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Haddayr Copley-Woods [userpic]

On cultural appropriation, apathy, and the whole mess

January 26th, 2009 (03:13 pm)

I haven't spoken up on this whole mess for a few reasons:

1. I thought enough white people were speaking up, many of whom had more intelligent things to say than I would.
2. I was heartsick.
3. So much of what I had to say was "me, too!" And there's already a TON to read out there.

But then I read Tempest's and other's posts and they sorta broke my heart and so I feel I must speak up. But I will be very brief.

Two things I wish white people would keep in mind during these discussions/ arguments/ knock-down-drag-outs:

  1. We are, especially in fandom, an overwhelming sea of whiteness. We are everywhere. We vastly outnumber POC. This is very, very important to keep in mind. Have you ever been in a situation where you were so outnumbered? Many white people haven't, at least not racially. In other ways, maybe? Do you remember what it felt like?
  2. You are white, and pretending otherwise is pretty horrible. It's incredibly dismissive of the experience of POC. I don't care if your great-great grandma was Cherokee (why is it always Cherokee?). I don't care if you were a horribly outcast nerd or raised by wolves or use a wheelchair or were really poor. You were, in all of these cases, a WHITE poverty-stricken outcast nerd in a wheelchair who was raised by wolves. Acknowledge who you are. Do not deny.

The Whitest Honkey this side of Crackertown you bet your bippy


Posted by: Chris (silaren)
Posted at: January 28th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
At the risk of spamming haddayr's LJ ...

I brought up the whole "what the heck does race mean here" thing many years ago (I forget with whom) and the answer I got was "they mean ethnicity". But ethnicity does not fit well, at least if it means what I usually take it to mean, i.e., "cultural group": when I was a kid I had several different "white"-skinned cultural-group friends, who had fairly different households. The events at the Jewish kids' houses were different from those at the German kids', and so on.

Thinking a bit more, "privilege group" might be confusing to people with different backgrounds. I do computer programming (at fairly low levels) and we have all kinds of privilege classifications for security. A program can be a member of multiple different access groups, and might obtain authorization (temporarily or permanently) for access to resources outside of its group. So it's natural for me to think of a sort of privilege level assigned to individuals (whether those are individual humans, or individual files).

Nonetheless, if we used a better-defined, more-explicit term (or set of terms), it might be clearer what is going on. Which may well be why those who make up these forms don't use more-explicit terminology. Imagine the form that says "please check all privileges that apply: [] able-bodied; [] sent to private school; [] parents' income exceeded $80k/yr; [] had regular health care during childhood; ..."

Posted by: That Chick with the Evil Laugh (sparkymonster)
Posted at: January 28th, 2009 01:44 am (UTC)
Re: At the risk of spamming haddayr's LJ ...

Nothing you're saying new. What I'm hearing is you're uncomfortable saying you are white. I suggest you look into that.

Posted by: Chris (silaren)
Posted at: January 28th, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
Re: At the risk of spamming haddayr's LJ ...

Heck, I'm uncomfortable admitting to being human.

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