My Thoughts On Some Aspects of Cultural Appropriation

I have never enjoyed discussing this topic because I feel that many people are taking a subject that is very broad and very complex and minimalizing it into a simple black and white, right or wrong argument for every varied case.

As I have said before I myself have a large affinity for multicultural things such as Latin and Asian cultures.

I have worn kimonos, yukatas, cheongsam and qipao.

In all my time of wearing them, only one person voiced their offense and it was a Black person.

She came at me like police and accused me of cultural appropriation.

I told her that to the contrary many of my Asian international friends were more than elated that I even knew let alone cared to wear something of their culture.

It made them feel appreciated, welcomed and embraced in a country that knew little to nothing of those things.

It really irks me, the cultural appropriation self appointed “police” because is my experience they are all too frequently people OUTSIDE said culture, coming to defend it gung ho.

Then the voices of the people who actually don’t have a problem with it or actually embrace the outside appreciation are silenced.

How’s that any different than when people silence the one’s offended? One is still speaking over someone, insisting that they know in a monolithic sense how everyone feels.

That’s another factor. Everyone’s voice matters. The offended, the indifferent and those who approve.

I understand that there are consequences to dressing in clothing from other cultures. I accept those consequences *of which I have barely endured.*

Why do I continue?

Because knowing that doing it made someone feel welcomed, happy and appreciated is far more important to me than to not do it. No it’s not solely done for that reason, but I myself feel much more comfortable when my culture is embraced.

Certainly there is a difference between appreciation and appropriation as well as someone POC embracing an aspect of Black culture vs. someone who is non POC.

Cultural clothing is somewhat of a different issue for African Americans because “American” clothes are jeans and a t-shirt or western suit and tie. Everyone where’s that, we’re “assimilated” if you will. We were forcibly assimilated, we don’t have an immigrant past (the majority of us) and as far as African clothing goes therein lies another issue.

There are Black people literally losing their shit defending other cultures being culturally appropriated while wearing hoodie daishikis with jersey numbers on them as a fashionable trend.

Is an African American going to argue that is ok to do? I personally don’t think so. I think that’s terribly offensive and minimalizing something special and sacred to some trend.

We’re talking about Africans who have grown up being teased and being called things like, “African booty scratcher” etc and now all of the sudden people wanna be “in, cool and hip” and wear daishikis.

I see them in stores everywhere.

I am not against wearing daishikis, nor do I require that the only people who wear them be Black or African only, but the trivializing of it I am against.

I would also argue from the African American side that if there are Africans who are terribly offended by African Americans wearing African clothing when they are not even from the continent in the first place, that for many years our African culture was denied. We weren’t allowed to practice it at all and it was highly demonized.

That being said, to have White people tell us we can’t be African and then to have Africans tell us we can’t be African is a special wound.

But going back, if I was African and terribly bullied by African Americans I would definitely feel salty about what I was teased about suddenly being the “hot new trend.”

And as far as White people wearing African clothes, here’s my point.

I know White people who wear African clothes. I have seen them. Why do they wear them? They are missionaries or community service people who work in UMCOR for the United Methodist Church. I see them at Annual Conference every year and they are wearing clothes that they were given as gifts or that they bought during their travels to Africa.

I understand that cultural appropriation is about invitation but no one can receive a mass monolithic invitation from every single individual for every single thing. No entire racial or ethnic group can give a stamp of approval to anything.

Chances are someone will have an issue, some will not and some won’t care.

It doesn’t mean just totally disregard people who are offended, but take it into consideration, understand where those feelings are coming from, decided whether wearing the outfit is worth possible criticism or attacks and question why you are doing it in the first place.

My reasoning is benevolent. I understand that there are going to be people who say it’s inherently wrong all the time for any reason, anywhere and that’s their stance, not mine.

Honestly I think it’s insane to fume over something as arbitrary as clothing. It’s not to say no clothing is sacred such as Native American headdresses of which I would never wear because that’s a ritualistic ceremonial spiritual garb but I don’t want anyone else’s actions ruining my happiness or controlling my life.

Life is way too short to be losing my shit over people’s dress, offensive or otherwise.

I have a major issue with gun ho SJW cultural appropriation police because they are so quick to judge with no consideration to possible background information.

If someone saw my pictures of me in a kimono who felt that way they might go in on me and flip.

I was attending the JAPANESE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL!

People are ENCOURAGED and INVITED to participate in traditional Japanese activities, dress, eating, song and dance. It’s a day dedicated to celebrating that by Japanese people.

If someone sees my picture however, they may not know that, make a quick judgement, screenshot me and drag me via internet for being an offender with malicious intent.

That never happened to me, but it’s very possible the way some people have become these days and that to me is all KINDS of ridiculous!

I don’t even understand why people are investing so much time and vitriol into hunting these people down. To me there are worse things, like killing people of different cultures, rather than wearing their outfits. Genocide is a pretty big deal, clothes are not that big a deal to me in my personal opinion. Hurting feelings is less worse than murdering someone in my opinion. We have much bigger fish to fry.

My kimono comes from Japan from Japanese International students that my grandparents hosted.

I would think that woman, whom I never met, would want me to wear the outfit she gifted to my grandparents instead of it collecting cobwebs in the closet like it was when I discovered it.

It’s not like I wore it nonchalantly to the mall. I wore it to cultural events at my college. Someone may argue, wear your own cultural outfit. Well what is that supposed to be exactly? Jeans and a t-shirt because I’m a product of a colonized America? A dashiki because I’m a descendant of Africa? A combination of urban style and Africa, a dashiki dress hoodie with jersey numbers and a giant Ankh necklace to match?

All of those things. All of those questions. I mean really, being a minority is EXTREMELY confusing sometimes because it’s like who the hell am I? What the hell am I supposed to do, wear, think, act, listen to, eat?

I’ve written several poems about the identity crisis of being African American. It’s quite a complex, but I digress…

Another issue is this one: Black culture appropriation is everywhere done by almost every body. Do I care?

Honestly can I afford to? I’d be enraged constantly if I cared. I can’t really afford to care. I don’t care that much in the first place but even if I did what could I do about it?

Hip Hop and Rap culture are the hot thing these days and everyone wants a piece.

Because I’m not hood or from the streets even though that’s an ASPECT of Black culture it’s not one that I have experienced in a primary sense, it’s not one that I understand or even really approve of.

I’m also not of the belief that someone had to be raised in or has to live a specific lifestyle to sing a genre. There are rappers that are totally fronting, singing about the streets when they live in mansions currently and grew up middle class faking being a gansta. There could be a city slicker who sings country music or an atheist who sings great gospel and spiritual music. Them not living the lifestyle or knowing it in a primary sense, I feel, should not bar them from singing good music.

As long as it’s done in a respectful correct manner, I have no issue with it.

I’m one of those “Bad and Boujee” “Ashley Banks: Fresh Prince of Belair” kind of women. I’m not rich, but I grew up in a household that discouraged listening to gangsta rap or speaking ebonics or acting stereotypical.

But that was never even a desire of mine to begin with in the first place.

When I was introduced to K-Pop I noticed a lot of borrowed Black culture in the music videos.

Some of the things are quite cringey like the Koreans who wear afros, dreads and braids in the videos. I don’t care THAT much, it’s just more so a bit awkward because I’m not used to seeing that, I know it’s not their own, and it’s kind of creating a costume of it for a video. They will take it off after the video ends and go about their day in Korean society.

Some Black girl is being denied a job somewhere in America because of her braid and some Korean pop-star is break dancing and pop locking while rocking a hairstyle she would be fired for.

But is the general Korean person aware of that? No.

I actually like hip hop within k-pop and I like it because it’s much more creative. I am also a fan of old school hip hop that actually told a story. The New School however, most of it, not all of it, is not only absolute trash but is hurting the Black community in so many ways. I know that people say people make their own actions and that music doesn’t control people but it can.

Music doesn’t have to but most people are not discerning enough, especially young teens and kids who are listening and being raised on these negative messages to know the difference between reality and a stage show for profit.

The mysogynoir and colorism alone is enough reason not to listen, apart from the violence, rape references, drug selling and alcoholism, capitalist “I’m gettin’ mines” attitude in the songs.

When K-Pop does hip hop I can enjoy it *in general* without those ugly messages, it’s just a fun dance party period. No video hoes, no giant asses clapping on dude’s genitals, no standing around rapping with no dance choreography etc.

K-pop videos are incredibly creative, artistic and visually stimulating with a very Alice in Wonderland kind of scene and I appreciate that very much as an artist.

I also appreciate K-Pop because it highlights Asian men in a light that we rarely almost never see here in the States. Asian men are placed as sexy, strong, bold, cool protagonists. Asian women are also portrayed in that way as well. We almost never see that in American media.

Even though people find the appropriation of Black culture problematic within K-pop I appreciate it for different reasons and I would never want it to be shut down.

And for that reason, it’s hard to really feel any kind of shame about wearing Asian clothes because quite frankly I don’t see many Asians fretting over offending Blacks for appropriating our culture.

I’m not saying that justifies it or two wrongs make a right but I’m sorry, I see G-Dragon and Big Bang up on stage throwing up gang signs and doing urban dances, so why should they care if I wear something of theirs? If anything it’s an exchange *and yes I know kimonos and yukatas are Japanese not Korean.

My last point is when a theme is chosen and it’s cultural such as the year that DSU chose the theme Asian Enchantment, purposely made to create an event for Homecoming that included our new International Chinese and Korean students, my Black friend was offended that they did that.

I thought to myself if it was ethical, that the intentions were good but was it wrong to do? I thought well if a PWI wanted to have the theme of “Coming to America” how would I feel.

To be honest I’d definitely be a bit uncomfortable, but that’s considering the history of mocking between Whites to Blacks. I don’t have an issue with an “African/Black” theme, it’s how it’s carried out that would determine how I felt about it.

If they did it respectfully cool, but if they were being over the top and turning it into a comedy, I would be uncomfortable.

I wouldn’t lose my shit though, I just wouldn’t attend and I think for most things in life, there are only a handful of things I will allow myself to lose my shit over, murder being one of them.

Cultural appropriation is something I have mixed feelings about.

I grew up with a mother who is Black who wears African, Middle Eastern, Asian and Indian clothing from a store called Shingar that selling international clothes.

I grew up in a household thinking nothing bad about any of that, and she looks beautiful and I see nothing wrong with what she is doing.

And yet, I’m sure, even with her being Black that there are Africans who are offended by her wearing African clothes and not being from the continent.

None of us are on this Earth to please everyone and everyone cannot be pleased.

My mother grew up in a household with parents who hosted international students from several countries. She grew up living with different people.

My upbringing has not been like everyone else’s. My upbringing has been multicultural and I don’t believe in completely separate cultural boxes, especially living in an ever increasing globalized world and a melting pot/stew/salad bowl of a country.

Different cultures melt, overlap, copy, change, conquer, assimilate, appropriate, appreciate, spread, invite, deny, oppress, restrict, approve, disapprove etc.

That’s our reality, right or wrong.

In a globalized world, unless someone is living in an isolated tribe on an isolated island it would be very hard not to be influenced and infected by someone else’s culture whether through colonization, invitation, exchange or appropriation.

And lastly, everyone who appropriates doesn’t do it conscientiously or maliciously.

People buy things that they like in stores and everyone is not young or on the internet to even be educated about what belongs to what culture or has become part of American culture which is very mixed.

My sister loves to wear moccasins. I don’t know if she wears them anymore but she used to. Is that wrong? Maybe so, but did it make her a bad person? Was she aware that Native Americans might take offense to that?

She bought them because they were shoes she liked available at an American Eagle store. Plain and simple. It wasn’t some nefarious plot to steal the culture of Native American people.

If anything you can blame the store or company for making things available like dream catchers to the public who are in the wrong. People are just buying cool stuff because they like it. Some truly don’t know any better. Heck, I like dream catchers. I see them in Five Below.

Me not buying one won’t stop them from selling it. If the store didn’t have it available I wouldn’t have bought one.

I have gone to Chinatown to buy my cheongsam and qipao. Should the Chinese owner deny my purchase because I am not Chinese? I am helping her to make profit, if people only in a culture are the only ones allowed to purchase rather than a bigger market, then financially she won’t do as well as she could if outsiders are purchasing too.

There are SO many ways this argument can go. Cultural Appropriation is a very broad term with many factors and varied circumstances that I think ought to be taken into consideration before a quick judgment is made. There will be several other blogs to follow on this topic but these were just some of my thoughts on it.

Take it or Leave it.

 

 

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Can One Be Sex Positive Without Being Pro-Hoe?

Would I consider myself a feminist? Yes.

Would I consider myself sex positive? Mostly.

Would I consider myself pro-hoe? No.

Is sex positivity and pro-hoe the same thing? Not exactly.

Do I think sex is inherently bad? No I do not.

Do I think sex can be good if done in the right circumstance with the right person at the right time and place? Yes.

Do I think women having sex is worse than men having sex? No. However it should be acknowledged that women anatomically and emotionally have a lot more to lose than men do when it comes to sex.

It’s not that there are no women out there who can have sexual feelings and have no emotional attachment, but that is more the exception than the norm.There is a chemical release of oxytocin. Yes, men can get attached as well to their partners, they usually don’t however, due to the necessity of mass reproduction being required in males in nature.

There are issues I have with the movement that I am not in agreement with so I am hesitant to simply state that I am sex positive. I am definitely not pro-hoe nor do I approve of “embracing” words such as “slut” or “bitch” to describe me or any other woman.

If other women feel empowered by doing that is their decision, but if anyone asks me, woman or man, I want no one referring to me by those derogatory terms. I understand the purpose of trying to de-stigmatize the action of women who have sex but I have never been a big supporter of “embracing” and redefining derogatory terms such as the “nigga” issue in the Black community.

It’s mostly due to the fact that I have very bad traumatic memories associated with the word bitch, slut and hoe. I have rarely ever been called slut or hoe, but I have been called bitch at least a hundred times in my life.

The first time I was called that I was punched in the boob in fifth grade. It stung and I understood what the word meant. I have a physical pain to associate with it. It was actually by a boy I liked who I was told to stay away from because he was bad. I didn’t listen, and I loved to tease and harass him. It wasn’t healthy.

My first boyfriend in a frustrated rage called me that once and apologized, but I felt so disrespected, that he had crossed a line. I feel that even if angry, calling someone out their name like that is a deal-breaker and a relationship ought to be ended.

Another friend of mine who attended a multicultural organization I created slandered my name when an incident occurred where he had to be removed from the group by me. He went around calling me that to other people.

I’ve sat in a middle school class where a very disturbed individual would call me that every day, multiple times a day, for no reason. It was so bad I had to request that my seat be moved he was so mean-spirited. He even implied that my best friend and I were lesbians because we were so close and kind to one another. What a sick, sad individual he was. Shame on him!

Words like queer, bitch, slut, hoe, and nigga are words I highly doubt I’ll ever embrace.

I highly support sex education and view it as extremely necessary.

I support using protection during sexual activity and the promotion and distribution of information of those products.

I support sexual activity within the confines of a monogamous loving and respectful relationship, at an older age 18+, preferably a committed one whether long term, engaged or married, and definitely with the use of protection.

The reason I said 18+ is because I don’t believe that teenagers are in a developmentally appropriate stage to handle and fully understand the magnitude of what sex can do to them emotionally, mentally and physically. It’s not to say that adults cannot or are not impacted by sex, but it’s a more appropriate developmental stage in which to engage in it, I feel.

What I as an individual approve of does mean I have the right to demean anyone who diverts from that.

I don’t have the right to attack people who are promiscuous, have polyamorous relationships, have sex unprotected or have sex young.

Still, attacking and disapproving are two different things.

I do not need to support free sex with anyone and everyone because one wants to and I am very much against that because it’s extremely unsafe and risky to do so.

For health reasons alone that is unwise. For safety reasons alone that is unwise. Society is not as liberal as people see on the surface and many traditional values lie beneath our words. Our thoughts aren’t solely controlled by society’s viewpoints, but also they are strongly affected by nature.

I do believe that sex is a very sacred and spiritual exchange. Some people are of the opinion that’s all in our head and that’s a mental, emotional perception. Whether it is or not, I was raised on that thinking, so it would be very difficult to all of the sudden break out of it. It’s not that I don’t believe that people can have casual sex, it’s that I myself, sex for me, is a very emotional, spiritual, mental, physical exchange.

Sex is not the same experience for everyone with every partner.

While I don’t believe that women should be stigmatized for having sex, I think women should not be having sex with whomever, whenever, however.

I don’t believe that’s healthy. I feel the same way for men as well.

I don’t believe that having multiple exchanges with multiple partners is a good thing for your body, mind, heart, soul or spirit.

I’m against promiscuity for any gender.

So while I support sex education, and I am against the attacks of women who many wear something considered revealing or inappropriate, I would not ever consider myself pro-hoe and sex positive, well, I’d say there are some aspects of it with which I agree and some that I do not.

 

 

 

What is Asian?

*My own personal experience and viewpoint, not an over arching definition*

When I was growing up, one of the earliest cultural experiences that I was exposed to was beginning Shao Lin San Kung Fu School Martial Arts at 3-5 years old. I was very young and I still faintly remember what the room looked like the night my dad took me. I was enchanted by the giant golden gong and the ferocious intricate lion statues and the traditional Chinese music that I heard sounded melodic and calm.

I took Kung Fu for about a decade. I got enough training to reach the level below master. Has I continued, I could have become one and I have plans to continue later in life.

My first introduction to any Asian culture was Chinese martial arts, specifically Kung Fu.

My whole family participated, father, mother and sister, twice a week.

My parents were also very into Kung Fu movies, probably my father more than my mother. I frequently watched Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Asian American media.

It has been said that, some Black people have this issue of being interested in other cultures, everything else but their own. That when one enters an Italian home, they can tell they are proud Italians because they display their Italian heritage, history and present. Some say that some Black people have really lost that pride and connection to their own heritage.

I am in full support of exposing children to other cultures. I think it is positive, helpful and healthy, but I will say that, due to the influx of media I watched, and knowing no actual Asians, at least closely, I did think that all Asians knew and did martial arts, and I also has a very ancient, traditional perception of what Asians wore and acted.

A lot of the movies and shows I was watching were about ancient dynasties, emperors and Eastern magic. I even had a legitimate fear of ninjas attacking me because I had seen so many ninja films. I’d lay in my bed thinking, “Omg, they are going to crawl up the side of the house and break in the window and rob us!”

There were many movies that came on tv that I could not relate to, but one that really resonated with me was the Karate Kid with the teenage girl as the lead because it was a movie about a girl who had to be tough.

I did not like Kung Fu at first. I felt annoyed that I had to take it and I felt scared too. I cried a lot when I went, and even though I was a little girl, I had to fight two grown men towering over me during sparring sometimes. It was a bit traumatic because my father highly emphasized the importance of self defense, and that as a woman, it is not a matter of if or when, that I would be attacked someday, and that I’d need to know how to defend myself.

I kind of grew up in fear of the world. I grew up with very cautionary over-protective parents. Anything outside of our house, except church, was basically a potential danger. Church was like a second home, a sanctuary. In my sheltered life, I went home, school, church, Kung fu, piano, swimming lessons and art camp.

That was my childhood. I recall one time heading to a Chinese restaurant and I pulled my eyes back and said, “Ching Chong Ching” imitating and mocking Chinese people. My father admonished me harshly for that and I never did it again. To this day I still don’t understand why I did it or where I got it from. I knew no Chinese people, I don’t remember ever learning that from anyone I saw, I honestly don’t know why I did it, but it was wrong, and I am very grateful to my father for having corrected me as harshly as he did so that I would understand the severity of my actions.

My parents made a purposeful effort to expose my sister and I to multiculturalism at an early age. They recorded HBO’s Happily Ever After Tales for Every Child on VHS and we watched cartoons like “Little Red Happy Coat (Chinese), The Princess and the Pea (Korean), The Emperor’s New Clothes (Chinese or Japanese), Aladdin (Japanese) etc.” which were all Asian characters, some with accents, some without.

Disney was secondary, not primary for me, so whenever I saw White characters I thought that was not standard but the exception. Disney was something my parents avoided showing me, I rarely saw them when I was younger.

At the schools I attended there were almost no Asians. Until I went to college I didn’t have many deep personal relationships with Asians. It wasn’t because I didn’t like them. I was not in an environment to ever meet them.

I attended a Black Catholic School for elementary, briefly a Public School for the latter portion of fifth grade, an Art School for Middle and High School, and a PWI and HBCU for college.

While tutoring another Black girl (one of Bajan Caribbean heritage) Spanish in high school, she spoke to me about her interests and affinity for Asian cultures. I at that time, having begun learning Spanish was very interested in Latin cultures. I was open to learning something new so I let her teach me what she knew. It also meant a lot to me to meet another Black girl who didn’t feel that learning about non-Black cultures was somehow self-hating or anti-Black.

She introduced a whole world to me that I did not know existed. She told me about a Chinese club that existed upstairs in the Charter school that shared our same building. I worried if we would be welcomed there. I did not know if the organization was exclusively Chinese, and I didn’t want to offend anyone with my Chinese ignorance.

She introduced me to an ESL class (English as a Second Language) that was being taught during school hours that I could visit during lunch, aiding period or in-services.

She took me to a Korean restaurant, Korea town, China town and showed me music videos of C-pop and K-pop stars.

I was hooked! Everything seemed so cool. If anything Asian culture for me has always appeared to be this mystical, magical, far away, untouchable, mysterious, enchanting thing. Is that a fetish? I wouldn’t think so, because I was simply enthralled with it. I still saw Asian people as people, and I still cared about their livelihood, and I knew that obviously the people in Chinese club were not the C-pop stars I saw in television or dramas.

Another friend of mine also got me deeper into the K-pop world and helped me with language acquisition of the Korean, Chinese and Japanese language. It meant a lot to have friends who supported that endeavor because my language and linguist goals were met with a a lot of negativity and discouragement. People kept insisting that it was impossible to learn Asia languages, that they were too hard to even ponder attempting. I kept thinking to myself, has anyone tried though? I want to at least try and fail rather than just give up and never do it.

I helped an international student in high school from Thailand and I befriended a set of Korean twins. We had good conversations.

I studied and took two elementary Mandarin Chinese classes in college or graduate school. I joined the Japanese Language and Culture Club. I was also very into anime and manga as a girl and teenager and I was founder and president of Manga Club at my Art High school. Anime and Manga also greatly influenced my perception of Asian people.

While at my first college I befriended a girl from Vietnam, she was an international student. I befriended her originally because I was in a PWI (Predominantly White Institution) and even if I was going to encounter kind well-meaning White people I knew that culturally they would not understand me. I wanted a friend that I could talk to when days got hard. In all my classes I was the only Black girl.

I tended to seek out whoever was the different one anyway for various reasons. One being that I figured there was a much lower chance of rejection if I picked people who seemed that they needed friends and were not in a position to reject me: a.k.a. international students.

We became so close that she is considered family now. We both call one another sister. She was there for me during some really troubling moments in my life and I’ll never forget that.

What I noticed most about being close friends with her as well as other Asian students in college was how much language anxiety there was about lack of English proficiency.

What saddens me even more is how harshly some Americans treat people who lack in English proficiency.

I felt that there was so much cultural and linguistic misunderstanding between the Asian International students and Black students at DSU, but there were also beautiful relationships formed as well.

I attended the Chinese New Year production for several years. I performed in the show and sang Disney’s Mulan “Reflection” and performed a Chinese New Year’s poem in English and Chinese with a friend. We exchanged places on stage and exchanged languages while I was dressed in a cheongsam and he was dressed in a Western suit.

I traveled to South Korea in 2014 and participated in a United Methodist Women’s Peace Conference. It was a very political trip, and we traveled to historical sites such as the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), The Peace Life Valley, the capital Seoul etc. It was the longest time I had ever spent in a group where the majority of the women were Asian.

I stayed in South Korea for 3 weeks and participated in the weekly Wednesday protest against the Japanese embassy for war crimes and sexual slavery for the “Comfort Women” (halmoni* grandmothers.) I felt very connected to them in that moment, seeing raw rage and anger at not receiving a long overdue apology for a past atrocity committed against them. As a Black Woman, I can really appreciate those emotions. We  also learned about the significance of the Korean war, what part the United States played, and how Korea split into two countries.

I learned a lot while I was there because K-pop and K-dramas are surface culture. The Korean war, the country’s splitting, the Japanese, the Zainichi (Korean heritage, Japanese citizen) are all much deeper, political issues within Korean society. South Korea is such a young country and it really is a resilient one that has bounced back significantly from almost being eradicated completely.

So what do I think of Asian people and Asian culture now after all of this?

Before, Asians were almost non-existent people in my mind. That was due to the fact that so much was separated into Black or White, that to me, Asians were in the same category as White people, they just has dark hair and different eyes.

Before I knew any personally I interpreted them to be very emotionless, almost absent of it, because they rarely displayed it. They seemed stoic and pensive. They were quiet and submissive. They were the kind of people that were easy to ignore because they never complained. I saw them as doormats.

I myself used to be this way personality wise, which was totally contrary to the stereotypical Black girl trope.

As I got to have closer relationships however, I discovered that culturally it’s considered inappropriate to be so expressive of one’s emotions to the public.

I also saw the true feelings of people, and they would be plenty emotional and honest with me once they felt comfortable to do so.

It got so bad that there would be Asian International students who would only insist on talking to me but not with other people because they were shy or intimidated and they knew I would not judge them. It was really bad because there were times I would be standing in front of someone who was talking to them, they would not respond to them, but they would continue to talk to me, to talk to them, for them.

One big thing I noticed was when I attempted to speak their native tongue there was a great happy response. Their faces lit up and they were elated that I tried. I’d only say a few words, but their whole demeanor would change from stand-offish to very welcoming. They would recommend my ESL teaching to their friends, invite me over to their apartments, cook me food, give me gifts etc.

In college and graduate school I taught many ESL students from China and South Korea. I also formed an English hour in which the students could practice their English and meet American friends during the UNITE Multicultural club meetings.

I would say that the majority of my personal experiences with Asian people have been very positive. I am glad that I am more informed now about who Asians are as a whole and that I am able to separate out some differences.

There is always far more to learn and Asian is such a broad term for a mass amount of diverse peoples.

I hope to learn more in the future!

Please teach me  😀

 

 

My Concerns for Dating Within My Race

My concerns for dating within my race are largely affected by my individual personality and expression. To be honest it has a lot more to do with who I am and my fear of rejection, rather than other Black people.

I am not what someone would call a “typical” Black person. It doesn’t mean that there is one monolithic way to be Black, but due to societal stereotypes, cultural pressure, lack or representation and the struggle of finding others who are likewise due to minority status, it is difficult sometimes to find other like minded Black people like me.

Because of the internet and my frequent attendance to cosplay comic and and anime conventions and I have had the fortunate opportunity and being able to be exposed to a wider pool of diverse nerds such as myself.

Even though I consider myself Pro-Black and Pro Black Love, all I feel that that means is that I support the assistance, empowerment and elevation of Black people because we are marginalized in society. Black love (love between Black people) is frequently absent from media or is negatively portrayed (a.k.a. deadbeat dad, welfare queen, abusive dad, gold-digging ratchet etc.)

I would say that personality wise the most important social status for me in a partner would be nerdy interests similar to mine. Cosplay and fandom is a large part of my interests and I would prefer to be with someone who already knows about that stuff and enjoys it thoroughly. Whether they are Black or not is not vital, but if they were a fellow Blerd (Black nerd) like me, then we would be able to share our likes and our cultural similarities. That is basically a double plus!

My concern for dating Black people is that throughout my life I have felt un-welcomed or uncomfortable in some Black spaces because I either didn’t know a lot of “Black stuff” that everyone in the room seemed to already know, or people made fun of my for my “White voice” or due to my middle class background I could not relate to many economic cultural differences. I’m barely ratchet at all, although I can have a few occasional ratchet moments, and I have a very low tolerance for ratchetness, probably even lower now due to the fact that I attended a ratchet HBCU.

If a partner is looking for someone who has seen all the “Black movies,” likes all the “Black Music” and thinks and follows “Black Thought” then that probably wouldn’t be me. Personally I don’t think most Black people would want to date me due to the fact that I just don’t fit the “Black personality.” It’s not that I think we are monolithic but I have encountered plenty of Blacks that have bought into the idea that in order to be truly united we must be monolithic or that there is only one type and one proper way to be a proper “Black person.”

I know preference wise I absolutely require that I date an educated Black person. I want a Black person who is an individual, not a follower. I would highly prefer to date a blerd who I can cosplay couple with at conventions. That would be an absolute dream to have a cosplay blerd partner OMG!

Most my boyfriends were Black of which I had very few, about two to be honest, and that was due to my environment, I was at an HBCU so Black people were everywhere. My first boyfriend, although he liked anime, was not a Blerd. He was not nearly as deeply into my interest as I was and so I couldn’t share it to the level that I desired.

I don’t need my partner to be an artist, but I would like my partner to attend my art exhibitions and art events that I attend.

As far as language acquisition? I would love to have a partner who speaks another language and/or has an accent. Black people are not solely American, but I could date a Black person from another country and learn about their culture.

Another concern I have is that there are homophobic Blacks and I already decided years ago that I would not hide my bisexuality from any partner I involve myself with. I decide to tell that up front so that if they reject me, it can be from the beginning and my feelings are spared a later more hurtful rejection.

My first boyfriend was uncomfortable with my bisexuality and told me honestly that he would have preferred that I wasn’t. When I told him he had to have a day to digest it and decide if he could handle that. Honestly, if I’m a loyal partner, I really didn’t understand what the big deal was. He was acting like I confessed that I had an STD or something.

He also had an issue with my Christianity or what he referred to as the “White Man’s religion.” I know that while there are very religious Blacks, there are also anti-religious Blacks who vehemently reject Christianity for various reasons: one being due to the historical atrocities committed during colonization and Christianization of Blacks who were enslaved.

Although I am aware of that terrible past, my Christianity is very important to me and a core value of my life. I want a partner that I can attend church with and share spiritual growth with. While some Christians see being LGBTQA as not in line with Christianity, that’s not how all Christians feel, and there are reconciling ministries and LGBTQA friendly churches who are accepting and welcoming.

The last concerns is mysogynoir and colorism. I don’t want to date a man that requires me to play a submissive role just because I am a woman and he is traditional. I’m not submissive. I don’t want to be submissive. I’d rather be single for the rest of my life than subjugate myself to a role that is far beneath my potential. It doesn’t mean that I’m overbearing but I am dominant and if a partner can’t handle that, they are not strong enough to handle me in the first place. I’m strong so I want someone who is strong too.

Strong doesn’t necessarily mean someone has to be dominant, someone can be strong and submissive too. I don’t really need either trait, I just want someone who respects me, man or woman.

As far as colorism goes, I would be horrified if I found out that the person who is dating me is dating me solely because I’m a “light skinned, high yellow, red bone” and they only date that type and reject and insult dark skinned girls. I’m not co-signing that nonsense in the least. It’s true a partner could hide those true thoughts from me or simply state that light skinned is what they are attracted to most and it’s simply a preference. Still, even with that, I get a bit cringey. I’m a very open dater as far as skin complexion or race and I think it’s really silly and dumb to have those factors be barriers.

I also have a huge affinity for multicultural things. I love attending cultural events. If I encounter an “All Black Everything” Black person who only wants to do “Black stuff” that won’t work. I want to go to Latin nights at the club, the Chinese New Year Celebration, the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival, etc. I love exploring other cultures especially those outside of my own like Latin and Asian. If they aren’t into that, it’ll be a problem, because I want to go to those events together. My first boyfriend would come, but he’d come reluctantly and honestly, that just defeated the purpose.

Yes, if you haven’t noticed, I have mentioned my ex several times. My three year on and off experience with him was quite awful, and yes, he was my first Black boyfriend, but I think that people who simply create blanket statements: I had a bad (insert race) boyfriend or girlfriend so I’ll no longer date (insert race) anymore are total fools. That was one guy, and him being Black wasn’t what made him bad, he was just a bad boyfriend period.

No, I haven’t had the best experiences with Black men in my life, even apart from him, but it’s been men in general I haven’t had good experiences with, not just Black ones.

And again that erases all the good ones, like my father whom I love! I have some very good brothers (not biological) that have really helped me throughout life.

Those pretty much sum up my concerns for dating within my race. If I think of anymore, I’ll add them.

Hope you enjoyed!

Keep on luvin’ ya sistas & brothas!

What I Disliked About Sailor Moon

  • This is an unfinished blog and will be finished on a later date

 

I love the show Sailor Moon! I probably loved it much more when I was younger and now I love it in more of a fan sense, rather than someone who actually views Sailor Moon episodes non-stop. Back when Sailor Moon came out on Toonami, there were little to no Sailor Moon paraphealia in stores to buy. If there had been I would have had a Sailor Moon room, complete with an SM bed sheet, shower curtain, mat, posters etc.

Now that I am older, thanks to stores like Hot Topic, as well as others, there is a surplus of SM paraphenalia. Youtube also offers access to watching whatever episode I desire, subbed or dubbed. With that being said, those are positive aspects that I enjoy that are outside of the actual show’s content. For the next following paragraphs, I will talk about what I disliked about the SM show and why.

Firstly, Sailor Moon did not deserve to be leader, until later. Sailor Moon was a crybaby, she was gluttonous, lazy and performed poorly in school. She was naive and not the smartest girl, she also made impulsive decisions and rarely could focus on the mission at hand. She was more concerned with her social and romantic life than here heroic duties.

Granted, Serena was a fourteen year old high school girl who had the heroine role dropped on her out of nowhere. She had lost her memory and all of the this new information was a lot for her to handle. In my second point I’ll discuss the fact that SM had no training prior to the information of her hero mission being introduced.

Who Would Make The Best Leader out of the Sailor Scouts?

I felt that several of the other scouts would have made greater leaders than SM despite their flaws. Sailor Mercury would have been an excellent leader because she always focused on the mission at hand and analyzed their enemies progress, targets and weaknesses. Honestly, without Sailor Mercury, I feel the team would have failed. It is not to say that the other scouts did not have excellent skills to offer, but I definitely think focus and analytics of an enemy are core necessities for any soldier.

Sailor Mars would have been a great leader, except for her temper. Sailor Mars also had a rivalry with Sailor Moon and even though I too questioned her leadership (as a viewing fan) if you are on a team, it is important to work with the team and to respect the leader in charge (unless they are a tyrant.) SM was unfit, I agree on that, but she was no tyrant. She cared very deeply for people in general and the scouts. SM constantly fought and teased her and even flirted with her crush/boyfriend/fiance/future husband Tuxedo Mask. Rei even went on a date with him!

Sailor Jupiter was very strong physically but I feel that she lacked in focus and analytics unlike Sailor Mercury. For fighting and strength purposes Sailor Jupiter is the best.

Sailor Venus I feel would not make a good leader because she is boy crazy, just like Serena and very similar to Serena’s personality. She is more accomplished however, and already a celebrity, and in some series, she is the leader of the scouts. Still, I don’t feel that personality wise-she is the best choice. Again she lacks focus and analytics.

Sailor Uranus is a total soldier. She does what she is directed to do, regardless of morals. She was prepared to kill to save the masses. I’m not about to get into a masses vs. the individual life saving conundrum argument, but I feel that, to be a really good soldier, and I could be wrong, it’s important to think deeper than just being a direction-oriented drone. I think on an ethical, moral level, no person should simply follow the directions of another person or ideal simply because they believe in it. That leads to justification of genocides.

Sailor Neptune was very similar in fighting for the same ideals that Sailor Uranus had. She saw a threat and her mission was to destroy that threat to save the masses. The collateral damage of killing Hotoru was not more valueable than the entire Earth and universe. While I agree, I feel that SU and SN made no attempts to save Hotaru or find another way around that. They never tried to seek out a way to exorcise the demon from her body or any other alternative method. Ironically, the very ones who tried to kill her became her surrogate parents.