the-primitives

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[get to know me meme] 10 Female Characters (4/10): Lorelai Gilmore (Gilmore Girls)

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Before and After Colonisation

The British, referred to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Congolese people as ‘Primitive’ because they respected the land they lived on and understand the harmony that mankind and nature must abide by. In cultivating Palm trees, they only took what was needed for themselves to feed their families, and constructed a simple but efficient system of refining palms into oil and other products for many different purposes.

The British observed  and studied their technique, in their greed they decided to make it into a mass production enterprise, one explorer stated “buried in their jungle, they were too backward to realise the vast inheritance it had to offer, the untapped resources of their vast continent…wealth lay wasting”

It is by this same so called ‘primitive’ invention that they sought out to make profit from Palm (Palm Trees only grow in Tropical climates so the English knew nothing on how to cultivate and process it) they took the  invention of the Congolese and  enforced their system of capitalism in their country to fund their industrial ‘revolution’, producing more than was necessary, raping the land, causing major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and for the vast majority if not all of the profits to be enjoyed in their own countries.

They then spread propaganda worldwide; ‘the savages lived in darkness’ ‘we found them swinging from trees’ ‘we saved them from  themselves’, ‘we civilised them’ and etc

They made it larger scale, a little tweak there, a little alteration here, and the white man has the audacity to herald himself as an inventor.

Making alterations to a pre-existing system/product whilst keeping the core technique does not make you an inventor. Its called Plagiarism.

The thrill of appropriation lies in accessing the perceived authenticity of black sexuality, the success of appropriation lies in abandoning its natural form. Transfer to a white body elevates the action. It’s no longer primitive because while nonwhite culture is assumed to be rooted in instinct, white culture is one of intent. Elaborate nail art, like the kind Miley wears now, appears stylish on a white girl but described as “ghetto” on a black girl because on the white girl, it’s an aesthetic choice whereas black girls just don’t know any better. White people clamoring to up their cred by appropriating nonwhite culture do so hoping to be rewarded for choices that are falsely seen as inherent in people of color. It’s this savvy that Miley wants us to be convinced of.
— 

Ayesha Siddiqi, “Can the White Girl Twerk?

Such a beautiful and concise description of cultural appropriation.