Question: Why doesn’t anyone give me any shit for appropriating other white cultures than my own?
For Example: When I was in high school/colleges, I went the Pagan/Wiccan route with my personal beliefs, clinging especially to Irish folklore and Celtic designs, language, art, and jewelry. Now, I am of Norse descent. What was “known” historically at the time was that the Norse had come to the British Isles and pillaged and plundered Ireland and Scotland. So, as a person descendant of that culture and history, I was kind of pissing on the history and culture of Ireland in my appropriation of cultural and societal beliefs.
Now, of course, we know that the Vikings did more than plunder and earn the name, “Black Irish,” not for their appearance, but for their perceived intent; they actually settled with the people of Ireland and Scotland and assimilated into their society and communities. You can see this blending in something as simple as the Disney movie, “Brave”. The clans arrive in Viking inspired ships, their costumes and accents are influenced by the Norse to some extent, it’s cool, really.
But even throwing that out because my people didn’t really kill all of their people, my closer forbearers lived in northern California at the height of “Irish Need Not Apply”, and were surely a part of that. White Privilege runs strong and proud in our family. One may blame the recent Norse/Germanic ancestry.
I also have to say, that Doc does give me shit, sometimes. When I use certain UK idioms that he isn’t familiar with, he will tease me mercilessly. But some, he has even adopted himself, and others, he doesn’t even bat an eye. So when I appropriate UK culture, I do have someone who keeps me in check.
But really . . . I’m not saying it is an equal problem to whites appropriating the cultural trappings of People of Color, or maybe it is. Or maybe the whole “appropriation” thing is just completely fucking meaningless. Maybe we could all agree that we are human, and pull ourselves together with the things and the hairstyles and the ways that make us happy.
Ten years ago, I got blue dreadlocks. No one said a negative word to me, and it wasn’t for lack of diversity in the crowds I was in. I was actively reading live then.
Later, a salon sent over a Black woman to put tiny braided extensions in my hair. She had nothing but positive things to say about it, and we talked about it for the whole time she was there. It just wasn’t an issue a decade ago. And I don’t see why it has to be an issue now. I just don’t.
Or someone should have come right down on me in Gaelic, telling me to go back to Meatball land, grab myself a couch at Ikea, leave her history to her. And no one did.
When I was assimilated into a Richer-than-God-East-Coast-Elitist-Semi-Jewish family, no one asked me about my red hair, or my blue eyes or pale skin. Those were the worst people I ever met. Talk about corruption. They had to sign contracts among themselves, there was so little trust. But I took on the uniform, and the mannerisms, and affectations. None of my friends gave me any shit about it. But I clearly didn’t belong with them.
Just seems to me that we should talk about it all, or none of it. I’m not an “All Lives Matter” person, by any means. I know that statement at this time in history is very wrong and misses the point. What I am saying is that, if you’re going to be upset about dreadlocks and such nonsense, best to just go all out and worry about ALL appropriation. Because really, we, as Americans, cheapen everything we touch, not just People of Color.