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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:23 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
Sunsilver wrote:

So, this begs the question: can a white person EVER get away with portraying a black person, without being accused of racism?


Can they? Almost certainly not. Should they? I think yes.


So, you're saying John Howard Griffin shouldn't have pretended to be a black man? :poke:

https://www.amazon.ca/Black-Like-John-Howard-Griffin/dp/0451234219/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1540747274&sr=8-1&keywords=black+like+me

BTW, just wanted to make it clear that the teacher who attended the party pretending to be the character Lafawnduh from Napoleon Dynamite didn't just do 'blackface'...she dyed all of her visible skin brown.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:40 am 
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I think the hair outrage is silly. Every culture has straightened, curled, shaved, waved, waxed, braided, and otherwise manipulated hair.

yovargas wrote:
Sunsilver wrote:

So, this begs the question: can a white person EVER get away with portraying a black person, without being accused of racism?


Can they? Almost certainly not. Should they? I think yes.


What is the solution? Could there possibly be one that most would find acceptable? I've been pondering. I love costuming and dressing up. Perhaps portraying a historical figure without changing the color of one's own skin? There are amazing people of all cultures and skin tones who are worthy of emulating. However, there are some persons, such as Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King, that would be less respectful without taking color of skin into account. It was part of their very real struggle and in the case of MLK, cost him his life. It would seem a disservice to portray him as anything other than black, but then I suppose I could understand why people may feel only a black person should represent MLK. That said, I know people who have one black parent and one white parent they appear to be white, while their sibling appears to be black. It is a conundrum.


What it boils down to (for me) is that I always have room to grow. To learn & understand from others. If I have been thoughtless or insensitive or ignorant, I would prefer to learn from a 'teaching moment' rather than a public lampooning. I think that would also be more effective and encourage understanding. Many people do not intend to be hurtful/disrespectful.

Sunsilver, that book (Black like me) had a huge impact on me.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:34 pm 
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When my son was in year 8, he chose Dr Martin Luther King Jr for an assignment on great historical figures who changed the world. The assignment included a presentation night to which parents were invited, and the kids had to present their research. Jaz dressed as MLK, in dark suit, white shirt, thin tie, and carefully groomed moustache and eyebrows (Jaz didn't have much in the way of eyebrows at the time, so eyebrow pencil came into play). He did NOT, of course, go 'blackface'.

His purpose in representing MLK was pure respect. He spoke passionately and articulately on the topic of black civil rights, the history of racism, and MLK's ground-breaking role in the ongoing fight for equal rights for all. I was proud of him.

Intent, context and respect are critical considerations in such decisions.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:16 pm 
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I absolutely agree that you can portray a significant figure in history or culture, a celebrity or icon. Just do it without changing your skin color. That is simply going to be a problem no matter the intent, unfortunately. But simply dressing up as someone from another culture or ethnicity is not the problem. But again, the intent does matter, even if some people will not care what your intent was.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:33 pm 
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According to the district school superintendent of Davenport, Iowa:
Quote:
The wearing of blackface is never appropriate in any circumstance by any person.


I am fairly sure that in this case, no disrespect was intended. It was a COSTUME party, and she was dressed as a TV show character It was also a private function that was not school-related. I definitely think she should not lose her job over this. Unfortunately, the school has already been accused of racism in its treatment of minority students, so they are really on the hot-seat due to this incident.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:57 pm 
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Impenitent wrote:
His purpose in representing MLK was pure respect. He spoke passionately and articulately on the topic of black civil rights, the history of racism, and MLK's ground-breaking role in the ongoing fight for equal rights for all. I was proud of him.

Intent, context and respect are critical considerations in such decisions.
:thumbsup:

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:25 pm 
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Inanna wrote:
But people who don’t know you, don’t know your intentions, either.

True. And that seems to be at the root of some of the media storms around the topic. I saw a series of Tumblr posts in which a white woman posted pictures of her white daughters wearing kimonos. These kimonos were gifts from exchange students she had hosted. They were given to the girls in the name of cultural exchange. Someone completely misinterpreted what was going on and went off on her about cultural appropriation. And I'm not sure what the solution to such events is.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:45 pm 
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We have had several Japanese exchange students and our daughter spent a summer in Japan. We have also have been given yukatas (informal kimono) and our daughter has a Furisode (a formal coming-of-age kimono) . We have discussed whether it is appropriate to wear them. They were given to us to be used. I think they would be hurt if we did not wish to share a celebration of their culture.

Darned if you do, darned if you don't. :(

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:00 pm 
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River wrote:
And I'm not sure what the solution to such events is.


Not assuming the worst in everyone all the time would be a nice start.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:12 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
River wrote:
And I'm not sure what the solution to such events is.


Not assuming the worst in everyone all the time would be a nice start.


:) Yes, and my husband has a Japanese happi coat. Don't worry, be happi. ;)

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:58 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
River wrote:
And I'm not sure what the solution to such events is.


Not assuming the worst in everyone all the time would be a nice start.


Unfortunately that presents a bit of a problem in that we (as a society) often only apply this courtesy to white people.

Not to drag the thread down, but black people are seen as larger, older, and more scary than they are - they've done tests where they ask people to guess ages and sizes and they over-estimate black men consistently. They're seen as intimidating just by existing. So the average person already assumes the worst of them.

Mexicans are "rapists and thieves", gang members, drug dealers. So many average people already assume the worst of them.

Immigrants are stealing our jobs, Native Americans are drunks, we have something negative to sling at everyone.

Oh, but some Nazi's are, of course, very fine people.

Let's face it - if the worst thing you have to worry about is someone misinterpreting your costume as racist, you have a freakin easy life.

Yes, someone may assume the worst. But that's because much of this impacts real people. It has real negative effects on some people's lives. Yes, sometimes the "social justice warrior" fires indiscriminately, sometimes they attack based only on the perceived whiteness of the person they are attacking, sometimes they assume something is racist that absolutely is not.

But it is part of being white that if that is the worst thing we face, that is not having it rough. That is not some unnavigable minefield of police who are more likely to shoot you, of store owners who are more likely to accuse you of theft, of random strangers calling the police on you for doing absolutely nothing.

So yes, don't always assume the worst of people - but it would sure be nice if we as a society could extend that courtesy to everyone and stop crying because we got called out for doing something that has real negative effects on others.

I agree that not all instances being called appropriation necessarily are. There are many cultures who love sharing, and love seeing others embrace their clothing or cuisine or other aspects. We should absolutely not try to insist that it is wrong when they are telling us they are okay with it! And we should not shame anyone who was personally brought into a culture and welcomed because we don't own any culture to decide who can and can't be part of it.

But there are some things - as we all are aware - that have very painful, hurtful historic connections to oppression that should not be ignored just because 'I'm appreciating it!' when they are telling you very clearly 'we don't feel appreciated!'

Just... my $2.50.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:45 am 
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More like $250.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:53 am 
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Primula Baggins wrote:
More like $250.


But for the low, low price of only $19.95.

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The dumbest thing I've ever bought
was a 2020 planner.

"Does anyone ever think about Denethor, the guy driven to madness by staying up late into the night alone in the dark staring at a flickering device he believed revealed unvarnished truth about the outside word, but which in fact showed mostly manipulated media created by a hostile power committed to portraying nothing but bad news framed in the worst possible way in order to sap hope, courage, and the will to go on? Seems like he's someone we should think about." - Dave_LF


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:10 am 
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:love:

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:56 am 
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That was a damn good post.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:41 am 
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:bow:

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:53 pm 
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Another 'blackface' incident. I like the reaction of the woman who is being criticized because of it:

Quote:
"How about write about people shooting up churches and schools. Pray for them.”


Yes, we have more important things to worry about these days than someone dressing up as Michael Jackson! Obviously, no disrespect was intended by the salon owner or her staff.

https://ca.yahoo.com/lifestyle/salon-ow ... 25954.html

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:43 am 
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Tomorrow in my "Film History, Part One" class, we are discussing The Jazz Singer, the ground-breaking 1927 sound film (part "talkie") showcasing Al Jolson as a Jewish kid who rebels against his destiny as cantor--and thus against his father, the current cantor--to become a "jazz singer" who performs (as Al Jolson did) in blackface (in very earnest, heartfelt blackface, by the way--incredibly disorienting to watch). Since we screened this film last Wednesday, what has happened in the world? Black grandparents were murdered in Kentucky by a white supremacist. Jewish grandparents were murdered in Pittsburgh by an antisemitic racist. And "blackface" suddenly became a big topic again! When I started preparing for discussion, I found myself overwhelmed. Everything this film touches on is still today very much part of the messy cultural tangle today in the US. Well, we will see how this class goes......

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:24 am 
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Best of luck with it, Teremia!

Sad, isn't it, that so little has changed... :'(

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:52 am 
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Its interesting to me that in America, when you refer to White people you mean American White people. There's plenty of negative stereotypes about the Irish, and we're mostly white. The problem is that there's an equivalence assumed, that all White people share the same background as American Whites. I come from a country that was oppressed and enslaved by our nearest neighbours for over 800 years. They were white, we were white, so it wasn't racism? Sure as all hell it was! But despite being the oppressed nation, we're told that because we're White, we're not the victims. And in addition to that, we're expected to treat Black people as if we had oppressed them, as if American history applies globally. Its disconcerting to say the least. We have our own baggage, why should we carry yours too?

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