I ran across a tweet on cultural appropriation which boiled down to mocking someone on A+ Forums discuss cultural appropriation with the response of “Maybe Dudebros should wear a Sari or a Kimono to irritate this person”.
See here is the thing. I never had any problem with anyone wearing the clothes from my culture as long as they respected it and what it meant to the people of my culture.
My culture won’t die because white guys participate in Bhangra or white women learn to dance the Bharatanatyam. Why? Because these people are showing it a modicum of respect by trying to learn about something someone else is doing. Maybe they one day may become experts in that and can teach others.
Yes you may say that “Yoga” has gone bonkers but want to know something? The western appropriation of Yoga has caused a resurgence in India and reform to teach the “traditional” Yoga to women and make it more inclusive.
And I understand nuance. Indian culture is harder to stamp out than Native American or Black African culture since it’s so wildy variable and so good at changing and indeed making things that are foreign intrinsic to this.
The example I give is our food. Indian Food Is a Product of Colonialism And Western Civilisation.
Most of our food is spicy. Incredibly so. Compared to Mexican food, Indian food has a heat that belies the fact that just 500 odd years ago Indian food was considered “bland”. That is until the ships of the Portugese came bearing the spice that made the “curry” what it is.
Chillies. They are after all from South America. Indian farmers just ran with chillies as if Scoville units were points and points mean prizes.
The person who thinks that no one should enjoy the parts of my culture that are robust enough to be inclusive such as Holi or Diwali are rather daft. Do you think Muslim kids aren’t getting Fireworks for Diwali or Hindu kids not getting Biriyani for Eid? Do you think Indian kids would be happy that they throw paint on everyone for Holi or have a special “Hindu Only Party”?
Because that was always one of Hinduism’s Strong Points. It is an inclusive faith because it eats those who try to feast upon it.
The man who burned hundreds if not thousands of Hindus for refusing to give up their faith? MORE HINDUS PRAY TO HIM. St. Xavier is buried in India remember? St. Thomas Mount has Hindu pilgrims as does Velangani. Why? Because the Christians tried to convert Hindus and they did. The Hindus converted Christianity back by simply adding Jesus to the list of gods.
But the important point here is “respect”. You can wear the baggy silk pants, you can wear the kilt, you can wear the mask but what you cannot do is wear them to irritate someone or to make it look like your own idea or to mock us. If you cannot distinguish the line between enjoying someone’s culture and using it to irritate others then you really should not be wearing those clothes.
Stick to jeans.