QBtC is committed to creating a space that prioritizes those who experience intersecting oppressions and those who are acting in solidarity with them. As such, we encourage anyone who is planning to attend the bookfair to take personal accountability for the ways in which their choices of things such as clothing play into experiences of oppression. If you are someone, for example, who is white and chooses to wear dreadlocks or other culturally appropriative fashions (e.g., “native” art that is not made by native people, bindis, etc.), we encourage you to consider whether this might make BIPOC feel uncomfortable or unwelcome.
Cultural appropriation is the adoption of icons, rituals, aesthetics, and/or behaviours of one culture or subculture by another, particularly when the culture being appropriated belongs to or originates in groups that have been systematically oppressed culturally, politically, and/or economically. Appropriation happens when – intentionally or not – the cultural object or practice is used by someone without regard to or understanding of the legacy and history of that object or practice. The meanings and nuances of various cultural practices are often emptied or changed without regard or respect for their origins. More information on what cultural appropriation is, and why it is harmful, can be found at the links below.
QBtC does not endorse discrimination based on appearances. We acknowledge that it is not possible to assume the cultural identity of anyone based off of their visual presentation, and we do not endorse authoritarian attitudes or profiling in that regard. We respect each individual’s right to self-identity and bodily autonomy; we simply ask our community to be conscious of their choices, and to consider that engaging in what might be perceived as appropriation may contribute to folks feeling disrespected, and could potentially lead to uncomfortable discussions with other vendors and attendees. As always, our collective members and support volunteers will be available on the day of the bookfair to help negotiate any concerns that arise.
Links for further reading: