Dressing Up Like Jesus: Cultural Appropriation?



So, painting your face black, brown, yellow, or red is never ok.  Such is demonstrated from to reaction to Korean pop star, G Dragon, for painting his face black. It’s not ok when done for fashion or artistic expression as seen in the reaction to the image below of a white model painted to resemble an African queen.



Nor is it ok for Bugs Bunny to go blackface.


Although, it seems to have been tolerated for quite some time to be using Native American images for these sports teams; maybe because there are so few Native Americans to demand otherwise.

im5xz2q9bjbg44xep08bf5czqimages (1)

It’s also a popular party theme. Like the “South of the Border Party” thrown at my undergrad university.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

.. or, for some Australian girl’s 21st African themed birthday party. For the record, she was dressed up as Cleopatra (which is still cultural appropriation) ,and she hopes to go teach English in Africa someday. I guess there’s plausible deniability there– except at the extremes. For example, friend shows up to party dressed up as KKK– response: “Can’t wait to get these photos on Facebook!”… Really?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hey, it happens a lot with Asian culture too. I remember going to ECAASU and learning about how angry I should be getting. I remember feeling weird when my friends told me that the Buddhism I was raised in wasn’t really Buddhism, because that’s not what they learned in World Religions class.

$T2eC16dHJHgFFlrgUsk0BRkGveeCUw~~60_35What you don’t hear too much talk about is white face makeup or people appropriating Viking culture. I can imagine a lot of my white friends wondering why that is.

I think the matter of privilege does nullify the case for reverse cultural appropriation.

Which raises another question not many people seem to be asking. Let’s forget the angels and devils and take the case of Jesus Christ. Is it acceptable to dress up like Jesus for Halloween?

I wasn’t offended when I threw my heaven themed Halloween party and my friend came as Jesus. It seems that only Christians would find that offensive, and I can’t imagine anyone other than a Christian feeling defensive against that act of cultural appropriation. So in this case, does Christian privilege give permit to mockery? My gut feeling is that it isn’t fair to profane something sacred, because some privileged majority had misused it in the past. Is that the same as saying, it’s not fair to blame all white people for their privilege, just because some of them are racist?

Are Christians who feel offended by all those drunken Jesus impostors in the same camp as Mens Rights Activists?  At a university campus, I’ve had college professors tell me that intellectuals don’t believe in god in ways that were pretty offensive. I had to really ask myself whether this is ok.

All that’s for sure is that religion is its own interesting case, leading me to wonder about the issues that have yet to reach the lime light. What does the queer community feel about cross dressing for Halloween?– another possible case for insensitive appropriation.

4 thoughts on “Dressing Up Like Jesus: Cultural Appropriation?

  1. Are you serious? This is beyond offensive, it’s blasphemous, but you’re sitting here twiddling you’re thumbs refusing to admit it because it’s not politically correct to? But you don’t mind talking about every other kind of appropriation. Why would anyone but Christians be offended? I mean, it would be great of other religions (dogmatic atheists included) spoke against it, but they probably won’t, given the stigma of standing up for Christians and Christianity there is. You should speak against all (true) appropriation or none of it.

    Christian privilege… lol yes, the kind that doesn’t exist in this unfortunately secular nation, though it was indeed founded on Christian values.

    “What you don’t hear too much talk about is white face makeup or people appropriating Viking culture. I can imagine a lot of my white friends wondering why that is.”

    Because whites have been conditioned to shut up about anything that is offensive to them while other races and ethnicities can scream about social injustice all they want, thanks to minority privilege. Not to mention, most don’t enjoy getting offended about everything like SJW minorities do (especially since minority isn’t the proper term anymore, considering how enormous the black and Hispanic populations in the western world are now).

  2. Hm, I’m not sure about religious appropriation, but as someone who is from the middle-east (lebanon/syria/israel) I’ve always felt uncomfortable when I see nativity or reenactments of the bible and things of the sort. I understand that many people who follow the bible in America aren’t middle-eastern or arab, but I’ve experienced and seen a lot of racism/ethnocetricism directed to middle-eastern people in churches (things like pastor’s who have said in sermons “the world’s problems today would all be solved if the A-rabs were never created” and general stupid generalizations of people from the middle-east) as well as a lot of racism from my own family that I have a massively adverse reaction to people dressing up as characters from the bible because they’re not a just a christian symbol, but the bible is also a part of culture as well, one that a lot of people have a plethora of stereotypes about.

  3. G, the ultimate appropriation is when Constantine made Christianity the Roman Religion. Things went downhill from there. There’s the downfall of making things fashionable; however, Jesus did say “go and make disciples of all nations.”

    Blind faith can be dangerous though, and probably why I have a blog called “intellectual faith.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s