While at WisCon 33 I was on one panel that wasn’t going to be a panel. Cultural Appropriation 101 was supposed to be a workshop. At least, that’s what Programming asked us to do. But then we only had your normal panel-length time slot of 75 minutes to do it in.
(“We” being myself and Victor J. Raymond of the Carl Brandon Society’s Steering Committee, plus Cabell Gathman of the University of Wisconsin.)
So we talked some, we took questions from the audience some, we did a couple of exercises from the Writing the Other book I co-wrote with Cynthia Ward. Also, we made a stab at putting together a glossary. It’s that last thing I’d like to work on a little more now with you.
Here are some of the defnitions we used during the workshop:
RACISM - A system of advantage based on race. Unfortunately, racism is not dead.
HONORARY WHITENESS: -I first heard of this term from linguistic anthropologist and Carl Brandon Society co-founder MJ Hardman. If a white person likes a person of color and thinks that person of color is righteous and good, and therefor like themselves, they may accord that person of color honorary whiteness. This is usually done unconsciously.
PAWS: -As in the paws given out in the course of the children’s show “Blue’s Clues.” Somebody who’s extraordinarily clueful about cultural and racial issues has four paws. Four is the max.
COOKIE – A very public reward for behaving commendably in regards to racial or cultural issues. Often, seeking said cookie is the secret motivation for such behavior. (Note: cookies are the imaginary and parodic equivalent of paws; paws are often awarded without the recipient ever knowing they have received them.)
CLUEFULNESS - Of a certain level of empathy and understanding when it comes to the situations of those of a nondominant cultural background, race, etc. Applied to those of the correspondingly dominant background. Many of my white friends exhibit a high degree of cluefulness.
P.O.S.E.E. – An acronym of my invention, standing for Person of Southern European Extraction. Some P.O.S.E.E.s argue that they are not white.
P.O.N.E.E. – My companion acronym, standing for Person of Northern European Extraction. The whitest of the white; John Aegard is my little P.O.N.E.E.
THE UNMARKED STATE - Posessing characteristics which are seen as “normal,” and thus not worth being mentioned. In this society, at this time, this includes being white, male, heterosexual, cisgendered, affluent, and with certain physical abilities. Just about everyone deviates from the unmarked state in one way or another, though some ways are deemed important and others are not.
Here are a few terms that could use definitions. Try to be smart and nice.
PEOPLE OF COLOR
And I’m sure there must be others.