We’ve had a lot of fun ridiculing the concept of cultural appropriation over the last few years, since the academic movement toward cultural segregation began.
Cultural appropriation, in case you somehow managed to miss it, is “the adoption or use of the elements of one culture by members of another culture.” – Wikipedia (This is probably the one and only time I will ever cite Wikipedia, but I wanted to get the lowest common denominator in this case.)
Suddenly, people are supposed to worry about offending sensibilities every time they turn around – their name, their children’s name, Halloween costumes, jewelry and clothing, Yoga classes, anything that can be used to put a whitish person, Christian or American on the defensive.
The whole thing is ridiculous on its face. But recently, it has begun to be taken seriously in academic circles, and people are starting to get hurt. There’s this story about a “white student was attacked and accused of ‘cultural appropriation’ for having dreadlocks.” Another, “Female Basketball Player Because Her Hairstyle Was ‘Cultural Appropriation.’”
And it’s spreading; we have the Catholic Benedictine College no longer using the Hindu word “yoga” in its course catalog because what is being taught is either too Hindu or not sufficiently Hindu.
It isn’t really enough to rename Yoga classes with a euphemism such as ““lifestyle fitness” is it? To use yoga techniques without crediting them as yoga would be a form of plagiarism, right? It’s hard to keep up. Is it okay for me to wear dreadlocks if I call them lifestyle braids? I can’t do the sum – wouldn’t be prudent.
Then there are leftists arguing that McDonald’s guilty of racist “cultural reductionism” for using ‘Szechuan’ Dipping Sauce .” Apparently, McDonald’s is not sufficiently Chinese to use Chinese flavoring.
Absurd! If someone from one culture can’t use anything from anyone else’s culture, the result is untenable. There could be no university; only multi-versity; with learning disciplines segregated by race and culture. Only Hindus could study yoga. Only Greeks could read Socrates. Only Babylonians could use the number zero. Only Americans could use the Internet. Only Mexicans could eat tacos. Only “black” people could play the blues (if they are sufficiently black), and only white people could play basketball (if they are sufficiently white).
I hereby declare this all to be NUTS.
Cultural segregation is fundamentally anti-American; probably by design. It is a twisted way of perceiving the world – through race-colored glasses. It is so critical that it perpetuates racial division; dividing people into racial and cultural communities and pitting them against each other. It makes America tribal again.
Culturally appropriate THIS: the American Melting Pot. Call it cultural appreciation.
What better expression of the American spirit than for people to incorporate, celebrate and enjoy the best features of the many cultures from which we all came?
Culturally appreciate to your heart’s content, anything and everything you like. Practice Hatha Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, read the I Ching, the Bible, decorate with Tibetan prayer flags, eat Mexican food, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, listen to Motown music, rap (or not), say g’day, play Indians with headdress, pretend to be Aladdin or Jasmine; whatever and however you like.
This is also known as Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
If you disagree with me, please ask yourself a simple question – do you really want to live ONLY as the race and culture of your ancestral origin? Choose wisely. If so, then fine – segregate yourself and leave me out of it; otherwise, lighten up and join in the fun.