06 March 2014

Bigoted Moron of the Day

Randa Jarrar, who just penned, "Why I can’t stand white belly dancers," on Salon.

Seeing as how I know about 1 half dozen white who have made a study of traditional, as in pre 1600, Middle Eastern dance. Somehow Ms. Jarrar, the product of Sara Lawrence and UT Austin, believes that their interest is somehow inauthentic.

Art is supposed to be universal, and cross cultural art can produce some amazing things.



A Crafty Arab said...

Biggest moron of the day would be you. Let me break it down so it's easier to understand: she is not asking why YoYo, as an Asian is performing Bach, which is European music, but rather why is he doing it in a bikini? Bach never performed in a bikini, yes, but because a male in Hollywood decided that all Bach must be performed in a bikini, now that is all everyone in America performs him in. Yet, in Europe, Bach is still performed, fully dressed in a suit, in front of all other Bach lovers to love.

A Crafty Arab said...

So, if you are performing Bach in a bikini, then really you don't know Bach. No matter what color your skin is. You should not be performing him, unless you understand what he is about.

Now do you get it?

Matthew Saroff said...

She didn't say that Cabaret was bullshit, a sentiment that I agree with, and is a legitimate statement about the art form.

As I've noted, I've seen real middle eastern dance, researched to a form back from centuries ago, most of of it performed by white women.

She did not say, "What you are doing is crap," what she said was that white people should not do this art form.

If she had said that what she saw done in mainstream society was to real middle eastern dance what Kenny G is to jazz, I would agree with her.

Matthew Saroff said...

Forgot to add, my wife has some Uzbek books (Actually tri-lingual, they are printed in Uzbek, Russian, and English) showing middle eastern dance from about 400 years ago. (IIRC the medium is enamel on brass)

Would you be interested in my posting them?

A Crafty Arab said...

As you said in your own statement "I've seen real Middle East dance" yet you are missing the point: what Ms. Jarrar is talking about is NOT real ME dance (raqs sharqi)...but belly dancing. The belly dance and costume were invented in Hollywood, by a man who saw a photo of a woman in India wearing a sari, and would not be in books from 400 years ago.

Even the term "belly dancing" is not from the ME, as she states in the second paragraph. What I see when I go to a restaurant and a blond is twerking me in a bra, is NOT the dancing done by me, my mother, my grandmother, and so forth in my country, when we gather to raqs.

So yes, please do post a photo of your wife in a bra and Disney Alladine pants, with jingling coins, and explain to me how she is representing me. I'd love to see her in an outfit I would never be caught dead in, because my ME mother would have died from shame, but your wife says is okay because it showcases my culture.

Matthew Saroff said...

First, I was not suggesting that my wife does cabaret middle eastern dancing.

She doesn't do ME dancing at all. Beading is her thing.

I was offering to post centuries old art depicting traditional ME dance.

Additionally, you are mischaracterizing the arguments made by Ms. Jarrar.

As I stated earlier, MS. Jarrar is not objecting to crap art (i.e. cabaret), but rather she is objecting to an ethnic group (white people) engaging in the "white appropriation". (her words).

Art, whether it be dance, music, sculpture, metal work, etc. has no color, and those who insist that it does have color are bigots.

A Crafty Arab said...

Actually, you are mischaracterizing the point of the article made by Ms. Jarrar because you can’t get past the word 'white' in the title. The word is there because 90% of "belly dancing" is done by white women. Let’s be real, when you look up the word “Middle East dance” you will not find Latinos, African American, or even Middle Eastern women images, you’ll find white woman.

Once you get past the word 'white' in the article, you'll understand that she's not asking these women that are misrepresenting her culture to stop dancing all together, but why are they doing it in Arab Drag?

I’ve written a blog post trying to make it clearer for white people to understand the difference between ‘partake’ and ‘appropriate’ by putting YoYo Ma in a speedo: http://www.acraftyarab.blogspot.com/2014/03/why-i-cant-stand-any-belly-dancers.html

Ms. Jararr, is not insisting art has a color, she is insisting you don’t have to wear ridiculous things to partake in it by trying to look like my color.

Why do white women feel the need to wear crap that isn’t necessary to pretend to be me? Do these same women get dressed in an Indian headpiece when they go to a PowWow? Do they automatically lower their jeans and put their hats on backwards when a hip hop song comes on the dance floor?

In fact, what bothers me the most is that no one else is getting past the word ‘white’ and answering her question:
Why does a white woman’s sisterhood, her self-reclamation, her celebration, have to happen on Arab women’s backs?

Including yourself.

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