Saturday, February 3, 2018

Hell is talking about cultural appropriation, intersectionality, and white privilege

If I wanted to get dreadlocks, I could do that, and I am certain I wouldn't get rich or famous as a result. But apparently, if I did that, a certain number of people would accuse me of "cultural appropriation". Apparently, to such folks, it's my "white privilege" (which I am, per them, too stupid or maybe mean to understand that I have) which prevents me from understanding why they are offended because I wanted to get dreadlocks.  Oh yes, and I can't be a feminist any longer, because black women or Chinese women or whichever other group you want to identify, who are also women, must have it worse. There is a name for that, "intersectionality", which I very much wish I had never encountered, along with "cultural appropriation" and "white privilege".

Do people really think life is a competition, where I've had it worse than you is going to make anything better?  How dare people like anything in black culture (unless they are black)?  How dare any white person claim sympathy to the black experience, without first groveling and whining about how they can't possibly begin to imagine it?  How dare a woman complain about not being paid equally for work, or being denied a job because of her gender, when she should just suck it in because a Chinese or black woman has suffered not only that but other injustices too?  Just shut up, all you well intentioned people.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as we all know, and to me, one good version of hell is where we are all forced to talk endlessly about weak and unhelpful phrases such as "cultural appropriation", "white privilege", "male privilege", or "lack of intersectionality".

Reducing cruelty in human life is not a competition of meaningless phrases.  Attempting to be a kind and compassionate human being should not result in a barrage of criticism . I understand we could all be more sensitive and all that, but the accusatory nature of these terms just does not feel helpful. 

There is not a single human being alive today who is not suffering in some way, has not suffered, or will not suffer.  In my opinion, the only way to help each other is compassion, not accusation.  Hence, I really think those phrases above are doing more harm than good. 

These phrases were invented by people who, in my opinion, are suffering.  While I feel for their suffering, I really cannot convince myself that it is a good idea to continue to encourage language that is, in the end, counterproductive to what those people need to have happen in the world.  Which is, that people may sympathize with their plight.

I urge people to stop cooperating with this fuzzy and bad use of language.