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Senate Why is cultural appropriation a thing?

Discussion in 'Community' started by poor yorick, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. ShaneP

    ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Mar 26, 2001
    Even if they use that for financial advantage like scholarships, which are limited? At that point, then we shouldn't even hand out scholarships or have admissions programs based on race. If you can be anything you want to be then why have these programs?

    The problem with Dolezal is she was a white woman in a position of power claiming she was something that she was not. She claimed to speak for a group of people as a part of that group. She was not.
     
  2. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

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    May 4, 2003
    I think your opening assumption is wrong-headed. We shouldn't equate culture with race. Nor do I think we can make the assumptions you did about "what appealed to Rachel Dolezal." White allies and other sympathizers with African-Americans--or any other ethnic group in history--have pretty much always been allowed a place. From the very first, William Lloyd Garrison was embraced living among blacks, and whites were a significant part of the founding board of the NAACP. If the only issue was being embraced as having adopted the culture, why the need to go further? If there was nothing further of meaning, why did Dolezal carry on such a prolonged deception?

    You can't on the one hand say that we should accept transracialism because race has no meaning outside of culture, and on the other argue that "transracialists" are getting some substantive meaning or validation from making this claim. I'm honestly not aware that this is even a practice outside of one person, and I sincerely hope it never spreads beyond that.
     
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  3. poor yorick

    poor yorick Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP - Game Host

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    Jun 25, 2002
    ShaneP Well, scholarships for oppressed minorities aren't really there to validate identities. They exist to correct historical wrongs. For this purpose I'd have no problem with separating people with Native American heritage--whether they currently consider their main identity to be Native American or not--from people of Native American identity who do not have Native American heritage. A Caucasian person who did not grow up on a reservation, and was not forcibly taken from their parents for acculturation purposes (or was descended from people who were), does not experience the same struggles as someone who was.

    Hmm. Making which claim? Sorry, but I'm having a hard time parsing this sentence.
     
  4. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

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    May 4, 2003
    How come you are not willing to make that same distinction in the broader social context? A Caucasian person who did not grow up on a reservation, or was not descended from people forcibly taken from the parents for acculturation purposes in no way has the same socialization, life challenges, or resultant outlook as an actual Native American. So why let them say that they are? How does present or historical "appreciation" erase these differences?
     
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  5. ShaneP

    ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Mar 26, 2001

    But what if a Dolezal showed up and claimed she was black and was awarded a scholarship based on her belief she identifies as a black person just because? Her problem was her deception allowed her to ascend to a position for a local chapter of the NAACP. As Wocky points out, that organization had white benefactors,members, from the beginning but they were always open about it.
    She used it to gain a position of power.

    poor yorick, it's great to have your thoughts about this because it does seems to cut a bunch of different ways across race culture and gender.
     
  6. CT-867-5309

    CT-867-5309 Force Ghost star 6

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    Jan 5, 2011
    The idea did cross my mind when responding to J-Rod on the subject of Rachel Dolezal.


    Ultimately I agree, because live and let live. She's hurting me none.
     
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  7. ShaneP

    ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Mar 26, 2001
    Are you a white American?
     
  8. CT-867-5309

    CT-867-5309 Force Ghost star 6

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    Jan 5, 2011
  9. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

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    May 4, 2003
    I think there's two separate question embedded in that last one. When we talk about "accepting someone at their word" what do we mean?

    1. I agree that we shouldn't launch some huge investigatory committee about someone's racial identity. Ultimately, for the most part we're forced to just kind of accept what people say.

    2. I believe it is deeply wrong to deliberately misrepresent one's racial identity, especially where one is assuming the identity of a minority group, and that we should create social sanction around this idea. It should never become an "okay" thing to do.
     
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  10. ShaneP

    ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Mar 26, 2001

    Are you bothered she essentially deceived her way into power for the NAACP?

    Jabba-wocky, yes I agree. That's why what Dolezal did was wrong. She can wear cornrows all she wants and claim to be black all day long. I don't care. Just don't assume a position of authority based on that deception and lies. She benefited from those lies as a leader of a local chapter under false premises.
     
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  11. poor yorick

    poor yorick Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP - Game Host

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    Jun 25, 2002
    The situation of Native Americans specifically isn't ideal, since there are frequently councils within tribes who officially decide who belongs, who gets what kind of benefits of belonging, and who doesn't. Their decisions are considered binding. The more complicated issue is really more with groups that have no official spokespeople, such as African Americans, or women. I think that when there are no formal arbiters of who is what, we should take the individual's word for what they are.

    @ShaneP--Both the scholarship program example and the NAACP example involve formal groups that get to decide who is what with regard to the benefits bestowed by their particular institutions. Colleges who intend to right past racial injustices have every right to inquire about the family background of scholarship applicants. The NAACP gets to decide who is an empowered individual within their organization. Neither get to decide who is "really" African American. I don't actually know whether Dolezal claimed that her ancestors were AA to the NAACP, or if they even asked, so I'm a little unclear whether she participated in a deception. For the sake of argument, let's say she did, and should be censured because of that. This doesn't mean that she can't consider herself transracial, however.
     
  12. CT-867-5309

    CT-867-5309 Force Ghost star 6

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    Jan 5, 2011
    This is sorta what I meant.

    I'm more likely to mind my business. Anyone who wants to carry out social sanction is free to do so.

    I appreciate your perspective, and find it very easy to sympathize with.

    Honestly? No, I'm not really bothered. I'm not bothered by much that happens "out there". I'm not easily outraged by things that do not involve me personally. I don't know what she did. She's no one to me. She's just another random person out there. I don't really care what she did, like I don't care that someone is out there murdering someone right now.

    If I bother to dwell on it, it makes me slightly uncomfortable. But I'm not outraged.

    But if it's just her and me in a room and she tells me she's black, even if I think/suspect/know otherwise, I'll shrug and not care (perhaps I'll blink at her a few times before recovering my faculties). That's what I meant by "live and let live".
     
  13. ShaneP

    ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Mar 26, 2001
    Oh I agree on that. I'm not going to Larry David stare at someone.
    [​IMG]

    Who the hell am I to know? My problem is with people who will deceive and convince others to their own benefit, especially when it involves minority groups. As wocky said, when discovered, those people deserve to be sanctioned. But yeah, there shouldn't be an inquisition to determine who is and is not.

    poor yorick, I get what you re saying. I agree she can claim she is transracial if she wants to believe that. However, I would draw the line at any sort of benefit she would drive from that at the expense of a African American. She was raised as a white woman and only later identified as a black woman, which she is not.

    I was curious though, it does sound like you don't believe there is a actual underlying biological racial identity but that they are all social constructs. Is that what you are saying?
     
  14. Lord Vivec

    Lord Vivec Chosen One star 8

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    Apr 17, 2006
    Rachel Dolezal is free to claim she is whatever race she wants. We all are. Nobody here, I think, is arguing against this. However, if an African American looks at this and scoffs, especially considering being certain minorities in this country has had troubled times, then that's also their prerogative. That said, I'm not sure I buy into this "transracial" idea.
     
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  15. poor yorick

    poor yorick Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP - Game Host

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    Jun 25, 2002
    Quite so. You can't make other people accept you.
    I really don't have a problem with it . . . I really don't know the sum total of other people's feelings and experiences. In my time, I've known two people who looked 100% Caucasian, but who were adopted into African American families. I don't feel I have any right to tell them what race they ought to be.
     
  16. Lord Vivec

    Lord Vivec Chosen One star 8

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    Apr 17, 2006
    Not exactly what I meant. I didn't say I had a problem or that I was going to tell people what their race is. I mean, I'm probably the last person on the JCC who is going to try to put people into neat little racial categories.
     
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  17. ShaneP

    ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Mar 26, 2001
    Race, specifically African American and what that specifically means, has always varied depending on time, region, circumstance, etc. Some voting laws said if you were certain % of African American you were considered "black" while stepping over into another state suddenly you were not.

    Race has always been a fluid thing in the U.S. if were are talking about law and politics, culture, social, etc. Biological is another thing entirely.

    This isn't even touching on people who are biracial. Who do they identify as? Does it matter? Should it matter?
     
  18. Diggy

    Diggy Force Ghost star 7

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    Feb 27, 2013
    As a white bloke, I'd actually think it quite insulting to another ethnic group if I started telling them I identified as their ethnic group.

    Also if I told a blind person I identified as blind, or a paraplegic that I identified as paraplegic.

    I think the identity circumstances you have experience and are going through are an entirely different kettle of fish, B.

    Or maybe I'm a bigot, I dunno.
     
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  19. ShaneP

    ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Mar 26, 2001
    I suspect you are far from it. But you are a digot.
     
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  20. Lord Vivec

    Lord Vivec Chosen One star 8

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    Apr 17, 2006
    Gettin' diggy with it
     
  21. ShaneP

    ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Mar 26, 2001

    [​IMG]
     
  22. Diggy

    Diggy Force Ghost star 7

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    Feb 27, 2013
    I'm not sure who hates me at this point.
     
  23. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

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    May 4, 2003
    Well, your opening post has two parts.

    1. We should allow "trans-racial" people to be anything they want. In letting them do this, we are conceding implicitly that race means something. It has importance or else they wouldn't be bothered to have such a feeling to begin with, and there certainly wouldn't be any reason to consider acknowledging it,

    2. Race=culture, so having sufficient appreciation/understanding of a culture should be sufficient to be considered a member of it. By this logic, race is basically meaningless. It's just a substitute word for culture. But if this is the case, why can't people just be satisfied with saying they are an African-American cultural enthusiast, instead of literally African-American?

    The dichotomy you set-up prioritizes the values and desires of the white person claiming a "new" race over people who are actually members of that race or ethnic group. I hope you can appreciate why that's problematic. I'd also argue that equating race to culture is besides all of the above reductive and problematic for its own reasons (eg, If a person decides they want to be black because they like rap music, are we not then claiming that rap is a defining marker of blackness? Do you appreciate how many people might take less than kindly to such a suggestion?).
     
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  24. Darth Guy

    Darth Guy Chosen One star 10

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    Aug 16, 2002
  25. DarthPhilosopher

    DarthPhilosopher Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Jan 23, 2011
    I would hope equating race to culture isn't thing to be taken seriously.