Cultural Appropriation in the Age of K-Pop Part One

“Ideas, cultures, and histories cannot seriously be understood or studied without their force, or more precisely their configurations of power, also being studied.

Edward Said, Orientalism

“Dressing up as “another culture”, is racist, and an act of privilege. Not only does it lead to offensive, inaccurate, and stereotypical portrayals of other people’s culture … but is also an act of appropriation in which someone who does not experience that oppression is able to “play”, temporarily, an “exotic” other, without experience any of the daily discriminations faced by other cultures.”

Kjerstin, Johnson, “Don’t Mess Up When You Dress Up: Cultural Appropriation and Costumes

Near the end of January 2019, TK Park of “Ask A Korean” fame took to his site in order to talk about the response from (primarily) Black people to the article he and Youngdae Kim had written for New York Magazine/Vulture about the history of Korean hip hop.

In Park’s article “K-pop in the Age of Cultural Appropriation,” he argues that the idea of cultural appropriation is “inapposite” to K-pop because “K-pop is a product to imperialism by the West, and in particular the United States”.

Park unpacks this statement across the article to some various levels of success, but essentially his goal lies in removing the very potential of/responsibility for the appropriation of Black American culture from Koreans and Korean Americans. He does this, in part, by repeatedly bringing up the aftermath of the Korean War and the long arm of US imperialism as reasons why Black people “can’t” complain. (I’m legitimately Not Kidding about this shit.)

He makes it about privilege as he scolds the (presumed Black) audience for daring to have opinions about how Black music and culture are repackaged by many Korean hip-hop and pop artists and discussed by them and their fans.

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A Little Queer-Lady Rec List

This rec list highlights some of my favorite reads for stories focusing on a queer female main character. I also tried to get a good balance focusing on diversity among authors and their characters!!

Title: Bloodbath

Author: Stephanie Ahn

Why You Should Read This Hella Gay Book:

I adore Stephanie. ADORE. Stephanie is an up and coming urban fantasy writer who takes trope and genre subversion to a whole other level with her Harrietta Lee series. I’ve reviewed Bloodbath and Deadline before and a constant across both reviews is how much I can’t stop loving Harry’s ridiculous ass. I don’t know if I want to be her bossy friend or gently kiss her face (or both??).

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Fleeting Frustrations #8: Revisionist Fandom History Strikes Again

This morning, one of the fic writers I follow retweeted a condescending three-tweet thread about how folks in fandom that are critical of the AO3 and other fandom institutions (for things like the racism in fandom, the amount of explicit sexual content centering underage characters and performers, etc) were trying to “Make Fandom Great Again” and oppress queer (white) people who’d fought so hard to gain freedom in fandom.

However, that longing for fannish past comes primarily from white, cis, and het fans longing for the silence and bubbles they made in order to silence other marginalized and vulnerable voices in fandom.

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Stitch Does Stuff In August 2019

Hello pumpkins,

I know I was like “I’m not going to do another month with three public installments of What Fandom Racism Looks Like” but uh… so far that’s what August is shaping up to be.

I’ve got three installments of WFRLL on the docket to go up on my site this month: a piece on “Fandoming While Black”, the cultural appropriation in Korean pop/hip hop essay I’d been working for about two weeks after I failed hard at foregrounding, and a short installment on intent behind racist fanworks and how intent isn’t magical.

I’m also playing catch-up this month with my rec list for F/F content, the series squee post for Grayson, and, if I can get the time to reread it, my review for Alyssa Cole’s A Prince on Paper.

I’ll also be posting public video content related to the upcoming cultural appropriation essay and the Supergirl fandom’s continuously racist reactions to Mehcad Brooks and James Olsen. (And, despite the fact that I’m behind on my attempt at having a podcast on Patreon, I’m contemplating doing mini-podcast episodes starting the end of this month! We’ll see how this goes!)

On the Patreon front, I am supremely busy.

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Ships n Shit: Team Kill Dracula

I’m a sucker for a good enemies-to-friends-to-lovers romance. And Team Kill Dracula – a silly non-namesmush of a ship name for the triad relationship between Alucard/Trevor/Sypha from Netflix’s Castlevania series absolutely provides that potential.

This ship is relatively popular in fandom with 188 of the 835 stories across the AO3’s section for the anime series. (No idea how many stories are on FanFiction.Net specifically for the anime, but I’m assuming that there are… some?) The only ship that’s more popular is solo Alucard/Trevor, which is still pretty darn quality.

For those of us who grew up with tragic and romantic vampires and the folks who hunted (and were haunted by) them, the ship offers a lot to love in terms of potential. Sadness, serious angst, shirtless vampires, a spunky Speaker –

Look, y’all. The ship basically sails itself. You can create pretty much any content for it and it’ll probably work because the ship is so so versatile. Interested in learning more about the next best thing to happen to triads in fandom since the Leverage OT3?

Let’s get started:

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: James Olsen is Pete Ross 2.0

I’ve talked a ton about what fandom spaces look like when Black woman steps into a racebent role, but not about what happens to Black men who play racebent roles in the same franchises.

If you think that things are any easier for Black men in fandom well…

You’ve thought wrong.

This installment of What Fandom Racism Looks Like will look at how the racism behind how the Smallville fandom treated Pete Ross – played by Sam Jones III – and how, over a decade later, the Supergirl fandom pulls from the same playbook in order to excuse heaping a ton of racism on James Olsen and the black actor that plays him, Mehcad Brooks.

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A Very Special Unboxing

In super awesome and (probably super surprising) news, I’ve got a gosh-darned BOOK coming out in a MONTH!

Judge Anderson: Flytrap, my second novella and my first work published in a standalone book with my name on the cover, is coming out from 2000 AD in August.

This is a story that was incredibly fun to write and that gave me a chance to flex my writing muscles. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to write in Anderson’s world and I don’t know that I can ever convey how much this opportunity means to me.

If you want to preorder this fantastic (if I may toot my own horn a bit) novella, preorders are open here at the 2000 AD online store and there are just 200 physical copies available!

Judge Anderson: Flytrap

Two hundred floors up on Wormwood Block, in one of the poorer corners of Mega-City One, a cit turns on her neighbours, biting and raging. Just another futsie, in a city filled with everyday tragedy.

Psi-Judge Cassandra Anderson and her new partner take the call. It should be an open-and-shut case, until she tries to read the poor futsie’s mind and finds… nothing.

Somewhere in Wormwood is a predator, setting a trap for people like Cass. Hell of a way to finish her second year on the streets…

Thanks for watching and thanks for (hopefully) reading!

Note: the video Absolutely freezes and then skips a bit partway through – no fault of the terrific teen helping me by holding the camera at all – all issues across the board are my own!

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Stitch Likes Stuff – Stitch’s Favorite BTS’ Songs

We haven’t had a ton of truly celebratory fandom-related content on here in a hot minute and that’s because my critical brain is in overdrive working on various projects.

However, one thing I’ve wanted to share with y’all across my deepening investment in K-pop and alongside the critical work I’m doing about the genre/industry and its related fandom spaces is what I flat out love about it.

So instead of the BTS World review I’d actually planned to try and get out, I’m going to do a post looking at my favorite BTS songs and why I love them. I’m including solo member songs (solo meaning that they’re not a part of the EPs/CDs they put out with the group) in this and uh… you’ll be able to tell really fast what my favorite kinds of BTS songs in terms of arrangements/who gets the focus.

(And on the subject of BTS World: no joke, the game’s a time and money sink and I am surprisingly not captivated by it despite my love of dating sims on top of the frustration. And since I can’t screenshot anything since I’ve got an Android phone – the game lets iPhone users screenshot with a warning ugh – it’s kind of annoying.)

Anyway! Here’s a list of my most favorite BTS songs!

I’m glad I can share this sort of purely celebratory experience with you nerds!

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[Stitch Answers Feedback] What Can Non-Black Fans Do?

The text, from a screenshot of a really cool message I received, reads:

hi stitch! im a regular reader of your site, and i wanted to ask a question that im unsure if you’ve addressed so far or not. having grown up on tumblr from 2011 onward, i definitely feel you hit the nail on the head about the “blank slates ghost” and migratory slash fandom always hyperfocusing on white men. it’s really telling how ships like stucky (while i personally enjoy it) can completely overshadow and create hostility toward steve/sam; i had a friend who got routinely vagued and harassed for that exact thing. but what im wondering is, on the flipside, how can white and nbpoc interact w black characters in ships without being creepy abd voyeuristic? i liked your post about the finnpoe racist fics where finn is always hyper-big and sexualized, that kind of demonstrated some stuff Not to do, but i wonder if there’s more nuance to it? should we accept that black fans will sideye/be more wary of nonblack people getting involved in the slash scene for black characters, or are there more dedicated steps we can take to openly be supportive and non-fetishistic? thanks for reading this even if you dont have much time to answer!!!

I got this message in my inbox a few days ago, but since the email address attached to it looks like it’ll bounce back if I email them back and this is a topic I’m sure many of y’all have been wondering about… I decided to make public! I hope that my anonymous reader sees this and knows that I’m grateful to them for being a longtime reader and for sending this message!

There are two real questions being asked here and I’m going to try my best at tackling them in clear and relatively concise ways.

Now, to the answer(s):

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The Great Big Anita Blake Reread: Sorting Out Shifters

“Peggy, that’s my wife, she’s a lycanthrope.”

The Lunatic Café (Anita Blake #4)

Shapeshifters are people too.

At least, that’s what Laurell K Hamilton is trying to convince us and Anita across the twenty-six books in her Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series: one of the core themes across the Anitaverse  is the idea that shapeshifters are people and they deserve the consideration that people get.

It’d be an admirable approach to take if not for how Hamilton sets up shifters and their pack dynamics. Shifter society and the dynamics between members in a particular group towards insiders and outsiders – especially if those outsiders are human – really make you question what she’s actually succeeding at.

For this pint-sized primer, we’re going to be talking about the main shape-shifter groups Anita interacts with across the Anitaverse – wolves, leopards, hyenas, tigers, and lions, the lone prey group in the whole dang thing, swans – and why Hamilton’s worldbuilding and her rationale behind using shapeshifters as metaphor for various marginalized identities remains more full of holes than a slice of Swiss cheese.

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