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White Purity and ‘Woke’ Nationalism

Social justice obsession with a fundamentalist view of cultural appropriation is a white-knuckled grasp on the dying construct of Whiteness, insisting that symbols and people and cultures are closed, divinely-created systems, and that races and cultures should never be allowed mix.

From Rhyd Wildermuth

Three Tales of Red Laces

1.

The old woman hit my leg with her cane. Hard.

I was strolling through the Turkish market along the Landwehrkanal in Kreuzberg, Berlin a decade ago. My partner and I were holding hands, getting drunk on the smells and sounds of the market. It was summer, everything felt luscious, the mundane world I’d known so far from that moment that the rap on my leg felt almost unreal.

“Ich hoffe das ist nicht nur Quatsch.

I stopped, looked at her. She was old but energetic, flexible enough to bend down and grab my ankle with a strong grip. My German was almost good enough to understand what she’d said, but that didn’t make what she was doing seem any more sensible.

I turned to my boyfriend, panicked and helpless. “What’s going on and why is she grabbing me?”

He looked at me, looked at her, and then shrugged. “She wants to make sure your boot laces aren’t just nonsense.”

I looked at her again, sheepishly. “Nein…” I sputtered. Ich bin…Links.”

The old woman hit my leg with her cane again, releasing my ankle. “Gut,” she barked, smiled, and then told me to tie my boots better.

2.

A few years later, I was back in Berlin again, this time with a different partner. It was Friday night, and we were getting ready to go to a club called Laboratory. For the uninitiated, Laboratory (formerly “Laboratory Faustus”) is a massive club located in the basement of a former coal power plant. The rest of the building houses Berlin’s most famous techno club, Berghain, but…we weren’t going to dance.

Watching me get ready, with a wry smile our host asked me if I needed a different pair of boot laces.

Naive me, so new and innocent in the world (I was 30), shrugged. “Why? Red’s not okay?”

He and my boyfriend both laughed at me. “I did not know you like fisting, but okay.”

“Wait–” I sputtered. “Red laces mean you’re a leftist.”

“Ja, on the street. But not in a sex club,” my German friend answered. “But all I have are yellow, so tonight you will be a piss pig.”

3.

Last week in the bourgeois hipster enclave of Portland, Oregon, in the United States, “activists” recently became outraged at a Dr. Martens advertisement bearing hidden “racist” meanings. The advert in question features a pair of black boots with red&yellow plaid laces.  According to “local anti-hate group activists,” the image of the boots are racist because, as the Southern Poverty Law Center informs us, red laces signify that the person is a fascist who has ‘shed blood’ for whiteness.

It is probably quite fair to say that those activists (or the very small minority of fascists who might wear red laces) don’t have any gay male friends, and have never met a European leftist.

Symbol & Sign

The fact that a basic symbol such as red boot laces can mean multiple things seems rather obvious. In fact, the very nature of a symbol allows it to contain multiple meanings, and those meanings can sometimes operate differently to people simultaneously experiencing the same symbol. A swastika on the foot of the Buddha or in Hopi art likely won’t mean the same thing to a holocaust survivor, for instance.

This isn’t just true of symbols, but also of words. In fact, playing with the tendency of humans to forget that a word can have multiple meanings is the core mechanism of most humor, especially in puns and other forms of word play. So, too, in literature, especially in poetry. In poetry, the various shades of meaning (connotations) of a word are what allows the poet to say much in very little, while the ‘double entendre’ in literature and drama plays specifically off the varying meanings of words, as seen in this line from T. H White’s The Once And Future King:

Gawaine and Gareth took turns with the fat ass, one of them whacking it while the other rode bareback

Most of us tend to grip towards one meaning of a symbol to the exclusion of all others, especially if we have little or no experience with other contexts for it. So unless you’re gay or familiar with gay sex jargon, you might not know that ‘bareback’ means sex without a condom. If you have not read much older literature you might have forgotten that ‘ass’ was a common word for donkey.

Sometimes we have trouble accepting the multiple meanings of a word or symbol. And sometimes, some of us insist that the word or symbol only has one meaning. This insistence, that a symbol only has one “true” meaning, is one of the core mechanisms of Christian Fundamentalism in the United States. It started with the command that the words of the Bible must be taken literally, rather than opened to dangerous ‘liberal’ interpretation. So when the authors of Genesis (God Himself, supposedly) stated that the world was created in six days, that’s literally what happened.

So it’s then quite amusing that ‘literally’ does not just mean ‘literal,’ but it also now means ‘figurative.’ I had the opportunity to witness an angry exchange by actual (literal!) fascists about a dictionary’s inclusion of that opposite definition (those are called ‘contranyms,’ by the way). “Cultural Marxists are ruining English,” one said. “They want to make women and men into their opposites and do the same for words.”

I interjected with a handful of older contranyms they’d probably forgotten:

I hope we can all literally weather the attempts of cultural marxists to literally weather away the meaning of our words. They’re literally cleaving the meaning from the words, when we know they should literally cleave together. They’re using these tactics as a literal screen for their attempts to literally screen out any of us who know that words only have one meaning.

Unfortunately, this sort of fundamentalist thinking about words and symbols is not limited to Christians or the far right. In fact, it has become one of the core doctrines in a lot of liberal ‘social justice’ thought, and not just when it comes to red boot laces.

Cultural Property

To see this, let’s look at the term “cultural appropriation.” In its most common social justice usage, it’s come to mean theft (usually by white people) of indigenous, Black, or foreign spiritual or cultural forms. Having dreadlocks, native headdresses (like war bonnets), or calling yourself a shaman while also being white are all examples of its popular meaning, and in some cases eating ‘non-white’ food or becoming part of a ‘non-white’ religious tradition are also considered cultural appropriation.

The term cultural appropriation didn’t originally mean this, however, and only began to mean what it does now because of the explosion of internet social justice culture.

To uncover the original meaning, we need only to look at the word ‘appropriation.’ To appropriate something is literally to turn it into property somehow, and also to prevent others from using it. So, for example, when a government or a corporation takes common land or resources away from the public and makes it their own, they’ve appropriated it. Or when a museum takes indigenous cultural artifacts away from the people (including skeletons) and puts them in a museum, they’ve appropriated those cultural items.

Interestingly, when the term cultural appropriation was first used, it referred to something completely different: the way that poor and oppressed peoples took from the dominant culture in order to create vibrant subcultures. As Shuja Haidar explains:

It may come as some surprise on both sides of the battlefield, but the Left has not always understood “cultural appropriation” as a form of oppression. This connotation of the term has become ubiquitous in today’s social media-driven political climate. But when it first came into use, “cultural appropriation” denoted very nearly the opposite of its contemporary meaning.

The idea preceded the term, as a product of the Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham. For thinkers like Stuart Hall, cultural appropriation described the way subcultures were created… But the precedents ran deeper. Indian food in England, Negro spirituals in America, bathhouses in 19th-century France — these were all contexts in which members of what we might now call “marginalized groups” used elements of a dominant culture in altered forms, generating their own communities that could hide in plain sight.

Without understanding or even acknowledging the other meanings of cultural appropriation (and specifically the word appropriation), all the arguments about what is ‘appropriative’ become fundamentalist. Basically, a white person doing, saying, wearing, eating, or believing anything that could be said to have belonged to peoples and cultures who are not white is cultural appropriation.

This might be the dominant way of understanding cultural appropriation, but it isn’t the only way. The term itself contains the key to a larger concept, that of turning things into property. When a corporation sells native headdresses, dream catchers, or African-indigenous art, they have turned cultural and spiritual forms into products for profit. This is the very same thing the capitalists do to land and natural resources like water or trees. When a person tries to sell people spiritual teachings or services that aren’t actually sold by the cultures that came up with them, they’ve turned something available for free into something you must pay for.

Similarly, most people who use the term ‘cultural appropriation’ are likewise unfamiliar with the meaning of the word ‘appropriation’ outside of American social justice jargon. It’s a great shame, because just like the social justice activists who saw the Dr. Marten advertisement and screamed ‘racist,’ without knowing that appropriation has a much larger meaning they fall into fundamentalist thinking. They miss out on a crucial understanding of what the entire term meant when it was first employed, as well as lacking the knowledge to understand precisely what is happening in cultural appropriation.

When a cultural or spiritual form is appropriated, it is literally turned into property. A company that sells native head-dresses has turned a cultural tradition into a product that can be bought and sold. The war bonnet in its original cultural context was not something that was bought and sold–it was made for specific purposes, gifted by the community to someone. Appropriating it, then, is turning something that was never a product into a product to be sold for a capitalists’s benefit.

So when the term cultural appropriation is used to refer to people who are not of African descent who have dreadlocks, or people who are not of Indian descent who revere Hindu deities, the original meaning of cultural appropriation is completely lost. There is no property involved in those examples: no one actually owns gods or hairstyles, at least until the capitalists find a way to steal them and sell them back to us.

White Purity & Woke Nationalism

So why do social justice activists insist that white people shouldn’t adopt the cultural and spiritual forms of people who are not white?

In some cases, there is a more complicated injustice as play. Take the example of dreadlocks. In the United States, Blacks were (and often still are) severely oppressed for wearing them. So whites to wear them in a culture that calls Blacks who wear them ‘dirty’ is absolutely obnoxious, and can seem cruel (even if whites who wear them have never discriminated against Blacks with dreads).

This same obnoxious turn occurs elsewhere. For instance, in many cities and towns within the United States, laws were passed in the last century forbidding gardens and urban farming. These laws specifically targeted immigrants who raised their own food in their yards, and made it very difficult for them to survive. In many of those exact same places, it has been white middle-class people (particularly women) who have gotten those laws overturned so that they can have urban chicken coops and gardens of their own.

Some have called that second example cultural appropriation. Similar to this, some social justice activists have stated that white people shouldn’t eat collard greens because they are traditional African-American food (though they were actually introduced to them by the British, who got them from the Greeks). And here’s where we can start to understand what is really wrong with the social justice view of culture appropriation: it’s white separatism.

In a podcast with Alkistic Dimech and Peter Grey, Gordon White used the term “Woke Nationalism” to describe this particular kind of purity politics. “It’s the ‘nothing on the plate can touch’ idea” he said, adding that it was not much different from white nationalism.

He’s right. White Nationalists build their fascist ideology around notions of purity and separation. Whites and Blacks should never mix, never love each other (and definitely never have children together). Whites must be kept separated from other bloodlines and other cultures, must keep their culture distinct and pure. Whites must not do non-white things, adopt non-white customs or modes of dress or beliefs.

This is unfortunately the same logic of the social justice fundamentalist view of cultural appropriation. But while a White Nationalist claims that doing non-white things is tainting the race, the social justice activist claims that doing non-white things is theft. The end result is the same: a pure, untainted, culturally-distinct white race. White Nationalism and Woke Nationalism want the same thing, just for different reasons.

When they look to cultural forms and ethnic groups with a fundamentalist perspective, social justice activists repeat the same racism of white nationalists. Whites must only do ‘white’ things, whether that is the fascist desire to purify the white race or the liberal command to avoid ‘cultural appropriation.’ Social justice obsession with white purity becomes indeed a sort of ‘woke’ nationalism, a white-knuckled grasp on the dying construct of Whiteness, insisting that symbols and people and cultures are closed, divinely-created systems, and that races and cultures should never be allowed mix.

Both make the same two mistakes: there is no such thing as a white race, and cultures have never been pure.

Ending the White Race

Whiteness isn’t actually a tribal or cultural form (no one was “white” 500 years ago) and thus there is no such thing as ‘white ancestry.’ Caucasian isn’t a tribal or cultural term either–it was invented by a race theorist at the end of the 18th century.

Whiteness is a very recent idea, and comes from the complete erasure of ancestral and cultural histories. To be ‘white’ is to no longer have a cultural history; in order to become fully white, European immigrants (especially from places still not fully considered white in Europe, like Ireland, Poland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) needed to forsake their specific cultural and ethnic backgrounds. By doing so, they gained access to white skin-privilege in the United States and Canada and became assimilated into ‘whiteness.’ All their history, their beliefs, traditions, modes of dress and food and their languages were bleached out of them, but in return they gained a new settler-colonial identity which granted them a little more access to wealth and security.

We need to go a little farther here, though, because there is actually no such thing as ‘ancestrally-French’ or ‘ancestrally-German.’ Neither of those places actually existed three hundred years ago. Instead, one might have been ancestrally-Breton or ancestrally-Bavarian. Go back a little further and those ancestral connections existed on the level of village or countryside, not ethnic people-groups.

Even more fascinating, however, is that there were no pure or pristine cultures back then, either.

People moved, and moved a lot. They traded, they inter-married, their cultural and religious forms becoming mixed in precisely the way that terrifies both social justice activists and white nationalists. Vikings “culturally appropriated” by making clothing with Islamic verse on them. Celts “culturally appropriated” Egyptian and Greek deities in what is now London, 2000 years ago. Sephardic Jews and Moorish Muslims and Iberian pagans mixed their cultures and languages fluidly in Al Andalus. Semitic Phoenicians traded as far up to Cornwall, littering the Atlantic coasts of Europe with their artifacts.

Cultural exchange is not only an ancient thing, but it is unavoidable. When peoples come into contact with each other, they trade, they talk, they borrow, they teach and mimic each other. Likewise, racial purity is impossible–people have an odd tendency to want to sleep with each other, regardless of where they’re from.

That both social justice activists and white nationalists have trouble understanding this comes from the very same mechanism by which social justice activists saw red boot laces on an advertisement and screamed ‘racism.’  Both are certain that ‘whiteness’ means something, and both insist that whites cannot be anything else but what they’ve decided they are.

To get out of this mess isn’t easy, but it’s possible.

First, we must release our fundamentalist death grip on symbols and meaning, and especially our white-knuckled grasp on ‘whiteness.’ To do so, we’ll need to look at our past with a different perspective, rejecting the fundamentalist narratives of both white nationalism and ‘woke’ nationalism.

Because though whites have lost their ancestral connection, European spiritual and cultural forms didn’t just disappear because Americans forgot them. Here where I now live in Bretagne, spiritual and magical traditions still exist–there’s no need for anyone here to hire a plastic shaman or join an online witch course to learn about Ankou, the Korrigan, or any of the other spirits and gods of their land–they can just ask their grandparents. The same is true in many parts of Europe, especially in non-urban areas.

Reconnecting to cultural and ancestral traditions will require giving up something, though. Because whiteness is not just built upon the erasure of ethnic and cultural history, but also upon the lie that whites are enlightened, progressive, and ‘modern’ while all the rest of the world (now and in the past) was primitive, unenlightened, superstitious, and stupid.

Here, again, liberal social justice ideas actually get in the way of dismantling whiteness by painting the current regime of rights and technology as more enlightened than anything that existed before. Whiteness itself is founded upon this idea, the certainty that we know the true meaning of things. That the order of the world that came about with whiteness is the best one, that all other ways of being are wrong. In this way, even people who are not white but who hold on to this lie are making sure whiteness never ends.

And finally, we must talk about cultural appropriation in a way that actually fights those who are turning what belongs to everyone into property. The pharmaceutical companies and petty capitalists that patent ancient medicines, the universities that steal indigenous artifacts for ‘research,’ the media conglomerates who sell us fictive versions of our own history, all the plastic shamans and spiritual teachers who sell us knowledge that was once free, and anyone who would try to police our cultural, spiritual, and social expressions, be they white nationalists or ‘woke’ nationalists–they are the ones stealing meaning from the world.


Rhyd Wildermuth

Rhyd Wildermuth is a co-founder and the managing editor of Gods&Radicals. He’s a poet, writer, theorist, and nomad currently living in occupied Bretagne. Find his primary blog here, his Facebook here, or support him on Patreon here.


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18 Comments »

  1. “way that actually fights those who are turning what belongs to everyone into property.” … Rhyd this essay causes me to reflect on intellectual property as our novel form of enclosure of the commons. A patent claim is literally a written description of the intellectual space owned, the analogy to the description of a mining claim on a natural resource is intentional, while the copyright and trademark allows an while the copyright says an idea once created becomes a type land that can be rented and the right to its income sold. This is such a new concept.

    Is it possible that one who holds that ‘dreadlocks and collards are owned by “Black Culture”‘ has so internalized the world view that “Chemical X IS owned by Merck”, or “The image of Donald Duck IS owned by Disney” that their image of the other culture is also defined by such ownership, and that ‘Culture X’ must of necessity become a corporate entity? Thank you for your post.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I wrote a whole piece on using copyright and creative commons as the framework, and cultural appropriation as the topic. I did it because I am/was so entrenched in the enclosure of the societal constructions I was born into, that it helped me wiggle through, towards a new understanding. How to escape enclosure when I’ve been born into it? For me, using the inherited language and “rules”/enclosures of copyright and ownership helped me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “…playing with the tendency of humans to forget that a word can have multiple meanings is the core mechanism of most humor…”

    I think you’re on to something here. Another thing both social justice fundies and “woke” nationalists have in common: they are both humorless fucks.

    “…these were all contexts in which members of what we might now call “marginalized groups” used elements of a dominant culture in altered forms, generating their own communities that could hide in plain sight.”

    And this is why Christians celebrate Christmas. IO Saturnalia!

    Fantastic article, you’re much better at dissecting these phenomena than I.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Food for thought, but I think it’s important to keep power dynamics in mind. You mentioned in the article about dreadlocks:
    “Take the example of dreadlocks. In the United States, Blacks were (and often still are) severely oppressed for wearing them. So whites to wear them in a culture that calls Blacks who wear them ‘dirty’ is absolutely obnoxious, and can seem cruel (even if whites who wear them have never discriminated against Blacks with dreads).”

    I’d have to say that it’s more than just obnoxious and more so oppressive. It’s more than just obnoxious when a black man with dreadlocks get’s denied a job or is not allowed to wear dreads at his workplace especially considering the cultural significance to him. It has serious repercussions.

    I also agree about understanding the contexts of things,however, while looking through the lens’ of contexts through history and understanding them we must not deny the context of meaning in the present.

    So perhaps if it’s not “cultural appropriation” by the very definition of the term I would think it’s considered the continuation of colonization and the reason being is because the power dynamics are still put in place.

    I do find myself reflecting much on this article and am grateful for you writing it, it has given great food for thought. It is much more complicated and there are certainly no easy answers. When it comes to things like dreadlocks or white people wearing headdresses—it’s the legacy of colonization of people taking things without understanding the nuances and contexts and in turn causing repercussions to the races and cultures of origin. Personally, to me, however, while I understand this, I feel as though there are more pressing matters to attend to than arguing over symbols—I tend to feel that a rez without clean water or heat in the winter is a much more dire matter than a white person wearing dreadlocks. However, at the same time, symbols and language has power to shape reality, and that needs to be kept in mind also—this is why it’s important not only to understand historical contexts but also be mindful of the meaning in the present—and what the steps would be to take to transform and subvert that oppression and start healing.

    As above so below kind sir,

    Ravn Thor

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I have a white friend with waist-length dreads who has been deeply involved with the Reggae community in his city since he was in his teens, and he’s pushing 50 now. He has immersed himself in Jamaican culture and music for decades. He is a popular and respected DJ within that community, and married to a Black woman who loves his dreads and encouraged him to grow them. That is neither appropriative nor obnoxious. Yet some people judge him reflexively — either for the same reasons they judge Black people with dreads, or for cultural appropriation.

    Personally, I think the constant policing of cultural appropriation by people who are not even part of the culture they are so eager to “protect” and ignorant of many of the cultural nuances is insulting, and all too often reflects a white colonist “we know what’s best for you” mindset.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. 1980s Docs rock! There were so many of ’em bought, and stored away in closets, that you can find them all over in 2nd hand stores etc. But, any color laces in ’em, take those out and put standard black boot laces in. A friend of mine was admiring my Docs low quarters and I told him where I got them, but mentioned that when I bought them they had white laces on them. So I took those off right away and put black boot laces on them. Docs are great shoes/boots, and last forever with some decent care.

    This whole cultural purity thing is a pain in the ass. I grew up in Hawaii. The cultures mix there. I’ve had people here on the Mainland wonder why I like Asian foods. Uhhh, because I grew up eating them?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This piece by Rhyd Wildermuth is a very confused piece. It spends a good amount of text explaining that objects/words can have different meanings. Simple enough. It then presents us with a definition of cultural appropriation as it was understood prior to our contemporary era — ““marginalized groups” us[ing] elements of a dominant culture in altered forms.” The piece then goes on to say that this original definition is correct and the way that ‘social justice activists’ use it now is wrong.

    Either objects/words can have an evolving meaning or not. It is disingenuous to say they cannot change when it is convenient to your argument.

    The writer then goes onto to do a bit of “well actually” fingerwagging showing how things thought to be of non-white patrimony are actually of white provenance. Then the writer turns around and says trying to control who gets to eat/do/wear what is a form of ‘woke nationalism.’ It is vital to note that calls of ‘cultural appropriation’ are never made by the powerful, rather they are a recourse for self-identified groups who have a disproportionate lack of power in this society.

    The white writer assumes there is a free and open space where culture (and its objects) flow freely without any history (though they do point out a few examples where this space is not so free and open, but they quickly move on and leave this undeveloped). The writer points to a past in Europe where Vikings would have cultural exchange with with the Muslim world, Celts taking on Egyptian & Greek deities, etc. What the writer misses is the power dynamics in these exchanges so that they would indeed be exchanges. The crux of me, a Chicano, saying a white person making religious use of Jesús Malverde (a Mexican folklore hero turned ‘narco-saint’) is ‘cultural appropriation’ is not about saying ‘this is mine’; rather it is trying to say, have you not taken enough?

    The piece moves on to say that somehow so-called white people connecting with their pre-Christian, pre-Nation State roots would somehow destroy whiteness. Incorrect. This is a common error that assumes whiteness is a ‘culture.’ Whiteness is not a culture, it is racialized position within social relations. Only the wholesale destruction of this anti-Black, anti-Native patriarchal capitalist society could clear the base which created and reproduces whiteness and its power over this world.

    Equivocating those wanting to live in a freer world with white nationalists is not only silly, it is downright dangerous. I am often a critic of simplistic ‘social justice activism’ but this critique misses the mark by a longshot. What this piece speaks to, more than anything, is white fragility and how affronted white people can feel when they are not allowed to do or take x, y, or z thing: the desire to be the masters of the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Regarding the evolution of meaning: the dominant use of cultural appropriation in America has not erased the other-existing meanings of it. Just because Portland activists have decided red boot laces mean you’re a fascist doesn’t mean that European leftists or gay fist-pigs are now also fascist. All those meanings persist; I am teasing out the one currently buried by internet social discourse.

      To your point regarding my suggestion that whiteness is a culture, I’d encourage you to read the specific part of my essay where I say exactly the opposite:

      Whiteness isn’t actually a tribal or cultural form (no one was “white” 500 years ago) and thus there is no such thing as ‘white ancestry.’

      Which brings me to your accusation that I am stating collard greens were of white provenance. Whiteness didn’t exist as a concept when the Greeks cultivated Collards, and whiteness had only just been born in North America when people displaced from the British Isles smuggled in their seeds. Collard Greens aren’t white, or Black, or anything–they’re a plant.

      Like plants, culture and spirits and gods have this really bizarre habit of not caring about man-made boundaries such as borders or races. If Jesús Malverde is going to talk to someone outside of Mexico, than that’s his deal. You can maybe tell him to stay put, but he doesn’t seem the sort that would listen to moralistic commands that he not talk to outsiders.

      All this being said, absolutely North America suffers under the continued colonial occupation of a capitalism born in Europe. That same capitalism created whiteness, and my goal is to dismantle that intolerable delusion. That goal does not seem to square well with your accusation of “white fragility” and the other social justice buzzwords you employed. I’m not offended someone is telling whites they shouldn’t do things. Instead, I’m attempting to show them how the result of their framework actually demands that whites ‘stay white.’

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I hope you stretched before this reach. Adhering to the “original definitions” of words in order to silence the concerns of people who don’t want indigenous cultures erased by hipsters wearing native headdresses- whether or not they are “turning them into property”- makes no sense. Indigenous people were killed, imprisoned, beaten and so on for using items from their cultures and you are saying that white people should be able to do that because it’s somehow anti-racist? Then associating this with Nationalism and anti “race mixing” is fucking gross. You do realize you can hang out with, befriend, have relationships with, share food with, have parties with, etc people of other cultures and races without stealing their culture and furthering the legacy of genocide and oppression right?

    “When they look to cultural forms and ethnic groups with a fundamentalist perspective, social justice activists repeat the same racism of white nationalists. Whites must only do ‘white’ things, whether that is the fascist desire to purify the white race or the liberal command to avoid ‘cultural appropriation.’ Social justice obsession with white purity becomes indeed a sort of ‘woke’ nationalism, a white-knuckled grasp on the dying construct of Whiteness, insisting that symbols and people and cultures are closed, divinely-created systems, and that races and cultures should never be allowed mix.”

    ^Whoever wrote that needs to walk away from the computer, sit down with a book, preferable any written by radical indigenous or poc writers, and just shut up for a while because what the fuck? I knew a white guy wrote this long before I reached your face at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The erasure of the cultures in question did not and does not occurs because some callous hipsters wear an overpriced war bonnet at Coachella; they occurred because the people who bear that culture are slaughtered, impoverished, and push onto land alongside nuclear and mining waste.

      Focusing on the symbol of the culture rather than the material exploitation and destruction of the people who created it is at least a significant part of why white social justice activists are not only ineffectual, but do little else except police themselves.

      Like the white Portland activists obsessing over a bootlace in an advertisement rather than their own occupation of First Nations land– symbol fetishism does little more than scream “racist” without ever stopping the institutions and the rich who perpetuate racial oppression.

      Like

  8. No one says that eating food from other cultures is cultural appropriation. That’s right wing bullshit. Why is this site peddling right wing lies?

    Like

    • Russia paid us as part of a plot to keep Hillary from getting elected in 2020. 😜

      No, seriously. I have witnessed countless such arguments.

      But let’s be clear–it rarely comes from the people actually part of the culture supposedly being appropriated.

      Instead, it’s part of the Tumblrs-brand social justice absurdity where mostly white, mostly American people read an Everyday Feminism listicle and then proceed to police other whites on behaviors very few off-line activists (let alone the people they are claiming to speak on behalf of) even take seriously.

      Pretending like it doesn’t happen serves no one except for the right-wing who glorifies in the absurdities of social justice excesses.

      And we grant them the ability to claim the voice of reason (and truth) when we deny it occurs and refuse to confront these behaviors within our “communities.”

      Like

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