particularly in the ways I usually see it invoked, is the most half-baked fucking concept in the world, along with all the other ways people interested in “social justice” will throw up red flags regarding racism and sexual violence and other divisive issues.
Listen bros and non-bros: people say and do stuff because of reasons. If I wear a shirt with Che Guevara’s sexy face-beard-hat-face on it, is that cultural appropriation? Well, it’s mainly completely fucking stupid. But yeah, I guess, I am appropriating an icon from a culture.
But what the fuck isn’t from a culture? Am I only allowed to draw from the culture I grew up around or that from which I otherwise happen to arbitrarily have a heritage? Let me know in what ways artistic expression or even society itself would have ever progressed if this were the case.
“Oh, wow, that biddy with the Hindu elephant god-thing on her shirt is totally appropriating the balls out of Hindu culture for the sake of her half-baked 21st century crappy weed-smoking fashion sense to impress all of the dudes with 20/20 vision and horn rimmed glasses, plaid flannels, and loafers.”
IT’S A FUCKING SHIRT. OH MY GOD. IT’S A MOTHERFUCKING SHIRT. Forget the principled, logical part of this argument where I dismantle your nonsense with my witty charming wittyness. You are rebuking somebody because of the arbitrary pattern of the cheap inks on their cotton garment that was probably made by 3 year-old Cambodian blind children and sold across the street from an Ed Hardy store and an underutilized bus stop in LA because their public transportation system sucks asshole.
Look at the Washington Redskins. You want to talk about problematic cultural appropriation? That seems like a pretty fucking easy case to me. It’s objectively racist as hell. But in the realm of fashion, for instance, I think there’s a pretty big difference between putting a feather in your hair and wearing a shirt that says “Manifest destiny or bust— oh wait, jk, most of the northwestern hemisphere spearchuckers are already dead and/or Mexican.”
And the Florida Seminoles? Look man, that fucking chant where you do the tomahawk is fun as shit, but it’s clearly racist. And just think too about how fucked up it is that we killed all of these people and then decided to adopt their terms not just for our football and baseball teams but for our fucking weapons that we could use to subjugate more brown people. We have Apache helicopters, Tomahawk missiles, and the list goes on. Chomsky once pointed out that this would be tantamount to the Nazis naming their vehicles and weapons “Gypsy” and “Jew.” Think about how beyond hilariously fucked up that is. It’s exactly what we did and continue to do.
My overarching point is that there is a clear line between people borrowing from cultures for their own personal reasons, however stupid and shallow, and people “appropriating” from cultures in clearly problematic ways.
Seriously, unless you’re going to go down to the nearest elementary school, and slap a cute little chubby girl across the face for making a dream-catcher before ravenously eating all of the half-finished dream-catchers on the table and violently screaming “THIS IS WHAT I THINK OF YOUR DREAMS,” you need to relax and write a letter to the owner of the Redskins or call your congressperson and tell them that naming military vehicles and ordnance after Native Americans is so fucked up that it’s actually funny.
Or, you know, just shut the fuck up about how other people dress or something.