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you are not desi


Cultural appropriation pisses us off, and if we see you appropriating our culture we will make you aware of it. Because you need to know you're wrong.

You cannot dissect a culture and pick out the parts you find "stylish" or "on trend" for the sake of looking "cute."

mahkesis

I saw the post about septum piercings and I know you answered if it's in Desi or Indian style it's probably appropriative. But is a septum piercing considered appropriative in general if it's not mimicking that style? I'm just wondering because I've been saving to have mine pierced but if it's appropriation I won't do it.

No if it’s not in the Desi style then it’s not appropriative. If you have something like a small hoop that’s okay.

lovelylankie

I hate the double standard the brown community has on dating white people. If a girl does it she's abandoning her culture but if a boy does it he's a stud. Like if you watch any Bollywood music video or movie they'll always be a ton of white girls in the background but no white boys. Girls are more pressured to be 'fair and lovely' than boys.

yes yes yes yes yes yesssssssssssss

Anonymous

na/nag/nags/nags/nagaself for mythical naga pronouns

cornflakepizza:

yaypronouns:

Oh super cool. Thank you

No. NOT super cool.

1) Naga are not “mythology” — they are important parts of multiple major world religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.

2) Appropriating Naga for pronoun use is reallllly fucking offensive on religious grounds.

3) If you are not South Asian as well as a member of one of the aformentioned religious/cultural groups, appropriating them from another culture is racist.

TBH, knowing what Naga are, I have no fricking idea why someone would even WANT to use "na/nag/nags/nags/nagaself for mythical naga pronouns" unless they were an extremely conceited fuck, but please do not promote these words as though they’re for the taking by anyone who pleases.

Please, for the love of everything sacred, do not use other people’s religious symbols as pronouns when you aren’t part of that religion. Appropriation is still appropriation. 

-Mrunmayi

kandicedanielle

I'm kind of confused by the asker talking about appropriating Western/US culture, but I'm guessing they're talking about when other countries have "American" themed parties or put on generic "American" accents? That's about the only way I can see someone appropriating US culture if you can even call it a culture.

I live in the US. We don’t have a culture, we just take parts of others and call it our own.

-Netra

septum ring/Bulak appropriation question

Hi! I’ve been thinking about getting a septum piercing but I know nose piercings are extremely common in desi culture so I decided to look it up first and try to figure out if I would be appropriating.

Specifically, I want to wear a septum ring similar to Indian styles*, which is why I’m trying to be really careful.

*like this (oh my god the description of this piece used the phrase “tribal fusion”; I’m already feeling gross)

image

All I’ve found on the internet is that nose piercings have connections to a woman’s sexuality (but that website also said that bindis are the “third eye” and I thought I read somewhere that white people made that up ? I’m probably confused, I don’t know)

I’ve managed to figure out that septum piercings are called “Bulak” but I’m still not solid on whether it would be okay to get one.

If I’m reading correctly, nose piercings are one of the 16 bridal decorations but they’re worn every day, too ? 

I also found this: “There is also a kind of septum (the dividing part between two cavities) piercing, which is equally popular as nose piercing, in Nepal and in northern parts of India including Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. This nose ring is known as ‘Bulak.’ Such piercing is also practiced by in eastern India by some communities.”

and this: “the piercing was supposed to bringshanti on her husband- basically (what I garnered from my poor Bengali) anytime she exhaled, she would be bringing good luck on her mate.”

So basically I don’t want to assume anything and I thought I’d try just asking someone!

(I’m also going to post this and tag it so other blogs can see it too)

thank you so much !!! and thank you for running a blog like this, I know people can be really rude and inconsiderate (and racist lmao) to people who are brave enough to speak up like you’re doing and I’m sorry about that. Keep it up !!!!

If you want a piercing in the “Indian style” it’s probably going to be appropriative..

-Netra

crustywhiteboyofficial

are there any types of culturally appropriative piercings that white people should avoid getting? piercings of pretty much all kinds look really pretty to me but i don't want to get one that steals from other cultures for "fashion"

I would say avoid certain types of nose rings (like maang tikka, apparently that’s common in the punk scene but don’t do it).

-Netra 

supernatasha

There's a character on Legend of Korra named P'Li who has a third eye she uses to fire bend (she's most likely East Asian), and white people are cosplaying her, drawing a third eye on their forehead... am I the only one who feels uncomfortable about this? It reminds me of when white people cosplay Cecil from WTNV and draw a third eye on their forehead to represent either his alienness or his ability to read minds.

Yeah they had a similar character on The Last Airbender too. I totally understand why you’d be uncomfortable, actually I felt the same way when watching that episode of The Last Airbender.

-Netra

Coming Home: Queer (South) Asians and the Politics of Family →

heartdashbeats:

returnthegayze:

Coming Home: Queer (South) Asians and the Politics of Family

The first time I went to a gay club the only other South Asian in the room came up to me and asked, “Do your parents know?” I didn’t need to ask, “About what?” I knew the answer — he way I know people. The way I knew who I was but didn’t know the language to explain it to my family. The way I know that there are so many of us who find ourselves lost in translation. We proceeded to have a skill share right there at the bar about the best ways to explain our queerness to our parents.

This is not an isolated instance.

When queer South Asians together chances are we’re going to start speaking about our blood families. We will talk about that disconnect: the queer communities we have built on our own and the…well…complete opposite we experience when we go back home. As activists we find ourselves in an even thornier place: navigating how to have conversations about our life work with families who would rather we just be making money. It’s really quite funny actually: how those known as a loud and unwavering voice at the rally fall back into the passive recipient of food, care, and unsolicited advice when we are back home.

The more that I’ve built community with other queer (South) Asians, the more I’ve begin to think about how these conversations about blood family are actually part of our movement work. That impromptu skillshare at the bar, that discussion potluck (I mean crying session), and those daily phone calls with extended blood family are campaign strategies that we are engaging in. What we are trying to do is create new language and framework that actually make sense for our experiences.

The fixation on blood family in queer (South) Asian politics isnotabout us romanticizing heteronormative kinship and glossing over the routine violence we experience in these settings. Nor is it about us being duped by a conservative rhetoric of family values and suggesting that our families of origin should be the only site of our political work. This is about developing alternative ways to name that abuse and different ways to heal and build from it on our own terms.

I want to suggest that our attachments to our blood families are not only sentimental, they arepolitical. This sentimentality, this angst, thisemotional laboris legitimate political work. Our turn toward our families of origin is part of a strategy of intimate organizing – a type of political work that often gets erased or dismissed by dominant white and masculine standards of queer visibility. In a political climate where radicalism is increasingly being attributed to individual activists developing individual political conscience and finding individual liberation, our turnbackto the blood family is a form of critique. It suggests a commitment to a type of collective liberation and a practice of solidarity where we refuse to allow our people to be disposable in our movement work.

* * *
It has taken me years for me to name the depths to which I subscribed to a white narrative of queer liberation. In one sense ‘coming out’ could signify the expression of my queerness. But on whose terms? Visibility for whom?

For me coming out was more about a physical act of departure – leaving South Asian spaces that I found to be too ‘traditional’ or too ‘conservative’ and becoming one of the only South Asians in queer community. Coming out meant judging my family of origin for just not understanding me. So, I sought validation from non-South Asians and found my political ‘home’ elsewhere.

In one telling of the story I ‘found’ my queerness and became an activist outside of my people. However, to subscribe to this story would be to relegate my family – and by extension, my people – into a space chiefly defined by its apathy and conservatism. White supremacy has long relied on such a trope: that immigrants and people of color are too ‘conservative’ and ‘too traditional.’

I bought into the story and defined my queerness and my politics always in contrast to my family of origin.

But what I soon learned is that as queer South Asians we navigate a complicated cultural landscape where we often are not afforded control of our own narratives. Our telling of personal violence often gets swallowed by white supremacy in the service of its racist and imperialist agenda. This is because the cultural logics that help maintain structural racism are stronger than our individual stories.

When my white peers would hear about the queerphobia I experienced from my people it would give power to a larger imperialist narrative that immigrants and people of color are traditional and conservative and therefore need to be educated or saved (read: occupied and exploited). My white peers would ask irrelevant questions like when my parents immigrated to this country and what access to education they had as if Western education and citizenship are necessary for queer politics. My white peers would ask me how fluent in English they were – as if access to English is at all correlated with queer violence. They would ask if my family’s lack of acceptance come from a desire to get me arranged married. They would ask me why I was still in contact with them, why I didn’t just cut my connections.

What became evident is that my individual narratives could not pierce through the logics of orientalism which continue to find ways to position brown folks as backwards or less developed than the Western world. What white queers don’t understand is that the entire mandate of racist assimilation in this country is about us beingforcedto give up our culture, tradition, and families. Assimilation has always been about us hating our and feeling insecure about our bodies and cultures. White folks did not understand how so many of us are not willing to leave our cultures for our queerness – how so many of us carry more complex identities than just our genders and sexualities.

It was only through building community with other queers South Asians and other queer communities of color that I began to find ways to narrate trauma in a way that felt more safe. In these communities we can name the intricacies of familial violence and not be judged for deciding to return. In these spaces I began to learn knowledge about diaspora and the history of South Asia. Collectively we began to recognize that our immigrant families are not just transphobic, they are also ‘colonized.’ I learned the ways in which colonialism in South Asia and white supremacy in the United States has always relied on regulating the genders and sexualities of my people. I learned the ways in which racism operates by enforcing and policing the gender binary and compulsory heterosexuality on communities of color. I recognized that my family is just as broken as I am but they never had the time and space to really process and heal from the violence of colonialism, the terror of Partition, the trauma of diaspora – let alone the English to articulate it to me.

Rather than blaming my own communities for our lack of queer South Asian visibility I began to realize that our diaspora responds to racism with heteronormativity and how external threat is related to intimate violence. In the white telling of the story my family is just prejudiced. But in my telling of the story my people have been so forcibly disconnected from their culture and tradition that they cling desperately onto heteronormativity to maintain some semblance of culture. In the white telling of the story my people are acting from a place of power and violence. In my telling of the story my people are acting from a place of hurt. Trauma seeps through generations.

My experiences returning to South Asian spaces have allowed me to understand the ways in which white queer politics relies on the expression of liberation as an individual and not collective process. The narrative goes that we are supposed to ‘come out’ (read: leave our blood families) and participate in the ‘movement’ (read: public visibility) and join ‘alternative kinships’ (which are necessarily supposed to be more radical and more supportive than our blood families). Both understandings of ‘queerness’ and ‘activism’ often rely on us leaving our cultural homes in order to participate in the ‘movement.’ In queer spaces what becomes read as legitimate resistance is often determined by white supremacy: standards (of visibility, politics, and identity). We often witness a hierarchy of political work – with those who are doing the most ‘public’ (defined by standards of white supremacy) being upheld as leaders while those of us who are doing the slow, intentional, and deliberate work of building within our own immigrant communities have our political labor erased. What white queer politics neglect is that many of us have more complicated relationships with our blood families that make this ‘separation’ not only more difficult, but also contradictory to our anti-racism.

It’s not just that our families are prejudiced, it is that our families are powerful. It is that our families carry long histories of both trauma and resistance in their bones and that we refuse to dispose of them like this racist country.

For those of us who still have access to our families of origin I believe that it is crucial that we do this slow and intimate work of finding ways to translate our queerness to our communities of origin. This work of coming to terms with our ‘queer’ and ‘(South) Asian’ identities cannot be the only site of our movement work (as is often the case). We must continue to mobilize in solidarity with other oppressed peoples and address prejudice within our own. Certainly we are all still trying to figure out the best strategies to do this work and to still remain safe and secure. Certainly we are going to fuck up. Certainly it’s some of the hardest work that we can do because often our validation relies on approval from the very people who deny and abuse us. But I know that doing this work is at its core anti-racist, anti-colonial, and anti-capitalist. But besides that, itfeelsimportant. And there is power and politics in that feeling. Like the same way so many of us know that we will invite our mothers to live with us when they get too old to care for themselves (regardless of what our queer communities might think).

Because when I think about the future, when I think about the world that I am fighting for…I know that I am not interested in being part of the revolution unless my mother will be right there beside me.

this is so good. i’ve highlighted my favourite parts but you should read it all.

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