For you to treat our tattoos like a part of some costume…! My culture isn’t a game!
Gene Yang has done a lot of very strange/generally incorrect things with The Promise, but this is something I’m glad to say he got very right. Culture isn’t a costume, and wearing traditional dress or images from an unaffiliated culture simply because you’re a “fan” is inappropriate.
This is how I feel every time I see bindis included in magazine spreads, or decorating the foreheads of celebrities and schoolgirls. It gets taken up by fashion and becomes “cool”…as long as it’s not being worn by my mother or my grandmother or, for that matter, me. I’m not cool when I wear a bindi—a real one, the red, thumbprint-sized one. I’m ‘ultra-Indian’. I’m conservative, traditional, demure. I am all the stereotypes that the West has ever imposed on Indian women. I’m not fashionable or modern or admired.
Tread lightly where other peoples’ cultures are concerned. There are ways to appreciate them without appropriating.
Remember that copying is the highest form of flattery or whatever. Appropriating someones culture to create a fashion statement is how fashion really evolves. I understand that it means something to you, something deeper. But when a “cute” bindi is worn, they are paying homage to your traditions. Being purist gets you nowhere in this world, accepting others interest in your culture and possibly using it as a springboard to talk about your culture is the best you can wish for.
This is how gas lighting manifests itself in implicit racism. Do something brazenly without thinking about how it might affect people, and then when they cry out in pain, tell them they should feel flattered and that is the best they are going to get.
Tell them that they are simply incapable of understanding the wonderfulness of “homage” and “evolving fashions” even though most of the time these ideas are appropriated from the people while leaving the people in the dust. Even though most of the time the ideas are appropriated without understanding their true meaning, because the meaning or the sacredness has stopped mattering to the person hijacking the culture.
Tell them that “this is the best you can wish for” because why wish for something more, like not being hurt or wanting to have some semblance of control or interaction with how your culture is used.
for the above comments
(via mikeyruh)Source: notablyindigo
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