anonymous asked:

i'm sorry i feel like i worded it wrong.. what i should have asked is, is men's drive to dominate women natural? is that why women across cultures are oppressed? i still can't grasp why male supremacy was pervasive before western colonialism if it wasn't natural.. please bear with me

Tbh I go back and forth on that, so I can’t really give you a satisfying answer. The radical feminist view is that men are not naturally violent and aggressive (toward women and toward each other) but rather it is woman-hating, male supremacist culture that socialises men to dominate others (particularly women). I agree with this; it’s true that men are taught, in ways both blatant and subtle, that they are superior to women and that women belong to them. So they act according to what they believe. Acknowledging male socialisation means feminists and feminist allies can address the way that boys are raised into masculinity and come up with solutions to change that. However, I don’t think this is necessarily an either/or situation. Maybe men are innately more cruel than women, and their male supremacist socialisation merely exacerbates the problem. I’ve come across radical feminists who feel that men can’t or won’t change, and female separatism or matriarchy are the only viable solutions. The more I see and hear of men, the more I feel the same. The fact that a conservative anti-feminist man and a self-professed “feminist” man are equally likely to be abusers or rapists; the fact that the kindest, most loving, most compassionate, most pro-feminist women have vile, horrible sons; and the fact that boys who are barely out of their toddler years bully and harass their female peers tells me a lot about what a waste of time it is to “reeducate” boys and men. Is there something fundamentally wrong with the male brain? Is the Y chromosome like a defect? Does testosterone make you more aggressive? There isn’t, as far as I know, any scientific consensus on that last one because the studies on it are inconsistent. I know it’s not the popular radical feminist opinion but it’s a possibility worth considering, and I don’t think saying that men’s behaviour might not be 100% due to societal indoctrination is saying that biology is destiny, nor do I think it undermines the importance of socialisation. If you’re interested, there is a book called Delusions of Gender that discusses in depth the socialisation aspect of sex differences, and it’s very interesting and informative. The author is a lot more optimistic about men than I am, but it’s an excellent book and maybe it can help you find an answer to your question.


So this girl went into my DMs and wrote me this.
After she asked me if I hated white people because of their white skin.
I replied with this:

“If you read my blog, you would know I don’t. I’m against white supremacy, institutional racism, fascism, anti blackness, Islamophobia, xenophobia and the slavery that is the prison industrial complex, and white privilege that allows white people to get the benefits they do, while brown and black people are oppressed by these systems that keep them out. I’m also against white fragility which you’ve just displayed. I’m against the imperialistic and white supremacist culture that is white culture. I’m also against the continued colonization of black and brown lands. The caste systems that are based on white supremacy and colorism that white colonizers inflicted on black and brown cultures. I’m against generational stolen wealth that white people aka western white cultures have taken from black and brown people. I’m against the current homophobic, trans phobic and anti LGBTQ sentiments that are being spread through Africa and Asia, Mexica, Central America, South America, Australia, Pacific Islands, etc, by white Christian fundamentalists. I’m against the state and global sanctioned killings of black and brown people for the capitalistic gains of white culture and Arab culture. Also know as the slave trade market in Libya, that as we speak is selling black people for organ harvesting, that goes to…guess where? To the west. I’m against the sexual and labor trafficking of black and brown people because of White Supremacy and Capitalism.

I could care less about white skin. ”

And after I replied with this…she wrote me that bullshit scenario of who I would save, a black child or a white child. 😒

These “White Latinas” are getting on my damn nerves.

fatpinkhairedfeminist  asked:

hey, I just saw this in your ask "So I recently learned about the origins of intersectional feminism and why a non-black person claiming it is appropriative. " I had no idea.. i did a quick google search, but didn't come up with anything on appropriation. Do you have recommendations on articles/blogs/resources to read on this? If not I'll continue to google and see what I can come up with, but i want to be SURE I get the right resources from someone who knows.

Of course! This seems to be a hot topic right now, so I’m happy to provide you and anyone else with resources.

Tumblr user strugglingtobeheard wrote a piece about a year ago on how White women using the term “intersectional feminist” to describe themselves is appropriative. The general gist of it is that because the term “intersectionality” was coined by a Black woman seeking to discuss and analyze the intersection of oppression specific to Black women (gender+race), White women cannot use the term because they do not live at that intersection. Because White women cannot understand how it feels to be Black, they cannot do justice to the original intent of the word. 

Here’s an excerpt for those who cannot read the full post now:

intersectionality is meant as a bottom up approach, not a top down approach. those with power cannot be “intersectional”. you are also not living intersectional experiences. intersectionality was always about exposing the ways Black women are caught up in multiple systems of oppression, namely race, gender and class, but often many more. it is meant to help Black women understand their experiences in a white supremacist patriarchal culture like the U.S. or much of Western nations that have applied this model onto most cultures from the outside. 

Shortly after that post, theroguefeminist made a PSA about it, saying that White feminists shouldn’t use the term because they experience privilege and try to use the term as a shield from being called out, etc. 

Here’s a snippet from that post:

Some of us like to think if we call ourselves “intersectional” then we’re not like ~THOSE~ white feminists those ~non-intersectional~ white feminists, but that’s not true. We are white feminists–we have white female privilege. We benefit just as much from white supremacy as anyone else and we are just as able to be racist and exclude, talk over, invalidate or ignore woc.

Another blogger, timemachineyeah, was doing research on the topic (just like you), and drew from both theroguefeminist and strugglingtobeheard’s posts, and others. The post was answered by strugglingtobeheard, who made a very interesting point on white women wanting to call themselves intersectional feminists:

White women really are not hands on. they want to be saviors and they want to be named and praised for what they have said but not what they do. and i think the focus on the naming is really an extension of that reality. what do you do? for women? for women of color? how are you applying the knowledge that women have intersectional experiences to your application of feminism? is feminism just an identity or is it how you live and do things?

And finally, here is a post from gradientlair, commenting on how Black feminists’ work in the field is often erased, while the credit is given to someone else. 

An apt bit here:

Womanism. Intersectionality. Matrix of domination. Misogynoir. Four of the many concepts that are fought tooth and nail to not exist[…] Subject to the scrutiny of imperialist White supremacist capitalist patriarchy (this is bell hooks’ combined term) and how it shapes epistemology. Eventually once accepted, then they are disconnected from its originators often for the purpose of silencing other Black women. There’s people who use the terms and ideas to push their agenda (agendas that usually exclude Black women) yet none of the originators are anywhere on their sites. […] when they discuss modern issues in feminism, they refuse to name Black women currently doing the work. They gladly name any White woman they’re referring to.

As for my thoughts on it, I’m of the belief that because anti-blackness is pervasive in every group, only those who can call themselves Black should be able to lay claim to the term “intersectional feminist.” This way, the term will always bring to the forefront the origins of the word. Though I also believe that everyone should apply intersectional theory to how they analyze oppressive institutions in general. 

I know this is a lot to read, so for a quick TLDR;

If you’re white, don’t call yourself an intersectional feminist because-

  • you do not experience the type of oppression that the term was coined to discuss
  • it has been used by white feminists as a shield to avoid being held accountable for bigoted actions or words
  • some white feminists fixate on it as a way to separate themselves from other white feminists in order to seem less problematic without putting in actual intersectional work (again, avoiding accountability)
  • intersectionality is often used without proper credit being given to the creators of the concept (Black women)
  • claiming it as a white woman erases Black women and pushes away the issue of anti-blackness

Hope all of this helped! And fellow Black/intersectional feminists, if I got something wrong, please add a response or send an ask!

-Mod T

Hi—Susie the Moderator had asked if I wanted to submit something, and after a gap of many days, I have. If you have moved on and no longer need this, lemme know. I’m just proud that I stopped writing before I actually hit book length.

Stuff like this usually goes on my SemiticSemantics site, but I am also lodubimvloyaar as above.

Thanks for the opportunity!

Are Jews considered POC?

The short answer is, “Yes, no, and maybe.”

This is the long answer:

The terms ‘white’ and ‘people of color’ don’t work very well to describe many Jews, or many Jewish experiences. I’m going to try to explain why, and also to explain

The great majority of Jews are descended from an indigenous Middle Eastern people who, according to tradition, started from Iraq or Syria before settling in what is now Israel and Palestine. A global diaspora resulting from a series of invasions and population upheavals spread Jews across the map. We picked up some customs from the people we lived among, while preserving our own,and our own religion, legal code, and self-concept. We also picked up some genes along the way. Ashkenazim and Sephardim (these terms will be explained below) seem, according to modern genetics research, to be about 70% Middle Eastern, and 30% European. (I’m basically leaving Jews by choice out of this discussion, for several reasons, so I’m taking this moment to salute them and assure them that no disrespect is meant by this omission.)

The bulk of the diaspora can be split into three broad groups, distinguished by region, language, and minhag (a term referring to religious traditions). The Mizrahim, ‘the Easterners’, are the Jews of the Arabic-speaking world and their descendants, but the term is often also used for Persian Jews, and for Jews from West Asia and parts of the Caucasus. The Sephardim (from ‘Sefarad’, the Hebrew name for Spain) are the descendants of the medieval S*panish Jewish communities, expelled from Spain at the end of the fifteenth century, and Portugal during the sixteenth. And the Ashkenazim (from “Ashkenaz”, the Hebrew name for Germany) are the descendents of the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe.

These groups are somewhat fluidly defined and described, not least because Jewish history has been one of continuous upheaval, expulsion and migration. Ashkenazi communities settled in parts of Turkey and other areas within the Ottoman Empire, and Sephardim ended up in Ottoman lands, Holland and North Africa. Mizrahim moved to France. Everyone moved to Israel and the United States. Marriages between the groups happened for centuries, and are now super-common in Israel. (As a well-known pop example, Jerry Seinfeld—yes, that Jerry Seinfeld—has an Ashkenazi father and a Mizrahi mother.)

The cultural divisions above, in addition, do not include the entire Jewish people, by any means. The Ethiopian community, for example, is an example of a large group that falls into an entirely different category, since their diaspora began earlier, and their religious practice reflects an earlier form of Judaism than the ‘beginning of the common era’ model the rest of us walked away with.

However, and this is something that is rarely understood by gentiles, and vitally important to any understanding of Jews, despite all of these cultural divisions and variations, we have actively considered ourselves a single people—am Yisrael—for thousands of years.

So, given all of this, are Jews people of color?

Some groups are undeniably ‘visible’ people of color, such as the Ethiopians or the Chinese communities, and no one attempts to define them otherwise. Ditto, visible people of color who are Jews by choice, or people of mixed Jewish and gentile PoC heritage.

Outside of this narrow zone, however, definitions get tricky.

Many European (both Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews) have defined and do define themselves as white, since roughly the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the point at which the development of whiteness as a social construct intersected with the emancipation of the Jews of many European countries. Many of these hopeful dates, of course, reflected false promises. If whiteness was offered in many places in Europe in the 1800s, one might say it was revoked, emphatically, during a period of the 1900s. Nevertheless, this is the starting point of the idea that Jews could be ‘white people’ in any real sense.

I can’t emphasize enough that this access to whiteness was conditional on the borders and attitudes of gentile nations and cultures. The perception that Ashkenazim were always privileged for being white Jews is entirely false. This extended to some of the Mizrahi communities as well: for example, the wealthy Baghdadi merchant families

I also can’t emphasize enough that all of these groups have, throughout Jewish history, understood ourselves as one people, one am. Despite separations of distance, we shared a language, a religion, a legal code, and an understanding of ourselves as the descendants of common ancestors. I am not going to be romantic enough to insist that distance, cultural difference and gentile concepts of race never got in the way of this, but I find that it is very hard for most gentiles to accept how deeply it ran and runs, and how core the concept that all Jews are a single people has been and continues to be.

In the United States, my experience has been that most light-skinned Jews tend to identify themselves as white. It is how we are commonly perceived by strangers, at least in urban, ethnically diverse areas, and it is how we are defined (like Arabs) on government paperwork. It also reflects, in the last few generations, the degree of white privilege we are able to access. This is not a universal. Some Jews, identifying themselves primarily as people of Middle Eastern descent, or as people consistently targeted historically and in the present day by white supremacy, choose to define themselves outside of whiteness. It’s common for American Jews who feel this way to define themselves as ‘white-passing’ or ‘conditionally white-passing’. Many Mizrahim, regardless of skin color, describe themselves as people of color, because of their cultural and historical distance from what is usually defined as whiteness.

This is the United States. Europe is a different matter, and I would argue that, outside of, perhaps, Great Britain, it’s impossible to define European Jews as being white in a European context. I’m basing this on my own experience, and that of people I’ve been close to, as well as discussions with Jews living or raised in Europe. If a European Jew wants to weigh in with more detail about this, please, please do. In areas where the dominant Gentile cultures are not white, there are other issues, and the concept of white/PoC may be entirely irrelevant, or only relevant in the context of the country’s experience of colonialism.

My back went up when I saw the original question. For Jews in places where it’s a relevant question, whether we are white or not has often been a subject that gentiles feel free to pronounce upon, often with political objectives of their own in mind. Jewish oppression, both historical and modern, is often dismissed scornfully—if Jews are white, how can we possibly have been the victims of racial oppression, the reasoning goes. Non-Jews with little understanding of Jewish history and culture often weigh in as experts, announcing confidently that Ashkenazim are white and Sephardim and Mizrahim are PoC. Not only does this not reflect either historical or modern reality—and reveals that these weighers-in have met very few if any Jews who are not assimilated American Ashkenazim—but from a standpoint of Jewish social and political identity, it can be a direct attack on our self-definition and our concept of peoplehood.

Often, the results of outsiders imposing their ideas of whiteness or color on Jews results in the idea that Ashkenazim are white—and that therefore, their privilege outweighs their oppression as Jews—and that the ‘exotic’ Sephardim and Mizrahim are people of color. As such, the gentile ‘definer’ will agree that they can experience racism—from white people, and from white Jews—but the ‘definer’ will seldom bother to understand their experience of anti-Semitism, nor to understand that the source of this anti-Semitism was often other people who would be called people of color.

The result of all this is to drive an artificial wedge…one not based in Jewish thought…through the Jewish people, insisting that a sociological distinction based on the concepts of white-supremacist non-Jewish cultures defines Jews more accurately than our own cultural concepts, and is entitled to divide us from one another.

To the questioner: ask. Don’t try to put some thirteen million people who were, until recently, flung world-wide into such a small box. One Jew may tell you she is white, another that she is white-passing, and yet another that she is a woman of color. All three may look the same to you, or they may look different. Understand that even if they give different answers, they are tied to one another by thousands of years of history.

Edit: I just sent through a submission, then realized one sentence got truncated. The sentence is from toward the beginning and should read: “The terms ‘white’ and ‘people of color’ don’t work very well to describe many Jews, or many Jewish experiences. I’m going to try to explain why, and also to explain to some extent how Jews actually identify ourselves.”

anonymous asked:

so like i agree with you on the prince harry bit but like that snazsy (idk if the url is right) reply with the self care, they were just showing the ridiculous in the original statement. all racism is bad

i mean i dont wanna be too terribly bitchy to you bc it seems like ur coming from a good place, but the prevailing idea among sociologists and cultural anthropologists (who, btw, study this stuff for a living and have been around MUCH longer than tumblr has, so its not “tumblr sjw fake crap” or whatever) is that in white supremacist cultures (the entire “western world” does in fact fall into that category) it is not possible for white people to experience racism at the hands of people of color, because racism is defined as a set of social conditions that places institutional, legitimate power in the hands of one race above any other. so what that means is that white people cannot be the victims of racism in white supremacist societies (a category to which the US and the UK belong) because non-white people do not have the power over white people to discriminate against them on an institutional level. 

psychedelicperceptions replied to your post “Okay now onto the cultural appropriation thing. A lot of people…”

Let me shiw you how silly this is. What if a white person was offended by a black person straightening their hair? Grow up and find something more important to be worried about.

Well that white person would probably be laughed at because we white people don’t own straight hair? Many races/ethnicities have straight hair. Also there is no one big “white culture” to steal from. Instead people of color have to abide by our rules in order to be accepted. The reason black women often straighten their hair is because our white supremacist culture has both imposed that as a beauty standard AND black women are routinely denied jobs or even fired for wearing their hair in its natural state, and black girls are punished at school for the same. It’s not stealing, it’s survival.

I dunno I think that’s pretty messed up so I’m gonna go ahead and worry about it, thanks.

anonymous asked:

Look, I hate the Confederate flag as much as any northerner but you have to understand something. It isn't strictly a symbol of white supremacy. It means different things to different people. It makes me uncomfortable even in benevolent contexts but I'm not taking it away from people. It's not anywhere near the level of the swastika or the Apartheid South African flag.

You know I do live in the south and I totally understand your point and argument, in fact it was part of my hesitation to be so outspoken in that post. But I see a strong enough correlation between being a confederate supporter and white supremacist attitude/culture that it becomes near inseparable. I worked with a kid on a farm about the same age as me who wanted to join the KKK because he felt as if southern whites had been disenfranchised. I told him that I would be victim to them because of my mixed race, and he went through rhetoric as to why that wouldn’t be true and that I would be fine. We had a mirrored conversation about the confederate flag. It seems to me like plenty of southern people while not active or malicious in their racist culture are actually quite benign, quite cordial and interesting, they do not understand why others have the implications they do due to historical conflict. It is not a simple fact that the flag stands only for white supremacy. But to deny its connotation and direct support does a disservice to our fellow Americans and citizens of the world. We
Need to recognize that this flag has these connections by the people whom we would typically ascribe to said cause and banner.

I went to this workshop on white supremacy on mayday not knowing that it was a *white ally led event* and im white passing so I was like there with this group of white ppl (who all think I’m white obvs) who wanted to go thru these lists of things that were literally common and unrelated interpersonal issues that they said were all “traits of white supremacist culture” and idk the vibe was so weird???? Like all these yts patting themselves on the back for “self criticism” and “deconstructing white supremacy” when they’re literally an echo chamber of white voices saying that everything one does is related back to their bizarro ahistorical view of society.. ok Susan like you might need a sip of your herbal tea after this important work you’re doing

Why LGBT+ Muslims should reclaim ‘haraam’ and denounce Islamic supremacy once and for all

The term ‘haraam’ has now become a tool for cishet Muslims to justify their oppression towards their LGBT+ counterparts and invalidate the identity of such Muslims who do not conform to the traditional sense of Islam. Traditional Islam is best described as the patriarchal interpretation of the Qur’anic texts and of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad SAW. However, the concept of upholding a ‘traditional’ Islam collapses on itself when one acknowledges that our very existence in today’s society contradicts said traditionalism. We are no longer the Muslims who observed 5th century Arab culture as an integral part of Islam and neither do we share their mind set, simply because we no longer live in such an era.

Islam has since spread across the globe and progressed some 1400 years ahead of its revelation, causing a natural discourse to how Islam is practised in many countries and households. This by no means suggests that there are no true followers of Islam, but rather that Islam is relevant to all people regardless of time and takes into account the variety of cultural practices over the ages. This best represents the nature of Islam, which God decreed was inherent in all his creation: past, present and future (and in both Muslims and non-Muslims). Islam is an inclusive religion which acknowledges and accepts all groups of people within society.

In Islam, the acts of a human being are divided into 5 distinguishable permissions: that which is obligatory (fard), that which is recommended (sunnah), that which is permissible (mubah), that which is hated (makrooh) and lastly, the focus of this topic, that which is prohibited (haraam). The word ‘haraam’ is used in Islamic texts as a term of classifying prohibited deeds. However, not once in the Qur’an, a text which Muslims believe to be the absolute word of God, are a specific group of people ever referred to as ‘haraam’, and yet cishet Muslims have decided to adopt this term when referring to their LGBT+ counterparts in order to project a sexual and gender superiority. Muslim supremacists have perverted this term in an attempt to create a black and white rhetoric, where one can easily distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Muslims. Those who are deemed un-Islamic, in this case the LGBT+ community, are denounced for their sexual and gender preferences and often referred to as ‘haraam’ beings, a term which seeks to nullify their claim as a Muslim. However, this rhetoric contradicts the Islamic belief that all humans are inherently Muslim in nature, and suggests that LGBT+ Muslims are excluded from the benevolence of Allah.

Taking this into consideration, the prejudicial notion we hold within the Muslim community that certain actions dictate who can or cannot be considered a Muslim is in fact regressive to the very core of Islam. As mentioned above, Islam is an inclusive religion which seeks to empower marginalised groups from their oppression, not reiterate it. The term ‘haraam’ has been used by Muslim supremacists to imbed a culture of associating LGBT+ Muslims as disbelievers and has led to a harmful dissociation from society. This culture degrades the status of a LBGT+ Muslim to that of a ‘kafir’, another abused term which seeks to dehumanise non-Muslims, and gives Muslim supremacists justification for the crimes committed towards LGBT+ Muslims.

Calling someone ‘haraam’ can be literally translated as someone who is prohibited, which encourages the harmful notion that their very existence as a human being is invalid. At the same time, by declaring a creation of Allah as prohibited, this suggests that Allah created a mistake – an implication which stretches into the boundaries of blasphemy.

This serves to highlight the dangers of associating a negative term with a marginalised group, and how the concept of a ‘haraam person’ even goes against the very nature of Allah. Muslims need to correct their attitude towards members of the Muslim LGBT+ community and understand that their actions and words have detrimental consequences, such as the normalisation of a harmful and oppressive culture that preys upon marginalised groups. These Muslims must break free from the intolerance deeply rooted within their traditional and supremacist culture in order to empower marginalised Muslims by preventing the injustices done towards the Muslim LGBT+ community and dispelling the negative connotations associated with them.

Big Sister Is Watching You. Your camera phone is a weapon. Film your lurkers, film your attackers, film the police. Media = Evidence. 📹

Inspired by the gendered gaze of surveillance culture & arming ourselves with technology and camera phones (or a GoPro Gun) to combat some of the more oppressive aspects of the patriarchy/white supremacist hierarchy/rape culture.

Within white supremacist capitalist patriarchal cultures of domination children do not have rights. Feminist movement was the first movement for social justice in this society to call attention to the fact that ours is a culture that does not love children, that continues to see children as the property of parents to do with as they will. Adult violence against children is a norm in our society. Problematically, for the most part feminist thinkers have never wanted to call attention to the reality that women are often the primary culprits in everyday violence against children simply because they are the primary parental caregivers.
—  bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody
Inedible Roots: Our Cultures Are Not Commodities

By Esther Choi

Living in the First World*, we constantly hear about the glories of world travel. Travel is moralized as a good deed, an opportunity for spiritual transformation, or a test of the will. But in a world where global inequalities and borders dictate who gets to jetset around the globe and who must stay put, travel is largely the exclusive ability to consume in a world where others are selected to be consumed.

(*I will continue to use First World, Third World, Traveler, Backpacker, Native and Other to critique the imagined dichotomies that shape the culture of travel, not to say that these are accurate labels.)

Travel’s Imperialist Foundations

Colonization has always depended on controlling representations of the colonized Other, in order to deny their humanity and complexity, and both justify and facilitate their domination. That legacy is echoed in travel literature today, from guidebooks to blogs, which paint countries outside the West as primitive, exotic, and rich for exploitation, with their people, cultures, spiritualities, and natural habitats presented as products to consume or experiences to conquer.

While appearing neutral, travel literature is undeniably political, erasing global exploitation, shifting blame for historical injustices, and interpreting the world through white supremacist and Western-centric frameworks.

Contrary to the belief that travel makes one open-minded, travelers tend to approach cultural differences in ways that highlight their own sense of universality against the perceived deficiency of the Other. Poverty and chaos are seen as innate characteristics of the Third World, as proof of inferiority rather than evidence of exploitation. From their fleeting vacations in foreign lands, First World travelers believe themselves capable of evaluating and defining the Other’s complexities in ways they would find unthinkable with respect to themselves. While comments may range from sweeping generalizations about how uncivilized and strange the Natives are, to seemingly generous praise of how unmarred, beautiful, and peaceful they are, there is a shared subtext: that the observer has the ability to place the observed on a scale of human development, taking for granted their own position at the top of this scale.

And while the problems of the Third World are always seen as internally created, the solutions are expected to come from beyond. Those who feel guilty about the extreme inequalities that make their vacations possible can participate in a random assortment of volunteer opportunities–known as “voluntourism” or humanitarian travel–even though many of the charities and NGOs providing these opportunities are highly politicized, neoliberal organizations at the root of the problem. The voluntourism industry rests on the assumption that Third World people are so incapable of managing their lives that they can be saved by the natural ingenuity of any and every unskilled First World do-gooder. 

Travel vs. Tourism

Distinguishing themselves from mere tourists by their oversized packs, Lonely Planet guides, and hill-tribe treks, the “Backpacker” travels not just as what they do but who they are, and their identities–predominantly privileged and white–are developed in relation to the exotic cultures they try on.

In spite of its veneer of grassroots independence, backpacking has become a large industry and prevalent culture that claims not only the land and resources of a country, but the very lives and identities of the Other as commodities. Seeking out the bizarre, problematic, and dangerous aspects of the Third World, backpackers turn whole countries into amusement parks, freakshows, and wild photo ops. Backpacking’s relentless obsession with adventure also fetishizes an "authentic" experience of the Other, with the goal of ever more completely possessing the Other’s being. Third World people are forced to sell and perform bastardized versions of their cultures in order to survive, while the Western world appropriates, commodifies, and dessicates. The existence of the Other is reduced to a badge on the First World traveler’s display of cultured enlightenment and superiority, available for purchase at tourist markets in the form of cheap and stereotypical imitations.

Backpacking has also been instrumental in “discovering” new areas, as communities previously untouched by tourism are initially penetrated by the backpacking trail and quickly transformed to fit touristic needs.

When the Third World becomes the premier destination for “budget travel,” poverty itself is commodified. Travelers seek cheap places to stay, cheap transportation, cheap sex, cheap food, but the prices are considered “fair” only in a world where Third World people are considered innately inferior and deserving of poverty. Rather than challenging Third World exploitation, budget travelers have the chance to exploit directly, as part of the fun, violently haggling down to the last cent with Third World laborers, who are pushed below subsistence wages.

Waltzing through their fantasies of the exotic, First World travelers transition old imperialist doctrines into contemporary forms. They rarely look at themselves and see the ugly history and circumstances that make their travels systemically possible. The elements of our world that are unjust, pitiable, broken, backwards–all that is everywhere but with them.

The Other at Home

Travelers of color occupy a space between privilege and marginality, knowing the violence of exploiting difference while simultaneously wielding the power to do the same. Notwithstanding their complicities and contradictions, travelers of color share the experience of being Othered by the global reach of white supremacy, and their perspectives offer an important challenge to the white supremacist moorings of travel culture. 

Due to the structural inequalities that define the industry of travel, however, travelers of color confront the familiar experiences of exclusion and tokenization in an industry that justifies itself as a celebration of intercultural understanding.

About this Project

Inedible Roots seeks to challenge the exclusive and racist tendencies of travel culture by centering the perspectives of people of color, either as they experience tourism’s impact on their bodies, lands, and cultures or as they navigate their own travels.

It actively critiques seemingly independent or “humanitarian” forms of travel, such as volunteer trips, “backpacking,” and “eco-travel,” and the ways these forms of tourism exploit and commodify Third World Otherness.

Inedible Roots will share critical perspectives on travel–personal, journalistic, academic, and otherwise–and highlight activism around the world that challenges the neoliberal, racist structures on which tourism relies.

We welcome travel-related narratives, diatribes, artwork, and other forms of expression from people of color as well as resources related to the topics we discuss. Click Submit to find out how you can contribute.

Anon said:  Know what I hardly ever see? ‘Op is racist.’ 'Op is homophobe.’ 'Op is a white-supremicist.’ 'Op is a kinkster’ 'op fetishizes dd+lg/rape/asian women (or men)/violence’ 'op is anti-black’ and you know, a lot of those people get blindly reblogged.

The other day one of my fav feminist& aesthetic blogs pulled an 'op is a terf’ but regularly reblogs from someone who literally talks about how it’s ok to have fictional rape kink and has edited images (photos, not drawings) of marvel movie actors raping each other and it triggered the fuck out of me and I can’t stop seeing it in my mind. Maybe it’s because some of these actually dangerous/amoral OPs are genderists and therefore beyond reproach?


Isn’t it some twisted shit? A lot of it has to do with the normalization of homophobia, anti-blackness/racism, rape/sexual violence being highly sexualized in society, and continuous encouragement of female subjugation. 

Liberal feminism and queer activism are portrayed as progressive “movements” - only because they focus on the individual and not the dominate culture and social climates that influences the individual - so the focus on both movements is turning oppression into individual “empowerment” and “self-expression.”  It has stopped any kind of critical thinking and knowledge of what constitutes actual oppression, what behaviors and what speech encourages violence and subjugation even for and toward the individual, etc. No-brainer movements, complacent movements that allows racism, rape culture, female subjugation and homophobia to thrive.

We talk about how disturbed these guys are and how the women who support them need some god damn help and are brainwashed and this makes us a target because we’re exposing how sick their “activism” is. We’re criticizing everything they know and we’re interrupting the power trip these men are having.

Women and girls who see how horrible liberal feminism and queer activism is and how both are more outlets for male social and political control, and how detrimental these “movements” are to women. And yet so many women and girls are misguided into thinking they are doing right by accepting male abuse and encouraging them to dominate all other women - like the terf witch hunt. BUT we also have women who have internalized misogyny themselves and are racist who found an incredibly socially acceptable way to be self-hating maidens and get brownie points with the men they want to be associated with/who lead them and hold the same nasty ideologies.

I think another thing is, which I talked about before, that men are afraid of each other. They won’t call out nazis, or rapists, or pedophiles and abusers because they are afraid to confront other men. So instead, these cowards with some deep self-hate turn to women and dominate them and many of them inflict the same racism, sexual abuse and violence they see other men do to women, but use libfem’s “turn oppression into empowerment” to rationalize and legitimize their abuse and opt out of taking any responsibility. They are cowards. So we never see ‘op is a Nazi,’ ‘op is a rapist,’ because it directly puts them in confrontation with other men. 

Plus what do they get out of it? There is no incentive for calling out racists and rapists and abusers other than potentially being involved in conflicts. When you try to see it from a narcissistic, male-socialized perspective, you can see how they get more out of targeting other women, victimizing women instead to take all responsibility off their own, and dominating women’s movements. Because there won’t be much confrontation, truthfully..

The entire thing is a trainwreck of misdirected (intentional and unintentional) activism which is really yet another form of white supremacist, patriarchal cultural domination.

On cultural appropriation, cultural "engagement" and capitalism

When we think about capitalism and how it operates under white supremacy and patriarchy, we see it sometimes most vividly in motion when cultural appropriation occurs. Capitalism makes things into products to serve the appetite of the consumer, and operates as a tool of conquest as well- subduing and conquering all that which is deemed “consumable” in a given area (including resources and people -e.g. slaves- as well). White supremacy allows us to reduce an entire people to the level of commodities, and patriarchy operates to make this twice as biting for women, whose bodies then become an area of additional conquest under imperialist structures like the natural resources of that locale.

When cultural appropriation occurs, all of these three spheres of domination operate together in tandem. Cultural appropriation is an act of dominance and requires power. If you have power, aspects of your culture may be commodified but under white supremacy, it will not strip those aspects of your culture of context and meaning, and reduce your entire culture and people to said object.

Cultural appropriation is also an act of control which provides the illusion that one is “engaging” with a culture, when all you really are doing is engaging with one dimensional narratives about a culture mediated by the imperialist, white supremacist, patriarchal gaze. It is not an accident that the only forms of hip-hop (an incredibly rich and varied genre that has functioned as a space for artistic resistance against white supremacy and patriarchy) that find mainstream success are those which glorify a violent, over sexed, hyper masculine black maleness and demean and brutalize the black female body in particular. Certain narratives get elevated in the market as the “sellable” product and are used to reinforce and reinscribe systems of oppression, because that is “what sells.”

One cannot meaningfully engage with a culture when it is a commodity shaped by the imperialist, white supremacist, patriarchal gaze under capitalistic structures. Cultural engagement requires that we go much further than “consuming” a culture, and build communities founded in mutual understanding and respect. This requires an engagement with the actual people of a place and culture and not just “engaging” with them in commodified form.

Rather than forming bonds of meaningful engagement and respect, though, cultural appropriation permits the following:

A non-Korean kpop or k-drama stan who ostensibly engages constantly with aspects of Korean culture, but when they see a Korean person, they proceed to pillory them with questions about kpop or said dramas, since that is the totality of what “Koreanness” represents to them.

A non-desi suburban mom who goes to yoga class in the US and feels like they are engaging with “south Asian spirituality” while squatting and doing “up-dog” in an all white class with a white instructor.

A white suburban male who listens to Tupac, and all other number of famous or underground black hip-hop artists, wears hip-hop inspired clothing and posits themselves as an “expert” on hip-hop culture but shows the same racialized fear of black people when they encounter black men on the street.

Non-native people who dress up as native “savages” and “princesses” on Halloween but when pressed on the actual meanings of the symbols they are wearing and their relevancy to certain native traditions, draw a blank stare.
Cultural appropriation is all of these things and more, and, at the end of the day, is just a destructive function of control under imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy.


In these United States, we’ve used unspeakable systemic violence to create a supremacist culture that has and continues to rob black people of freedom. Here, we don’t need to speak the unspeakable. We see it every single day, all of us. But there are people who fight for power, which is to say agency, which is to say freedom. It takes art and passion and standing up next to each another. The tide-buckers and the oppressed have been for centuries fighting tirelessly for the dignity and equality of their own bodies, lives, loves. The political rhetoric in this fight has lately taken to social media, an outlet wholly democratic for other voices to be heard and social awareness to bloom. 

Forty years ago though, it took place in part on the covers of paperback books. The sale of these books — 99 cents in pharmacies and grocery lines across America — helped shape contemporary discourse and design. Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton’s Black Power can be examined as an example of one such publication.

The original design by Larry Ratzkin is unassuming yet profound: a white field, with the giant words “Black Power” centered in a thick, slab-serifed type. No images, no frills. The efficiency of the cover appears so natural that any other is hard to imagine; the design has come to embody the political moment in the late 1960s when Black people began uniting in their struggle for liberation. Other variations, iterations and representations of the movement and the paperback below, originally on view in the gallery annex at Ace Hotel New York. 

This selection was curated by the Interference Archive — a Gowanus, Brooklyn-based archive exploring the relationship between cultural production and social movements, and working to preserve the history of movements in an environment that allows marginalized communities to shape the way their own history is represented. 

I wrote a very long response to this that I thought I’d share. This was posted on my “#whitegirlsdoitbetter” video.

+justout75 What I find fascinating, truly fascinating about your comment is that you argue for the need for white pride, yet see the issue with black pride. Celebrate your culture, celebrate your heritage, celebrate the things that the people who came before you have set up that have enriched your life and contributed to the world. You have that right and I think you should never feel shame for who you are. What we’re discussing here is that we should also have the same right. We should also have the same ability to celebrate our rich and vast culture. Our heritage and the things we’ve done that have made us great.

“Once you go black” is not the same as “black is beautiful’. You see, you need to say that because you knew that these were not the same things. What i find interesting about people of your sort is you can never argue a point honestly. You must of course strawman arguments that somehow posture yourself as the most correct and the least inaccurate. You have to place words into my mouth because the words that come from them ring too truthful for you to accept and embrace. See, "Once you go black” is quite similar to “white girls do it better”. The difference, however, is that there is an entire system built that communicates to society at large that white girls do it better and that white girls are the best. White supremacy places white men above all and white women, even in cases where they are fighting against sexism and misogyny, still sit at a place of privilege and power because of white supremacy. As a white woman it is nearly impossible for you to understand and process these things. They are not your experiences and not having experienced these things, it’s easy for you to not understand them.

The reality of the situation is that white supremacy and imperialism is real and it has negatively impacted people all around the world. You may not be able to understand that, because again, how could you-you’re white-but trust me as someone who’s grown up with Eurocentrism, it very much exists. If a white woman says “white is wonderful”, am I offended? Not really. Enjoy and embrace your whiteness. That doesn’t bother me. What bothers me, however, is the fact that white women only really seem to ever make these statements to antagonize. White women, rather white people gather around the concept of “white pride” with the intent of maintaining white supremacy. It is not a genuine celebration of your culture or your complexion. It is a celebration of superiority and seeks to maintain it. I notice that you sorta snubbed the idea of “diversity”. A very popular position on the side of organized white supremacy is “Diversity is the codeword for anti-white”. This idea of being inclusive threatens white supremacy. This idea that people who are not white are great, do exist and do contribute to culture threatens white supremacy. So when white supremacists do snub their nose up at “diversity” it’s because they have a distinct distaste for people of other races. When i turn to another black woman and say “black is beautiful” it is done to help my sisters deprogram anti-blackness that would never exist without white supremacy that is reinforced every day.  In truth, the reason why white women and white supremacists only discuss white culture when they’re attempting to be antagonistic is because they do not live in a society that truly tells them that they are not valued, and they know this. Many white people are raised with this notion that they are unique and special and more so than anyone else. Like children, accepting that they are not the center of the universe is hard for them to accept so they lash out childishly, knowing that it’s irrational but doing so regardless.

Historically Black Colleges, Black Fraternities, Black Clubs and Black College funds exist explicitly because of the exclusion that black people have experienced in this society. See, the great issue that white people have discussing these issues is that culture tells them that they are superior and educated far more on all issues, yet they don’t understand that they were raised with a type of education that seeks to tell half truths about the reality of racism in this country. So their education is flawed and thus their view of racism as a structure is flawed.  Do you understand that segregation happened after slavery? Do you understand that segregation stated that black children could not go to white schools, that they could not have their own groups of fraternities,  they couldn’t have their own business and they certainly couldn’t have their own platforms for entertainment? All of these things you’ve mentioned are born from a time in history where we were forbidden from participating in these things. In other words, they would not exist had it not been for white supremacy and racism.  

I don’t know you and Im not familiar with you as a commenter or as a follower of mine, but if you truly believe that you have no racism within you then you are sorely mistaken. Because realistically white people are always welcomed at Historically Black colleges, black fraternities, and black clubs. Historically the black community has always been welcoming to white people, even to their detriment. and historically white men have enslaved, raped, ravaged and terrorized people of color. You may not like that history, but that is what it is.

So if for whatever reason you don’t want to read this very long response that I’ve taken the time to give you, let me summarize this for you: Be proud of who you are, love your skin, embrace your culture and your heritage-but don’t do so in the context of dragging people of color down and maintaining the structure that keeps these conversations going. As I always say, if you want these conversations to end, you have to honestly look at these issues and I would suggest starting with at 4th grade history book.

A Very Selective Outrage

Many people are saying that Charlie Hebdo was a left wing anti-racist, ‘anti-clerical’ publication that was an equal opportunities offender to all religions.

My sense right now is that it is better characterised as a self proclaimed 'radical’ or 'progressive’ European left publication that had not decolonised itself, was rampantly racist and biogted in its so called 'atheism’ and perpetuated a largely bourgeois, self-satisfied, egotistic, faux-intellectual, orientalist, white saviour mentality that made it, intended or otherwise, an enabler or apologist of imperialism even as it claimed to stand against the War on Terror economy etc

It went out of its way to continually provoke and antagonise a specific group of people in the name of defending freedom of speech all the whilst seemingly blithely unaware of how it was acting in the deepest hypocrisy and fueling Islamophobia in the process.

Furthermore, the media’s slavish hagiography of the slain staff fails to provide a wider context in which Islam has been consistently and systematically demonised all whilst European nations have been explicitly complicit in imperialist projects that have been directed at largely muslim countries.

When these projects are shown to cause the deaths of innocent people, whether at the hands of drone strikes or other fundamentalists (e.g. Pakistan) the West shrugs, barely apologises if at all, claims colateral damage, provides next to no compensation, and moves on.  Torture, rape, murder, extra-judicial assassination, bombings - do we really expect the families and relatives of the victims not to be radicalised by over a hundred years of prejudicial stereotyping (Reel Bad Arabs), divide and rule funding and arming of despotic ruling juntas, cliques, & sects as part of a geopolitical 'grand chess board strategy’, coup d'etats that unseat legitimately elected leaders, support for violent occupation of Palestine, and now twenty six years of almost continual war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Many Europeans have long been 'radicalised’ against Jews and Roma people and yet we’ve not even been under attack from these groups.  Their mere existence was seen as a threat.  Now Muslims have been added to the list.

And when some fight back and say enough is enough, we fall into collective amnesia, our 'analysis’ refuses to incorporate a wider political and historical context (for that would be regarded as apologising for terrorism’ and 'weakness’) and we wring our hands about freedom of speech and democracy - all the while as yet more innocent people are killed by drone strikes that miss their targets or simply don’t mind how many innocent people get killed for every suspected 'terrorist’.

We wage war and assume a moral superiority that says 'they deserve to die but we have the right to live in peace’. And then we are shocked when that war comes home.

It won’t take an end to bombing to stop this war and its vicious and horrible repercussions, it will take a collective re-examination of our colonial, racist, misogynist, white supremacist mentality and culture.  We need to decolonise our minds, our media, our schools, and our States, and stop manipulating and militarily coercing other countries for our own profit.  Then, maybe, we won’t create the backlash we find so intolerable.

The Charlie Hebdo staff were victims of prejudice and extremism, but those forces didn’t grow out of a vacuum.  They have specific, varied, and complex roots and unless we have an honest discussion about those roots, we can only expect this War Economy to produce nothing except body bags.