Okay, so there’s this one two-panel comic post going around and like, p much it’s about these two girls, one’s white and the other is Indian (whom I’m going to assume is the OP).
In the first panel, it’s labeled “First Grade”. Well, the white girl is calling the Indian girl/OP’s food “gross” because it’s homemade Indian food. Then comes in the second panel, labeled “Now”— which seems to portray both girls as older teens/young adults. The white girl “now” seems to be embracing Indian culture by wearing an bindi and cultural garbs— but the OP then makes a post comment regarding that “you can’t pick and choose which parts of a culture you want to embrace”.
As much am I am against cultural appropriation, I’m also for cultural blending and people being unafraid to be curious of other cultures, however I feel that OP’s two-panel comic was a really poor demonstration of cultural appropriation.
For instance, the first panel was of the two girl in first grade. Kids aren’t really aware of what’s rude to say and do, they still have mentalities of kindergartners. And especially since they were kids, they aren’t going to be very open to new foods. All kids are picky with foods they’ve never seen much less tried.
For example, my nationality is Mexican-American, I only know and like lots of American culture (granted there is a lot of bullshit to see and hear, but I don’t trust a lot of foods that I’ve never tried. However, compared to now and back when I was a kid, I like a lot of foods that I didn’t like as a kid.
Once upon a time, I was iffy on “white”, Asian, Louisiana Creole, Saudi Arabian, and even Mexican food— but now I like them a lot (excepts for some parts of Mexican food, I’m “too American” for it). When you’re a kid, you’re going to be weirded out by a lot of foods you’re not familiar with because you’ve never been exposed to them (or you were exposed but you were still unsure about eating it. To try and demonize a little girl (who had probably never been formally introduced or informed about Indian foods) it just desperate, because I sure know my younger sibs (they’re mixed) don’t like a lot of the Mexican food my family makes for them, but at one point, they also didn’t like spicy foods (they now like spicy foods).
Kids are picky with food, it doesn’t makes them xenophobic or racist for it.
Now, as for the “Now” panel and the comment, it doesn’t make sense? “You can’t pick and choose which parts of a culture you want to embrace”? Okay, from the “First Grade” panel to the “Now” panel, both girls clearly went through a lot of growing up seeing that they are no longer kids. For all the OP knows, the little white girl was probably reintroduced to Indian food, and instead of outright rejecting it like she did as a kid or making assumptions that it was “gross”, she tried it. And she might have liked it, or disliked it.
It’s food, not everyone has the same taste. I love Mexican food because I grew up with it. I hate Mexican foods that have internal organs like stomach line or tongue or bones or anything like that, because I grew up in America where you ain’t going to find cow heads or organs or bones out in Walmart or something. In America, you ain’t going to get a burrito filled with chorizo and pig fat. Does that mean that I fail to embrace my Mexican heritage? No, I just have a different taste compared to my family. So, using food as a “you’re appropriating a culture because you don’t like the food to it” is a really bad argument because it’s food. Not liking one dish doesn’t make you not like the entire food of a culture— and it’s a hell lot ruder to vomit food you don’t like than just not eat the food you don’t like. Please, if you don’t like it (even after trying it), don’t make yourself eat it.
So, do we know what happened to the white girl from the First Grade panel to the Now panel? No, we don’t. However, we can’t assume that she is appropriating a culture just for the fashion. If you assume that she’s appropriating Indian culture, than you should also assume that some time from when she was in first grade to “now”, she went through a change, a situation, a transition, something that changed her outlook on Indian culture, and decided to embrace by converting to Hindu and embracing Indian culture.
Now, I’m not saying OP shouldn’t feel a bit angry at this girl (bullying is not fun, especially when you’re singled out simply because of your culture, I know that feeling as well), but OP should have tried talking to the white girl instead of making a “Then” and “Now” comic to demonize her.
OP should have tried learning about what made the white girl want to embrace Indian culture instead of outright assuming that she was appropriating it. Like, who know, maybe the white girl got a bit older and realized what she did to OP was rude and messed up, started to look up Indian culture, and realized that she liked it and wanted to embrace it to make up the fact that she once made fun of it (or the food at least). Why was it necessary to assume the worst of people, when you didn’t even try talking to them? (And if OP did, why didn’t OP mention that in the comic/comment?)