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Anonymous asked:
Hi! I'm sorry to bother, but I have a question. I have a friend who looks white (blonde, light skin, green eyes) but was actually born and raised in India by her Hindu parents. She practices Hinduism and only recently moved to the states. She still wears traditional clothing, but the other day she posted a picture of herself in her traditional clothes and got a lot of hate for it, people saying it was cultural appropriation. She's bummed out about it and is now questioning her ethnicity. Help?

pendere:

stirringwind:

1. All those people screaming cultural appropriation at her are ignoramuses who are basically saying, “Wow, you don’t look like my ill-informed, narrow-minded stereotype of what people from this region actually look like!” and “I actually subscribe to horrible, reductionist stereotypes that Indian people can only have dark hair, skin and eyes. Light hair? Green eyes? European (origin) only!” 

This is gonna be a tad long, because it’s gonna delve into biology and history- and it’s because I hope people realise how artificial the US paradigm of race is. It’s woefully incompetent at understanding the biological diversity of our species because it is a social construct. Modern scientists and historians generally refuse to categorise people on the amount of melanin they have because it’s just reductionist and oversimplistic- what they do is classify people by their geographic origin, linguistic and cultural ties. 

2. India is an EXTREMELY diverse continent. It’s so genetically diverse that the only place more genetically diverse is the African continent, aka, the birthplace of humanity. And this is a big deal. I’ll explain why.

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Surprise! People inhabiting an extremely large country that has more than 2000 ethnic groups, members of all the world’s religions, been the site of multiple ancient civilisations, been on the major crossroads of human migration and trade for thousands of years come in multiple colours!

  • Presently, the most widely-accepted theory of our origins is the Recent African Origin, or Out of Africa TheoryThis holds that originally, humans first appeared in Africa, thus all of us have African ancestors. All modern non-Africans are descended from much smaller groups of people who migrated out of Africa, anytime from 65,000 to 125,000 years ago. How do scientists know this? By looking at our DNA, in addition to fossil and archaeological records. They discovered that the differences in the DNA of non-African peoples like say, a German a Japanese and a New Zealand Maori was far less than the genetic differences between people from different African ethnic groups. (Somali, Dinka, Yoruba, San, Kikuyu, Luo etc- I’m BARELY scratching the surface)
  • What this meant was that Africa had to be the original, diverse genetic pool where modern humans first appeared. Everybody else outside of Africa today is descended from much smaller groups of people who left Africa at various times- and that ancestral genetic “bottleneck” is why people who appear to have very different heritage (e.g European vs East Asian) actually have far less genetic variation than the various African peoples.
  • So, India being the second most genetically diverse place on this planet is a big deal- it’s basically second only to THE CRADLE OF HUMANITY. That’s why I’m pretty convinced your friend can have blonde hair and green eyes and still be 100% Made in India.

3. Now, the genetics of India itself.

Genetic studies have shown that if you take a modern Indian from any part of India, no matter how dark or fair they are, his or her lineage will consist of mixing from two main ancestral groups. One is the Ancestral Northern Indians (ANI), and the other the Ancestral Southern Indians (ASI). You may have heard of the ancient Indian caste system which put a lot of social pressure that prohibited marrying outside your caste. Caste discrimination is banned today, but old attitudes do persist. However, even this caste rigidity wasn’t so 4000- 2000 years ago. ANI people married ASI pretty freely, so that’s why every modern Indian has heredity from both groups. So, already to start off, you got quite a fair bit of diversity hidden in people’s genes. 

  • And the next interesting part to explain why it IS possible for Indians to have features stereotyped as “European” is because while the ASI seemed to be genetically unique to the Indian subcontinent, the ANI people are genetically related to Middle-Easterns, Europeans and Caucasians (and I mean this not in the sense of “white” as often used in the US, but the actual region of Caucasus, which borders Europe and Asia).
  • You mentioned she looks “white”- and the American-understanding of “white” being hurled at her by those people screaming cultural appropriation are actually ignorantly treating “white” as synonymous with “European-origin”. In reality, it’s completely useless in the realm of biology. Biologically, there is actually no real dichotomy where “European” suddenly ends and “Asia” begins. 

image

  • As I earlier pointed out, well, we’re all kinda related. And it’s not at all earth-shattering that some people from India look like they’re of “European-origin”. Because modern Europeans, Central Asians and the Ancestral Northern Indians are all believed to be descendants of a group of people called the Proto-Indo-Europeans. It’s believed they lived around 6000-7000 years ago. Some modern people that are descended from the Proto-Indo-Europeans are French, Germans, Iranians and Pashtuns (a major ethnic group in Afghanistan).  It’s even been found that Europeans and Indians shared a gene for fair skin from a common ancestor- which is why there ARE people who look like your friend. Naturally, fair skin is just relatively rarer in India vs Europe because more parts of India are located in hotter regions. Therefore, there’s more selection pressure for darker skin which has more melanin to protect from the sun- making fair skin rarer, but still possible. 

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(This is a map of the Kurgan Hypothesis, which is currently the most popular theory for how the Proto-Indo-Europeans migrated from their homeland to settle Europe, Central Asia, Iran, India and Turkey etc)

  • Saying Indians are descendants of the Proto-Indo-Europeans is NOT the same as saying they’re of “European origin”. For example, think of the Proto-Indo-Europeans as like the “mother” of Europeans, Central Asians and the Ancestral Northern Indians- they’re like “sibling” groups, not descendants. The original Indo-Europeans were not “European” in the modern sense. I am clarifying this because plenty of colonial-era scientific racism tried to attribute ancient India’s achievements to “European who left Europe for India”- you might have heard the phrase “Aryan” thrown around in Nazi Germany, which was used to mean “blonde hair, blue eyes”. Nazi scientists and historians also abused it to explain away the sophistication of non-European civilisations in Ancient Egypt and India. In reality, ”Aryan” is derived from the ancient Sanskrit word “Arya" which means "noble". Sanskrit is an ancient language still used in classical Indian texts, and is of Proto-Indo-European origin. For example, the name of the country “Iran” actually means “land of the Aryans”- it was the names ancient Iranians (another people descended from the Proto-Indo-Europeans) gave to what others called the Persian Empire for more than a thousand years before the Third Reich. 

image(Sanskrit manuscript)

  • Furthermore, many languages we often separate as “European” and “Asian” like German, English, French, Italian vs. Hindi, Farsi (Persian), Gujarati, Punjabi, Pashto, Sanskrit etc are ALL classified by linguists as belonging to the same Indo-European language family- which all evolved from the original language the Proto-Indo-Europeans spoke. See how artificial the Europe/Asia dichotomy really is, in terms of human genetics and origin of cultures? 

4. Finally- there’s plenty of modern proof that the region we call Europe today does NOT have a monopoly on producing people with blonde hair, fair skin and green eyes.

This is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, a popular Indian Bollywood actress who is also known for her striking blue-green eyes. She’s 100% Indian- she was born in Mangalore, India to Indian parents. 

image

This is a couple at their wedding- the lady on the left is Indian, from the Southern Indian city of Hyderabad. Her husband is Ethiopian.image

This is a photo of a boy and a woman who is likely his mother, taken in Turkey.

image

This is a girl from Darfur, Sudan- an area that has more than 30 ethnic groups.

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This is a Nuristani girl. The Nuristani people are an ethnic group from Afghanistan. 

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5. And in the first place, what makes up a person’s identity IS NOT JUST HOW MUCH or HOW LITTLE MELANIN THEY HAVE.

  • Tell your friend she is 100% Indian, because what makes up her identity is not just how she looks. Identity is what feels most natural to her, and if that identity is indeed very intertwined with major aspects of Indian culture- then well, she IS Indian and noone can say otherwise. 
  • Those people had no right to make her feel awful and “not-Indian enough” because it’s clear she identifies as such due to actually being born there and also practising major aspects of Indian culture. The best example I can think of to explain this is how in the US, people sometimes use the term “Latino” as a race category, with the stereotype that all latinos must have tanned skin and dark hair. In reality, it’s more of a cultural identity. The are fair haired-latinos and darker-skinned latinos whose ancestors included the African slaves brought to the Americas four hundred years ago. But what really makes them “Latino” or “Hispanic” is their upbringing- growing up in the environment of Latin America, which is culturally a syncretic fusion of Amerindian, African, Spanish, Portuguese and other European influences. 

image

(This is the Brazilian football team that won the 1970 World Cup- you can see Pelé- second from the bottom right. He is an Afro-Brazilian. If you look at his teammates, you can see how latinos come in ALL COLOURS.)

6. Your friend should not be questioning her identity, but those people attacking her should be questioning their utterly myopic worldview. The history of human genetics and migrations makes it abundantly clear how DIVERSE India is- so it’s perfectly possible for her to be Indian but have blonde hair and green eyes, even if it may be less common. 

7. On a more general note, I cannot stress this enough to everyone- DO NOT GO AROUND ATTACKING PEOPLE for “cultural appropriation” when you are NOT even from that culture in question and/or don’t actually know in detail the history and genetics of that region.

  • If you suspect cultural appropriation: DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST or ASK SOMEBODY you know who actually belongs to that group. You may be attacking mixed-race people or people like the anon’s friend, who simply has features that are less genetically dominant- blonde hair shows up less easily in countries with a bigger pool of people with dark hair because dark hair is dominant. Even if her parents had dark hair, it’s possible they both carried a recessive gene for blonde hair that was suppressed by their dark-hair gene. Their child would be blonde if she happened to get both copies of the blonde gene instead of the dark hair gene.
  • Also, even if you think the person isn’t of that group, please bear in mind they might have been invited to dress in that clothing by a friend, or because they’re at an event. (I.e let’s say, at an Indian wedding)
  • I can’t stress how infuriating this “white knight” complex is. Speaking as someone pretty familiar with colonialism, I’ve had people who didn’t grow up in my culture condescendingly insist that if I’m okay with somebody doing something from my culture, it’s “self-internalised oppression”. I’ve studied African colonial literature, and the way people insist on defining what people should be alright with is very reminiscent of 19th century imperialists high-handedly saying, “oh, we have to bring the light of civilisation to save those backwards colonial subjects from themselves!”

image

This is Reese Witherspoon, wearing a kimono in Japan, where she is being taught by JAPANESE people how to perform the traditional tea ceremony. This is not reducing a culture to a caricature because she’s actually learning stuff respectfully and wearing a bona fide kimono.

  • Fighting against cultural appropriation is to prevent cultures from being cheapened, made into jokes, sexual fetishes or ugly caricatures. Part of returning power to people to define themselves is ALSO by allowing them to set the parameters of what they want to share with others- and many cultures are perfectly willing to share aspects that are non-sacred or do not have to be earned. So, for example, do not go around insisting a Japanese person should not be allowed to teach non-Japanese people to wear a kimono- because a kimono, unlike a Navajo war bonnet (akin to veteran’s medals), is something anybody can wear. Recognise this difference.

Know the difference.


Source stirringwind
9

nihongogogo:

Nihongo Ichiban has great vocabulary lists for those studying for JLPT, check them out here.

nihongogogo:

Nihongo Ichiban has great vocabulary lists for those studying for JLPT, check them out here.


Source nihongogogo
62 Notes • Comments {Tags}
G

just a quick update about a recent decision:

i won’t be publishing short stories—even snippets or drafts—on this blog anymore. i will still publish snippets, drafts, updates, etc., of One Dreams as well as stuff from Year One of Lies Told

the reason for this is that i’m trying to focus on turning professional with my writing career and many of the professional literary magazines won’t publish stories that have been on a blog or other public website. the same goes with a lot of publishing houses, even the smaller ones. i’ve already committed myself to publishing the first book of One Dreams, and at least the first year of Lies Told, on my website, and i’m cool with that. other stories i will want to reserve for attempts at traditional publishing first, before placing them on my site or blog. 

that said, i am planning out content to post here. things that will tie into my novels and also just fun random pieces of things. i would like to get back into the trivia/fun facts, and am thinking about doing weekly character profiles/sketches for new characters so that i have an archive to draw from whenever i want to write a new story. 

so don’t worry. i’m not going anywhere. just re-prioritizing. :D

d

Today RiSe went to keep EunB company in heaven. This week two young, talented, beautiful & warm hearted girls were given their wings.You were too young and too kind for such a thing to happen, but you’re both finally safe and in a better place. I hope all your suffering and pain that you held through is gone and you can finally find peace. Make sure you look after each other and don’t get into too much trouble, make sure you check in on your members too alright? let them know you’re okay and at peace. May you both rest in peace. Go Eunbi, November 23, 1992 - September 3, 2014. // Kwon Risae, August 16, 1991 - September 7, 2014.

Today RiSe went to keep EunB company in heaven. This week two young, talented, beautiful & warm hearted girls were given their wings.You were too young and too kind for such a thing to happen, but you’re both finally safe and in a better place. I hope all your suffering and pain that you held through is gone and you can finally find peace. Make sure you look after each other and don’t get into too much trouble, make sure you check in on your members too alright? let them know you’re okay and at peace. May you both rest in peace. Go Eunbi, November 23, 1992 - September 3, 2014. // Kwon Risae, August 16, 1991 - September 7, 2014.


Source kyungkai
G

writingwithcolor:

image

We discussed the issue of describing People of Color by means of food in Part I of this guide, which brought rise to even more questions, mostly along the lines of “So, if food’s not an option, what can I use?” Well, I was just getting to that!

This final portion focuses on describing skin tone, with photo and passage examples provided throughout. I hope to cover everything from the use of straight-forward description to the more creatively-inclined, keeping in mind the questions we’ve received on this topic.

So let’s get to it.

S T A N D A R D  D E S C R I P T I O N

B a s i c  C o l o r s

image

Pictured above: Black, Brown, Beige, White, Pink.

"She had brown skin.”

  • This is a perfectly fine description that, while not providing the most detail, works well and will never become cliché.
  • Describing characters’ skin as simply brown or beige works on its own, though it’s not particularly telling just from the range in brown alone.

C o m p l e x  C o l o r s

These are more rarely used words that actually “mean” their color. Some of these have multiple meanings, so you’ll want to look into those to determine what other associations a word might have.

Read More

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doctorwho-is-unaturallysuper:

hostduraravros:

positronmorbid:

ironychan:

greekceltic:

centaurcentral:

“A Centaur in Disguise” by Michelle Tolo

This is the most precious Centaur art I’ve ever seen.

What really makes it is the fact that the dude and the horse are both going “something here ain’t right…”

And I could see any hard core horse riding enthusiast going “What are you doing!?  That’s not how you ride!”

I guess he’s trying to blend in and not be the

centaur of attention

Get out

doctorwho-is-unaturallysuper:

hostduraravros:

positronmorbid:

ironychan:

greekceltic:

centaurcentral:

“A Centaur in Disguise” by Michelle Tolo

This is the most precious Centaur art I’ve ever seen.

What really makes it is the fact that the dude and the horse are both going “something here ain’t right…”

And I could see any hard core horse riding enthusiast going “What are you doing!?  That’s not how you ride!”

I guess he’s trying to blend in and not be the

centaur of attention

Get out

138344 Notes • Comments {Tags}
n

For lonely people, rain is a chance to be touched.

— Simon Van Booy  (via shisma)

Source beyondstyx
115183 Notes • Comments {Tags}
n

The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon.


Source maxkirin
970 Notes • Comments {Tags}
9

emilianadarling:

deanobanion:

"Horsemanning, or fake beheading, was a popular way to pose in a photograph in the 1920’s. Sometimes spelled horsemaning, the horsemanning photo fad derives its name from the Headless Horseman, a character from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

(x)

HUMAN BEING ARE AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN SUCH HUGE FUCKING DORKS OKAY.

emilianadarling:

deanobanion:


"Horsemanning, or fake beheading, was a popular way to pose in a photograph in the 1920’s. Sometimes spelled horsemaning, the horsemanning photo fad derives its name from the Headless Horseman, a character from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

(x)

HUMAN BEING ARE AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN SUCH HUGE FUCKING DORKS OKAY.

emilianadarling:

deanobanion:

"Horsemanning, or fake beheading, was a popular way to pose in a photograph in the 1920’s. Sometimes spelled horsemaning, the horsemanning photo fad derives its name from the Headless Horseman, a character from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

(x)

HUMAN BEING ARE AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN SUCH HUGE FUCKING DORKS OKAY.


Source deanobanion
94829 Notes • Comments {Tags}
n

What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don’t. You open your eyes and everything’s just like yesterday, only it’s today. And you don’t feel eleven at all. You feel like you’re still ten. And you are — underneath the year that makes you eleven.

Like some days you might say something stupid, and that’s the part of you that’s still ten. Or maybe some days you might need to sit on your mama’s lap because you’re scared, and that’s the part of you that’s five. And maybe one day when you’re all grown up maybe you will need to cry like if you’re three, and that’s okay. That’s what I tell Mama when she’s sad and needs to cry. Maybe she’s feeling three.

Because the way you grow old is kind of like an onion or like the rings inside a tree trunk or like my little wooden dolls that fit one inside the other, each year inside the next one. That’s how being eleven years old is.


Source arpeggia
54547 Notes • Comments {Tags}
R

nihonchodaisuki:

Japanese girl reading out vocabulary for JLPT N5 test.

Helpful to hear native pronunciation and also helpful for auditory learners to sit back and hear what words they know and/or might not know for the JLPT N5 test. You can find the rest of N5 vocabulary as well as a start for N4 vocabulary on her channel.

nihonchodaisuki:

Japanese girl reading out vocabulary for JLPT N5 test.

Helpful to hear native pronunciation and also helpful for auditory learners to sit back and hear what words they know and/or might not know for the JLPT N5 test. You can find the rest of N5 vocabulary as well as a start for N4 vocabulary on her channel.


Source youtube.com
87 Notes • Comments {Tags}
d

asheathes:

WIZARDING SCHOOLS AROUND THE WORLD: CHINA

Located in deep in the Guilin mountains, shrouded in mist and frequented by dragons that live in the multitude of winding rivers, the students of the Chinese Institute of Magic don their colourful wizarding garbs every September 1st for their return to school whereupon they are treated to spectacular opening festivities involving, but not limited to: choreographed martial arts performances from their combat professors, an assortment of acrobatic wonders, and “Mystery Mooncakes” specially made for the mid-autumn festival.

asheathes:

WIZARDING SCHOOLS AROUND THE WORLD: CHINA

Located in deep in the Guilin mountains, shrouded in mist and frequented by dragons that live in the multitude of winding rivers, the students of the Chinese Institute of Magic don their colourful wizarding garbs every September 1st for their return to school whereupon they are treated to spectacular opening festivities involving, but not limited to: choreographed martial arts performances from their combat professors, an assortment of acrobatic wonders, and “Mystery Mooncakes” specially made for the mid-autumn festival.

Source asheathes
d
Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S2700HD     Aperture: f/3.1     Exposure: 1/52th     Focal Length: 5mm
Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S2700HD     Aperture: f/3.1     Exposure: 1/60th     Focal Length: 5mm
Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S2700HD     Aperture: f/3.1     Exposure: 1/70th     Focal Length: 5mm
Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S2700HD     Aperture: f/3.1     Exposure: 1/90th     Focal Length: 5mm
Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S2700HD     Aperture: f/3.1     Exposure: 1/80th     Focal Length: 5mm

Source lustik
3699 Notes • Comments {Tags}