dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Monday, August 26, 2013

toast, naked man, what I can call myself, cultural appropriation

This morning Ming is helping a friend with her yard.  I went to free breakfast.  I waited a long time at the toast station.  We are out of breakfast foods at home.

I can hear the neighbors talking downstairs.  One is going to Burning Man soon.  I think I will never make it--too expensive.  And I am not a party animal.

In Winnemucca there was a kiosk at the visitor's center where you could check your email, but it was busted in.

I never told you that in Portland, we saw a naked man.  I was getting on the bus and caught a glimpse of him from behind.  Ming said he saw the naked man peeing into a can. 

I've been thinking about cultural appropriation and what we can call ourselves.  Am I a person of color though I look white and don't speak Spanish?  Can I claim that, or should I just say I'm white?  It's confusing.

I was hanging out with some Native Americans back when I worked on the res in Bishop and they were talking shit about a kid who was half Native, half white dancing in a competition and doing very well.

Anyway, a friend was talking about seeing someone who looked white wearing a feather in her hair, and Ming and I discussed that yesterday.  I was asserting that if she looks white, she shouldn't do it, because who cares if she's one eighth whatever?  If she looks white, that's what matters.

But obviously I have some energy about that.  I knew a kid in high school who was blond and so into his Native heritage and it made me sick.  I was like, get real.  You're blond!  He was just trying to feel special.

I was on facebook a couple weeks ago and some people were talking about cultural appropriation.  Someone was saying how someone was wearing a kimono and wasn't Japanese so it was wrong.  That's how all this got turning in my mind. 

I know someone who named her white kid "I love you" in some African language.  What do you think about that?

On one hand, it's a modern world.  On the other hand, respect.  I don't have the answers to these interesting questions.


  • At September 02, 2013 5:01 PM, Anonymous Liam said…

    I think that is interesting about cultural appropriation. I was born in England but my mum's parents were Irish. Am I Irish? I am legally entitled to an Irish passport but I find when I meet genuine Irish people they consider me English.


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