Ok so there’s something that’s really been bugging me and it’s to do with “cultural appropriation”. I read a ridiculous article where people had been urging parents not to let their kids dress up as Disney princess – Moana for Halloween.
I’m just slightly dumbfounded because surely allowing children to have the chance and the freedom to appreciate and explore other cultures early on in childhood not only helps them to gauge a better understanding of anything that could be perceived as different or ‘other’ to themselves but it also helps break down the barriers and promote a mutual respect and tolerance for others.
Children are naturally inquisitive and will be curious about anything or anyone that’s different and by letting them explore this curiosity, it allows them to feel good about who they are but to also appreciate diversity in themselves and others.
By teaching kids that ONLY people who look a certain way or belong to a specific sect or who hold certain beliefs can do things (be it where they live, what they do or how they dress) then you are reaffirming the belief and the idea that we are seperated by our differences as opposed to it being something which can be celebrated and even embraced.
The same people who complain that there is little to no representation of ethnic minorities in media and film – be it animation or otherwise are the same people who are now complaining that now there is a more diverse pool of characters and personalities to chose from – it’s culturally inappropriate and insensitive for anyone not directly from said ethnicity or culture to look, act or dress in the same way.
So in other words you want to create an inclusive environment and an industry where everyone regardless of background or race feel represented be it on TV and in film yet at the same time exclude anyone or anything that doesn’t fit the narrative.
I really don’t get it. Cultural appropriation and racism are very real but when you constantly beat down and crucify others – who may be curious and intrigued by other cultures and beliefs which may manifest in many ways – such as trying out different clothing or cuisine for example, you are watering down and doing a great disservice to the real injustices that go on.
If you want an actual example of cultural appropriation it would be when idiots, I mean high profile people such as Jamie Oliver for example take traditional cuisine from other cultures and not only decide they can do it better but then charge us for the pleasure and profit from it in the process. Jerk rice anyone?
A white kid dressing up as a strong female character who broke barriers and took control of her life for the good of the people so that she could make their lives better, and who also happens to be brown – is not cultural appropriation.
No more so than a black woman who dyes her hair blonde or wears her hair straight or a white woman wearing braids.
Nor any of the people who weren’t black or of African descent that chose to dress as any of the characters from black panther when it was at the cinema.
A person imitating or dressed as a person or people from a different race/religion/culture with the intention to mock,shock, shame or offend is not cultural appropriation it’s flat out racism.
And that, should not be tolerated. Ever.
I must admit I do have to chuckle to myself a little bit when I think about all the people who have been attending comic con events and cosplay conventions for years dressed as their favourite game/film/comic book/TV characters without any problems.
I guess this is also why good things and things which are niche can never be mainstream because whenever social justice warriors catch wind of it they will do everything they can to ensure at least one person gets offended.
I have a lot of time for real people putting up a real fight for real causes that are affecting people worldwide. The people quite literally risking their reputation, their careers and sometimes even their lives.
You are the real MVPs.
If you’re sitting behind your keyboard being offended at everything and anything you don’t agree with and on everyone else’s behalf then you are the problem with this world. And if you want something to be offended about then maybe take a look in the mirror and start with yourself.
Anyway that’s just my take but hey, what do I know.
But seriously people need to learn the difference and also the true meaning of what actual racism, sexism and cultural appropriation looks like because a child dressing up as their favourite Disney princess doesn’t even come close.