Malala Yousafzai and the White Saviour Complex

Malala Yousafzai and the White Saviour Complex —click this to read a story in the HuffPost. Below is an excerpt – but I would definitely read this article in its entirety.

” I support Malala, I support the right to education for all, I just cannot stand the hypocrisy of Western politicians and media as they pick and choose, congratulating themselves for something that they have caused. Malala is the good native, she does not criticise the West, she does not talk about the drone strikes, she is the perfect candidate for the white man to relieve his burden and save the native.

The Western savior complex has hijacked Malala’s message. The West has killed more girls than the Taliban have. The West has denied more girls an education via their missiles than the Taliban has by their bullets. The West has done more against education around the world than extremists could ever dream of. So, please, spare us the self-righteous and self-congratulatory message that is nothing more than propaganda that tells us that the West drops bombs to save girls like Malala.”

I will be writing a response to this soon – But this is a really interesting read.

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Feeling Safe is a Privilege.

I was walking to school today at about 9 this morning. As soon as I stepped out – I pulled out my phone to turn on some music for my roughly 30 minute journey to school. I look up and there is a guy – mid 20s – staring at me. Okay – that’s fine. I start walking and i see him bend down to tie his shoe lace – he has crocs on. I’m thinking – oh no – I know what’s going on….As soon as I pass him – he starts following me. I promptly take my headphones out – yes, I’m scared. I turn around as casually as possible –

knowing it’s just me and this guy on this street and he is on my heels….

and then he proceeds to talk to me – “Hey girl – you in college?” I say yes…He tries to get my name, number, age….It’s like a damn interview. But why am I engaging in conversation with this person that makes me feel so unsafe? – Because I’m scared – I was intent on studying off of my phone on my way to school but instead I’m forced to converse with this person – because I feel like I cant ignore them – I don’t know if he will get physical.

Just me and this man…walking slightly behind me.

Well – this continues until I reach a part of my neighborhood where other students are also making their way to school and he gives up. And the adrenaline is down now – and I’m furious. I’m exhausted. I’m a nervous wreck. He knows where I live and he is persistent. I didn’t study for my test. And I’m alone on the verge of tears with anger and resentment. Because i am a WOMAN….i naturally must feel unsafe. ALWAYS. I’m subjected to this treatment because of my gender.

I’ve had men say – “oh yeah – I don’t walk anywhere alone when it’s dark.”

It is NOT the same…

I’m tired. I’m so done. Do not tell me I should live in a better location. Do not tell me I have to walk with a buddy. Do not tell me – you don’t need to have your headphones in anyways – you’re just listening to music.

All I’m asking is to be safe. That is clearly too much to ask of a woman.

 

Jesse Pinkman

Jesse Pinkman

Why Breaking Bad is so good:

In just -one- episode, Jesse said all of these fantastic things. ‪This is from Season 3 Episode 10. “Fly”

Jesse Pinkman: So that’s your… flysaber?
_________
Jesse Pinkman: So you’re chasing around a fly and in your world, I’m the idiot?
_______________
Jesse Pinkman: Gatorade me bitch!
_____________
Jesse Pinkman: Look, I like making cherry product, but let’s keep it real, alright? We make poison for people who don’t care. We probably have the most unpicky customers in the world.
_________________
Jesse Pinkman: Possum. Big, freaky, lookin’ bitch. Since when did they change it to opossum? When I was comin’ up it was just possum. Opossum makes it sound like he’s irish or something.
____________
Jesse Pinkman: Dude, you scared the shit out of me. When you say it’s contamination. I mean, I’m thinking like… an ebola leak or something.
Walter White: Ebola.
Jesse Pinkman: Yeah, it’s a disease on the Discovery Channel where all your intestines sort of just slip right out of your butt.
Walter White: Thank you, I know what ebola is.

Intersectionality Part I

http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/02/us/imposter-affirmative-action/index.html?sr=fb070313affirmativeactionimposter4p

You should definitely read this article. Blake really gives the reader a front row seat to his thoughts and feelings on living in an economically underprivileged situation. The isolation of low income communities here in our country skews our thoughts on the prevalence of poverty in our own communities.

Cultural Appropriation and Commodification

selena-gomez-dance-2

http://theaerogram.com/beyond-bindis-why-cultural-appropriation-matters/  <—Check out this link

This post is a tribute to a Facebook rant I had a couple of weeks ago about Western celebrities donning bindis.

Cultural appropriation – def: the borrowing of another culture’s elements such as dress, practices, language or mannerisms.

It sounds like a good thing, right? It seems like a the right thing to do – putting yourself in another’s shoes. However – it becomes more of a Halloween parade with Native American headdresses, Japanese kimonos, and North Indian lehengas. (I thought American Halloween is about being scary? – Freddy Krueger and Scream masks. I don’t know why dressing in cultural clothing gets mixed in the jumble but that’s for a more dense topic which I’ll probably write more in depth about in October).

I just got back from a yoga class (hot vinyasa yoga- Try it! It’s amazing) and I had a flashback from a somatics and dance movement therapy (DMT) class I took at UGA. A guest speaker came in all haughty about her wealth of knowledge about DMT and asked if any of us practiced yoga. I naturally raised my hand and she asked me what type of yoga. I said – idk, you know, sun salutations and stuff…like p90x. Naturally, she was disgusted with the p90x system and wrote me off. I have done yoga my whole life. It is an extremely important part of my religion and I’ve done it as a child with my parents and grandparents and in my temple during Sunday school. I felt pretty ashamed for the rest of the class because I didn’t know the appropriate name for the type of yoga I had done the majority of my life. It wasn’t until I read this article that I realized what that feeling of shame was. Looking back – I should’ve been more offended. I used yoga as a means of meditation for spiritual reasons and I still do. When my yoga class gets tough – I’m praying for Shakti. This dance movement therapist saw yoga as a cross training tool for her dancing. <–This is when cultural appropriation takes a turn for the worst. Yoga classes are popping up everywhere now. It’s becoming a mainstream class in our local gyms between Zumba and Xtreme cardio sculpt! What once held such a strong spiritual meaning within Hinduism has now been commodified (made into a commercial trade).

This article talks about another aspect of Hinduism that has been “borrowed” by Western culture – the bindi. In high school, I used to be so ashamed of being different. I was one out maybe five Indian kids at my school and that too – pretty much the only Hindu. I dreaded going to temple every Sunday because it was on the other side of town and I just knew my family would want to run errands after so as to not waste gas going out another time. “Why would I want to go into the mall or Walmart or any store for that matter dressed like a freak show?” was the question running through my head at the time. I’d have a muddle of yellow, white and red powder slathered generously on my forehead and a chudidar with loud patterns. But my mom would get upset with me (rightfully, looking back) and would force me to endure the awkward eyes that weren’t ashamed of staring.

I would feel shame. And for what? For being different. As Jaya points out, we are “perpetual immigrants” when we decide to don our Indian attire and bindis. We are treated as odd or different but when Selena Gomez wore bindis, it was cool! So this is the problem: when a Western public figure does the same thing as a typical Indo-American, but it is treated differently. One is given veneration and the latter – alienation.

So I speak for myself and I will not take it upon myself to speak for others, but as an Indian – please don’t disrespect where I’ve come from. My “elephant god” is not something cool to be tattooed on your calf, my bindi is not to be worn to your Billboard Awards and Indians are from India – Native Americans are not Indians.

 

“Appropriation occurs when bodies, typically white, popularize styles that didn’t originate with them, across a matrix of power: the power of visibility, the power to define what is ‘ethnic’ in the market. The gains that follow are reserved for the appropriator, not the appropriated. When the participation of poc in mainstream culture is relegated to trinkets Urban Outfitters can sell, what are we supposed to do, be grateful? While our communities are mined for the latest hip accessories that are lauded on white bodies while suspect on ours, it’s a valuation of whiteness above us. Above our history, dignity, and humanity.”  – Ayesha Siddiqi