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Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance

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Morgan Bimm

on 1 April 2013

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Transcript of Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance

cultural appropriation EATING THE OTHER:
bell hooks morgan bimm
april 1, 2013 commodifying
Otherness marketing, media, and
consumption conclusions outline transgressing cultural boundaries sexuality and neo-colonialism discussion questions thesis video thesis and overview of article links with other course readings marketing, media, and consumption discussion questions! sexuality and neo-colonialism commodifying Otherness cultural appropriation transgressing cultural boundaries towards racial pluralism In ancient religious practices among so called “primitive” people, the heart of a person may be ripped out and eaten so that one can embody that person’s spirit or special characteristics. (pg. 374) Metaphorically eating the Other, whether through sex or via cultural consumption, asserts power and privilege. White supremacist society still conceptualizes of racialized Others in terms of anachronistic space, primitivism, and as representations of a simpler, utopian reality. Eating the Other represents a transgression, a neo-colonial form of domination, and is seen as some as a road to racial pluralism or acceptance of perceived differences. links with other course readings towards racial
pluralism Razack, Sherene. "Gendered Racialized Violence and Spatialized Justice: The Murder of Pamela George." (WEEK NINE) McClintock, Ann. "The Lay of the Land: Geneologies of Imperialism." (WEEK FOUR) Who has the power to move between spaces?
Maintaining power requires an Other to dominate
Represents transgression into an Othered space
Related to hooks' ideas of transgression/pluralism Eroticized Others and Othered spaces
Concept of primitive anochronistic space/time
Temporal space, frozen in the past
Links to hooks' theories of primitivism In order to maintain the status quo, the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy commodifies Otherness. Is it possible to culturally appropriate without exploitation? Where and how do we draw this line? Culture of commodification of Otherness reinforces our differences in negative ways. Reinforces white supremacist capitalist patriarchy by reasserting dominance over those cultures and individuals we have marked as Others. Recognizing these power structures and working towards respectful representation and interaction is the only way to break the cycle. How might we work towards a more nuanced understanding and appreciation of Othered cultures? Is there a way to "fix" this cycle of domination and "eating the Other" we have created for ourselves? Any other final thoughts or contributions? The use of colour coding to label the people of the world remains a prominent objectifying metaphor in the visual rhetoric of commercials, especially those featuring edible products. In 2010, Whittaker's Chocolate made this monstrosity... Within commodity culture, ethnicity becomes spice, seasoning that can liven up the dull dish that is mainstream white culture. (pg. 366) One desires ‘a bit of the Other’ to enhance the blank landscape of whiteness […] defamiliarization is to distance us from whiteness, so that we will return to it more intently. (372) When race and ethnicity become commodified as resources for pleasure, the culture of specific groups, as well as the bodies of individuals, can be seen as constituting an alternative playground where members of dominating races, genders, sexual practices affirm their power-over in intimate relations with the Other. (pg. 367) An extension of this commodity culture is the attitude towards Othered bodies within the context of sexual gratification and conquest. Such experiences do not require one to give up one's position within the mainstream culture, but represent a quiet way of affirming power. Not at all attuned to those aspects of their sexual fantasies that irrevocably link them to collective white racist domination, they believe their desire for contact represents a progressive change in [attitude]. (pg. 368-369) The idea that a person's desire to be changed, to become like the Other, often swallows up the agenda communicated by the Other or refashions the culture of the Other for mainstream use. Examples? People who perpetuate cultural appropriation rarely view their behaviour as racist or even vaguely problematic. This cycle can only truly be resolved through mutual choice and negotiation of differences. White cultural appropriation of [Othered] culture threatens to decontextualize and thereby erase knowledge of the specific historical and social context of that experience from which cultural productions and distinct styles emerge. (pg. 373) Difference exists as further proof to hegemonic culture that they are normalized and POC are Othered. This difference allows hegemonic culture to achieve a superficial “transformation” as they identify themselves with everything the Others are not. "Nostalgia, often found under imperialism, where people mourn the passing of what they themselves have transformed” or as “a process of yearningfor what one has destroyed that is a form of mystification.” (pg. 369) Relies on the homogenization of entire cultures and the willingness of audiences to take part in eating the Other.
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