Racial Supremacy and Appropriation in
Dance Dance Revolution
In the book Dance Dance Revolution by Cathy Park Hong a number of themes are portrayed, possibly the most important of which is white supremacy and cultural appropriation. Several tools such as language and symbolism were used to illustrate these themes to the reader in this science fiction poetry.
The first indication we see of the poem’s theme of white supremacy and cultural appropriation is in the title itself. It is near impossible for the reader to not think of the popular video game to when reading it; however, when asked about it in an interview, the author said that there was more to it than that. She mentioned the ideas of culture surrounding the game and what it meant in a more global sense in that it was a Japanese game that was built from aspects of an entirely Western culture. Hong said,
“[she] initially wrote an irreverent poem that was inspired by the game. [She] abandoned the poem, but [she] kept coming back to the broader concepts of the
game, its phrasing, and realized the title was an appropriate fit for the narrative...
[she] was fascinated by the origin of the game—by the fact that the Japanese appropriated Western dance moves to turn into a video game... which was then imported back to the West with explosive success... which seemed appropriate since the book has much of that misplaced cultural bartering happening in the imagined city,” (Kryah).
Of course, normally any type of appropriation is by the colonizing Westerners from other nations. This turnaround forces the reader to investigate the relationship between cultures, which focus on the appropriation of non-Western cultures (as just described) might not have accomplished. This is because it is such an ingrained part of our society, to be able to take parts of other cultures, that the likelihood of the same level of scrutiny, even if the example is an extreme one, might not have been achievable. For...
Cited: Hong, Cathy Park. Dance Dance Revolution: Poems. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. Print.
Kryah, Joshua. "An Interview With Poet Cathy Park Hong." Poets & Writers. Poets & Writers, 11
July 07. Web. 1 Dec. 2012.
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