Category Archive

cultural appropriation

Think twice before appointing yourself cultural appropriation police

This week’s most noteworthy comment thread on the Offbeat Empire was not an easy one, and it actually spans two weeks. You’ll need a little backstory…

Liberal bullying: Privilege-checking and semantics-scolding as internet sport

You might ask yourself, “Hmm, what’s the biggest challenge the Offbeat Empire deals with on a daily basis?” You might ask yourself, “Is it complaints from advertisers who are offended by the content?” (Nope: that’s happened exactly once in almost six years. Our advertisers work with us because they like our content.)

“Is it angry comments from conservative readers who are offended by the content?” (Maybe once a month, we’ll get a drive-by hate blast from someone who thinks gay marriage is awful, or breastfeeding is gross, or family cloth is disgusting. But really, it’s pretty rare.)

So, if it’s not advertisers or conservatives, what’s the biggest challenge we deal with every day? The challenge that has my editors second-guessing every post and quaking in fear, just waiting for the awfulness to begin? It’s attacks from our fellow progressives.

Online etymology: is “DERP” ableist?

Oh, DERP. You ridiculous meme. You have replaced words like DUH, DOY, D’OH, and DER in the vernacular of millions, a quick three-letter word to say “That was hilariously stupid of me!” Unfortunately for DERP, there are some people who’ve used it derisively, using it to mock those with developmental delays or disabilities. Based on these contexts, some people now see the word as offensive.

So, why do you occasionally see the word on Offbeat Empire posts?

When is it cultural appropriation and when is it just kids playing dress-up?

Last week we ran a sponsored post for a family photographer that featured this image of two children playing dress-up, one of them in a Native American head-dress.

The photo struck several readers as objectionable. Let’s talk about why, and what it might mean.