Date: 2017-05-12 06:44 pm (UTC)
brooksmoses: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brooksmoses
(You seem to be missing a closing quote on your link.)

Are they seriously calling it the "Appropriation Award"? Really for reals?

If so: Wow.

Date: 2017-05-12 09:24 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-12 11:30 pm (UTC)
armiphlage: (Default)
From: [personal profile] armiphlage
On the list of organizers, one author is on my don't-bother-reading list; I suspect that appropriating other's culture is the only way that person could put readable words on a page.

Date: 2017-05-12 06:44 pm (UTC)
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
From: [personal profile] mme_hardy
I've been seeing this on Twitter. GAH.

Date: 2017-05-12 09:52 pm (UTC)
moira_j_moore1: (Default)
From: [personal profile] moira_j_moore1
What the hell is wrong with people?

Date: 2017-05-13 01:28 am (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
"Whiteness" is defined as "so morally superior I can take non-white people's stuff without fault". "You shouldn't take their stuff" gets perceived as a direct attack on the construction of self used by the person doing the taking.

Date: 2017-05-13 03:05 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] felila
I do not think most fair-minded folks mind being appropriated if you get your facts right and write with sympathy. The problem is that most appropriation consists of cartoonish stereotypes.

Specifying fair-minded because some folks (of ANY origin or persuasion) object to any presentation that does not glorify them in particular as the pinnacle of the human race.

Date: 2017-05-13 11:40 am (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
I think "fair-minded appropriation" is precisely analogous to "just patriarchy". (There isn't, and you can't, but it's a convenient pretense.)

Date: 2017-05-13 04:56 am (UTC)
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
From: [personal profile] dragoness_e
And? I don't see the problem unless you buy into the whole ultra-left crap about cultural appropriation being bad. The logical end-point of "cultural appropriation is bad and you mustn't do it" crowd is cultural segregation and apartheid--everyone is only allowed to write or make art about their own racial and cultural niche, and no one will be exposed to any culture but their own. Feel free to strait-jacket yourself that way if you want to, but don't tell other people what they can and cannot write.

Cultural appropriation is a good thing. It means the majority culture is learning to appreciate and is curious about something besides themselves. It means the culture isn't stagnating. It means The Other is good, not bad, and a friend, not an enemy to be suppressed or exterminated. It means The Other is stopping being "Them" and is becoming "Us". We humans love Us; we humans regrettably tend to hate Them. Better for all if they are Us.

The notion that cultural appropriation is bad is one of the more snowflake, dumb-ass and downright poisonous ideas to come out of the left. This 'Appropriation Award' appears to be mocking the precious snowflakes who had a meltdown over someone recommending that people write about other cultures and not just their own. I applaud whoever is behind the award for having the guts to do so.

Date: 2017-05-13 07:47 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] eub
Nah, this is in your head. Nobody of note is telling people to avoid writing about other cultures. Let's play a game, can you point to a person who says that? I'll spot you all of tumblr here, surely you can find one, but what's the highest-grade example you can find in five minutes?

Against your idea, just off the top of my head, I'll point to prominent author Nisi Shawl, who literally wrote a book encouraging and supporting people in writing about other cultures.

If you point to someone who actually disagrees with what you're attributing to them, and the best you can do in this entire world is to find this non-supporting example and claim it's their "logical endpoint", I will assign zero points. I will also assign zero points for statements that doing it badly is bad (while doing a decent job is valuable). I can find you people who outright state every kind of wack-ass and unacceptable view, you can be expected to find people who actually believe what you think is general among lefties.

Play ball.

Date: 2017-05-13 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ba_munronoe
Graydon, from just up the thread? :)

I do think the "Appropriation Award" is an abomination, but it doesn't seem that unlikely to me that many (justifiably) pissed off people think that white guys shouldn't write from the POV of other cultures, period.

(That such people are persecuting white authors or have some power to prevent them getting published...well, that's UN black helicopters territory).

Date: 2017-05-14 03:00 am (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
"writing about other cultures" isn't "appropriation" in the same sense trade isn't theft.

Not being clear on there being a difference, and that the difference is significant, it's much in the way of a good sign. Identifying as white isn't much of a good sign.

Date: 2017-05-14 09:41 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ba_munronoe
My bad: I sometimes snark reflexively. It just seemed to me that Felila's problem was misuse of the word "appropriation" rather than support of "appropriation" as it is actually defined.

(Which, as you say, isn't an entirely good sign. But I try to be charitable).
Edited Date: 2017-05-14 09:42 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-14 04:07 am (UTC)
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
From: [personal profile] dragoness_e
Mostly I am ranting about utterly stupid crap that makes the news--telling people that wearing braids is "cultural appropriation" and they shouldn't do it, telling people that learning to speak Spanish is shameful cultural appropriation, or perhaps that episode in NYC where someone tried to protest a kimono show selling kimonos to (white) Americans as "cultural appropriation"... when the exposition in question was sponsored by the Japanese government because they are trying to find new markets for kimonos, so that the art of kimono-making doesn't die out for lack of customers (Which it is apparently in danger of doing, as the Japanese don't wear kimonos that much any more).

None of this may be what you mean by "cultural appropriation", but it's what some people think it is, and like most subtle, nuanced concepts, it has obviously been corrupted beyond all sanity by popularization.

I'm still appalled that an editor felt compelled to resign because he suggested that all writers put more diversity in their stories, and not just write about characters exactly like themselves. Um, what? How is this bad? Did he write so badly that he was incomprehensible? That would be a reason for an editor to resign. I don't know, the original article doesn't seem to be linked online, so I have to go with out-of-context quotes by other writers who want to make this guy look bad. Those are not very useful in forming one's own opinion.

Date: 2017-05-14 09:11 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] eub
Well okay, so would it be fair to say that to your actual knowledge nobody ever has said this actual thing about writing? I know there have been some. It's just not terribly common.

I can't track down your examples of news stories from those descriptions, but I think it's possible that some nuances were lost in the steps between what the person said and what you recall? Please consider how news writers benefit by making you feel ranty: they see reader engagement. Doesn't mean they have to be lying, they can just pick up all the nuance or not fit it in all in; of ten articles with different takes, the hot take that gets forwarded around is the one you're going to see. Commentators frequently make this assumption that "cultural appropriation" = "all writing about somebody else's culture", any time somebody doesn't explicitly declaim that equality (like for Graydon above) and sometimes when they do.

"Cultural appropriation" can be a tricky concept, it is true, and some people change it into different things under the same name. Where exactly, though, has it been turned into an overly-broad ban? You think that's in the minds of young excitable lefties. I believe if you look, that place is 95% in the minds of people opposing it. Who form arguments like "the logical conclusion of that is..."

In a polarized debate, it is so helpful if people can avoid misapprehending each others' positions. I mean, this is still a tough discussion even without misapprehensions. It's hard to accept the asymmetry, that somebody can tell me "you haven't learned to see why this is a problem (while that one's not)" and maybe be right. It's hard to accept what feels like a minefield, that even doing my best I can still screw up without knowing it. It's easy to wish people were saying "stick to your own culture", because that doesn't have so darn much research and review and risk. So let's get started on all that, not mess around yelling past each other.

Date: 2017-05-14 03:27 am (UTC)
mmcirvin: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mmcirvin
Maybe 20 years or so ago, I do recall one Native American author getting so fed up with existing treatments by white authors that he declared that white people should just stop writing about Native Americans entirely, because they simply were never going to do it in a way that was not insulting. But I can't remember his name. Caused a fuss. I got the impression it was on the basis of long-term and intense frustration.

Date: 2017-05-14 09:34 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] eub
Sherman Alexie wrote this: "That non-Indians should quit writing about us until we've established our voice -- a completely voluntary moratorium." (Also read the followup discussion about "took this argument as one that would exclude all outsiders from writing about another culture or group of people.") Which is different than "they're never going to do it right", it's more specifically about majority and power crowding people out. But it's pretty similar to what you have in mind.

The history of writing about Native Americans / Indians has been so determinedly bad, such a firehose of erasure and idealization and writing-grounded-on-movies. Seems likely to me it generally is even harder for a white person to get themselves past that and do a decent job, than for writing about black culture. Dunno if there'd be consensus from black people on that though. Not that there has to be for Alexie to make the case for where he knows.
Edited Date: 2017-05-14 09:34 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-17 12:32 am (UTC)
mmcirvin: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mmcirvin
That's it! Thanks very much for the corrections and expansions.

It struck me as coming from a place of deep, deep frustration. Often people critique extreme-sounding statements like this as if they existed in a vacuum without recognizing the deep-seated patterns they're responding to.
Edited Date: 2017-05-17 12:34 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-13 11:28 pm (UTC)
elf: Anime-ish version of elf: long cyan hair, glasses (Anime me)
From: [personal profile] elf
Appropriation is a bad thing. It means using features of the culture without consent or consideration, almost always for the benefit of the one doing the appropriating.

Writing about other cultures is a good thing. Learning about them - foods, family structure, fashion, linguistic habits, education standards, community systems - is good. Showcasing or celebrating a culture is not appropriation. Nobody's complaining about making works more diverse, about having elements of different cultures included in fiction.

Grabbing pieces of a culture and using them as ornaments to enhance the lives and livelihoods of people of a different culture is appropriation. It's never a good thing. Occasionally some value comes of it - someone is inspired to seek out more details, or consider some of the needs of people of that culture, because of an appropriative work, but that's not because "appropriation is good." Horror movies about drowning may inspire people to learn CPR; that doesn't mean drowning is a good thing, nor that horror-movie representations of drowning are reasonably accurate.

There's a big difference between "writing about other cultures," which can be done respectfully, and "cultural appropriation," which by definition cannot.

Date: 2017-05-14 04:37 am (UTC)
dragoness_e: Living Dead Girl (Living Dead Girl)
From: [personal profile] dragoness_e
I'm still not seeing a reason that so-called "cultural appropriation" is bad. I'm not even seeing a coherent definition of appropriation, let alone a coherent description of what's bad about it.

It means using features of the culture without consent or consideration, almost always for the benefit of the one doing the appropriating.


So... who has the figurative "power of attorney" to consent for an entire culture? What is a "feature" of a culture? Since when is doing things for one's own benefit bad? Most people are unlikely to do choose intentionally to do something for their own detriment, after all.

Grabbing pieces of a culture and using them as ornaments to enhance the lives and livelihoods of people of a different culture is appropriation. It's never a good thing.


What does this even mean--"grabbing pieces of a culture and using them as ornaments.."? Unless you are talking about literally chiseling off temple decor to hang on your house or national museum (cf. Elgin Marbles), that entire sentence is meaningless argle-bargle. If you are talking about something like Elgin Marbles, that's called "looting" and "theft", and is a concrete wrong. Unfortunately, what I'm hearing is "cultural appropriation is argle-bargle, therefore bad".

How about we define specific actions that are bad and look at what's bad about them, instead of waving vague, badly-defined jargon around? Examples I can think of:

- Wearing the war honors which you are not entitled to of a still-extant nation/tribe is very rude, and sleazy, and someone may take physical offense. This applies to Lakota war bonnets as well as USA Medals of Honor. No one should care if you cosplay as an ancient Egyptian general wearing gold-of-valor, however, as said nation and the authority that handed out those honors (Pharaoh) is long extinct.

- Disrespectful treatment or commercialization of an extant religion not your own is rude, crass, and, in many countries, illegal. In the USA, you are free to be rude and crass about religion. Elsewhere, between blasphemy laws and laws about disrespecting the official state church, not so much. It is still, however, rude and/or crass. It doesn't matter if the extant religion is Roman Catholicism or Navajo shamanism; it doesn't matter if you are an atheist and don't believe in any of it. Rude is still rude.

Like that. What, specifically, do you see as bad and what is bad about it?

Date: 2017-05-13 09:07 am (UTC)
azara: (Default)
From: [personal profile] azara
I thought from the name that the Appropriation award would be a booby prize, like the Razzies or the Bad Sex Award. Oh well.

Date: 2017-05-13 12:46 pm (UTC)
jessie_c: Me in my floppy hat (Default)
From: [personal profile] jessie_c
I offered to match Sylvia's $500.- Let's convert the outrage into something positive.

Date: 2017-05-14 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
So did I. I concur.

TSM_in_Toronto

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