No, I’m still not a white supremacist. (Also, appropriation is a good thing.)

There are a few photos of me on Twitter (maybe Facebook too. Who knows) where I am falsely labeled as a white supremacist.

 

I’m of Jewish descent.

For some people, that’s not instantly disqualifying, you know – Jews might still be Nazis or something.

So, I want to say that I’m against white supremacism (or any sort of racial supremacism) and also against nationalism (and socialism, federalism, imperialism, monarchism, oligarchy, communism and/or any other type of statism.)

I am an anarchist. I was not asked about my political beliefs by the person who took the photos. (I wish they had. I would’ve loved to have a conversation about anarchism with some other people who were clearly unhappy about the state of government in the US and abroad!)

I figured the Panama hat, Hawaiian shirt, sunglasses by an actual immigrant company (Ray-Ban aka Bausch and Lomb, a company formed by real immigrants, not people born in California) and jeans from Mexico would be a giveaway. Bonus points, my socks were made in China. Huzzah.

One astute comment noticed it… and then proceeded to label me a cultural appropriator. Which… is really the most American thing you can possibly be, seeing as that without what is called ‘cultural appropriation’ and sometimes ‘gentrification’ when applied to regions, on a thousand-year-scale without those individual forces in society we would not have electricity, we would not have automobiles, we would not have the internet. Those are direct positive results of what is negatively called appropriation and gentrification.

The Broken Window Fallacy negatively connotates appropriation and gentrification as forms of ‘idea theft’. However, supposed ‘idea theft’, or ‘violation of intellectual property standards’ actually encourages recognition and respect for that idea. Those who are outraged by supposed ‘idea theft’ have no actual claim to the ideas which are supposedly being stolen. When someone creates an idea and sees someone else using their idea (see also: Arcade City that ripped off most of my ideas for Dryvyng, which is now called RIDE, and Uber’s 180 Days of Change, which is Uber’s current CEO copying a small number of the ideas I came up with in 2015, and every current non-suspended Twitter user who copied my entire tweet formula, you’re welcome) they normally feel a sense of pride.

I’m happy that people copied my ideas. Imitation is truly the most sincere form of flattery. You didn’t invent the English language, but you speak English. Are you appropriating English, by that standard? It’s not a global majority language, and in fact, itself, it is a language that appropriates other languages for words on an open and regular basis.

By that token, every idea that can be spoken in words has already been appropriated – what people who talk about appropriation really want is recognition and/or money.

Here’s an idea – make the headdresses and sell them. You can command a premium by calling them “authentic, original headdresses – native made” – if you don’t, people will buy them elsewhere.  You can’t beat them – why not join them? After all, that, again, is what America is founded on – a bunch of people who couldn’t beat each other – who tried to beat each other for hundreds/thousands of years (Natives, Alaskans, French, English, Spanish, Africans, countless others who fought countless wars in countless places – all well-documented) giving up their wars in exchange for peaceful exchange and commerce.

“But white privilege”, you say. In truth, supposed “white” people – who make up a State-created group of over 300 ethnic backgrounds which warred against each other for thousands of years but are now collectively branded “white” as evidence of the State’s ideological control mechanism – have done this as well. The aforementioned have willingly yielded their inventions to the commons.

Is it racist to say this? No. The average person cannot tell a French invention from an English one at a single glance. They can tell a Native tool from a Spanish tool with a bit of focus. In knowing that, most groups stopped keeping score when other, different groups used their creations – and in fact, the majority of them still celebrate and embrace cultural access without witch-branding that access as “appropriation”.

It is time for the gatekeepers – who are not inventors or rightful bearers of “culture” in the first place – to back off. Appropriation is not a problem – it is a gift which allows everyone to become better as a result of open access.

I am, personally, glad that many people appropriated my ideas and used them to build successful companies and brands. Kudos to them.