Friday, May 26, 2017

A furious rant

mi abuela, making tortillas
Really. This is a ferocious rant. Probably not what you came here for, but if I’m going to blog at all, this is what I’ve got today. 

I woke up yesterday morning to the audiotape of Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte assaulting reporter Ben Jacobs in Montana. It was horrifying. If you haven’t listened, you need to. Perhaps even more chilling than the attack, though, was the parade of moral midgets, including members of Congress, who justified Gianforte’s brutality, even reveled in it. We all know there are thugs out there, but who wants to see them defended by fellow citizens, let alone lawmakers? Who wants to find out that the sickness is systemic?

It appears to be systemic. Thanks, Trump. While I don’t think he’s the source of this ugliness, he unleashed and legitimized it. I am more disgusted with my country than I have ever been in my life.

Also trending on my Twitter feed yesterday morning was a sad, tawdry little story out of Oregon. Two young women went down to Mexico, learned how to make tortillas, started a food cart in Portland selling burritos made with their fresh tortillas, and gave a kind of dippy interview to a newspaper. This utterly banal story led to venomous charges of cultural appropriation and, apparently, death threats. In the comments thread and follow-up articles, so-called progressives alternately vilified and belittled the tortilla-makers for “appropriating” Mexican culture. (There were a lot of comments in support of the women as well, which is heartening.) One minute the women were attacked as “horrid” colonialist predators who viciously robbed secret tortilla recipes from impoverished Latina grandmothers, the next they were mocked as frivolous “Beckys” who thought it would be “cute” to filch someone else’s cuisine for their darling little cart.


The women shuttered their business a few days later and vanished from social media. 

A lot of reasonable people disagree with me, but I don’t believe cultural appropriation is a problem. I think the crusades against cultural appropriation are illiberal, mean-spirited, divisive, stifling, unAmerican, riddled with contradictions, ahistorical, and often just a flimsy excuse for self-righteous leftist scolding  — and worse.  I am pretty sure the critics in Portland who went after the tortilla makers were less interested in helping Mexican abuelas they’ve never met (and never will) than in scolding and shaming white girls. They were getting off on putting white girls in their place. There’s a lot of that going around these days among leftists of all races, including whites. Young white women seem to piss people off just by existing. 

But that’s not my concern right now. I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t think there was a more serious problem with this saga than the loss to Portland of a white-owned food cart

These scoldings — these intemperate tirades from the left — exact a price. All liberals end up paying that price, even those of us who despise the culture of scolding. We’re paying the price right now and it’s miserable. Meanwhile, cultural appropriation foes like those in Portland continue to blithely, arrogantly run up the tab. 

I’ve always been a liberal. I want liberal candidates to win elections, liberal laws to be enacted, liberal values to prevail. I would argue that going after people for cultural appropriation is not just illiberal in itself, but it impedes liberal political progress, by which I mean winning elections. Pillorying white female entrepreneurs is not how we, on the left, persuade white people in places like Montana to embrace the Democratic platform. It is not how we get people to stop voting for turds like Greg Gianforte. Indeed, these petty cultural tirades are one reason why white people in Montana vote for turds like Gianforte. Anyone who thinks voters in Red States don’t hear about tortilla nonsense in Portland doesn’t watch enough Fox News or check in at the National Review. Right-wing media outlets make damn sure their audiences know about it every time a yoga class is canceled because of  “cultural genocide.” Oh, those hilarious, asinine libtards! You can see the journalists licking their chops when they get to report that a Latina student at some elite college has decreed white girls can’t wear hoop earrings because it’s offensive to the “black and brown bodies who typically wear hooped earrings” and asks: “why should white girls be able to take part in this culture.”

Why indeed. And a good follow-up question would be: Why should ordinary white voters embrace this bullshit? Honestly, why? If the face of liberalism is a supercilious, censorious, self-righteous snot who rails against young white women because they sell tortillas, we have an electoral problem. Also, I need a new party.

Look, I don’t think the left is the primary driver of recent repulsive behavior on the right. Far from it. But some of us seem to be doing everything we can to make things even worse. I’m a white, lifelong liberal with a Latina grandmother who actually showed me how to pat out tortillas — and if I find this stuff obnoxious and alienating, it sure isn’t winning over harder hearts and minds. I hope the cultural left enjoyed its little “triumph” in Portland, that the “victory” of putting two naive young women out of business was sweet.  Because the electoral victory of the despicable Greg Gianforte —  a real, substantive victory that unfortunately requires no scare quotes —  is anything but. 

Back to more palatable fare soon.


64 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this. The world of food we live in, and that you explore in this blog, is exactly why you're right in what you say about the appropriation issue. And I do think we need to confront how folks on the left or near-left of the political spectrum have opened the door for folks like this Montana guy. I'm not sure the door's any less open now than it was last November, despite all the the hue and cry over what's gone down in D.C.

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    1. It's very complicated. I do know that when I got viciously called out for a completely banal comment on Facebook last fall from someone on the far left -- at a time when I was consumed with my loathing of Trump -- my reptile brain asked the question, Maybe you could vote for Trump? . . . I entertained that question for perhaps 35 seconds until my reasonable self took over again. I couldn't and didn't vote for Trump but the fact that it even occurred to me changed the way I think about these things.

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    2. I saw this 'appropriation' and 'white privilege'battle divide the Women's March here in Portland... the original (white) female organizer was driven out by vicious attacks she wasn't being inclusive enough ..also saw this happening(here) in indivisible groups, and online support groups...a terrible tactic and as you said..there was alot of white 'shaming' and much groveling by some of those accused...it was demeaning, pathetic, and divisive...

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  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can't add one single word to what you've written because I agree with you 1000%.

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  3. "I don’t believe cultural appropriation is a problem". I think it is a problem when people dress up for Halloween as, e.g., a Native American. I think it's a problem when a character who is Asian American is played by Emma Stone.

    I suspect that some of the backlash you think came from the left actually came from the right. You're correct that the right hears about these kinds of stories from their preferred news sources, and a lot of them will then go stir things up. The right's online commenters are eager to scream about traditionally left causes in the hopes it will start to backfire against the left. White pride people will attack whites as being "culturally insensitive" so they can then say "See? Told you whites were being attacked" and "this cultural sensitivity stuff has gotten out of hand." Just remain skeptical of internet commenters. When the comments become the story, the source material for the story is not that great.

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    1. I hear your point about Native American costumes and it's very hard to watch old Western movies in which Native Americans are played by white actors wearing bronzer. But the majority of cases that are called out don't seem reasonable to me.
      I hate the way the Right stirs this up. But even before these things get picked up by Fox, before they are spun, they often strike me as completely wrong-headed. I was adamantly on Lionel Shriver's side last fall (and I could explain in detail why.) Even if you limited yourself to the primary materials (her speech, the reaction from the cultural left) it was, for me, absurd and depressing. It didn't need any spinning from the Right to make it so.

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  4. I watched the Gianforte/Quist campaigns these last few months and the ads were awful. The sound bites amounted to "Gianforte, NOT From Montana" Ohh the horror. (insert sarcasm)
    And Quist-the folk singer who campaigned wearing a cowboy hat and guitar- shot a tv showing a negative ad about him to prove he wouldn't take away Montana gun rights. (Never did learn what either one felt about any actual issues)

    To me, for liberals to mount an effective push against conservatives we need someone who is not a climate change denier (Mr. President) but also won't stop ALL industry to save the habitat of some kind of bug. What I mean is candidates need to be more centrist to get some crossover from the other side.

    On another note, this white girl would kill to get some decent Mexican food no matter what color the hands that made it.

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    1. Yes, more centrist. For sure. I know Quist wasn't a great candidate and had some questionable personal history. Who are these candidates? I want to start seeing them!

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  5. I am another liberal, known as a problem life liberal, and I so agree that if we want to end the stuff that is going on now we have got to come together and embrace our commonality and elect those who have compassion and a love foe the middle class. We have got to realize we can't all agree on n everything. Oh yea, I'm a B
    Ernie Sanders democrat too.

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    1. What is a problem life liberal?

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  6. Inadvertently deleted my comment. I think maybe Latinas are culturally appropriating pirates.

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    1. Yes. (Dumb joke.) But seriously, hoop earrings? They are among the oldest forms of jewelry. They predate everything.

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  7. Brava. Thank you for ranting furiously. You are absolutely right.

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  8. With you. So frightening (the violence) and sad(the young ladies).

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  9. Balance is important. Like, don't wear a war bonnet to Coachella. Don't harvest the food or style of another culture without treating the people of that culture with respect. But my word, food can often transcend language or cultural barriers, and isn't that something we want? To be able to communicate with people who are different?

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    1. The note you sent me privately was very useful -- I was going to write about it but life got in the way. I really appreciated you reminding me that things look different from different places in the country

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  10. Thank you for articulating feelings I am unable to express as cogently.

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  11. I believe your readers love your blog because of your astute observations about many, many things - including food. That a guy can get elected after such loss of control and sanity says a whole lot about who we have become, and I'm with everyone who says we need to come together and get people elected who might stand up for the planet and human rights. As for food appropriation...my God. People who love food live to learn as much as they can about all cultures and traditions and try hard to get good at it. The entire history of food is about cultures embracing each other and their ways. Did those women get put out of business? I hope not.

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    1. Yes, they got put out of business -- or, more accurately, I think they just shut down because it wasn't fun to be targeted that way.

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  12. Thanks Jennifer. Seriously, I've been having the same feelings and I'm just so tired about it. I have a friend who is constantly ranting against cultural appropriation and you hit on exactly what bothers me about it.

    So, I'm not going to go on and on, but I wanted to let you know I appreciate your rant and love every post you do.

    Also, your book changed my life and I never told you that before.

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    1. Oh, thank you about the book! My son was using it to write a paper for his environmental studies class and he started quoting from it. I thought, "Wait, I wrote that?" I had no recollection.

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  13. What happened to the sentiment that the highest form of flattery is imitation? I, too, think this cultural appropriation rage is misplaced. Many cultures all over the world imitate American culture, and we are flattered. Should someone of Oriental extraction be threatened for serving cheeseburgers? Should the cast of Hamilton receive death threats because they played white people? This is ridiculous and indefensible. I agree that everyone should be respectful of another's culture, but becoming offended when it is respectful is misplaced anger. The goal should be to get all of us out of our "boxes".
    I have ranted here previously about the lack of civility in our current society, and while I don't blame Trump directly, he has certainly encouraged disrespectful and thuggish discourse, and that is a loss of opportunities for understanding each other for all of us.
    I, too, am a lifelong liberal because I believe that improving life for people who need help results in a better society for all of us. Poverty leads to crime, so even if you don't care about the poor, why wouldn't you want to decrease poverty? I respect other opinions about this that are not mean-spirited, but I prefer to make decisions based on data and emotion rather than simply emotion. Although this subject causes intense emotions in me! My grandparents were extraordinarily poor, and they didn't do anything to bring about their circumstances other than get born into them.
    I hope conversations like these bring back the tolerance we have lost. We will never improve the country for all the people while we shout past each other into the void.
    I loved this rant, Jennifer, and I appreciate that you stuck your nose out to do it!

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    1. Thanks, Beckster. It's so depressing to read the news these days and even worse to read social media.

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  14. Have you ever read the book, "When the Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down?" It's a great book and everyone who works with diverse populations, such as in the health care setting which this book addresses, should read it, IMO. In that book, there is a woman (I recall she is a doctor or a lawyer) who said that when she works with diverse populations, in this case, newly immigrant Hmong people, she doesn't worry as much about scrupulously adhering to customs, but instead respectfully asks, "is this okay?" Obviously these young women could not ask, "is this okay" other than to open their business and see it if was successful. If Latino people in their community were pitching a fit, that is one thing. If it is just sanctimonious PC white folks, that is entirely another. Speaking as a white person (full disclosure), I think cultural appropriation is wrong when it casts a potentially unflattering light on the source culture. Otherwise, if done in an appreciative way and one which provides attribution to the source, it can be part of what is considered to be good about our melting pot culture in America.

    I agree with you completely about the absolute mess we are in in the US right now. I am appalled that the right seems to think that the most egregious behavior is now acceptable and even laudatory and worthy of election to office. That guy in Montana is an absolute turkey and shame on every Montanan who voted for him, as well as anyone who stayed home from voting and did not do their part to prevent the further erosion of civility in America. Absolutely in dread of what has already begun and is to come from this horrible administration. And liberals need to get their crap together, focus on the important stuff we stand for in America and fight, fight, fight! Thank you again, Jennifer, for your writing on this topic.

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    1. "Speaking as a white person (full disclosure), I think cultural appropriation is wrong when it casts a potentially unflattering light on the source culture."
      You are right. This is a good point. Some Latinos (and whites and African Americans) were pitching a fit about the taco cart, other Latinos wrote that it was silly to make a fuss about it. Some commentators have said that it's foolish to go after a taco cart when you could go after Chipotle. But then the taco cart is a soft target.

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  15. I need a new party too. Have you heard of the new united party in Utah? I'm watching to see if anything comes of it.

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    1. No? What is the party? Things seem to be exploding. Have you been following the events at Evergreen?

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  16. We lived next door to an Indian family. My mother learned to make pakoras and perfect rice. Their mom learned to bake brownies and put mint in iced tea. We didn't call it cultural appropriation; we called it friendship.

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    1. Yes. That's a nice story. Friendship is good!

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  17. Jennifer, Please do not throw out the baby with the bath water. It's understandable why you are mad about the young ladies and their cart, and please see the larger issue at play. There are people who take cultural appropriation too far and I find they are the ones who are supposedly speaking for a community rather than passing the mic to the community. As a I black woman, I have witnessed cultural appropriation in the form of white women being admired for using our language, clothing, music while black woman are degraded for the very same behavior. A commenter above mentioned issues with appropriating aspects of Native American culture. The issue isn't that white women (and men) are being vilified for their existence, it's that they are considered the poster children for what is good and normal and I dare say...Human. Those who do not fit those parameters due to culture, looks, beliefs, etc. have been "othered" and that otherness has been used as a weapon to create the perception that they are less than human. This is the same issue with white privilege. Some of the intense rhetoric you are seeing from communities calling out cultural appropriation is generations of pain that is final allowed to see the light of day. I understand extremism in any direction is tough to witness. The pendulum has been swinging in one direction for so long that it is swinging full force in the other direction. I hope in time that there is some balance reached. It's not perfect. This country is dealing with prejudices so insidiously ingrained that EVERYONE is a participant in maintaining status quo. Recognizing and resolving these issues is like a baby learning to walk. They are teeter tottering from one side to the other and falling quite a bit. Hopefully, as a nation we will learn to steady our feet so we can all truly be neighbors who respect each other's differences while honoring that we are connected.

    Furthermore, there is some clarity on Montana election. As I understand from a volunteer helping with the polls out there: a lot of the votes were absentee ballots cast before the incident happened due to limited polling station; people were indeed outraged about what happened and tried to change their vote; this is a urban/rural issue, not a lib/con, poor/rich issue; Republicans put a lot money into their guy, Dems not so much; he didn't win by as large a margin as the last guy. She totally called out east coast liberals who wrote off Montana because we didn't have the full story. Guilty as charged and I'm sure it's not just the east coasters....

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    1. I certainly respect your opinion and your view since I have never walked in your shoes and never will. I am a white woman, and I do understand being put into the white woman box, however, and I have lived in a city that is more black than white most of my life. I think it is very silly to become angry with white women who like dreads when there are black women who straighten their hair. I view that as personal choices rather than cultural appropriation, and ones that have so little weight that it seems silly to remark on them. When I worked as a nurse in a unit with only black nurses, I certainly used their slang routinely when speaking with them, and they were not angry about it. They laughed at me and with me, and I felt embraced by these women. It was not disrespectful in any way, and I resent anyone who says it was who was not there (not that you were inferring that). I long for the days when everything everyone says and does didn't signify something that that could possibly be disrespectful cultural appropriation. All people should be judged on their individual actions and words, not what "some people" of a certain group do and say. Judging people by appearance and heritage is almost always a mistake, in my experience and opinion.

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    2. I appreciate Cindy's very balanced comment -- your point that inequality and power play a role is important. I liked this: "This country is dealing with prejudices so insidiously ingrained that EVERYONE is a participant in maintaining status quo. Recognizing and resolving these issues is like a baby learning to walk. They are teeter tottering from one side to the other and falling quite a bit. Hopefully, as a nation we will learn to steady our feet so we can all truly be neighbors who respect each other's differences while honoring that we are connected." I interpret this to mean that the playing field is not level, so that one group's "sharing" may be seen by another group as "appropriation." White (especially middle class) people in this country really do have more power to "share" in other people's cultures in a way that people with less power do not. I am not condemning/blaming individual middle class white people for our structural position in US society but it is worth thinking about the innate privileges that come from that position. I totally understand Jennifer's frustration with the situation in Portland (as does Cindy) so this is not a response to Jennifer so much as a response to Cindy, who built on Jennifer's already thought-provoking ideas. Thank you so much to you both, and to Beckster, and everyone else, for this very interesting and measured thread! This is one more piece of evidence that this blog brings smart people together to think about important ideas -- as always, many thanks to Jennifer for creating this space and giving us so much to think about. As other people have said before, this is my absolute favorite blog and the only blog whose comments I read. Jennifer has really gathered great people together.

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    3. First off I want to say that I appreciate this respectful discussion. Beckster, in my opinion there is a critical difference between White women wearing dreads or cornrows and Black women straightening their hair, which is the dynamic of power. One is not the same as the other. It is my understanding that Black women are often criticized, shamed, or labeled "unprofessional" when they have natural hairstyles or culturally/historically "Black" hairstyles such as braids, cornrows, etc., but White women can wear these same styles with impunity. I certainly think that Jennifer made some good points in the article, especially regarding times when accusations of cultural appropriation are taken too far. However, the concept in and of itself is important to understand and I believe that there are times it can be damaging, perpetuate stereotypes, and contribute to oppression.

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    4. I appreciate this respectful discussion as well, and I do realize that black women have had to contend with so much in their lives that I don't have to think about on a daily basis. I do understand, Maggie, that there are times when cultural appropriation can be harmful. If it appeared that I didn't, then I was not clear in my remarks, which unfortunately is often the case! :) However, I think the concept that people should think about whether their choice of hairstyles is offensive to someone before they make the decision on how to wear their hair is just the type of extreme political correctness that has caused backlash. I think all of this may depend on what part of the country you live in. I live in the South in an urban area, and it is common for black professional women to wear their hair in natural styles and to be thought to be highly professional in their appearance. And if white women wear dreads, they are thought to be "odd". So my experience is totally different from yours. But, really? Women's hairstyles confer power? That sounds to me as if women are still allowing the appearance narrative to continue to influence their lives, and I believe that women must reject that sort of judgment, *all* women. At the risk of making someone very angry, I have to say that that my opinion is that hairstyles and other insignificant issues are definitely first world problems and don't merit the type of attention women in the US give them. Power is conferred by perceptions in the mind of the individual who is making that judgment. They will use any rationalization to justify their hateful stance, but we don't have to and shouldn't accept that.

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    5. Cindy, I really appreciate your comment. As one of the previous commenters did, I liked the image of the nation as a "baby learning to walk" and I hope we find our balance soon.

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  18. Sing it, sister.

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  19. Thank you thank you thank you! Especially for the parade of moral midgets. Amen!

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    1. I woke up in the night and worried about the "midgets" line because my daughter witnessed a screaming match at her college last year when someone used the term "midget." I was shocked at the time that "midgets" was now off limits -- but I had apparently forgotten. I should look it up because if it really is off limits, I don't want to keep using it!

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  20. Jennifer, I really appreciated this post and found it very thought-provoking. As a current Montana resident and former Portland resident, these juxtaposed events strike me as well. After the Gianforte incident, I was hopeful, although doubtful, that it would help Quist win the election. A lot of state news coverage of the incident had sound bites or quotes of Gianforte supporters (similar to the lawmakers you mentioned) blaming the reporter and stating that they can really see how Gianforte could be "pushed" to do what he did. Sickening.

    I wonder how many of the outraged Portlanders who went after the food cart women with pitchforks have eaten at Pok Pok, the hallowed Portland institution of Thai "street food" started by Andy Ricker, the hometown hero who went to Thailand, learned to make Thai food, and then came back to Portland and launched a very successful series of restaurants and line of drinking vinegars. What's the difference between him and the tortilla women? While I don't inherently disagree with the concept of cultural appropriation, as I do believe it can be harmful, offensive, and perpetuate stereotypes, I agree that when taken to extremes it can undermine the liberal agenda and contribute to the perception of "special snowflake" liberals who are hell bent on being offended. The whole idea of cultural appropriation is somewhat difficult to define. When White people do yoga, eat sushi, or listen to reggae is it cultural appropriation? Where's the line? Tough questions, and I appreciate your thoughts and love your writing, as always.

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    1. I think you're right about cultural appropriation becoming a problem when it perpetuates stereotypes. (As a previous commenter pointed out.) Some of the stories about the burrito cart mentioned Pok Pok and questioned why Andy Ricker wasn't called to account for it.

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  21. Very good post. I certainly love this website. Keep writing!

    traffic rider | cooking fever |launcher

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. This article in favor of cultural appropriation is short but interesting: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/thank-god-for-cultural-appropriation/2017/06/05/e92645e2-4a12-11e7-9669-250d0b15f83b_story.html?utm_term=.786af3ddabc9

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    1. Kristin, thanks for this! It explained how I feel quite succinctly.

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  24. It's like I want to say something about this and I don't know what to say about this. (I have a migraine right now, so that probably won't help me be articulate either.) I value Cindy's comment above, including her remarks about Montana, about which she is right-- so much early voting had already taken place that it would have been hard to change the final result based on Gianforte's last-minute assault.

    As far as cultural appropriation goes... it's just one of those indefinable, know-it-when-I-see-it type things, and that means no one will 100% agree on what they know and see. Yes, there are forms of cultural appropriation that are a problem (I think we can all agree on the Halloween costumes), and forms that are the kinds of natural culture-sharing that have taken place between neighbors from the beginning of time (I'd put teaching each other about new foods in that category, if it is done respectfully between equals). And then so much in between. Like, do I think all non-Indians doing yoga are doing something bad? I do yoga and am white. Obviously I don't think it is indefensible. But I also recognize that a room full of only wealthy white women doing yoga purely for the sake of their own well-being, without the least further regard for the culture or spiritual tradition that provided this practice, is problematic. Are non-Hispanic Americans cooking and eating tacos problematic? I don't think so... but if you advertise them with a little mustachioed Mexican guy in a sombrero, then yes. Basically, I just want to echo Cindy: don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. We still need to be able to discuss problems inherent in cultural appropriation without viciously nitpicking every single well-intentioned thing that everyone does.

    One thing I feel that I am often seeing in this nitpicking is white guilt from white women. By exhibiting highly-guarded, holier-than-thou behavior and policing the behavior (especially online, where it is socially safe to do so) of other white women, they make themselves feel like they are not part of the problem and not implicated in systemic racism, so they don't have to feel guilty about it anymore. Sorry, self-righteous white women, you do not get off that easy. Please stop harassing the rest of us and face your own shit. That is my feeling. If women of color have some feelings they want to tell white women, even if it is painful for everybody, then I am there to listen to that, because they have standing. (I guess I am focusing on women because those are the conversations I have had. But men too.)

    Stay strong, everybody.

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  25. نجن افضل شركة متخصصة فى جميع الخدمات المنزلية فى الدمام نقدم لك افضل الخدمات من تنظيف ومكافحة حشرات وتسليك مجارى وكشف تسربات ونقل عفش كل ما عليك هو تصفح الموقع من خلال الروابط المذكورة ادن المنشور وتقيمكم عليه نحن سعداء بتعامل معاكم ، شركة مكافحة حشرات بالجبيل
    شركة تنظيف مجالس بالجبيل
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالخبر
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالقطيف
    شركة تنظيف مجالس بالقطيف
    شركة تنظيف بالخبر
    شركة تنظيف بالدمام

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  26. Jennifer, please come back, we miss you so! /Gretchen

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  27. Seconded, with feeling. We need bright spots! (Plus your old recipe for pasta puttanesca was a huge hit with grandma.) xo Kate

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  28. Exactly, Jennifer, the community needs your special gifts. Please come back and share your writing with us.

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  29. I'm thinking the current political situation has done you in? I just wish you would post because I live to see your blog in my email. sigh

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  30. Hello;
    Long comment ahead.
    I read a review and an excerpt of your cookbook when it first came out and because I was broke and did not have my life together, I never bought it or borrowed it from the library. But I remembered the concept and how incredibly funny I thought you were... Fast forward to this past year when a good friend of mine was talking to me about her adventures in jam making (I think, or was it kombucha?) and I remembered your book and told her about it.
    Fast forward to this week when that friend gave me a copy of your book and I devoured it. I laughed out loud many times, folded down the corners on many recipes and quoted it to my indifferent husband (he paid more attention when I mentioned the Cammenbert, he thinks it is a genius idea).
    Last night I looked up your blog and have been reading it ever since.
    I love it, have texted snippets to friends, and have already bookmarked a dozen recipes you raved about.
    But this post makes me sad: for you and your country (I live in another part of the world), because this is such a vast and complicated mess that there is no easy way to disentangle from it, and it is divisive and alienating for your people and it must feel so hard. If I feel it in the pit of my stomach every time I see the news... for you it must be so much.
    I hope you are finding your way through this and I want you to know I appreciate and admire you, from far away. That people like you make a difference in many anonymous people's lives around the world simply by letting us see into yours.
    Thank you.

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  31. Hi Jennifer, I was thinking about you today and Google brought me here. Great piece! I too am a leftist who has come to find the left insufferable. As well as laughable. Thanks for articulating it so well.

    I saw no means of direct contact listed here so will just say all is great with me, it was fun admiring your family, and keep up the good work! Best, Mark

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