oh, BitchBlog: part 2.
Want to watch people lose their fucking marbles in a cultural appropriation discussion? Have a look. Basically: indigenous feminist Jessica Yee wrote a somewhat-strongly-worded post on white hipsters and hippies appropriating Native American dress and culture, asking people to please consider the cultural significance and history of the clothing they’re wearing and the “ancient cultures” they’re blathering about. This could have been the starting point of a thoughtful discussion. Could have, except it turned into 150+ people saying things like “OH MY GOD this is like saying I can’t eat spaghetti if I’m not Italian!” and “You’re so angry, I can’t listen to you,” and “Get over it, MY ancestors didn’t oppress you.”
I didn’t see anything in Jessica’s post calling for no one to wear/eat/talk about anything outside their own culture, ever. What I saw was more a call to question the dynamics of a cultural “exchange” between the colonizers and the colonized, which I think is always worth considering. I guess this can be just another example of how discussions can get shut down by someone making everything about their own wounded feelings – “oh my god, Yee talking about how I should consider the cultural history of moccasins MEANS SHE HATES ME AND I’M UPSET.” To which I say: get over yourself. And do I even need to get into (AGAIN) how the “you’re so angry” bullshit is not an argument but a lazy fucking excuse not to engage? You’re a grown-up. You can deal with a strongly-worded argument without getting the vapors. I’m not going to tone down my writing because you have some weird-ass expectations about what civil feminist discourse looks like, and I don’t think you should expect that from anybody.
I could go on, but Thea Lim at Racialicious already wrote an in-depth response that covers everything I would say.
For some further reading on pseudo-Native hipster fashion trends, Threadbared has a good round-up. I particularly enjoyed Julia/A L’Allure Garconniere’s “critical fashion lover’s (basic) guide to cultural appropriation.”