Can white people be culturally appropriated?

I walk by this window all the time on my way to work, and may have even posted a picture of it before. It is the window of the childcare center at my work and I love that there are paper letters posted that say: “Be Kind Safe Clean.” Okay, so the word “Clean” must have fallen off recently, or perhaps one of the kids pulled it down? But I always look at this and think about how an innocuous message can be so charged with meaning. There is also the fact that the word “Be” is in white. Which always makes me think to myself that there may be a hidden message right there, “Be White.” Nothing intentional, of course.

Anyhow, this picture seemed like the perfect thing to pair with something I found via Twitter today. (Oh God, I’ve become one of those people who Tweet. Even if it is only under an alias for one of my art projects, @robohontas.) Saturday Saviour on Tumblr (I don’t understand Tumblr yet, but give me a few months and I might get there) was asked the following question: “Can white people be culturally appropriated?” Her answer was:

No. Cultural appropriation is a type of racism (and as we all know, white people are not racially oppressed). The reasoning behind that is, it only it makes them out to be nothing but A FUCKING COSTUME for “the poor white people with boring cultures!!!” to wear. Which ends up trivializing the lifestyles of POC, and thus, makes them seem less significant. AND, on top of all that, it’s just offensive. If a POC were to parade around “dressed as a white person” (how does one even go on about that?) it would do… well, nothing, as far as systematically oppressing whites goes. Whites are at the top of the system; they can’t be oppressed (and don’t even try arguing about that with me, or I’ll just delete your message).

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