I’ve heard a lot about ‘cultural appropriation’ lately. Far too much, in fact. Examples include Karlie Kloss enraging Native American by wearing moccassins; Avril Lavigne enraging Asians by wearing a “Hello Kitty” outfit; Selena Gomez enraging the entire Indian subcontinent by wearing a bindi; Katy Perry enraging African-Americans for wearing cornrows; Miley Cyrus infuriating hip-hoppers; Kim Kardashian getting the goat of the Japanese, it goes on and on. But does anybody begin hyperventilating when Halle Berry culturally appropriates straight hair? Of course not. I mean, you might hyperventilate a little, but not for that reason.
I don’t see many yére olofs or grand boubous among the protestors in the US. I do see a lot of African-Americans wearing jeans though, so I’d be entitled to tweet ”Take my goddamn t-shirt off, you’re robbing my culture of its traditional garb!” Except that would be stupid and tone deaf, right? This shit isn’t property, by the way, so it can’t be stolen. Cornrows arguably belong to Europe and were ‘appropriated’ by the ancient Egyptians, thus stolen out of Europe into Africa. For evidence of this, see the oldest legit example of that hairstyle in the world, on the ‘Venus of Willendorf‘ (circa 30,000 BCE), being a figurine found in Austria. That’s right, Austria, literally the whitest place on the fucking planet. In other words, jam your ‘cultural appropriation’ up your ass.
Equally offensive is the phenomena of ‘wiggers’ and white people attempting to pass as black. The term ‘passing’ actually means something, by the way — to be accepted by that culture — and usually involves more than a mere assertion that you personally ‘identify’ as black, for example. The awful and derogatory term ‘wiggers’ only exists because we have sad white people who fetishise ‘blackness’ as edgy, interesting, or provocative in some bizarre way. For the record, I’m still waiting for my #BleakLivesMatter hashtag to take off (I don’t want to say ‘go viral’ anymore), because these pathetic individuals are exemplars of that particularly depressing subculture. Underestandable perhaps, because who’d be a middle-class, educated white man or woman these days? Not only are we to blame for everything bad in the world, we’re also so fucking boring!
Take the unfortunate case of Rachel Anne Dolezal, a thoroughly Caucasian woman who masqueraded as African-American for several years until outed by her own beloved parents. Only those dwelling in an alternate-reality (i.e. psychologists and sociologists) can spin this sad tale positively, whereas everybody else seems to recognise it for what it is: blackface. Make-believe terms like ‘transracial’ will, however, inevitably follow the same path as ‘transgender’ did, so that in twenty years time Dolezal will be hailed a prophet. In the New World Order, all it will take to be is an assertion that you are. Maybe poor Michael Jackson will finally, post-humously, be passed as a white man. If this is progress, then we’re doing double-plus good, citizens!
But somewhere inbetween the US riots over George Floyd’s murder and me passing (finally!) as Batman because I effing say so, comes the race conversation that Australia is yet to have. We are seeing articles by Aboriginal rights activists asserting that “What’s happening in America is no different to what’s happening here in Australia right now.” Here’s the link. These lies are published without fact-checking or qualification; that someone with 120 convictions against her name is cited as an authority on the topic utterly undermines a journalist’s credibility. The facts of Aboriginal deaths attributable to police use of force (here) are discoverable by anyone with basic literacy skills. To test the assertion that we treat Aboriginal Australians “no different” to George Floyd, please mine the database. That’s right, despite vigorous cultural appropriations to the contrary, what’s happening in Australia is nothing like what’s happening in America right now.
Who would be a cop in 2020. Our most recent highly-publicised example was the 2017 death of a Yorta Yorta woman who injured herself in a police cell and died 17 days later. Despite not qualifying as a death in custody, the family were lightning-quick to point the finger at cops. No, they insisted, contrary to cornonial findings, it wasn’t just a tragic case of police negligence, it was racism! Public drunkenness was a criminal offence in Victoria, so when an intoxicated Aboriginal woman was kicked off a train and reported to cops, the law dictated she sleep it off in a cell. Only those who co-habit the fantasy universe of psychologists and sociologists could believe police want drunk Aboriginal women in their custody. And where was her loving, caring family in all this? Why was she alone, drunk, on a train at night? Where was her family then? Nope, its the racist cops that did this. All their fault.
demanding simple answers to complex problems is always wrong. We should insist on facts. George Floyd was no angel, fact, and he wasn’t killed by four white cops — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, Alexander Kueng, Derek Chauvin — look at their mug shots, they represent the ethnic mix which police forces around the world strive to recruit. How lucky for #BlackLivesMatter that one of them wasn’t African-American! Now and again I see photos of US police officers hugging protestors. That’s the face of modern policing. But we only see what we’re shown, and what I’m mostly seeing could provoke the most divisive leader in US history to declare martial law. I see the queues outside gun stores, and read the surveys that suggest half the US population is poised for civil war. What I’m not hearing is that maybe we should all take a step back from the edge and just breathe.