techta asked: Why does it seem that "white people" (whatever that means) are forcibly denied the right to claim cultural appropriation? I don't identify with any race or culture (though I have a light skinned phenotype), I simply identify American. Why am I accused of cultural appropriation when no one bothers to ask me what my culture or ancestry is anyway? It seems no one cares about my journey through life and expression because I "look" like the "majority."
It’s because what’s termed as “white” is the dominant culture. White settlers and colonizers forced their culture onto most everyone else. What is “standard” or “normal” - is default white culture. You can’t appropriate the dominant, especially if it was forced upon you. The term just doesn’t apply because of the power imbalance.
banana-oil asked: um, is this blog still active?
Well, I had to step back for a while. I do plan to return soon though, I just needed a break from it all. Sometimes dealing with all of this can be so frustrating, it makes me feel like Sisyphus. Thanks for being patient.
In Z Magazine, December 1990, Janet McCloud (Tulalip) explained the basic problem with wannabes:
First they came to take our land and water, then our fish and game….Now they want our religions as well. All of a sudden, we have a lot of unscrupulous idiots running around saying they’re medicine people. And they’ll sell you a sweat lodge ceremony for fifty bucks. It’s not only wrong, its obscene. Indians don’t sell their spirituality to anybody, for any price. This is just another in a very long series of thefts from Indian people and, in some ways, this is the worst one yet.
In his book Red Earth, White Lies, Vine Deloria, Jr. discussed why Americans wish they could be Indians:
They are discontented with their society, their government, their religion, and everything around them and nothing is more appealing than to cast aside all inhibitions and stride back into the wilderness, or at least a wilderness theme park, seeking the nobility of the wily savage who once physically fought civilization and now, symbolically at least, is prepared to do it again.
A passage from Ward Churchill’s book Indians Are Us? explains why this make-believe isn’t just harmless fun:
Native American societies can and do suffer the socioculturally debilitating effects of spiritual trivialization and appropriation at the hands of the massive larger Euro-immigrant population which has come to dominate literally every other aspect of our existence. As Margo Thunderbird, an activist of the Shinnecock Nation, has put it: “They came for our land, for what grew or could be grown on it, for the resources in it, and for our clean air and pure water. They stole these things from us, and in the taking they also stole our free ways and the best of our leaders, killed in battle or assassinated. And now, after all that, they’ve come for the very last of our possessions; now they want our pride, our history, our spiritual traditions. They want to rewrite and remake these things, to claim them for themselves. The lies and thefts just never end.” Or, as the Oneida scholar Pam Colorado frames the matter:The process is ultimately intended to supplant Indians, even in areas of their own culture and spirituality. In the end, non-Indians will have complete power to define what is and what is not Indian, even for Indians. We are talking here about a complete ideological/conceptual subordination of Indian people in addition to the total physical subordination they already experience. When this happens, the last vestiges of real Indian society and Indian rights will disappear. Non-Indians will then claim to “own” our heritage and ideas as thoroughly as they now claim to own our land and resources.
This stuff matters.
emilymarie38 asked: Hi there. Somehow I happened upon this blog and have been reading through pages for about an hour. I would like to apologize. This past Halloween I dressed as a "Native American". I was completely unaware of what I was doing. I was just a girl dressing up in a cute outfit. I had no idea how disrespectful I was being and am embarrassed I didn't see this. I know my apology doesn't really do much, but I felt compelled to do so anyways. I thank you for opening my eyes to the appropriation around me.
Thanks. This really means a lot. Halloween took a lot out of me and I just had to back away from blogging for a while. It’s a tough thing to come up against so much opposition, so consistently. I really appreciate messages like this, because it gives me hope. So thank you. It takes some serious courage to re-consider your own actions. I wish more people out there could find it in themselves.
I’ll try to get back on the blogging horse soon. Thanks again.
I am not really sure the significance of this picture, but it looks pretty amazing.
The significance is Imperialism, Colonialism, and Genocide. This image depicts the beneficiaries of the North American Genocide mocking their victims by mimicking them through tried stereotypes that were used to dehumanize them, making the public support their deaths and turn a blind eye to their suffering. The subjects of the image have donned cheap representations of sacred culture pieces of their victims, much like how some serial killers take “trophies” from their victims.
Enough significance for you? Amazing, huh?
I’ve reached my limit. See you all after Halloween. I can’t engage with this anymore.
Anonymous asked: We may not be able to say you are racist against white people, but I feel that you definitely hold a distinct prejudice against them.
Nope. I dislike it when people mimic and fetishize my culture. I dare you to find one instance of “I hate white people,” or “All white people do this and are evil” etc, on my blog. I deal with behaviors. I talk about privilege. None of this makes me prejudiced against white people.
Anonymous asked: If there is no harmful intent, is it racist? Or just stupid ignorance?
intent is irrelevant. Racism = privilege +power inflicting damage on someone based on their race.
One can be racist without knowing it - in fact, most racism exists in this respect.
To get or possibly make a Red Indian Native American head dress, Don’t ask why. I have a lot of ideas in my head. Any suggestions?
Don’t. It’s a really racist thing to do.
The shoes are really cute!! They would look so much better without the racist costume you’re pairing them with.
Apologies to my followers for the spam today, but it’s Halloween. This is the worst time of year for this racist garbage.
Anonymous asked: There's kind of a sticky situation that I'm in and I'm wondering if you could give me some advice. Okay so on facebook everyone's been posting their halloween costumes and I see one girl has posted a picture of her as a native american. I click the picture only to realize it's my best friend. I tell her it's racist and offensive and why and that I'm not mad at her because she didn't know better. But I think she's still going anyway. What do I do? I felt sick and I want to cry.
You stood up for something. That’s amazing. Not everyone is going to listen. Maybe she felt like she had no other costume to wear. Could you help her put together another costume? Keep the lines of communication open. Just because she doesn’t want to change now, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t worth talking about in the first place.
A friend of my Mom’s from church recently posted this picture on her facebook. The woman is a redskins fan and when she posted this my Mom was so upset. She didn’t know how to approach her friend and still feels very upset that her friend would make light of the fact that alcoholism is a huge problem among many reservations across the country. I felt stuck when my mom said she didn’t know what to do. Do you have any advice for my mother to approach this woman?
For this one, I would just suggest being blunt. Nothing like a “Hey, woah, that’s really racist” - to get a conversation started. Even better is “That image is really racist, and here’s why: (provide links they may or may not read).” A good dose of - “I know you’re better than that” can help too. Good luck!
nemoralis--deactivated01201 asked: How would you feel about someone dressing up as a prominent, historical Native figure, like Crazy Horse or Sitting Bull? I suppose it's similar to dressing up as some other historical figure, but it seems sketchy. I'm kind of on the fence about it, though I could see people using it as a good chance to give others a history lesson when asked about their costume. What do you think? Also, do you celebrate Halloween? Are you dressing up?
I don’t know. I can see it going either really really well, or terrible. It would be very difficult to pull off. Also, I just don’t know how well even the most accurate costume could be received. It’s a tricky one. I’m not saying it’s not possible, it’s just really really tough, and maybe even then not totally worth while.
I celebrated Halloween on Friday, Some of my previous Halloween costumes include being a unicorn, a mars bar, a black cat, the statue of liberty, Wizard of Oz, and one of the pink ladies from Grease.