SEMIOTICS

nativeskins:  nasublime:  bionicpocahontas:  urbannativegirl:  mycultureisnotatrend:  suckafuck:  I’m in love with this portrait of Ivey that my friend Jane Cole shot for a photography class.  I am not. What people don’t seem to get is that wearing another culture’s stereotypical attire and pretending you are one of them etc is akin to blackface.Consider for a moment, what the reaction would be had this young lady donned blackface, posed with a watermelon and made a gang sign with her hands.  By wearing the war-paint, posing in a headdress, and making those ludicrous gestures, this is the Native American equivalent. Racism is never sexy.      cheers

I've been thinking a lot about marketable trends lately. . . and after following a link from an anonymous reader (who was complaining of Pamela Love's obvious cultural appropriation) I started contemplating the popularization of Native American culture in fashion. I wanted to brush up on my knowledge of what cultural appropriation actually meant so I bopped on over to . . . wikipedia!

I feel like this sums it up pretty well: "Cultural appropriation is the adoption of some specific elements of one culture by a different cultural group. It can include the introduction of forms of dress or personal adornment, music and art, religion,language, or social behavior. These elements, once removed from their indigenous cultural contexts, can take on meanings that are significantly divergent from, or merely less nuanced than, those they originally held." (wiki) . . . In most cases they are stripped of meaning all together.

I think the trouble begins when you are "borrowing" from a historically oppressed culture. The element of disrespect is inherent when you take a cultural item, artifact, or way of dress and use it in a trendy/superficial way. The whole Native American trend fits perfectly into this description. Native Americans have had so much of their culture and beliefs taken, twisted and distorted by outsiders (not to mention they were massacred/stricken with disease when Europeans were colonizing America).

I actually had a waitressing/work nightmare last night in which I was accused of being racist/ignorant by a Native American customer. In my dream I found myself totally flustered and defensive as the customer and his family stormed out of the restaurant. I have no doubt that the dream was directly linked to my recent thoughts on whether i'm ever guilty of cultural appropriation. . . though I've never dressed up in an Indian headdress at a music festival i do like Native American textiles. I also like to use feathers in my jewelry. So what is ok to borrow from a culture and what isn't?

There are many aspects of the Native American culture that non-Natives may admire and want to incorporate into their lives. . . Their strong relationship with/respect for nature (it's pretty obvious by now that everyone should respect nature by the way). But nonchalantly wearing a headdress is pretty fucked.

"You can’t just take a cultural sign and act as if it has no history, as if a headdress or dreadlocks just exist ‘in itself.’ Because if you do, you’re doing a very real kind of violence. Culture lives in the signs, so when someone tries to deny the meaning of signs, they’re trying to kill that sign and so try to kill a little bit of culture." -(fuckyeahculturalappropriation.tumblr.com)

I know i'm touching on some insanely complex/complicated shit here. . . (And yes, I was a Sociology major in college). I'm sure i've been guilty of cultural appropriation and i'll probably continue to be guilty of it in the future. I'm just trying to bring some awareness to the subject. Hopefully you'll think twice the next time you wanna dress up as a Native American for a costume party. . . because there is just so much meaning and history that you are walking all over when you do that.

**While writing this post i discovered fuckyeahculturalappropriation.tumblr.com. Although it's a bit in your face, it's a great place to check out if you are interested in this subject matter.


itsnoteasyisit:  fuckyeahtattoos:  spiritguide:  Indian Chief BG.JPG (by Jeff P) DIGGING THIS SO HARD. AHHH.   this is so so so so so cool  YOU ARE SO SO SO SO SO DUMBburzyum:  thesevessels:  gpoy - drunken blood. best party ever.  For reference  WAY TO BE PANRACIALLY OFFENSIVE, DUDE! seriously though, kill whitey
These two are covering all their bases!! Indians, Mexicans, and Bloods. C'mon, make up your mind!

Tumblr_le19xfygil1qcuuqyo1_500_largeHalloween1_large
Craft store crap. Looks like something your kid sister made in Kindergarten class.
Tumblr_kvl4ifh0251qzj6oko1_400_large(via jerilene) - HEY THERE KIDASAURUS, HAVE YR PARENTS TOLD YOU OF THE STOLEN GENERATION? RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS? NO? THEN NEXT TIME YR FOLKS WANT TO DRESS YOU UP AND MAKE MONEY OFF YOU, WHY DON’T YOU TELL THEM TO GO CHOKE ON IT?


Cultural Appropriation continued:
Rachael Ray
Rachel Fucking Ray. gross on so many levels.
yourlyricsisbutt:  humantrampoline:  I just love how poor children from developing countries are used as  props in high fashion photo shoots! Don’t you think they provide a great  contrast? Their dirty faces juxtaposed with her 200 dollar sequined  pants? Too chic. Fucking classy.  Dear Christ…UGH


Some of my sources: Wikipedia, racialicious.com, newspaperrock.bluecorncomics.com, http://www.amptoons.com, blogs.denverpost.com, http://fuckyeahculturalappropriation.tumblr.com/