Angel McFarland-Sobotta is an enrolled member of the Nez Perce Tribe and a direct descendant of Chief Red Grizzly Bear and Old Chief Joseph. She is the Nez Perce Language coordinator and the Nez Perce Arts Council chairperson.
I see quite a few posts here about ‘cultural appropriation’ and how it’s just the worst thing you’ve ever seen. I’m here to explain to you why it isn’t bad.
Culture is meant to be shared. Without sharing ideas, foods, religious ideas, clothing, morals and so forth between communities and cultures, we cannot advance as a species. If Japan didn’t share it’s technology with the rest of the world, we’d be sunk. If Sweden decided not to share their surgical techniques, thousands of people would be dead or on short time. If other countries didn’t share their foods, we wouldn’t have delicious restaurants on every corner!
Of course, that’s just the logical response, and Tumblr runs primarily on emotions, so I’ll provide those too.
Any one of you who have read my previous works or my About are saying “What do you know, Lea?! You’re a stupid whitey, you don’t even have a dog in this fight!”
Actually, I do. Yes, I am white, in that I check the Caucasian box on surveys and government forms and in that’s what it says on my birth certificate, but honestly, I don’t have to be. I’m an 8th Native American, and I’ve been encouraged and asked several times to join the Nation.
Normally that wouldn’t be important, but in this discussion I think it is, if only to stave off wave after wave of 'You’re white you dont matter’.
Some of the major complaints I see on here revolve around the following things: Clothing, Music, and Hairstyles. Superficial, non-important things that have somehow become sacred in the minds of Tumblr users (which is a direct reminder that most Tumblrites are 13-17 years old, and female).
Lets start with Clothing. More specifically, lets start with Kimonos and Hairsticks. What I see on here a lot is reblogs of that post of the girl with the forks in her hair. You know the one.
NO NOT THAT ONE.
Seriously though, you know the one I mean, the girl who’s complaining about how stupid people look with 'chopsticks’ in their hair.
But you see…
These are Hair Sticks. Hair sticks look a LOT like chop sticks.
Sometimes you can’t tell whats a chopstick and what’s a hair stick (the above are hairsticks, though).
These could be either one.
And that’s okay, because most Japanese people don’t care. They actually consider it kind of nice that people are interested in their culture.
On to Kimonos!
This one is mostly white girls complaining (as always). “Kimonos are SACRED TO THE JAPANESE OMG HOW DARE WHITE PEOPLE WEAR THEM?!"
Guys, have you ever been to Japan? The people there literally try to get you to wear a Kimono at every opportunity. They like when foreigners show appreciation for their culture by wearing traditional garments. It’s not an insult to them, it’s a joy, and you shouldn’t be offended. The same goes for people with henna tattoos and and other such things. Culture was meant to be shared.
Music is another common complaint. "you cant listen to, make or perform [musical style] because you are not [ethnicity]!”
Music is a world wide thing, it’s a unifying experience, and EVERYONE has the right to experience, make and enjoy music. I, personally, love Indian music, Native American flute music, rap of all kinds but especially done in Spanish (have you ever heard Daddy Yankee - Gasolina? It’s amazing!). Just because it’s from a different culture, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, and don’t let ANYONE tell you otherwise.
Hairstyles are also a big thing, and one of the things that makes me deeply ashamed of Tumblr, because you lot took to twitter en masse to attack a 14 year old girl over her hair, and that is not acceptable. For those of you who don’t know, Mallory Merk is a young girl who decided she would try Box Braids. She saw a girl wearing them while out on the town one day and said to herself, that’s awesome. I want to try that. She did, and SJWs became ENRAGED. Hundreds of black people from all over came to her defense, but it was too late, and Mallory just appologized for trying something new with her hair. That’s sad. Box braids, dread locks, buns, beehives, perms, mohawks…these things belong to anyone with hair. They may originate in a particular culture, but they are for everyone. Hairstyles are not sacred or protected. They’re fashion, they’re for those who like them. You do you and you don’t let people take that away by telling you you can’t.
There is on last thing on my list here, but its one that angers me.
I need you to listen the fuck up, because this is important: No one, and I mean NO ONE, owns language. Language is fluid, language is changing, flowing, living and beautiful. To learn a new language, to use it, is a beautiful thing.
Do NOT, EVER, tell someone that they cannot learn and use a new language. DO NOT tell someone they can’t speak a particular dialect, that they can’t use a phrase because they are the wrong color, from the wrong part of the world, have the wrong background, ect. Language is not a possession, it’s not something you can own. Language is beautiful, and everyone has the right to learn a new language, an old language, to use it and to make something beautiful with the words they are given. What you cannot do with it is twist it. You should not, knowing a language, twist and destroy words or give them new definitions to fit your own agenda, but learning and respecting a language? That’s something everyone should do.
Okay everyone listen up. This past year (meaning 2016 going into 2017), NBC seemed to have a good batch of new TV shows that have gained critical acclaim (This Is Us, I’m looking at you). But one that seemed to fly under the radar was the show Timeless. It was created by Eric Kripke, who is also known for creating the show of Supernatural which is on the CW, and Shawn Ryan.
Now just a gist of what it’s about. It’s about a man who steals a time machine to go back into critical points of United States and early North American history to try and take out this organization called Rittenhouse, which seems to play a major role in basically every turning point of the historical timeline. The government takes over control of the industry who made the time machine and gets a trio of people to go back in time to stop the man.
It seems that time machines and time travel seem to be an up and coming theme in media (Doctor Who reboot, Legends of Tomorrow to name two). But this one I found stood out in ways that deserve the recognition it’s due.
the Triwizard tournament coming back, but this time it isn’t just European schools and it isn’t just three students competing
imagine the tournament including the 6 main established wizarding schools; each school spits out one qualified candidate to compete as always and their school roots for them through it all, you know the idea
the tournament being set in Europe, because a majority of the schools are there, but a whole new structure is built for the tournament, so it can hold all of the students flooding into Europe for the games
to keep things organized, they have 3 little sectors for the schools to share
Mahoutokoro, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang being put in the first sector, because they’re the smallest of the 6 schools
Castelobruxo and Uagadou living in the second sector
and finally, Hogwarts and Ilvermorny in the third sector
the two schools already being sceptical of each other because i mean, England and America have had some history
the first night there, some teachers try to have the students from the two schools play some culture sharing, ice breaker games so that they can learn from each other
it ends in the schools just laughing at how ridiculous sounding the other is
“wait one of your houses mascot.. is.. basically…a forest troll? i’m done”
“who the hell is hairy pot smoker?”
“no, Harry Potter, you illiterate–”
“why are you all dressed in different colors? do you even go to the same school??”
“you don’t get to take your wand home? bloody hell are you five??”
“you’re telling me, that there’s a rumor that there once was a gigantic, talking spider that lived in the forest by your school?? nuh-uh, i’m calling bullshit on that”
“who the hell is this Webster dictionary boot guy?”
“WHAT THE FUCK IS A MUGGLE I’M CRYING”
the two schools becoming the biggest rivals during the tournament
a Slytherin champion VS a Pukwudgie champion
them barricading off parts of the sector for their own
making signs and posters that trash talk the opposite champion
the champions actually becoming friends and totally ignoring the posters
“just let them fight to their little hearts desire…”
Slytherins and Horned serpents debating over which mascot is better
same with Ravenclaws and Thunderbirds
the two schools having different ways of magic, meaning different hexes and jinxes to prank each other with
them creating totally ridiculous nick names for the opposite schools houses
Wampus’ boasting about how more rebellious and daring they are compared to the “Gryffinwhores”
some Ravenclaws and Horned Serpants being the first to set aside their differences and become acquaintances so they can start learning things from one another
Slytherins shyly asking Thunderbirds to the Yule ball
Pukwudgies and Hufflepuffs getting along and secretly pulling the biggest pranks together
Wampus and Gryffindors having an all out brawl
neither of the two schools champions actually even end up winning the tournament, the Uagadou champion does
the two schools being very salty
when it comes time to depart, the Hogwarts and Ilvermorny students realize that this has been the most fun they’ve had in all their years
a big hugging, tear-party erupts
everyone basically agreeing to become Owl-Pals
them sending each other their native candies, clothing, gadgets, gossip, etc.
“You don’t have any Weasley Wizard Wheezes products there? oh COME ONNN”
“what do you mean you’ve never heard of In-n-Out?? Boy is your life about to CHANGE”
“I hear that actor of yours, George Clooney, is actually a squib?! can you imagine”
sending each other howlers playing the latest annoying pop song so the other country can experience their pain too