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a couple things…
Mako Mori is played by Rinko Kikuchi.
Rinko Kikuchi is 169cm (that’s over 5’6” to you funny folk stuck on the imperial system).
Which actually makes her TALLER than the average American woman. Hell, she’s probably taller than the average tumblr user given this age demographic.
So unless you also honestly conceive of everyday average Americans as super small, please stop referring to Mako Mori as “tiny,” “doll-like,” “child-sized,” or some equally nauseating, factually inaccurate descriptor.
Charlie Day’s Newton Geiszler is actually shorter than her. He’s also far less capable of defending himself. Pentecost, Raleigh, Hannibal Chau all tower over his puny ass.
AND YET: no one’s constantly referring to him as some itty bitty child/doll gee I wonder.
Stacker Pentecost: awe-inspiring, sure. Respected, definitely. But scary?
Raleigh greets the Marshal on how dapper he looks, then spends their subsequent scenes trailing after him like an over-enthusiastic golden retriever.
Mako repeatedly asserts her mission to avenge her family despite his reservations.
Herc comforts him on a first-name basis. Chuck pitches a tantrum in his own office. Newt and Gottlieb squabble at the top of their lungs and throw shit at each other in his presence.
Most of them disobey his orders. None of them hesitate to interrupt him. On what planet does this behavior signify fear to anybody? Did we see the same film?
I get it, we’ve been bombarded with one-dimensional portrayals of black men as scary. Black men with unrivaled expertise & dignity in positions of authority? “Terrifying,” to quote verbatim from countless fanworks.
If you’re writing some fluffy high school date AU and need to cast someone as the requisite shotgun-wielding dad, then ok whatev.
But if you think Stacker Pentecost’s terrifying, that’s your ish, because NONE of the characters do.
IDK, it would just be nice if we could enjoy these characters and their fandoms without mindlessly allowing the usual boring old bullshit preconceptions to intrude on the fun and creativity?
can’t wait for the next time someone uses the word ‘oriental’ around me to describe a person/peoples or place so i can tear apart why it makes absolutely no sense.
You’d be nice to have on hand the next time a white adoptive parent uses it to define the identity of their own child.
i am living cultural appropriation. something white ppl bought because they thought i was exotic and beautiful and world-embracing and then they thought they owned me.
Know your history.
Know other transracial adoptees’ histories.
Cultivate awareness of current events.
Connect the dots.
Review and reexamine previous notion that vehement opposition to this demand-driven, multi-billion, neo-imperialist industry is reducible to “view points.”
[Ask made rebloggable. Shoutout to AngryAsianGirlsUnited for the signal boostage.]
ETA: please give proper credit if you cite this or any of meta, cos this stuff takes time and effort y’all.
So yesterday when I made this post, many people wanted to know why Voldermort’a pet snake being named ‘Nagini’ was racially problematic. I was surprised that people hadn’t considered this, but then again desi issues/culture are hardly visible in mainstream media. But today I kept getting anons either professing complete shock about Naagini’s* significance, OR telling me that my interpretations were wrong. So I decided to write this meta on Naagini, the HP verse and mythological snake symbols. But first I’m gonna give some you some backstory about why Naagini bothers me so much and how Rowling seems to have missed out on some cultural context.
One of my favourite stories as a child was the one about Buddha and Mucalinda, the Snake King. Shortly after attaining enlightenment, the Buddha is travelling through a forest when he gets caught in a terrible storm. The great serpent, Mucalinda, shelters the Buddha by spreading it’s vast seven-headed hood over him, and permitting the Buddha to sit on his coils. Many statues depicting this scene are found throughout Sri Lanka. There was one at the junction close to my school that I would always stare at. The sight of the Buddha serenely meditating under the protection of a huge and powerful cobra is a striking one that captured my imagination as a child. Years later, I’m still moved on a deep, wordless level by this image.
Freaking BRILLIANT post. Should be read by anyone affected by the intersection of colonialism with patriarchy (read: EVERYBODY) and/or remotely interested in mythology even if you don’t give a damn about Harry Potter.
Green (1982) defines cultural competency as “the ability to conduct professional work in a way that is consistent with the expectations which members of distinctive culture regard as appropriate among themselves.”
Resistance maintains “that teaching cultural competence through the use of fact-learning about specific populations is deeply flawed and limits thinking.”
“I don’t believe that “exposure” necessarily creates competence. Short answer, I know lots and lots of white people who regularly show up in my cultural groups who are shockingly, horrifyingly non-culturally-competent and racist.”
“The problem with having an almost religious faith in ‘exposure’ is that too often, people want to treat cultural exposure as if it were a magical panacea that will overcome all cultural ignorance, obstacles, awkwardness and will above all, ‘transcend’ outsider status; almost as if, once you read a little (or a lot), travel and talk to a few native or locals you’re “set” and you will thereafter move from culture to culture with complete grace, fluidity and ease just like a local or native, thus garnering you insider status. But that is just a childish fantasy (like the white kid who dreams of being embraced and adopted by Native American Indians, marrying the princess and leading ‘the tribe’ to victory)
Reality simply doesn’t work in this manner.
It takes a certain degree of humility to realise that no matter HOW much you study or ‘expose’ yourself to another culture, you are still an outsider who didn’t grow up in the culture. (But instead, people pick up a few bits and pieces of a culture then run with it as if it were the sum total.) There is always an important and NECESSARY distance between you and other groups and what true cross-cultural competence involves is having the awareness to realise, accept and *respect* distance while still attempting to communicate and forge bonds.
But many people – particularly white people – greatly struggle with this because of their overwhelming desire to control all interactions; they fear of having to admit to being ignorant, uncomfortable, alien or at a disadvantage because it clashes so violently with how their white identity is constructed. (i.e. all-knowing, at “home” in any place or clime, ‘innately’ native to everywhere, and perpetually privileged. So they become cultural fetishists or self-proclaimed experts to avoid having to surrender control.
Cross-cultural competency is not a set test that you can prep for then pass or fail.
My reading of the OP is: don’t overestimate the benefits of ‘exposure’ to other cultures or feel that it, in and of itself, ‘solves’ everything. If done in a respectful manner, it *can* at best, be helpful; but even then, you still have to be prepared to make missteps, be confident enough to admit to them, not repeat them then recover and continue. But that takes confidence, rather than pride as to how knowledgeable you are and how well-versed or ‘exposed’ you are to other cultures. Too many people who have had a little cultural exposure have such overweening pride that they can’t recover from a gaffe or a mistake.”
The summary of my 2 cents? It’s not just a “skill” you learn, that you can check off. Oh, I learned some essentialist stuff about a culture, I’m not racist, I know how to deal with them!
white people – greatly struggle with this because of their overwhelming desire to control all interactions; they fear of having to admit to being ignorant, uncomfortable, alien or at a disadvantage because it clashes so violently with how their white identity is constructed. (i.e. all-knowing, at “home” in any place or clime, ‘innately’ native to everywhere, and perpetually privileged. So they become cultural fetishists or self-proclaimed experts to avoid having to surrender control.
At the time of decolonization and when the New Left was born in the 1960s and 1970s, the desire to live with and become the Other was transformed into an antiracist discourse, then later on morphed into the loosely defined world of New Age. The American author Jack Kerouac, who sometimes claimed that he had Native American blood, wrote in his classic novel On the Road that, “I wished I was a Negro, a Mexican, or even a Jap, anything but a white man disillusioned by the best in his own ‘white’ world.”
In a similar manner, Jim Morrison, the singer of the rock music group The Doors, boasted that he was connected to the North American continent by the way of his psychic contact with a Native American shaman.
Among the numerous examples from the same period reflecting this desire to live with, grow up with, and get taught by the Other are all the books written by New Age authors like Marlo Morgan and Olga Kharitidi, telling about their encounters with Native Americans, Aboriginals and Siberians, movie titles like The Last Samurai (2003) and Avatar (2009), and television shows like BBC’s Tribal Wives (2008) and Swedish Television’s Den Stora Resan (2009). Also, the literary genre of white women who marry and procreate with non-white men, such as I Married a Korean (1953), Not Without My Daughter (1987) and The White Masai (1998)[…]
Last but not least, the whole repertoire of subcultural phenomena, white youth and white adults who dress up and act like African Americans or East Asians, and the numerous individuals and companies that offer so-called “Oriental” quasi-spirituality, as well as associations like the Sioux Indian Club Sweden whose members dress up and roleplay as Native Americans.
[…]Canadian scholar Terry Goldie writes in Fear and Temptation: The image of the Indigène in Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Literatures that representations of the native “savage” oscillated between an abject nausea and a will to exterminate, to fetishistic desires and wish to create family ties to “it.” This reflects the white European colonizer’s more or less permanent attachment problem to the world outside Europe, the fear and hostility of being in the presence of non-Europeans, and the almost eternal need to wanting to become the Other, which results in ambivalent attitudes towards the natives, who are sometimes demonized and sometimes romanticized.
In the contemporary era, transracial adoption thus exclusively signifies the adoption of children of color to white Westerners on both international and domestic levels.
- Tobias Hubinette,"Transracial Adoption, White Cosmopolitanism, and the Fantasy of the Global family"
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