hate on any of them, but I do judge their parents in my head. I don't hate kids who want to run with the Moanas, either. I just don't understand why their parents can't be bothered to point their little pumpkins in a different direction. Is a short pout really too big a price to pay for respecting underrepresented peoples?

 

Of course the kids themselves don't understand the social complexities. They're innocent. But they're learning, so why not be mindful of what we're teaching? Why does any white person want Halloween costumes to be the hill to die on?

I am trying hard to wrap my head around this argument, sincerely, but I just cannot get past the part where it feels racist. Pointing out to kids that don't notice that they shouldn't wear a costume because that person is a different color. I just feel like we are taking enormous leaps back in history. Just like we take decisions made in the past and put our own current zeitgeist spin on it, I suspect 30 to 40 years from now this period of time will be looked at with alot of head scratching. Especially when damage to all parties will happen. Once white people are no longer majority this time period will be seen as repression and we will be telling others not to dress as Elsa. This time period will be the period where it wasn't financially feasible for companies to make a minority character because they couldn't sell merchandise. These small kids now will grow up to be adults who remember being told they couldn't wear certain costumes or say certain things or didn't feel comfortable talking to certain people due to guilt based on color and they will create a movement to stop it. They will feel the segregation and racism in it. We might think this is showing respect now, but it is going to do further harm in the present. If you don't think a small child with Polynesian heritage would be thrilled to see so many of her friends loving a character that represents her, I think that is wrong. Maybe adults are jaded because we have been reminded continously that we all should feel offended by something, but children have yet to be tainted with that narrative. My best friend's kids are biracial and her daughter is always talking about how there is never any black princesses and none of her friends want to be Tiana. So what happens when every white kid has to be Elsa and every child of color is also being Elsa. Much like dolls in the toy aisle, they will once again be seeing a sea of blonde with no representation.

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No. No double standard. As bolt pointed out, racism does not go both ways. 

 

 

You talk with her about it. This is the perfect example of what is known as a teaching moment.

 

 

Apparently kindness isn't something some people care about, not even those who call themselves Christian. When they say too bad or you can kiss my white a$$, there is no kindness being shown. None.

 

While the Irish and other immigrants to the U.S were treated badly at one time, the Irish slave is a myth that won't die.

 

https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-03-17/curious-origins-irish-slaves-myth

 

My ancestors are Irish and Italian. My Italian great grandparents came here at the end of the 19th century, making me only 3rd generation American on that side. The Irish ones probably arrived in the middle of that century though we haven't been able to trace them. One cousin thinks they were illegal immigrants who went to Canada then sneaked into the U.S. That they and others like them were treated badly is a fact. However, several generations later no one looks at me and sees a "greasy Italian" or "shanty Irish". No one sees the descendant of undocumented immigrants. No one sees my ethnicity.They see an American white woman. People of color cannot say the same thing. No matter how many generations pass, they are still seen for their skin color. Though they're no longer slaves, they are still being treated differently because of their skin color. Why is this so hard to understand when people say "just get over it"?

 

I'm not sure this is actually how it work, at least not entirely.

 

It's certainly true that skin colour is very visible.  But I'm not sure it's as much a contrast with your Irish heritage as you think.

 

It was not long ago that Irish heritage, despite being not as visible, was entirely visible enough to make a clear social difference.  And skin colour is significant because we learn it is significant, not because somehow we are born knowing that it is important, whereas something like eye or hair colour, or anything else, isn't.  The context, in both cases, is taught and learned by being encultured, and that is what makes it an affective difference.

 

What this means, I think, is we actually have to think very carefully about what kinds of things tend on the whole to contribute to that perception of it being an affective difference, and what sort of things tend to lead to the difference disappearing in terms of cultural significance, as being Irish has disappeared in North America.  That isn't to say that consideration alone would dictate what we do, but it would suggest a direction and what kind of situation would be weighty enough to make exceptions or use a different approach.

 

I think a big issue a lot of people have that makes them really wary of this kind of divisiveness around ethnicity is that they see it as hardening the situation of ethnicity being culturally significant in a class-value sense, and really without a very weighty reason to balance it, except what some here are calling kindness - but it seems like a rather unkind kindness if it leads to a deterioration of race relations rather than an improvement.

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How does it not feel squicky to tell your kids "you HAVE to choose a white costume"?

 

And I'm still confused about what my kids are allowed to do.  "You have to be either white OR ... whatever you identify as today?"  Because right now they identify as Hispanic though I am not.  So they could go as Bruno Mars or Sonia Sotomayer or Elena, or Superman or Elsa or Ginny Weasley, but not Prince or Mulan or Simone Biles.

 

And how about their light-skinned friends who have Hispanic heritage?  Do they hurt feelings if they go as Elena and the person giving out the candy does not know they are Hispanic?  Or do you have to be a dark-skinned minority in order to be allowed to dress as a person of color?

Edited by SKL
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People of other colors and ethnicities are telling us that it does harm them.  Where do we get off calling them liars?

 

Some do.

 

And then someone in this thread asked her black friend about her daughter dressing up as Tiana, and her friend thought it was very positive, specifically from the POV of it being a white girl dressed as a black princess.

 

It rather makes one wonder who it is that finds this offensive and why, somehow, they get to be the spokespeople around these questions.

 

It actually seems to come up a lot - activists get upset about certain issues, but when you talk to the community involved, opinions are less extreme and more varied, there is often even those who disagree outright.

 

I think it's really worthwhile to examine how these ideas are propagated and who is getting heard and why those people in particular.

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About cultural appropriation:

 

It's true that cultural exchange happens wherever cultures meet, be it in friendly or unfriendly fashion.  It seems to happen often most strongly in war and direct conflict, because the nature of that is usually that the conflict itself makes you much more like the people you are opposing, you have to, in order to compete with each other.

 

But the sense of it used as a kind of example of a bad thing like stealing - that's rather different.  That's a capitalist structure being added on or imposed over the natural exchange.  Now - that is a thing we do see happen - capitalists gaining economically what they get through cultural exchange.  It's very grating.  In fact they do it with their own culture, and even nature, and it is very terrible.

 

But that is a feature of capitalism, not cultural movement!  To try and change that while maintaining capitalism by disallowing the exchange - not only won't it work, it is likely to have even worse results as it is strengthening the means of the exploitation.  I read awhile back about a ethnic group looking to patent a cultural product, so they could benefit from it rather than big companies selling knock-offs.  Their complaint was understandable, but I thought - holy moly, the west possible idea.  Because this would require new intellectual property laws (the they were trying to have passed.) But it is not like they were the only ones going to be able to benefit from them - the ability it would give to people to control ideas and monetize them!  Very scary.

 

This is another instance where it seems like someone is waving their hand saying "these are no the droids you're looking for".

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