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Source: (consider it) Thread: Swing low, sweet chariot - cultural appropriation?
betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
An idiotic English prop

Admirable restraint there Mr C! I can think of other words....

He is reasonably good at playing rugby though.

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And is it true? For if it is....

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by betjemaniac:
Admirable restraint there Mr C! I can think of other words....

He is reasonably good at playing rugby though.

I'm old enough to believe that people go to watch rugby union to see a good game, not to see large men throwing around their handbags - and that crowds appreciate close games even when their team loses. Rugby union is tribal, but not that tribal.

I think most crowds would disown a player who was nakedly racist to another player, whoever they were playing for.

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arse

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Anglican_Brat
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Of course it's cultural appropriation. But it is difficult to make people, specifically intoxicated sports fans to stop doing it.

The only thing we can do is better education for people willing to learn the history.

To use a churchy example, in a former parish, it was custom to have an African American soloist sing "Go down Moses", as a response to the Exodus reading in the Easter Vigil. I think that among those who knew about such liturgical matters, they knew the references to Pharoah and "Let my people go" refer not just to the Israelites and Egypt, but to black slaves and their white slaveowners in the south. It would be informative for the rest of the congregation, however, to have a note written in the service about the history of the hymn.

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It's Reformation Day! Do your part to promote Christian unity and brotherly love and hug a schismatic.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
........errr, didn't the African-American slaves (mis?)appropriately appropriate the image from Hebrew culture?

Because the black slaves were oppressing the Hebrews? Aside from that, it is Christianity that Willis was using and he was likely Christian himself.
Borrowing from other cultures is not bad, it is what humans do. Doing so without recognising the worth of that culture is, however.

It is a strange choice, given the lyrics by themselves; but given the context of the song's creation and history, exceedingly bizarre.

When the EDL sing it, they are bastards for doing so. Rugby fans, I'm not certain. Ignorant, to be sure, but not malign, IMO.

quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:

That isn't to say underlying institutional racism hasn't existed in clubs, it most probably did/does. Just as it used to exist in the Police Force until relatively recently.

What planet are you from? Because on this one, in this Britain, it still does. The difference is that there are efforts to change it, not that it has magically disappeared.
quote:

There does seem to be a determined movement out there which seems to want to force Britain to face up to it's racist past.

When it no longer has a racist present, its racist past will be less of an issue.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Basilica
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The idea that a text can have no history beyond its original composition is a remarkable one.

"Swing Low" is a piece of music written at a particular time using images from scripture. After the immediate context had passed, it was used in a variety of other contexts. Sometimes these were principally religious; sometimes they were principally campaigns for social justice; often they were both. Especially through folk music, it has entered popular culture away from its religious roots. The song has much more to it than anti-slavery.

There are times when a text's history should prevent it from being sung in a sporting context. For example, I remember being appalled at English cricket fans singing "Rule, Britannia" in the West Indies, including the line "Britons never shall be slaves". But this is not such an occasion.

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Basilica:
The idea that a text can have no history beyond its original composition is a remarkable one.

Texts are syncretic by nature.

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Forward the New Republic

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DonLogan2
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quote:
So - should the song be dropped as a crowd soundtrack to Rugby Union games because of that association?
No, culturally it had a deeper meaning when it was sung by black slaves. Now it has another meaning, it may have come from some boorish or possibly racist background, but now it is used as a tribal chant because everyone else has a tribal chant. Do I get upset about "The fields of Athenry"? No, but a Rangers fan might and I suppose I might in this context too, but from a different perspective than a Rangers fan.

quote:
Is it possible that there is ingrained racism in English Rugby Union in that something sacred has been turned into a drinking song?
Not really, otherwise there would be other racist songs, just like the Rangers/Celtic idea above they don`t just sing about the fields, they have a whole host of offensive songs to rile each other.

It`s a song to get behind the team, yes it would be nice if people were educated about the origins, but banning just in case...nah, nanny state. Perhaps we need Maro and a few others to give their opinions?

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“I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth... "

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mr cheesy
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I thought there were songs that couldn't be sung at the Old Firm matches..

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arse

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Basilica:
The idea that a text can have no history beyond its original composition is a remarkable one.

I don't think anyone is saying this.
Slavery, and its horrors, inspired the hymn. Slavery in America is over, but the struggle for equality persists. So SWLC legacy has contemporary links that mirror its roots.
ISTM, this is the root of the objections. The repercussions of slavery mean it is not past history, but a continuing history.
quote:
Originally posted by DonLogan2:
Perhaps we need Maro and a few others to give their opinions?

Why? Maro is English of Nigerian descent. American Slave spirituals are not part of his culture. Black is a colour, not a single culture.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Jay-Emm
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While on the other side we have the "White Poppy" fuss, and 'Happy holidays'* and others.
Which I guess is more cultural enforcement than appropriation. But shows that we as a group do do doublethink when we're the losers.

*that is the whining about someone else saying it.

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Jay-Emm
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Thinking about it the comments about Gay Marriage would be another ideal example.
That is when complaining about the thing by itself,
even when it's over there ('undermining the sanctity of marriage', etc...).
As supposed to being forced to host it, or anything like that (which is a different set of issues).

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:

When the EDL sing it, they are bastards for doing so.

When the EDL sing SLSC, Jerusalem, Rule Britannia, or whatever, they are singing a set of England-associated songs, and using those songs to broadcast their nasty racism.

They are indeed bastards, but I don't think they're any more illegitimate for singing SLSC than any of the others. I'd bet that close to none of them have any idea of its origins. And if they don't know its origins, they can't be appropriating it maliciously.

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Liopleurodon:
Cultural appropriation is a real issue, but it's an issue about hurting people. The key thing for me is "is this hurtful to the group this cultural artifact belongs to? Do they feel that something important is being stolen from them?"

I think I agree with all of your post but I do object in general to the phrase 'cultural appropriation' because it sounds like it means a lot more.

We shouldn't hurt people, and we should also be aware that when we use a symbol from a culture not our own, the chances of inadvertently hurting someone may be higher than we realise. But the phrase 'cultural appropriation' sounds, to me, as though it is condemning any form of cross-cultural fertilisation, like Marvin eating curry. And, to your out-and-out racists, I'm pretty sure it sounds like 'political correctness mafia thought police', and does absolutely nothing to change underlying attitudes.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
[qb]I do object in general to the phrase 'cultural appropriation' because it sounds like it means a lot more.

Culture is fluid, it always has been and likely always will be. There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself. However, dominant cultures have a habit of taking from those who they exploit whilst denigrating and/or them.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Kaplan Corday
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There is a team in the Australian Football League called St Kilda, who are known as the Saints, and whose club song is the spiritual-based When The Saints Go Marching In.

I had never occurred to me (or anyone else, AFAIK) that they were guilty of "cultural appropriation", but now it is no doubt just a matter of time before some virtue-signaller decides to grab some attention and manufacture a grievance.

[ 10. March 2017, 19:41: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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Kwesi
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betjemaniac
quote:
Well that's the official line but in a rugby context it long predates Chris Oti.
Of course you are correct. I should have made myself clear. What I meant to say is that the Oti reference is when it first seems to have been used in an international context, which is the origin of the present pathetic controversy.
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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
There is a team in the Australian Football League called St Kilda, who are known as the Saints, and whose club song is the spiritual-based When The Saints Go Marching In.

I had never occurred to me (or anyone else, AFAIK) that they were guilty of "cultural appropriation", but now it is no doubt just a matter of time before some virtue-signaller decides to grab some attention and manufacture a grievance.

Why would anyone care that they sing that?


Funny, though, how the advantaged seem to belittle any calling to attention of their privilege.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Culture is fluid, it always has been and likely always will be. There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself. However, dominant cultures have a habit of taking from those who they exploit whilst denigrating and/or them.

If the problem is exploitation and denigration, then attack those things rather than other things that even you say aren't wrong in and of themselves.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Why would anyone care that they sing that?

Why would anyone care that they sing SLSC? They're two songs from the same culture.

quote:
Funny, though, how the advantaged seem to belittle any calling to attention of their privilege.
Singing a song is privilege?

[ 10. March 2017, 20:40: Message edited by: Marvin the Martian ]

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Hail Gallaxhar

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Why would anyone care that they sing that?

Why would anyone care that they sing SLSC? They're two songs from the same culture.
Oh, such a happy statement. When the Saints Go Marching In was written by white people. It was made famous by a black man.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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DonLogan2
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by DonLogan2:
Perhaps we need Maro and a few others to give their opinions?

Why? Maro is English of Nigerian descent. American Slave spirituals are not part of his culture. Black is a colour, not a single culture. [/QB]
So let me get this right, who, in your opinion, is entitled to get upset about an American spiritual song being used by white English people? Only late 19/early 20th C American Black people?

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“I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth... "

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by DonLogan2:
So let me get this right, who, in your opinion, is entitled to get upset about an American spiritual song being used by white English people?

Keep up with the times, comrade. The English rugby team has black people in it now, too.

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Forward the New Republic

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lilBuddha
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Keep up with the times? Keep up with logic, reason, comprehension and a little cognitive effort.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Gamaliel
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'Kinnell, Stetson, only in the rootin' rootin' sharp-shootin' gun-totin' US of Gun Culture A would anyone find a reference to a loaded .44 in a school yard rhyme.

Our rather more innocent bowldlerisation of Glory, Glory Hallelujah had the teacher being punched in the belly and wobbling like a jelly ...

Still violent but no firearms involved.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Keep up with the times? Keep up with logic, reason, comprehension and a little cognitive effort.

I'm (unsurprisingly) abreast of the arguments, but it seems to me that when black British people are also considered to be part of this problem, the problem itself isn't really one to die in a ditch for.

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Forward the New Republic

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Keep up with the times? Keep up with logic, reason, comprehension and a little cognitive effort.

I'm (unsurprisingly) abreast of the arguments, but it seems to me that when black British people are also considered to be part of this problem, the problem itself isn't really one to die in a ditch for.
I'm not certain it is either. That is why I said
quote:
I'm not certain
But I think you are missing my point. DonLogan2 said to ask a person who wouldn't understand why black Americans might find this offensive apparently because they are black. Not all black people share the same experiences or have the same culture. That people don't understand this is part of the problem.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Why would anyone care that they sing that?

Because whoever originally wrote it, and however it was originally sung, it has long been identified with black singers' and musicians' versions of it, particularly from New Orleans.

It could also be objected that a secular body like a football club has no right to appropriate music from a religious tradition (in the same way that non-Christians have no right to appropriate crucifixes and use them as fashion items, let alone intentionally use them for blasphemous purposes), but we all know that isn't going to happen.

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lilBuddha
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Yeah, poor persecuted Christians. [Roll Eyes]

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Gee D
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What about Dvorak's Symphony from the New World, based not upon any particular spiritual or Native American music but inspired by what he saw as the authentic voice of the US? Is that an appropriation?

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
When the Saints Go Marching In was written by white people. It was made famous by a black man.

Cultural appropriation!
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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by DonLogan2:
So let me get this right, who, in your opinion, is entitled to get upset about an American spiritual song being used by white English people?

Keep up with the times, comrade. The English rugby team has black people in it now, too.
Though, the singing (at least during the game) is by the fans, not the players. So, the question is does "white English people" accurately reflect the people in the stands? From the crowd shots during games, I think it does quite well. And, of course, you can add relatively well off to the list of characteristics - by definition with enough money to buy tickets for an international rugby match (plus travel to get there).

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Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

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rolyn
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Theoretically there is a case for forbidding English rugby supporters from singing SLSC, it will doubtless be seized upon by the 'political correctness gorne mad' brigade thus putting more fuel in the tank of the very politics PC abhors.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
Theoretically there is a case for forbidding English rugby supporters from singing SLSC, it will doubtless be seized upon by the 'political correctness gorne mad' brigade thus putting more fuel in the tank of the very politics PC abhors.

It would be difficult to ban singing SLSC but it would be reasonable to ban the notorious actions, which are degrading and offensive on a number of levels.
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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
[qb]I do object in general to the phrase 'cultural appropriation' because it sounds like it means a lot more.

Culture is fluid, it always has been and likely always will be. There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself. However, dominant cultures have a habit of taking from those who they exploit whilst denigrating and/or them.
I agree with Marvin's response to this.

In my experience, when people say 'cultural appropriation', they are mostly describing something that is genuinely bad, but where the badness can be described without reference to cultural appropriation.

I read about a controversy a few months ago where a white male author was accused of 'cultural appropriation' for writing a book where the first-person narrator was a black woman. The substance of the complaint, in reality, wasn't that he had expressed the voice of a black woman but that he had done so ineptly - which is a crime against literature even before you get into identity politics - but describing the complaint in terms of 'cultural appropriation' leads to the obvious backlash of 'oh so you're saying no-one can ever create a viewpoint character that isn't of their own sex class and race?' One might reasonably respond that the backlash is based on a strawman, but the response to that is that one shouldn't use terms that invite such obvious strawmen.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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mr cheesy
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The other day I was listening to an Africa author who was saying how hard it was to get book contracts with western (I think she meant US) publishers for two reasons; first the publishers only wanted typecast stories - particularly about slavery - rather than he ordinary love stories she wrote; and secondly because the most popular stories about Africa are written by White middle-aged authors with very limited knowledge about that culture.

I think it is hard to argue against this, but needs a major cultural change for this to be any different.

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arse

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Ricardus
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I saw something similar in the Grauniad. The idea that a black author might want to write about, say, an eighteenth-century Venetian courtesan, rather than racism and the legacy of colonialism, causes publishers' heads to explode.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Though, the singing (at least during the game) is by the fans, not the players. So, the question is does "white English people" accurately reflect the people in the stands? From the crowd shots during games, I think it does quite well. And, of course, you can add relatively well off to the list of characteristics - by definition with enough money to buy tickets for an international rugby match (plus travel to get there).

Presumably the black players have at at least one black parent and possibly black siblings who might attend international matches at spectators.

But singing SWSC isn't aimed at being offensive to black people in the same way that (now banned) sectarian songs sung at Old Firm matches were meant to be. Yes, you can put sexist actions to it - but they're not racist actions, AFAIK. I'm trying not to engage in a case of whataboutary, but frankly, if this is the only problem Rugby Union has, it's in pretty rude health.

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Forward the New Republic

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Why would anyone care that they sing that?

Because whoever originally wrote it, and however it was originally sung, it has long been identified with black singers' and musicians' versions of it, particularly from New Orleans.
You have it a little backwards, at least for how things are in the States. "Oh When the Saints Go Marching In" is primarily identified with New Orleans, where jazz musicians—many but not all of whom are black—made it a jazz standard. It is not identified with African Americans specifically, much less with slavery, the same way that SLSC is. "Oh When the Saints" = New Orleans.

That said, it continues to be performed in a variety of styles and by a variety of musicians with no New Orleans connections—Bruce Springsteen included.

In any event, I don't think the team in St. Kilda need worry too much. The New Orleans Saints football team takes its name from the song, as well as from the fact that the team was established on November 1. "Oh When the Saints" is the team's touchdown song.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:

I read about a controversy a few months ago where a white male author was accused of 'cultural appropriation' for writing a book where the first-person narrator was a black woman. The substance of the complaint, in reality, wasn't that he had expressed the voice of a black woman but that he had done so ineptly - which is a crime against literature even before you get into identity politics - but describing the complaint in terms of 'cultural appropriation' leads to the obvious backlash of 'oh so you're saying no-one can ever create a viewpoint character that isn't of their own sex class and race?' One might reasonably respond that the backlash is based on a strawman, but the response to that is that one shouldn't use terms that invite such obvious strawmen.

It only "invites" a strawman because people do not wish to be called on their shit.

There is a massive and continuing history of white people representing black people without giving two shits about understanding the people of whom they are writing. It isn't a strawman.
Take Tony Hillerman. A white man writing about Navajo main characters in a Navajo setting. The Navajo, as a group, appear to have been accepting of him because he wrote respectfully and attempted to understand the characters and culture. He did not get everything correct, but his books were not bullshit based on stereotypes.
As mention up thread, actual black people writing about black people have a difficult time getting published. so writing them poorly adds insult to injury.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:

I read about a controversy a few months ago where a white male author was accused of 'cultural appropriation' for writing a book where the first-person narrator was a black woman. The substance of the complaint, in reality, wasn't that he had expressed the voice of a black woman but that he had done so ineptly - which is a crime against literature even before you get into identity politics - but describing the complaint in terms of 'cultural appropriation' leads to the obvious backlash of 'oh so you're saying no-one can ever create a viewpoint character that isn't of their own sex class and race?' One might reasonably respond that the backlash is based on a strawman, but the response to that is that one shouldn't use terms that invite such obvious strawmen.

It only "invites" a strawman because people do not wish to be called on their shit.
No, that's the reason why people accept the invitation.

My point is that the phrase is open to silly and strawman interpretations because it's so vague and abstract, and because it appeals to the sort of people who say things like 'white male privilege' and 'othering', when we really need to be speaking to people who say things like 'PC brigade' and 'social justice warriors' and 'virtue signalling'.

And to be honest, I think the past few years have shown that the progressive tendency to call people on their actions, without doing anything to change the underlying attitudes that give rise to those actions, has not been terribly successful.
quote:
There is a massive and continuing history of white people representing black people without giving two shits about understanding the people of whom they are writing. It isn't a strawman.
No. The strawman is that cultural appropriation means 'no-one can ever create a viewpoint character that isn't of their own class sex or race'. Which I thought was obvious from the part of my post that you quoted, but apparently not.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:

And to be honest, I think the past few years have shown that the progressive tendency to call people on their actions, without doing anything to change the underlying attitudes that give rise to those actions, has not been terribly successful.

If one cannot point out that the attitudes are wrong, there is no hope of changing them. They will not do so by themselves. A young white man tried to tell me, and an older black woman, that racism did not exist any longer. We related our experiences with racism as the first step. He said he did not see racism happening, the second step is to try to educate him as to why. Privilege allows one to ignore what others cannot. Without calling attention to this, they have no reason to look further.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Ricardus
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Yes, I agree. Our interventions need to address people's attitudes and not just their actions.

For example:

You shouldn't wear a bindi because it's cultural appropriation - alienating because it doesn't really provide a reason.

You shouldn't wear a bindi because it's treating people's beliefs about the meaning of life as wallpaper - is at least inviting people to consider their attitudes towards Hindus and facial decoration.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:

Take Tony Hillerman. A white man writing about Navajo main characters in a Navajo setting. The Navajo, as a group, appear to have been accepting of him because he wrote respectfully and attempted to understand the characters and culture. He did not get everything correct, but his books were not bullshit based on stereotypes.

I hadn't thought of Hillerman, that's an interesting example. I was more thinking of Alexander McCall Smith's books about Botswana.

I don't know much about Hillerman, but his work always seemed to me to contain a lot of knowledge and respect of the cultures he is discussing.

McCall Smith was an Englishman in Africa for part of his career and yet seeks to speak "for" Botswana. That can't be anything other than bogus, however enjoyable his books are.

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arse

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
The strawman is that cultural appropriation means 'no-one can ever create a viewpoint character that isn't of their own class sex or race'.

This isn't a strawman. I've heard people actually say this (to white male writers) and mean it.

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Forward the New Republic

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BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
<snip>I was more thinking of Alexander McCall Smith's books about Botswana.<snip>
McCall Smith was an Englishman in Africa for part of his career and yet seeks to speak "for" Botswana. That can't be anything other than bogus, however enjoyable his books are.

I don't think "an Englishman in Africa" was ever an accurate description of McCall Smith.

He was born in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe where his Scottish father was a public prosecutor. His mother wrote, but was never published. He lived there for the first 18 or 19 years of his life.

He went to Edinburgh to study law and then taught in Belfast, and in 1980, on sabbatical AFAICT from Edinburgh University, taught law in Swaziland and then 1981 was part of the team from the Edinburgh Law Faculty involved in helping to start the University of Botswana's law programme. He lived there for the first year. After that he returned to Botswana on yearly basis for many years

He seems quite happy to be called a British writer, but it is, I think, an act of more than cultural appropriation to describe him as an Englishman, and understates his long and varied involvement with Africa, and Botswana in particular merely to describe him as having been "in Africa for part of his career".

It has been commented that he takes a very 'warm' view of Botswana (which is true), but then he also takes a very warm view of Edinburgh too.

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mr cheesy
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I apologise to all Scots for describing this eminent professor an Englishman. All other parts of my comment stand - he has made a writing career from extremely limited knowledge about Botswana.

However often he has been there, he is clearly far less qualified to write about it than someone who lives there.

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arse

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:

He was born in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe where his Scottish father was a public prosecutor. His mother wrote, but was never published. He lived there for the first 18 or 19 years of his life.

I've not read Mcall Smith's books, so this isn't a direct comment on him. But if you think a Brit cannot live in a foreign country and still be not only be British, but also ignorant of the local culture, you are sadly mistaken.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
I've not read Mcall Smith's books, so this isn't a direct comment on him. But if you think a Brit cannot live in a foreign country and still be not only be British, but also ignorant of the local culture, you are sadly mistaken.

I don't think he is ignorant of the local culture and I have read and enjoyed his work. The problem isn't that he knows absolutely nothing, but that he clearly has limited knowledge which he has turned into a career - and almost by default has become for many "the voice" of Botswana and/or Africa.

It says something about us that the only voice we hear about Botswana was written by a white guy who spent very little time there.

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arse

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Cod
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There's a point missing here, which perhaps someone could clear up easily. What makes something cultural misappropriation is its use without caring about what the group it most clearly belongs to thinks. So, having a debate on whether a using particular song, visual image etc is cultural misappropriation without getting a view from that group seems just as presumptuous an imposition of our own values as deciding to use it in the first place.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying: have any people of colour from the southern USA actually complained?

In the modern, multicultural world, cultures borrow from each other all the time without anyone minding, even when the culture being borrowed from has previously been oppressed. Curry (mentioned above) is an obvious example. I think you can't presume cultural misappropriation until it's clear that offence has actually been caused.

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"I fart in your general direction."
M Barnier

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Yeah, poor persecuted Christians.

Who said anything about persecution of Christians?

Believe it or not, there are many places in the world where Christians are persecuted.

Non-Christians in Western countries using crucifixes inappropriately (from a Christian point of view) is an example of neither persecution nor cultural appropriation (though it is a case of inconsistency on the part of the cultural appropriation brigade when they selectively ignore it).

It is instead an example of the freedom we all take for granted in liberal, pluralist. multicultural societies to use whatever in the cultural mix comes our way - and to object (non-coercively) if we don't like particular instances of that happening.

The "artist" who put together the installation Piss Christ ( a crucifix in a bowl of urine) was free to do so, and Christians who didn't like it were free to say so.

Anyone who doesn't like this arrangement might like to think for a moment of the alternatives to it in other times and other places.

[ 11. March 2017, 19:40: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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