“Cultural appropriation” is a term out of today’s Newspeak lexicon. It’s basically the equivalent of shouting “bad dog!” whenever a White person dares to eat sushi, read the Bhagavad Gita, or simply attempts to engage in a little special needs yoga. (Behold, the advanced guard of gentrifying “Urban Elf” fascism!)
It is part of the power discourses that seek to silence White voices from our society. As Richard has pointed out before, political correctness and cries of “appropriation” are invariably “anti-White and directed at removing White people from positions of influence, at all levels.” Not even the humble liberal yogini is immune from this cowardly plague.
Nowhere do we see this reflected more than in popular culture, where a regular stream of hems and haws about the “whitewashing” of characters and Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s awaits any intrepid young Googler. But notice there is never a complaint when a POC shows up in a previously White franchise, universe, or historical epoch. In fact, it’s downright celebrated in this, our newly minted current year.
From the latest installment of Star Wars, to the spires of Hogwarts, it seems as if the march of Diversity, Inc. goes forward without opposition. Despite the lulz and dank memes of #BoycottStarWarsVII, demands for ever more “representation” seem to be growing in a galaxy far, far, away. And in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, even J.K. Rowling seems to have no problem “erasing” her original vision in favor of a newer and far more “diverse” one.
I’ll call it “Whiteouting.” (Do you feel that? It’s as if a thousand sociology grad students cried out at once and were suddenly silenced.)
The worst culprits have got to be historical dramas. I first noticed this as a boy watching the film Robin Hood: Prince of Theives where Morgan Freeman plays a rather swarthy moor. Things have only “progressed” in our time, so to speak.
Recently, I was rather “triggered” by two television show posters. One for the series Once Upon a Time featuring a Black Sir Lancelot, and the other a Beowulf adaptation with a Black supporting character. More so than with Star Wars or Harry Potter or any other contemporary “universe,” these instances of “Whiteouting” especially bothered me. It’s because they are ultimate acts of White erasure.
It takes two of our greatest myths, Arthur and Beowulf, and hands them over to the destructive forces of our time. Don’t even get me started on the angle of miscegenation between Lancelot and Guinevere! (Is not even adultery sacred?)
All of this jabbering about our rather inane popular culture has a serious point. Who we are is revealed to us by the myths we tell ourselves and our children. Many can barely recall Arthur and Beowulf enough to defend them, hence the rabid fights over Star Wars and Harry Potter (another subject, another time). Through “Whiteouting,” our enemies hope to render our identities blank slates and make us “new men.” Or, perhaps, the last men.
This is why unplugging from our postmodern swamp is so important. So is telling our own stories, building our own “counterculture” and owning the legends of our ancestors. Resistance means defiance.
And what could be more defiant than taking back what is rightfully yours?