I have come across an utterly cool embroidered patch of a purple-grey skeletal mermaid writhing around an anchor. I really really really want one, but all the marketing I have found for this patch associates it with Dia de los Muertos. Despite the recent fashion trend for appropriating sugar skulls and other trappings of the Dia, I refuse to co-opt the holiday’s imagery for my own use.
However, I remain uncertain about this mermaid. Does she represent actual Dia tradition? Or are all the advertisers of her jumping on the sugar skull trend and using keyword spam? More research is needed. Either way, I really wish this trend would fuck off so I can find colorful, skull-embellished things without the risk of committing cultural appropriation.
Rachel Dolezal has made headlines recently for being a racist liar in her makeover of herself from white kid of Christian missionaries to prominent civil rights activist of color. To support her identity as a black woman, she pulled such shit as claiming she lived in a teepee and hunted with bow and arrows in South Africa, identifying a man of color and family friend as her dad, and saying that her adopted brother [person of color] was her son. Her identification of herself as black certainly helped her get the position of president of the Idahoan Human Rights Education Institute and the presidency of Seattle, WA’s NAACP chapter.
Dolezal’s fabrications remind me of white people who pretend to be Indians. Back when yet another author was revealed to have perpetrated [yet another] lie about her nonexistent Native American youth in [yet another] false memoir, David Treuer, an Ojibwe from Leech Lake Reservation, MN, analyzed the phenomenon insightfully. Noting that popular culture associates Indians with “tragedy,” he writes that “[t]ragedy is a shortcut that sells.” Privileged white people glom onto Indian identity to partake of the sad history of oppression, invasion, and dispossession experienced by so many Native Americans because such stories garner immediate sympathy. [Treuer also cannily observes that the deployment of Indian melodrama distracts from the fake Indians’ thoroughly mediocre writing. HAH!]
Treuer’s comments on the seductive suffering of [fake] members of a racial group seems particularly applicable to Dolezal’s case. Just as white memoirists find the specter of Indian suffering somehow appealing, so Dolezal appears particularly drawn to the concept of woman of color as tragic victim. I say this particularly in light of her claims that she has been the target of anti-black hate crimes. Investigation into these alleged incidents reveals almost all as dubious at best and spurious at worst. Her reiteration of discrimination claims suggests that she feels herself to be victimized. Apparently the “romance” of the suffering of women of color gives her the vehicle she wants to win attention, sympathy, and righteous indignation on her behalf.
Even if Dolezal portrays herself as a victim here, she does not suffer the most grievous repercussions. I return to Treuer’s comments on fake Indians for perspective: “The real victims are Indian citizens and writers. People who have for so long been denied the opportunity to express themselves. … As for Indian citizens, the more than 2 million of us living in the U.S. who are not fakes — our lives [especially if they are happy lives] will go on unseen. This is the greater tragedy. …” Indeed. Dolezal co-opted an experience of race that was not hers, and she made it all about her. So now the public focuses on a white woman and her fake sob story of oppression, while overlooking women of color, whose experiences of racism, activism, frustration, and success are being overshadowed.
Her vibrant pink, knotty hair looks like the 1:1 equivalent of my 1:6 scale action figure Anneka’s. As cool as I find the color of Wachowski’s hair, I seriously query her white woman’s appropriation of dreadlocks. >_>
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Sylvia Blomqvist, Zombieville denizen, PWS and one of the people in charge of the Lakeside Community Co-op. New Agey syncretist par excellence and embodiment of the worst of cultural appropriation.
- Pissed off Prunella, who was out from the shop, lobbying in Montpelier for state recognition of the Abenaki tribe, by saying, "Indians are so spiritual!"
- Pissed off Peter, who was interested in dating her, until she started treating him like a "gay best friend accessory. And I’m not even gay!"
- Has a tattoo that she says is "Chinese for ‘life force,’" but Barrett says it’s gibberish.
I think I’m going to embody her in the Pocahontas doll that I got from Andrea, shown at left in the photo below. That doll needs some serious rehab.
Continue reading Winner of the Ms. Appropriation 2013 contest
I picked up Eon by Alison Goodman after reading some laudatory reviews on Amazon and also being marginally intrigued by the concept, in which a young woman adopts a boy’s identity to compete for the chance to communicate with dragons and wield great magic, which is, of course, reserved for men. Of course, Eon wins the chance to communicate not just with any dragon, but with the super special awesome Mirror Dragon, the most powerful of all. Then she becomes involved in imperial politics, and eventually the fate of the emperor’s succession and the kingdom depends on her. Of course it does. :p
I did not expect this book to be quite so shitty. It really reminded me of The Diviners in that it was a textbook example of how not to tell a story.
Do you need to learn how not to write, kids? Okay, then pay attention to the following precepts, in no particular order.Continue reading How not to write, part seven zillion and one in an infinitely extensible series
In the most recent ep of Grimm, Big Feet, a Wesen, or human that can change into a therianthropic form, has been killing people. Monroe, a Blutbad Vesen and friend of Nick [who is a police detective and protagonist of the show], harbors Larry, the killer Wesen, in his house. Larry is injured, but Monroe does not wish to take him to the hospital because then people will recognize him as a semi-human creature and persecute him. "I don't want crosses burning on my yard," Monroe explains to Nick.
No! Grimm does not get to appropriate the real-life terrorism experienced by African-Americans and apply it to fictional bestial characters, especially when the fictional characters are played by straight white men. The show might think that it's being clever by giving a historical resonance to the treatment of Wesen, but it's not. It's using the lived experience of thousands of people as a rhetorical gesture, a shorthand for persecution. That disrespects the violence and suffering that African-Americans have endured in real life and implicitly dismisses their lives as figments of imagination.
Thanks for Fangs for the Fantasy for alerting me to this phenomenon, which is a continuing problem for the series.