Subscribe to Bitch—an award-winning, 80 page feminist magazine. Image Map

Feminist Intersection: Appropriation Bingo

In response to much of the commentary from my Native cultural appropriation post this week, I thought I'd share two of the "bingo" cards fellow Bitch readers have sent in to help us work through this.

Cultural appropriation bingo:
3223223918_e1d46c2502.jpg

Click here to see another reader's suggestion, white liberal bingo.

Enjoy reading this article? Good news! Our quarterly magazine, Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, is packed with 80+ pages of feminist analysis, reviews, illustrations, and more. Subscribe today!

Subscribe to Bitch

Comments

18 comments have been made. Post a comment.

LOL!

Ahahaha! I couldn't figure out how to wade in the clusterf*ck that is the comments in your last post, but this sums it up *perfectly*. Love. It.

liek omg

liek omg cuz

There you go again sounding all racist and militant towards those people, harshing on their privilege and guilt ya big meanie! Dontcha think you should walk a moon in their mocassins, or wooden clogs in this case, before you oppress those people. You know white folk got it hard. [/snark]

PERFECT! Just perfect! It

PERFECT! Just perfect! It can be hard to work through the defensiveness of white privilege (especially from white liberals) but the use of irony might just do it.

Comment deleted

Well i don't know what warranted my comment being deleted... but fair enough.

[/shrug]

Loving The Manipulation, Jessica!

This comment has been deleted by the administration. We are moderating these comments and removing any we come across that violate our comments policy (this includes personal attacks as well as using offensive language).

Please comment respectfully, everyone. Thanks.

Are you arguing for cultural separatism?

This comment has been deleted by the administration. We are moderating these comments and removing any we come across that violate our comments policy (this includes personal attacks as well as using offensive language).

Please comment respectfully, everyone. Thanks.

Wow, really?

My comment was totally respectful. It was a rational argument against the original post and I guess that's why it was deleted? I used to subscribe to Bitch. You've lost a customer.

I'm South Asian and I sort

I'm South Asian and I sort of understand where Jessica is coming from. People appropriate South Indian culture all the time and ya, it sometimes irritates me. See, I don't mind if someone wants to try Indian food or listen to Indian music. I love sharing my culture. I mind when the Pussy Cat Dolls come out with a bollywood inspired video wearing saris and bindis. I mind because they probably don't give a shit about my culture.

Bollywood

Bollywood exports more films than Hollywood in America. Ideas spread with export. Secularism cannot be maintained with export. The Pussy Cats Dolls may be dummies, but they are absorbing what is available to them via Indian export. India is becoming a world player and its ideas are bound to influence. No matter what there will always be good and bad repercussions with the spread of ideas.

Open Discussion

The administration is sure deleting a lot of comments. It seems to me that the administration is deleting anything accusing bloggers of publishing racist material. If the administration doesn't want its bloggers to be accused of being racist maybe bloggers shouldn't publish racist material. I see this Bingo card as being straight up hate speech. I'll call a spade a spade when I see it. I feel like the blog is making hateful sweeping generalizations and I don't like that they include me.

I am an American. I took a trip to Southeast Asia in December and January. American culture is appropriated all over the world. I could get Tillamook ice cream in a Cold Storage in Singapore, no problem. I shopped at Lucky Plaza in Singapore and saw hundreds of tshirts that said "NYC Basketball" and tshirts with Lisa Simpson or the Sesame Street characters. The Sesame Street characters have influenced me greatly in wonderful ways, and are very special to me, even still. So I bought one of the tshirts and was happy about it. I went to a punk show in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and I saw tons of Microcosm stencils on the walls in the venue. I bought a zine in Malaysia that had an interview with a band from my home town of Boise, Idaho! Do you think I was pissed that people in Kuala Lumpur like the band Hummingbird of Death, because I staked claims on them because they're from my hometown? No way! I was amazed and loved talking with the Malay kids about something we had in common!
I also got an earful about how America doesn't have any culture. Are you kidding me, America doesn't have any culture? or that our culture is boring? The whole world is wearing blue jeans and do you think that I'm pissed about it? I'm definitely not pissed. The largest clothing retailer in Munich, Germany is called the New Yorker! That is definitely capitalizing on American culture. New York is such a unique and lovely and very American place, and I'm lucky that New York is part of my culture- but I'll never be upset that Germans like New York too. Good for you, Germany, I think New York is great too.
I guess what I'm trying to say is why does everything have a tantrum thrown over it? Hypersensitivity is harmful.

hate speech?

I'm not seeing anywhere on the card where it incites violence towards a group of people or demeans them. It's a listing of tropes, statements and themes used to silence, derail, shame, antagonize and overall suppress any discussion, statement, article, support etc. against racism--many of these tropes which have been used (again and again) in Jessica's previous article.

The bingo card does nothing whatsoever to disparage or intimidate a group of people. What it does say is "you see this? Don't do this! Stop doing this! These are some hideous cracks in what you're saying."

Well, I don't know. Since

Well, I don't know. Since everything on that card is things that white people say to us then I'd have to agree it's racism and could be hate speech against POC, which is why we want white people to stop doing that.

Disagree.

I'd like to reiterate what someone else (wiser than myself) said first. Someone in Singapore wearing a Sesame Street t-shirt is not the same as what Jessica is talking about. Because:

- Sesame Street is not a religious or sacred thing. While it may be special to you (hell, it's special to me), it is secular and is not something tied to faith or something deeply ingrained in an entire culture's way of being.

- America is a world power. Sesame Street is not vulnerable in the same way. The idea of Sesame Street has not been trampled on for centuries. People have not made fun of Sesame Street, told you that it's not special, told you that they know how special it is without actually ever having seen it, and haven't made sweeping generalizations or assumptions about this children's tv show. And even if they had, this has almost definitely been on an individual level and not come from an entire nation. Let alone from the people in power of the nation in which you live. For your entire life.

I absolutely agree with you that America has a specific culture. I see American influence in many places both in positive and negative ways and those who say it's "boring" are entitled to their opinion, as are you who seems to enjoy it. Good for you (no sarcasm intended). I don't feel as though this post (or the aforementioned) was denying American culture in any way. I also don't think that the point is that it's not okay to genuinely be interested in First Nations cultures / ideas / etc, so this analogy doesn't fly with me. The idea is that it's not okay to *appropriate* (verb: take (something) for one's own purpose, typically without the owner's permission).

As far as the claim that this post is racist, please see the above response. Juan said it better than I could.

Yes, hypersensitivity is harmful. So is being insensitive. Chew on that for a while, eh?

I laughed out loud at the

I laughed out loud at the idea of some white American bowing down before the sacred great and almighty Big Bird. Some people just don't realize how ridiculously ignorant they are.

bingo

In the future, we will hopefully allow commenters and bloggers the ability to flag abusive or oppressive comments. Emily, yours would be one of the first, and it's not being deleted because the responses to your post would be deleted too.

By calling things "hate speech" and "racist" you're using fighting words that aren't yours, as a privileged white American, to describe hurtful, silencing tactics marginalized people actually deal with, online and off.

By turning the argument around and claiming you're oppressed, you center yourself and your petty issues, when the real issue at hand is Native appropriation and white people deflecting the real issue at hand. Like other commenters have noted, unless you have some spiritual connection to blue jeans, shut up, and take a moment to listen and read.

By accusing people of being "too sensitive," or "throwing a tantrum" you're dismissing their lived experience of exasperating and infuriating ordeals, and silencing them by saying they're making a big deal out of nothing, when actually it is a big fucking deal you just wouldn't know it because you insist on being the victim here. If you follow up this post with more of the same it will be deleted.

____________
Kjerstin Johnson, editor-in-chief
Did someone say "Comments Policy"?

Just Sayin'

The irony of using the cliche "I'll call a spade a spade" in a discussion about hate speech and racism: Hope it wasn't entirely lost on you. Especially considering the entire context of the saying:

"God's people shall not spare to call a spade a spade, a niggard a niggard."

A little help?

I was just wondering what your goal is, Jessica? Personally, I research the shiznit out of things. I love learning. However, I came from a TINY little town in the middle of no-where in michigan. In a class of 300 there were 2 black kids, 2 mexican, and the rest of us white kids. I was never exposed to anything like you've experienced. I know that. But I also didn't know that feminism was still viable until maybe a year or so ago. (different yes, just trying to prove a point) I didn't have anyone to talk to, or to talk to me, about how it was different being white vs. being a minority. And I know there are still lots of people who either a)dont think it matters or b)to whom it matters. (my grandfather told me if I brought a black boy home, he'd disown me) Do you want people to learn independently about your culture? Language? how your culture (and language) have changed since european colonization? That, like some slurs, it is only alright to use within the group?

I try to be aware of racism, sexism, and other behaviours I believe are wrong. I also realize you do not speak for everyone. But I guess I want to know what you hope the world will end up being like.
Thanks

Not quite the point

Hi Court,

It's great that you are trying to be more aware of racism and racist behavior – that is exactly what the Bingo card Jessica posted here aims to do as well, make us more aware of appropriation and racist behavior. However, as far as "goals" are concerned, I think you may have misunderstood a little. The intent with this particular post, as I understand it, was to help give people a bit more context (and maybe even a laugh) when it comes to the comments on Jessica's post from earlier this week, which incurred some pretty oppressive and ignorant comments (many along the lines of those squares on the Bingo card above).

I am sure Jessica doesn't envision a world where no one knows about other cultures – quite the opposite in fact. That being said, keep up the good work with the research that you're doing!

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!