Bienvenido, compa!
I am a pure-blooded Venezuelan who moved to the USA as an immigrant. My family is very deeply immersed in our culture. Yet, when I wear the traditional costume, eat Venezuelan foods, or speak Spanish I'm often accused of cultural appropriation and being a culture-stealing white girl. I'm starting to think that they are correct... what should I do?
Anónimo

stirringwind:

To add to the previous ask (I’m the Venezuelan immigrant anon), I have very pale skin and green eyes. My sibling and mother’s entire family side, however, has the typical Venezuelan tan skin and brown eyes.

I’m sorry you’re yet another victim of trainwreck white knighting in the US by people with white saviour complexes. They are not right. Do not think they are right. You don’t have to change anything about yourself. But people accusing you of cultural appropriation need to STFU and really get educated because they are essentially subscribing to ill-informed stereotypes about what people of a culture look like. Sorry, this will be another long post.

Okay, first and foremost, this is what I’ll say to those people accusing you of cultural appropriation:

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You cannot appropriate your own culture just as you can’t steal your own money. 

Let’s tease out what assumptions these people are relying on to support their very, very ignorant conclusions- this is what I detect are the underlying assumptions:

  1. White people = European origin, as per the US understanding.
  2. Latin@s are a race! Because when you say latin@ in the US everyone thinks of Mexicans right? And aren’t they like all with dark hair and tanned skin? Culturally they’re not like white (English-speaking, really) North America, so voila, I have Othered them as “non-white!”
  3. Our race categories apply everywhere! Since I’ve proclaimed them non-white, they darn well better not have have “white” features like fair skin and green eyes!
  4. Venezuela’s in Latin America right? Non-white then! How dare this white girl try and pretend she’s a latino, I mean she has like green eyes and everyone knows latinos only have dark eyes and tanned skin!

From how the anon has described their family’s physical appearance, I would guess they have European and possibly some indigenous American ancestry. And guess what? Even if she has only European ancestry and would be considered “white” if she were born in the US:

1. Amazingly, people can have European ancestry or be fair-skinned and STILL be Venezuelan. Because, uh, “Venezuelan” is a nationality and cultural identity, NOT AN ETHNICITY DAMMIT. I mean, let’s look at the demographics of Venezuela:

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  • What’s that??? Ethnic GROUPS? IN PLURAL??? “White”??? Oh wait, Venezuela, like much of the Americas, was colonised by Europeans! And wait, who are these “mestizos”? People with Native American AND European ancestry! Just as we know there are black Americans and Native Americans just as there are white Americans. Don’t you consider them all US citizens? Same logic applies to this Venezuelan anon. 
  • Whatever the shade of her skin or genetic haplogroups in her DNA, she was born and raised there. She is Venezuelan. She has every damn right to participate in Venezuelan culture. So anon- remember that nationality is not ethnicity- but an identity meant to embrace all citizens of that nation no matter how they look like.

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2. I have got many asks with latin@s saying they’re attacked for being too light-skinned or having the wrong eye colour to be real latin@s- so…LATIN@ IS NOT A RACE or ETHNICITY. 

  • It is a CULTURAL IDENTITY, referring to what these countries have in common from being colonised by Spain and Portugal- Spanish and Portuguese are both Latin languages. They also have other cultural similarities by virtue of being neighbours, though they are distinct cultures. Notably, the modern culture in many Latin American countries is a lively fusion of European, indigenous American and African culture. Latin America is also racially diverse as hell. Not everybody there has tanned skin and dark hair even though many do because they have very, very diverse ancestry due to the various migrants.

These people are ALL LATIN AMERICANS, and there’s plenty of compelling evidence they don’t come in one shade of colour:

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This man is of indigenous ancestry- from the Aymara people, who lived in the Americas long before Spanish rule. He is Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia. 

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This lady is of mixed German, Spanish and indigenous American ancestry. She’s Frida Kahlo, a famous Mexican painter. 

This Argentinian lady has Spanish and German ancestry. Aha I guess we spotted our first culture stealing white girl! How dare she call herself Argentinian because isn’t that like far down, deep in Latin America?!?!

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Nevermind, sorry. She’s actually Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the President of Argentina. What witchery is this?! 

And just to hammer in that SERIOUSLY latin@s don’t just have “tanned” skin. They can be a lot darker- like people with African ancestry-  because the Spanish and Portuguese brought many African slaves to the Americas to work the plantations. Like this guy: 

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I mean, he’s only Pele, aka the best Brazilian football player of all time. He was born and raised in Brazil. He’s a black latino, just as there are black Americans. And conversely, there are white, mixed-race latin@s just as there are white and mixed-race Americans. Furthermore, Latin American countries have their own terminology and the concept of “white” “black” or “mixed race” can be quite different.

3. Remember that race is a completely nonsensical construct with no basis on biology to begin with, because skin-tone alone says NOTHING about whether people are related! People from sub-Saharan Africa and Papua New Guinea are both dark-skinned but they are genetically distant. Many Indians are darker skinned than Europeans but they actually seem to share a gene for fair skin from a common ancestor. Go figure. Genetics is amazing. 

  • And if anyone wants to keep imposing these horribly narrow categories on people and not be open-minded to the fact that “hey maybe these things are more fluid and people can’t be rigidly categorised” you’re just perpetuating the structures and hierarchy of racism
  • There is a difference between using the terminology of “black” and “white” when discussing racist power structures today: like “Michael Brown was shot because he was black”, and insisting on forcing people like latin@s into this horrible system of categorisation we should get rid of. In the former, terms like “black” and “white” are essential to understanding and deconstructing the mechanisms of a skin-tone based power hierarchy. When you speak of your experience of racism, “whiteness” and “blackness” are essential to understanding it. In the latter case, you’re PERPETUATING these stupidly reductionist categories that can’t even begin to classify the diversity of our species. Latin@s can be fair or brown or black. They can have blue, brown or green eyes. They can have all sorts of hair colours. People do not fit into these stupid boxes. Tell them anon, that they are perpetuating colonialism because they as outsiders are trying to define your own identity- which they have no right to do!

4. This girl got attacked for practising her own culture because these outsiders who don’t know anything about Venezuela were so convinced she was “culturally appropriating”. 

Thinking you have right to define what is offensive and attack people for cultural appropriation when you are not from that culture and/or don’t know anything in detail about it, is a straight up perpetuation of colonialism. Oh no, colonialism isn’t just about violence, like when the British pumped opium into the veins of my ancestors and mercilessly exploited their community. 

  • You know what else was colonialism? When the colonial powers positioned themselves as saviours to save colonial subjects from themselves, to bring them the majestic light of civilisation, because we’re all so self-oppressed with our backwards cultures and don’t know what’s good for ourselves. Which justified all their social policies where they didn’t bother trying to understand us but just denigrated our indigenous cultures, social structures traditions as inferior and thus saw it fit to destroy them. When they infantilised their subjects as ignorant. 

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No thanks. We don’t need anymore “white saviours”

  • Colonialism is also the imposition of a foreign narrative that completely disregards ethno-religious and geopolitical histories of another group of people. Just like how the European powers sliced up the African continent without giving a shit about the fact that they were dividing up ethnic groups that have seen themselves as whole, or grouping together people who didn’t identify as being part of the same culture.
  • And in fact, those people attacking the anon for cultural appropriation calling her a “culture stealing white girl” are actually practising one hallmark of colonialism- racist Othering of cultures. They’re not actually helping us fight harmful cultural appropriation. Why? The narrative is people who look “white” can’t be latin@s or Venezuelans, another narrative imposition- this time, a US-centric imposition. Because Latin America is the “Other” to “white” (English speaking, really) North America. So, the inclination is to force latin@s into the US racial construct. Because they must be “Othered”, those people attacking the anon cannot conceive of the fact that some of them may be as “white” as white Americans in terms of European ancestry. They have trouble simply thinking, “Oh! We have similar ancestry, but we just aren’t exactly alike because I was born in the US, and she was born in Venezuela- Latin America. So while genetically we may be similar, our cultural identity is very different.”

5. The people who have a right to define what cultural appropriation of their culture is and to practice their culture freely are people of the culture in question. They DO NOT have to pass an outsiders’ preconceived test of what a “real Venezuelan” or real “Indian/Native American/Arab/South African” looks like.

6. On the broader note of cultural appropriation, fuck ups like these would decrease if people bore in mind that:

  • Nobody should go around policing cultural appropriation without taking care to make sure they get it right or defer to the opinions of people actually of that culture. Nor should you, worse still, tell people of that culture they’re “self-oppressed” if they say they are alright with sharing something.

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If you do that, well done. You’ve unlocked the 21st century version of the “White Man’s Burden”, because you are being condescending and infantilising an entire culture full of sentient people who are perfectly capable of logical reasoning and conceptualising their own culture.  And you don’t have to be “white” (or a male) to do this. It’s just getting gratification and egostroking about what an activist you are for poor, oppressed people. Like those people who go to on “volunteer trips” that are just photo-op of themselves carrying kids and not actually anything helpful.

  • Real solidarity and activism is seeing the people you are advocating for as equals. That means supporting, not speaking over them. That means if anyone is truly concerned about harmful cultural appropriation, they should ALWAYS seek to consult what people of that culture actually say and check with them. If you bully people online and police cultures you don’t even know anything about in detail and speak over people of that culture, you are not that different from the colonial powers who came in with this inflated sense of entitlement that they knew oh so well how to free us from our backwards traditions. 

7. Yes, i’m glad people are interested in learning about cultural appropriation. But you must first do no harm- and the white saviour complex has a potential to do a lot of harm.

When you want to point out what looks like a case of cultural appropriation of a culture that is not your own, bear in mind:

  • When we are outsiders, there will be things we do not know and may get wrong no matter how much we read up. Defer to people actually from that culture. Hedge your statements. “Say from what I know” and just don’t act like an undisputed authority, aka “stupid white girl appropriating from venezuelan culture ugh!” Be civil. So at least the entire conversation is cordial if it turns out you are wrong- and the person isn’t wrongly attacked. 
  • "Don’t white knight" isn’t just directed towards white social justice bloggers. I myself am an outsider to say, Islamic culture. Just because I’d be considered a “POC” in the US doesn’t give me license to go around attacking people either about an issue I cannot say I know about extremely well. I have studied the history of the Middle-East and the rise of political Islam in detail, for example, but that STILL does not make me as informed as a real Muslim- and their opinion would always carry more weight than mine. But if it was something about Chinese culture, that’s something I can say I know more about. 

So yes, anon- keep your chin up and keep participating in the culture that you were born in. Educate people if they ask and tell them Venezuela is a multi-ethnic country, that identity isn’t defined by skin tone or appearance. That nationality is not ethnicity or genetics- and that genetics is not culture.

If they still insist you are culturally appropriating or won’t believe what your background is, ignore them- as hard as it may be. They do not have any right to decide your identity for you, and staying true to yourself is better than forcing yourself to be something you are not.

bugcthulhu:

colombian man what are you doing
colombian man stop

bugcthulhu:

colombian man what are you doing

colombian man stop

bringmeknitting:

hellyeahpenguinsofmadagascar:

The Penguins of Madagascar | November 26, 2014

oH MY GOD

sully-s:

I was reading some web pages about the Civil Rights Movement today and wonder how I could draw some Hetalia art for it. I liked the idea of 2p America (The Confederacy ) Changing his human name from Allen Jones to Jim Crow. And spends his days oppressing African American America ( human name Alphonse) and during the Civil Rights Movement Alfred (Main Nation Personification) steps in and puts Jim in his place like the government did from time to time……But now I’m starting to think that just way too many personifications….so now I have no idea what I’m going to do. Though I had already doodled this and I liked how Alphonse came out so here it be. 

sully-s:

I was reading some web pages about the Civil Rights Movement today and wonder how I could draw some Hetalia art for it. I liked the idea of 2p America (The Confederacy ) Changing his human name from Allen Jones to Jim Crow. And spends his days oppressing African American America ( human name Alphonse) and during the Civil Rights Movement Alfred (Main Nation Personification) steps in and puts Jim in his place like the government did from time to time……But now I’m starting to think that just way too many personifications….so now I have no idea what I’m going to do. Though I had already doodled this and I liked how Alphonse came out so here it be. 

CAN WE TALK ABOUT MIDDLE EASTERN WITCHES AND WIZARDS THOUGH. AND HOW THEY'RE SPELLS WOULD OBVIOUSLY NOT BE LATIN, GREEK OR ANGLO SAXON, BUT INSTEAD LIKE ANCIENT PHOENICIAN, OR SOMETHING. AND THAT THEIR TIES BETWEEN SPELLS AND MAGIC WOULD BE STRONGER SINCE THEIR WORDS ARE MORE ANCIENT AND FAR OLDER SO THEY'D BE WAY MORE POWERFUL???? SORRY FOR THE CAPS?????

karnythia:

asterionboy:

strawberrypatty:

avatar-trisana:

amarielah:

bramblepatch:

shiraglassman:

avatar-trisana:

thejewsareinspace:

thecompleteillustrated:

petrichorlore:

petrichorlore:

NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR CAPS. PHOENICIAN SPELLS. ARAMAIC SPELLS. LANGUAGES MUGGLES DON’T KNOW ANYMORE THAT HAVE BEEN PRESERVED THROUGH WIZARDING SPELLS IN LITTLE POCKETS OF THE WORLD. SOURCE LANGUAGES NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO ADAPT OR CHANGE ANYMORE BECAUSE THE LANGUAGES HAVE DIED AND PEOPLE ARE AFRAID TO CAUSE LIKE, A NUCLEAR FALLOUT. IM SO EXCITED THANKS FOR THIS.

 (the-writers-ramblings

Witches in secret pockets of Morocco who’ve been casting spells with ancient spices long before wands came about. Warlocks in Egypt who knew the double, magical, meaning behind hieroglyphics. A dead language? Latin and Ancient Greek have NOTHING on hieroglyphs. The veritable cacophany of ideas and spells and magic that the trading routes brought in. The Phoenecians with their many-striped sailboats proudly displayed Persian potion ingredients alongside spelled fishing nets woven by Palestinian wizards. Syrian magical folk meet Greek ones, and realize they can best communicate in the Ancient Greek all serious magical students learn. Curly heads bent over ancient spellbooks, and people stare as they converse in a language not spoken for hundreds of years.

Excuse you but can we not forget the jewish lore masters, poring over their tomes in hebrew and aramaic, preserved from their exiled homeland into the diaspora.

And the development of a syncretic magic in yiddish that mixes the subtle lore and subtle word power of the exiled levantines with the raw brute force of germanic magics. — how else did the golem?

DIASPORA SYNCRETIC MAGICS

jewish wizards offering house elves clothes in accordance with the slave laws

jewish wizards using golems as grunt labor

JEWISH WIZARDS

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Yes to the Yiddish spells, too ;-)

Jewish wizards offering clothing to house elves and then constantly debating among themselves whether using a golem or other magically-created entity with some semblance of sentience for manual labor for years or decades is essentially the same thing as keeping a magical being for the same purpose.

See also: endless debates about whether one can use magic on Shabbat, and what sorts of magic qualify as “work”. Like, does it count if you enchant an object ahead of time?

Also debates over the extent to which Divination counts as the “witchcraft” detailed in the Tanach. Actually, I bet there’d be scholars compiling detailed tractates about which spells are kosher, using extensive biblical commentary.

JEWISH WIZARDS HAVING THEIR OWN EXTENDED TALMUD. HOW HAS THIS NEVER OCCURRED TO ME BEFORE??

Magic is a natural extension of the self; Therefore, one should be allowed to use magic on Shabbos. You might put restrictions on what kind of magic, and brewing potions (even ones that don’t require heat) and using wands…

I wrote a paper for a Harry Potter conference on foreign wizardry and how the systems of magic must have evolved to be completely separate entities that have very little in common. We’re only seen a TINY portion of the wizarding world and for the most part it’s Western European. I like to imagine Bill Weasley had to extensively train for cursebreaking in Egypt, because you can’t just waltz into a tomb, wave your wand, shout Latin and expect it to work.

I also love the idea of foreign magics being a bit wonky in a duel against each other because they’re not quite compatible. Like, it’s really hard to block a spell from a foreign wizard because you don’t understand exactly what you’re blocking against.

God, so many foreign wizard feels.

WIZARDS AND WITCHES FROM MEXICO

BRUJERÍA

SPELLWORK FROM MEXICO, CENTRAL AMERICA, AND SOUTH AMERICA

POTIONS WITH CACAO, CACAO AND ALL THE MAGICAL PROPERTIES

MAGIC IN CUBA

SOMEONE CONTRIBUTE TO THIS BECAUSE I CANT AND IT FRUSTRATES ME

Hoodoo cures for cursed wounds. Inner cities that appear rundown and overcrowded, but magic hides their beauty to prevent incursions by gentrifying wizards. Community gardens full of herbs for healing & for warfare.

manim0:

gookgod:

this is some yuri manga type shit man

i smell the gay and it has polluted the whole room

brown-likeme:


"And as things fell apart, nobody paid much attention."
Recent picture taken in Gaza.

And yet the people of Gaza still took time out from their lives to give the people of Ferguson tips on how to deal with tear gas

brown-likeme:

"And as things fell apart, nobody paid much attention."

Recent picture taken in Gaza.

And yet the people of Gaza still took time out from their lives to give the people of Ferguson tips on how to deal with tear gas

ccoastal:

hanars:

luckykrys:

thecreach:

luckykrys:

"Anne Bonny and Mary Read were pirates, as renowned for their ruthlessness as for their gender, and during their short careers challenged the sailors’ adage that a woman’s presence on shipboard invites bad luck."
Sculpture by Erik Christianson.

I’m not entirely sure that the statue really needed to have a tit out.

How dare women try to have nipples.

Actually I’ve seen this before and I can tell you— it’s because these women were bad ass pirates and when they killed someone they’d expose one or both breasts so that when their victim died, (s)he knew that they were killed by a woman.

ACTUALLY Anne Bonny purposely wore loose fitting clothes and displayed her breasts openly at all times during battle - mainly because men were distracted by them, and she took pleasure in killing said men while they were too busy staring at her breasts. Mary Read dressed mainly as a man (after posing as her deceased brother, Mark, for the entirety of her childhood) and both ladies cross-dressed from time to time, hopping between ships. They were known as the ‘fierce hell cats’ due to their ferocious tempers, and were key elements to Captain ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham’s crew - they were the only two known female pirates in the Golden Age of Caribbean piracy. IN FACT, when the ship was captured by the British Navy, Anne and Mary were the ONLY TWO pirates who fought while the males of the crew hid - they were all tried to be hung as pirates but Bonny and Read were both pregnant and were pardoned.
Calico Jack was a lover to Bonny, and as he was to be hung, Bonny’s final words to him were, “Had you fought like a man, you need not be hung like a dog.” Bonny and Read were possibly two of the most badass fucking pirates and they were FEMALE. The more you know. 

ccoastal:

hanars:

luckykrys:

thecreach:

luckykrys:

"Anne Bonny and Mary Read were pirates, as renowned for their ruthlessness as for their gender, and during their short careers challenged the sailors’ adage that a woman’s presence on shipboard invites bad luck."

Sculpture by Erik Christianson.

I’m not entirely sure that the statue really needed to have a tit out.

How dare women try to have nipples.

Actually I’ve seen this before and I can tell you— it’s because these women were bad ass pirates and when they killed someone they’d expose one or both breasts so that when their victim died, (s)he knew that they were killed by a woman.

ACTUALLY Anne Bonny purposely wore loose fitting clothes and displayed her breasts openly at all times during battle - mainly because men were distracted by them, and she took pleasure in killing said men while they were too busy staring at her breasts. Mary Read dressed mainly as a man (after posing as her deceased brother, Mark, for the entirety of her childhood) and both ladies cross-dressed from time to time, hopping between ships. They were known as the ‘fierce hell cats’ due to their ferocious tempers, and were key elements to Captain ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham’s crew - they were the only two known female pirates in the Golden Age of Caribbean piracy. IN FACT, when the ship was captured by the British Navy, Anne and Mary were the ONLY TWO pirates who fought while the males of the crew hid - they were all tried to be hung as pirates but Bonny and Read were both pregnant and were pardoned.

Calico Jack was a lover to Bonny, and as he was to be hung, Bonny’s final words to him were, “Had you fought like a man, you need not be hung like a dog.” Bonny and Read were possibly two of the most badass fucking pirates and they were FEMALE. The more you know. 

thewhitepepper:

Monday Styling!
Styling and Photography by THE WHITEPEPPER 

thewhitepepper:

Monday Styling!

Styling and Photography by THE WHITEPEPPER 

sammneiland:

youowethattome:

Reminder that Whatever Happened to… Robot Jones? did this 11 years ago.

robots have no time for binary bullshit.

britney2007spears:

"omg girls my crush is coming"

"what should we do"

"just act normal"

image

Cedric Diggory: I realize I never really thanked you properly for tipping me off about those dragons.
Harry Potter: Forget about it. I’m sure you would’ve done the same for me.
Cedric Diggory: Exactly. You know the Prefects’ bathroom on the fifth floor? It’s not a bad place for a bath. Just take your egg and… mull things over in the hot water.

mellarkish:

"birth control violates religious beliefs" yea ok but remember that thing called the separation of church and state

nikolasdraperivey:

Relevant to current events. Had to sketch this out to express how I feel about things lately.

nikolasdraperivey:

Relevant to current events. Had to sketch this out to express how I feel about things lately.

asexualaphden:

it says in vol 6 of hetalia that sweden is mischevious and i thought “we havent seen that”

BUT I JUST FOUND THE BEST THING

after the 2007 april fools event, the nations are wondering how to punish france

and then sweden says this:

image

and then

image

IT WAS ALL SWEDEN’S IDEA

image

BERWALD IS THE BEST