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Author Topic: Some racism-related questions  (Read 769 times)

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Offline BeorningTopic starter

Some racism-related questions
« on: August 18, 2018, 11:27:31 AM »
If you don't mind, I'd like to ask two specific questions related to the issue of racism, cultural appropriation etc. Please note that I'm not asking these questions to argue, just wondering about your opinions.

1. Skin colour in cosplay

Some days ago, I saw a rather heated argument on the Facebook page of Pugoffka, an Ukrainian cosplayer. She has cosplayed as many different characters and, recently, she released some photos with her cosplays from the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe. In these photos, she used some photomanipulation to give herself Asian and Indian skin colours - which caused many people to accuse her of racism, using blackface and disrespect. What's your opinion: is it okay for a white person to change skin colour for the purposes of cosplay or not?

2. Straight hair and black women

A personal question (which, I hope, won't come off as disrespectul): I admit that when it comes to black women, I find it more appealing when they have straight hair. I'm absolutely not saying that natural black hair are somehow bad / ugly / unprofessional - I have no problem with them. It's just that, speaking purely of what appeals to me as a man, I find straight hair more attractive.  Heck, it's not limited to black women - I prefer straight hair on white women, too. Still, is it really okay? Or is it racist after all?

Offline midnightblack

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2018, 12:01:42 PM »
I have to admit that my simple mind cannot comprehend what manner of convoluted thought process could possibly lead anyone to consider either point as exemplifying racist behavior. Neither fits in any way the definition of racism, not even remotely.

Offline BeorningTopic starter


Offline Skynet

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2018, 12:24:52 PM »
Question 1:

Looks at last link

Oh boy, using an outdated dictionary definition while ignoring the other 4+ definitions already kicking around.

Going to drop this here: https://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=260901.0

So the thing is that given varying definitions of racism, it is possible to logically argue that something is or is not racist depending on which one you're using.

If a cosplayer does blackface but does not believe that skin color is linked to mental and moral qualities, then by that oft-used definition in the dictionary they are not racist. But that would be intellectually dishonest, as that is not what is being argued at the moment.

But in the USA, light-skinned actors using make-up to affect a darker skin tone has been almost 100% been used to portray African-Americans as either buffoons or villains.

As for the Malaysian Japanese soldier cosplay is trotted out as an example of cultural differences and...it's actually relevant. I don't know the history of how black or non-Roma dark-skinned people are treated in Poland. And when skin-altering make-up is discussed in cosplay, it's almost always discussed in regards to white people cosplaying as African-Americans, and not other races.

As for Indian and East Asian skin tones, I do not know how much that is akin to blackface. Indians and East Asians living in Eastern Europe would be the best people to answer this question on account that they would be the most directly affected than USians and others.

Also skimming the article, but something tells me that the writer is not arguing in good faith.

Quote
If we were to operate by that concept, wouldn’t that mean that no one would be allowed to post pictures of pigs, pork or any pig-related products because there are literally millions of Muslims out there who might feel that it is offensive? Then would I be not allowed to share LGBTQ-related articles or images just because it offends millions out there?

However, that doesn’t mean that everything is off the hook. Take misleading articles for example. If I were to write a misleading article with the intention to mislead others or spread fake information, I would be in the wrong because I’ve objectively caused harm or distress by spreading fake information or misleading others.

Appeal to Extreme Logical fallacy. Also, Muslims do not find the existence of pork offensive on a Kryptonite-esque level. In fact, Muslims believe that all beings that breathe have a soul. They merely believe that the faithful should not eat pork and other "forbidden foods."


Offline Skynet

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2018, 12:41:09 PM »
Clarification: When I said "Poland," I meant the Ukraine.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2018, 02:36:40 PM »
So, what's your opinion? Is it racist to change skin colour in cosplay or not? I honestly don't know what to think about it...

Offline Skynet

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2018, 02:55:59 PM »
So, what's your opinion? Is it racist to change skin colour in cosplay or not? I honestly don't know what to think about it...

I can't say for certain. This is kind of outside my field of usual expertise.

I feel that there's a world of difference between the freakish charcoal-black-with-clown-lips of minstrel shows than say a spray-tan for a cosplay, but I'd probably also have to see the specific pictures in question. The only one I could find was the one in the Magic Rain article on the Facebook post from Pugoffka herself.

Even within social justice communities in the USA at least there's a bit of blinders on in regards to this. When Johnny Depp did the same thing to portray himself as an Apache man in the Lone Ranger, there was not much outcry from the same people, possibly because the movie directors consulted with real Apache tribes who were for the most part okay with their portrayal in the movie (or at least what I heard). And there was not as much hue and cry when Ken Jeong, an actor of Korean descent, played a Chinese character in the Hangover*; this is racebending/whitewashing rather than X-face, but the two are often held as similar examples of issues.

*East Asians overall regard each other as akin to being different races

Offline Skynet

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2018, 03:05:32 PM »
DP: I should probably add that it depends on the context, the local culture and how said culture treats the aforementioned minority groups, as well as the voices of the ethnic groups being represented. The last part is particularly important: in many cases there are times when white people would talk over actual minorities on what is and isn't offensive to them, or US folk with those of other nationalities, in social justice circles.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2018, 06:31:18 PM »
I can't say for certain. This is kind of outside my field of usual expertise.

I feel that there's a world of difference between the freakish charcoal-black-with-clown-lips of minstrel shows than say a spray-tan for a cosplay, but I'd probably also have to see the specific pictures in question. The only one I could find was the one in the Magic Rain article on the Facebook post from Pugoffka herself.

Agree, I really don't see how a person donning some cosmetic tan to imitate Barack Obama or Kim Kardashian in a comedy/revue skit, or for a dress-up party, is anywhere near classic blackfacing as it occurred in minstrel shows or early Hollywood movies. It's not the same kind of thing at all, and branding tanned comedy make-up as racist is shooting way over the goal. But unfortunately, those who are the most simple-minded about things like this tend to be the ones who are shouting the loudest and setting up the strictest demands to make everybody else obey them.  >:(

Offline The Lovely Tsarina

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2018, 08:21:17 PM »
Clarification: When I said "Poland," I meant the Ukraine.

It is only “Ukraine”. The “The”, it’s not needed.

Offline Mathim

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2018, 12:49:03 AM »
If you don't mind, I'd like to ask two specific questions related to the issue of racism, cultural appropriation etc. Please note that I'm not asking these questions to argue, just wondering about your opinions.

1. Skin colour in cosplay

Some days ago, I saw a rather heated argument on the Facebook page of Pugoffka, an Ukrainian cosplayer. She has cosplayed as many different characters and, recently, she released some photos with her cosplays from the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe. In these photos, she used some photomanipulation to give herself Asian and Indian skin colours - which caused many people to accuse her of racism, using blackface and disrespect. What's your opinion: is it okay for a white person to change skin colour for the purposes of cosplay or not?

2. Straight hair and black women

A personal question (which, I hope, won't come off as disrespectul): I admit that when it comes to black women, I find it more appealing when they have straight hair. I'm absolutely not saying that natural black hair are somehow bad / ugly / unprofessional - I have no problem with them. It's just that, speaking purely of what appeals to me as a man, I find straight hair more attractive.  Heck, it's not limited to black women - I prefer straight hair on white women, too. Still, is it really okay? Or is it racist after all?

1. I feel like starting out by saying that when someone like Dave Chappelle or Tracy Morgan puts on a 'whiteface' style makeup to portray a Caucasian character in one of their comedy skits or shows, I think it's hilarious and helps emphasize the point they're making, so if they do it and no one gets upset, I personally feel inclined to call it a double standard if someone of lighter skin does the corollary but gets criticized for it. That being said, I don't see anything inherently racist about doing so for cosplay but I do feel it's an unnecessary step since it doesn't necessarily have any other context in the way that a social commentary satire does. The clothing and accessories should be sufficient for purely cosplay situations. Now that you mention this sort of thing, I'm actually more interested in what lengths a person would go in portraying a character who is the opposite sex of what they are; outside of cosmetic surgery, how inclined are they to, and how are they going to make themselves look more masculine or feminine to really play the part? And if they do, by the same token (pun intended), is it sexist? But that's a whole different can of worms...anyway, like I said, I feel it's wasteful and unnecessary but I wouldn't call it racist. The motivation behind it is so far removed from any such bigoted sentiments that it really makes it seem like anyone who would call it that is being oversensitive. That's just my two cents.

2. I don't think singling hair out is relevant. Some people are only attracted to certain shades of skin, for instance, so whatever your proclivities are, you're not entirely in control of how you feel about certain things. Conditioning in a cultural context is relevant of course but when you're exposed to that in your youth and end up with one type of preference, you weren't exactly given free reign over what things settled in your subconscious, so anyone hypothetically asking you to expand your horizons in this way isn't taking that into consideration and probably hasn't done much self-reflection in that way. You could probably make yourself feel more attracted to certain aesthetic things with enough effort but it's not your fault for having your subconscious preferences as they are and so you should be free to decide whether you put in that kind of work and not be judged for it if you don't feel like initiating that kind of change. I happen to dislike blonde hair for the most part and tend to largely prefer darker hair or redheads. But rather than avoiding it, I have slowly warmed up to it, though it's still ranking-wise my least favorite. So even if you can see yourself growing accustomed to it, it can still be the least-favorite even if you can honestly say you 'like' something. Not everyone has the time or right means to help themselves try to do this, though, so no one should feel obligated to. I wasn't even trying deliberately and there are still things about it I don't just dislike, but HATE, so it's not exactly perfect even then. But I don't want a pat on the back for doing that, nor a scolding for not, and no one else should have to either. Ugh, I'm tired...need sleep. If that came off as incoherent, that's probably why.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2018, 03:36:31 AM »
It is only “Ukraine”. The “The”, it’s not needed.

For some reason I often say/write "the Ukraine" too (in English), not sure why. Point taken from you, a native Russian. :)

Online RedPhoenix

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2018, 01:10:17 PM »
Pretty much every cosplayer of color always says don't change your skin tone to play a part - provided that skin tone appears in humans.

The reason for this is there is a long, horrible, awful history of blackface in entertainment and by refusing to take part in that you're disavowing and distancing yourself from that legacy. It would be nice to live in a dream world where that legacy is long past and racism doesn't exist, but we don't live there - especially in America and Europe.

So no, it doesn't necessarily make you a racist to do that (although there are certainly racists who do that, google just about anytime a college fraternity gets in trouble for having a blackface party) but it does make you an insensitive jerk who prioritizes your own giggles over being aware of the world you live in and respecting the people you share it with. I would suggest drawing a line at "racist" and "okay" is a pretty low bar to set and you can do better, tbh. 

There is also a difference between cosplay and comedy. Nobody really gave Robert Downey Jr. grief for wearing blackface in Tropic Thunder either, but if he'd done the same to his skin and gone out as Obama for Halloween yeah that would have been offensive. In both the example about Chapelle and Downey Jr, the absurdity of it is part of the comedy. Dave Chapelle didn't lighten his skin to portray a typical white person he did it to play a racial exaggeration of a white person for comedic effect. Cosplayers aren't, hopefully, playing racial exaggerations for comedic effect (and if they are then yes they're just being racist).

There's also a difference between something an individual does in private v. something Hollywood pays people to do, but that's a long sidetrack diversion and the only real point here is that the analogy isn't a great one.

Regarding preferences. That's a really tricky one. The short answer is no, your preferences don't make you racist unless a judgment based on race is part of them.

But I read stuff like that and I remember the studies done on black kids before schools were integrated, about how they all preferred white dolls to black ones because they believed the white skin was better. This was all back when everyone preached 'separate but equal' and it was a farce, the doll test demonstrated it more starkly than anything else. If you did the same test on white kids, I'm sure you'd have gotten the same result - the more white the doll looks the more desirable it is.

Beauty standards really haven't changed much. It's only recently that girls of color even have makeup that matches most of their skin tones (and even now its really limited in brands). It's only recently that more natural hairstyles are accepted as normal and not some outrageous personality choice. Beauty standards in America and Europe are still very Eurocentric and a lot of people, not just white ones, are raised to think those ideals are the best.

I used to exclusively like straight hair on black girls too. It looks good on them. But is that because I was raised thinking long straight hair was feminine and beautiful? Or is it a genuine preference of mine? How much can we separate that? Is it possible?  I do know that the more time I spent in my life with black girls the more I appreciated other hair styles, now to the point that there is really no one style I think is best. Was that just a change in my preferences? Or did being social with a diverse crowd open my eyes and chip away at what I was taught? Who can say, it's bigger than just one person's experiences.

So the short answer is no, you aren't racist for having a preference, any preference even one that's as blatant as preferring a skin color over another, but do be aware that these preferences aren't isolated from how you're brought up and how you live your life. What you do with that is up to you, but it's something to think about.

Offline Blythe

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2018, 01:13:41 PM »
Regarding the cosplay portion of the question: This makes me uncomfortable. Then again, I don't know what the cultural situation in Ukraine is about cosplaying. I'm more familiar with USA cosplay.

USA-wise, I know of several black cosplayers, all women, who dared to cosplay as canonically white characters (they didn't alter their own skin tone), and they were harassed mercilessly and bombarded with racial slurs. I know of at least one friend of mine who stopped cosplaying altogether over this issue because she couldn't take the bullying any more. All because bigots in cosplay felt that it shouldn't be permissible for black people to cosplay white characters. Those same people, the harassers, would argue vehemently for white cosplayers to darken their skin for cosplay.

I'd be less uncomfortable with a white person doing what Pugoffka did if I knew black women weren't going to get harassed any more for cosplaying whatever race they want to.

Offline RedRose

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2018, 01:26:39 PM »
European people will be less sensitive to this, for better or for worse.
I know blackface is a BIG issue in America, and not so much around here. I also know hair is sensitive in America (braids on white girls, straight on black girls) while here my black friends would fight to braid my hair :)

Offline Eye of Horus

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2018, 08:41:49 AM »
USA-wise, I know of several black cosplayers, all women, who dared to cosplay as canonically white characters (they didn't alter their own skin tone), and they were harassed mercilessly and bombarded with racial slurs.

This is very sad. It’s the same sort of nasty white-protectionism that came out when a vocal minority of people questioned (or outright complained) why a black actress was being cast as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter play, or as Ru in The Hunger Games.

Regarding the questions:

1) While a cosplayer might mean well, there’s no real justification for altering your features / skin tone and being seen as insensitive (due to the historical baggage around blackface etc, already well discussed by posters above) when you can be perfectly recognisable from the outfit alone. Plenty of cosplayers already do this, or genderswitch characters. If Hamilton can use an entire cast of POC and still make a damn good musical, then it can’t be so hard to give your interpretation of a fictional character. Fictional characters surely don’t “belong” exclusively to one group of people - and to flip it around, that also means that a non-black person who likes the character of, say, Blade or Black Panther shouldn’t have to feel banned from cosplaying them either.

2) You, personally, find straight hair more attractive than curly hair. There’s nothing inherently racist about that.

Offline RedRose

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2018, 10:58:17 AM »
I personally like each character to present as "canon" (book, or whatever). I want the queen of Sheba to be black, I want Newton to be white… If the story calls for an entirely, white, black, Indian cast (I watched many Indian movies when I was there even though I didn't understand a thing), so be it. Same about an entirely male cast (Ten angry men) or female cast (8 femmes).

Offline Dallas

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Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2018, 12:14:39 AM »
The questions I once posed to a friend cosplayer was on cosplaying as a character like Blade from Marvel Comics:

"Can I blackface as Blade? If not... is it unfortunate that I can't cosplay as a "white" Blade without people thinking that I am some generic, tossed aside extra in The Matrix? Or if they recognize the accessories and think "Ah... a White Blade!" instead of just Blade? Is Blade really defined by his flesh as opposed to his half-human, half-vampire blood?" I can't help but wonder, as I am not even sure myself.

This one african american chick that got harassed in her D.Va cosplay (Overwatch) and past debates on 'Cultural Appropriation' comes to mind. Some of you might remember this gal. I liked her, her dedication to detail was impressive to me. She loved the character, but was harassed on social media by assholes who insisted only white cosplayers can "be her" (Meanwhile, D.Va is Korean). She received comments like 'N.Ga" and other unnecessary insults to someone that is a part of their own fandom.

I felt bad for her (and not surprised at all by the quality of Blizzard's fanbase). I mean... fucking let her be D.Va... You know? But I remember she had a problem with blackfacing, where I think to my Blade situation. If I were to cosplay as Blade... who would recognize me as Blade? Who would recognize me as T'challa (Black Panther)?

It still makes me think, actually.

Offline Dallas

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Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2018, 12:46:46 AM »
Double post, sorry... but forgot something.

As for hair and "cultural appropriation" I feel that one does not "own" hairstyles. NBA Point Guard Jeremy Lin comes to mind. A bit back, he posted his new hairstyle on social media. It was either dredlocks or cornrows or something like that. He got a lot of flak for cultural appropriation, particularly from some the black community. Meanwhile, we have people in every race sporting asian (Korean, Japanese kanji, Chinese pinyin) tattoos. But Jeremy Lin gets crapped on for trying a braided hairstyle (glossing over the fact that races all over the world have had braided styles in the past). The controversial statement I would make on "appropriation" would be that one does not own anything in culture. Culture is something of an evolving creature that is naturally shared and blended when exposed to others, even in the midst of its stark clashes from time to time.

Or rather, that is my take on it, anyway... *shrugs*

Offline Dallas

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Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2018, 01:13:48 AM »
Sorry... last one. I promise. I want to add on to this "owning cultures" thing. This is helpful, as i like to talk about this among peers.

Let us look at me. I am a mutt as far as the races are concerned but culturally, I am of (apparently) mostly german decent. I am also Texan, was raised here despite not being actually born here. Texas is generally a blend of "White Hard Country Living" and "Mexican Hard Country Living" (for... eh, lack of better terms). Our food blends between country dish and mexican dish (breeding what we call "Tex-Mex"). Country music is often something we attribute to Texas (though it is a big thing in most southern states).

Let us take a look at (perhaps my favorite singing voice of all time) Darius Rucker from Hootie and the Blowfish. His music has a lot of country inspiration. Hell, he was sued by Bob Dillon for perhaps having too much inspiration in one of his songs. But I digress. My point on Darius Rucker would be... do I own country music and cowboy boots? Can I tell Darius that he can't have that because it is a "White Thing"? Hell no. Nor would I even try. The man is awesome to me, if sadly something of a unicorn with that genre of music... but I do not own the culture. I cannot bar him from melding into it or taking what he likes from it. It speaks to him. Who am I to take that away from him? :-)

P.S. You can also sing any 90s song with just vowels.... :D

Offline Skynet

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2018, 04:36:02 PM »
Double post, sorry... but forgot something.

As for hair and "cultural appropriation" I feel that one does not "own" hairstyles. NBA Point Guard Jeremy Lin comes to mind. A bit back, he posted his new hairstyle on social media. It was either dredlocks or cornrows or something like that. He got a lot of flak for cultural appropriation, particularly from some the black community. Meanwhile, we have people in every race sporting asian (Korean, Japanese kanji, Chinese pinyin) tattoos. But Jeremy Lin gets crapped on for trying a braided hairstyle (glossing over the fact that races all over the world have had braided styles in the past). The controversial statement I would make on "appropriation" would be that one does not own anything in culture. Culture is something of an evolving creature that is naturally shared and blended when exposed to others, even in the midst of its stark clashes from time to time.

Or rather, that is my take on it, anyway... *shrugs*

Cultural appropriation, in its modern trend in the USA, originated from two specific phenomena. Of the broader white WASP culture taking elements of Native American religious practices, and art and fashion from African-Americans.

Native Americans, having undergone genocide, forced sterilizations as late as the 1970s, and to this day religious conservatives seek to adopt their children to "rid them of the pagan ways," they understandably are very concerned when outsider cultures take their traditions and beliefs. During the 1970s there was an epidemic of "plastic shamans," aka white pseudo-mystics making stuff up about Native religion and charging people money to attain some weird nature power. There are also cases where their myths and folklore are inaccurately portrayed. A tabletop gaming sourcebook The Strange caught a lot of flak when it portrayed the Thunderbird as an evil god, while many Natives aren't fond of having their people's priests being reduced to "nature mages" or treated as cultural monoliths.

In regards to African-Americans, the United States has a long history of demonizing black culture as degenerate, but become suddenly accepted when a white artist adopts their trends. There were many famous black rock and roll artists Elvis Presley took inspiration from, but they were denied the opportunities to appear on radio, promote their music, etc. In regards to braids, dreadlocks, and curly hairstyles, those aren't exclusively sub-Saharan in origin (many Indian Hindus have dreadlocks) but traditionally many jobs and public areas of the United States banned said hairstyles and instead expected African-Americans to wear their hair straight. Which is impossible for some of them beyond wearing weaves or literally ironing out their hair into straight patterns.

So in both cases, Native Americans and African-Americans get justifiably upset when a dominant society takes the very things that were denied and suppressed, only for it to become okay or warped in tradition without proper acknowledgement of the original creators.

Its original use was in regards to a dominant culture taking elements in an otherwise disrespectful manner from a minority culture.Unfortunately, the "cultural appropriation" tag has taken many different meanings. Some SJ advocates (and more than a few right-wing ethnic nationalists) like you mentioned take the logical extremes of "people from ethnicity X should not wear/adopt/dress things from ethnicity Y," presuming that all traditions are akin to Native American religions in things not to adopt. A useful measure I learned in talking with individuals from minority cultures in regards to appropriation of their culture is basically:

1.) Is it religious in connotation?
2.) Is it part of something meant for outsiders?
3.) Is it being used to demonize or mock us?
4.) Is the original culture/creator being acknowledged and respected?

The question then should be if it's being done out of respect or not. I don't see people getting bent out of shape when Pakistani Muslims name their son Mohammad, which is itself an Arab name. Well, nobody rational, anyway.

In regards to the main subject, "cultural appropriation" is an entirely separate issue from black/brown/yellowface in that minstrel shows were a part of white US culture, not black. Conflating the two is harmful, and likely intellectually dishonest; it may sound paranoid, but I'd even hazard that part of it may be done by reactionary groups who seek to make the public.

Offline Skynet

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2018, 04:39:46 PM »
Edit: In regards to the main subject, "cultural appropriation" is an entirely separate issue from black/brown/yellowface in that minstrel shows were a part of white US culture, not black. Conflating the two is harmful, and likely intellectually dishonest; it may sound paranoid, but I'd even hazard that part of it may be done by reactionary groups who seek to make the public think that the term "cultural appropriation" is an utterly meaningless phrase without merit.

Offline Dallas

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Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2018, 05:46:23 PM »
Those are fair points to crunch on, actually. I forgot to mention that this was more of a developing personal philosophy as apposed to a grounded or established theory. That would have been important, but I imagine you could deduce that for yourself. :-)

The gist of it is two parts, mainly: One, speculation on whether or not the issue of cultural appropriation is over-exaggerated in today's culture; perpetuated by missed/omitted/distorted messages used by various people over a period of time (the natural case with colliquialism, basically). Two, my personal attempts to bring an objective balance to culture and race relations. As you might see, it is not a perfect development.

One flaw I missed (glad you mentioned Natives, by the way) is, in a sense, a given culture can also be "killed" or brought near extinction (as has happened with the Native Americans), instead of 'melding, blending or evolving naturally' with adjacent cultures of contrast. This was on my mind last night, but figured I would wait before a 4th post. That part isn't quite as developed in my mind, yet... either. There are aspects to it that overlook important naunces and elements that I feel carry a progressive outlook to race relations in general.  :-\

Unrelated... we could use a "sage/thinking face" emote.

Offline Skynet

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #23 on: August 24, 2018, 06:38:57 PM »
It is only “Ukraine”. The “The”, it’s not needed.

I know this is a delayed response, but thank you for the clarification. It's frequently said that way in the US, although I didn't realize at the time its negative connotations.

Those are fair points to crunch on, actually. I forgot to mention that this was more of a developing personal philosophy as apposed to a grounded or established theory. That would have been important, but I imagine you could deduce that for yourself. :-)

The gist of it is two parts, mainly: One, speculation on whether or not the issue of cultural appropriation is over-exaggerated in today's culture; perpetuated by missed/omitted/distorted messages used by various people over a period of time (the natural case with colliquialism, basically). Two, my personal attempts to bring an objective balance to culture and race relations. As you might see, it is not a perfect development.

One flaw I missed (glad you mentioned Natives, by the way) is, in a sense, a given culture can also be "killed" or brought near extinction (as has happened with the Native Americans), instead of 'melding, blending or evolving naturally' with adjacent cultures of contrast. This was on my mind last night, but figured I would wait before a 4th post. That part isn't quite as developed in my mind, yet... either. There are aspects to it that overlook important naunces and elements that I feel carry a progressive outlook to race relations in general.  :-\

Unrelated... we could use a "sage/thinking face" emote.

Happy to add to the discussion! :)

Alas, I don't have much else to add to the convo at the moment.

Offline RedRose

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2018, 08:06:44 AM »
Many countries have "the". Ukraine doesn't ;) That said if someone said the France, I wouldn't be hurt, just correct. Interestingly in French MOST countries have "the" which includes Ukraine. And France. Israel doesn't. Monaco doesn't. MMmm.

Thanks for explaining about cultural appropriation. As a French, this isn't talked about and people just borrow whatever… I have seen black/white face at carnivales and we don't seem to consider it problematic either. But we don't have this history, though, yes, Frenchmen did encounter Natives and did have slaves, still on a different scale.

I have heard that more American Native (that's the right word, right? In French we say "indien", or "Indien d'Amérique" which is incorrect but) youngsters have their traditional coming of age celebration, and that's good!

Offline The Lovely Tsarina

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2018, 08:40:18 AM »
When people say “The Ukraine”, that sounds of its territory of Russia. Many in West think Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus, all are “just” part of Russia. When, they are own independent countries, with different languages and cultures. It doesn’t make me sad, or mad, only disappointed a little. It is like my calling someone from Philly, a New Yorker, just because they are close on map, and sometimes speak same language. ::)

Offline KatieBower

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2018, 10:35:41 AM »
Quote
Some days ago, I saw a rather heated argument on the Facebook page of Pugoffka, an Ukrainian cosplayer. She has cosplayed as many different characters and, recently, she released some photos with her cosplays from the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe. In these photos, she used some photomanipulation to give herself Asian and Indian skin colours - which caused many people to accuse her of racism, using blackface and disrespect. What's your opinion: is it okay for a white person to change skin colour for the purposes of cosplay or not?

Ultimately whether or not you believe it is wrong will boil down to whether or not you equate causing offence with wrongdoing. Personally I absolutely repudiate that concept. Actually you might even say I find it offensive  :P

I change my skin colour every summer. I've been asked to lighten people's skin and I've been asked to darken people's skin. Some people want features which are associated with their race to be minimised and some people want them enhanced. If an Asian girl wants a cut crease I don't tell her, "sorry, but your eyes don't have creases and it would be racist of me to draw them on," I draw them on. Same deal if a white girl wants to have fuller lips or if a black girl wants her nose contoured to look smaller. I've also done specialist courses in drag makeup, and frequently help men to look like women, but what is drag, if not a gender-based form of blackface? And yes, sometimes it can be about lampooning and demeaning. Though mostly it's a very sincere form of flattery.

Impersonation others to mock them is a very real thing and as anyone who has seen a kid shove a pillow under their shirt in order to pretend to be fat can tell you it it's not solely a race issue, and yes it's also used on an exclusionary basis. I mean some people would rather put a skinny actress in a fat suit than employ someone who is actually overweight. That's gross. Certainly it's horrible when these things happen, but I assume we should all be grown-up enough to know it when we see it, and object, and not be reduced to simply objecting to things that remind us of it because they make us uncomfortable on some level.

Impersonation and transformation are very legitimate forms of self-expression, even self-realisation.

Quote
A personal question (which, I hope, won't come off as disrespectul): I admit that when it comes to black women, I find it more appealing when they have straight hair. I'm absolutely not saying that natural black hair are somehow bad / ugly / unprofessional - I have no problem with them. It's just that, speaking purely of what appeals to me as a man, I find straight hair more attractive.  Heck, it's not limited to black women - I prefer straight hair on white women, too. Still, is it really okay? Or is it racist after all?

There are practical reasons why some women with textured hair will straighten it, or even shave it off and wear wigs. Different hairstyles can have a huge influence on your apparent face shape, and only a minority of women have the face shape to carry off any hairstyle they like. Textured hair allows for very limited styles and they just plain don't suit many face shapes. This isn't about Eurocentric beauty standards. The appeal of certain face shapes, and the relationship between certain face shapes and hair-styles as far as what makes people look more attractive is universal.

Though the idea that straight hair is more feminine or acceptable in and of itself seems to be an American phenomena. You see it very prominently in the modelling world for example. Many coloured models who hail from outside the US tend to default to their natural hair while those from the US will default to straight hair. For those who are big enough to have an international portfolio you can often split their body of work by hairstyle. I'm trying to think of a coloured model who walked in a VS fashion show without straightened hair for example, and I just can't, and VSFS is about as quintessentially American as it gets, but it's interesting to note that this preference actually doesn't sell well internationally. It's not seen as very high fashion.

As for whether or not a preference for certain features makes you racist that seems like a strange thing to worry about since most physical preferences reflect some form of prejudice. My experience is that a lot of it has to do with exposure. If most of the coloured women you meet don't have natural hair then the odds you'll meet many who you do find attractive get much smaller.

Online RedPhoenix

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2018, 11:14:26 AM »
I agree with the rest of what you said but....

but what is drag, if not a gender-based form of blackface?

Lol what? No. They're not even close to the same thing. Beyond both involving putting on costumes these things have nothing in common.

Most important, drag performers don't dress up to make fun of (wo)men or use femininity/masculinity as the punchline of every joke. For many it's a form of self-expression and breaking out of social constraints, for others its just sheer performance. Historically many were also trans and expressing themselves the only way they knew how. But none of them do it because the idea of a (wo)man is by itself so hilarious that it serves as the punchline of a joke. Blackface is nothing but mocking the existence of black people and the idea that they could ever be anything but animals. You'll never see a drag performance where the act is '(wo)man tries to get a job but gets distracted by thoughts of rape and fried chicken' for example.

Drag Kings are the same, they don't mock the idea of what a man is or use being a man as the punchline, or imply that men are uncivilized brutes that have no place in civilized society. The fact that drag goes both ways like this sort of cuts against the idea of the artform being inherently sexist. In contrast, blackface artists weren't followed up on stage by whiteface artists who returned the favor, it was purely entertainment for racists.

For blackface performers - being black was the joke. It was the punchline. There wasn't a single one that didn't demean and mock the idea of black culture or black people as the core portion of their performance - or use being black as an equivalent for being stupid or rapey. Drag performers don't do that with gender, not even in the same zip code as that.

You could make a better argument that some drag shows are "gayface" but that's not part of the general culture of the artform and it tends to get criticized within the performance community when it happens.

When people say “The Ukraine”, that sounds of its territory of Russia. Many in West think Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus, all are “just” part of Russia. When, they are own independent countries, with different languages and cultures. It doesn’t make me sad, or mad, only disappointed a little. It is like my calling someone from Philly, a New Yorker, just because they are close on map, and sometimes speak same language. ::)

This was new to me. I did some internet reading, and yes it turns out "The Ukraine" is actually what the Soviet Union called it and that's where Americans picked it up from. Same with saying "Kiev" instead of "Kyiv" which, correct me if I'm wrong but the internet is telling me is how we should spell it.

Thanks for explaining this to us. =)

And your example is funny to me because I met some German tourists once who asked for directions to Central Park in New York. New York is over 2,000 miles away from me lol. They assumed that all of America is close to each other and thought they could see all the sights in America over a weekend. :D

Offline The Lovely Tsarina

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2018, 01:14:49 PM »
This was new to me. I did some internet reading, and yes it turns out "The Ukraine" is actually what the Soviet Union called it and that's where Americans picked it up from. Same with saying "Kiev" instead of "Kyiv" which, correct me if I'm wrong but the internet is telling me is how we should spell it.

Kyiv is proper, that’s Ukrainian translation in English, for their city, Київ. Kiev is how Russian translation of city name, goes to English. Russian and Ukrainian, they’re different, though we use common alphabet.

Online RedPhoenix

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #29 on: August 25, 2018, 01:20:24 PM »
Kyiv is proper, that’s Ukrainian translation in English, for their city, Київ. Kiev is how Russian translation of city name, goes to English. Russian and Ukrainian, they’re different, though we use common alphabet.

Thank you, it's always nice learning the proper versions of things I was taught wrong. :)

Offline RedRose

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #30 on: August 25, 2018, 03:24:30 PM »
Ukraine-Wise it is also news to me. But again I'd never think those are all parts of Russia. My old relatives who still speak of Rhodesia, French Congo, Ceylan and Indochina, that's another topic.


As for natural vs straightened hair, I'd say, not only black women but also white women outside of (what I read from) USA seem more comfortable with their own texture and all. It might go hand in hand with hair removal/lack thereof, or epilation as "hygiene" as opposed to cosmetic/a choice, barring the stereotypes of the unshaved Euro.

Offline KatieBower

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #31 on: August 25, 2018, 08:37:42 PM »
Quote
Lol what? No. They're not even close to the same thing. Beyond both involving putting on costumes these things have nothing in common.


If you've never seen men dressing up as women solely to make fun of and or demean them via caricature then I'm not surprised you'd make such an absolute statement, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Nor does it magically erase the experience of those who have seen it, particularly in places where it is a cultural fixture.

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Most important, drag performers don't dress up to make fun of (wo)men or use femininity/masculinity as the punchline of every joke.

We're not talking about drag as a performance art (though that doesn't mean it never happens there by any means) and I would have thought that would be quite clear from the context. Like I said "sometimes it can be about lampooning and demeaning. Though mostly it's a very sincere form of flattery."

To that extent I probably should have said drag can be a gender-based form of blackface, but you can't edit posts here, and since I'm repeating the context in which that statement appeared verbatim from my last post I'm not sure what else to tell you.

As for the rest of your post I can only tell you again you're proceeding from a misapprehension, and it doesn't appear you've even read my comment in full either way since you repeat things to me which I clearly said myself as if I didn't know them.

Offline Blythe

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2018, 09:21:43 PM »
There was quite the controversy a few years ago when Mary Cheney compared drag to blackface

There is a difference between harmful caricature and a cultural practice meant to empower. Historical context, intent, and effect. Blackface is the former. Drag is the latter.

Yes, there are drag practitioners who sometimes give in to unpleasant actions that are sexist--they are not the norm. But even idly comparing drag to blackface requires ignoring a lot of cultural and historical context that I think showcases why the two are not the same thing, at least in my opinion. I don't consider the comparison even particularly relevant in a racism-related discussion, in all honesty.

Online RedPhoenix

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #33 on: August 25, 2018, 09:22:34 PM »
Okay so rather than comparing the completely malicious and racist art of blackface to the largely benevolent artform of drag as performance you were comparing it to a completely neutral term of drag used to mean dressing up in clothes, but only in the context of it being done maliciously.

If you had said specifically one of these cultures where men dressing up like women is solely to demean women, then sure that's maybe something similar. But that's not what you said and its not what drag as a performance art or simply as a neutral term means or even implies. Saying blackface is the same thing is just watering down and minimizing what blackface is - a specifically malicious and racist act.

And the context of what you said was pretty evident, you were saying it in the context of things you've helped people do. "I've done specialist courses in drag makeup." So unless you go around helping people dress as women to mock women and we're supposed to know that about you nobody would have gathered that context from what you said.

Offline KatieBower

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2018, 10:50:47 PM »
Quote
There is a difference between harmful caricature and a cultural practice meant to empower. Historical context, intent, and effect. Blackface is the former. Drag is the latter.

Again, I'm not talking about drag or blackface as a form of performance. You're focusing on what happens after the makeup goes on. I'm referring to the act of putting it on.

My belief is there is nothing inherently bad about either style of makeup. Drawing a crease on an Asian girls eyes could be considered a form of whiteface for example, but I can say with certainty that none of the people I've done this for were trying to make fun of white people. Just as none of the men I've helped "drag up," were looking to demean women, and the fact that many men do clearly do this shouldn't be used to stifle their self-expression.

Imagine being in a situation where a child wanted to be made to look like someone they idolised from a different race, and you have to somehow explain to them that we can't do this. I've been in that situation on several occasions, and I've never been able to explain it to a child in a way that made me feel less than dirty because it always comes back to explaining why distinctions which they place no special importance in are important even though they really shouldn't be.

Quote
Okay so rather than comparing the completely malicious and racist art of blackface to the largely benevolent artform of drag as performance you were comparing it to a completely neutral term of drag used to mean dressing up in clothes, but only in the context of it being done maliciously.


I refer you to my response to Oniya.

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If you had said specifically one of these cultures where men dressing up like women is solely to demean women, then sure that's maybe something similar. But that's not what you said and its not what drag as a performance art or simply as a neutral term means or even implies. Saying blackface is the same thing is just watering down and minimizing what blackface is - a specifically malicious and racist act.


I've already clarified that the statement was imprecise, and pointed out that I would edit it if I could. Are you even reading what I'm writing?

Quote
And the context of what you said was pretty evident, you were saying it in the context of things you've helped people do.

You contending that this, "I've also done specialist courses in drag makeup, and frequently help men to look like women, but what is drag, if not a gender-based form of blackface?" is the extent of my comment? And that all of this:

Quote
Ultimately whether or not you believe it is wrong will boil down to whether or not you equate causing offence with wrongdoing. Personally I absolutely repudiate that concept. Actually you might even say I find it offensive  :P

I change my skin colour every summer. I've been asked to lighten people's skin and I've been asked to darken people's skin. Some people want features which are associated with their race to be minimised and some people want them enhanced. If an Asian girl wants a cut crease I don't tell her, "sorry, but your eyes don't have creases and it would be racist of me to draw them on," I draw them on. Same deal if a white girl wants to have fuller lips or if a black girl wants her nose contoured to look smaller. I've also done specialist courses in drag makeup, and frequently help men to look like women, but what is drag, if not a gender-based form of blackface? And yes, sometimes it can be about lampooning and demeaning. Though mostly it's a very sincere form of flattery.

Impersonation others to mock them is a very real thing and as anyone who has seen a kid shove a pillow under their shirt in order to pretend to be fat can tell you it it's not solely a race issue, and yes it's also used on an exclusionary basis. I mean some people would rather put a skinny actress in a fat suit than employ someone who is actually overweight. That's gross. Certainly it's horrible when these things happen, but I assume we should all be grown-up enough to know it when we see it, and object, and not be reduced to simply objecting to things that remind us of it because they make us uncomfortable on some level.

Impersonation and transformation are very legitimate forms of self-expression, even self-realisation.

Doesn't exist? As I mentioned earlier I certainly do get the impression you haven't read it, but that doesn't actually mean it doesn't exist. Nor does it mean you get to act as if this isn't somehow the context in which the statement was made simply because you prefer to ignore it, and zoom in on one particular sentence.

That is the very definition of what it means to take something out of context.

Online RedPhoenix

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #35 on: August 25, 2018, 11:17:31 PM »
Again, I'm not talking about drag or blackface as a form of performance. You're focusing on what happens after the makeup goes on.

Then you're not actually talking about drag, blackface or anything relevant to the topic of the conversation. Making up your own definitions of things and then comparing them to each other really serves no purpose at all here especially when your end conclusion is that drag and blackface somehow operate on the same level, which you keep ignoring how people are pointing out how wrong you are. Quoting yourself again and acting like you're not the one completely ignoring context here won't change that.

even idly comparing drag to blackface requires ignoring a lot of cultural and historical context

This. You can't use terms and then declare you're ignoring the context and way that they're actually used so that they end up completely irrelevant to the conversation at hand. Well I mean you can, but what's the point?

Offline Blythe

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #36 on: August 25, 2018, 11:37:39 PM »
Again, I'm not talking about drag or blackface as a form of performance. You're focusing on what happens after the makeup goes on. I'm referring to the act of putting it on.

I'm not sure what distinction you are trying to draw by divorcing the act from the aftereffect in this instance. Based on your earlier descriptions, there seems to be no meaningful difference for the purposes of this discussion. Seems to be splitting hairs.

For what it's worth, I'm not judging you or anything, but I don't think you are necessarily communicating whatever it is you are trying to say effectively.

Online RedPhoenix

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #37 on: August 25, 2018, 11:53:12 PM »
For what it's worth, I'm not judging you or anything, but I don't think you are necessarily communicating whatever it is you are trying to say effectively.

Sorry I should have said this or something similar up front too. I don't mean to be rude or aggressive. I just sort of am by nature when I start caring lol. Sorry for being bitchy.

I'm being confrontational because I don't like the idea that blackface and drag are in any way the same, because blackface is an embarrassing evil that I would like to condemn to the ash heap of history and drag is, well, not.

I share my wine and chocolate with all. <3

Offline KatieBower

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #38 on: August 26, 2018, 02:17:47 AM »
Quote from: RedPhoenix
Then you're not actually talking about drag, blackface or anything relevant to the topic of the conversation...

No, I'm not talking about drag as a performance art, or blackface as a performance art, but that doesn't mean I'm not talking about drag or blackface. Drag is generally understood to refer to donning the clothes of the opposite sex. If you want to conflate drag and drag shows that's fine, but I don't have to play along. Blackface is a form of theatrical makeup (sometimes used as short-hand to refer to all similar forms of makeup, like yellowface, whiteface, and so on) that as far as I'm aware (I'm not a historian, but I do know something about the history of makeup) dates back to at least the 1600's, and while it was predominantly used to create caricatures (it should be noted that most theatrical makeup is a form of caricature) this was not its sole purpose. You're conflating this with a very specific, and grotesque style of performance which takes it name from this makeup style. Again you can do that, but I don't have to play along.

Further you can say that these definitions aren't relevant, but when the topic of the conversation is someone using that style (and then only if you use blackface as a catch-all, because this wasn't even blackface per se, but rather a form of yellowface) without engaging in that style of performance art I can only beg to differ.

Quote from: RedPhoenix
Making up your own definitions of things



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackface

These are the definitions I refer to. Though it's worth pointing out Pugoffka wasn't using blackface however people use the term blackface as a "catch-all," for makeup that involves impersonating someone of a different race and I don't see the point of swimming against the tide there.

Quote from: Blythe
I'm not sure what distinction you are trying to draw by divorcing the act from the aftereffect in this instance. Based on your earlier descriptions, there seems to be no meaningful difference for the purposes of this discussion. Seems to be splitting hairs.


What aftereffect? Are you saying that impersonating someone can have only one? Because that seems like a self-evidently false conclusion, and I think there might be a certain amount of cultural imperialism involved. My point is that simply saying, "She made herself look Asian/Indian," is as meaningful a statement in regards to implying wrongdoing as saying, "he made himself look like a woman," is, which is to say neither implies wrongdoing on their own. That's not the same as saying there aren't people who might find either offensive, but I refer back to this "Ultimately whether or not you believe it is wrong will boil down to whether or not you equate causing offence with wrongdoing. Personally I absolutely repudiate that concept."

Of course in both cases people can do this for the purposes of mockery but there are also many other motivations. The effect they have on those around them will depend on how they do it, where they do it and why they do it. Those questions are far more important to me than simply establishing whether or not they did do it.

Quote from: RedPhoenix
I'm being confrontational because I don't like the idea that blackface and drag are in any way the same, because blackface is an embarrassing evil that I would like to condemn to the ash heap of history and drag is, well, not.

I'll refer back to the fact that drag was a feature of most minstrel shows. So if you think drag was perfectly harmless how could it have also been a feature of something you (rightly) call an embarrassing evil?

But you'll get no argument from me if you think that impersonating others for the purposes of mocking them is bad, and you'll get no argument from me that something like a minstrel show should is utterly grotesque, and an offence against the sensibilities of any thinking person. But it's not grotesque because it involves people impersonating others. It's grotesque because it involves a calculated attempt to demean and vilify.

What I find strange is that you can recognise that drag can be harmless, even positive, yet you must know that it is also used as a form of emasculation and mockery, and that it has been and is used to demean and vilify. In other words you have it within yourself to distinguish between the positive and negative examples.

Can you not extend that same sense of moral discrimination to the act of impersonating someone of another race? Bearing in mind that people mimic attributes associated with other races all the time, and their motive is usually admiration, even envy. I know for example when I get lip fillers or a spray-tan it's not to look more like a white girl.

Offline Blythe

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #39 on: August 26, 2018, 02:29:36 AM »
I think I'm going to bow out of this one, thanks.

Online RedPhoenix

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #40 on: August 26, 2018, 03:17:25 AM »
you'll get no argument from me that something like a minstrel show should is utterly grotesque, and an offence against the sensibilities of any thinking person.

Then stop arguing it.

Offline KatieBower

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #41 on: August 26, 2018, 04:12:13 AM »
Quote from: Blythe
I think I'm going to bow out of this one, thanks.

I'm used to platforms where professions of good faith are generally ignored but for the record if I've given you the impression that you can't dialogue with me I'm sorry.

If it helps please try not to picture someone glowering behind their keyboard. This is not who I am. I say the same thing to RedPheonix.

Quote from: RedPheonix
Then stop arguing it.

If you think that's what I'm here to say then I can see why we disagree. I've already told you that's not my position. So maybe you think I'm arguing in bad faith, I've failed to communicate my position effectively, you've misunderstood me, or there's some combination of these things going on here.

If you think I'm arguing in bad faith, is there any gesture I can make to convince you otherwise? And if I've made myself unclear point to where and how and I'll do my best to explain.

Offline Blythe

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #42 on: August 26, 2018, 04:25:32 AM »
I'm used to platforms where professions of good faith are generally ignored but for the record if I've given you the impression that you can't dialogue with me I'm sorry.

If it helps please try not to picture someone glowering behind their keyboard. This is not who I am. I say the same thing to RedPheonix.

It's moreso that I think we're talking around each other rather than with each other, and it doesn't seem to be moving to any area where we mutually understand each other.

Plus...the topic of drag and gender expression is pretty personal to me. I'm a transman. People accuse me of the gender equivalent of blackface for merely existing, and drag is one way a lot of trans individuals get a toe in the water being able to express themselves in a positive and healthy way for the first time. So rather than let my personal feelings or frustration influence me unduly, I do tend to bow out while I feel I'm still on good terms with people in-thread, y'know?

It's a practice that's generally served me well anywhere on the internet & helps me always put my best foot forward with anyone I interact with. And since drag isn't really the topic of this thread, I'd rather not derail it further, personally-speaking.

Anyways, thanks for your time, and all the best.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #43 on: August 26, 2018, 05:34:38 AM »
Regarding definitions: I noticed that, in the discussion on Pugoffka's FB page, people were saying that she was doing blackface by the simple fact of changing the skin tone of her models (yup, a bit of correction here: she wasn't a model in these images, she was a photographer) - even though she didn't intend malice. IIRC, some people said that she used makeup and filter to make white people look black / Indian, so she was using blackface, so she did wrong, because blackface had been used to demean black people in the past.

Offline RedRose

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #44 on: August 26, 2018, 08:10:46 AM »
I suppose people who grew up with it being malicious will see it as such, and people who didn't, won't.

Offline KatieBower

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #45 on: August 26, 2018, 12:20:06 PM »
Quote
It's moreso that I think we're talking around each other rather than with each other, and it doesn't seem to be moving to any area where we mutually understand each other.


I would like to understand you.

Quote
Plus...the topic of drag and gender expression is pretty personal to me. I'm a transman. People accuse me of the gender equivalent of blackface for merely existing, and drag is one way a lot of trans individuals get a toe in the water being able to express themselves in a positive and healthy way for the first time. So rather than let my personal feelings or frustration influence me unduly, I do tend to bow out while I feel I'm still on good terms with people in-thread, y'know?


I'm not such a person. As far as I'm concerned if you identify as a man then you are a man and if you chose to present as a man that's no more drag to me than it is for me to dress like a woman.

Quote
Regarding definitions: I noticed that, in the discussion on Pugoffka's FB page, people were saying that she was doing blackface by the simple fact of changing the skin tone of her models (yup, a bit of correction here: she wasn't a model in these images, she was a photographer) - even though she didn't intend malice. IIRC, some people said that she used makeup and filter to make white people look black / Indian, so she was using blackface, so she did wrong, because blackface had been used to demean black people in the past.

Thank you for the correction. It seems like a very clear-cut example of an association fallacy if what you're saying is correct, but that's not to say I can't understand why many minorities would be touchy about having their identity appropriated. Personally though I wonder who was objecting, and I wonder how they were objecting. I haven't seem the comments myself. But I can't picture any of the Asian or Indian people I know reacting with outrage to such a thing. I can easily see that they might view it as good opportunity to discuss that these things have an ugly history (not one that is entirely in the past either) of which people should be mindful.

That may just be my experience.

It's worth bearing in mind that the right-wing have their own outrage machine and they love to blow these things out of all proportion. Could this have all been a storm in a teacup?

Offline Mirrah

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Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #46 on: August 26, 2018, 02:57:34 PM »
I'm not contesting your view point but I don't like your example, KatieBower. I think people can change their looks as they like, but please do refrain from generalizing when trying to make your points. Sure, you mostly see Asians born with monolids; but there are also Asians who are born with double eyelids. Double eyelids and curly hair aren't features that are exclusive to any one race, nor are Asians naturally unable to be born with those features. (But this is derailing the original topic.)



People chase their ideas of beauty, whether or not it is similar to those outside of their race. That has no bearings on anything besides personal preferences. It's not wrong to prefer straight hair on a woman. Calling it offensive would be like saying having a preference for curly hair over straight hair is also offensive. It's not.

Personally, I don't find it offensive when someone lightens or darkens their skin. Appropriation, I don't see as offensive--rather, it makes me curious about why the person has chosen to dress that way. If they do a good job of it, I even stop to admire it.

I don't consider the aratist to be blackfacing when they took their pictures, unless they were mocking those cultures. If it's cosplaying and for cosplay, I highly doubt that was the intent of the artist. Yes, I do view cosplay as a form of artistic expression. Adoration, even, for the character that is being portrayed through their efforts. I do not see skin painting or anything like that for it to be wrong.

Who are the people who are saying it's bad? Even when it comes down to heated arguments about cultural appropriation, there are also people who say it's okay (from the cultures being appropriated).

Take this Washington Post article about a girl who decided to wear a Cheongsam to her Prom, for example: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/05/01/its-just-a-dress-teens-chinese-prom-attire-stirs-cultural-appropriation-debate/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.33bb8c08fd34

Or, this debate over a little girl having a Japanese themed tea party: https://www.indy100.com/article/japanese-tea-party-cultural-appropriation-tumblr-post-outrage-japan-culture-respect-hate-racism-7874681

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #47 on: August 26, 2018, 03:06:19 PM »
You know, it makes me wonder: where does appropriation end and normal cultural osmosis begin? I mean... this cheongsam dress thing. Yes, these dresses come from China. But they are beautiful - if I were a woman, I'd wear one. Is it really inappropriate for a white woman to wear such a dress?

Cultures do exchange ideas, fashions etc. It's natural...

Offline Dallas

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Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #48 on: August 26, 2018, 04:13:17 PM »
^ That is the gist of what I often wonder about the subject. I sometimes think that the lines might be very blurry to some.

This makes me think of a Japanese Youtuber that I like by the name of 'Yuta' (or perhaps 'Yuuta'?). He does these little surveys with fellow people in his country about what might be controversial or acceptible in Japan. I remember one was "How do you feel about foreigners wearing kimono?" And a lot of answers seemed very accepting (stuff like "That might be cool" or "I might appreciate and feel their love for Japan").

Not to imply that Japan should be the "be-all; end-all" standard, for the record. There are other variables even with their own culture to consider. One example would be discerning truth between their "Private" demeanor and feeling as opposed to their "Public" demeanor/feeling. Another would be that this also only speaks for Japanese culture, and shouldn't be taken as a standard to impose on every other culture that may or may not readily accept it.

But I do see that cultural osmosis to be somewhat natural over a given period of time. :-)

Offline KatieBower

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #49 on: August 26, 2018, 05:05:40 PM »
Quote from: Mirrah
I'm not contesting your view point but I don't like your example, KatieBower. I think people can change their looks as they like, but please do refrain from generalizing when trying to make your points. Sure, you mostly see Asians born with monolids; but there are also Asians who are born with double eyelids. Double eyelids and curly hair aren't features that are exclusive to any one race, nor are Asians naturally unable to be born with those features. (But this is derailing the original topic.)

I wasn't trying to suggest these qualities are universal or exclusive. Though I do want to point out there is a difference between curly/wavy hair, and textured (as in afro-textured) hair, which I think stylists refer to as kinky. It has a very distinctive, tight helix shaped curl. I don't know if it's an exclusive trait. I just know it's way harder to straighten than curly hair.

Quote from: Mirrah
Take this Washington Post article about a girl who decided to wear a Cheongsam to her Prom, for example: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/05/01/its-just-a-dress-teens-chinese-prom-attire-stirs-cultural-appropriation-debate/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.33bb8c08fd34

I think this was a storm in a teacup perpetuated mostly by college kids and a media that's obsessed with controversy. The feeling in Asia was overwhelmingly that this was a triumph of Chinese culture. I don't know anyone who don't thinks this sort of stuff (sharing cultural traditions) isn't a good thing. As for the original critic there's a reason why his entire tweet wasn't being replicated by his supporters. It was piffle, like his racist tweets about black people.

Quote from: Beorning
Is it really inappropriate for a white woman to wear such a dress?

The only reason I wouldn't wear one is they're a pain to walk in.

Offline Mirrah

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Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #50 on: August 27, 2018, 03:43:08 AM »
Cultures do exchange ideas, fashions etc. It's natural...

This is pretty much what it boils down to.

One example would be discerning truth between their "Private" demeanor and feeling as opposed to their "Public" demeanor/feeling.

Are you referring to whether they are simply being indirect and polite? That's entirely possible, though at the same time, I think that if the cultural dress of others is given due respect, they may find it not nearly as objectionable.

But I do see that cultural osmosis to be somewhat natural over a given period of time. :-)

Especially when factoring the above line into the picture.

I think this was a storm in a teacup perpetuated mostly by college kids and a media that's obsessed with controversy. The feeling in Asia was overwhelmingly that this was a triumph of Chinese culture. I don't know anyone who don't thinks this sort of stuff (sharing cultural traditions) isn't a good thing. As for the original critic there's a reason why his entire tweet wasn't being replicated by his supporters. It was piffle, like his racist tweets about black people.

I'd like to point out here that I personally know people who would be quite bent out of shape if those outside of their race wore some traditional clothing of their peoples, for the sake of looking cool. I know I would have mixed feelings about the matter. Turning around and saying, "It's okay, it's cool if they're appreciating it somehow," can be merely speaking gracefully about it for some.

I don't think the poster was too far wrong when he pointed out that there may be a lack of respect there, which he found to be improper. Some things may be revered within a certain culture, and when perpetuated in ignorance and/or without that due respect, can come off as distasteful and potentially offensive to those it is native to. Those things hold a deeper meaning to them than simply looking pretty or cool. Understanding where fashion stops and cultural significance begins, and how guarded it is within that culture. There may be a line there that shouldn't be crossed, which can't be easily seen from the outside without some careful and patient looking.


What I'm trying to say here, is... when approaching a culture that is different from your own, I think it's a good idea to do some studying about it first. Many a faux pas can be avoided by doing that, whether it's a matter of clothing, social practices, boundaries, or anything else. Be kind. Be understanding. Be empathetic. Be respectful. Always.

Offline The Lovely Tsarina

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #51 on: August 27, 2018, 06:19:20 AM »
When I was student, in US high school many years ago, I braid my hair once, in the long corn rows. I thought the style very pretty. But, black students, they get mad at me, for trying looking like them. And, many white students, they call me a insult, that starts with “w”, but is like the “n” word. I only know, a few black students look very hurt, and offended, I do this. So, I take them out, I don’t do this again, never it’s my wish for hurting people. I wish though, there was conversation of this, I still don’t know why I offend so much, even today.

Offline KatieBower

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #52 on: August 27, 2018, 08:05:54 PM »
Quote
I'd like to point out here that I personally know people who would be quite bent out of shape if those outside of their race wore some traditional clothing of their peoples, for the sake of looking cool. I know I would have mixed feelings about the matter. Turning around and saying, "It's okay, it's cool if they're appreciating it somehow," can be merely speaking gracefully about it for some.

I don't think the poster was too far wrong when he pointed out that there may be a lack of respect there, which he found to be improper. Some things may be revered within a certain culture, and when perpetuated in ignorance and/or without that due respect, can come off as distasteful and potentially offensive to those it is native to. Those things hold a deeper meaning to them than simply looking pretty or cool. Understanding where fashion stops and cultural significance begins, and how guarded it is within that culture. There may be a line there that shouldn't be crossed, which can't be easily seen from the outside without some careful and patient looking.


What I'm trying to say here, is... when approaching a culture that is different from your own, I think it's a good idea to do some studying about it first. Many a faux pas can be avoided by doing that, whether it's a matter of clothing, social practices, boundaries, or anything else. Be kind. Be understanding. Be empathetic. Be respectful. Always.

You make some very fair points, and if we're talking about something like this:


Which was rightly criticised, and for good reasons, then I couldn't agree more. When I said sharing though sharing was what I meant. For example the Middle-Eastern girls I know think would prefer I buy traditional kajal powder than say a Mac pencil (they are in fact the reason I started using it in the first place) and there are Henna/Threading parlours within spitting distance of my house which I've been encouraged to visit. Those same girls would think it boorish if I started walking around in a hijab and that isn't something I would do precisely because the former are things that are being actively exported and their use promoted, being shared in other words, while the latter is part of a particular tradition which I'm not part of. However I know they'd disapprove of anyone, regardless of their faith or ethnicity, reducing that garment to the status of a fashion accessory, as opposed to a matter of taqwa. It's not about race.

Of course there are maybe some Indian/Middle Easterners (probably nth generation college kids living in the West for the most part if you'll pardon the generalisation) who would get pissy at the thought of a white girl sporting kajal or mehndi, but does this minority have any right to invalidate the positive and inclusive attitudes of a majority who want to share their culture? I mean there are also Australians who dislike the thought of Henna/Threading studios (or God forbid, a Mosque) being in "their" country period. But their parochial attitude will not stop the rest of us from being content with or even celebrating these things. Maybe both groups are self-reinforcing still it's an ugly dichotomy and I'm glad it's one most people seem to want no part in.

Random aside but I live in a part of Sydney which that idiot Lauren Southern claims is under Sharia Law >< and it depresses the hell out of me that there are actual Australians who agree with her. Thankfully people had the good sense not to make a huge event out of her recent shit-stirring antics. Of course the "true believers" will claim it's just the liberal media suppressing the truth but I believe that's the best way to deal with these people.

Quote
I don't think the poster was too far wrong when he pointed out that there may be a lack of respect there, which he found to be improper.

I do want to respond to this specifically. If this (urging some introspection and sensitivity) was what he had done I'd have no complaint. But instead he attacked her with a bunch of hyperbolic claims about how a dress that's been part of international fashion culture for decades is apparently some inviolate and exclusive element of Chinese culture (an idea that was widely repudiated by people in China specifically) and that subjecting it to "American consumerism," (I suppose he thinks Chinese people don't sell things) can somehow be equated with colonialism. It was a bunk argument and it's why the only line any of his supporters (who were few in contrast to his detractors) ever repeated was "my culture is not your goddamn prom dress," which, while pithy, is also a non-sequitur. It might have applied if she'd been dressed like this:


But the dress she was wearing only appeared in a recognisably modern form (still quite unlike the style she wore, which owes much to designs from Hong Kong where the style was preserved during the cultural revolution) in the republican period, so not even a hundred years ago. To act as if it was conceived in a cultural vacuum strikes me as extremely silly. Finally in that style it literally is a formal evening gown. I mean that's literally what its for. So the idea that wearing it to a prom is misusing it somehow is gibberish.

And let's be straight here, this person was himself a racist (he was exposed for making racist comments like "how are niggers so damn loud?") and a liar (he claimed they were photoshopped, which they weren't, though I think he's come clean since) and a hypocrite (there are lots of examples of him engaging in cultural appropriation regarding traditionally Hawaiian, Japanese, or African-American things) so while I'm all for the message:

Quote
Be kind. Be understanding. Be empathetic. Be respectful. Always.

This guy is not an exemplar of this ethos. He was looking to shit-stir, and it's a shame the media, on both sides, was willing to run with it.

Though I'd like to add something else to the cultural appropriation discourse. Something I find deeply disturbing. That these allegations tend to involve creating a false-equivalence between culture and race. Remember I said my middle-Eastern friends would find it boorish if I wore a hijab? That's only because they know I don't observe taqwa. Yet I know white girls who do, and who do wear them because they've married into Muslim families. They've adopted that culture in other words and were very welcome to do so and that they don't match some stereotype of what a Muslim woman should look like shouldn't invalidate that but often does and it can be a source of real angst for them. An even more troublesome example are people I've known who appear white but who consider themselves (and who are legally and culturally considered) part of the Aboriginal community. The amount of grief they get for not conforming to people's stereotypes is so crazy that some won't embrace their culture in any public capacity as a result.

So while I agree we should be sensitive to other cultures I believe treating people as if their external appearance was the totality of their identity is a genuinely horrific thing to do (I'm not suggesting it's being done here though) and has very broad and ugly ramifications. I commend Mirrah's advice to be kind., understanding and respectful.

Offline RedRose

Re: Some racism-related questions
« Reply #53 on: August 28, 2018, 11:32:21 AM »
Indeed, you can't always figure out someone's ethnicity just from skin. Remember the scandal about the blond Roma kid removed from his parents because the authorities thought he was kidnapped?

My great great grandparents had several children ranging from blond haired blue eyed to very, very dark. Genetics.

In my country some brands still produce ads that could shock out of Europe http://www.banania.fr/