cultural appropriation

On the subject of dreadlocks, for example:

Let’s take a look at the definition of appropriation.

I’m gonna copy paste this straight from Google:

“ ap·pro·pri·a·tion
əˌprōprēˈāSH(ə)n/noun

the action of taking something for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission. example: ‘the appropriation of parish funds.’ ”

Cool. So now that we know what that means, we can figure out who specifically owns this hairstyle. Easy, right?


Except there are several cultures and religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity / Celtic folk, etc) that wear dreadlocks or have worn dreadlocks. It is not exclusively black culture.

Aside from that, who gives a shit? It’s hair. Nobody owns any particular hairstyle. 

15 things JK Rowling could include to treat Native people and culture respectfully:

1.       Don’t make the centerpiece of the story about a boarding school. If you’re white you probably don’t know this but, boarding schools were used to genocide Natives for centuries.

2.       Bother to do some research on the cultures you’re trying to write about. Natives are not simple. They are complex and deep. In some ways much more so than the European colonizers.

3.       Natives had the most advanced and sophisticated government structures in the world at the time. International war laws, reverse hierarchical federalized democracies, independent economic entities, the clan systems, the most expansive road and trade networks in the world, the list goes on just do some reading.

4.       Don’t diminish or dismiss the natives as backward or simple in the fiction either. JKR decided that natives don’t use wands for magic and stuff because they don’t do specific or focused magic, that’s racist nonsense.

5.       Natives would do some wild shit like Onondaga fire magic or Aztec surgical stuff. There were Mixtec oracles and mystics who cut the flesh from their face and replaced it with gems, that shit is metal.

6.       The wand thing could be replaced with turquoise gem totems, or obsidian magic knives or some shit like that. Taking the tools away from them is dehumanizing imagery.

7.       Don’t mess around with pipes or anything like that. You’re white JKR, you’re white.

8.       If you have a character run away into the woods in Massachusetts, she is gonna run right into Native cities. Don’t pretend that America is this open uninhabited nature reserve. That wasn’t true and it is racist.

9.       Don’t pretend that American societies are going to be as backward and prejudiced as other places. Most American languages didn’t have gendered pronouns. American cultures did not have the institutional patriarchal bullshit or homophobia. We would probably be pretty accepting of people that could do magic.

10.   There should be magical clans… that sounds dope.

11.   There should be magical schools already and there could be a really cool plot about protecting them from the Spanish and the English.

12.   They should not be schools as much as campus communities, workshops instead of classes. The predecessors to the Cherokee would create communities and give them a purpose, which was a practice common throughout North America. There would be a half-dozen schools the size of massive cities centered around dope pyramids like Cahokia.

13.   Magic using medicine men would come to villages to teach the citizens that couldn’t leave or something like that.

14.   Instead of skinwalkers which are too specific and appropriationy, try something like the Witiko, which is about cannibalism and evil deeds freezing your heart or something (fluctuates according to region). Could very easily be related to evil magic users.

15.   The basic thing I think is to do some research and maybe ask some natives before you try shit like this.

To be clear for some white people who think I’m being sensitive or something. First off, fuck you, the second thing is JK Rowling is trying to make a shit ton of money with this. And she will so she should at least not contribute to the immolation and genocide of Native peoples at the same time.

Please don’t let your hero worship of JKR (or your love of Harry Potter) make you an opponent to Native people trying to voice why Ilvermorny is problematic. Please, I’m begging you, just try to keep an open mind, be respectful, and listen to what Native readers are saying. If you’ve formed your opinions on Ilvermorny based entirely on things that white people have written, you are missing a critical perspective.

Here is a curated list of Native writings on Ilvermorny. I know Harry Potter means a lot to us, and I know it sucks to recognize that JKR may have really fucked up here, but you owe it to Native readers to at least hear their words before you brush them off.

It’s so embarrassing to see black girls who straighten their hair, lmao like wtf, you aren’t white, honey! White girls own straight hair!!

See how fucking stupid that sounds? See how fucking stupid YOU sound when you say that it’s wrong for white guys/girls to have dreadlocks? See how much of a racist asshole you are? This whole “cultural appropriation” trend is BULLSHIT. ANYONE can wear/do/dress HOWEVER they want. It’s called being an inclusive, diverse, and accepting society. But that’s right, I forgot - SJWs are NOT striving towards acceptance, because they are dense fuckwads who apparently don’t understand what equality means.