**********WARNING: SARCASM FOLLOWS! The author does not actually hold the following opinion*********
Google the term “Golf” and the first images the search engine offers are of Brown Men in tight, nerdy Golf attire playing at whiteness. How did this become acceptable?
The term “Golf” itself is a Scottish one. In Arabic, this kind of sports is still called Golf . As a matter of fact, the “sport” is called Golf in any language. The term has been appropriated into many languages just a the term “computer” has. Golf has its roots in the Scottish Highlands where it was invented by a group of what I can only assume were a bunch of bored, grouchy, slightly drunk Scottish fellows who were bored and not very athletic. Brown appropriation of this Western sport began much later probably in the early 20th Century in America but possibly earlier in India. Brown people who are continuing this tradition are continuing a century old tradition of cultural appropriation. One can see it every day in the NBA, the NFL and in Futbol (Soccer in the US). Brown people or “people of color” have essentially stolen cultural sports that were invented by White people and edged them out whether they are willing to view this practice this way or not.
Growing up in America, I saw men in my community play Basketball, Football and Golf at parks and in the school yard. Men often played with other men, in private spaces, so that this sport was for each other. When they played at school with women in attendance, the dynamic shifted. Men played for men alone, there was a different kind of athleticism and competitiveness, perhaps more powerful, definitely more earnest, or maybe that’s how it felt to me, as a child and teenager, wary of women’s intentions. At schools the sport was competitive and masculine and daring, something aspiring professionals would come use to better their lives, their family, their social standing. In the early days, these sports were all White. Black folks had their own sports in their own community. Baseball was invented by White Americans for White Americans. Likewise with Football and Basketball. Brown people were separate from our communities.
One of the most awkward occurrences for me when I watch sports such as Football or Golf is portion of the game where the Black or Brown athlete is feted as the Best Ever in a Sport invented by White men. Amazingly, it is even more awkward these days when a White athlete is hailed as a legend or a “greatest ever” in a position such as Quarterback in Football. There is always the backlash of “if he was Black, they would give credit to the coach or receiversThis usually happens on weekends, and I’ve learned to avoid watching Sports when there are too many Brown faces around, but sometimes I forget. The last time I forgot, a Brown man came out in a football uniform — because that’s what that is, when a person who’s not White wears a jersey and tight white knee high pants with a helmet or Golf attire looking like a slightly nerdy White guy that is meant to say “golf nerd” or football professional and wears a helmet or custom sneakers of some kind and begins to play the sport. They’re usually terribly large and they don’t remind me of the lithe, athletic players of earlier years who used finesse instead of brute strength.
There are videos of these men bashing their way through the line or powering their way to the goal in basketball. It reminds me of all that is lost in these sports since the Brown man stole these sports and changed them to their suit their talents. It signaled the end of the sport as an intelligent art of strategy and mental exercise. The Brown man appropriated these Sports and the White man was left to ponder what might have been.
OK….I’ll stop there. It’s ridiculous, is it not? And quite bigoted. Imagine though, if a White man had written such a thing as a serious opinion. That man would be vilified. He’d be ushered off into oblivion. If he owned an NBA team, he’d be forced to sell. If he played the sport, he’d be drummed out.
Yet, this woman, Randa Jarrar, actually wrote a similar bigoted article and Salon not only approved of it but called it an important feminist work. Apparently, any culture except Western or “White” can appropriate any aspect of a culture that they deem worthwhile and it is appropriate. It is only the Western World who is accused of appropriation by confused, bigoted liberals who more than likely grew up in comfortable upper middle class homes. After all, the upper middle class liberal is the only human who has the time to waste on idiot ideals such as “cultural appropriation” and to complain about growing up so affluent as to be able to afford an education in one of the better cities and universities in America.
How difficult it must be to grow up in America and be so embattled that one can afford the time to sit about and think up nonsense such as “cultural appropriation” and lament the wretchedness of White women learning a dance that Arabs themselves appropriated, in part, from Persia, the Eastern Mediterranean (Greeks, Roma Gypsies and Turks) and from Hindustan (India) when the Muslim Arabs conquered the subcontinent. Belly dance did not originate with the Arabs alone that much is historically proven. It most certainly did not originate in the make believe land of Palestine which was only created out of thin air when the Arabs failed in their genocidal efforts to “drive the Jews into the sea” in 1967.
Cultures have melted, melded, blended and merged since the first “clash of cultures.” The Arabs were influenced by every cutlure/nation which they conquered. The Arabs in turn influenced those cultures. Likewise, the Arabs have been under 100 years of Western colonialism and conquest. They influenced us their colonizers even as they were influenced in return. This has been the way of the world for millenia. Anyone who studies history knows that the Greeks complained of the undue Persian influence upon Alexander. Kubhalai Khan was criticized for becoming too Chinese. The Arab world was greatly influenced by the Turks, the Kurds and the tribes of Central Asia who drove south in bloody conquest.
The one thing that is certain about Ms. Jarrar is that she does not understand the world, history or Liberty.
Bellydance Unveiled: A Brief History
The origin of bellydance is an actively debated subject among dance enthusiasts. Some of the most popular theories include the following:
1. It descended from a religious dance that was performed during fertility rituals by temple priestesses. As early as 1000 B.C., temple engravings depicting dancers have been found in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece.
2. It arose out of the dance that was associated with childbirth. It prepared girls for labor and was part of the delivery ritual.
3. It descended from ancient Egyptian social dances.
4. It originated in India over 5000 years ago, and had spread through out the Middle East with the migrations of the Gypsy tribes also called Roma in Europe, Ghawazee in Egypt, andNawar in India. The Gypsies eventually reached Europe where one of the most famous Gypsy dance styles was born – Flamenco. Many moves in modern Flamenco are still very similar to bellydance.
Perhaps the richness of Middle Eastern dance tradition and its universal appeal can be attributed to the blending of many various sources, cultures, and dance styles.
Technically, Cleopatra VII was a White Woman as she was 100% Greek. I wonder if Ms. Jarrar would have been offended to see the good Pharoah get her funky belly dance on.