How many black bodies?
i’m frustrated. i’m angry. i’m hurt. i’m pissed. i’m agitated. i’m heartbroken. i’m embarrassed. i’m annoyed. America how many black bodies?
Black on black homicide is happening at an alarmingly high rate. It must be terrifying for people living in inner city places like Chicago and Detroit.
Earlier this year a Mother in Oakland lost two sons in one month due to gang related violence. This is senseless and heartbreaking.
A Lesson About Culture
I feel like Tumblr has a general misunderstanding about what culture is. When I see people talk about it, it seems to be a very limited and usually kind of a negative thing (either culture is only ethnic or it’s used to describe phenomenon like “rape culture”). But I don’t think I’ve ever seen people actually discuss what culture IS. So here’s a helpful lesson about culture.
1. Culture is not purely about ethnicity. Or geography or region or skin color. Culture is what happens when people with a shared group of ideas congregate and exchange social ideas. And it can be anything. There are political cultures, gaming cultures, fashion cultures, music cultures, sports cultures. There are subcultures of every culture and then there are subcultures of that subcultures. And each of these cultures have unique factors, and they have factors that they share with other cultures. Tumblr has a culture, many cultures even. All unique in how they interact with people, their attitudes, their beliefs. Culture is not something that is only significant on a single scale.
2. Ethnic cultures are not one culture. Think of the United States. Think of all the areas of the United States. There are some limited aspects all people in the United States share. But you could count those aspects on one hand. Truthfully, there are hundreds of cultures in the United States, and they differ significantly. The culture in California is vastly different from the culture in Louisiana, or New York, or Montana. Even in specific regions - in my home county, you can see the shift in culture just by crossing city lines. The same holds true for every continent, country, and city in the world.
3. No one is culture-less. This one kind of irritates me. It seems the common belief on Tumblr that the United States, or specifically white people, do not have a culture. Or that the culture they have is boring, stale, or predicated only on sapping the life out of other cultures. This is wildly untrue, but the reason people think it so is because most people on Tumblr come from white countries, and when you are so close to a culture, it becomes normative. The issue is that we teach culture as if it is something special, when truly it is so natural we observe aspects of it in non-human animals. White people have a culture. Many cultures. All over the world. European ethnic cultures vary incredibly widely, and always have. And again, within those ethnicities, ever city and region and group may have their own unique culture. No person is without a culture.
4. Everyone suffers from cultural appropriation. Again, I think this stems from the idea that somehow, white people don’t have a culture. This leads to the idea that their culture can’t be appropriated. This is untrue. In fact, in the United States, we spend an entire day dedicated to the diminishing of a unique white culture through St. Patrick’s Day. Dressing up as a stereotypical gunslinging cowboy is a caricaturization of Southern culture. In Japan, a fashion subculture called Yankii basically serves as a gross misrepresentation of Southern American cultures. Appropriation can happen to any culture, but at the same time…
5. Appropriation doesn’t mean what you think it means. Appropriation is what happens when one group takes the bare, simplistic description of an entire culture and whittles it down into a joke. It is not when a person from one culture wears or emulates a single aspect of another culture. If the aspect is something spiritual or sacred, it could be disrespectful, but even that isn’t technically appropriation - it’s just a naive action. But if the simple act of wearing or doing or using something from another culture was appropriation, then using a computer or speaking another language or wearing jeans could also be appropriation. This is ludicrous of course.
6. Culture is everything you do. Culture is not just the most important things. It is not just what’s sacred. It’s not in the symbols and abstractions. Culture influences all aspects of your behavior. If it didn’t, there would be no need to study it on a scientific level - it would be purely a historical level. But in studying biology, psychology, sociology, we have to understand it, because otherwise we lose an aspect of that behavior and never gain a full understanding.
7. Culture is not static. Culture changes. A lot. Constantly. All of them. But I’m not saying this to just say that, because that should be obvious. But rather so that you’re aware - as your culture changes, so can others. There are some aspects of culture that is bad. Again, this is a universal - no culture is absolutely pure of any faults. Understanding culture doesn’t mean excusing the bad things because “well it’s just their culture”. It means understanding where those actions come from, and not approaching it simply from an ethnocentric “that’s wrong” approach, but a reasonable approach that can explain why from that cultures point of view. Female genital mutilation is a cultural norm in many parts of the world. Does that make it right? No. But to do anything about it, there has to be an understanding of why it is in the norm in that culture. That’s how you make appropriate change. Historically, before culture was understood, those changes were forced, and it created many horrific problems. That doesn’t mean the act of desiring a change is wrong, it just means that you have to approach it from the right perspective - from THAT cultures perspective.
That’s it. Lemme know if you have questions or need expanding. I just wanted to put this out there. :)
- Mod Dawes Sr.
Very well written. This is one of the few things on this subject that I’ve seen on Tumblr that makes sense.
Don’t talk to me about genetics if you don’t know shit about genetics jfc.
Just had a guy on okcupid tell me he “prefers thin, white girls” when I called him out for that he tried to pull the “genetics” argument. “White women are genetically more healthy than black women, thin women are more fertile” Yeahhhh no. Wrong on both accounts. I want to be a genetic engineer, I’m literally majoring in biomedical engineering. Fuck people are so exhausting I swear. Don’t search for justifications for your shitty “preferences” and especially don’t try to defend your racism by citing a science you know nothing about.
You called a guy out because he has a preference in what he finds attractive? Did I misread that or is that what you actually did?