Xeni Jardin at 11:44 am Tue, Nov 6, 2012
ADVERTISE AT BOING BOING!
I hope Polynesian Pop is still OK. I have a small fortune in tiki mugs.
In before breathless white folk who wish to explain away racism and exotification.
Are you entirely sure?
In before: Notre Dame, ‘everything is appropriated’, ‘they probably have better things to worry about’, ‘quit looking for offense’, ‘PC gone mad!’, “I know a Native American who doesn’t care’, and ‘what’s wrong with white people playing pretend Indian?”
I think No Doubt may have sold out.
They haven’t sold out anyplace around me in a loooooooooong time.
Ba-Dum-Tsss … Thanks everyone, good-night!
“The bottom line is that cultural appropriation is never OK.” Disagree.
[On further reflection it is kind of stunning to me that this sentiment could be uncritically endorsed on this site. To the extent Boing Boing has a governing ethic, it might be that sometimes appropriation is OK (remixing, fanfic, etc.) and sometimes it's not OK (straight up copying for profit without permission), and drawing the distinction requires serious thought. In this case, if there is something about this No Doubt video which is qualitatively different from Madonna's "Like A Prayer" video, which "remixes" Catholic religious imagery for erotic effect, it's unclear to me what that difference is. The video may be inappropriate, but the reason can't be that Gwen Stefani is never ever allowed to wear Native American garb.]
Seriously. What’s next, shall we stand up against miscegenation? I can’t be bothered to watch the video…maybe it is racially insensitive! But if it is, it’s not because someone wore an outfit they aren’t allowed to wear because of their race.
Cultural appropriation by committee is never okay.
Well, Catholicism is a popular and powerful religion, whereas Native Americans are an ethnic group that haven’t been treated so well for a few centuries. But I agree with your underlying point: “cultural appropriation is never okay” is a big oversimplification.
EDIT: Charleyboy herself seems to get that. For example, the way she uses phrases such as “…tricky and difficult terrain to tread…” and “…be sure to present accurate and respectful representations…” doesn’t seem compatible with the absolutism suggested by her “never okay” statement. I think she must have a narrow and non-obvious definition of “cultural appropriation”.
If anyone wants to actually watch the video, here’s a link: http://en.musicplayon.com/play?v=775232
Sorry to be typical white dude, but I don’t see what the big deal is. Punk boots, wallet chains, guitars, all different races, I don’t think this videos is supposed to be an accurate representation of Native American struggles so much as a pastiche of different western tropes.
And I just used “pastiche” and “trope” in the same sentence so I feel pretty accomplished for the day.
That song sucks.
Sorry to be typical white dude, but I don’t see what the big deal
Yeah I got it, thanks.
No Doubt pulled the video yesterday and apologized. http://jezebel.com/5957684/no-doubt-does-in-fact-exhibit-doubt-about-offensive-native-american+themed-music-video
Folks, you can be a remix culture hawk with no respect at all for Native “no appropriation” demands, and still hate No Doubt’s “Custer’s Revenge HD” video for its dumb-as-shit racist tropes.
in other news… no doubt pisses off everyone with ears with worthless ‘music’
UCLA Indian Studies Director Angela Riley Open Letter to No Doubt
Excerpt from PDF letter at the link:
The music video demonstrates the height of cultural misappropriation and a complete indifference towards and ignorance about contemporary Indian people. The video at once employs Native imagery and symbols, many of which still hold deep spiritual and ceremonial significance for Native Americans –including feathers, tipis, and fire – while at the same time situating such imagery in a (largely inaccurate) set of depictions of Indians at the turn of the century as primitive peoples fighting cowboys (and losing) in the Wild West. In this sense, the video diminishes Native people and Native cultures while, simultaneously, co-opting Indians and indigeneity for exploitative gain. In essence, it represents the grossest kind of cultural misappropriation.
Most importantly, however, the video is rife with imagery that glorifies aggression against Indian people, and, most disturbingly, denigrates and objectifies Native women through scenes of sexualized violence.
Much like the 19th century paintings advancing the ethos of manifest destiny1 – the belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent, bringing civilization and light to a primitive people – the video draws on familiar tropes of the conquest of the continent and, concomitantly, the ravage of the Native female. As lead singer Gwen Stefani writhes, partially dressed (as an Indian) and shackled in ropes while overseen by domineering white men brandishing pistols, today real Native American women in the United States are in a state of crisis.
I’ve been shocked to see headdresses popping up in fashion shoots lately, and been baffled as to how the people involved in the shoots don’t understand how insensitive it is. That and the Manifest Destiny t-shirt dust-up with The Gap recently makes me wonder what the hell is happening that there are so many involved in these things who are so ignorant as to the racism happening around them.
Whoa this IS news… I had no idea they were still a band
I’m still pissed that the Cleveland Indians and Washington Redskins continue to exist.
Don’t forget the Braves! I almost had a stroke watching the sudden death game between the Cardinals and the Braves. The Tomahawk Chop just needs to stop.
Right? Insane. Can you imagine a team called The Yellowskins? Not to mention the incredibly racist mascot of the Indians. Imagine if there were a team called the Cleveland Negroes and their mascot was a pickaninny.
Hey, anybody ever notice this big fucking elephant in the room before?
And the Fighting Irish. Any offense there?
Yes, it is offensive. However, the Irish were not almost entirely wiped out in the cause of America’s Manifest Destiny. Do you have a point?
Oh no. Are we really going down the “who was discriminated against” road?
Maybe the Fighting Irish is unique in that it seems to have been adopted by Irish-Americans themselves for a school they were heavily represented it. If Native American University called themselves the Native American Fighting Native Americans it might be similar. It’s not like the Redskins at all.
No, we’re not. At all. And yes, you’re correct in that it’s not the same. (although there are Irish people that find it offensive.) And my point still stands.
Right, but only because the English beat us to em…
That argument always seemed strange to me. Is it implying that because Irish people are not offended that other races should not be?
And why are we assuming that the Irish logo isn’t offensive to actual Irish people? Did someone go to Dublin and ask people on the street if they were offended by it? Honestly the image of the belligerent Irishman, shillelagh in hand, is not exactly complimentary, and was employed as justification for English oppression.
Every single fallacy I mentioned….wow.
I’m sorry but I see things like this as being a bit silly. There’s a simple reaction one needs to take, stop supporting an artist you don’t like.
If you feel they’re offensive, or they do something you don’t like, stop giving them money. I stopped going to movie theaters for three years because I felt movies were getting crappy. Later I’d see said movies after they’d been in theaters, they were in fact, bad. I’m glad I didn’t pay the premium of a theater to see them. When movies started getting better, I started having a reason to go to theaters again. If you don’t like a musician, don’t support them. Tell others to not support them for the same reason, but don’t out-right try to tell them “censor yourself” because at that point, I’d rather people KNOW what they did was jacked up, I’d rather they deal with what they did rather than simply remove it. =/
For the record, I’m not a Native American, and I’m pissed off, too.
Was it Gwen that hired two asian women to follower her around, or was that Madonna? I can’t remember.
Gwen! She also has the “Harajuku” line at Target. This is not an isolated incident.
Does this mean I can’t dress Gangnam Style as a non-Korean?
I wonder if bands with Mohawks from the punk era would have been able to exist today with such over-sensitivity. Would we even have had Bow Wow Wow? Would Adam and the Ants have been able to sing about being Kings of the Wild Frontier?
“the video is rife with imagery that glorifies aggression against Indian people” – except that the heroes are the band members, and the band members are portraying the Indian people, so it isn’t… Oh why bother to explain it. No Doubt should have stuck to their guns and kept the video in circulation. There will always be someone complaining somewhere about something.
I wonder if bands with Mohawks from the punk era would have been able to exist today with such over-sensitivity. Would we even have had Bow Wow Wow? Would Adam and the Ants have been able to sing about being Kings of the Wild Frontier?
No, those bands would not even be allowed to EXIST. Give me a break….
Never mind that Adam and the Ants were mostly trying to look like dandy English highwaymen…
“Beneath the white is a red-skin suffering, from centuries of taming,” Adam and the Ants, Kings of the Wild Frontier.
I’m an Adam Ant fan and a dressing-up apologist, and even I find that line troubling.
There’s probably no way Iron Maiden’s video for Run to the Hills would get made today.
The real question is why would you make a video like that *today*…
Here’s a handy idea for No Doubt: If you make a video, and you intend to “include and honor” a culture, but the reaction of that culture is lots and lots of outrage, FIX IT BEFORE YOU RELEASE IT. (This would be “including” the people in the process, and “honoring” their outrage.)
Here’s another handy idea, for the people in this comment thread: If you’re not part of the culture that is offended, TRY TO LEARN WHY IT OFFENDS. It might come in handy some day, if you, say, meet an attractive member of said culture and wish to be friends.
Xeni Kate Beaton recently posted some videos of people doing Native American hoop dances in music videos. They were awesome!
This video is ass. Cher was less offensive. It is, like almost all music videos, a fashion commercial selling the No Doubt brand, by putting the lead singer into a stereotypical “Cowboys and Indians” plot to emphasize her attractive body and her “punk” spirit, which are the tentpoles of the No Doubt brand.
I thought Xeni blogged these yesterday (EDIT: It was Kate Beaton), but, here’s the links of some GOOD ways to “honor and include” Native American dancing:
Now I make a self-effacing joke about old white male programmers being unable to tell female bloggers apart. Haw haw haw! (Note Jack Chick reference — that makes it cooler!)
“The bottom line is that cultural appropriation is never OK.”
This is a preposterously limiting notion. Just about everything interesting in art or music for the last 2000 years has come about because one culture took on something they found interesting from someone else and did something new with it.
The Angela Riley letter seems a load of academic babble.
She says the video is “Much like the 19th century paintings…” without identifying any that bear a resemblance and have the same themes. This is typical academic vagueness used to hide poorly supported thesis.
“the video draws on familiar tropes of the conquest of the continent and, concomitantly, the ravage of the Native female.”
I think she’s got that backward. THE TROPE was Native Americans ravaging white females. That’s what all the scare stuff was about. I grew up in the age of TV westerns and I can’t recall that Native American women getting ravaged was a common theme.
She actually regards the presence of *fire* in the video as impermissible.
“depictions of Indians at the turn of the century as primitive peoples fighting cowboys (and losing)”
I grew up in the age of TV westerns and I can’t recall that Native American women getting ravaged was a common theme.
Haha, there are any number of famous movies and stories having Native American women falling for hunky white heroes….which is itself a similar trope for stories involving white men and Asian women and so on…from Pocahontas, John Smith, Sacagawea and on and on “Don’t kill him papa, I love him!”……
But yeah, I presume white directors weren’t keen on showing Native American women being raped by whites. As you’ll notice in her letter, in real life that is how it’s likely to go down.
Every fallacy I mentioned earlier has been touched on…
Yeah, being influenced by Mexican Mariachi music (for example) just isn’t quite the same as putting on the outfits and acting like a childish buffoon playing dress up…….
If you can’t see the difference between cultural exchange and being buffoonish than god bless your bliss I guess…
Saying that something is never OK seems a little bit absolutist.
Only a Sith deals in absolutes.
So, which is more offensive, this video, or T-ara’s “Ya Ya Ya”?
It’s obviously supposed to be portraying the humanity of native-Americans and, the psychotic nature of white people, in a spaghetti western motif.
I find the the lack of context in videos for no doubt pop-songs offensive. I didn’t find it particularly mocking.
war is war. There isn’t a nice black and white stance to sit in judgment on. It’s not as if all native-American tribes were peaceful. It’s not as if the peace we reached was just. As I said it’s not a black and white issue and, it’s reference isn’t offensive in that it exists. Insensitive- sure. If over 100 years is too short a time period to explore a bygone era, we shouldn’t keep pumping out ww2 movies- that’s exploitative. Nobody says a damn thing about it.
If the argument is about the continuing native-American struggle, certainly the video references it’s historical basis and, there are better efforts to be put into that modern cause, other than complaining that a music video is insensitive. Really I think people don’t like to be reminded that they don’t get involved in the modern struggles and, this outlet let’s them to continue a false sense of superiority.
we shouldn’t keep pumping out ww2 movies- that’s exploitative
What’s happening here is more akin to a (non-Jewish) German woman making a video bumpin’ and grindin’ in a “sexy” Jewish shtetl…..
Here’s the thing that people seem to not understand. If you are not part of the culture that being appropriated, then you don’t get to say whether or not it’s offensive. If Native groups are telling you it’s offensive to them, why don’t you just FUCKING BELIEVE THEM. (If you want to respond with ” . . . but I know this Native American person and they don’t think it’s offensive, blah, blah,” – stop.)
This video was poorly done and in poor taste. However, the cultural veto you are willing to give “groups” is essentially unworkable. I don’t need a Native person to tell me this video is in bad taste, but I will not believe it is in bad taste because a professor and an activist tell me it is.
Funny considering how historically thin skinned you are about Catholicism, which is purely a choice of religion and not a race…..
Little Native American girls that watch this are still Native American girls when Stefani finishes goofing, and grinding and tosses away the costumes.
And as a non-Native person, your take on what’s offensive to Native Americans is what matters. Not an actual Native American’s.
“The bottom line is that cultural appropriation is never okay”.
Like rap music, chess, firearms, numbers, metaphors, even law… it all came from somewhere else, people digested it, appropriated it, and used it differently. That’s the definition of culture, no?
Cultural appropriation is a part of life. And also, people whose culture is being appropriated have EVERY RIGHT to complain.
What’s so hard to understand about that for people?
Could be worse I suppose: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQqs-Cno5Bc
I dunno, to me it felt like a light pastiche/pantomime of cultural representations rather than any kind of reality – it’s reference point was clearly movies and not reality. It also seemed to follow more or less a modern, revisionist western iconography, where the whites are the villains ( the Lone Ranger looks particularly nefarious) and the Indians are the heroes (well, they are the band.) I dunno, if somebody made a music video of Muhammad humping a goat people would defend it as an inalienable expression of free speech.
I think that gives it too much credit. It’s basically a dumb fashion shoot as video, with currently “hot” Native American garb and sex used to try to sell their brand as an otherwise horrible band.
Whatever. No Doubt has been pissing me off for years.
After all of the fighting over the appropriateness of the Washington Redskins name, someone actually bothered to ask Native Americans how they felt. 90% were fine with the name, 9% felt it was offensive. source: http://www.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org/NewsDetails.aspx?myId=89
This is one person’s opinion on the ‘No Doubt’ video. Maybe it would be a good idea to get the opinion of more than one Native American and for the rest of us not try to speak on their behalf… they’re quite capable of doing that themselves.
So if 9 out of 10 people aren’t offended by something then the one offended person’s opinion isn’t important?
Try wearing an actual Nazi uniform or blackface to see how well your theory is received .
I totes agree. When you genocide a bunch of cultures you totally get to wear their gear. It’s only fair. Speaking of Nazis, I wonder why there aren’t more people dressing up like Jewish people? It’s totally the perk of a legacy of brutal oppression to get to take the cool swag and wear it! Who cares what it means to those savages, and anyway when’s the last time you saw any actual natives on TV? I mean, no one wants to see THEM!
disinterested hipster flapping gums = not OK
Uh, dressing up like comic book characters is not the same thing as trying to dress up as a “Japanese person”. Or trying to dress up like a hyper-sexualized stereotype of a Japanese woman at that, which is what Stefani is engaging in here. This is frowned upon too, and for good reason.
So get over yourself entitled crybaby. You can’t take everything in this world with complete impunity.
Not that I doubted you, but I repeated the exercise. That is totally her, and totally comes up on the google.
So, yeah. I guess she’s exploiting her own stereotype or something? Sheesh.
What really burns me is seeing Japanese people shamelessly wearing western-style clothes instead of their traditional native dress. STOP APPROPRIATING MY CULTURE, DAMMIT!!!
Pretty damn despicable to compare racist, white power ideas to Native Americans not wanting to be shit on. Congrats on that…
I don’t think Gwen Stefani was around when people were shooting native americans for sport.
It’s not enough that we took your population in this country from 100% to about 1%. We’re entitled to mock your culture and your identity too!!!! Hand it over! We deserve everything!
Umm, pretty sure a native woman wearing native clothing and photographed in a sex-positive but not exploitative pose isn’t really the same thing as a white woman dressing like a native stereotype and photographed in sexually exploitative poses.
But yeah! Grar! Hypocrisy! Right?
Is she “dressed up as”? Or is she in reality a sexy Native American woman?
LoL, that picked up in earnest in the late 40’s and continues apace.
Can’t imagine why that happened.
Thing is that it’s now called global fashion and the western markets are as influenced by Japanese, Chinese, Korean & Taiwanese fashion trends as they are from any other direction.
western-style clothes is a rubbish bin term now.
That makes no kind of sense at all. Even as a dumb joke.
I imagine she’s alluding to its context in the video….but yeah, I’m glad you could find one thing to nitpick about…
NOW it’s global style, but it did originate in the west. Asian designers are becoming more prominent, but as of now, it’s still been variations on a (western) theme. Suits, skirts, blouses, western-cut gowns.
Can’t imagine why that happened.
Funny how him and his ‘likers’ would never even think about how that may have occurred..
Of course it’s just a completely stupid and dishonest comparison anyway. “Western style clothes”….uh yeah man…
It’s not guilt. We are still a part of a culture that discriminates against Natives. Yep. All of us. You don’t need to feel anything one way or another about it, but it’s a fact. Hooray! Lucky you! It’s one thing you’ll never have to face! Wheeee!
Of course not. You’re obviously entitled to not have to consider how this is offensive. That’s their problem…
I love that “PC guilt” phrase. I love it because I can acknowledge the lived experiences of others without feeling any guilt whatsoever. Given that, when I’m accused of this “PC guilt” nonsense I know exactly who the person who actually feels guilty is — the person making the accusation.
Do you really not understand that doesn’t matter if you or your ancestors were directly involved in the genocide of Native peoples? The fact is, (I assume) you’re American. You, or your ancestors, moved to this country to improve their lot in life. Presumably that happened, and you are now enjoying the sweet, awesome American lifestyle. A lifestyle that could never have happened had early Americans not driven Native people off of the land that their people had occupied for thousands of years and in many cases, killed them outright for it. Hence, a nation was born, and you are directly benefiting from it’s existence. No one is asking to feel guilty, but simply to acknowledge the ugly facts of history, that you in some way benefited from that history, and that maybe, MAYBE it might behoove you to be a little fucking sensitive when a group of people who got so totally fucked over from racial and culture standpoint tells you that something someone else, who also benefited from that history, is doing, is offensive to them.
Context is usually the first thing out the window in discussions like this.
One thing? Find something in that statement that is true. She’d even have us believe that it is “largely inaccurate” that the Indians were “losing”.
Sex positivity is the idea that someone can be a feminist, against sexual assault and rape, against sexual exploitation, etc. and yet still be a sexual person, express their sexuality, be in support of pornography and sex work (under the assumption of full consent, obviously). In other words, it’s completely possible to pose for sexy photographs while still opposing sexual exploitation. A lot of anti-feminists do exactly what you’re doing and take any expression of a woman’s sexuality as “hypocrisy” if she dares to subsequently speak out about sexism. The idea seems to be that women are only allowed to be feminists if they have their breasts removed, cut off all their hair, and wear burlap sacks the rest of their lives.
As a native who is obviously engaged in the native community she’s really in a better position to decide whether what she’s wearing is advancing a stereotype or expressing her cultural heritage than you are.
I think her argument is flawed but you and kartwaffles read like any number of people who try to shut down conversations about race and gender by accusing the speaker of hypocrisy when it’s not really warranted.
Why in the world does that matter?
Sorry, I’m responsible for my own behavior, not that of bigots or some amorphous “culture.”
And as an out queer American I certainly do face my share of discrimination. But I place the blame for that squarely where it belongs — on those who perpetrate it.
yeah, Judas, just by being “other” you’re absolved of all responsibility for the culture you are no part of. Not your problem if you’re so marginalized. Must be a pretty cushy margin though, you seem pretty comfortable and maybe a little smug about it.
Judas as an out queer American it does you no service to disavow institutional or systemic oppressions, does it?
I don’t think so.
And that every person who complains of “PC this or that” is the very first to whine like a baby when somebody insults their heritage, class, religion, or whatever…
A policeman is not a race or culture….in fact all kinds of people are police…
Maybe you should just call it a day…
As wsinwyg says: She IS a sexy Native American woman! (and boy is she…)
Nice derail attempt though…
You can read the letter from UCLA below if you want a less ‘sexy’ explanation of why it’s messed up..
If I had the opportunity to publish an open letter to No Doubt with the expectation that it would serve as a guide for people thinking about doing the same thing No Doubt just did I would make damned sure that every word was exactly what I wanted on the Internet forever.
In that context, I would have rephrased the use of “fire.” I would also have rephrased the objection that Natives were being shown “losing” these conflicts. That’s just me though.
Disinterested? I feel like Toxa has an interest in this discussion. Uninterested? No. Uninteresting? Maybe that’s it.
Professions ARE cultures. If you don’t believe me, just stick around here for awhile.
Yeah, wow. TIL “doctor” is a race.
Actually, it did not start in the late 1940s. It started earlier with some of the elites. It had to do with colonialism, racism, and the ascendance of the West.
And also, it is only irrelevant if you require that the cross-cultural appropriation be by the dominant culture. In which case there will be a time in the not-too-distant future when it *will* be inappropriate for Chinese people to wear Western-style clothes.
“in earnest” Chi-D, elites began adopting each other’s mode of dress in pre-history, I’m talking everyman fashion, the big market.
And with the Chinese there, it won’t come to pass, because fashion will only be more global barring a nuclear war or an asteroid strike, and western-style will more and more refer only to North American rodeo wear.
Yeah it totally makes sense! Japanese people were mocking nebulous “white” European/American culture by wearing 501s! Good point man….
Tip: Cowboys, Rockabilly cats etc. Not a race of people…
I like how you go from “would never think about how” to “it’s like not the same, or whatever.”
Using your same rubric, since rockabilly cats were mostly (all?) white, but are not a “race” tied up ladies wearing breastplates and feathers are not a “race” either, are they?
Stupid argument, innit?
Note my comment on the UCLA letter. Should have been better done, frankly.
(although, interestingly, you don’t know the intent either . . . hmmmm)
Maybe not, but that’s not the point. That point is that women can simultaneously express their sexuality and still legitimately oppose sexism. Do you disagree? Should only sexless, butch feminist caricatures be allowed to espouse feminist ideas?
Finally, I notice that you conspicuously failed to address whether her
“Native” style coverings were actually appropriate to her heritage.
Actually, I didn’t fail to do so. I explicitly pointed out that, as a native, Lisa Charleyboy is a better position to make such a judgment than you are. Implicit in that was also the suggestion that she might be better qualified to judge than I am. I would think that would be obvious.
Your use of it is unsupported.
Please explain how. Seems to me like having a sexy photograph taken should not invalidate her argument or suggest any sort of hypocrisy. In fact, it seems to me as though you’re using her sexuality “as a sword” to invalidate what she has to say.
Meanwhile, the same woman who inexplicably thinks white women are not allowed to wear saris or bindis is assumed to have good judgment?
I already told you I think her argument is flawed. I’m not talking about her judgement about the issue in general but her judgement concerning how she dresses herself and whether it’s culturally appropriate. It’s fun to pretend you don’t know what I’m saying though, isn’t it?
Like I keep saying, the argument is flawed. Other people in the thread are arguing against her point on the basis of the flawed argument rather than trying to use her sexuality or ethnicity as signs of hypocrisy to invalidate anything she has to say on the subject. Argue on the merits and there’s no need for this stupid sidebar.
You emphasize my “now” and agree that it is the present day and not the past that we occupy. Good?
Funk Daddy, actually, I disagree. Fashion hasn’t significantly changed in the last 50 years. Not compared to the changes it underwent before 1930s. In a real sense, we are dressing in a western past. I think we’re stuck in a loop of recycling old trends from the last 50 years of western fashion. I think it’s high time we had a drastic change. We’re currently recycling trends from the ’60s and ’80s.
Fashion in Japan has significantly changed in the last 75 years to the dominant global trend. 50 years only puts you in the 60’s, and adaption had already begun as kimono shifted further from service wear to more formal wear.
Everything about everything has shifted into a historical high-gear in the last 75-50 years, but the pace of fashion in the sense of who is wearing the dominant fashion of an era hasn’t.
The suits we wear today are already 175 years old in basic form of trousers, shirt and jacket. The size of the lapel, which as been there all along, is a different metric of the sort that is more often measured in decades.
The suit will probably be here another hundred years too, but I wouldn’t bet on 200 years from now.
Nobody complained about that.
What do you think ancestors have to do with anything? This isn’t original sin. The wrongs of the fathers are not passed down unto the sons lo! these many generations.
Pop music and rock’n’roll are cultural appropriations.
I didn’t realize they were trying to play some kind of Native American folk music. I thought they just wanted to act like buffoonish goofs in Native American garb (real or stereotyped) while their godawful rock music played in the background.
And was the brown guy from No Doubt, was his ancestors Indian killers?
Why in the world would that matter? Should he go pull a Mickey Rooney/Breakfast at Tiffanys because his grandad was never mean to Asians?
“Pop music and rock’n’roll are cultural appropriations.”
Actually, not quite true either. While it’s true that country blues and doo wop were two of the four major influences of rock’n’roll, the other two were Texas swing and rockabilly — both of them “white music” through and through. Country and gospel were also influences. Rock’n’roll seems about 50/50 to me. (“Pop music” is just popular music. It’s not its own genre. Pop once meant jazz, then it meant rock’n’roll, then it meant soul, etc.)
The first “appropriation” of country blues was by a black man, incidentally: W.C. Handy wrote the first jazz blues tune, “Memphis Blues” after having seen a man playing blues on slide guitar in a train station somewhere in the south. He hadn’t grown up listening to it. Goes to show the danger of conflating race and culture.
I was going to bring this up– I happen to like Die Antwoord a lot, and am not the slightest bit bothered by the fact that Yolandi and Ninja were wearing tribal outfits in the video for “I Fink U Freeky.” Xeni really went to bat many times for Die Antwoord against various commenters hollering about racism, exploitation, etc, which seems to be what’s going on in this post.
Knowing full well that critical comments have a history of disappearing on BB, I still have to ask– how is it okay for one white girl to dress up in the “native” (not sure what is the right word here) dress of her colonial nation, but totally not okay for a different white girl to do the same in hers?
yes, perhaps this is annoying because it so entirely distracts from those issues?
Did we gripe that Disney’s Pocahontas was sexy in the same was we BBoingers gripe about Disney’s oversexualized role models for girls? No, no controversy about the sexiness as a NA issue–was that because she was Voiced by a NA actress??
Actually, yes, people complained about all those things and others in your list.
Anyone who played HST twice has a platinum freak card.
Note to self,
When you write something, make sure you consider that anonymous angry white male internet commenters might try to nitpick it to death as they feel their privilege even slightly threatened.
@Navin_Johnson:disqus Note to self, if you publish an open letter to anyone and you want it to be perceived as being an important document consider the words you use. Maybe have a friend read it over. In the meantime, if you also happen to be a professor have a little and pride and write a good, solid letter.
BTW, none of this threatens my privilege at all. Not sure what you think my privilege is built on, but letters from academics I have never heard of to musicians past their primes doesn’t threaten it.
What you seem to be missing is that when I say everyone I mean EVERYONE. That means that you are a part of a culture that discriminates against your sexual orientation. You can “blame” whatever you want, but the factors contributing to that environment exist independently of your emotions. OMG, the world, it doesn’t revolve around you after all!!!
No, just pointing out that “dressed up as” and “is” are distinct concepts and not usually so casually conflated.
As I’ve been saying to ChicagoD, there are legitimate reasons to disagree with the woman’s argument. I disagree myself. But I do object to white men trying to define the terms on which minorities are allowed to complain about stuff like this without being accused of hypocrisy.
Congrats, you knocked out *2* of the common cliches I mentioned that I’d get “in before”
“‘they probably have better things to worry about'”
“Star of David”
Please. I wonder how people would react if they were bumpin’ and grindin’ in orthodox style/dress. Throw in some sexy Nazis too…..
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