All these divisions are entirely artificial.
Butter Balls


  1. Your first sentence shows that you approach this topic like an Invader, per the framework in the essay by Nisi Shawl. If you don’t understand why, perhaps you should read that essay.
  2. While no one owns culture, people are part of them or not part of them. If you’re not part of a culture, if you have no ties to it via heritage, geography, or even acting as a respectful Guest (see #1 for how to understand this framework), then it’s polite, respectful, and the mark of a caring, good person to approach said culture and the people within it in ways that don’t replicate the actions of the Invader or clueless Tourist. If you don’t want to be polite, respectful, or a good person, I cannot stop you.
  3. If you’d read the articles you would know that the expectation of assimilation from dominant cultures is often a form of racism, though not always, and very often follows the same patterns of systemic racism, even if not race based. Therefore, there’s no conflation, there is an acknowledgement that these things are intertwined in complex ways. HOWEVER, there is not, as you claim, any call in any of the pieces linked to battle racism with racism. There aren’t even hard rules, only guidelines for ways to act if you want to be respectful instead of acting in ways that are disrespectful. Also, these guidelines are not only for those who come from a dominant, oppressive, colonialist, invader group. They’re for everyone. For instance, I am Black, and thus I am from a marginalized racial group. If I decide to don a headdress from Hot Topic, call myself a shaman, and set up a process where anyone with money could earn a “spirit animal” from me, I would be engaging in cultural appropriation (of the grossest kind). Doesn’t matter that I’m a minority, doesn’t matter that my family tells stories of how we have “Native American ancestors.” I’m not enrolled in any nation, I’m not connected to any nation by upbringing, I’m not indigenous. I don’t get a pass. Therefore, it’s not racist. No one is saying “whites can’t do X, Y, Z, but everyone else can.” Whites are usually the ones being a problem, which is why there is often more focus on them when bringing up specific examples. But if you read closely, accept that there is complexity and nuance in all of these linked pieces, you might start to understand that.
  4. If you don’t want to be treated like every other white person that has come along to Invade, oppress, colonize, take, steal, disrespect, and more, then don’t act like those other people. Perhaps you’ll be taken seriously as an individual when you stop acting like everyone else who comes from your heritage group. (Plus, it’s the hallmark of someone who has done no work to unpack their own responsibility as regards systemic racism to say: you’re not considering the individual (me!). Come back to me talking about individuality when you’re not spouting the very same arguments that hundreds of other white folks have spouted on this topic. It’s as if y’all have a manual that you read from.)
  5. I’m really wondering how you get from “Please respect cultures that aren’t your own by learning about them, not being an ass, and working with people within said groups to get to a place where mutual exchange is possible” to “you’re calling for cultural apartheid!” The latter is what you’ve decided is happening, the former is what’s in the actual essays and blog posts and speeches linked on this page. Maybe if you read them? I think you might try reading them.
  6. Also, no one is telling anyone what they can and can’t do based on skin color. Except white supremacists.
  7. You know what makes the world ugly and bigoted? People acting like they can take whatever they want from others who have less power, whether that power is in the form of weapons or in the form of cultural capital or any of the other ways power manifests. You know what would make the world less ugly and bigoted? Respecting others. Which is pretty much what these essays you’re railing against ask you to do. Why are you so against respect?
  8. I’m pretty sure there are worse concepts than cultural appropriation. Such as fascism, invasion by force, colonialism, slavery, white supremacy, patriarchy, actual apartheid, Jim Crow laws, Johnny Depp. That’s just naming the ones I can think of. You need some perspective. And a class on critical reading skills.

This comment represents the only time I will respond to you. You might try to respond to me, but I’ll either ignore or delete it. If, in a year, you have taken the time to read every single thing linked on this page and you still want to respond, I’m willing to engage with you again.

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