In 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to enter and complete the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry. She registered under the gender-neutral name of “K.V. Switzer”. After realizing that a woman was running, race organizer Jock Semple went after Switzer shouting, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers.” however, Switzer’s boyfriend and other male runners provided a protective shield during the entire Marathon. These photographs taken of the incident made world headlines.
I had a dream last night that Jesus finally resurrected and when white people found out he wasn’t white they arrested him for 2000 something years of tax evasion
how much do islands cost i want one
Less than a college education
what the fuck
It’s a katakana font (named “ゴウラ”) designed to look like Olde English fancy print
This must be the Japanese equivalent of that “asian” font you see on Chinese takeout boxes
(via a friend-of-a-friend on Facebook. hat-tip to artofemilyo)
This is a pretty good way to assess if you’re a member of the dominant, empowered culture in your community. Cultural appropriation only feels offensive when you’re the minority, and your cultural identity is at risk of erasure. That’s how cultural appropriation conducts its insidious work.
The fetishization (or involuntary adaptation) of “Western” culture is super prevalent in other countries. I can only speak for Central China, but there’s misspelled English all over the place, and hilarious knockoffs at every flea market:
We live during a very weird time, in which cultures are constantly clashing and melding in really strange ways. Cultural appropriation and cultural hegemony are both craptastical side effects of this. Neither are okay. But the difference between the two often comes down to our individual perspective…
Except… isn’t cultural appropriation considered a good thing in Japan? I mean, they pride themselves in being able to do foreign things better than foreigners, and they’re pretty equal-opportunity about it; they don’t do just appropriate Anglo stuff.
For that matter, China seems to have a cultural fixation on copying, but with widely varied and equally equally accepted levels of quality. China seems a bit more easy-going in that regard…
Perhaps the narrative of cultural appropriation being an evil, colonialist/imperialist thing breaks down if we’re talking about large, developed countries copying each other. This is not like the Japanese forcibly assimilating the Ainu or anything like that.
You’re absolutely right to point out that the “wonton font” and this “old english katakana” are not the same at all. They may resemble each other, but they occupy really really different socio-political contexts.
I’ve never been to Japan, and I’m wary of making any generalizing observations about a culture I’ve never really experienced… But I’m pretty sure that Westerners have (mostly) enjoyed a position of power in East Asia. With a few Communist-era exceptions, Caucasians have never been subject to systematic discrimination resulting in widespread poverty, unjust imprisonment, or coerced assimilation. Anglo-Americans in Asia don’t have to worry about their children losing their English language, because English is always taught as a second language. Moreover, Anglo-American culture is ubiquitous, available to be consumed almost anywhere.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with adopting other cultures, until it becomes a way to trivialize and ostracize The Other. That’s what the “wonton font” did to Chinese-Americans. It was largely used by Chinese-style restaurants (not exactly the richest people) as a way to appeal to Westerners, to make the Far East seem simultaneously exotic and completely harmless. And I think that’s why a lot of young Chinese-Americans hate it so much: it reminds us that we have to be exotic but not too weird, smart but not threatening, adapt to Western culture but not lose our parents’… We didn’t get to make any of these rules.
For me, cultural appropriation is still an evil thing, inherited from a violent, colonial past. The truly insidious effects of cultural appropriation happens in the context of an Imperialist aftermath, with which we’re still trying to grapple.
happy birthday maomao