" Everyone gets offended by everything these days." It's a popular sentiment -- one that I don't entirely disagree with either. But can we have a discussion about expressing this notion in response to something that people should find offense to?
Being offended/claiming offense is often all relative, which leads to a lot of offense being had! We all have our own sensitivities and awarenesses of what may or may not be appropriate, or insensitive, for that matter. This commonly leads to the offender taking on the role of the victim ("it's not fair... it's just a joke! I shouldn't have to take responsibility for my part in it, waaaah.") and the offended being left out hung to dry. I mean, if we're not personally offended by something, no one else is allowed to be either. It's not convenient for us if someone else is offended by what we choose to do or want to do, or make fun of. Duh.
A prime, relevant example takes us to Halloween, and adults dressing up as Native Americans because it's "a cool costume." Native Americans, who are, by the way, being oppressed, numbered, and thrown into prison regarding their protests to an oil pipeline that would run under their main water source, and through some sacred ground.
It's no secret Native Americans have been, and are getting the fucking shaft by the U.S. government since the days of Columbus, but that's not for us to care about, right? It's not our problem. In fact, we don't think about them at all, aren't even aware of what's going on in North Dakota (whether it's because it's getting shoddy media coverage or because we don't care to make time to read an article about it when it does cross our newsfeed), do nothing to support them and their current plight; but we damn well want -- and will fight --for our right to dress up as a "sexy Indian" on Halloween -- and fuck anyone who tells us this might be insensitive, amirite!??!
It may seem insignificant. You may be thinking, but it's a beautiful headdress and I like Native Americans, and it's a cool costume! Well, I guess that's great, for one day of the year to pretend you're a Native American, without actually having to experience their suffering, doing nothing to educate yourself on what it actually means to be, and live like, a Native American in the U.S., and probably doing little, if not nothing, to support their constant battle for their lands being taken and pilfered by the government.
This leads us to a larger conversation regarding cultural appropriation. Never heard of it? As a white gal I've only become familiar with it in recent years myself, so I'm not surprised. I was ignorant to the entire concept... the very existence of what CA means. Now, before we go further... if someone implies that you are ignorant, it's not always an insult as much as a statement. There's a big difference between ignorance and willful ignorance. We are all ignorant in one way, shape or form, to a variety of things --- but what is important is that we constantly work to educate ourselves and expand our understanding. Getting mad, defensive or offended because you don't understand, or haven't tried to, isn't benefitting you, or anyone else for that matter. There's that word again- offended! See how that works? You're offended that someone was offended by something you did which could have been interpreted as offensive. And then you complain about people getting easily offended. Whew, I'm exhausted. Again, we're not talking about a difference on opinion regarding the superiority of pie to cake, just to be clear. Anyway, if you find yourself in this position, be like Chris Hemsworth.
What is cultural appropriation you ask?!
"“Taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from someone else's culture without permission. This can include unauthorized use of another culture's dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols, etc. It's most likely to be harmful when the source community is a minority group that has been oppressed or exploited in other ways or when the object of appropriation is particularly sensitive, e.g. sacred objects.”
In the United States, cultural appropriation almost always involves members of the dominant culture (or those who identify with it) “borrowing” from the cultures of minority groups. African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans and indigenous peoples generally tend to emerge as the groups targeted for cultural appropriation. Black music and dance, Native American fashions, decorations and cultural symbols and Asian martial arts and dress have all fallen prey to cultural appropriation."
The sentence I've bolded leads us to another fun topic: white privilege! But wait... white privilege doesn't exist. It's not fair to tell me I'm privileged! I had to go to school and get good grades like everyone else. And I have to work to pay my bills! I'm not privileged! (Is this what you're thinking?) Accepting that white privilege is real is not an affront or disservice to you (if you're white, obviously). It's acknowledging the privileges that have been afforded to you as a member of the dominant race in this country. To deny that there isn't a set of privilege that comes with that, whether or not you feel you haven't actively "taken advantage of" this privilege, is ignorant. Again, that's not an insult. It's a statement.
It's one thing to be a five-year-old dressing up as his favorite character... it's another thing entirely to be an adult and play pretend with another's culture you want to adapt and benefit from, for one night, and then return to your normal, privileged life having done nothing to actually help or support that culture -- other than using that culture's wardrobe for your Facebook Profile photo.
*Edited to add: I don't think you're a bad person if you've dressed up as a Native American... and I doubt (for most of you) that you're racist, or that your intentions were cruel. I'm in my 30s and am just learning about half this shit, but, I thought I'd provide you with some food for thought. It's worth at least attempting to understand why there's a reaction, and I don't think, in this case, it can be simplified to "everyone gets too easily offended these days."
So, today I woke up like any other day.
Except today wasn't like any other day. I learned ...
I can't say their name because I know some of you crazy hussies.
You've obsessively researched my work history and called places of my former employment to complain that I post opinions you don't like on a blog page you're not forced to follow.
So I'll protect this. Because of you, I won't post anywhere publicly where I'm employed. They certainly don't deserve to receive a call from someone who's infatuated enough with me to complain, and I don't deserve you attempting to sabotage a hard-earned role because you disagree with me.
But, guys, for all you hussies I adore...and who stick with me even when (GASP) you don't always agree, I'm pretty super-duper stoked about my new job.
There is something to be said about a company that welcomes you the first day. My desk was adorned with flowers, a welcome card, and company swag. I was treated to lunch, on the company. And each introduction on the company's behalf about me rang with excitement to have me aboard. My direct supervisor, in our one-on-one, told me he hired me for my personality and feels I have the potential to do some really amazing things. I don't say that as a "look at me" but more as an observation of what it's like to work for a company that values their employees. I come from a background where I've always been forced to prove over and over again that I'm the right hire, and where you constantly have to thank those who hire you and be overly gracious for the opportunity to be hired each and every time...as though you weren't a valuable hire otherwise, based on your productivity, past work contributions, et.
Coming off of a decade of freelance industry work - the constant "hey, putting out feelers since I'm about to wrap" emails to friends and from friends, the paranoia: why did they hire "A" instead of me for that show? The unreliable and ever-changing personal budget I worked on daily for multiple best and worst case scenarios, the weeks on the road, the 15-16 hour days, the 3-4 hour commutes.... the reminding of each contact and company to keep you in mind for the next show, whenever that might get green-lit.
I survived that way for 10 years but I don't miss it.
Finally I'm working for a company who expresses excitement to have me aboard. Coworkers and bosses who actively ask each day how I'm doing and take an interest as to how I'm liking my work environment. They make sure I'm learning, graciously introduce me to clients with compliments, they encourage company lunches, and they value collaborative environments. They love that I have a family. I didn't have to pretend I don't have AB! They loved that. They've emailed me multiple times telling me how excited they are to have me on board.
It's really been a game changer for me. It's amazing what working for a company that wants to truly invest in you can do for your confidence and overall quality of life.
One of the biggest changes is the the once four hours of driving I was doing daily. That's gone. I can get to work in four minutes. FOUR MINUTES. I get home in time to hang out with AB before bedtime. No more missed nights because of traffic, or rushed 5 minutes of bedtime.
Another amazing thing: I can have lunch dates with the hubs! Or, I can hang at home and get some laundry going or do some early prep for dinner. IT'S SO AWESOME I CAN'T EXPLAIN IT. Oh, and I can plan family vacations. And we can plan house projects! GUESS WHAT! My kitchen cabinets are getting sanded and painted as I speak. EEEEEK. Been waiting a year for that to happen!
Anyway, I just felt like telling you guys because it means a few things:
I ain't got tiiiiiime for petty bullshit on my page.
I aint got time for petty bullshit regardless.
And I'm thrilled and I like to share things with at least a few of you, since at least a dozen of you like me, I think.
With that, I hope everyone else is having a marvelous week.
Today, we heard on an audio recording, the GOP presidential nominee boasting about his escapades of sexual assault - kissing women at his willful lust without permission. "Grab them by their pussy, you can do anything," he guffaws, salivating in his own perceived stardom and the power he holds as a "star."
It's 2016, and we have a presidential nominee that sees women as "less than." It's not debatable. It just is. The candidate has doubled down on his view of women as objects to be judged based upon perceived attractiveness. We were once so lucky to be compared to beautiful architecture during one of his eloquent speeches! But don't worry AB! We're supposed to believe that this "authenticity" is "refreshing!" We have a presidential candidate who is deplorable... but hey, he's open about it, so he supposed to be cool in our books.
I want you to know that you are not an object. You are not defined by how big your boobs are, or by how long your legs look in that dress. You're not obligated under any circumstance, EVER, to let a man, or anyone for that matter, touch any part of you that you do not first give permission to.
I want you to know that while a large portion of our nation is failing you at this very moment by throwing their support behind a misogynist who tells women that they must look good on their knees, or that they'd make good wife material, or that women exist to serve and please men, that I will do everything in my power to make sure you understand your power and your value.
I want you to know that I don't find this funny. I don't find it amusing. At this very moment, his "first apology ever" was just released regarding this audio. I want you to know that even though he just dismissed the release of his audio about his admission to sexual assault as a "distraction from real issues," I will not be fooled. I will not be blind. I won't pretend that this isn't rape culture at its finest. I will fight for you. I will never support someone who so passionately demotes women to nothing more than mere sexual objects for his own pleasure.
You deserve better than that. Every single girl and woman deserves better than that.
I won't ever silence you. I'll encourage you to learn and ask questions. I'll encourage you to discover all that you're capable of becoming. I'll do my damndest to see to it that you get an equal shot. I'll continue to support those who don't default to a "boys will be boys" mentality. You will know your value, I promise you that.
I want you to know that your parents won't let you down this election season.