Skip to content

Document Header

Once you start looking for it, it’s just kinda everywhere.

Once you start looking for it, it’s just kinda everywhere. published on 7 Comments on Once you start looking for it, it’s just kinda everywhere.

Gentle reminder that you can love something of which you are also critical.


I’ve never understood this whole thing with “cultural appropriation” and such.
I mean we play things like D&D to have fun being something we’re not.
Sure, maybe don’t make something that is actively pissing on another culture, but if you want to build a character around a stereotype go ahead. It’s not like actual Japanese people have a problem with the samurai becoming both stereotype and cultural icon.

I’m on the fence. I think if you’re doing something respectfully, it doesn’t matter who can see you, and that the inverse is true of disrespect. So if you’re a white person but you’re doing some sort of samurai cosplay, and you’re not going around making fun of Japanese accents or something, you’re fine even if someone gives you stink eye. But if you’re a white person and you’re being disrespectful of a culture some how, context starts mattering way more. Is the venue appropriate? Does context clarify your message somehow? etc. Odds are against you in many cases.

As for at the table, I’m more aware of it than anything. If someone asks someone else, “hey, please don’t do that,” it really needs to be the end of it.

The question is “how do you know when it’s disrespectful?”, since the interplay of what different cultures consider “inappropriate” etc. is a problem that has been around since, well, culture.

Honestly I think people should be perfectly free to be disrespectful towards cultures or anything really. You should be allowed to express your views and opinions whatever they might be, and others should be free to “boo” you, but censorship in any of it’s forms doesn’t solve anything, nor does demonization, just makes the problem grow in the dark instead.

Guess I’m just sick and tired of people making chickens out of a feather as it was.
Like the recent story when social media blew up because an American girl wore a traditional Chinese dress to prom. Other Americans shrieked “cultural appropriation”, Chinese people thought it was wonderful she liked their fashion enough to wear it to prom in favour of local fashion.

A good shorthand rule: if the people who wear the thing aren’t allowed to wear it / do it outside, but you are, it’s probably cultural appropriation.

That said, I don’t see any censorship at all on the topic. Censorship necessarily comes from a place of power. If you’re afraid to voice an idea because there might be consequences from people who can’t do anything to you but speak back, that’s not censorship — that’s free speech working as intended.

I’m not sure I follow. Are you referring to some form of process where people are prevented from showing off their cultural heritage in the shape of dress, mannerisms etc, in favour of outsiders putting on a perhaps unavoidably less accurate display?

And the censorship I’m talking about is the whole ordeal of “You are not allowed to do X because you’re not part of group Y and thus it’s automatically offensive” that I’ve personally encountered more times than I think is defensible. It’s gotten to the point where one can be shouted into silence on a topic because only people with certain group-identities are “allowed” to express themselves on the issue. Certainly, insider experience can be a most valuable asset, but the moment you shut out outside perspectives you’ve locked yourself in an echo-bubble where only your own perspective will be reinforced, for better, or more commonly, for worse. Especially considering the false confidence and arrogance that starts festering in anyone who goes unchallenged for too long.

True, censorship requires power, but you’d be surprised how much power can be conjured by an angry mob set in their ways. To pick a point out of V for Vendetta, only fools believe the people to be powerless. All they need is unity to focus that power on a common goal, be it for destruction or creation.

I’ll give you a practical, modern example: black children in predominately white schools are sent home from school for wearing natural hair styles. So when white people suddenly have “boxer braids” or afros, there is justified anger. That’s cultural appropriation. If the culture that it originated from isn’t allowed to do it, but you are, that’s the stem of the anger.

That’s why the term is “appropriation.” The practice has been taken from some group, usually a minority, and used or misused by some other more powerful group.

You might decide not to wear a black hairstyle because you’re afraid of what a black person will say to you. That’s a respectful decision, even if it’s not made from a place of respect. But the fear to not wear that hairstyle is largely unfounded. No mob will lynch you for it. You’re unlikely to be removed from an institute upon which you depend for it. And you’re unlikely to be confronted for it in public (but never say never.) The absolute worst thing that will happen to a white person who wears a black hairstyle is that they’ll be mocked online.

In that specific case, minorities are allowed to form private pressure groups, which is a power many of them haven’t had before. So if you’re feeling uncomfortable because of a few niche things you can’t do without suffering an incredibly minor consequence, welcome to the momentary, fleeting experience of losing privilege. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Primary Sidebar