tatjna (tatjna) wrote,

Things wot I have lerned on the intarwebz

New Zealand is not part of the Global South, but it is part of Western Europe.

We do not get to be included in lists of English-speaking countries.

Everyone here is white.

People in America who have friends in Australia can tell New Zealanders how things are in New Zealand.

The internet is not US-centric. The Americans say so and there are a lot of them saying it, so it must be true.

The US view of race relations is the one everybody should be applying, regardless of their own culture.

This. It's one of those lists of privilege, you know the ones. It was written by a Serbian woman. Now, I have some issues with the list, because in my view privilege tends to go hand in hand with oppression, and some of the things on that list do not equate to oppression in any real sense (although this could be debated depending on location and the level of American influence in your society). Additionally, some of the things listed as American privilege can be applied to other countries as well. And it's also true that not everyone in America benefits from everything on that list. And personally, I think a lot of those things refer to the ethnocentrism of the US rather than actual privilege.

However, I think she has a point. I've talked before about US-centrism* and the frustration of dealing with it, about my own misgivings at the way US culture, language, norms and the like are slowly overpowering our own (tiny example - the ongoing thing I have with The Kid on how to pronounce 'duel'), and about the expected understanding of things American without any expectation of reciprocation. America is BIG and we are small and the internet has made it possible for us to be made even more acutely aware of this.

So far so good, it's a flawed list with a few good points and that's fine.

Enter Americans in denial. "I don't do those things, I don't have those privileges, what a load of rubbish."

Non-Americans: "Um, actually you do at least some of them in our experience. And it'd be nice if that were acknowledged."

Americans: "What the hell would you know? Your experience is not valid. Also, the voices of American POC have far more clout than those of white NZers in discussions of whether NZers feel their voices are being stifled by those of Americans."

NZers: "Um.."

Americans en masse: "STFU. BTW if you acknowledge Maori culture as part of NZ culture, you're appropriating. We know this because of our lernins - you know the ones where despite our lack of knowledge or interest in your culture, we get to dictate how things are for you based on our own standards. And it's racist to thank us for not being rude to you as we dismiss your concerns. Kthxbye."

NZers: "Oh look, we just got told didn't we? Why did we even bother?"

The irony is awesome. The hypocrisy, not so much.

Live and learn, la la la.

* I'm also aware that not everyone agrees with me on this.

A question for those who have knowledge and interest in such things: You're the leader of a group of young people who are going to a marae to learn tikanga. The only Maori members of the group are also members of the marae. Someone has to do the visitors' side of the karanga. As the leader of the group and the oldest woman, this task falls to you. You're white. What do you do?

a) Refuse on grounds of cultural appropriation?
b) Ring-in a Maori woman to do it for you?
c) Learn the karanga, suck it up and brazen it out?
d) Something else?

And in breaking news, on a personal level, my brand is cultural appropriation too. You know, the one that represents the wheel of the year, the four seasons, the points of the compass, and is a symbol that's been used in the country I and my ancestors come from for thousands of years? That was burned into my skin as a representation of the only one of the four elements that I'm not surrounded by constantly? Um, yeah. Fuck off.

In other, less primary-school mud-slinging fodder news, the time has come to get my car fitted with a towbar. Has anyone had good experiences with towbar fitting here, who'd be willing to make a recommendation?

I warped the loom last night, after doing a practice strip. This time I'll get it right and there will be wondrous things! Made from charmingly lumpy wool!
Tags: ir rong so there, people suck, ranty rant rant
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