April 10, 2017

Skin Color =/= Magical Ability

via YouTube
So. This is happening: 
“Magic is not for white people. Leave that shit to brown + black women and stop fucking up the cosmic balance with ur [sic] fake witchy shenanigans.” -Sanam (@trustmedaddy) April 3, 2017
The woman who tweeted this to her +13k followers got some attention, the fall-out got picked up by Heats, and turned up in my RSS feeder by way of the Watcher of the Dawn. I wish I could say that I'm surprised that this tempest in a tea cup is gaining traction, but if there's anything I've learned from watching the Internet it's that netizens love nothing more than a fight-of-the-day. Well... truth told... I love a fight-of-the-day, too - it keeps my rhetorical skills strong and helps me refine my understanding of the world in which I live.

I'm not going to waste my time dissecting her statement that magic is for "brown and black women," because I'm not really in the mood today to debunk sexist occult tropes about magical vaginas and how they can apparently Hoover-vacuum dark forces into a woman's uterus. That kind of gender-binary occultism is broken, and it's worth talking about because people still talk about it, but that's not my focus today.

No, today I'm here to talk about CULTURAL APPROPRIATION! I don't buy into the accusation of cultural appropriation. If a white guy wants to embarrass himself by running around dressed like a mockery of a Native American, that's his business, and I think it's well established that the only person he's humiliating is himself. Likewise, if you want to be a white person who wears corn-rows or dreadlocks, that's your business. You do you, and I'll do me. People who sling accusations of CULTURAL APPROPRIATION are in many ways segregationists who want a place for everybody and everybody in their place. The flow of ideas, practices, styles, habits, and anything else you can name between people is how all those things grow and evolve. Demanding that white/brown/black/yellow/etc. people can't use something because it originated outside of their respective cultures is just another way of saying, "You have to drink from the other fountain." 

The only way for ideas and practices which are unworthy of perpetuation to be brought to an end is by being made to compete in an open marketplace of ideas. If your ideas, beliefs, practices, or customs are worthy, then they'll be figuratively or even literally purchased by customers. "Law of the jungle" doesn't just apply to animals - it applies to thoughts, concepts, beliefs, ideas, practices, customs, and even cultures. I don't think that anybody or anything should be sheltered from criticism for the sake of protecting and preserving culture. Likewise, perhaps you've got some really great stuff but you're keeping it to yourself. Have you considered that if you gave up exclusive ownership and control over whatever-it-is that you could gain a massive audience and potentially huge leverage over the further growth and development of the intangible in question? Segregation not only shelters and perpetuates unworthy ideas and practices that deserve death, but also hides and stunts worthy ideas and practices that deserve life.

The woman making this accusation of CULTURAL APPROPRIATION is doing so for exactly the reasons that I expected: she wants to validate herself as being authentic and powerful. As usual, isn't it odd how it is that the people who agitate for orthodoxy are the ones who stand the gain the most from keeping the status quo? Orthodoxy is static. It doesn't move. Honesty and creativity are the enemies of orthodoxy which would otherwise equate criticism with treason and lean heavily authoritarian. If you like authoritarianism, you're welcome to it, but that's not a mode of thought (or organizational management) that has yielded favorable results for individual liberty. You're welcome to be orthodox in your own practices, but your personal orthodoxy doesn't extend to other's personal liberty. It doesn't diminish your faith, belief, culture, ideas, habits, or practices when other people do things that don't impact you. Jesus loves you, but Satan demands you grow the fuck up.

Does this woman of color who makes the accusation of CULTURAL APPROPRIATION realize that she's reinforcing racist stereotypes about people of color? I find it deeply humorous that a woman of color is so ignorantly playing into the white stereotype that people of color are are possessed of magical power and innate abilities that white people lost as a result of becoming civilized. Is this woman aware or does she even care about how her argument that all people of color being "magical" (whatever that's supposed to mean to her) plays into and supports the racist stereotype that (mostly) white believe how people of color are more sexually promiscuous than white people? Or more violent? I mean, it's not as if people of color are mythical creatures like unicorns or leprechauns, right? We're not playing D&D and selecting classes based on the bonus rolls. Ever noticed how in many RPG's the black character typically gets bonus rolls for strength and agility, but never for intelligence or wisdom? Think about it.

This argument for a cultural or even physically/spiritually inborn magical superiority plays directly into the involuntary eugenics programs of the past which sought to improve the human race through the non-consensual sterilization of undesirables. Granted, she's not arguing for eugenics, but she is making the argument that she's superior in terms of either race or culture - and I dare you to explore where that argument will take you. I also dare you to explore the interwebs and see who else is making the argument for inborn superiority based on either culture or race. Spoiler alert: ignorant white racists ahead!

I don't have anything against elitists: if you're elite, then flaunt it. You earned it, so indulge in your earned power. But I absolutely am against people who think that they're elite for no other reason than their race or place of birth. That's deeply ignorant thinking and that kind of ignorance deserves to be killed with fire. Prove yourself elite through your accomplishments - not by clinging to herd identity. I'm not racist - I'm an equal opportunity hater and if you prove yourself to me by way of your words and your actions to be deserving of my scorn, you'll get it. No race or culture involved: for better or for worse, I'll judge you as an individual, and no defense based on ignorant stereotypes about skin color or culture will save you.

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Freedom of Expression =/= Freedom from Consequences