Page 2 of 11 FirstFirst 12345678 ... LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 102
  1. #11
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Rocky Mountains USA
    Posts
    15,193
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    And given that the success of this cultural experiment was created through genocide and slavery, a little tact and discretion would be warranted.
    Genocide and slavery. Alas, this is all the American history some folks manage to cram into their brains during those hours of lectures. We fought a war about 160 years ago that ended the practice of slavery in the US and we’ve been struggling along ever since to mitigate the results of the practice. Last time I checked, slavery was an ongoing thing in other parts of the world, de facto if not de jure. I'm not going to mention one of the worst documented offenders since doing so will probably get me accused of generalizing and cultural insensitivity.

    While not making any excuses for the terrible way the First People were treated by the government, I do have to point out that if genocide is the willful destruction of a group of people then the Indians were bent on genocide of the Europeans and, coincidentally, any unrelated group of Indians who got in the way of what another group of Indians wanted. The First People were not and are not one big happy family. All we have to do here is look a few miles west to the Wind River Rez where the Arapaho and Shoshone are currently going at each other in court over bald eagles. A hundred and thirty years ago they were killing each other while trying to avoid more powerful tribes who were trying to kill them both.

    History is messy.

    Re: America "being the number one world power for most of the past century." America rose to power after WWII when the old world pulled the new world into the midst of its ancient squabbles by bombing the hell out of Pearl Harbor without warning or declaration of war. That pissed my parents and grandparents off but after the war, there America was pouring money into global reconstruction and thereby gaining influence because much of the rest of the world had bombed itself into oblivion.

    Just like anywhere else in the world, positions of authority and privilege are enjoyed by politicians and rich people and a good deal of government authorized ass kicking during the ensuing sixty or so years was vehemently objected to by the populace.


    Re: the “invisible privilege and position of authority” of average Americans being responsible for our ability to enjoy seeing others embrace our customs. You know, if you were talking about anyone but Americans you’d get accused of cultural insensitivity but seriously, I have to shake my head and laugh. Could it possibly be that we enjoy seeing others enjoy our customs, dance, and music just because we like to see people take part in the very things we take pleasure in?

    The issue though, is we (non-members of the culture) don't get to decide what will/won't be shared. More importantly it is offensive to say (as an outsider) that members of these various cultures are being "too sensitive ." All the examples you mention (christmas trees, silk road, etc) were freely shared by the members of the culture, or due to immigration. The situation going on now is more like we're taking things willy-nilly and/or without their consent.


    whereas even some everyday things from older more traditional cultures have elements of religion or specific social values attached to them that outsiders might not be able to discern without help . . . Most "American" things are secular.


    Even in America there are everyday things from older more traditional cultures that have elements of religion or specific social values attached to them that outsiders might not be able to discern without help. Really, do you think we're a blueprint of what you see on TV?

    It is good to be aware of others and to treat them and their beliefs and customs with respect but I reiterate without apology: we've all gotten a bit too sensitive about what can be shared and what can't.

    Who gets to decide whether or not to share if my husband is cool with folks in Latvia or Ceylon singing hymns that arose in the Second Great Awakening of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and my neighbor across the street is not? By the way, this was a religious and not secular occurrence that had a huge impact on the USA, but probably that story got by folks in those same old boring history lectures mentioned above. Frankly, I’ve never met anyone whose religious beliefs stem from that Awakening who wouldn’t be delighted to teach those songs to anyone who asks despite the songs having important religious and cultural significance.

    Belly dance was originally shared in the United States the same way most things get shared: by immigrants to the country. Videos and internet weren't invented in the fifties and sixties and we learned from people who'd learned from other people. My first Middle Eastern dance teacher was the mother of a friend who immigrated to California from Eygpt during the 1967 war. Can't get much more willingly shared than having someone show you how to dance in her living room and serve you honey bread and coffee afterward.

    My first raks teacher was a woman from Armenia who’d learned to dance from family and friends. More sharing- she taught me to dance, I taught her an old style of Appalachain embroidery. Oops! Darn, there I went sharing a rare example of American craft that is not without specific cultural significance . What if my friend who also teaches embroidery objects to sharing this specialized knowledge? Who gets the final word?


    Ah. What a fine discussion. Thanks to all involved.
    Last edited by Shanazel; 01-04-2013 at 12:46 AM. Reason: Shanazel's usual struggles with matters of the written language

  2. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    414
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Fish are not aware of water. I give up. Some people just don't want to listen to anything that spoils their fun.

    Really, do you think we're a blueprint of what you see on TV?
    Why don't you think other cultures are not what you see on TV?

    I can't help it if all you export is popular culture and warmongering. If someone generalising about your world power gets you all defensive, why don't you think minority cultures have any rights to educate you about the same thing? Maybe you should work harder at presenting what America really is instead of expecting the rest of the world to make excuses and allowances for you.

    (And if you find that kind of statement offensive, apply it to Egypt or Turkey. All I ask is that people stop making blanket statements about other cultures and their "rights" to take stuff from them and do what they want with them because it is the American Way. We all pay the price of colonialism. Culture is complex. That doesn't mean there is no power difference. Whether you USers realise it or not, you're still in charge. Just.)
    Last edited by Zumarrad; 01-04-2013 at 12:47 AM.

  3. #13
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Rocky Mountains USA
    Posts
    15,193
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Hello, guppy dear. Care to go for a swim with me?

    I don't think other cultures are what I see on TV. I don't own a TV. I have never owned a TV. I have lived in areas with a wide range of cultures coexisiting in a small geographical area.

    Let's turn this back on you. After I've read a few pages of anti-American lectures why don't you think I have the right to educate the lecturers the same way?

    I don't know why you get your tail on your back every time we ease over into this discussion, but if you are expecting me to roll over and pee on myself because you have a vehement hatred for my culture (hell you even put "culture" in quotation marks if the culture in question is American) then you are going to have a long wait.

    Culture is complex. We all have paid the price of colonalism and when the rest of the world( including those of you down there with your own nasty little social and cultural problems) quits laying the ills of the world on the United States we might manage to have a discussion that ends in a civil manner.

    Blanket statements are okay if they're about the USA. What if I said I can't help it if all New Zealand produces are sheep, Lord of the Ring movies, and anti-American rhetoric?

    I'm done. One cannot have a discussion once personal insults start flowing and I do not wish to join you on the wrong side of that line.
    Last edited by Shanazel; 01-04-2013 at 01:14 AM.

  4. #14
    V.I.P. khanjar's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    South West England
    Posts
    1,915
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    You know, I was thinking of this today and I came to the conclusion we as people of our respective nations reap what we do from others because of one thing common to all nations and that is the mean men in power

    For it is not us, the common or garden bod on the street struggling to survive with all the threat that surrounds us that is the problem to anyone, the problem is those that hold sufficient power to abuse and one thing must always be borne in mind is that for the mean men in power to get to where they are they have to abuse others.

    For example I come from a country reviled in History; England, the English still reap contempt from many nationalities in the world just because our place of birth is England they thinking because we are English we are that which caused so much upset to another country's history which may or may not be influencing their present. When I hear such things I have but one reply;

    Yes, before our lords and masters conquered your country they first conquered their own, because we are not them and never were, yes we funded them and spilled blood for them but we had no choice for many the option was seek their fortune or starve at home for the people never benefitted from the trade expeditions meted out on other and indeed your country, so please stop making enemies based on the actions of the same breed of mean men that still infect the world for they are in every country, not one is immune.

    One thing I have discovered from our history and that of other countries is the same sad fact that everything is commerce where the over riding feeling is people don't matter, there is one born every second the only thing that matters is money as money is the route to power and so the evils that have been committed the buying and selling of people against their will it was a commercial venture orchestrated by the same mean men that sought power and wealth.

    I don't know what the answer is, but capitalism is our combined problem for it to work there must always be the poor, oppressed and the disadvantaged, that is essential to keep the machine turning squeezing out what evils we come to know and get abused by others for, for you have to agree evil begets evil and our history creates our future and do you now what, it does not serve the lowly man in the street in the slightest as it all it does is create fear and the mean men seize upon that fact to control and get richer. In our apparent derision for people of other countries that have nothing to do with their country's past we are promoting evil to continue through seeking to divide where others will conquer.

    America, every American I have met is nothing like what their TV promotes them as and so we have to be aware of what is being done to us for the TV is education and perhaps education with political intent, think about it.

    But America is an experiment perhaps in that they are a young nation and a nation made up of many nations, people who escaped their heritage to start something new, a new hope where the oppressive old had died for one has just got to ask why is it people would choose to leave everything behind and head for a new country, what motivates them to do that, for they must have been very brave.

    And so America was founded by educated intelligent men who had viewed world history and decided they wanted nothing of that in their new country and so the Americans have something mean men hate and that is a bill of rights enshrined in law and protected by the right to bear arms as a limit to stop what every single country has done to it's own citizenry before it went on to terrorise others, for the real terrorist in our midst is the very same as it always was, the mean men in power.

    We are all immigrant nations, where in the world is not and some of the new nations are what they are because they escaped England, which is itself an immigrant nation.

    It's not countries that are the problem, nor histories, the problem is people past and present, everything depends on us and so we have this wonderful new medium available to us now that enables us to talk across nations, let us please use it to understand we are in fact all the same and everything we are is the result of what we have thought but we can change our thought for a better future and there hopefully identify within ourselves that which always comes to oppress us and choose to do different.



    ( Sorry for the wall of words, but we can do better than this )

  5. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    414
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    What if I said I can't help it if all New Zealand produces are sheep, Lord of the Ring movies, and anti-American rhetoric?
    It wouldn't and doesn't bother me at all. I don't live in a fantasy world about my own culture and country.

    Let's turn this back on you. After I've read a few pages of anti-American lectures why don't you think I have the right to educate the lecturers the same way?

    I don't know why you get your tail on your back every time we ease over into this discussion, but if you are expecting me to roll over and pee on myself because you have a vehement hatred for my culture (hell you even put "culture" in quotation marks if the culture in question is American) then you are going to have a long wait.

    Culture is complex. We all have paid the price of colonalism and when the rest of the world( including those of you down there with your own nasty little social and cultural problems) quits laying the ills of the world on the United States we might manage to have a discussion that ends in a civil manner.
    ...
    Blanket statements are okay if they're about the USA. I'm done. One cannot have a discussion once personal insults start flowing and I do not wish to join you on the wrong side of that line.
    I apologise. I don't quite see how making a statement that the US is a dominant world culture and largely secular is an expression of my "vehement hatred" for the US and in some way a personal attack on you that requires defence, but I can see that for you, it clearly hurts on some profound level that I don't understand and have no need to understand. So I do, unreservedly, apologise for triggering you and upsetting you.

    I put culture in quotes because I was referring to superficial stereotypical things, not because I don't think America has cultures, but I am not here to defend myself.

    I have perhaps not handled this well. There is a certain position in bellydance - and it TENDS to be held by American dancers, though it is certainly not the position of most American dancers that I know, and there are probably dancers from other countries who - which holds that bellydance is a US invention, that they therefore own it and issues of appropriation and race and other things like that don't apply to them. I can't engage with those people. Sometimes when I see statements online that seem to touch on that discourse, I respond to it - not with the intention of engaging with the poster but just so that another viewpoint is there for people to read. I made the mistake of picking up on what I believed to be that viewpoint in one of Shanazel's remarks, and responding to it spontaneously when I didn't really have time to make a deep and thinky post.

    I have not posted on this board for a long time and I would just like to say to anybody reading this that I do not have any kind of "vehement hatred" or even dislike for Americans. There are certain political acts that the US engages in that I don't like. Ditto Britain, ditto Australia, ditto NZ, ditto China... I have seen the effects of US cultural imperialism, to give it a scary name, on my own culture over decades and I find it interesting, if irritating, as it's on a very micro level. Don't misunderstand me - I am not pretending that the culture being altered isn't itself a product of an earlier imperalist movement out of Britain. But it's true and I see it all the time and even hear it. It's part of globalisation and it interests me.

    I can and do say and criticise things about my own country's historical and current policies on a lot of things, and especially the government we now have, even though my own country is just a small developed nation not a world power. It just doesn't come up here because this is not a community of Kiwis talking about how they can do what they want with ME dance "because we're NZers/our audiences are NZers". Ask Kashmir about me raising those issues IN NZ WITH NZers. I do it.

    I understand that some Americans don't like their country being criticised or generalised about. I can't actually understand why, given the much-vaunted freedom of speech etc. When I have done it it is in response to generalisations about other countries/people, by US posters, hoping that people might *get* it but many seldom do, so clearly it's a failed tactic.

  6. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    316
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    (My comments here aren't about any individual, but are in response to Zumarrad's post above. I live in an isolated, one-horse town, so I think I know some of the kinds of attitudes she is talking about)

    The word "parochial" is interesting. I've seen many a time that people from the kind of large place that sees it self as a "centre", whether it be Sydney, London, New York or the globally-unknown regional capital, often see what is believed/done in other places as interesting, perhaps quaint, variations on the standard. Meanwhile, people from little places that you need a good map to find, might love the lifestyle they have there but know there is a lot more to to world, actively choose what they want and access it when they need or can.

    In other words, there can be more parochialism in a big place than a small one.

    A story that puts it another way:

    A long time ago I was with a family driving from their home on a cattle station to the regional capital, Darwin, several hundred kilometres away. The children had never been to the capital before but were well used to the routine of long drives: dirt road for an hour or so, a bit of bitumen then turn off on to another dirt road to get where you wanted to go. This time, we were staying on the bitumen all the way. The children were getting restless, of course, and one groaned "When is it going to be the Darwin turn-off?"

    I laughed, but I love that world view. The road just keeps on going, endlessly.There is no centre or final destination. There are many roads and you just travel and turn off as it suits you.

    Now back to those camel belts!

    A former dance teacher of mine was enthusiastically describing ATS costumes to the class, "And they even wear belts from camel tassels! How cool!"

    I couldn't imagine anyone from where camels are working animals, wearing any of their decorations. Keeping a separation between "human" and "animal"
    is fundamental to most people and comparing a human to an animal is an insult everywhere I have ever heard of. But some will have their fancies. When I was a student, and very thin, going for a sort of punk style, I had a large studded dog collar I wore as a belt. I thought it was cool (I was about 19, right?) but I felt I had to reassure some people that I got it new, and it had never touched a dog!

  7. #17
    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    In the heartland of the USA
    Posts
    4,776
    Post Thanks / Like

    Sad

    Whoooah, whooooah, whoooooah, HEEEEEEEYYYYYY, since WHEN did a thread on tassels turn into World War III???

    *sigh*

    EDIT: Sorry Indrayu, you must have posted while I was still typing mine (in shock, I might add).
    Last edited by Farasha Hanem; 01-04-2013 at 02:01 PM.

  8. #18
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Cornfields of Evansville Indiana.
    Posts
    2,743
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Looking back at this forum, others, and of course my own experience, I do have to agree, in part, that many dancers (when it comes to issues of cultural appropriation) err on the side of caution, and that SOME TIMES we do tend to restrict ourselves for fear of doing something "wrong" or offensive.

    We don't really have them here, but we do have members of the dance community who think anything other than Egyptian dance is "bastardizing" the art form. That's one extreme.

    And we have the people who surround and confine themselves with out-of-context "rules" (don't show your palms, only twirl the cane this way, never start this step with your left foot) because that's the "safe" way to dance. That's another extreme.

    But I really think these people are in the minority. I actually want to believe that the people who are most guilty of the offensive kind of appropriation are also in the minority, but it also seems that we can't go two years on OD without dredging up the "Gypsy" issue, so maybe my expectations are off.

    What I really want to know is: what's the origin of the belly chain?

  9. #19
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Sussex, England
    Posts
    4,854
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Whoooah, whooooah, whoooooah, HEEEEEEEYYYYYY, since WHEN did a thread on tassels turn into World War III???
    About the same time tattoos turned into a debate on taking offence. It's great - I love me some heated debate - get that sauna stoked up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    What if I said I can't help it if all New Zealand produces are sheep, Lord of the Ring movies, and anti-American rhetoric?
    Noooo!!!! you forgot the wonderful Flight of the Conchords.

    Cultural interactions and learning about other people - cool.
    Picking up bits and pieces with no regard as to meaning for the people who made them, as if the world is a global supermarket - uncool.
    Getting snotty with individual people who are genuinely interested, because their ancestors did whatever to your ancestors* - also uncool IMO.

    ETA *probably meant that the other way. Whatever. Sins of the father type stuff.

  10. #20
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Cornfields of Evansville Indiana.
    Posts
    2,743
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    Noooo!!!! you forgot the wonderful Flight of the Conchords.
    My BFF's husband is a Kiwi, so we compiled the list of
    "New Zealand's Top 10 Important Cultural Contributions"
    (in no particular order)

    1. Lord of the Rings (the obvious one first)
    2. Really great wool
    3. Calling itself En Zed, which sounds so futuristic! We tried "Oosuh" but it didn't work so well for us.
    4. Xena, warrior princess, Lucy Lawless
    5. Poi, even though we like to set them on fire in the states
    6. Cadbury Yowies (illegal in the US because apparently American kids are too stupid to not eat the small parts.)
    7. Using "as" after an adjective ("cool as" to mean "very cool.")
    8. Flight of the Conchords
    9. Sam (Damian) Neil
    10. Maori art (so now every idiot who wants a tattoo can pick a random design and call it "tribal")


Page 2 of 11 FirstFirst 12345678 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •