Honestly, I don’t understand this at all and I will never understand this. The amount of hurt I feel just by looking at this photo just phantoms me, because what is this girl really thinking when she put on these shorts? That’s my deity, the One I take refugee when I’m experiencing sorrow in my life. He is my all, my everything and you have put him on your body? Not only that, you’re probably unclean, and very dirty and probably were even before you put the shorts onto your body. You do not wear Him, you do not eat meat when you’re wearing Him. You do not touch Him when you’re dirty. The person who’s even wearing the shorts is not Hindu, and I know this for a fact. No Hindu would ever wear this, ever. We don’t even wear Him when we worship at His alter. If Hindu’s, the followers, the believers of the faith, reject what you’re doing, why is an unbeliever doing this? Because it’s ‘trendy’? Because it’s ‘different’? That is my God. That is my religion. That is my faith. You’re not ‘cool’ or fucking ‘unique’ , you’re a fucking ignorant asshole.
^^^ Not Hindu but I had to reblog for this.
but didn’t you know our culture and religion are disposable to white people?
brahminical casteist crying. *eyeroll* whatever.
I think I am okay with some white girl shitting on your “you are dirty, unclean” casteist ideologies. Casteism > Cultural Appropriation.
You know, I am okay with this too. Yes the shorts are distasteful (and ew just UGLY) and it comes from a place of vile ignorance and usually racism, but as cellar door said, casteism for me too trumps cultural appropriation.
It’s also the question of whose culture is even considered “cool” to appropriate — it doesn’t make CA okay — but there is a certain privilege here. You’d put a veena on a tattoo or whatever, it will never be a dappu*.
*Pretty sure half the people crying CA on this thread won’t even know what is a dappu and who plays it.
Well, casteism overall has done more harm than cultural appropriation, I agree.
But the white chick who posted this photo probably doesn’t give a shit about that. The photo is from a pretty boring, bog-standard fashion blog that doesn’t mention caste, Dalits, Hinduism, or even Ganesha once. So I’m pretty sure nobody was “shitting on “you are dirty, unclean” casteist ideologies” at all.
And she’s pretty happy to appropriate from other cultures, too.
This does raise an issue that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time, which is how complaints and pushback against cultural appropriation are bound up with power relations within & between cultures being appropriated from, and whether cultural appropriation by white western people can ever be a comment on/intervention in, domination by a racially subjugated group.
A lot of the time pushback against cultural appropriation is about preserving authority by insisting that traditional authority is the only legitimate source for images/traditions/practices/narratives/ideas, and if they’re copied by anyone else (including, implicitly, people who are subject to that authority), they violate the integrity & dignity of everyone who’s part of a culture regardless of what position they might be in, in relation to the holders of traditional authority.
Obviously, this pushback is coming from the standpoint of caste privilege, when it comes from Hindu organisations in western countries. Most of the Hindu migrants to western countries are class- and caste-privileged.
But this is because of racism and classism on the part of white people. To put it simply, white people don’t let poor brown people into their countries (and tend to kick out, beat up, exploit, and kill the ones who are there).
But also, a lot of the time, you’re right, cultural appropriation does privilege certain ‘high culture’ forms. Which is why the same demographic - upper middle class, upper-caste/Brahmin Hindu migrants - are sometimes pretty lax about cultural appropriation. I have family members who, in the same conversation, will talk about how The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was great fun, how white cheerleaders in Bharata Natyam dress for IPL is racist, and then go on to watch Outsourced without batting an eyelid. This is because, as class- and caste-privileged people, they’re fairly insulated against any consequences arising from cultural appropriation and racism. My parents don’t have any white friends. In fact, they don’t have any friends who aren’t South Asian. They don’t need them. So if they experience racism at work, get excluded from things, or see it casually occur, they can complain about it to their friends, feel self-righteous, and then not worry about it. Their autonomy to practice their culture is pretty unaffected by appropriation, because they’re not in any of the positions that might lose out or be exploited by appropriation.
I, on the other hand, have had cultural appropriation used in a campaign of bullying, victim-blaming and intimate partner abuse (and enabling of intimate partner abuse) against me. I don’t think I’m the only one, either, since I know other women of colour (not all South Asians) who’ve had similar experiences. Then there are situations where stereotyping is directly related to intimate partner violence, resulting in murder. And when the university I went to had a party celebrating British imperialism in India, I can’t say this is a small problem. But it’s not something that fairly traditional middle-aged Hindus in culturally-sanctioned marriages are likely to experience very directly.
But then, for people of the South Asian Diaspora, I don’t know how much (caste- and class-privileged) actions and practices we engage in contribute to casteism and caste violence within South Asia… like, I am asking, because I genuinely don’t know.
To my understanding, there are diasporic South Asian communities, especially the longer-established communities made up of people who were transported as indentured labourers under British imperialism, where caste is really not the main vector of division, and where anti-blackness looms much larger as the discourse that maintains the racial privilege of South Asians.
But even the upper-caste and upper-middle-class migrants to western countries since the 1960s, by and large we aren’t the ones protesting against caste reservations for university places, public service jobs, education. We aren’t directly benefiting from exploiting Dalits; though I can see there’s plenty of indirect exploitation, and definitely casteist ideology that South Asian communities in western countries espouse.
But then, the ignorant actions of one white girl don’t really challenge that ideology. It would be like claiming that her wearing the Hand of Fatima represents her protest about the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia, or that the Dutch racist caricatures of Mohammed were somehow genuinely about the welfare of people under Islamic fundamentalist regimes. Your argument is a non-sequitur. Challenging casteism doesn’t follow from every single thing that subverts Hinduism.
Which doesn’t even get into the issues around how there are stacks of caste-oppressed people whose livelihoods depend on cultural appropriation by westerners…
The shorts are insulting, insensitive, and I never want to see any white people wearing them…. but the “dirty and unclean” shit that the OP was talking about… sent up red flags for me, tbh.
There’s some butthurt Brahminical whining going on.