Just got this from Tumblr
http://justinkelly05.daportfolio.com/ has informed us that you are using their copyrighted material without permission at http://thisisnotpinoy.tumblr.com/post/33988783914/si-malakas-at-si-maganda-by-justinkelly05, and we have removed the content in question.
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What do you guys think about this reply,
To Tumblr Support:
Recently a post of ours has been removed due to alleged copyright infringement. We as a community of bloggers and Filipinos are disappointed in the site’s decision to delete this post, which has been featured in blogs that have gained features in news organizations such as the Huffington Post (thereby bringing acclaim to your own organization). Your actions are disappointing as they do not abide by your own content policies pertaining to fair use and racism.
Amateur artist Justinkelly05 recently published a picture entitled Si Malakas at Si Maganda (“Strong One and Beautiful One”), supposedly based on the creation story from the Tagalog people of the Philippines. In the picture in question, the “artist” decided to use models of light complexion, blonde hair, and European heritage to depict the ancestors of all Filipinos. In fairness, you may not be familiar with the phenotypical makeup of the average ethnic/aboriginal Filipino, but we, for the most part are Southeast Asians of dark-olive complexion with black hairor—in the case of aboriginal Filipinos called Negritos—dark-skinned with curly hair in a way that would be called “Black” in Western nations. The post in question brought up the morality of using White models to portray the ancestors of our peoples and the morality of the overall system of oppression that allows such racist acts to occur.
Your policy on copyright infringement goes as follows
Copyright and Trademark Infringement. Respect the copyrights and trademarks of others. If you aren’t authorized to use someone else’s copyrighted or trademarked work (either expressly or by legal exceptions and limitations like fair use), don’t. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement as per our Terms of Service and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
ThisIsNotPinoy, the blog in question, did not claim to be the creator of the work. Credit was given where it was due. What the blog did do, was bring critique to the work as the photographer committed acts of racism against our peoples by (1) whitewashing the creation story, thereby depriving Filipinos to represent ourselves and our culture and (2) dressing the white models chosen to portray us as caricatures of wildness and exoticism. As the post was a critique on the work that in no way disputed the creator’s copyright to the photo, the post is (or at least, was) in fair use. Seeing as the post was deleted without proper notification or legal review by Tumblr’s legal team, we assume that you are not familiar with the term. Fair use is defined as
for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.
The post was protected by Tumblr’s content policy since the post was commentary and criticism, and yet it was deleted.
It is our understanding that Tumblr is not for
Malicious Bigotry. Don’t actively promote violence or extreme hatred against individuals or groups, on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation. While we firmly believe that the best response to hateful speech is not censorship but more speech, we will take down malicious bigotry, as defined here.
The wording here is quite interesting. “Malicious Bigotry” denotes a sense that there are forms of bigotry against minorities that are acceptable. It’s a sort of phrase that brings to mind “Legitimate Rape.” As a woman of color, I wish to express that racism, no matter how small the act, is always malicious. It objectifies, sexualizes, dehumanizes people by telling them that they are not good enough to represent their own cultures and experiences because of the blood that runs through their veins and the skin that is too dark for print and film. Racism is an institution where it is okay to whitewash and make caricatures of people because organizations, even the ones as fine as Tumblr, will uphold these acts by drowning out the critique of oppressed minorities for the sake of legal issues that have no standing.
There are whole Tumblr blogs dedicated to calling out systemic racism. ThisIsNotPinoy is not one of those blogs. We simply posted our commentary (commentary protected by your content policy) on an act that demeans our people. Instead of backing its bloggers, Tumblr has gone against its policy to be a site for free speech and against all forms of “Malicious Racism.” For this reason, Tumblr users are seeking and creating for themselves inclusive communities on new websites. I urge you to take a more proactive stand against racism and bigotry and for the right of your users to express their views on such matters. Not just for the Filipinos who were offended by the racist picture of Justinekelly05 and your deletion of its critique (and whose offence your organization seems to care little about), but for the sake of your site’s reputation as a leading blog site.
That racist fucker actually complained? Fuck Tumblr Support. You didn’t even do any fuckin copyright infringement. At fuckin all. All you did was repost the photo directly from dA with the credits all included.
Ahhh but nahhh. Sure. Take the side of the racist white photographer who is crying out his white tears because a bunch of Filipin@’s and those who aren’t but saw it, spoke up on how racist that shit was. Nope. Breaking around the sites own rules and terms in favor of the racist white person. Yup. Welcome to motherfuckin Tumblr where the people who run the site and its Tumblr support are racist fucks who don’t give a damn about PoC and racism toward us. Nope. Never once have they, never will they.
SHAME ON TUMBLR SUPPORT ONCE AGAIN!
Another whiner playing victim because he doesn’t like to be called out on his racist portrayal of a people, and yet another vexing racist perception some folks have about Filipinos. And it’s only a matter of time when someone creates something bigger and better than Tumblr where racist retards are not tolerated.
Happy Cinco de Gringo! Happy Gringo de Mayo!
May your carefree cultural appropriation and essentializing bring you great joy and ignorant bliss. Hopefully while drinking Coronas and margaritas, eating chips and salsa, and wearing that sombrero today please also take a moment to thank all the field workers who keep food on you table, the underpaid undocumented workers who keep our economy afloat, and hopefully reflect on the hypocrisy of enjoying the fruits of the culture/people that many of you all consider less than human or second class, a hypocrisy that results in families torn apart, oppression, violence, racism, and even death. Also, why don’t you also reflect on any assumptions you might have on why people from Mexico immigrate (return) to America, maybe even research how our role as America has played into the deterioration of Mexico’s economy and has left many no choice but to follow the bloody money trail. NAFTA anyone?
Oh right, I’m being too glib—where’s the guacamole?
For mi raza, let’s get together and remember why today even exists; a small group of us stood together and fought against the colonizers. Now that does warrant a drink!
Saying “Native American Culture,” singular
Or “Native American Language,” singular
THEY ARE PLUUUURAAAAAL, PEOPLE
There are scores, if not HUNDREDS, of different indigenous cultures and languages.
There is no “Native American Culture.” There are MANY. They are not this amorphous group of people in headdresses with dreamcatchers hanging over their beds, waving around tomohawks and making turquoise jewelry, okay? Any aspect of Native culture you see (and attempt to appropriate like an ASSHOLE) probably arose from ONE of these cultures. It’s not universal.
SO STOOOOOOP SAYINGGGGG THAAAAAAAT
As much as I want to appreciate the sentiment here, I feel like there’s a lot wrong with it. And I feel like, in these issues, it’s important to be accurate rather than simply appealing to emotion.
The language “killed them all” is incredibly problematic because it fuels the mythology that Native Americans are just historical figures with no place or relevance in the modern world. That’s not the reality at all. We still exist, and there are literally millions of us.
The oversimplification of our history (read: “white people killed the natives during colonization”) doesn’t help anyone, least of all modern Native Americans. Playing on white guilt doesn’t benefit Natives, and it definitely doesn’t benefit relations between Natives and white people or the cultural discussions, like this, that are necessary for positive change. The plight of the modern Native American is not that we’re hung up on white people coming over 500+ years ago and killing a bunch of us. That’s a falsehood that makes it really convenient for ignorant people to pull the “I don’t feel guilty for what my ancestors did; get over it” card. And that’s bullshit because the problem is not that a large number of us were killed 500 years ago. It’s that 500 years ago a war was started to systematically wipe us off the continent both biologically and culturally, and that many—if not most—of the colonial laws, policies, treaties, and ideologies used as weapons of that war are still very much in place today—meaning Natives Americans in today’s society still have to struggle against them. The plight of the modern Native American is fighting to hold onto who we are while achieving a place in a society that, even after over five centuries and so much civil progress, is still built on the promise of freedom and equal opportunity for every American but us. That’s not on anyone’s ancestors; it’s a modern problem that modern people are actively participating in and supporting through activities like cultural appropriation.
And, while it certainly doesn’t help the matter, wearing a headdress as a fashion statement is not offensive because Natives died during colonization. It’s offensive because it’s not a hat; it’s a sacred, respected symbol that has to be earned in many of our cultures. It’s offensive because cultural appropriation has long been a very successful weapon of cultural genocide because nothing dissolves a culture faster than rendering every important aspect of it meaningless and then commercializing it. It’s offensive because it stereotypes us as historical or mythological rather than showing us as fellow humans who deserve equal respect and consideration. It’s offensive because it revives a long, incredibly racist tradition of white people mockingly playing Native dress up (exactly like wearing blackface). It’s offensive because it’s an act of white supremacy that sends the message that white people are entitled to everything we have or are simply because they want it, and that that’s somehow acceptable behavior.
Well, first of all, it’s not the same at all! I did make a comparison between war bonnets and hijabs earlier, but that was only to explain that war bonnets are not “just clothes” but have very deep cultural and spiritual meanings, and are not just something that anyone can wear - not because I think they can be equated to one another! I don’t think it’s right to compare any kind of racial issue to another and say that they’re “the same,” because they have so many different nuances and different historical backgrounds and everything. Also, while Islam does often have very strong racial and cultural ties, that is technically a religious issue, not a racial/cultural one.
To be honest, I don’t really feel qualified to comment very much on the issue of unflattering or sacrilegious portrayals of Mohammed, because I don’t know much about it and I have never directly heard a Muslim’s opinion on it. I think the main issues here are that 1.) you cannot compare different kinds of racial/cultural disrespect as if they are the same thing, and 2. it is not okay to continue behavior like that if a marginalized group tells you it is offensive and asks you to stop! “We do it anyway” is not a respectful argument, or even a very good one.
Thanks for your question, and as always, if I have any followers who can fill in holes in my knowledge, please do so!
Uhmmmm … to be perfectly honest, I don’t feel comfortable answering this, because I don’t really know! ;w; I’ve seen a few posts floating around saying that things like that are not okay, but I don’t know the whole story. As usual, I am more inclined to believe three Black people saying whites wearing dreadlocks is offensive than a hundred non-Black people saying it’s not - but I still don’t want to speak for the Native/Black community on that issue.
Do any of my followers have any input on this?
I know I said I was just going to step back and let people comment on the photoset as they may, but
To all the people who are saying, “Well, I’m Native/part-Native, and I’m not offended”:
That’s fine! If it doesn’t bother you, I guess it doesn’t bother you.
But that doesn’t mean that the offense other Native people feel is any less valid, or that they SHOULDN’T feel offended by it.
I don’t know, I just … I’m seeing that argument a lot in the reblogs, and the vibe I’m getting is “I’m not offended, so NOBODY should be offended,” and that’s not cool.
The problem here is that Natives are offended by it. If a Scotsman was offended by an American wearing a kilt (I am going to swallow my distaste at the fact that we are comparing the situation of white people v. oppressed people to white people v. white people) and asked that American to stop, because it was disrespectful to Scottish culture, I would hope to all hell that they would. But when Native people ask white people to stop appropriating their sacred traditional dress, more often than not they get “It’s a free country” “I’m APPRECIATING your culture” “It’s not racist (because white people get to decide what’s racist now? :/)” “You’re overreacting” and my personal favorite, “You’re being racist against white people!” There is an ENORMOUS lack of respect in this field.
But! There is also a difference in context here. Cultural and racial oppression do not exist in a vacuum! As counterintuitive as it may seem, equality does not mean placing every issue on a level plain and pretending that you can compare Issue A to Issue B and Issue B to Issue W, etc. It’s about looking at the issues in context, understanding all of the nuances and historical backing and intersectionality of those issues, and working on correcting injustices within that context. One of the context issues you need to understand when considering cultural appropriation is that Native people have historically been - AND STILL ARE TODAY - severely oppressed and abused by white people! So when white people co-opt very, very deeply significant Native culture, treat it like a fashion statement, and refuse to respect Native protests, it is an enormous slap in the face on top of thousands of other daily grievances.
You call allowing people to dress like this a “liberty,” but cultural appropriation is just another form of oppression. Asking that people refrain from disrespecting Native culture is not unreasonable, it is not censorship, and it is not infringing on anyone’s rights - it is asking for respect and understanding.