Professor Jacobson recently noted that we just celebrated the 5th anniversary of the birth of America’s Tea Party movement.
He noted one of the best aspects about his involvement has been the people that he has met during his “insurrection”. As a citizen activist in California, involved with our local Tea Party since 2009, I wanted to chime in about another aspect I find heartening.
Our willingness to engage the opposition, especially online, via the networks we have created. Happily, our “Tea Party” attitude, pushing against progressive memes that divide us into victim groups, has spread.
For example, many of my friends in the dance community would never, ever call themselves conservative. They are not used to being called “racist” — a term tossed about with abandon when speaking about Tea Party activists.
So, a Salon article by Randa Jarrar that is part of “feminists of color” series came as a slap-in-the-face to many: Why I can’t stand white belly dancers
…But, here’s the thing. Arab women are not vessels for white women to pour themselves and lose themselves in; we are not bangles or eyeliner or tiny bells on hips. We are human beings. This dance form is originally ours, and does not exist so that white women can have a better sense of community; can gain a deeper sense of sisterhood with each other; can reclaim their bodies; can celebrate their sexualities; can perform for the female gaze. Just because a white woman doesn’t profit from her performance doesn’t mean she’s not appropriating a culture. And, ultimately, the question is this: Why does a white woman’s sisterhood, her self-reclamation, her celebration, have to happen on Arab women’s backs?
We have been following the growing tensions between white liberal feminists and non-white liberal feminists. This article is part of that dynamic. However, this represents the first time many of the dancers in my acquaintance were targeted for presumed racism.
I quipped, “I will pray for the author to learn to judge dancers by the content of their performances rather than by the color of their skins.” Taking a page from the “Rules for Tea Party Activists”, I encouraged dancers to add their observations and comments. As of this time, the article itself has over 1400, most of which are intelligent counters to the dribble offered as enlightened opinion in the main post.
One of the many people I have been privileged to meet during my own dance exploits is a beautiful performer and instructor, Faizeh. (You can see her commitment to her art here). Faizeh offers her perspective: Why I’m White and I’m Going to Keep Belly Dancing
Ultimately, the line between celebration and appropriation can be very fine, and this is a discussion that is good to have. However, insulting a entire group of people and making assumptions about the motives of every last one of them is not the way to engage this discussion. A good place to start is to examine one’s own racism.
I would argue that the term “appropriation” is the latest way to vilify “the other” and continue race-based victimhood. There is nothing you can sacrifice on the altar of “diversity” that will ever satisfy people like Jararr.
That more people are recognizing this fact is a good thing.
In conclusion: Race based feminism has jumped the shark, right over belly dancers.
Networking, organizing challenges to progressive inanity, and celebrating individualism is the continuing legacy of citizen activists. The next 5 years really promise to shake things up!DONATE
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