Hi I saw your post about the Keffiyehs and actually they are not Jewish, they are Palestinian! Israel has been appropriating Palestinian food, culture, etc in the name of colonization. Ancient Jews used to wear a headgear that was similar to either a keffiyeh, turban or a stocking cap called a Sudra. It is still worn by some Mizrahi Jews, but the Keffiyeh is a Palestinian national symbol. It is part of the Palestinian resistance movement, and is being appropriated by Israel.
Woah! Thanks so much for that. I didn’t know that it was originally Palestinian, I have seen some Palestinians and Jewish peopole wear it so I assumed it was culturally from both. So thank you so much for correcting me, a few others have sent me asks about this (although they were not so nice as yours). I will definitely change that post and make sure to say it is a Palestinian item in the future. This is the first time we’ve ever posted anything about Keffiyehs on cultureisnotacostume. I’ve noticed that most of our posts have to do with Native Americans, Indians, Latin@s, and Black culture, but we want to try and expand and give every culture some representation on this blog.
Thank you to all of the people who sent asks about this, I don’t want to get anything wrong about Palestinian culture or post false things about it. I’m the newest mod so definitely feel free to correct me if you see me making any mistakes!
Because I write about race and racism in the United States, I’m often asked some variation of this question: are things better now?
I don’t mean to be condescending when I answer, but usually my response is frustrated laughter followed by a firm “no.” It’s the most polite thing I can think to do in the moment. At least, it’s more polite than saying, “That’s a stupid fucking question.”
But that’s how I actually feel. It sounds harsh, but I truly believe “Are things better?” is one of the most useless questions in a discussion about racism. It’s another in a repertoire of rhetorical tricks we use in this country to avoid the hard work of addressing racism in its modern form. By reframing the conversation around how much progress has been made, we further the false narrative that racism is a problem that belongs to history. While we pat ourselves on the back for not being as horrible as we once were, we allow racism to become further entrenched in every aspect of American life.
In the ’90s, a gynecologist named Gao Yaojie exposed the horrifying cause of an AIDS epidemic in rural China — and the ensuing cover-up — and became an enemy of the state. Now 85, she lives in New York without her family, without her friends, and without regrets. Read More
White men are funny. Please know I love them. White men (and women) have slept in my bed and they’re lovely. But what amazes me is how much of our population does not see that most mainstream American media thoroughly explores the white male psyche: Indiana Jones, Little Miss Sunshine, Austin Powers, Sideways, Indecent Proposal, 500 Days of Summer, Harry Potter, Birth of a Nation…
I love all those movies. I don’t feel oppressed by them as much as I find more of the same type of movies uninteresting. It always cracks me up when this is brought up in dialogue, and you hear the war cry of “reverse racism!” I think it freaks some people out when they realize white men are no longer the center of the universe, and that many other varied, full, vibrant ways-of-being/living/thinking/loving exist outside of the narrow slice represented in mainstream movies. It’s also a bummer, though, because it perpetuates the zero-sum idea that voicing one experience automatically negates others. Just because there are resources (film festivals, grants, etc.) focused on developing cinematic voices outside of the straight-white-male paradigm, doesn’t mean there should be less of the straight-white man (which has been so generously covered in mainstream movies), just more that are not the straight-white man. Ideally, all voices can co-exist in mainstream media.
The corollary is since there is such a rich cinematic straight-white-man tradition, much of the thinking out there about how films should be constructed, is from that perspective. So if you are trying to find and develop your own voice, remember that the box you may be trying to think outside of is an entrenched, dusty, cement box that has existed for way too long. Find creative colleagues who are able to think outside of that box as well and can play with your ideas.
Ultimately, we live in a society that devalues the feminine experience. Not females necessarily, but feminine qualities that exist in men as well. Feminine qualities are often seen as “weak,” “irrelevant,” “complicated,” “nagging.” We also live in a society that does not acknowledge all the many colorful voices out there. It is sad that some folks still think empowerment of non-white people equals reverse racism. Or, they think Slumdog Millionaire was “enough, right?”
So my advice for women starting out on this journey is: Value Yourself. Know you have a right to a seat at the table just like everyone else. Seek out a community that nurtures your unique voice. It feels so good when fellow human beings understand and seek to empower your vision, rather than try to change and conform your art to their paradigm so they feel less uncomfortable.
If I look up “carrot” in the dictionary, most people will acknowledge I do not know all there is to know about carrots and if I truly want to understand carrots, I should probably pick up a horticultural text book. We know that legal and medical terms are going to be, at best, simplistically represented and know we need to find a lawyer or a doctor if we want to know more. Anyone deciding to base their argument on, say, a philosophical concept or term using the dictionary is going to be laughed at at best, or automatically lose whatever argument they’re trying to make at least.
Yet the minute we move into a social justice framework, the ultimate authority changes. We don’t need lived experience, we don’t need experts who have examined centuries of social disparities and discrimination, we don’t need societal context. We don’t need sociology or history – no, we have THE DICTIONARY! That ultimate tome of oracular insight, the last word on any debate!
It’s patently ridiculous and you can see that by applying it to any other field of knowledge. But the privileged will continually trot out simplistic, twitter-style dictionary definitions as if they are the last word and the ultimate authority. No-one would drag out the dictionary to debate science with a scientist. But they’re more than willing to trot out a dictionary definition of racism over any sociological analysis. A dictionary is not the ultimate authority - they’re a rough guide for you to discover the simple meaning of words you’ve never heard before – not an ultimate definition of what the word means and all its contexts.
[asking in a submission because Tumblr keeps saying I can’t send links in questions, even though I didn’t put any links in the ask. At least this means I can go into more detail. Public answers welcome.]
I know it’s stupid, but I get genuine anxieties thinking about ever getting married (which I…
what disabled people consider accessibility:
wheelchair ramps, elevators, stairs that aren't steep & contain breaks, braille, seeing eye dogs/assistant dogs, ergonomic workspaces, easy to grip tools, closed captions, resources in close proximity to each other, class note-takers, recording devices for lectures, medication, level ground, assisted learning, larger bathroom stalls with bars, quiet spaces (for sensory overload), lower workloads, being allowed time off work or school, just to name very very few
what able-bodied people consider accessibility:
"just put wheelchair ramps everywhere!!!"
I am a Korean adoptee and read your story about you not supporting adoption. If I wasn't adopted I would have been institutionalized. What are your thoughts on that? I am not trying to pick a fight. I am starting a new mission and would like to know why you think the way you do. A culture is a culture and our culture is no more right than the Korean culture. Your disagreement of the reasoning behind adoption is plausible can't type more bc of the charac limit. won't let me add an email...
Hi, thanks for the message. I think the huge issue is that a moment an adoptee says anything about having an issue with adoption, it automatically gets read as anti-adoption and many people fail to understand the true meaning. I am not anti-adoption. I don’t know where I said one culture is better than the other…both the US and Korea have its positives and negatives and I equally complain about both ; ) I simply know that as a future single mother, I am more supported and can thrive more than I could in Korea. It also helps I have fantastic family and friends in the US.
I do not support adoption in the cases where the biological parents or any family member has a desire to raise their own child but the reasoning behind it is because of things such as social stigma or lack of support systems or the many cases where the child was actually kidnapped from their biological parent(s) and given up for adoption.
I don’t believe anyone’s personal judgement, even if it is because of the majority culture or religion, etc, should be so strong that it forces a mother or father to give up their child because the family would be, for lack of better words, treated like complete shit by the entire society. I believe all countries should have support systems where single parents or struggling parents can get the help they need - be it job search, financial, insurance, education etc. so that if they have a desire to raise their own child, they have the ability to do that.
BUT I certainly support adoption where there are things like drug abuse and violence in the family, where a family would choose to institutionalize the baby instead of keeping it, where the parents do not feel they are ready to be parents and for many more reasons. In fact, as a biological child of a 14 year old rape victim, I do believe adoption was the right choice for my life.
But in the cases I mentioned above where I don’t support it, my hope is that adoption is a last option or hopefully never an option for a parent who wants to keep their baby. Again, the main message of this blog is not anti-adoption.. it is simply that every parent who wants to raise their child should be able to do so.
Would love to hear your own thoughts and what you are starting to do… please start a blog!
This is the story of how I met Gary Chan. It is also the story of how I got inspired to write these series of blog posts as a way of redefining "How To Be A Good Asian."
Redefining what it means to be “A Good Asian” is a lifelong process for me - I had plenty of reasons in my own life to figure this out for myself and with my good friends in private chats. For example, after I started performing stand-up comedy and talking about quitting my previous career, so many people in my audiences (many Asian American) would come up to me and say they wanted to do that too but were so afraid. I wrote about that in a previous blog: "I want to be a Good Asian, but now I want to do what I love."
However, it was my encounter with Gary that really inspired the idea to create a website and have a larger conversation. Gary’s story really affected me. Gary was NOT happy and though this sounds dramatic, his story haunted me. Life is so much more than about being “good” as it is finding “your happy”. And “finding happy” is much more messy, confusing, but more fulfilling than some narrow idea of being A Good Asian.
I want to share with you the stories about Asian Americans who take a variety of life journeys. I want these stories to be the ones that would’ve helped me as a middle school or high school kid to feel less alone and less pressured to fit into a suffocating and narrow box of being “A Good Asian.”
In this week’s discussion, the focus will be on deconstructing Pacific Rim. The movie contains a lot of progressive ideas and portrayals of People of Color and east Asian women in particular, yet it still relies on some problematic tropes. Related topics: Black-Asian solidarity, the portrayal of east Asian women and men in Western media, and the tensions that rise between Women of Color and Men of Color due to (lack of) media representation.
HYPHENATED* is a weekly online audio show and the brainchild of BlackinAsia and unapologetically-yellow. They met through Tumblr and began talking with one another upon realizing that they were both living and working in Asia and had a mutual friend. (‘Tis a small world.)
With this program, they hope not only to bring stories from their lives, but also their perspective as children of immigrants to events in the world. Understanding their and others’ diasporic roots led them to understanding the importance of intra-People of Color solidarity.
They are dedicated to learning how all of our lives and stories are connected.