A Guide to Every Troll You Meet When You Talk About Cultural Appropriation

So the trolls are roaming around.

And of course, Thursday, now proudly waving keoi’s reverse racist card, has to snark at people.Because it’s not upsetting anymore, it’s really, really amusing.

1. Mx I’m Showing Appreciation/I’m Promoting Understanding.
By engaging in these activities, I’m showing respect for the source culture.”
Translation: By breaking into your house and stealing your stuff, I’m telling you I love you?

2. Mx This Wouldn’t Be Happening If You Would Just Share.
People like you are separatist and elitist, preventing us from appreciating diversity.
Translation: Why are you stopping me from sharing my horribly distorted view of reality with people!!

3. Mx Don’t You Have Something More Important to Worry About Like Poverty and Stuff
Isn’t this distracting you from REAL ISSUES?”
Translation: Self-evident, I think.

4. Mx You’re too PC
You’re just looking for something to be offended about.”
Translation: Indeed, marginalised peeps spend all their time hiding under bushes on the roadside waiting to jump out at people like me.

5. Mx I Don’t Find This Offensive
I don’t see how my actions are offensive. I/my friend/random person from source culture think it’s ok.”
Translation: Y U NO LIKE ME STABBING YOU IN THE GUT RE? MY FRIEND WAS OK WITH IT.

6. Mx Marginalised Peeps Appropriate As Well.
White people get appropriated from as well! Look at how much chromatics make a fetish of our culture!”
Translation: It’s all about me and my feelings. Even when it’s about you.

7. Mx Colonialism Was A Long Time Ago!
Colonialism is over! We don’t do that now! And even if we did, we don’t mean it like that!”
Translation: I can do whatever I want with your culture because I’m a good person because I said so, & you know I’m a good person because I told you!

8. Mx Tone Argument
I’d listen to you if you were more civil!
Translation: Y U SO MEAN RE

9. Mx How Do I Not Appropriate It Is So Difficult
I’m scared of appreciating things because of the hordes of angry chromatics.”
Translation: It’s so difficult for me to not be an imperialist douchefuck! GIVE ME SYMPATHY!

10. Mx Fashion/Culture/Fiction Borrows From Everybody
Fashion/culture/fiction borrows things and it’s not racist.”
Translation: I’ve never seen an atom so they don’t exist.

I haven’t covered them all — people are constantly amazing me with how creatively they can be arseholes. Nonetheless, a good thing to remember duckies, when we talk about race, people with race privilege should sit the fuck down & listen, because their self-evident, self-defensive “rebuttals” are about as warranted as someone blowing their nose on my sleeve.

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A Handy Guide to Appreciation of a Marginalised Culture

Tired of being boring ol’ white? Want to add a bit of spice to your life & get hippie street cred in the same bargain? Look no farther! Thursday’s written this simple & unadulterated guide to appreciating a marginalised culture. We guarantee we’ll make an imperialist douchefuck out of you before you can say ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’, or your money back!

So, here we go.

1. Choose your target.
First of all, all white people have the right to another person’s culture, especially you! Fashion, art, & fiction have always borrowed from other sources, but don’t worry, there’s plenty to go around! Poke around in the storage closet & remember to pick one that truly speaks to you. Or you don’t even need to pick only one, you may change every other week or so to keep your friends interested.

2. Dive in.
Got your new culture? Excellent, you can start promoting cultural exchange right away! Start a blog to show everyone how much you love your new culture. Complain that not enough literature is being translated from their language to yours. Make a new exotic friend! Wear their clothes. Use their greetings. Eat their food. Jabber in their language — oh you don’t need our help to butcher those phonemes, surely! Change your name to a nice native-sounding one, & if it’s the name of a god in their pantheon, it’s perfect for you!

& if you feel extra-kind, pop over to their country and get a fresh ~perspective~. Take pictures of random stuff without asking permission. Mention (loudly, & several times) how it’s such a shame they’ve remained as they are when their history & culture was so glorious. Remember to look shocked when they speak English, or better yet, point & laugh. (Bonus points if you’re in China, you get to use ‘ching chong’.) And if you feel very ambitious, why not get a tattoo of a phrase in their language? Or several? Don’t worry if it’s complete gibberish. No one cares.

3. Mix & Match!
If you get bored, you could always mix & match! Bellydancing to bhangra music! Sioux headdresses with hanboks! Dhotis with Maasai weapons! Why stop there? Be creative!

4. Dodging the PC PoliceTM.
By now your enthusiasm would have attracted unwanted attention. Their attention. How do you know who these people are? Well, they’re always looking for something to be offended about, & that makes them as subtle as a monkey on crack. They’ll use the keywords: ‘inaccurate’, ‘racism’, ‘cultural appropriation’, & ‘white privilege’. & if you’re really lucky, you’ll also get: ‘povertyporn’. & if that’s not a clue, there’ll probably be hordes of them, too, sending you angry messages.
So, here’s what you do: say they have no right to tell everybody what to think! Hmph! Nobody would know about ~diversity if they had their way. Then, call in your friend from step 2! They know your reasons: you’re promoting cultural exchange ~respectfully~, & white culture totally doesn’t speak to you. Disassociation happens to everyone!
Next: you‘re not offended by your actions, so it doesn’t matter.
& lastly: don’t they have better things to do, like, solve poverty & stuff?

5. Haters Gonna Hate.
You’ve still got people left from step 4? That’s all right; keep on doing what you were & they will eventually give up & go away. If you see any of your haters refusing to engage with you and/or saying they’re out of spoons, CONGRATULATIONS! YOU WIN!

& if you have any questions or concerns on how much of an impact you’ll make using our Handy Guide, you may contact us at 555-GO-FUCK-YOURSELF.

(Post-)Colonialism and this thing called RESPECT

by Wednesday.

When USAmerican writer Gail Simone came to town a few years back, she was (quite rightly) taken to task by an indignant local fan who challenged her portrayal of Singapore in Birds of Prey #81-83. As Thursday has mentioned recently, cultural appropriation is one potential problem for writers from white cultures who have chosen to depict coloured cultures. However, another issue ā€“ which Iā€™m touching on today ā€“ is the question of accurate representation.

Over at Goodreads, there has begun a kerfuffle over [personal profile] loveā€™s review of The Wind-Up Girl. She writes of the book:

Here is my biggest problem with this book: the name of my country is MALAYSIA. Not Malaya. MalaySIa. I don’t mind as much if Andersen Lake gets it wrong–he’s portrayed as an asshole who doesn’t bother to get the local cultural details right anyway, and he seems quite racist to me. That’s fine; while he is wholly unsympathetic in my book, there’s nothing wrong with writing an unsympathetic character.

However, Tan Hock Seng is another matter.

When is this book set anyway? Considering the technology, I would say the book is set sometime in the 21st century. Post-2000, then. How old is Tan Hock Seng? I shall be charitable and say that he is 70 years old, give or take a few. Assuming Tan Hock Seng was 70 in 2010, that would mean he was born in 1940.

Malaysia came into being in 1957 when we achieved independence from the British. While we were still called Malaya back in World War II, that was then. Since 1957 we have been Malaya. Tan Hock Seng would have been using “Malaysia” for YEARS after independence.

Malaya is what the British called us. Malaya is the name of a colonial territory. Malaya is not an independent nation. Malaysians call themselves Malaysians, not Malayans.

So WHY ON EARTH is TAN using MALAYA and not Malaysia? It says in the book he was a Big Deal (my emphasis) back in the day, before the riots. Big Deals do not use Malaya. They say Malaysia.

Here, Wednesday weighs in.