I feel safer asking this question here as opposed to twitter (which doesn't get sacrasm and where very few people seem to bother to look at a series of posts) or Facebook. But I really want to hear the answers to it, and it is a touchy question, or more likly a series of a questions, and it has to do with race.
For the record, I am white, but I also work at a college where nine times out of ten, I am the white person in the classroom, so all my students are minority, majority African-American. I tend to think about race a bit. I know that my students have taught me as much, if not more, then I taught them.
So my questions are
1. What extactly is cultural appropriation? Look I know the textbook defination, but is a white writer creating a black character doing so? Is that author simply being diverse? Is it culutural appropriation only if the writer creates such a character without making the character believable or only creates such characters or only creates a minority character who is minority only in skin color? There was an op-ed piece in the NYT and I read Marlon James thoughts on it, so is there a hard answer to this one? I am also thinking about the recent art debates. What do you think? For instance, if The Hate U Give had been written by a white, Latina, Chinese, person would that have been appropriation? If it had been written by a man and not a woman? I don't really know the answer to these questions, yet I have students who ask me about these issues. I realize there probably isn't a hard or fast answer, but it seems like very places are open to discussion without name calling. And I don't think LIonel Shriver was right either.
2. I understand why Elizabeth Banks is being called out, and she should be. Forgetting the Color Purple is wrong and white woman feminism. But why is it therefore okay for everyone to forget Memoirs of a Geisha which Spielberg produced? Isn't that the same thing?