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Japanese tattoos and cultural appropriation

Ryan DuBois

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Dear all, I'm interested in your opinion on cultural appropriation in the context of Japanese tattoos. I am not Japanese and have no significant connection to Japanese culture. However, I'm interested in getting a Japanese-style tattoo simply because the boldness and intricacy speaks to me like no other. I have not gotten one yet because I do not want to permanently wear a potentially offensive symbol. Most tattoo artists and Japanese friends alike assure me it would not be offensive because culture is fluid and Japanese style is already common these days. My own research also has me leaning towards doing it; one book I read even cites the internationalization of the art form as key to it's survival, as its popularity has greatly diminished among Japanese people themselves. And yet, a deep sense of hesitancy persists within me due to the historic trend of white people trivializing and commodifying the cultural integrity of communities of color (I'm white, fyi). What are your thoughts/opinions on the proliferation of Japanese style tattoos outside of Japan?
 

Mike Cash

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My thoughts? I wish just ONE of you were honest enough to say you're doing it because its trendy.

Cultural appropriation is a Western concept and bugaboo. Nobody in Japan gives a sh!t what you do.
 

Julie.chan

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The whole concept of opposing "cultural appropriation" is, frankly, unethical, because it's an attack on personal liberty. Moreover, it's really just an excuse to oppress a class of people you are bigoted against. If the term had been around at the time, the KKK would have accused black people of "cultural appropriation" of "white culture" back in the day.

I'm white, fyi
And if you think that matters, that makes you a racist. FYI.
 
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WonkoTheSane

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"Cultural appropriation" is the core of what has allowed us as a species to advance from being murderous, xenophobic tribes into beings and communities who can identify and empathize with people with phenotypes, ideas and experiences vastly different than our own.

Finding beauty and joy in the culture of another human being allows us to develop bonds that create a web of interconnected humanity, and this is the best inoculation from hatred, fear and distrust.

It is the only reason we can even speak to one another and share in a common language in order to understand one another.

So yeah, go get your hipster tattoo.
 

Mike Cash

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Is there anything more patronizing and condescending than white guilt? Is there anything more ironic than how indulging in it serves to perpetuate racial divides by pointing out your awareness of the different races of people present and forcing them to focus on race as well?

The most farcical aspect of Conspicuous White Guilt is how in ostensibly displaying deference toward and empathy for others in actuality it is entirely selfish in that it is nothing more than an attempt to create situational relevance for one's self where there would otherwise be none; it is self-aggrandizing attention whoring masquerading as self-effacing humility. I find it repugnant.
 

WonkoTheSane

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Is there anything more ironic than how indulging in it serves to perpetuate racial divides by pointing out your awareness of the different races of people present and forcing them to focus on race as well?
Only the fact that it actively hurts the very people it purports to help by constantly objectifying them and denying them the personal agency desperately needed by human beings in order to strive towards happy and successful lives.

If it were just a bunch of smug kids sitting around saying the racial equivalent of "My daddy is stronger than your daddy!" in a socially acceptable way I wouldn't mind, but the integration of the ideas inherent in white guilt into governmental and institutional codes creating systemic barriers to achievement by lowering the standards for those considered oppressed creates a race-based underclass.

It is a cruelty, and only practiced by the modern day racists who have found a way to cloak their feelings of white supremacy in the trappings of social enlightenment.

I fervently hope that this current wave of young people practicing racism and sexism in the guise of equality and enlightenment have the moral and intellectual fortitude to look critically and see what their ideology does to people in the real world. They are welcome to remain being racist, I only ask that they stop actively hurting people with their racism.
 
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