Celebrate ‘appropriating’ culture
Cambridge Dictionary defines cultural appropriation as “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture.”
Of course, given that the Cambridge Dictionary is affiliated with the famed Cambridge University Press – oldest publishing house in the world, located in the United Kingdom – it would itself be cultural appropriation to cite Cambridge for the definition.
It should be obvious that the CA movement – driven by, you guessed it, Millennials– is a quest into the absurd, and merits no attention.
And yet it continues to garner headlines, and, by extension, steam. Which is ironic, since the first steam engine was invented by the British. Or was it the Romans, or Turks?
And that “conundrum” alone should be all that is necessary to appropriate the CA movement to where it belongs – the trashcan.
How far back do we go as to what culture or nation “owns” what?
And what happens when history scholars disagree as to who invented what, and when – as they so often do? But the far more important questions are A) who really cares? B) why is this absurdity receiving any attention? and C) who gives anyone the “right” to tell others what they can and can’t wear, think, say and do?
But it’s happening at an accelerated pace. A few examples:
• Keziah Daum, a high school senior in Utah, was eviscerated by some on social media. Her “crime?” She wore a Chinese-style dress (a cheongsam) to her prom.
Yep, that’s it. And for that, someone with way too much time on his hands started a firestorm by tweeting, “My culture is NOT your (expletive) prom dress.”
The story became an international sensation, with one British columnist opining that Daum’s transgression “was the embodiment of a system that empowers white people to take whatever they want.” Seriously? • White girls at a local high school were told not to wear their hair in a way that resembled braided cornrows, because that would be insensitive to the black students.
• A popular burrito food cart closed in Portland, Ore., after someone accused the two nonHispanic women owners of cultural appropriation, since, after all, they weren’t Mexican and therefore, were out of line selling Mexican food after having visited there. Where does it end? It won’t, until two things happen:
1) The media stops reporting such stories. Cultural appropriation is an entirely made-up term from the entitled, “I’m offended by everything” class.
And since it has no real-world meaning or application, there is no need to headline news programs with such preposterous reports. Doing so serves only to amp up both sides of an already hyper-partisan country, injecting more toxicity and divisiveness.
CA stories are the real “fake” news because reporting on those who feign “offense” amounts to legitimizing carnival barking and tabloid hearsay.
2) Without new coverage, most cultural appropriation accusations would cease.
But for those that remain, the American people need to push back hard. We need to stop living in fear of being called “racist,” and instead, aggressively defend those persecuted for simply living their lives.
Patronize their businesses. Protest the protesters (which won’t last long, since most leftleaning protesters have no stomach for braving the elements, and persevere only so long as their lattes and avocado baguette sandwiches last).
Challenge the two notorious bastions of cowardice – schools and workplaces – when they bow to overmagnified social media pressure and institute rules that curtail freedom. And make your opposition known via letters to the editor – in newspapers! – social media, and electing common sense representatives.
Let’s stop giving the time of day to those who thrive on dividing, and instead focus on celebrating the incredible diversity America offers.
Of course people should retain their cultural customs, and celebrate their rich traditions!
Those amazing aspects of our culture are, and always have been, the path to a united country. It should be not just permissible, but encouraged, for others to experience and yes, take home, parts of what makes our individual cultures so unique.
That’s why American remains the envy of the world.