Cultural Appropriation and The Spectacle | Very Important Docs¹⁶

Cultural Appropriation and The Spectacle | Very Important Docs¹⁶

100 thoughts on “Cultural Appropriation and The Spectacle | Very Important Docs¹⁶

  1. I love this video and agree wholeheartedly with it, I just wonder if there is a point when we start putting more effort into teaching people that movies aren't real life. The knowledge is pretty available in this day and age, after all.

  2. I loved this video so hit Patreon. But what about some of this from Quillette? It's not "Nazi" and some of the "centrist" points on free speech vs faux PTSD have validity.

  3. if you're open to constructive criticism, this video and the last "Very Important Docs" video I had to watch multiple times just to make sure I understood it. I feel like you make your points very quickly one after another using lots of academic language and I had a hard time keeping up. Maybe slow down a bit and take more time to explain each point? But at the end of the day you're actually making videos and I'm not so who am I to criticize. LOL. Anyway, keep up the good work.

  4. I honestly have a really hard time understanding the issue of cultural appropriation. I know that as a white person, I don't have any right to say people of color should or should not be angry at things they find hurtful. But at the same time I think there's a huge difference between making fun of a culture using costumes or profiting off someone else's culture, and a white teenager wearing a Chinese prom dress or corn rows in her hair. I fail to see how a person's fashion choices actually cause material or social harm to marginalized people. A part of me thinks the "cultural appropriation" debate is just an excuse to attack young women for their fashion choices. Like, if anyone wants to try to explain it to me better, I'm open to hearing what they have to say but that is my perspective at this moment.

  5. Your point toward the end really resonated with me: why is a teenage woman the platform on which to criticize the entire system? Back when white people with dreadlocks were the thing to shout at, I had a really hard time feeling at home in the liberal community because of the vitriol getting hurled at people for the “ideology” of what, to them, was a culturally neutral hairstyle. Why do we need to go nuclear on individual people who are clearly not trying to hurt anyone, when what were actually upset about is a system they’re barely even aware of? It’s misdirected anger, I think, and it’s woefully destructive to the discourse.

  6. Leftist, but anti-sjw. For the first time I see some valid arguments against cultural appropriation. Your argumentation makes sense, on one assumption, that a group has intellectual property rights to their culture. If you look at culture as a collection of ideas, surely they have had an individual inventing individual ideas, and others refining those ideas. Take a folk song for instance. There was a person who wrote that musical piece. So, he has the intellectual property rights to this song. Why should we assume that they pass on only to his/her tribe/nation and not to the whole humanity? Isn't it the case that his/her compatriots stole the intellectual property and then other people in turn stole from them?

  7. You sound so much like CGP Grey in this video. Which doesn't make any sense, if you are CGP grey….how? You are everywhere.

  8. I know I shouldn't but it's my Kinkster side 10/10 for Cleavage ???????…….don't hate me……it's funny I'm English and Halloween has always felt abit crap in comparison to the much more fun Bonfire Night with the fireworks ? and hot tomato soup in a polystyrene cups and the burning of the Guy like my local bonfire we burned Donald Trump for the second year. I do sort of culturally take Ninja or Samurai costumes for fancy dress costumes but that's mainly from being a Godfrey Ho and yojimbo fan (which was massively reignited by Westworld season 2)

  9. I'm 1/4 Tsalagi (Cherokee) and a member of the Eastern Band Cherokee, but I look completely white unless comparing skin tone side by side to a pure white person it's near impossible to tell. My Grandmother is full-blooded, from Cherokee and I grew up in Asheville NC just outside Cherokee, visiting the tribal area for most major holidays and even receiving a headband and earning 6 feathers for my headband for life achievements. I moved away across the country for the military and then work and though I'm now distant from the culture I miss it. I am however terrified to participate in anything of my ancestral culture because I do have social anxiety and am terrified of the situations that arise if say if I wore my headband for a Cherokee holiday or even some of the jewelry I have. Unfortunately, the PC police don't care about your genetics if you look white.

  10. To be honest, I don't know what to feel about this. I don't see "culture" as this sacred thing, but I am the exception not the rule. Maybe because I am a nihilist.
    One other thing, can we just regulate the "system" instead of abolishing it?

  11. Your brain makes such strange connections… my brain goes "motorboating, motorboating, motorboating" ever so often during this video. This doesn't even have boats in it, t's a great, well researched, video about cultural appropriation, not about nautical vehicles.

  12. Ok so I agree that people shouldn't be placing the fault of the repercussions of ongoing colonialism and white supremacy on individuals, and the original thread regarding the girl's dress was lowkey way overblown and dramatic tbh (speaking as a chinese), but I've seen WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY more mockery and backlash targeting OP's tweet, as well as the fact that literally no other asian american, let alone chinese american, was talking about the fucking qipao dress.

    Like I honestly, to a certain extent, feel some type of way about all these randoms on the internet dogpiling on a chinese guy on twitter and it getting circulated widely, as if his opinions were of no bearing. I also feel many types of ways regarding how these people brushed off cultural appropriation as a concept, as though they are entitled to a commodification of asian culture.

    And it's not even like I'm entirely against commodification of one's own culture – if it's to survive, I can't really protest that. But like you mentioned "unity" in your video – in my mind implying that people of color on the interwebs shouldn't bully others into submission (which i agree with btw) – and I can't understand how unity can exist when people who belong to groups in power won't extend any leeway to marginalized groups. You almost make it sound like a one way street, which I hope isn't the case, but it's discomforting to hear that?

  13. I can't really figure out your argument. You're saying things that don't really make sense about Marxism. Like I don't really understand how on a Marxist analysis a culture could be a commodity. Commodities at least have value which inheres in products of productive labor and it seems like a lot of your analysis hinges on that. So I'm not really sure I get it.

  14. The link to 'my culture isn't your prom dress memes' doesn't work. It takes you to the main distractify page which lacks a search function (on Android).

  15. I feel a weird series of events led me to this channel but I'm glad it did because this is going to be one of my new favorite channels on YouTube and I hope to see more great content in the future

  16. So how racially pure do you have to be to wear a Chinese prom dress? Is it a one-drop rule or is there some leeway?

  17. This was the first video I saw from you. I quit after a few seconds due to the very annoying intro. Now I've watched a lot of your other videos and I'm gonna give this a second chance.

  18. OMG. That lady sounds so much like ILoveKimPossibleAlot(youtuber). If you think I am just imagining things just go and check it.

  19. I was avoiding this because I hate how this topic is usually treated, but this turned out to be the video I was waiting for on the topic. I disagreed with how the online left usually handles this, and this really shows why I do. This needs to be shared

  20. I have been binging your videos and I hope going to sleep and autoplay helps a little on the ad thing
    I like the comment that Ashleigh is playing an American. I didn't even notice the American accent … I was like "wonder where she's from and who is this hottie he's partnered with for this video?"
    Nothing the binge didn't answer for me.
    Idk why you aren't more popular.
    You're stuff is going to take off in a big way soon.
    I'm excited for you! ?

  21. I still don't understand cultural appropriation considering how it is applied. I understand the disrespecting another cultures part but I don't understand why people freaked out over the dress. Or the braids. I mean, we're all gonna end up the same ethnicity and go into space at some point if we don't all die in another world war or something so why fight against each other in such petty and misdirected ways? I really don't understand.

  22. cultural appropriation!! cry the masses dressed in sweatshop/slave labour clothes made by women and children locked up in factories…long live capitalism.

  23. Wait… so what you are saying William Wallace is the American version of The Scottish Play?

    My head is already making a remix of the two… Boil Boil, Toil and Trouble, Cauldron Burn and FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDDDDOOOOOMMMM!

  24. It really does not help that the majority of attempts to explain Cultural Appropriation either go into two categories:

    1) An argument for why segregation is awesome–and how integration is a racist thing to do.

    2) RePeAtInG SoMeThInG WiTh a sIlLy vOiCe. LiKe tHaT SpOnGeBoB MeMe. HoNk >:oD

    The issue is… it seems stuff is argued as being definition number two, for the purposes of trying to argue against integration.

    It seems it is one of the things that people who are on the left for reasons of "having the correct dashboard flag" tend to bring up. Remember–it is about having the correct dashboard flag for getting into heaven. Not about behaviours, actions or even the reasons behind things. Nope… got to have the correct dash board flag and shout the correct passwords. Having the right dashboard flag and knowledge of the right pass phrases is how you good person, correct? Correct!

  25. This reminds me of that time that one 13 year old artist drew that Steven Universe fanart that made one of the more corpulent characters as bone skinny. And like, instead of having someone explain it or just be like "here's why it's problematic," you had people dogpiling on her. Stuff like that feels frustrating cuz it's like, yeah, it's problematic, but it's really not helping anybody digitally choking a 13 year old out for an aspect of representation that they might not even be conscious of (hell, it honestly points more to how society convinces people to perceive thin as beautiful, with kids who grow up on that stuff having that kind of preconception built in).

    I do lean left, but I really don't know what they shoot themselves in the foot more often than not jumping down the throats of the wrong people. If it's a full blown, 40 year old fascist, yeah, jump down their throat about it. Don't let them spread that shitty ideology. But a kid with internalized body shaming they might not even be aware of? Seriously, approach the situation better.

  26. i know this is an old video but while this has excellent analysis it comes off like it just glosses over how people of color feel about this stuff. like the only theorist referenced is a white guy, you’re white. a little deference to the people this debate is supposedly about would make this seem less…you know….white.

  27. the whole prom dress thing couldve been a great springboard for a national conversation about cultural appropriation, but it's hard to have such a nuanced conversation on such a large platform. i feel like the more people are involved in a conversation the easier it is to fall into a black-and-white question of "is thing good or is thing bad?" when the answer is more like,,, "thing is a product of a society that is built on the subjugation and commodification of other cultures and unpacking what that really means and how it really impacts us is going to take a long time and a lot of discussion and we probably shouldn't send teenage girls death threats over it"

  28. You know, here in Brazil we had a movement in which the most common slogan was "it's not for the 20 cents", that in turn was a protest against the price hike in our wasting public transport – which was specifically because of the 20 cents. Somehow, this movement grew all over the country and the slogan co-opted otherwise intellectual people as a throwback to our formerly strong student activism that helped during the end of the militarist dictatorship. Guess what, when the leaders of the original movement got the plug to stop the price hike, the movement died, which implies the whole national drama was specifically collaborating because of the 20 cents without even understanding why the movement was happening, and at the same time was used as argument for the discontentment to the government without ever actually pushing a plan to fix the problems that generated this discontentment.

    The left rang bells against the misogyny individuals and specific groups displayed, the right rang bells against the violence and the "lazy protesters", and the idiocy was such that not only it produced an enormous momentum that died on a wall, the people that sparked the first wave and their conquest was forgotten… Because no one on the masses actually cared… And all the problems that include dying infrastructure and social inequality was ignored as bells and whistles to the reactionary party goers.

    Well, our country has a holiday for independence and it is hailed as a social conquest, when the masses were barely aware of what was actually happening and the powerful people who lived here and controlled the country said it would be all good and nice because now they were officially in control. Our people never learned to protest.

  29. While I agree capitalism is part of it the people who choose to disrespect PoC are not blameless here. I have known it's not okay to walk into a veteran's house and steal his purple heart or get a cheap copy of one and run around like I did him a favor by "appreciating" him. The war bonnet actually does mean something to the people who earned it. Running around in the "Mexican" costume is a choice and a pretty racist one at that. It might not be your feelings about the matter, but it isn't your job to tell people what to feel. If you have a rather large group of people telling you that you are being culturally insensitive or outright racist maybe consider that you were being thoughtless or might have some deeply buried racism. Take some responsibility and maybe try googling stuff and learn about racism and other cultures before you go "appreciating" their culture. Also don't comment about how people don't have internet, if you're posting on fucking Instagram and watching YouTube videos you definitely have internet.

  30. Peter, you’re the first non-Irish anglophone I have ever heard pronounce Samhain correctly. I applaud you, sir.

  31. Like the video, but I think to suggest that it would be considered “too white” for someone like Kanye to support Trump is a little…troublesome.

  32. I guess what has always gotten me angry about people who appropriate culture is when they look down on the people whose culture they're borrowing to further whatever popularity or status they already have.
    Like the white guy who hates black men, but blasts rap in his truck or import car–mean mugging at black men who are just walking down the street. (Don't tell me that person doesn't exist, because I've encountered that person quite a few times)

  33. Why did I expect to cut to yourself in black face at some point? Needless to say, glad ya didn't…
    Great video, thank you.

  34. You know what's more interesting. Chinese people don't give two fucks the girl wore their dress. In fact, some Chinese people would be proud that their culture is seen as attractive in other countries. I'm English, there are about 50-something million of us. There are 1.2 Billion Chinese. China literally built their own Tower bridge (and made it twice the size) and a replica of Stratford-upon-Avon. I don't see anybody crying cultural appropriation. Oh, but I hear you say "The British are the dominant culture, they invaded China and conquered it". Yeah we did, but we've not owned a city in China since 1997, we are not dominating them in any way. In fact with all the Chinese business you could say they're dominating us now (the recreation of foreign historical sights is a statement that China is powerful and can easily reproduce all the greatest monuments everyone else is proud of. So Next time you cry about cultural appropriation of a Chinese dress, just remember that China is doing it on a political level.

  35. Your videos are very class reductionist and I hope you learn some race theory or postcolonial perspectives, but overall great video for an introductory leftist take on this issue, thanks!

  36. I agree Kanye trying to be friends with Trump was weird, but you need to chill on the judgement of him as a white person. You aren't the one who can say he was being "too white" there because you're just perpetuating the very thing you condemn (racism from the legacy of slavery). Plus, it's not like Kanye actually liked the guy, it was more so the idea of coming together as vastly different people and trying to find some common ground to change things and to stop the hate, not to agree with him. Naive? Maybe, but you're not the one to say he was being "too white" or claim he was being a "traitor to black people". With you being white, that's a pretty fucked up thing to judge Kanye on. Not to mention whites actually like Trump for some reason, and Kanye doesn't. So who's the real fucked up person and traitor to humanity lol?

  37. 24:18 Lmao uh no. It's literally just not appropriating other cultures. White people seem to have the hardest time understanding this. You guys wanna complain about not being educated on this stuff but at the same time "everyone" is too offended about CA and make such a "big" deal about it, but no one knows what it is? Hmm…. It's almost like a certain bland group needs to educate their bland kin about this stuff since people of color aren't the biggest problems on this issue. It's almost people of color literally call for whites to call their people in on stuff like this so we don't have to be considered "angry" for being validly angry at MILLENNIA of being dehumanized for doing what mayokin do…. It's almost like the call to action is on whites who end up doing… nothing but complain about people voicing their grievances ?

  38. Ps. thanks for linking to that meme page and gaslight people of color for saying "my culture isn't your prom dress" as if it's a joke…. Almost like you're trivializing the valid grievances of POCs, something you seem to acknowledge in the video but not internalize. It's so very white of you ?

  39. Appropriation is gross because it comes from hating the culture when their people do it, but then thinking its cool when the more powerful group uses those traits and calls it great only after adopting it or whatever

  40. The concept of "white people" is weird to me. I'm from Germany, but I definitely have a different culture than people from America. Why would I differentiate between skin count? Isn't it better to differentiate between nationalities, and more closely by culture?

  41. If we are to build cooperation instead of competition, we must forgive the misdeeds of others and allow them to learn and grow rather than punishing them for being ignorant of systemic oppressions and unknowingly taking place in them.

  42. Setting aside things like capitalism, isn't the most important factor something as simple as respect. I don't like certain hard stances against adopting things from a culture you do not inherit biologically, someone could treat a culture not part of their heritage with respect, just as much as someone who's heritage matches could treat it with disrespect.

    One of my favorite stories I remember from several years ago was of a little girl who wanted her birthday party to be a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Some people went ballistic in calling it cultural appropriation, but the tea ceremony was well researched, and done with respect to the culture it came from. Most Japanese people probably would not have had a problem.

    The definition of appropriation seemed a little open, under things like oppression. I would rather there be something more about with how much respect what taken, and even there it is so much open to interpretation, and discussions of who gets to decide. But such nuance is really important to anything. I would say go by mockery, whether intentional or not, and before getting angry at anyone it is important that there be a discussion with them, whether seeing their intentions, what their thoughts may be after talking to relevant people.

    I honestly think there is nothing wrong with someone deciding to wear clothes or hairstyles of a different culture, especially if someone of that culture might do the same, and would not have received any criticism. With perhaps only exceptions where it has specific relevance in something like religious reasons or something similar culturally important, that again even someone of the same heritage would receive criticism such lack of respect.

    But hey, I am a white guy living in Australia, who only real big heritage I could point to is Irish (grandparents on mother's side). Not like I am super familiar with the culture, never been there, not too familiar with many cultural things except what I heard from my mother about problems they had from oppression of the English and stuff. I do however find it a bit distasteful when people use "the Irish holiday" (St Patrick's day) to act like a mockery of an Irish stereotype and a cereal box mascot. I would have to assume a bit of that should count as cultural appropriation, due to there being a clear lack of respect to the relevant culture. Yet some people may even see it as a way to celebrate their cultural heritage they don't know much about in any way they know.

  43. Again Derrida. What is your opinion on him, btw? And why is he a stand-in for all french theorists? I want in on the joke (if it is one).

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  45. The lines of "appropriation" can get blurred quickly. I don't have Japanese blood in me (I'm completely Caucasian) and I was born in the U.S., but I spent quiiiiite a bit of my youth in Japan, attending school and assimilating. I don't just have an "appreciation" for Japanese culture. It is a part of my identity. I was gifted a yukata by friends there and wore it to an event on a campus in the U.S. where a group of Japanese-Americans got upset because I was the only non-Japanese person wearing one.

    It's also weird growing up in a country where foreigners (especially trans like me) are treated unfairly and then being called privileged and inconsiderate in the U.S. for "appropriating" a margianalized culture here. I'm no better than anyone else and seeing how people frame you simply for how you look helped me realize there really is no superior identity. Just diverse identities.

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