A response to ‘Afros, sombreros, and racial stereotypes? Hell no!’

There are just some things in this article that I can’t help but disagree with. I’ll point them out, and I’d truly be interested in hearing what others have to say in response to my refutations. I think the world would be a better place if there were more dialogue and less shaming.

“…problematic trend white people don’t seem to want to give up. “

Well, ‘white people,’ just like every other cultural, racial, or ethnic group, is not a group that behaves as a homogeneous mass with a unified direction and action. These are individuals, and the actions of individuals within a group do not represent the group as a whole. I would even argue that generalizing ‘white people’ as a group and imposing a group-based guilt for some action on them is the type of thing that contributes to the whole us vs them mentality that is becoming more prevalent among various identity groups on both the right and the left.

“Dressing up as caricatures of other people’s cultures is unnecessary, disrespectful and lazy.”

Where does the line between appreciation of other cultures through imitation and harmful appropriation get drawn? Furthermore, who draws it?

“…there have been cries for this to stop, and your failure to do so makes you a fuckin’ r-word. That word is racist.”

Racist is a very powerful word, and it has a lot of negative connotation to it. It has a tendency to end dialogue and make people freeze, and I would argue that this is because nobody with a decent conscience is accepting of the idea that they’re racist. I really don’t think it’s applicable to everybody who disobeys the “rules” of cultural appropriation, especially since those rules are not well defined and still under contention.

“… butthole …”

That whole paragraph further shames any [supposed] guilty reader and contributes no intellectual argument.

“Throw away your sombrero.”

Not every sombrero owned by a white person is an act of colonization. Occasionally, people actually get invited to participate in other cultures. In fact, it happens quite often.

In multicultural societies, which are better than monocultural societies in my opinion, one of the things that people get to share along cross-cultural lines is their culture. People are often gifted artifacts that are culturally unique by members of that culture. It’s not your duty, responsibility, or even your right to shame people into believing that they can not participate in the sharing of others cultures based on their skin color.

“White people are not doing enough to protect marginalized cultures.”

Final point here, and it’s related to the previous one. The whole idea that white people as a group are responsible for the protection of other cultures is absurd within its own right. Don’t you see how this can be seen as infantilizing of marginalized cultures? That statement implies some really heavy stuff if you think about it:

A.) White people have a group responsibility, and therefore a group guilt if they fail at their responsibility.

B.) It is the responsibility of white people to make decisions about marginalized cultures on behalf of the members of the marginalized cultures.

C.) Marginalized cultures are not strong enough to stand up on their own to multi-cultural society, they need the defence of white people.

I’d like to think that those implications are all inherently false. There’s a great conversation to be had about cultural appropriation and discussing where we draw the line between appropriation and admiration, but that conversation stops when we begin it by projecting accusations of racism at those who disagree.