Wiggers Are Just a Part of the Continuum, Aint Nothin’ New

culture appropriation - I am African-Gwyneth Paltrow

When I personally think of the term “wigger“, I think of white kids, who mockingly dress up in “ghetto gear”, wear gold grill, gold chains and other blinging jewelry, and speak a fake, forced version of black slang.  Wiggers ignorantly attach themselves to all the negative things they have been miseducated in concerning black culture.  They seem to prefer the miseducation to the truth, because it’s easier to mock.  They especially love to mock black hair by wearing  huge afro wigs, probably because the afro is such a powerful symbol of blackness.

Wigger is a pejorative slang term for a white person who emulates mannerisms, language, and fashions associated with African-American culture, particularly hip hop in the United States or the Grime/Garage scene in Britain. The term is a portmanteau of either wannabe or white and nigger. The term is considered derogatory, reflecting stereotypes of African-American or Black British culture, and can be used pejoratively, because of its connotations of cultural appropriation. It is also often used in a racist manner, not only belittling the person perceived as acting black, but also demeaning black people and culture by proxy. Some, however, use the term neutrally, or as a light joke, without any racism intended.  Wikipedia

Then there are those “wiggers” as defined perjoratively by their white counterparts. These are the white kids who actually have a love for black culture, usually black music.  They pride themselves on how informed they are about the culture and they usually play out this love by dressing or acting or speaking “black”.  This boldness is what brings them the wrath of their white peers.  They are the new “nigger lovers” of the 60’s that whites hated almost as much as black people themselves.  Nonetheless,  these “wiggers” endure the ridicule, maybe because they feel that they have found something their broken souls have been seeking.   Ironically, this ridicule actually becomes an added bonus, a type of currency, because to them they can now relate with black oppression.  Wiggers are the new Niggers.

GO TO 4:55 TO SEE WHAT I MEAN.

To say it’s very convoluted is a colossal understatement.

So when these kids go over to the black side of town to partake in a hip hop show or a jazz performance or a reggae show, they are just like you, black folks.  They have condescended and are now on your dark level, and  they expect you to acknowledge them for it.  Give them their props and accolades.   After all, they probably know more about Bob Marley’s history than you, Rasta!   When and where Bob was born, who his musical influences were, when he broke away from the Wailers and why, who first produced them,  the name of every Wailers recording in chronological order, what part of Jamaica Rita Marley’s mother’s sister is from.   OK, I jest.   But in truth, they won’t miss an opportunity to teach you, black man, about the details of your culture.  In fact, they may feel more deserving of your culture than you, black woman.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s a bad thing for people of one culture to show interest in another’s culture.  It’s a human thing.  Back in the 70’s I had a nice little Chinese inspired satin dress with the asian motifs, and I wore decorative chopsticks in my hair, which was all the rage.  We all borrow from each other’s culture.  White kids wearing dreadlocks are borrowing from black culture, and black kids wearing fro-hawks are borrowing from white culture.  There are many examples of this, and when done right, it’s a beautiful thing.

What is foul is when white folks mis-appropriate POC cultural norms.  When they roll over the culture, sucking the spirit out of it and destroying its true meaning;  when they break it down and force it into a strange, unfamiliar shape; when they suck the blood from its veins, then let it drop.   Like so many Twilight Buffy Vampires on the prowl searching in vain for authenticity outside of themselves, they go from culture to culture seeking that which they can destroy.

culture appropriate - I am Gwyneth Paltrow

What’s so sad is if they could release their white superiority complex, they would be able to share in the world’s beauty.  They would be able to reclaim their humanity.  Alas, fear and greed will not allow it.  So as they go on their endless search, their broken mindsets block them from partaking in truth.   Because they look down upon the keepers of each culture they encounter, they aren’t able to learn from them.  Like a bull in a china shop, they break in, clumsily smashing the spiritual meaning, of which they refuse to relate.  There is no intention of sharing in the culture or trying to understand it from the perspective of the people from which it comes.

We all have negative emotional stuff, and white folks are not immune.  It’s very interesting how white people bring so much negative emotional and psychological baggage along with them to the race narrative–jealousy, hatred, overcompensation, ridicule, insensitivity, selective memory, condescension; yet they refuse to acknowledge that they do.  And for those who do admit it,  they claim that their oppressive history is proof of their superiority.  It’s very rare to hear a white person just own up to anything.

It’s interesting to listen like a fly on the wall when white people talk about cultural appropriation.  When they are talking among themselves, it’s a mish mash of opinions.  When they are talking to you, my fellow POC, they have the art of the derail perfected.  They have selective understanding perfected.  I think these arts are learned from birth, from their mothers knee, the way dancing is learned in black culture from birth.  I’m just sayin.  But there is a great amount of insecurity in white people about their cultural thievery none the less.  There seems to be no recourse for them, though.

But for we people of color, is it our calling to be the cultural appropriation police?   In the beginning of my studying this phenomenon, I felt that we people of color needed to step back from “this thing” that white people do.  I felt that it’s so poisonous to our psyches, that we should sidestep it altogether.   I felt that maybe it’s a part of the  healing (or whatever)  that white people have to go through.  But as I have done more research on this, I see that when cultural MIS-appropriation is going on, it has to be called out as often as possible.  Those of us who are strong enough to deal with ought to do so.  But if we do get involved, we ought not be offended when white folks play their derail card, or their selective understanding card.  When they pretend to not understand our “oversensitivity” (as the white person in the above link couldn’t understand the native american person’s explanations of the pain of his culture being mis-appropriated),  we have to be able to remain diligent, and not emotional because there are always people in these online debates who are “listening” intently.  These are the ones that you may be able to influence positively.  We have to be able to properly wage this battle without folding emotionally.

This whole culture mis-appropriation battle is old anyway.  Blackface minstrels, white jazzmen, the Beat culture aka Beatnik, Motown, the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and now hip hop, and that’s just black culture. I’m not even speaking of native, asian, latino, and so many others.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Amenta says:

    “But in truth, they won’t miss an opportunity to teach you, black man, about the details of your culture.”

    Sistar Anna Renee, A friend of mine mentioned something very similar to your whole statment about how deeply some whites will study us. The quote above reminds of watching Phil Donahue several years ago when he had on Tom Metzger white (think he’s supreme) supremicist of W.A.R. in confrontation with some black folk on set. The black man exclaimed that the reason some of us are light skinneded (ok I jest too), light skinned was due to the white slave owners raping great grandmothers. Metzger retorted that he was wrong, that black people were producing light skinned people long before whites ever touched the continent of Africa. Man, I was so embarrassed for the brotha. To let a white man tell a black man about black people.

    I promised myself that I would never let a white person EVER tell me something about our people in such a forum. Surely, we can learn from whites about our ancient past from people such as Gerald Massey or Monica Sjoo. But, never from my enemy.

    Peace sistar!

    1. Anna Renee says:

      But that brother was right! And so was Tom Metzger! Seems like Tom did a classic derail on the brother. White folks are supreme masters of the art of the derail! We come at him with too much emotionalism, which Keeps us on the ropes all the damned time. 😐

      We black folks need to learn how to deal with the white man, as Richard Pryor’s wino character tried to tell us.

      WARNING! EXPLICIT TRUTHS (It’s Richard Pryor, duh!)
      http://youtu.be/1dfSwHxl28o GO TO 6:00

  2. RBB85 says:

    I think white people studying black culture usually have a different view on the issue. So it’s not per say a bad thing if white people tells you something about black history. Off course there are racist out there, but not everybody is like that.

    I knew a Surinamese girl and she knows a lot more about the civil rights movement in the U.S.A. then I do. Her knowledge was mostly focused on Surinam and the United States. But I on the other hand know more about the african derived religious systems in the carribean. So what?

    We could have a discussion on black culture, but you probably wouldn’t like that cause I’m white. But nobody knows everything just know your sources of information. Tales told by black people about slavery are likely exagerated, colonial records are definatively tainted.

    1. Anna Renee says:

      No, RBB85, it’s not necessarily true that I wouldn’t like discussing black culture with you. What I don’t like is when white folks feel that their perspective is the only legitimate one. That’s the issue that many white folks have to overcome, and it’s hard because so many of them feel that their perspective is the only legitimate one, which is the problem because…ad infinitum.

      It’s very hard to have a true discussion about race and culture with white folks.

  3. RBB85 says:

    You also have to agree on what the terms race and culture mean. I like the term ethnicity way more than race when it comes to describe a group of people.

    Do you know about the Garifuna?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garifuna_people

    This is a nice movie about their language:

    When you look at it from an english perspective on race they are black. In the USA there was or is the one drop of blood rule. But in the spanish speaking countries you had blanco (white) mulato (half white-half black) negro (black). Billy Cobham, the drummer, experienced this difference in racial perception when he moved to the States from his country of birth Panama.

  4. Amenta says:

    RBB85, Yes we know about the Garifuna and have also debunked the story of a boat load of Africans becoming shipwrecked on the island of St. Vincent that became known as the Garifuna.. At any rate, I specifically spoke about that partcular forum in which I will never allow someone white to teach me about the history of black people on this earth.

    .In addition I mentioned two authors that are designated white that we could all stand to learn from. I could talk with you about these issues, but don’t try and come with ish like “do you know about the Garifuna”, you will have to come with something more substantial that that.

    Peace.

  5. RBB85 says:

    “I promised myself that I would never let a white person EVER tell me something about our people”

    “Surely, we can learn from whites about our ancient past from people such as Gerald Massey or Monica Sjoo. But, never from my enemy.”

    I think you are contradicting yourself there, if you see it another way and I’m wrong please elaborate. Never let a white person tell you something about your people and never learn from your enemy.If you consider white people your enemy I would understand that you don’t want a white person to tell you anything about your people. But you say we can surely learn from whites about our ancient past, so how does that relate to never let a white person EVER tell you something about your people.

    The point I was trying to make with the Garífuna is that race as way of classifying people doesn’t do the job. I can talk about white people and white culture too. I’m not a historian, nor have I read a lot or spoke to a lot of people about the origins of white culture.

    What I know is that they say our culture stems from the Roman Empire, which borrowed knowledge from the Greeks. The fact that Indians invented the numeral zero is not taught in the history wich is taught in the Netherlands. Neither is that Avicenna who is widely regarded as the founder of medical science was Arab (Abu Ali Al-Hoessein Ibn Abdoellah Ibn Sina). We also forget about slavery which is wrong. Cause I know history is there to tell a story of who you are, but we are conciously harming the facts.

    Our culture wouldn’t exist as such if it wasn’t for the arabs who kept and elaborated on much of the roman and greek culture. Again i’m not a historian, but the story we in the Netherlands have a history in this country is just bullocks. Our story, which nobody here actually knows is based on a revolution called the Batavian revolution. We as a people base our identity on that story. But the fact is the people who lived in the Netherlands at the time weren’t the people who are currently living here, these people moved further south in Europe.

    If you want to talk about black culture as being a unified identity that’s fine. But I don’t think of white culture as being a unified culture. The anglo-saxion culture is different from the germanic cultures, or from the latin based cultures. And then I’m not even speaking about the eastern european cultures.

  6. Amenta says:

    I said exactly “I promised myself that I would never let a white person EVER tell me something about our people IN SUCH A FORUM.

    Conveniently, you left out “…in such a forum.” to make your point. Never did I say white people were my enemy, however such a forum in which a white person or persons like Tom Metzger are my enemy. Now if you see yourself as one with Tom Metzger then as my mother would say guilty conscience needs no accuser.

    We understand race is a social construct created by someone considered white. We understand that there was no true out right loathing of so called black people (I know some will fight this noting slavery by Europeans as early as the 1400’s) until the late 1700’s as we are made aware by a statement of Count Volney’s. Even still, what you believe is a white culture is predicated on so called black philosophy.

    The Ancient people of Khemit learned from the people of the Nile Valley, the Greeks learned Khemit’s philosophy, the Romans took from the Greeks (ancient Greece is also a construct of the mind.) The whole of Europe was revived by the Moors in general not only Moors from Arabia, but Moors that crossed into Andalusia from coastal Afru-Ca and spread the love if knowledge and wisdom that gave birth to the renaissance. European culture, the core of science, math, literature, and philosophy lies at its root in so called black people. Thus, I can learn from anyone, but I will not allow my enemy to EVER school me about so called black history. If you find that you see yourself as one with Tom Metzger, David Duke, Rick Perry, Michelle Bachman, Herman Caine or the people of Project 21 then as Bob Marley sings “if the cap fit let dem wear it…”

  7. RBB85 says:

    I don’t know any of the people you’re talking about in your last sentence. I did some googling on Tom Metzger and found an interview on YouTube by Louis Theroux (a homosexual jew) of that guy.

    I don’t identify with him, nor do I think anybody with any sense should. He gave a donation of 100 euros to the nation of islam once, because they are/were (that I don’t know) for segregation as well.To me ideas of segregration from whoever they come from are anachronistic.

    In some way I don’t care as much about black racism because it came out of oppresion, and white racism was constructed to justify oppression. But no matter the origins of racial prejudice the potential outcome is the same namely hate.

    A story can describe reality, but reality itself always has more facets than the story told about it. So we can discuss hi-story. But the european story will always highlight different aspects of the hi-story than african-americans.

    If your view of me is that I’m racist you’re wrong. But my view of you is probably wrong as well. (Nothing bad though, but probably not spot on)

    Social reality know can be based on facts in the now, if you get stuck in history you can’t move further, but at the same time history can be a source of power. In what way do you want to use history to achieve what goal?

    Then I have a specific question to you, you use we instead of I. To whom is we referring to?

  8. Go Lakers says:

    This is an old post, but I am interested in this topic.

    I am a black man who works in a predominately Latino/ black/ Asian school in Central California as a career and guidance counselor.

    Kids have always tried on different identities or personas. When I was a teen in the 80’s I bought a bass guitar and wore ripped jeans one summer–knowing I was going to be a famous rock star. I bought a Michael Jackson jacket and parachute pants when I saw the movie “Breakin” a few months later.

    Just as I experimented with the identity of “rocker” and “break dancer” my older brother had practiced Kung-Fu and tried Buddhism, and dressed as a cowboy during the 70s western craze.

    Kids often try on different identities and some of these are cultural. Over the years I have talked to kids who dressed as and identified as: punk rockers, b-boys, stoners, goths, bikers, new wavers, preps, cholos, jocks, grunge, ravers, club kids… and tons of other things I do not know the name of.

    Today’s kid is more in flux both culturally and how they identify themselves. In the mid 90s when I first started teaching, most of these groups were easily identifiable and exclusionary. Today you might see two cholas walking down the hall with a vampire kid, a jock, and a Rastafarian.

    Times are changing, but today’s kids are more accepting and inclusionary. Vegan kids who recycle might not talk to kids in the Young Republicans club about politics. But they will hang out and text each other, they will date across groups, religious, cultural, and ethnic lines.

    I don’t even think about it twice when I see a white kid “dressing black” or a Latino kid hanging out with the “ricers” and driving a souped up Honda and taking Karate lessons. “Bipsters” or black hipsters are not looked at by thier peers today the way that a Carlton Banks type was looked at in the 90’s.

    Kids today are like kids have always been and try on different identities. Today’s kids don’t seem so hung up on those identities as they have been in the past.

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