Last year David Thompson warned us of the dangers of racist hair. Today, I bring you news of racist dance.
Or, as the headline put it,
Why I can’t stand white belly dancers
This isn’t racist, mind. The writer is a Woman of Colour and, as such, is entitled to use any racial epithets and repeat any racial tropes she cares to. Her complaint is summed up in the phrase ‘cultural appropriation’, or as she puts it:
[White] Women I have confronted about this have said, “But I have been dancing for 15 years! This is something I have built a huge community on.” These women are more interested in their investment in belly dancing than in questioning and examining how their appropriation of the art causes others harm. To them, I can only say, I’m sure there are people who have been unwittingly racist for 15 years. It’s not too late. Find another form of self-expression. Make sure you’re not appropriating someone else’s.
Only Arab women can belly dance.
Only ethnic Indians can cook with garam masala.
Only English people can Morris dance.
Only Hindus can use the number zero.
I’m pleased to report that even at Salon where this was published, she’s getting monstered in the comments.
UPDATE: Volokh also discusses this.