that imo is “American privilege”- it’s a problem here on tumblr. Like yeah, to my American followers, I know lots of you try to learn and I wouldn’t generalise to say all Americans do this- but there’s a big problem especially amongst popular social justice blogs here.
What is very disturbing about the tumblr social justice discourse is that a lot of popular US social justice bloggers like to splatter the US categorisation of race and understanding of racism over the rest of the world. Race, and racism- are both social creations. Therefore, it only makes sense that they can vary from society to society. Here are some issues:
1. Things like insisting that white people cannot face racism in the world. I’m sorry, but I can tell you that’s BULLSHIT in Europe, at least. How people are othered operates differently sometimes. It’s pretty obvious I have Chinese ancestry, for example, but I speak fluent English. That often makes me seem more assimilated and less of an “Other” in the UK, than the immigrant worker from Poland whose accent is plainly obvious. Do Chinese people face racism in the UK? I’m sure they do sometimes.
- But my point is that the way xenophobia and hostility is targeted isn’t always based on skin colour. The Holocaust, the Nazis’ deliberate starvation and mistreatment of Soviet soldiers, the genocide of Bosnians by Serbians are all instances where genocide was committed against people who WOULD be racialised as “white” in the US, who were genetically European. I will seriously throttle anyone who dares to suggest no racism is involved or tries to literally posthumously say claim the victims are “POC” to fit their narrative that global oppression is “White people oppressing POC!!!” ( E.g “Bosnians were not really white because they were Muslims.” WRONG. Genetically they are Slavic people- like Russians, Ukrainians…and Serbians themselves). There was more about cultural otherness, religious divisions at play here, about Serbian nationalism really, rather than seeing Bosnians as “less white”.
Bosnian Muslims in concentration camps in the 1990s
- The experiences of “white people” are far from universal AND they can be very familiar with racism, oppression and marginalisation. I mean like try telling a recent Russian immigrant to the US who was descended from Russian serfs that he has MORAL RESPONSIBILITY for slavery in the US? Geez. Yes, maybe he’d benefit from “white privilege” but to say his ancestors benefited from it would be nonsensical when they were getting similarly abused by landowners in the 1800s Imperial Russia. Please tell me how a US POC is necessarily always more familiar with oppression than a Polish person or German whose family lived under Soviet authoritarianism right up till 1989, who lived in fear of the Stasi, aka the East German secret police?
An extremely privileged, white Russian serf girl listening as two landowners bargain over how much they want to pay for her.
- This is an example of ridiculous mental gymnastics to maintain the “White people oppress POC!!!” paradigm.
Haha, ok. So this person (it’s a US blogger) has proclaimed Ashkenazim are not white. Alright, how about some…experts? Like real Ashkenazi Jewish people?
- How about this other Jewish person’s opinion?
- See? The “wtf Ashkenazim aren’t white they will slap you” person was American-splaining (yes, they are American) European race categories with clearly a US-centric understanding of race and subconscious failure to realise for Ashkenazi Jewish people, the definition of whiteness CAN FLUCTUATE in the US vs Europe. I understand that how Jewish people conceptualise identity can vary and may not fall neatly into “whiteness” or “non-white”. But the quarrel I have with that comment is because it’s obvious that person completely refused to countenance the notion that those people murdered in the Holocaust could be “white” because they don’t want to think about the complexity of racism around the world, they just want to perpetuate the narrative that racism globally is “white people oppress POC!!!” And that’s wrong, if you are gonna distort and step on other victims’ experiences for your own ends, no matter how noble your own cause is.
- (Btw, MANY Ashkenazi Americans identify and do look “white” in the US.) Genetically, studies show they’ve enormous amounts of European ancestry because it seems European Jewish communities were formed from constant intermarriage with European women for CENTURIES, before they started to marry within the community. Just imagine how minimal their non-European heritage might be by then- 80% of Ashkenazim can trace their maternal line to prehistoric Europe. See why oversimplifying Nazi racism as “less-white” is kind of a wrong paradigm to understand it? And how it’s kind of wrong if you are so insistent on denying “white people” can face racism when we are not talking about neo-Nazis saying “white genocide!!!” about immigration, but real crimes against people?
2. “POC” cannot be racist. Sure. I’m laughing. I guess it wasn’t racism AT ALL when officers in the Imperial Japanese Army said they saw Chinese people as “subhuman”. When one of my family’s most awful experience of imperialism was under the Empire of Japan during World War 2. Where Chinese people were buried alive and experimented on. Young men executed en masse. Women forced to become “comfort women” (aka forced prostitution) to service the Imperial Japanese Army. So, my teenage grandmother bound her chest, cut her hair and rubbed her face with ash- and spent the entire time disguised as a boy in order that she wouldn’t be raped. All war crimes the Japanese government doesn’t want to apologise for even till today.
How about the fact that the people of a group who were victimised at one point can also have racist and discriminatory policies themselves?
And hurt their OWN people too?
Purges during the Chinese "Cultural Revolution".
- So, saying “POC” cannot be racist (or oppressive in general) is offensive precisely because it lets governments who haven’t apologised off the hook. Because, hooray, all racism and oppression only comes from what is the US understanding of “white people” (European origin?) ! How about Ottoman Turkey’s genocide of 1 million+++ Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians? (Greeks! “White” victims at the hands of “non-white” people? I know, shocking, but it has happened. Also, it’s another debate whether Turkey can be so easily be considered “non-European”.) Hideous things like forced death marches to the desert. If what the white settlers did to the Native Americans is genocide, what the Ottoman Empire did to their Christian subjects sure as hell is genocide too. Like you know what, yes I’m glad Turkey criticises Israel for its policies towards Palestinians which indeed look like ethnic cleansing- but at the same time…I think, “what about you? When are YOU going to admit those 1 million people were murdered because you wanted to exterminate them?”
Wanna bet that anon earlier doesn’t know who this guy is? He’s Mehmet Talaat Pasha btw, Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire and chief architect of the Armenian genocide.
- How about the “Death Railway”, where plenty of “white” POWS died working in conditions of near slavery building a railway line for the Empire of Japan, treated no better than the Asian labourers working alongside them?
- How about things like this, happening right now?
- That’s why the term “POC” doesn’t speak much of solidarity to me with that kind of history. Outside the US…it’s very often meaningless. In Europe, it’s already problematic because it obscures inter-European racism, and in countries where non-European people are a majority, some of the worst things we have suffered were by the hands of other “POC”. And that is exactly why the term “POC” and the entire “white people oppress POC” dichotomy SHOULD NOT be indiscriminately spilled all over non-US contexts and pre-US history.
3. If you’re an American person of colour, I’m going ask you, as a non-American and fellow non-white person, to think twice about trying to claim solidarity with all non-white people around the world and blaming all problems like modern capitalism and exploitation on “White supremacy”. Because that is not true, because that is a shameful abdication of recognising our moral culpability in other forms of oppression.
- Like…US POCs, imo, are quite culpable in US foreign policy imperialism. How can they not be? Many do benefit from America’s political hegemony over the world even if within their country they’re less privileged than white Americans and still face discrimination. But vis a vis some poor person in another country about to be trampled by the boot of US foreign policy, they are privileged. Many US POCs serve in the US Army. The President is a person of colour.
- One cannot claim equivalency in marginalisation with the Pakistani man whose family was killed in a mistargeted drone strike- because you are a US citizen. Just as I can’t claim I’m somehow as oppressed by capitalist exploitation as those Chinese villagers whose water supply got poisoned by factories making goods for the MNCs. Because although my great grandparents were poor Chinese who left China amidst the strife caused by the Opium Wars, I am not them. I had an infinitely more privileged upbringing, because I am a consumer in the developed world and actually on the other side- the side that in many ways enables oppression. My hands may be clean vis a vis white supremacy, but they ARE NOT when it comes to the way the developing world is exploited. Are wealthy Chinese businesspeople who mistreat their workers free of moral blame?
Are these people
as underprivileged or institutionally oppressed as these?
Are these two’s experiences, privilege and power
EXACTLY the same as these rural Kenyan kids- who are happy that they now have access to clean running water?
(Yes, Kenya and the African continent as a whole have made great strides. But it is a fact that these children face more challenges and have fewer opportunities and are much less privileged than most Americans.)
Just because we have been wronged by others in the past doesn’t mean we may not be hurting others now, and that we don’t have a responsibility to stop it.
It is one thing to talk about your own experiences and raise awareness about the injustices you face. That is great and should be supported. But it is another to step on other victims so your narrative of oppression is the loudest and drowns them all out. Oppression is not a contest, and we can talk about our experiences in SOLIDARITY with one another, recognising that throughout human history, racism and oppression has worn MANY faces around the world- not just white ones.
Lol no white people cannot face racism nice try though
Did you even read my post? I’m guessing not.
Racism is a dynamic between oppressor and oppressed, and yes there is no “reverse racism”, but there are places where other faultlines beyond skin colour exist. Which means people you like to homogenously lump together as “white” actually don’t see themselves uniformly. Just like the Japanese sure as hell didn’t see we Chinese as “yay Eastasians!” during WW2 when they massacred 300,000 people of my ethnic group in Nanking, or how the Rwandan Hutu extremists saw Tutsi as “cockroaches” even though they were both African, even though plenty of Hutu-Tutsi marriages had taken place before the genocide. Unlike the Americas, in Europe, where because a lot of people there are white, other stuff like language, culture, history and geopolitics actually often becomes used as an excuse to murder entire groups of people.
Clearly, you know more about what is or isn’t racism than the law enforcement, than people like the British police- who have dealt with everything from neo-Nazis to attacks on black African immigrants to attacks on Muslims. It’s not like they have the statistics to know there is systemic racism against Poles to arrive at this conclusion or something. It’s not like they’ve had responded to numerous reports of anti-Polish graffiti. It’s not like they know recently, a man got beaten up by 15 people outside a London pub, who yelled “go back to Poland!”
Clearly, your assessment that white people cannot face racism is more correct than the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, which held that the Srebrenica massacre of Bosnians in the 1990s was genocide. Clearly, you know more typing on your blog than these people trained in international law and the genocide convention, than the witnesses who actually dug up all the bodies of the victims in their mass graves.
Clearly, what the Greeks experienced at the hands of the Ottoman Empire- forced death marches, massacres, summary executions, forced removal from their lands and destruction of the Christian religious symbols was not racism at all. Because, their magical white skin protects them from experiencing racism, and the fact that they were followers of a minority religion in an Islamic country and a minority ethnic group without much institutional power is totally irrelevant.
Clearly, this Czech Jewish girl, with blonde hair and fair skin, must definitely be a POC since she was murdered in the Holocaust. Her name is Hana Brady, btw. Unless you want to say the Holocaust wasn’t about racism, about Nazi Aryanism. Because racism is only the US flavour of white vs POC, because other forms like Aryanism don’t exist. Nevermind how often the Nazis called Jewish people “vermin” and “subhuman” and an “inferior race” and the Holocaust a “purification” of Germany.
Clearly, white people cannot face racism even though the Holocaust is an internationally-recognised genocide. Because you say so. Or are European Jewish people all “POC”? Hmm? This is amazing. I’m glad the most major genocide in the 20th century wasn’t about racism after all. Humans aren’t so bad after all!
You may also want to share your amazing findings with historians, human rights lawyers and legal scholars regarding the way the Nazis deliberately starved and abused Soviet POWs to the extent 60% died in custody, compared to less than 5% for British and Americans. Cos, y’know, they think it is genocide. Cos historians know about Generalplan Ost, and how the Nazis elaborated how they intended to exterminate Eastern Europe of Slavic people to increase German living space.
Or alternatively, you may wanna tell these Russian soldiers that you have just discovered they are not white after all, that they are POC, since racism cannot happen to white people.
Or you can do the easy thing which is to take off your American-centric lens, realise there is a whole different world outside the US and Canada, and recognise that racial Othering and discrimination doesn’t always function based on skin colour differences.
This is absolutely perfect. Most of tumblr is fixated on the specific race relations of the US which they then apply to everyone everywhere regardless of fact or how those nations are
Shit,it’s blatant in daily life when I have to explain to people exactly why the assumption of nationality of East Asians can be horrendously offensive and messy. I have Chinese ancestry, I have learned some Japanese. In order to practice, I used Japanese in a Japanese restaurant. The proprietor was all smiles until upon her asking if my features were from a Japanese ancestor, I replied no, actually I’m Chinese. She immediately flipped to icy and rude.
My European ancestry is mostly Polish and none of the came to America until the mid 1930’s, yet I have had fun chats about white responsibility for slavery when my family had no involvement. (Except on the Jamaican side which uh…well they obviously weren’t the oppressors there.)
The American experience of race and oppression is utterly alien in other places.
always good to see americans trying to dictate socia justice convention on tumblr because the world HAS to accomodate to them and their needs
On cultural appropriation of poc cultures by poc.
Pharrell’s GQ Masai-inspired Cover Sparks Outrage From Masai Community.
The British have a terrible history when it comes to cultural sensitivity. Looking at this world map, one can see that the vastness of the once-British Empire is not a display of greatness, but rather the markings of a former global system of oppression of brutality that has left its mark on our world today. Whilst far from the level of British imperialism, Pharrell Williams’ happy-go-lucky self doesn’t have an outstanding track record when it comes to cultural appropriation either. Perhaps that’s why this pairing featuring British GQ and Pharrell Williams isn’t altogether shocking.
Earlier this year, the singer, rapper, producer and ‘New Black’ spokesperson swapped his Vivienne Westwood mountie hat for a Native American war bonnet as he posed on the cover of Elle UK. How he and the entire Elle UK Magazine crew have managed to miss the countless articles and posts that have been published and circulated widely online against this form of cultural appropriation, I have no clue. But it seems like neither camp was aware, cared or showed any concern about their offensive actions until they were lambasted on social media.
Prior to the shoot, the Elle UK Magazine’s website posted a description of the editorial saying, “We persuaded Elle Style Award winner Pharrell to trade his Vivienne Westwood mountie hat for a Native American feather headdress in his best ever shoot.” Post-criticism, the message was later changed to read, “We persuaded [Pharrell] … to collaborate with us on his best ever shoot.” This weak attempts at a “cover-up”, if you can call it that, shows that Elle didn’t quite got the message. Not only were they fully aware of what Pharrell Williams was wearing from the get-go (they referred to the item by name), they neglected to concern themselves with the significance behind the item. Rather odd as fashion magazines are notorious for publishing well-researched in-depth articles about the designers behind the clothing featured in their magazines - especially on their covers.
Posing in yet another Western fashion-related magazine, this time British GQ, Pharrell’s multi-page spread sees him wearing arbitrary face paint and items of clothing associated with Masai people. Shot by lens duo Hunter & Gatti, the two said about the shoot, “all the inspiration concept of the shoot is related to the Masai tribe paintings. We brought a real Masai tribe just to make the ambient music around the shoot and inspire Pharrell.” If you’re wondering what this ‘tribe’ looked like or what the so-called ‘ambient music’ sounded like, GQ posted a video of the behind-the-scenes action on YouTube. But what’s really frightening in this case isn’t their overuse of the word ‘tribe’, it’s how they refer to the Masai people and culture as nothing more than items and props to be used at their disposal exposing the ways cultural appropriation rids a people of agency. That and how this cover makes Pharrell a repeat offender and serial cultural appropriator.
Whilst there has been outrage from members of both the Masai community and people leaving comments on Kenyan blogs concerning the commercial use of their culture, it is yet to receive the attention it deserves in mainstream media making a formal apology less likely in this case. What’s more, the specific use of Masai culture as a source of ‘inspiration’ speaks to the greater problem of companies that have been profiting from the image of the Masai, an already marginalized group in their home country, for decades.
In a BBC interview, Lemayian Ole kereto, an elder from the Masai community, expresses some key concerns with regards to the case against appropriation. Not only is cultural appropriation an act of suppression done primarily for commercial gain and usually enacted on already oppressed and marginalized groups, the use of “culture without consent” is never complimentary as it disregards the history, traditions and identities of those it depicts and affects the most. Ole kereto further adds that without prior consent from those representing the communities or culture in question, use of any facet of their culture falls directly into the real of cultural appropriation. If no body or agency exists that represents the majority or totality of the people in question, then companies should then refrain from this form of cultural ‘borrowing”. Ownership must be respected at all times.
Often, when discussing the issue of cultural appropriation, the question of whether or not it can be complimentary or not is sure to arise. The answer, quite simply, is no. Cultural appropriation has no benefits to those it affects. Cultural sensitivity and awareness are at the crux of addressing issues pertaining to cultural appropriation. When buying or making use of an item that is said to represent or belongs to a certain community, it is important to inform oneself of who is benefiting from this transaction. There is a possibility that cultural “borrowing” can benefit all parties involved. As Ole kereto says, “partnership attracts responsibility” which in turn creates effective awareness beyond commercial gain and profitability.
I always ask:
"did someone do a cover or is this just pitched"
this question haunts me
jesus christ, is right
Yuko’s Diary 18/10/2014
2 people celebrated my 26th birthday with me also *\(^o^)/*
lately they’ve been reliable doing this kind of thing! lol
Hakone’s hot springs! ☆
I couldn’t sleep until the countdown moment [to my birthday]
they were making a rustling sound so I couldn’t sleep
they jumped in saying
'Wake up Yuko!'
Sayaka dressed up as…a soybean recently lol
I didn’t think Sae chan did anything then appeared as ‘special guest’ Ana!!!
Also going as far as doing the make up. lol but this person hadn’t seen ‘Ana and the snow queen’ ! lol So somehow I also ended up dressing up. It seems I was wearing the king [playing card]…lol
we went in the hot springs, did a toast at a delicious meal, talked a lot and laughed
coming together for a lifetime of celebration ne ( ´ ▽ ` )
In Japan Disney’s ‘Frozen’ was released under the name ‘Ana and the Snow Queen
Whites riot over pumpkins in NH and Twitter turns it into epic lesson about Ferguson, aka The Best of #PumpkinFest, PT 1. #staywoke
in this week’s episode of shit black folks would get murdered or jailed with no trial for
cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat
this cat lives in a show horse barn which is why it walks and runs that way
THIS CAT THINKS ITS A HORSE
When straight people say only “boys and girls” exist and that “they” is the wrong pronoun for someone WHO SAYS THEY USE THEY/THEM/THEIR PRONOUNS. Oh and them trying to get you to go to church afterwards. No, you’re doing it wrong, just shut up.