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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: josocelcolin (josocelcolin)
Posted at: January 27th, 2009 01:03 am (UTC)
That Cherokee thing

So, the reason so many white people claim Cherokee ancestry is two-fold. First, it's a relatively easy set of tribal nations (there are, I believe, three) to become a member of. If memory serves (and this is coming from a Lumbee prof, mind you, so it's not entirely objective information), the Eastern Band actually did away with blood quantum in favor of much looser membership requirements. Not sure if that's still the case. Second, the Cherokee were one of the most thoroughly "assimilated" tribes by the mid-1800's, meaning that claiming Cherokee ancestry got you a legal claim to land without most of the problems that came along with being, say, Dakota or Mohawk.

Yeah, you finally convinced me to register just to comment on your blog. Maith thu!:P

-the whitest hispanic you know

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 27th, 2009 01:57 am (UTC)
Re: That Cherokee thing

There you go, Colin, ruining a perfectly good snarky comment!! Grrrrr.

(You aren't the whitest Hispanic I know, though. Hmmm. Maybe. You're neck-and-neck.)

Posted by: josocelcolin (josocelcolin)
Posted at: January 27th, 2009 02:15 am (UTC)
Re: That Cherokee thing

Hey, the way I see it, now you can be snarky AND a know-it-all when you complain (as I occasionally do) about the mysterious explosion of the Cherokee population. Two birds and all of that!

The neck-and-neck thing is kind of putting me in the mood of a contest, though. The problem is that I'm not sure if I should be frying plantains more often, or eating pickled herring and complaining about outsourcing to India...

Posted by: Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr)
Posted at: January 27th, 2009 02:32 am (UTC)
Re: That Cherokee thing

ha ha ha ha ha!

All right, all right, you're the whitest you're the whitest.

But I wasn't actually complaining about the explosion of people claiming that they belong in the Cherokee nation. I was being irritated by totally white people who always seem to think that a great-great grandparent was Cherokee. "Well, we haven't done the genealogy but I'm pretty sure . . ."

My great-great grandfather was actually married to a Cherokee woman (his second wife; I am not a descendant), and I know the history of marriages between Scottish (and Irish) folks and Cherokee -- you just hear all sorts of people vaguely claiming it, and it's usually a princess . . .

Posted by: josocelcolin (josocelcolin)
Posted at: January 27th, 2009 02:43 am (UTC)
Re: That Cherokee thing

Eh, I think the people claiming they belong and the great-great grandparent phenomenon are pretty thoroughly related. I've seen all sorts of people walk into Amin Studies at the U claiming all sorts of wacky, and clearly false, heritages. The best ones start with stuff like, "According to the runestone dad found by the Sioux burial mound..." ;)

And if you're going to be related to those horrible native types, you might as well be related to the KING of the most CIVILIZED native types, right? That way you can bypass all that silly egalitarian stuff and take even more of what you want because, hey, it's good to be the king!

Posted by: silk_noir (silk_noir)
Posted at: January 27th, 2009 03:02 am (UTC)
Re: That Cherokee thing

That yes, and it also depends on what part of the country. Kansas/Oklahoma/Missouri, oh hell yes.

My husband, AKA BastardMan, AKA King DingDong, had to go and be different--he's 1/8 Blackfoot. He looks like Gary Farmer.

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